Peralta wind farm

The Road Beyond Paris: A Tale of Three Countries

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Once the COP21 agreements are hammered out and signed, there will surely be celebration that the words point to commitments that whole world is finally taking the problem seriously and that the pace of progress will undoubtedly be increased. It won’t be perfect, but it will certainly be the best agreement we’ve had yet.

Then there will be the morning after, when the party’s over, when we all wake up and get back to work and try to figure out, what exactly are we going to do now. Let’s take a look at what some countries that, while clearly not the largest emitters, have taken action early and effectively, and therefore could be considered role models, have done.

Germany has perhaps been the most visible leader, making huge public commitments to solar power, despite not being in a particularly sunny locale. Germany, which is already receiving 28% of its electricity from renewables (more than they get from coal), set out on their journey back in 1991, by investing in a feed-in tariff that guaranteed that those homeowners installing solar on their property would see a financial benefit. The program, which came to be known as Energiewende, or Energy Transition, has led to the effective decoupling of carbon emissions from economic growth. Germany, the world’s fourth largest economy saw their economy grow by 1.5% last year, even as energy consumption fell. This notion of decoupling, which is beginning to take hold on a global scale, is crucial to a successful climate battle.

Germany has achieved this even as they took on the additional challenge of phasing out their nuclear program, in response to concerns over safety and received close to one million refugees. Consumers will bear some of these costs, but they are committed to leaving their children a cleaner, more sustainable world.

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