The new climate accord aims to accelerate the shift toward clean energy. Now comes the real challenge: powering a world without fossil fuels. (Nat Geo News)
Use our lesson plan to better understand our energy choices.
Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers’ Toolkit.
- Many environmentalists (like Nat Geo Explorer David de Rothschild) are critical of the climate accord reached in Paris last week. Why is this Nat Geo News article more optimistic?
- The article admits positive changes can happen “not because of the accord itself but because of technological advances and an expanding cadre of influential supporters”—part of what President Barack Obama calls “the architecture” of addressing climate change.
- The first reason for optimism is “The Big Tent.” What organizations are under the expanding tent of sustainability?
- Companies including Ikea, Coca-Cola, Dell, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Procter & Gamble, Sony, and Walmart have all pledged to cut their carbon emissions.
- financial institutions.
- Fifteen of the world’s largest banks, with nearly $2 trillion in market value, have made commitments to invest in sustainable technologies.
- Other financial organizations have pledged to divest (withdraw financial support) from companies that produce coal, oil, or natural gas. See a list of divestment commitments here.
- city and regional governments.
- Urban areas including Paris (France), Oslo (Norway), San Francisco (United States), and Melbourne (Australia) have pledged to divest from fossil fuel companies. See a list of divestment commitments here.
- nonprofit organizations.
- Many faith-based, educational, philanthropic, and corporate-sponsored nonprofits have pledged to divest from fossil fuel companies. These include the World Council of Churches, the University of Hawaii system, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation. See a list of divestment commitments here.
- The Breakthrough Energy Coalition is a new nonprofit created by tech-industry leaders working to “get clean-energy ideas out of the lab and into the marketplace.” Learn more about this “billionaires’ clean energy club” here.
- The second reason for optimism is “Cheaper Renewables.” What sources of renewable energy are getting less expensive?
- Solar and wind, mostly. “Since 2008, prices have plummeted . . . 60% for large-scale solar and 40% for wind power and batteries, according to a White House statement.”
- The third reason for optimism is the “Promise of Technology.” What are some examples of improved energy efficiency or low-carbon technology?
- more commercially available biofuels
- commercially available fusion energy. Fusion energy is derived through nuclear fusion, a process that currently takes more energy to create than produce.
- more commercially available electric cars
- more commercially available fuel cell vehicles. Fuel cell vehicles run on hydrogen gas rather than gasoline and emit no harmful tailpipe emissions.
- more advanced nuclear reactors
- “new approaches” to renewable energies. In addition to cheaper and more efficient solar, wind, and nuclear energy, new approaches include investment in tidal and wave energy, geothermal energy, biomass energy, and even algal energy.
Nat Geo: After Paris, 3 Reasons the World Could Bid Adieu to Fossil Fuels
Nat Geo: What Are Our Energy Choices?
Nat Geo: What is Renewable Energy?
Nat Geo: Paris’s Shortcomings: We Need Conservation, Not Conversation
Fossil Free: Divestment Commitments
4 thoughts on “3 Reasons the World Could Bid Adieu to Fossil Fuels”
I am interested in solar power (photo voltiac ) power generation, please let me know all the details of what and how much money is needed along with the lifespan of the panel s for a one megawatt project to be erected on ground in the city of Ballari, district of Ballari, state of Karnataka, India.
Technology will rescue our environment. More funds must be allocated for research rooms on clean energy and technological inventions.