Brett Christophers: Capitalism Can’t Solve Climate Change

Amidst the gathering gloom about climate change and continuing growth in global greenhouse-gas emissions, the one bright spot appears to be clean energy development. 2023 saw another, much-trumpeted record for renewables installations worldwide, with an estimated 507 GW of new generating capacity being nearly 50 percent higher than 2022’s figure.

The positivity is misplaced. Even on the transition from dirty to clean power, the world is still failing. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has estimated that both electricity generation from coal and gas, and total power-sector CO2 emissions, continued to grow in 2023, to all-time highs of 17,252 TWh and 13,575 Mt CO2, respectively. In other words, even as renewables are growing fast, they are not yet growing fast enough to displace dirty power generation, which remains the single largest source of greenhouse-gas emissions.

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