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Why Banks are Financing Clean Energy
As a global society, our reliance upon the use of non-renewable petroleum-based fuels, such as coal, oil, and natural gas, accounts for about 80 percent of global energy production. Over the last century, the growing use of these types of fuels has had an increasingly detrimental impact on Earth’s climate and ecosystems, making them the primary cause for global warming and climate change.
When fossil fuels are burned, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are released into the air. These gasses in turn, trap heat in our atmosphere, contributing to a phenomenon known as the greenhouse effect. Humanity’s continued dependence on fossil fuels has contributed to a growing carbon footprint and has been responsible for the ongoing damage to our planet’s climate and ecosystems. According to some estimates, one in six of our planet’s plant and animal species is at risk of extinction if humanity continues its current course.
Impact of Fossil Fuels on Public Health
According to a collaborative research effort conducted in 2018 by Harvard University, University of Birmingham, University of Leicester, and University College London, it is estimated that exposure to particulate matter from fossil fuel emissions accounted for 18 percent of total global deaths in 2018. That’s just shy of 1 out of every 5 deaths for that year.
Another by-product of the combustion of fossil fuels is the release of microscopic particles known as PM2.5. These poisonous particles are minuscule enough to penetrate deep into the lungs’ tissues, causing aggravation of symptoms related to respiratory conditions such as asthma.
These particles have also been linked to increased other major health problems such as lung cancer, coronary heart disease, strokes, resulting in an increased rate of premature death. The WHO estimates that roughly 4.2 million people die each year due to these health conditions and a marked uptick in cases of acute and chronic respiratory diseases caused by growing levels of ambient air pollution.
Ongoing research has also uncovered a correlation between high levels of long-term pollution, contributing to an increased death rate among those affected by Covid-19. The stark reality is that as a species, our dependence on fossil fuels has done a devastating amount of damage to the planet, and as such, paints a foreboding picture for the survival of humankind if we do not make a concerted effort to slow greenhouse emissions and place our focus on transitioning to clean energy production.
The Rise of Clean Energy Incentives and Green Finance
Considering the implications of unchecked carbon emissions and their impact on environmental stability and public health, it’s no surprise that many governments around the world have begun to take the initiative towards reducing carbon emissions, curtailing their dependence on fossil fuels, and incentivizing the development of sustainable energy technologies as a primary source of energy production. Over the last decade, the cost of sustainable energy production has become much more affordable and efficient due to technological advancements in the industry.
Placing focus on research and development of sustainable energy infrastructure has become a global effort. There has been a marked increase in the implementation of sustainable energy production methods, such as the use of wind turbines, hydropower, and solar photovoltaic cells, commonly known as solar panels.
This growing initiative has also given rise to green banks. Green banking is an innovation in financing techniques and market development tools in collaboration with the private sector. The focus of green banking is to accelerate the deployment of clean energy technologies. These financial institutions that use public funds to leverage private investments in clean energy technologies have struggled to establish a widespread presence in consumer markets despite being financially viable options. The goal of green banking is to reduce energy production costs while stimulating private sector investment and economic activity.
Ultimately, green banking institutions seek to expedite the transition to a low-carbon economy. Given the stark reality of the harmful impact that fossil fuel usage has had on climate, ecology, and the toll it has taken on human life, green finance is not just a logical step towards the future; it’s also a crucial one that must be taken in order to stem the tide of the impending climate holocaust and ensure that the planet remains a habitable home for future generations of humanity.
Continued inaction towards a global transition to sustainable and clean energy technologies will almost certainly sound the death knell for humanity and potentially result in the extinction of the vast majority of plant and animal life on this planet.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or the management of EconoTimes