As country leaders, government delegates, NGOs, and members of civil society convene to debate ways to reduce or eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy is sure to be a mainstay in the conversation. In 2013, alone, the U.S. emitted 6,673 million metric tons of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses—31% of that coming from electricity generation and another 27% from the transportation sector 1
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Ahead of the conference, many countries are already investing in renewable energy—at home and abroad. In early October, German Chancellor Angela Merkel committed more than $2.5B to the development of clean energy projects in India 2
Reuters, October 2015
Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance, March 2015
So what does COP21 mean for the U.S.? It most likely indicates the continuation of this green energy investment high—much of that money coming from large corporations. As renewable energy is increasingly considered by world leaders as a vital element of a comprehensive climate plan, investors’ confidence grows. Companies like Walmart are solidly on the green investment bandwagon. Currently, Walmart has installed 105 megawatts of solar energy, qualifying it as the largest solar power generator in the U.S 4
The Christian Science Monitor, November 2015
CNBN, November 2015
This greening of the American business community is considerable. It means continued economic stability and vitality for the U.S. It means more jobs in renewable energy fields. It means cheaper electricity rates and transportation costs for consumers. And at the most rudimentary level, it means a cleaner, more stable environment for all.
Scientists and concerned followers of climate action agree: meaningful international policy could prove essential as the second half of the 21st century threatens to bring with it an unacceptable 2°C increase in global ambient temperature. As COP21 progresses, international leaders have an unparalleled opportunity to write renewable energy into law. In doing so, they will secure for the U.S. a competitive energy economy, and a secure, prosperous, sustainable future.