Earth Day has us contemplating our relationship with the blue planet in years to come. Last week, the latest report on climate change from the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) laid down a stark outlook about the human role in climate change: If we don’t make changes to the way we live off the planet’s resources right now, future generations will struggle immensely in order to effectively undo the damage that humans are causing in the present. And it will be very expensive.
“We cannot afford to lose another decade,” said Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chairman of the committee that wrote the report, to the New York Times. “If we lose another decade, it becomes extremely costly to achieve climate stabilization.” One of the panel's main solutions? Investment in electrical power plants that use fossil fuels will need to dip by about 20 percent in the next two decades, while investment in low-carbon energy will need to double from current levels.
In this shift in funding to sustainable energy, the IPCC report gives its silver lining. The report says that right now, the costs of achieving climate stabilization with methods like sustainable wind and solar power are falling fast, and these alternatives are becoming more practical to pursue on a large scale.
It seems as if the IPCC’s optimism for the potential of clean energy is contagious, as earlier this month, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee showed strong bipartisan support for financing offshore wind power by voting to extend the investment tax credit (ITC) for all offshore wind projects that begin construction by the end of 2015. This incentive was allowed to expire last year.
The ITC for offshore wind is the most critical incentive for jumpstarting this clean energy industry in the U.S. and we applaud the Senate Finance committee for their leadership on this issue. But our fight is far from over. This crucial piece of legislation still needs to pass the full Senate and then the House of Representatives. We need your help. We can act to stop climate change from wreaking havoc on our planet in the years to come, but we have to act fast. We have to act now. With daunting predictions of climate change ahead of us, it's time to give clean energy a serious look.
Help us propel U.S. offshore wind forward: Tell your Senators to extend the ITC for offshore wind power.