The Dramatic Shift in Our Climate Thinking

Quietly, We've Moved to Relying on Technological Innovation, Not Efficiency, to Save the Planet

In Paris, President Barack Obama and the leaders of 19 other countries made energy technology innovation the central priority of international efforts to address climate change. “The truth is,” said the president, “if we adapt existing technologies and make them cheaper and faster and more readily available—if we improve energy efficiency—we’re still only going to get part of the way there and there’s still going to be a big gap to fill.”

Such a statement would have been politically unthinkable 10 years ago.

Until fairly recently, the dominant idea was that …

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