Markets crashed, jobs evaporated, fortunes withered, expectations spiralled downwards and demands for politicians to stop the fiscal bloodletting defined the latest intensification of the global financial crisis last week.
Some analysts were even beginning to wonder if the wild uncertainty marked the beginning of the end of capitalism as we know it.
The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) understands the vast importance of a sound fiscal system, and we sympathise with the very human trait of thinking and acting rashly when threatened by an unanticipated event.
We also believe, however, that the world’s most pressing issue now and for the foreseeable future is finding a workable solution to begin fighting climate change. We need to reverse fall-out from more than a century of fossil fuel-produced CO₂.
EWEA’s position is not unique.
A Guardian article last week reported that high-profile business leaders in Britain advised Prime Minister Gordon Brown that mitigating climate change can’t be side-tracked because of the current economic slump and problems associated with the world’s stock exchanges.
The group also reminded Brown in a letter that global warming can actually present new business opportunities, provided “transformational change” is embraced by governments.
“The global economic slowdown may cause some to question whether the UK can afford to act so boldly, but we believe action can not be delayed, and furthermore that decisive action will stimulate economic activity and job creation in certain sectors.”
We are encouraged by the business leaders and want to remind European politicians that wind power already plays a significant role in fighting climate change.
Indeed, electricity generated by wind power is non-polluting, local and sustainable. Wind power is already meeting close to 4% of total EU electricity demand. By 2020, as long as politicians keep supporting the growth of renewable energies, that figure could jump to between 12% and 14%.
Equally important in these uncertain times, wind power provides a welcome degree of certainty. The European wind industry, which leads the world in the development of wind power, creates well-paying jobs, provides an affordable supply of dependable energy, supports scientific research and encourages technological change. It is also a positive force that, with continued political backing, can only get better.
25 September 2008