The irreversible momentum of clean energy

This paper was originally produced on the Science AAAS online magazine, and is reproduced here with permission from The American Association for the Advancement of Science

By Barack Obama President of the United States, Washington, DC 20500, USA.
Email: press@who.eop.gov. After 20 January 2017: contact@obamaoffice44.org

Private-sector efforts help drive decoupling of emissions and economic growth

The release of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) due to human activity is increasing global average surface air temperatures, disrupting weather patterns, and acidifying the ocean (1). Left unchecked, the continued growth of GHG emissions could cause global average temperatures to increase by another 4°C or more by 2100 and by 1.5 to 2 times as much in many midcontinent and far northern locations (2). Although our understanding of the impacts of climate change is increasingly and disturbingly clear, there is still debate about the proper course for U.S. policy—a debate that is very much on display during the current presidential transition. But putting near-term politics aside, the mounting economic and scientific evidence leave me confident that trends toward a clean-energy economy that have emerged during my presidency will continue and that the economic opportunity for our country to harness that trend will only grow. This Policy Forum will focus on the four reasons I believe the trend toward clean energy is irreversible.

To read the full Policy Forum, click here: The irreversible momentum of clean energy

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