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President Obama Defends His Renewable Legacy in an Academic Journal

President Obama took to the academic journals to defend a lynchpin of his legacy: renewable energy, and how it has not just been a healthy environmental move but also a job creator. American businesses, he says, have prospered both financially and environmentally as a result of this energy strategy.

The larger companies are the main drivers with the likes of General Motors, Hewlett Packard, Johnson & Johnson, Tata Motors and Walmart setting a goal to run their entire operations using green energy. That includes a number of different options — everything from investing directly into deals to buying their electricity through power purchase agreements.

In the journal Science, Obama emphasized that economic growth and emissions cuts do not conflict, noting that the United States has met such a threshold. He also said that Donald Trump may surprise detractors and end up as a great defender of renewables.

“The United States is showing that [greenhouse gas] mitigation need not conflict with economic growth,” the president writes. “Rather, it can boost efficiency, productivity, and innovation. Businesses are coming to the conclusion that reducing emissions is not just good for the environment — it can also boost bottom lines, cut costs for consumers, and deliver returns for shareholders.”

At least 35 countries, including the United States have increased their gross domestic product while also cutting their carbon dioxide output. To the end, the Brookings Institution says that the states will continue to lead the charge by requiring such things as renewable portfolio standards and building efficiency codes while the private sector kicks in and also does its part.

Those findings correspond with those of the International Energy Agency in Paris that found that the world’s emissions remained flat in 2014 and 2015 even as GDP continued to grow by more than 3% in each year

The Energy Information Administration “expects 24 gigawatts (GW) of new generating capacity to be added to the power grid during 2016,” the agency says. “For the third consecutive year, more than half of these additions are renewable technologies, especially wind and solar. Of the 2016 renewable additions, nearly 60% were scheduled to come online during the fourth quarter.” 

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