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While many of these resolutions are laudable, not to mention doable, there is a fair amount of skepticism being voiced by those who view the environmental crisis as intractable and those tasked with leading the transition to clean energy, untrustworthy. Many have stated the opinion that the resolutions cannot be enforced, and that it is not enough to merely rely on the honor system when the fate of the planet is at stake. The situation for developing nations is perhaps more tenebrous than ever before, as the financial protections for these nations which were mandated in the historic Kyoto Protocol have been severely weakened in the Paris Agreement.
It isn’t difficult to understand why transitioning to clean energy and learning to create our world in an efficient, sustainable manner is not only the right thing to do but also good business. Adopting clean strategies for our automotive and agricultural industries and investing in renewable energy can be expensive in the short term, but continuing to rely on unsustainable infrastructures will cost us far more in the long run. Already, we are seeing an increase in deadly storms and rising ocean levels. If things continue on this course, we will see degraded farms and forests, catastrophic flooding, and oppressive heat waves. The world will face a refugee crisis as millions of people flee from regions that are no longer viable. While these scenarios may sound like science fiction, they are actually science fact. The current status quo is simply unsustainable.
The hope that the nations of the world will ultimately be able to make the shift to clean power is still only a hope. But there IS hope. There is hope to be found in the precipitous growth of investment in renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. There is also hope to be found in the grassroots environmental movement, which on the whole, seems to have a view of the crisis, its causes, and the possible solutions that are realistic, pragmatic, and in a perfect world, achievable. These grassroots organizations are pushing their communities and local governments to reject proposals that are dangerous to their environments and to adopt policies that support sustainable living. And while coal and oil interests continue to fight the future, giants of tech and industry have stepped up in opposition to push the agenda of renewable energy.
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Investing in a greener world shouldn’t be a matter of contention. There is no doubt that renewable energy is coming and that it will dominate less efficient sources of dirty energy in the marketplace, because it is superior in every way. Green energy is sustainable, less harmful to our bodies and our environments, and once we have the pieces in place, it will be much less expensive and will help alleviate the strain on our planetary ecosystems.
All in all, the Paris Agreement is a necessary step on the road to 100% clean energy. The time is now for those in power to act and for us to begin incorporating green philosophy into our own lives, if only to prepare for the bright future that we all deserve. A sustainable planet powered by clean, renewable energy sources, like the sun, the wind, and the water, is just over the horizon.