Market Forces; No Global Agreement:
The cost of photovoltaic panels has fallen by 80% in the last few years, largely thanks to increasing production in China. It is predicted that the cost of the electricity they produce will dip below $2 per watt within the next decade. At that point, they will become competitive with fossil-fuels. New, film-based photovoltaic technologies are set to reduce costs and raise the volume of
production to make this possible.
However, the economic crisis has caused cash-strapped governments to withdraw incentives to invest in renewable energy and there is growing opposition to wind farms in some countries.
Technological innovation and market forces have a vital role to play in cutting emissions, but it is impossible to predict the weight of carbon they will avoid on their own, or when.
The immediate future therefore depends on visionary political leadership to champion the need for Contraction and Convergence and regulatory changes/incentives to cut carbon emissions. Above all, this means inspiring people with the benefits of saving energy, and using both carrot and stick to make this happen. It's the only way we can cut emissions in time given that a low carbon infrastructure is not yet in place.