Traditional energy companies and mainstream financial publications are finally waking up to the new reality: The shift to renewable energy, electric cars, and a low-carbon economy is now unstoppable.
The details of this transition are spelled out in a new, must-read, 4000-word article in the Financial Times, “The Big Green Bang: how renewable energy became unstoppable.”
What is most remarkable about the article is that it appears in the Financial Times. The free-market oriented paper is the “most important business read” for the world’s top financial decision makers and “the most credible publication in reporting financial and economic issues” for global professional investors, according to surveys.
The business community, though, is starting to see the writing on the wall, especially in Europe. The CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, Europe’s largest company, declared in a recent speech that the transition to a low-carbon economy is not just “unstoppable.” It is a necessity that “must be embraced” if an oil company like Shell is to survive and thrive. The low-carbon future, he explained, will be built around renewable electricity and electric cars.
This is very good news. And something I've posted about. A transition from one kind of transportation to another is not a new thing. Automobiles came about just as our cities, which were getting very much larger, were being swamped by horse manure. We are swamped by carbon dioxide and we need a new kind of transportation. As the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell has stated, the future is renewable electricity and electric cars. Oil will still be an important, for example, clothing and solar panels, but not for transportation.
But an important point to remember, even if we stop all carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere today, we are still going to experience serious consequences to our environment, especially to sea level. Even if this very moment there was no more CO2 emissions, the sea level will rise by 15 to 100 feet by the end of this year. And very likely several feet over the next twenty years. The melting of the Arctic ice, Antarctic ice, Greenland ice, is not going to stop. The only way to keep that from happening would be to reverse atmospheric temperatures and that is not going to happen whatever we do about it.
So while Financial Times is declaring good news, it's still not going to be good for anyone living near a coastline. Goodbye Miami and New Orleans.