Published December 12, 2016

No election result changes this

Recent elections have led to a lively debate about the future of climate action. But climate solutions will continue to make progress.
Writer
Senior Advisor, Carbon-neutral circular economy, Sitra
Oras Tynkkynen helps Sitra to understand how Finland can transform into a carbon-neutral circular economy. He works particularly on climate solutions and policies to promote them.

Recent elections have led to a lively debate about the future of climate action. Many ask if the historic breakthrough in Paris last year will now be put to rest.

While politics does matter, no election result is going to change this simple fact: climate solutions will continue to make progress.

The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra released last year a global study together with leading institutions from 10 different countries. The Green to Scale report gives a lot of reasons for optimism.

According to the analysis, simply scaling up 17 existing low-carbon solutions would reduce global emissions by 12 gigatonnes (Gt) by 2030. To put the figure into perspective, this is about one quarter of current global emissions.

The 17 solutions are but a fraction of all existing and promising options out there. To build on this global analysis, Sitra will be releasing next week at the UN Climate Conference in Marrakech a new report, focusing on 15 Nordic low-carbon solutions. You can follow the international release through a webcast.

What is even more striking is the price tag. Using conservative assumptions, the cost of scaling up the 17 solutions would reach $94 billion dollars a year by 2030. While that does sound like a lot of money, it is less than one fifth of the amount that governments pour into direct fossil fuel subsidies every year.

Taking the average of the cost range, cutting emissions with this set of solutions could actually save taxpayers money. And this does not even include the value of the various co-benefits that taking climate action provides, from cutting harmful air pollution to creating local jobs.

Other studies have shown that the price of low-carbon solutions has been falling rapidly. If you have time for just one graph, have a look at the one compiled by Vox.

It tells that low-carbon solutions will continue to make progress. Energy companies will invest in renewable energy. Consumers will start using electric vehicles. Industries will find ways to cut their energy use.

Decisions by policymakers in all countries do matter. They can make the difference between climate solutions being deployed relatively fast on the one hand and fast enough to limit global warming to tolerable levels on the other.

But the transition to a low-carbon economy is unstoppable. And no election result is going to change that.

Oras Tynkkynen, Marrakech

This post was originally published as part of The Huffington Post’s What’s Working editorial initiative. Oras Tynkkynen is reporting from the U.N.’s 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP 22) in Marrakech (7-18 Nov. 2016), aka the climate-change conference. His blogs will put a spotlight on climate solutions from the five Nordic countries. To view all his blogs at Huffington Post, visit here.

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