earth day

Recently concluded Earth Day celebration broke several records

May 09, 2016 / by / 0 Comment
  • SumoMe

The recently concluded Earth Day, which celebrates the global movement to demonstrate support for environmental protection, has broken several records anew.

Among the first one is the number of world leaders who signed the Paris Agreement on April 22, which reached 175. In 2015, there were only 195 countries that joined the accord. This means that more and more nations are realizing the importance of putting enhanced efforts in creating policies focused on the protection, not only of the environment, but also of the people.

The non-binding treaty between these nations aims to reduce carbon footprints at levels better than past accomplishments, with priority being given to carbon dioxide, the strongest environmental entity that amplifies global warming. Every nation has also agreed to diminish carbon emissions in their respective countries by passing laws that would encourage companies, industries, and citizens to become part of the global drive.

According to The Washington Post, the signing also surpassed an existing record on the number of countries signing the agreement on the first available day. The Law of the Sea accord that was signed by 119 countries in 1982 has stood for thirty-six years and has been considered a benchmark for intensifying partnerships to make the war on climate change a more global enterprise.

It is also revealed at the ceremony that solar power has gotten cheaper over the years, falling sharply from $6.3 per watt of solar installation in 2007 to 2009 to just $2.84 at present. German think tank Agora Energiewende also said that solar energy will be the cheapest and most accessible source of energy in many regions in nine years’ time. Currently, the energy produced from new coal and gas-fired plants plays at around 5 to 10 cents per kilowatt hour, while electricity from solar plants—specifically in Germany—can be acquired for less than 9 cents. Energy from nuclear power is 11 cents, which remains among the most expensive energy sources today.

A report by Fortune revealed that energy produced from clean technology—wind, solar, and other alternative sources—as well as financing costs involved in building infrastructure, energy generation, and maintenance, will continue to drop in the years to come. Global initiatives such as the Paris Climate agreement will help create more carbon policies in the future, both in underdeveloped and developing nations.

Such a publicized initiative also encourages companies outside the energy niche to align their brands to causes focused on environment protection and carbon footprint emission. Prime examples are fashion brands Fonnesbach and network extender pioneer 5BARz International (OTCQB: BARZ): two companies that are not as big as their established counterparts, but are consistent in putting serious efforts in reducing carbon footprints through environment-friendly technologies.

According to a report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), renewable investments for 2015 has reached a record-breaking $286 billion globally. For the first time, more than half of the world’s overall power generation came from clean sources and alternative energy-producing technologies, marking the diminishing dependence of nations on coal and oil.

It was also the first time that energy produced from these technologies didn’t come mostly from developed nations such as the UK, the US, Germany, France, and Spain. The previous year saw developing nations putting over $156 on green power, up by almost 19 percent compared to investments by developed countries from 2014 to Q1 2015 period. Developed nations, due to the technologies installed in the previous years, focused more on enhancements than new installations. They invested only $130 billion, which represented a slim 8 percent decline from last year.

“China played a key role as it scaled up its investment by 17 percent to $102.9 billion, accounting for 36 percent of the world’s total. Meanwhile, India and Brazil raised investment by 30 percent last year to an all-time high of $36 billion. All this happened in a year in which prices of fossil fuel commodities—oil coal and gas—plummeted, causing distress to many companies involved in the hydrocarbon sector,” said the report.

The most promising nation for renewable energy for the next 10 to 20 years is Africa. The nation’s success in the segment can also serve as a perfect model for developing nations in the region and in Southeast Asia as it proves that slow economic growth is not an obstacle in providing cheaper energy for the people but rather a stepping stone to improved energy prices and economic performance.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Leah Marie Angelou is an LGBTI activist, equality advocate, and has been a writer for several feminism-focused groups since 21. She is of African and Taiwanese decent. She now teaches microfinancing to various low-income communities across the East Coast.