Sun Shines from Machu Picchu

Hamish M | December 1, 2014.

Activists from Greenpeace have used the world-renowned Temple of the Sun at Machu Picchu to publicise a pro-solar message to global leaders.

As the climate world gathers in Lima, Perú, to negotiate a new agreement on climate change, the activists projected the message: “Act for the climate! Go solar!” onto the sacred Incan site. The move aims to encourage leaders to accelerate the decarbonisation of the global economy and to embrace the planet’s largest renewable power source in order to achieve 100% renewable energy globally by 2050.

“The Temple of the Sun in Machu Picchu is where we are announcing to the world that, as the power of the sun is our past, it is also our future”, said Greenpeace Head of Climate Politics Martin Kaiser.

“We urge summit attendees to commit to the world’s largest source of energy — the sun — to solve our global climate crisis. The US and China’s recent announcement is a turning point and must spur a global commitment to the ambitious goal of 100% renewable energy for everyone…The whole world is watching – now is the time to act.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that if fully deployed, renewable energy technology could supply 80% of the world’s energy needs within 40 years. Though there are few technological limits to the potential of renewable energy to supply base load power to most of the world, currently only 30 countries source more than 20% of their energy from renewable sources. The world’s largest solar power plant, the Topaz Solar Farm in California, started production last month, powering 160,000 homes with its 9 million solar panels.

According to the IPCC, in order to avoid catastrophic climate change, global greenhouse gas emissions must peak in 2020, and be phased out completely by 2080. To achieve these objectives, the vast majority of the world’s fossil fuel resources must be left in the ground as the world transitions to a low-carbon, renewable-powered economy.

This year has already seen history’s largest public mobilisation for climate action in the People’s Climate Marches. Greenpeace hopes to put further pressure on negotiators in the conference currently underway in Lima. This comes at a crucial time because the conference will produce the draft text for next year’s Paris Protocol, which will replace the Kyoto Protocol as a global, legally-binding climate treaty after 2020.


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