Well, this is timely.
No sooner do I write a post about Vermont’s leading climate change deniers, than here comes a real success story from an unlikely place:
In less than 10 years, Uruguay has slashed its carbon footprint without government subsidies or higher consumer costs, according to the country’s head of climate change policy, Ramón Méndez.
In fact, he says that now that renewables provide 94.5% of the country’s electricity, prices are lower than in the past relative to inflation. There are also fewer power cuts because a diverse energy mix means greater resilience to droughts.
Until recently, Uruguay was as fossil fuel dependent as the next country. But it developed a sane, balanced, not at all extremist policy that has reaped incredible benefits in a short amount of time: “…renewables account for 55% of the country’s overall energy mix (including transport fuel) compared with a global average share of 12%.”
And they’re meeting more than 90% of their electricity demand “without the back-up of coal or nuclear power plants.”
How did they do it? The sensible way.
There are no technological miracles involved, nuclear power is entirely absent from the mix, and no new hydroelectric power has been added for more than two decades. Instead, he says, the key to success is rather dull but encouragingly replicable: clear decision-making, a supportive regulatory environment and a strong partnership between the public and private sector.
I strongly recommend reading the whole article. It’ll put a smile on your face and a little bit of hope in your heart.
Of course, it’ll also make you wonder why in hell we can’t do it here.