Our country is starting to reopen. People in many regions are beginning to cautiously remerge from their quarantines and the debate continues on the state and federal levels on how to safely reopen the country and create jobs for the millions of newly-unemployed Americans. 

In the energy sector, many climate activists across the world are clamoring for countries to take advantage of the closed economy and make green energy central to the rebuilding and reopening efforts. This lobbying follows celebrations of reduced emissions during the pandemic, including the news that renewable energy sources are expected to overcome coal this year. 

A new Washington Post article headlines “Global emissions plunged an unprecedented 17 percent during the coronavirus pandemic.” This means that due to the forced closure of businesses and widespread lockdowns, there has been a “startling decline of more than a billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions.” 

The article points out: 

The unprecedented situation produced by covid-19 has offered a glimpse into the massive scale required to cut global emissions, year after year, in order to meet the most ambitious goals set by world leaders when they forged the 2015 Paris climate accord. 

Don’t get me wrong, reduced emissions is great. But I think most can agree that living in a locked down community is unsustainable, even if it may be better for the climate. While the Green New Deal championed by many on the left would also require similar drastic changes (as described in this New York Post article), here at IWF we argue that innovation is the way forward. 

One of the current major hurdles for sustainable energy is energy storage. Renewable sources such as wind and solar energy are unreliable because they only provide intermittent energy. If the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing, you’re out of luck. But as SciTech Daily reports, a recently released paper from the University of Surrey claims that their work on super-capacitor technology has the potential to “revolutionize energy use” and smooth out the “intermittent nature of the [renewable] energy sources.” 

This new super-capacitor technology is promising, but improving battery storage is only one step of many in the path to practical renewable energy. Many other hurdles must be overcome, whether it’s transmission lines and grid infrastructure or simply producing enough energy for consumption in the U.S. 

While we should celebrate innovation and progress in all sectors, especially the energy sector, we should not sacrifice the financial security of our communities on the altar of environmentalism. 

We need to continue to focus on ways to help people get safely back to work today, not tomorrow. And while Time Magazine may be decrying that America is falling behind in the “green recovery” planned by other countries, we should celebrate that policymakers are putting Americans first.