Conquering Climate Change with a Clean Industrial Revolution
Editor's Note: The Climate Group and GreenBiz.com are providing coverage, analyses and an in-depth look at Climate Week NYºC 2010, which runs September 20 through 26. Steve Howard, CEO for The Climate Group, launches the coverage today.

We are living in a time of unprecedented opportunity.

We are witnessing growth without parallel in human history. By 2050, there will be 9 billion people on the planet.

More than three-quarters of the world's population will live in cities. China alone will build a "United States of America" in the next 20 years -- in terms of homes and commercial buildings.
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Over the next quarter century some projections suggest the global economy may triple in terms of purchasing power. The global middle class could swell to five billion people by 2030 from less than 2 billion today.

This growth will continue to place enormous demands on our natural resources and the planet's climate. "Business as usual" is quite simply not an option.

To meet the needs of an increasingly affluent and growing global population, we need to fundamentally change the way we produce and consume energy. In order to have a reasonable chance of staying below a two degrees Celsius increase, we must cut our carbon output by more than half by 2050. To accomplish this, we need nothing less than a clean industrial revolution.

There are always those that doubt that we, as humans, are capable of achieving swift and monumental change. But history tells us we excel in it: The Women's suffrage movement. The Civil Rights movement. The fall of the Berlin Wall. The end of Apartheid. The IT revolution.

Now we must add the Clean Revolution to that list.

In fact, a Clean Revolution is not only possible -- it's underway. As the world has been focused on the current economic downturn, there has been a sea change in global energy production. Of all new energy generation capacity added in 2009, 47 percent was renewable. LED lights went from relative obscurity to a bestseller at Home Depot.
n 2009, annual deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon fell to its lowest rate since record-keeping began in 1988. Cleantech became the leading venture capital investment. China emerged as the nation with the largest renewable power capacity. India's national solar energy mission is poised to deliver 20 GW of new clean energy over the coming decade. That's enough to power about 200 million Indian homes.

And HSBC just reported that the global market for low-carbon energy and efficiency projects will triple to $2.2 trillion by 2020. Clean energy has become mainstream energy.

Cities, states, regions and companies all around the globe are leading the Clean Revolution. They are creating the market transformation needed to end our dependence on dirty, carbon-intensive energy. There is still a tremendous amount to be done. But these climate leaders are beginning to help deliver a better, more secure world for future generations.

With our partners, The Climate Group has helped to convene some of the world's most influential government and business leaders for this year's Climate Week NYºC.