Today, April 22, 2016, marks the 46th celebration of Earth Day. Earth Day began as a national movement on college campuses across the country in 1970 to create greater awareness to the environmental impact that our lives were having on our planet. The movement quickly grew and today Earth Day is celebrated in more than 193 countries.
The relevance of Earth Day is as significant today as it was when it was first celebrated in 1970. Today, more than ever, the global community is recognizing the damaging and unsustainable impact that our old energy economies are having on the environment in the form of climate change, and governments around the world are starting to do something about it. Today at the UN in New York City, the Paris Agreement is expected to be entered into force when over 120 governments sign the agreement. Both the United States and China have pledged they will sign the agreement, which is significant since approximately 40% of the world’s greenhouse gasses are produced by these two countries.
Weaning our global economies from climate-damaging sources of energy, though recognized as necessary, will take time and commitment from everyone as we rethink our global relationship to energy. But there are hopeful signs everywhere that point to a greener, cleaner energy future as new technologies and financing models enter the energy mainstream.
Thinking about the significance of the day, it is hard not to feel like we are on the verge of an inflection point in terms of how the world uses energy. Though fossil fuel-based sources of energy will be with us for years to come, large organizations across the US and Europe are leading a switch to renewable energy. More than 450 companies — including a dozen from the Fortune 500 — have already moved to 100% renewable energy (Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership). Of course, many more commercial and industrial companies are actively taking steps to reduce their energy usage and carbon footprint. Even if they have not yet committed to 100% renewables, many are beginning to include renewable energy into their total usage. It appears to us at Edison Energy that the private sector is leading the sustainability drive with the support of innovative financing and policy measures to drive higher levels of clean energy adoption.
Edison Energy is playing a role in helping to create this new and cleaner energy future. We work at the intersection of technology, policy, engineering and business objectives to help the largest users of energy find ways to lower costs and meet their sustainability and reliability goals across their enterprises. Achieving these goals means adopting a higher percentage of renewables and newly emerging technologies such as microgrids, storage, fuel cells and other innovations into a customer’s total energy footprint to help offset the environmental damage caused by fossil fuel based sources.
Given the progress that has occurred in advancing new forms of energy since that first Earth Day 46 years ago, it is easy to imagine a future where we find a way to meet the needs of all the world’s people and do so in an environmentally sustainable way so all of us can continue to appreciate all the beauty our blue planet has to offer. Edison Energy is proud to play a part in helping to bring about this future.