Do you remember the old Midas TV commercial, “You can pay me now or pay me later?” Well, I was reminded of that today when reading the latest evidence of climate change. It carried the same kind of blunt warning: Cut pollution now or face enormous consequences down the road.
As expected, a non-partisan committee of experts released its 148-page National Climate Assessment (NCA) report today, offering the starkest warning yet about the dangers of climate change. After reading the report, I was left with one inescapable conclusion: We’re in real trouble unless we dramatically ramp up our efforts to curb pollution.
Simply put, this report should serve as a tsunami warning for the world. Climate change is no longer a theoretical assumption debated by scientific scholars. It’s a reality of the world we live in – and one of our greatest challenges as a civilization when it comes to the kind of world we hope to leave behind.
The facts are indisputable. Today, sea levels are rising. We’re experiencing more intense and unpredictable storms. And droughts plague the world. Clearly, climate change threatens our economy, our future progress, our health and safety, and even our way of life. Every day, the Earth suffers a little more from human neglect. We can’t wish this problem away, and pointing fingers won’t solve it, either.
Today, the U.S. and the world are at a crossroads. The report concludes by saying, “Although some additional climate change and related impacts are now unavoidable, the amount of future climate change and its consequences will still largely be determined by our choices, now and in the near future.”
In other words, we still have some time – but not very much.
The U.S. solar industry is doing its part to fight climate change – and we’re prepared to do even more in the future.
Today, we’re generating enough clean, reliable electricity to power nearly 2.5 million homes. When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, the 13 GW of solar currently installed in the United States generates enough pollution-free electricity to displace 14.2 billion pounds of coal or 1.5 billion gallons of gasoline. Put another way, it’s the equivalent of taking 2.7 million passenger cars off U.S. highways. That’s a huge plus for our increasingly-fragile environment.
We applaud President Obama on his commitment to fight climate change and pledge our support as Americans – and as an industry committed to positive change. Working together, we can make a difference.