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Engineering an Energy Miracle

Progress toward a more sustainable economy has been alarmingly slow over the last decade. Though there have been some promising recent developments, world leaders must take some key steps to lock in – and build upon – the gains that have been made.

VILNIUS – Looking back at the last decade in energy and climate policy evokes mixed feelings. Progress toward a more sustainable economy has been alarmingly slow. But there have been some promising recent developments.

For a long time, it was difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The global economic crisis, together with a politically influential fossil-fuel sector promoting denial of decades of scientific research, hampered technological progress and prevented a diplomatic breakthrough. Demand for fossil fuels continued to grow, and so did competition for energy resources.

Even after the global economy began to recover, governments channeled their resources toward dubious and uncoordinated schemes to support energy production and consumption, rather than effective investments aimed at driving a shift toward more sustainable energy systems. In Europe, individual countries implemented divergent rules that hurt their economies and distorted competition, instead of developing common subsidy principles. The result was a heavy burden on consumers – and not much else.

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