One of the biggest stories of 2015 was the sharp decline of oil prices, which fell this year to levels not seen in more than a decade.
“After plunging from more than $100 a barrel to nearly $50 a barrel last year, U.S. oil prices fell 30 percent in 2015 to $37.04 a barrel,” the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
“Renewables have turned a corner in a fundamental way.”
— Dan Reicher, Stanford University’s Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance
“A repeat in early 2016 could well push crude oil to fresh closing lows not seen since the early 2000s,” the Fiscal Times added this week.
It was good news for fuel consumers—drivers who flocked to SUVs and pickup trucks in 2015, for instance—as well as for governments that import crude oil.
But this trend could easily translate into bad news for stemming climate change, a goal that depends on keeping the vast majority of fossil fuels in the ground.
Yet surprisingly, even “amid a worldwide glut of cheap fossil fuels,” the Washington Post‘s Joby Warrick reported on Friday, “business is blowing strong” for the renewable energy industry as well.
Indeed, Warrick writes, 2015 saw “a global surge for wind and solar energy, which occurred despite oil, coal and natural gas selling at bargain rates.” He points to “massive new projects” under construction from China and India to Texas, as well as growing capacity in the U.S., which recently “crossed the 70-gigawatt threshold in wind-generated electricity, with 50,000 spinning turbines producing enough power to light up 19 million homes.”
Common Dreams outlined several other global renewable energy “bright spots” in November.
Improved technology, combined with “new government policies here and abroad that favor investment in renewables” and “a growing willingness by Wall Street to pour billions of dollars into projects once considered financially risky,” are all contributing to the boom, according to the Post.
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