Those who regularly follow up with solar news and information regarding climate change might be aware of a recent paper published in the journal Nature that had a desolate prediction. The prediction was that the chance of keeping global warming below a certain threshold (2C) was merely 5% – this number is rather small and scary. As per the authors of the paper, the reason that it will be difficult to keep global warming under the 2C danger threshold is that even though we are making cuts to greenhouse gas emissions which those cuts are being voided out as a result of economic growth. This is where we need to start thinking about solar technology. Solar energy is one way to avert climate change. Solar technology is important to our wellbeing. Solar energy is the way of the future.  

 It is important that we make investments in solar energy. Investing in solar technology and other renewable energies will help us to lessen the carbon intensity of the global economy and the numbers are promising – we could reduce it by roughly 1.9% each year. Taking advantage of clean energy like solar technology is important for so many reasons. As the economy continues to grow, emissions are going to increase. The direction in which we are currently heading is not good – we are increasing global GDP by 3% each year. Without considering helpful alternatives to a better life like solar technology, we are heading in a dangerous direction.  

 GDP stands for Gross Domestic Product. It is how we measure a country’s economy. It serves as a way to understand what the United States, for example, is good at producing. Components in calculating GDP include personal consumption expenditures, in addition to business investments as well as government spending. While GDP growth might be useful in many ways, it doesn’t necessarily impact the quality of life of United States citizens. Solar technology, on the other hand, does.  

 GDP versus Solar Energy 

 Something has to change in order to avoid a disaster. Something has to be done in regards to implementing clean energy technology like solar technology. GDP growth is such an important policy mission when it comes to government. We are told on a constant basis that GDP growth is a positive thing and that we need GDP growth in order to have progress and We need GDP growth to get rid of issues such as poverty. It’s time to question this narrative and ask ourselves: is GDP growth more important than investing in solar energy?  

 The short answer: no. We can take a look at a country such as Costa Rica, a place which demonstrates perfectly that GDP has virtually nothing to do with the wellbeing of humans. Costa Rica is famous for its beauty – its beautiful ocean water and lush rainforests draw tourists looking for rest and relaxation each and every year. Costa Rica is known as being a place for adventure. Accordingly, it ranks at the top of the list of countries published in the Happy Planet Index (New Economics Foundation). What does this tell us about solar technology and its importance? Simply put, the Happy Planet Index takes a look at life expectancy, equality and wellbeing instead of GDP. It compares these factors to environmental impact. Costa Rica has a GDP per capita of just $10,000 and it has a life expectancy of just over 79 years – in terms of wellbeing it ranks in the top 7% on the planet. While the United States places so much emphasis on GDP, Costa Rica operates with less than one fifth of what the USA does and is operating almost entirely without fossil fuels.  Perhaps this is indication enough that it’s time to shift the focus to renewables like solar technology. Costa Rica hardly puts any pressure on the environment. Meanwhile, climate change is a very real, threatening circumstance.   

 The Economy & Solar Technology 

Imagine if everyone had access to social services irrespective of income. According to Professors Sánchez-Ancochea and Martínez-Franzoni, it’s all about universalism. Back in the 1940s, education, social security and healthcare began to expand thanks to enlightened governments and from the 1950s on, more funds were made available for social spending. Other parts of Latin America saw progressive governments making the same efforts and typically, the United States attempted to stop them. Why? They feared so-called communist notions would work to disengage American interests. Costa Rica came forward and claimed to be anti-communist. This in itself caused a shift in perspective.  

 We can’t only focus on solar energy and then neglect the economy, of course. Costa Rica is not perfect. The economy could certainly be more efficient. Regardless, the country outdid the United States of America in life expectancy in the 1980s, and at the time, the GDP per capita was a tenth of the United States. Here’s what it comes down to: we can achieve progress without generating ecological breakdown or failure. This is something we need to focus on. GDP isn’t necessary for progress. A clean, good environment is important, and solar energy is the way of the future. We need the progress offered by solar technology.  

