Wind power helps meet Paris Agreement targets

The U.S. and China recently ratified the Paris Agreement, further advancing efforts to combat carbon pollution.

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U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon ,Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama jointly ratified the Paris Agreement earlier this month. Image via AP.

It’s also yet another sign that global economies and businesses are seeking zero-carbon solutions for their electricity needs. As Rachel Cleetus of the Union of Concerned Scientists explains:

“While China and the U.S. are top carbon emitters, they’re also the world’s two biggest economies and producers of renewable energy. With these two powerhouses ratifying the Paris Agreement, global businesses and investors have a clear market signal that the world is seeking to limit climate change impacts by getting on a low-carbon pathway quickly.”

As a zero-emission energy source, wind power will play a large role in helping the two countries meet their commitments under the agreement. In 2015 alone, wind cut 28 million cars’ worth of CO2 pollution in the U.S.

The U.S. and China are already the world’s largest producers of wind-generated electricity, and wind’s share in the American energy mix is expected to continue rising. By 2030, it could generate over 20 percent of the country’s electricity, and at that level, it would reduce electric sector carbon pollution by over 20 percent.

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Wind energy remains an attractive option because it’s the biggest, fastest, cheapest way to cut carbon pollution. That’s largely because of recent drastic cost declines; wind became 66 percent cheaper over just a six year period. Technological advances allowing wind turbines to reach stronger, steadier winds make it financially viable in more parts of the country, and wind is now the cheapest source of new electric generating capacity in many parts of the U.S., while remaining cost-competitive in many more.

So as the U.S., China and other countries look to clean their electricity sectors to meet their Paris Agreement commitments, growing wind power will be one of the most cost-effective pathways to achieve their goals.