- May 3, 2011
- Reaction score
Economics may take us to net zero all on its ownThe plummeting cost of low-carbon energy has already allowed many countries to decouple economic growth from emissions
SEPTEMBER 23 2022
Speaking at the COP26 summit last year, Richa Sharma, leader of the Indian delegation, was quick to emphasise that India had a right to burn fossil fuels, telling delegates: “The meagre carbon budget is first and foremost the right and entitlement of developing countries.” This emphasis on allocating the bulk of remaining “carbon space” to countries that have not yet reaped the benefits of years of fossil-fuelled economic growth is central to the climate justice movement.
But all such good intentions are rapidly being overtaken by simple economics.
In 2009, coal was still an attractive option for countries looking for affordable energy, its average costs coming in well below renewables.
But by 2020, both wind and solar had become far cheaper per unit of energy. In some markets, capital-intensive new installations even worked out cheaper than existing coal plants. In response, India’s appetite for coal has quickly waned. In 2019, the International Energy Agency forecast that the country’s installed capacity of coal would grow by around 80 per cent between 2018 and 2040. A year later, they revised that to just 10%.
Economics may take us to net zero all on its own The plummeting cost of low-carbon energy has already allowed many countries to decouple economic growth from emissions
Fracking already allowed the US to do this.