Today marks the 51st Earth Day. Looking back at the last 50 years of celebrations and the evolution of the global sustainability movement, one may feel discouraged observing the limited effects and changes that have been achieved through concerted community, grassroots, individual actions and initiatives.
As spectacularly as Earth Day has developed over the past half century, inspiring awe and wonder for the Earth along the way, it hasn’t produced real change at the levels needed to address the problems the Earth and atmosphere face. (Paul Elie, Emergence Magazine, April 2020)
Tangible and measurable change to #RestoreOurEarth for future generations will only be achieved if actions are taken at scale to decouple (economic) human development and wellbeing from negative effects on the environment. The impact vectors to achieve decoupling are well understood and extensively documented in scientific literature and popular books, movies, TV series, art, and even songs for decades – yet, it seems like the current concept of human well-being and its link to economic GDP growth is fundamentally fraudulent, unable to foster #Sufficiency, #Efficiency, #Circularity and #Renewability at scale.
So what can be done to achieve real decoupling? First and foremost, the regulatory framework conditions need to strengthen and enable impact vectors. This has been impressively demonstrated through the learning curve for #photovoltaics over the last decades, making PV the low-cost option for #electricity generation on a global level. However at this pricepoint, PV deployment is still in its infancy given the required multi-terawatt scale deployment and its fundamental role in sector coupling.
Achieving #Neocarbonization is probably the most fundamental challenge for the coming decisive decade.
Versatility, ubiquity, material, resource, and energy efficiency of thin-film photovoltaic technologies place them into a unique position as part of the strong solar energy impact vector in the renewable energy family.
It is now time to enable more deployment in the build environment, through synergies with applications and other sectors. The technology is ready, but the framework conditions must follow to enable this – policy makers should take action now and enable meaningful impact.
Andreas Wade, PVthin President