Obama says push toward clean energy is 'irreversible'

President Obama says trends toward clean energy are "irreversible" and will overcome "near-term politics" in an article he wrote Monday for the journal Science.

The article, entitled "The irreversible momentum of clean energy," was published in the journal's policy forum, and details why the president believes there's no turning back from renewable energies such as solar, wind and geothermal.

"Putting near-term politics aside," Obama wrote, "the mounting economic and scientific evidence leave me confident that trends toward a clean-energy economy that have emerged during my presidency will continue and that the economic opportunity for our country to harness that trend will only grow."

Obama said there are several reasons for this, primarily that prices for clean energy continue to drop and businesses and governments around the world are heavily invested in it.

He said that left unchecked, runaway global warming from the burning of fossil fuels such as gas, oil and coal could cause temperatures to rise by another 7 degrees or more by 2100.

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"It is becoming increasingly clear that, regardless of the inherent uncertainties in predicting future climate and weather patterns, the investments needed to reduce emissions ... will be modest in comparison with the benefits from avoided climate-change damages," he wrote.

From 2008 to 2015, Obama noted, the American economy grew by more than 10%, while carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector fell by 9.5 % — a result that "should put to rest the argument that combating climate change requires accepting lower growth or a lower standard of living."

“I remain convinced that no country is better suited to confront the climate challenge and reap the economic benefits of a low-carbon future than the United States,” Obama wrote, adding that “of course, one of the great advantages of our system of government is that each president is able to chart his or her own policy course. And president-elect Donald Trump will have the opportunity to do so.”

The journal Science is published by the Washington-D.C.-based American Association for the Advancement of Science.


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