Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has gone on record saying publicly what most analysts have discussed privately: the notion that Washington can direct the energy market back towards coal is wrong.
In fact, Bloomberg is willing to go further: he believes that the U.S. can still meet the reductions set forth in the Paris climate treaty it signed last year.
That's regardless of whether the U.S. pulls out of the Paris Agreement, abolishes its Clean Power Plan, or any of the many other actions discussed by Trump and the other climate-science deniers now in control of the Executive Branch and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
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Bloomberg's prediction was contained in an opinion piece published two weeks ago in The New York Times.
The Clean Power Plan, presented as the U.S. contribution to the Paris climate agreement, is now under review by the EPA following an Executive Order signed last month.
The Plan’s intentions were to curb the emissions of energy plants in an effort to prevent global warming from reaching the decided critical level of +2 deg C.
Coal, by Flicker user oatsy40 (Used Under CC License)
Despite the expected outcome of the review (against the plan), Bloomberg suggests, technological advances have lowered the manufacturing costs and increased the production efficiency for wind power to the point that it’s now less costly than coal-fired power.
Another point against the misconception that coal-fired plants can make a comeback is the agreement signed by 81 businesses with substantial industrial production in the U.S., all pledging to reduce their emissions.
Companies like GM, Apple, and Wal-Mart have all committed to using increasing levels of renewable energy.
Local governments are also critical for determining the direction of the energy industry.
Mayors of cities around the country have signed an agreement that recognizes the effects of emissions and pledges that their cities will share ways to improve air quality through mass transportation, building efficiencies, and bike sharing programs to name a few.
And Bloomberg suggests that it's important to recognize the advances that have already been made and how far we've come since coal made up a majority of electric generation in the country.
U.S. views on the existence of global warming, 2008-2016 [National Surveys on Energy + Environment]
According to the Global Carbon Project, U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions declined 2.6 percent in 2015 and were projected to decrease another 1.7 for 2016.
The report also noted that continued increase in customer preference and technological advances will still likely allow the U.S. to meet its pledge of a 26-percent reduction from 2015 levels by 2025.
Despite the industries’ improvements and willingness to quickly adapt efficient technology, Bloomberg noted, it remains important that the U.S. stay committed to the Paris agreement.
Without the U.S. acting as a partner, he suggested, other countries might decide to withdraw as well, lessening the intensity of global efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
— Matt Pilgrim
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