There are so many advantages to switching from dirty energy to clean, renewable energy - environmental and national security, for instance - that the case for moving in this direction should be crystal clear. Yet we often hear, mostly from the fossil fuel industry, that it will be too costly to make this switch. Other than the fact that renewable energy costs have been plummeting, and are now competitive with fossil fuels in many parts of the country, keep in mind that fossil fuels continue to receive both explicit and implicit subsidies, such as being allowed to pollute at little or no cost. This means that renewable energy is increasingly beating fossil fuels on a pure cost basis despite serious, structural obstacles arrayed against.
Fortunately, despite all those obstacles and "externalities," it turns out that switching from dirty energy to clean energy makes a tremendous amount of sense on purely economic grounds. Evidence? Check this out.
A new report from the International Energy Agency considers the cost of remaining hooked on antiquated, polluting, and climate-changing energy sources.
First, here’s what might seem to be bad news from the new report: It would cost the world $44 trillion to end our fossil fuel addiction by 2050 and switch to clean energy. Worse, this figure is $8 trillion higher than the IEA’s last estimate, published two years ago. Expected costs have risen because we’ve delayed the process of switching over to climate-friendly energy sources.
And now the good news: We can save $115 trillion in fuel costs by 2050 if we move away from dirty energy, making for net savings of $71 trillion.