Think Globally, Invest Locally!

If you’re in the Waterloo Region, you don’t want to miss this event tonight (April 21) at 7pm at the Kitchener Downtown Community Center. Register here.

PRESS RELEASE — As people in Waterloo Region consider the global impact of climate change, they are seeking ways to support solutions that will help hasten the shift to low-carbon energy sources. In response to the growing interest in investing in local renewable energy projects as a way to be a part of that change, Divest Waterloo in partnership with CREW- WR (Community Renewable Energy Waterloo) are hosting Think Globally Invest Locally on April 21st at 7pm at the Kitchener Downtown Community Centre.

Shane Mulligan, General Manager of Local Initiative for Future Energy (LIFE) Co-op and Brian Unrau, President of Community Energy Development Co-operative Ltd will explain how to invest in local renewable energy projects to “save the planet, and make a great return while doing it”. Mulligan and Unrau represent two local Renewable Energy Co-operatives offering investment opportunities to their network of supporters.

“For all of us talking about the dangers of climate change, divestment is literally a matter of putting your money where your mouth is” said Mulligan.

“While we want to see big institutions divest, there are also loads of genuine opportunities for individuals, from insulating your home to putting solar panels on your roof, or investing in a local renewable energy co-operative that develops commercial scale solar projects.”

Among these, solar energy is a proven technology that will help ensure a sustainable energy future. As UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said last fall at the Climate Summit, “let us invest in the climate solutions available to us today”. These solutions must be part of the necessary energy revolution.

Revolutionary changes are required to avoid the most severe consequences of climate change, represented by a benchmark increase of more than 2 degrees Celsius. First, energy efficiency must significantly reduce energy demand. Second, renewables must ramp up. These changes are producing the desired effect of decoupling economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions.  The need to phase out fossil fuels has been acknowledged by the World Bank, the United Nations, and the Bank of England, as well as by many world leaders and a growing list of major corporations.

According to an analysis presented last Tuesday at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) annual summit in New York, the question is no longer if the world will transition to cleaner energy, but how long it will take. “The electricity system is shifting to clean,” Michael Liebreich, founder of BNEF, said in his keynote address. “Despite the change in oil and gas prices there is going to be a substantial buildout of renewable energy that is likely to be an order of magnitude larger than the buildout of coal and gas.”

Divest Waterloo promotes fossil-free investing for a better future.  They want investors to stop adding fossil fuel stocks and bonds to their portfolios and to sell off existing fossil fuel holdings over a five-year period.  A series of analyses have shown that there are already three times more fossil fuels in accessible reserves than can safely be burned if catastrophic climate change is to be avoided. Divest Waterloo argues that it is a danger to both the environment and investors’ capital for companies to spend trillions of dollars exploring for more fossil fuels that can never be burned.

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Header image source: Community Energy Development Co-op.

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