8 months ago • 2 mins
European lawmakers are close to agreeing on a more ambitious renewable energy target, according to news out on Thursday.
What does this mean?
Europe's leaders don't always see eye to eye on thorny matters like bank bailouts or which country makes the best cheese – but they’re all singing from the same hymn sheet when it comes to green energy. See, the EU’s currently gearing up to boost its 2030 renewable energy consumption target by 10 percentage points, upping the goal from 32% to 42.5%. And while that’s ambitious, it might be doable. After all, the bloc outstripped its 2020 target (though an honorable mention goes to Covid for denting fossil fuel demand). And since then, the war in Ukraine has only driven home the importance of having reliable energy on tap.
Why should I care?
Zooming out: Talk is cheap.
The White House recently unveiled a green vision of its own, declaring that it wants renewables to provide 80% of America's electricity by 2030. But with fossil fuels currently accounting for around 60% of US power, that super-ambitious plan has raised more than a few eyebrows. And that’s the thing about targets: ambition’s important, but as any entrepreneur knows, setting unachievable goals means that folk eventually stop trying. So maybe the Europeans have the right approach this time around…
The bigger picture: The world’s biggest check.
Researchers at Stanford University estimate that a staggering $62 trillion is needed to transition the world to renewable energy. And while governments will probably end up picking up most of that check, trying to fund such an immense project – equivalent to over half the global economy, or $7,500 per person on the planet – would require either huge debt or some sort of bumper green taxes. Still, Stanford’s experts think the uber-cheap energy we’d be bringing in would mean we’d recoup the investment in under six years – that could make it a cost worth bearing, and sooner rather than later.
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