There is consensus that the world faces an environmental emergency.
Here’s evidence: students leading an international climate strike; teenager Greta Thunberg chastising leaders at the United Nations; Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Delray Beach planning to build higher sea walls; the University of Central Florida hosting the recent Climate Correction Conference.
Eliminating carbon-dioxide emitting fossil fuels is at the heart of the solution to alleviate our climate crisis.
What would a world without fossil fuels be like? There would be no more removal of mountain tops for mining, no more oil spills or unsightly pipelines, no more smelly, polluting auto emissions, no more fracked water. It’s so much more than climate change. This world without fossil fuels will be more livable, beautiful and full of life.
While it may seem like an impossible dream, we’ve made numerous lifestyle changes before, both as individuals and as a society. Many of us have given up things we thought we couldn’t live without, like cigarettes and trans-fats, only to discover we were better off without them. We’ve gone from horses to cars, from sails to steam engines, from landlines to cell phones.
We use most of our fossil fuel for power generation, transportation and heating. However, we have access to alternate, renewable sources of energy. We can power our homes and our cars while switching to a more sustainable path. As a matter of fact, The International Energy Agency calculated that two-thirds of the power added to the planet’s energy grid in 2016 was from renewables. And the cost of solar and wind energy is getting more and more affordable.
There are benefits to our economy, too. A recent Deutsche Bank study of 1,600 companies as reported by Barron’s magazine, showed that over the past 20 years the stocks of those releasing “positive” news about their climate footprint outpaced those of companies that didn’t. Rather than financially propping up the coal and oil industries, we should invest in clean energy sources and create new jobs.
Here’s a sure cure for global warming: Just Say No! No more investments in fossil fuels. The time to switch to clean energy is now.
Louis Merlin is an assistant professor at the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Florida Atlantic University and the Boca Raton chapter leader for the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. Susan Kaye is a sales and marketing professional and CCL volunteer.
“The Invading Sea” is part of the Florida Climate Reporting Network, a collaborative of news organizations across the state focusing on the threats posed by the warming climate.