That thesis is at the core of an International Energy Agency (IEA) game plan that warrants more than lip service from governments in Canada and elsewhere.
The sticking point, however, is that it requires leadership with the courage to think and act outside bipartisan political boxes, and there is little of that anywhere today.
If there were, it could use the road map to a rejuvenated energy grid outlined in the IEA’s Sustainable Recovery Plan to create jobs during a global recession and cleaner energy systems to help avert a looming climate calamity.
It’s not just the IEA that sees economic and environmental opportunity in the greening of the global energy grid. Goldman Sachs has estimated that 25% of all energy spending in 2021 will be invested in green power projects and that a shift to renewable energy could create a US$16 trillion investment opportunity over the next 10 years. That has the ring of a free-enterprise bonanza that would be doing good while doing well by investors.
The IEA’s plan, which is based on analysis done in concert with the International Monetary Fund, lays out policies and targeted investments to fund infrastructure renewal projects aimed at accelerating renewable energy contributions to power grids, cleaning up freight and other transportation systems, increasing the energy efficiency of buildings and driving innovation in energy storage technology.
The development of cleaner energy sources and the wider distribution of that energy is fundamental to achieving the cuts in greenhouse gas emissions needed to slow the worst effects of climate change. But investment in initiatives to deliver on plans like the IEA’s will also help accelerate the recovery of the global economy and build a brighter technological future in the wake of the worst health crisis the world has faced in a century.
Those are goals that need credible and selfless leaders now.