Have you ever seen a picture of the world at night? Take a look at the picture below and then try to comprehend the numbers – USA has a population of 300 million, North America and South America combined have about 800 million inhabitants. Now look across the Atlantic and take a look at Africa – you don’t see many lights for the more than 1 billion people living on the continent. Then take a look at Asia, which sports a population of 4 billion. Now if all these areas had the same electricity usage of the USA, think about much energy we would need. Think about the air quality in the cities, the reduced cropland from the pollution, the destruction caused by mining and drilling, the traffic on the highways, etc. That is why we need cleaner sources of energy. Energy production runs hand in hand with economic development and will bring billions of people out of poverty. Further innovations in renewable technologies combined with a scale-up in production can drop the cost of clean energy and light up this map without the negative externalities associated with fossil fuel. Now that is something to think about!
I would just like to say a quick thank you to Professor John Zindar for teaching a great class on carbon constrained economies and to Chip, Dipa, Iana, Pedro, Terence, and Thiago for making each class fun and interesting. I learned a lot from each of you and wish you the best in all that you do.