solar panels Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

We’ll Always Need Paris

Faced with rapid cost reductions for clean electricity generation, some commentators suggest that we no longer need the Paris agreement or other policy interventions, because technology alone can solve all problems. But that is a utopian delusion, for three reasons.

LONDON – President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement is deeply regrettable and based on flawed economic analysis. But unstoppable technological progress, plus determined action by other countries, companies across the world, and American cities and states, will ensure that Trump does not derail progress toward a low-carbon economy.

Trump claimed that the Paris accord would cut US GDP by $3 trillion by 2040. But the study he quoted absurdly assumes that American emissions reductions would be unmatched by action in other countries. Crucially, too, it ignores the technological revolution now transforming the economics of electricity generation.

In just seven years, wind power costs have fallen by over 65%, and solar costs are down almost 90%. In favorable locations, onshore wind and solar companies are now winning power delivery auctions at prices as low as $0.03 per kilowatt hour (kWh), easily outcompeting fossil-fuel energy producers. Offshore wind costs are also falling far faster than anticipated.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles from our archive every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/w3ZqFBN;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.