Manage episode 305250012 series 2484421
精選詞彙 VOCAB Podcast，就在https://www.15mins.today/vocab
語音直播 15mins Live Podcast, 就在https://www.15mins.today/15mins-live-podcast
文法練習 In-TENSE Podcast，就在https://www.15mins.today/in-tense
每日英語跟讀 Ep.K230: Who Created the Renewable-Energy Miracle ?
As terrible as many things in the world are, climate is unique in posing an existential threat to civilization. And it’s horrifying that so many political figures are dead set against any serious action to address that threat.
Despite that, there’s still a chance that we’ll do enough to avoid catastrophe — not because we’ve grown wiser but because we’ve been lucky. We used to believe that achieving big reductions in greenhouse gas emissions would be difficult and expensive. Over the past dozen years or so, however, we’ve experienced a technological miracle. The costs of solar and wind power have plunged to the point that quite modest incentives could lead to a rapid reduction in use of fossil fuels.
But was it really luck? Did this miracle — actually two miracles, since generating electricity from the sun and from the wind involve completely different technologies — just happen to arrive in our moment of need? Or was it a consequence of good policy decisions?
The answer is that there’s a pretty good case that policy — the Obama administration’s investments in green energy and European subsidies, especially for offshore wind — played a central role.
What’s the justification for that conclusion? Start with the fact that neither wind nor solar power was a fundamentally new technology. Windmills have been in widespread use at least since the 11th century. Photovoltaic solar power was developed in the 1950s.
What we’re looking at, instead, appears to be a situation in which growing use of renewable energy is itself driving cost reductions. Renewables appear to be subject to learning curves, in which costs fall with cumulative production.
And here’s the thing: When an industry has a steep learning curve, government support can have huge positive effects. Subsidize such an industry for a few years, and its costs will fall with experience, and eventually it will reach a tipping point where its growth becomes self-sustaining and the subsidies are no longer needed.
That’s arguably what has happened, or is on the verge of happening, for renewable energy.
In short, there’s a really good case to be made that government support for renewable energy created a cost miracle that might not have happened otherwise — and this cost miracle may be the key to saving us from utter climate catastrophe.
簡言之，有充分的理由說明，政府補貼再生能源締造了成本奇蹟，否則奇蹟不會發生，而這項奇蹟或許是拯救我們免於極端氣候災難的關鍵。Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/5754427