In 2007, James Hansen, former NASA scientist and the father of modern climate-change awareness, posited that 350 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere represented the point above which there was no return. More than 350 ppm, and we’d be doing irreversible damage to our planet. We’re now slightly over 400 ppm and are adding 2 ppm of CO2 to the atmosphere every year.
Regardless of where you stand on climate science and the potential effects of these CO2 levels, most of us can agree that energy efficiency is the most cost-effective tool for meeting future energy needs and reducing emissions. As the new administration takes shape and threatens to scrap the Clean Power Plan and our commitment to the Paris Agreement, there’s never been a more important time to step up our efficiency activities and bolster the over $9 billion we spend annually on efficiency across North America. And we should take heart that the majority of the $9 billion is controlled at the state level, not the federal. Governors, public utility commissioners, utility executives, and interested parties have the greatest influence over these dollars. The federal government affects efficiency spending through the Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, and other federal entities so, yes, this funding may be at risk. But most of what we consider utility demand-side management is largely isolated from federal influence.
It’s imperative that we continue our important work in energy efficiency, vastly accelerating our investments where possible. Coupled with renewable energy, energy efficiency remains our best chance of slowing the rate of carbon emissions and mitigating the global damage we’ve done. E Source is doing its part by helping utilities understand the critical relationship between efficiency, renewables, batteries, electric vehicles, markets, and customers. If we’re going to stand strong and bend flexibly as regulations change, business environments evolve, and the world’s climate shifts, we have to attend to all these components.
We remain your partner in this ongoing effort, and we’re here to help.