Saturday, April 19, 2014

Krugman on the economic feasibility of renewable energy

From this blog post:

"Even as the [IPCC] report calls for drastic action to limit emissions of greenhouse gases, it asserts that the economic impact of such drastic action would be surprisingly small. [...] The estimated reduction in economic growth would basically amount to a rounding error, around 0.06 percent per year. What’s behind this economic optimism? To a large extent, it reflects a technological revolution many people don’t know about, the incredible recent decline in the cost of renewable energy, solar power in particular.

"The climate change panel, in its usual deadpan prose, notes that 'many RE [renewable energy] technologies have demonstrated substantial performance improvements and cost reductions' since it released its last assessment, back in 2007. The Department of Energy is willing to display a bit more open enthusiasm; it titled a report on clean energy released last year 'Revolution Now.' That sounds like hyperbole, but you realize that it isn’t when you learn that the price of solar panels has fallen more than 75 percent just since 2008.

"So is the climate threat solved? Well, it should be. The science is solid; the technology is there; the economics look far more favorable than anyone expected. All that stands in the way of saving the planet is a combination of ignorance, prejudice and vested interests. What could go wrong? Oh, wait."

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