Why the ozone hole makes me optimistic for 2022
By Tomas van Stee - January 07, 2022
The ozone hole offers a lesson in hope and international climate cooperation.
The state of the ozone hole shows that the global community can come together to quickly tackle environmental threats
Political and public motivation to tackle climate change has never been higher, but more cleantech proliferation is needed
Boosting cleantech use is vital for the fight against climate change, and EnPowered is ready to accelerate the cleantech adoption in 2022
Climate change conversations tend to be characterized by doom and gloom, which gives many the impression that we don’t stand a chance of averting the worst effects, at least not without gutting the global economy in the process.
But you know what didn’t get worse in 2021? The ozone hole. By the late 80s we were well on our way to degrading our planet’s protective radiation shield, and adding a staggering additional 2C to global temperatures by 2070 due to our overuse of ozone-depleting chemicals. But today, the ozone hole over Antarctica is recovering steadily and is on track to reach pre-1980 levels by the 2060s. You might be wondering why I am bringing this up, but the ozone example demonstrates a key point; when the technology is in place, we are fully capable of coming together to quickly tackle global problems.
Environmental awareness was lower and certainly less politically relevant in the mid-1980s than it is today, yet the world bridged ideological divides to solve the ozone issue, despite the other looming existential crisis that was the Cold War. The reason for this rapid success was the availability of cost-competitive technological alternatives, which made it extremely easy for the international community to take action.
Accelerating cleantech adoption will allow us to continue to decouple economic growth from emissions, in order to avoid both the economic collapse forecast by climate skeptics and the environmental collapse forecast by climate activists.
Fast forward to today, and public and political willingness to take action on climate change has never been higher, while we too face an additional crisis in the form of the pandemic that competes for attention and funding. The key difference now is that the technology needed to combat climate change is either not yet ready or not easily accessible due to funding hurdles.
Trying to realize the massive emissions reductions that the planet needs through 2050 and beyond without cost-effective solutions will only generate substantial resistance from both the market and society. Marshalling those technologies and making them financially feasible makes slashing emissions incredibly easy, just as ozone depleting substances were easily phased out thanks to viable alternatives.
Accelerating cleantech adoption in 2022
This attitude may come across to some as tech evangelism, but arguably, getting people to care enough to act is the hard part. What we need to focus on now is rapidly accelerating the growth in cleantech adoption. This will allow us to continue to decouple economic growth from emissions, in order to avoid both the economic collapse forecast by climate skeptics and the environmental collapse forecast by climate activists.
Putting the cleantech assets into the hands of energy users will let us replicate the kind of concerted, global effort that led to the ban on ozone depleting gases. There is no one organization or country that can solve climate change by itself, we all need to reinforce each other and collaborate.
This is why I am hopeful for 2022, because at EnPowered we spent this last year building the foundation for rapid cleantech proliferation. In 2021, we grew our team to almost 50 employees and announced $12 million in seed funding. Together with the launch of Payments — our on-bill payments platform — in October, we are now working with over 600 partners to connect energy users to energy solution providers and unlock stalled projects thanks to innovative funding offerings. 2022 will mark the beginning of the next phase — the acceleration of cleantech adoption — as we enter more markets across North America.
2022 will mark the beginning of the next phase — the acceleration of cleantech adoption — as we grow our business and increasingly work with hundreds of other companies in the industry. If you want to join the EnPowered ecosystem or are working on innovative cleantech solutions, I'd love to speak with you to see how we can make a difference together.