In Katowice, the world’s favourite Father of the Environment, assumed “the People’s Seat” at the UN Climate Conference COP24 in Poland. Sir David Attenborough declared, “If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.”
Attenborough told global leaders, “The world’s people have spoken. Their message is clear. Time is running out. They want you, the decision-makers, to act now.” The problem is that global carbon dioxide emissions are estimated to rise 2% by the end of 2018 by more than 2%, on top of a 1.6% increase last year. After a plateau between 2014 and 2016, economic growth in the last two years has accelerated fossil fuel combustion.
New technologies are delivering. Christiana Figueres cites an 80% reduction in the costs to generate solar electricity over the last decade and points out that low labour costs to install in equatorial countries has pushed solar electricity cheaper than natural gas power in Morocco, Mexico, Chile and Egypt as the solar power generation price has broken below $US0.03/kWh.
The scale of renewable energy ramp up has been dramatic in NSW this year. Future Grid Manager and Warren Centre Energy Committee member, Fiona Orton of TransGrid said at the Warren Centre Energy Forum IV on Wednesday, “The power generation mix is changing. There are currently 40 GW of renewable generation projects, at various stages of development, that are interested in connecting to TransGrid’s network in NSW.” Still, much transformation is required.
This story is featured in the 7 December 2018 edition of The Warren Centre’s Prototype newsletter. Sign up for the Prototype here.