The current administration has made its opinion on climate change very clear. It is, I would argue, pretty safe to assume that over the next four years there will be minimal federal policy efforts intended to reduce the effects of climate change. For those of us who feel strongly about climate issues, things are not looking promising.
Enter a recent Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) report about U.S. energy costs.
The report, released earlier this week, found that energy demand has become decoupled from economic growth and that energy costs in the U.S. fell considerably in 2016. Those lower costs make the United States particularly attractive for energy-intensive industries and manufacturing—domestic retail power prices are lower than those of China, India and Mexico.
The reason behind the lower costs? BNEF credits clean energy technologies, energy efficiency efforts and increased natural gas consumption. Lisa Jacobson, president of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, put it in clear terms: “the contributions of sustainable energy to the country’s economic competitiveness are direct, dramatic and dynamic.”
While we are not yet ready to abandon our fight for the administration to recognize the importance of battling climate change, reports like BNEF’s speak a language that is more promising in its ability to sway the executive branch. Counter to the claims by Trump’s camp that U.S. energy costs are increasing as a result of renewable energy adoption, clean technologies are in fact making the U.S. more economically competitive. It is essential that we continue to invest in them both for climate change reasons and economic reasons. And we are fine with whichever of those reasons resonate with those in power—as long as the requisite policies to support renewable energy efforts remain in place.