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Report: We must transform our energy systems to meet climate goals

If you own land in rural Texas, chances are you’ve been contacted by a solar or wind company seeking to use your land for an energy project. If you have, you could be part of a necessary transformation in the energy market from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

“We are in a critical year at the start of a critical decade for these efforts,” said the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) recently. She was introducing a report on how the world can meet its goal of being net-zero emissions by 2050, which could minimize the worst of the climate crisis.

The report, Net Zero by 2050, lays out a road map for governments to follow. It includes recommendations on how to reduce carbon emissions as well as ideas for removing carbon through technology, such as carbon capture.

The report urges governments to stop approving new oil and gas fields this year, along with any new unabated coal power plants. In just a few years – by 2025, the agency hopes to phase out new sales of fossil fuel boilers. By 2050, we should be relying on wind power, solar power and other clean energies as our dominant source of electricity.

That means that solar and wind power capacity needs to rapidly increase. Capacity for these renewables reached a record in 2020, but it would need to quadruple by 2050 to be able to meet climate goals.

Currently, natural gas-fired power is our largest source of electricity in the U.S.

According to NPR, natural-gas fired power plants account for 43% of the U.S.’s electricity capacity. Coal-fired power plants account for about another 20%. That means that nearly 65% of all electricity in the U.S. is generated using these fossil fuels.

The head of the IEA acknowledges that it will be “a huge challenge” to move the needle in politics, business, technology and the social sphere. Meanwhile, many parts of the world continue to have no access to electricity at all, and capacity needs to be built up with them in mind.

The next big step will be COP26, the U.N. Climate Change Conference for 2021, which will be held in Glasgow this November. The U.S. and other countries will attempt to negotiate a concerted approach to reducing the use of fossil fuels and fighting the climate crisis.

You could be a part of the change

If you have been contacted by a solar or wind energy company about using your land for a renewable energy project, you could be part of the solution to climate change.

That said, you shouldn’t just jump at the opportunity, even though there is a potential for it to be lucrative. You need solid legal advice from an attorney who has handled energy leases before and knows what is customary and what is negotiable.

Don’t sign an energy lease unless you understand the deal completely and your interests are protected.