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The ongoing battles against new fossil fuel infrastructure, including but not limited to the battles over the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, scrambled the investment thinking of multinationals, banks, and investors.
Even if they’re eventually built, billions of dollars in new mining operations were deferred or canceled in the meantime.
The idea that tar sands output would triple or quadruple has vanished; even Exxon is facing the likely need to write off its investment in the north.
Nevertheless Standing Rock demonstrated that most of the planet’s big banks are still in the business of underwriting fossil fuel.
That means new targets, and new ways to identify vulnerability and apply consumer pressure.
Endowments and portfolios worth more than $5 trillion have already been pulled out of fossil fuel stocks.
If Denmark can generate half its power from the wind, then so can lots of other places.
If India can build the world’s largest solar farm in a matter of months, then there’s no reason others couldn’t follow.
Researchers at Stanford University have demonstrated, on a state-by-state basis, that we can get to 80 percent clean power in the U.S. by 2030.
Iowa is largely wind-powered now.
California is the world’s sixth largest economy, and it has begun to prosper from a tide of clean energy investment.
New York is halfway into the most ambitious utility restructuring plan on the continent.
Each passing month brings cheaper solar panels, more efficient wind turbines, more powerful batteries at lower cost.
But to catch up with the physics of climate change we’ll need a truly stunning commitment to change, an all-out, planet-wide decision to push as hard as we’ve ever pushed to spread clean energy and shut down the dirty stuff.
Adapted from: Bill McKibben Opinion piece for Yale e360
FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: Rhiannon Boyle