Our heads are spinning. On the same day that a new IEA report predicts spectacular growth in the solar industry, the U.S. begins its official withdrawl from the Paris Agreement.
A new report out yesterday from the International Energy Agency is projecting 50% growth in renewable energy by 2024, calling distributed solar’s role in this trend “spectacular.” But as we were sitting in the office this afternoon, we felt this announcement was overshadowed by the U.S.’ official pull-out from the Paris Agreement, also begun yesterday. Luckily, we have our co-founder Joe Marhamati to give us insight into this emotional rollercoaster. He was a part of the Obama administration’s Sustainability Office and had a first-hand view of the progress his boss made, which has been rolled back since the Trump administration came in.
“After all the work that was done to promote carbon reduction during Obama’s presidency, it’s so sad to see it all being dismantled,” he said. “Pulling out of Paris is a colossal mistake. The US should be a leader on this front, but instead we’re the only country that’s walked away from it.”
It takes a year for the withdrawl to be complete, so depending on the outcome of next year’s presidential election, the next administration could reverse this process and re-enter the agreement. That reversal will only take 30 days, but Marhamati says the ground we’ve already lost is devastating.
“To reverse the damage that’s been done will take years and years. We’ll need to reenact the Clean Power Plan, re-enter Paris, and of course so much new work will need to be done to stay below two degrees of global warming. Action must be taken immediately on every front to avoid the worst effects of climate change, and to see the Trump administration instead doing the opposite is disastrous.”
Thankfully, Marhamati says the solar industry should not feel any negative effects from the official withdrawl from the Paris Accord. In fact, renewable energy is forecast to increase by 50% between 2019 and 2024, 60% of which is predicted to be driven by solar, according to the IEA’s report.
“If anything, the solar industry may benefit from the Paris withdrawl, because it brings attention to the issue of climate change and its solutions. Distributed solar saves people money on their energy bills and is a clear solution for climate change; people are well aware of that. That’s a big part of why the industry is thriving despite this message coming from the White House,” Joe said.
“Also, in the face of constant superstorms like Dorian and fires like we’re seeing in California, solar plus battery storage is the answer. People directly affected by climate change are clamoring to get this solution installed in their homes. Our friends at Alternative Energy Solutions in Chico, CA, have people lining up to install Tesla PowerWall battery systems so their power stays on during the PG&E blackouts.”
He also stressed that there is so much hope in the individual actions of mayors and cities around the country supporting the Paris Accord, even if our federal government does not. “Mayor Bowser said it best,” he concluded. “She emphasized that individual towns and cities like Washington D.C. can work to uphold these carbon reduction goals, and businesses can as well. That’s our goal here at Ipsun. Hopefully we can continue to move the needle in the right direction even as our U.S. government goes the wrong way.”
Interested to learn how you can take individual action to support global climate reduction goals? Going solar makes a huge difference, on average equivalent to removing 10 cars from the road. Plus, it reduces your utility bills! Give us a call at (703) 249-6594 and find out about the possibilities.