FOLLOW THE MONEY
By Jeff Stark
For those of us involved in environmental work follow the money is a basic concept. In virtually every major issue the way forward includes generating financial resources and support. In some cases this means small donors sending in double digit contributions for local issues. At the other end of the scale are large projects that require huge amounts of money. Public works projects, powerplants, specialized buildings, educational institutions, all require large amounts of investment capital. Where does this money come from? In most cases large institutional international banks.
Of those large banks none is more influential and active in funding industrial scale and international projects than the European Investment Bank (EIB). With annual total investments over the trillion dollar mark, and adherence to the goals and strategies of the Paris Accord, this financial powerhouse is responsible for creating, and now changing, Europe's energy future.
This new future was debuted recently with a relatively simple but profoundly important announcement. Simply put, the EIB announced it will no longer finance fossil-fueled energy projects. Instead, they will consider only projects that utilize renewable energy sources. The EIB's new energy lending policy details five principles that will govern future EIB engagement in the energy sector:
1 - Prioritizing energy efficiency with a view to supporting the new EU target under the EU Energy Efficiency Directive
2 - Enabling energy decarbonization through increased support for low or zero-carbon technology, aiming to meet a 32 percent renewable energy share throughout the EU by 2030
3 - Increasing financing for decentralized energy production, innovative energy storage, and e-mobility
4 - Strengthening cross-border interconnections
5 - Increasing the impact of investment to support energy transformation outside the European Union
In addition to the points above the EIB is also committed to the Paris Accord. Unfortunately, the US is not committed to this initiative. Sadly, out of 197 nations only 3, the US, Turkey and Iran have not committed to and acted upon this global effort. There is little doubt that the absence of the US, arguably the most important player in the global effort to resolve our environmental crises, is crippling. However, the new EIB policy does re-direct a huge chunk of the communal wealth of the participating countries. We can only hope that if we follow the money, and commit to doing what we can as individuals, that we may be able to rid ourselves of the influence of the Trump gang and make this new commitment to a carbon neutral society a reality. The fact of the matter is that if the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the official United Nations initiative, and the work of virtually every other climate science organization is to be believed the time we have to act is diminishing daily. We need, individually and collectively, to make every effort possible - right now. There is no other time.
WHAT WE CAN DO
Once again, one of the most effective ways to deal with gigantic global environmental problems is by individual action. Buying a hybrid or full electric car can be done today with little price differential between the new generation and the traditional gas guzzlers. Widespread adoption of carbon free cars and trucks can take a huge bite out of making the transportation sector carbon fuel free. The other major carbon fuel user is the electric power industry. This includes both investor owned and publicly owned poweplants and electric grids. The good news is that manufacturers and suppliers of electricity are moving quicker every day to convert from fossil fuel to renewables. We can do our part by taking advantage of conservation opportunities, by purchasing only renewable generated electricity from utilities that offer that option and by purchasing rooftop photovoltaics and solar water heaters which will reduce our costs and usage.
To get started we can check out some of the links below, put together our own personal action plan and get started on saving our environment.
For the complete text of the European Investment Bank announcement CLICK HERE
For a complete review of the No More Fossil Fuel Power Plants topic CLICK HERE for a Google review.
For ideas on electricity conservation at home CLICK HERE
For ideas on electricity conservation at work CLICK HERE
President Trump has reversed a large percentage of pro-environmental protection laws and executive actions. CLICK HERE for list of 85 environmental rules being rolled back under Trump
CLICK HERE for a report on how much of US electricity is manufactured by renewables