President Obama believes US clean energy trend ‘irreversible’

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In this Policy Forum, President Obama, the 44th and current President of the United States, conveys his belief that "…trends towards a clean energy economy that have emerged during [his] presidency will continue." He goes on to outline four reasons sustaining his confidence. First, from 2008 to 2015, he writes, the economy grew by more than 10 percent while carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector fell by 9.5 percent – a result that "should put to rest the argument that combatting climate change requires accepting lower growth or a lower standard of living." Second, he writes, businesses are seeing firsthand how reducing emissions works to their benefit, boosting bottom lines, cutting costs for consumers, and delivering returns for shareholders; he highlights several American firms that have cut energy waste to save money and invest in other areas of their businesses – efforts ultimately contributing to creating jobs. As a third emphasis, he highlights a changing American electric-power sector, one shifting from coal-focused production to that of natural gas, for example, and in large part due to market forces. The dramatic drop in renewable electricity costs between 2008 and 2015 prompted moves like Google's, he says, which plans to power 100 percent of its operations using renewable energy in 2017. Finally, he highlights the global momentum in the clean energy space, which was lacking even just a short time ago. At the Paris agreement in 2015, however, nations agreed that all countries should put forward smart climate policies. "It's good business and good economics to lead a technological revolution and define market trends," he concludes. "The latest science and economics provide a helpful guide for what the future may bring."

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