 Costa Rica can serve as a model for the United States. Scientists have made it clear that should we wish to avoid climate change, then we will have to scale down the economy and focus more on ecology. Solar technology should be looked into as a new, progressive option. Scientists estimate that we will have to start downscaling 4-6% each year as per The Royal Society Publishing. We need to stop plundering the planet for more growth. We need to focus our efforts on something different. We need to look into solar energy. We need to shift the focus to solar technology to make our country better.  

 Impeding the Fight Against Climate Change 

 According to Fortune, President Trump is going to “stifle” United States solar power which will merely impede the fight against climate change. Many don’t realize how important solar energy is. As a matter of fact, some don’t even realize what solar energy is.  

(I’m wondering if we should put this section or paragragh up top somewhere?) 

What exactly is solar energy? Solar energy is derived from the sun and there are two kinds of solar energy: solar thermal and solar panels (also known as solar photovoltaics). How do they work? Solar thermal and solar panels convert sunlight into electricity. They do this using semiconductors. In regards to solar thermal, solar power plants use mirrors to create heat, which leads to steam, which then leads to electricity. Today, solar panels are less expensive than they have ever been in the course of history. This makes solar more accessible to people of various income levels. Solar panels can be purchased and placed on roofs. Solar panel farms are a cost-effective way to reduce our impact on the environment.  

 Here is what it all comes down to: we can, as discussed, utilize Costa Rica as a model. We don’t need more televisions. We don’t need nicer vehicles. We need good healthcare and an affordable cost of living. We need solar technology to help us function in a cleaner, healthier way. We need fresh air. We need clean oceans. The pursuit of GDP has become dangerous for our planet.  

 Time to Avert Climate Change 

 It is time to avert climate change. It is time to shift the focus to solar technology. Solar panels, solar photovoltaics and solar thermal are words that everyone in the United States needs to become familiar with. Solar technology is the direction in which we need to go. In order to enjoy a better quality of life, and to lessen our impact on the planet, we need to take advantage of progressive ideas such as solar energy.  

We need to bear in mind the significance of making investments in solar technology. This is what will allow us to lessen the carbon intensity of our global economy. This is how we will keep our planet clean and healthy. This is how to take the first steps in averting climate change. It is a positive for policymakers to think about all of the different options when it comes to trade. Solar tariffs are about shielding fossil fuel interests. As per White House aides, President Trump is very likely to enact solar tariffs. There isn’t much in terms of present American engineering capacity in solar. There is an anticipated $.40 per watt tariff for solar cells – which means rates for solar installations would just about double. These trade policy adjustments, as per a Greentech Media study, would pause two-thirds of solar installation in the United States for the next five years.  

Action against solar technology and clean energy would be destructive for the climate, and therefore the planet. We need utility-scale solar to reduce emissions in the United States. Why would our country want tariffs? The goal is to promote economic growth. The problem is that solar tariffs could lead to 88,000 solar energy jobs being lost. In the United States, there are roughly 260,000 solar energy jobs. Solar generation is not limited to solar power plants – it provides local jobs, too. Solar tariffs would restrict solar growth. In states such as Utah, Texas, Indiana and Georgia solar is taking hold fast. Regardless of politics, the majority of the Republican Party wants to speed up the growth of renewable energy (as per ClearPath Foundation).  

So how do we avert climate change? How do we make our planet better? How do we improve the United States? For one, the money made from solar tariffs could be directed towards the growth of solar manufacturing. Solar Investment Tax Credits could be extended. We could focus on what other countries do in terms of firming up the solar manufacturing supply chain.  

It can’t be argued that solar energy is important. We can’t say that solar technology is a step in the wrong direction. Solar technology is what we need to focus on to have a cleaner, healthier country. It’s time to avert climate change, and solar energy is certainly a step in doing this. Stay up to date on solar news to remain in the know! 

Sources:  

http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1934/20 

https://www.theguardian.com/working-in-development/2017/oct/07/how-to-avert-the-apocalypse-take-lessons-from-costa-rica 

http://happyplanetindex.org/ 

http://fortune.com/2017/10/09/trump-climate-change-solar-power-tariffs/ 

https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-gdp-definition-of-gross-domestic-product-3306038 

 

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