The irreversible momentum of clean energy

Barack Obama
President of the United States, Washington, DC 20500, USA.
Email: press@who.eop.gov. After 20 January 2017: contact@obamaoffice44.org
Private-sector efforts help drive decoupling of emissions and economic growth
The release of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) due to human activity is increasing global average surface air temperatures, disrupting weather patterns,
and acidifying the ocean (1). Left unchecked, the continued growth of GHG emissions could cause global average temperatures to increase by another 4°C or more by 2100 and
by 1.5 to 2 times as much in many midcontinent and far northern locations (1). Although our understanding of the impacts of climate change is increasingly and disturbingly
clear, there is still debate about the proper course for U.S.policy—a debate that is very much on display during the current presidential transition. But putting near-term politics aside, the mounting economic and scientific evidence leave me confident that trends toward a clean-energy economy that have emerged during my presidency will continue
and that the economic opportunity for our country to harness that trend will only grow. This Policy Forum will focus on the four reasons I believe the trend toward clean energy
is irreversible.
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