If you like charts (as I do), and you are interested in all things energy and climate change, then the annual Bloomberg New Energy Finance‘s “Sustainable Energy in America Factbook” is an absolute treat. The 2015 edition came out last week.
While the United States does not have a Climate Change Act like the UK, it does have top-end academic research, government-backed blue sky thinking (via the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy), lots of entrepreneurial zeal, a deep well of venture capital funding and a multitude of innovative state-led renewable initiatives. Just as the primordial soup of complex molecules on early earth once gave rise to the chemical combinations that we call life, so we hope that the US renewable melting pot will also give birth to something transformational.
Of course, we are not there yet. And Voldemort is well represented in the US care of the anti-science Congress and a fossil fuel lobby that makes the tobacco giant lobbying of the 60s and 70s look like amateur time. But let’s stay upbeat. For a start, King Coal does appear to be in full retreat (click for larger image on all charts).
Further, investment continues to pour into the renewable space at a rate 10 times higher than a decade ago:
With the exponential explosion in solar capacity particularly encouraging.
I could go on.
Nonetheless, for the US to lead the world into a post-carbon age before we are committed to extremely dangerous climate change still requires a step change upward in renewable investment. But the building blocks for a renewable revolution are there, they just need to be put in the right order.