House Passes the Infrastructure Bill


On November 5, 2021, a  bipartisan Infrastructure Bill was passed to upgrade the nation's roads, bridges, and energy systems.  There are also provisions for climate change mitigation.  President Biden is expected to sign it into law this week.



What about the F-150 Electric Truck?


The following is an excerpt from The Week magazine, Business column, page 32, November 5, 2021.
Tesla became just the fifth U.S. company to reach $1 trillion in market value this week, as Hertz announced it would order 100,000 of its electric vehicles, said Rebecca Elliott and Nora Naughton in The Wall Street Journal....Hertz's endorsement is a big signal that "electric vehicles are ready for the masses." And unlike other automakers, Tesla locked down chip supplies and has not had its production constrained by the global crisis....After another stunning week, Tesla is now worth more than the next nine most valuable carmakers combined.



Big Oil Executives Deny Spreading Disinformation About Climate Change


On October 28, 2021 four executives from major oil companies - Darren Woods, ExxonMobil, Michael Wirth, Chevron, David Lawler, BP, and Gretchen Watkins, Shell Oil- testified before the House Oversight Committee.  They denied their companies had engaged in a decades long effort to conceal scientific evidence proving that climate change was a threat.  The fossil fuel companies have been using shadow groups to block reforms to the fossil fuel industry.  What happens now is pivotal to the future of the Build Back Better Plan, which the Democrats are trying to pass and will affect the future transition to renewable energy. If the oil companies are held accountable, it will be an historic case.  Representative Carolyn Maloney will subpoena documents that the oil companies did not submit to the committee.  We will keep you informed as to the latest developments.


Showdown over Enbridge Pipeline

The following is an excerpt from The Week, October 15, 2021, The World at a Glance.
The Canadian government this week raised the stakes in its ongoing clashwith Michigan over a major oil-exporting pipeline....Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered Enbridge to stop using the pipeline by May, warning that a catastrophic leak could develop in a 4-mile section under the Great Lakes.  Enbridge refused to halt the flow, and the Canadian government this week invoked a 1977 treaty with the U.S. that calls for direct negotiations to resolve pipeline disputes....The two pipes that make up Line 5 have spilled 33 times since 1968.



 Oil Spill in Southern California


The oil spill in Southern California off the coast of Huntington Beach caused 140,000 gallons of oil to spill into the Pacific Ocean, killing birds and fish and causing massive environmental damage. 

Miyoko Sakashita, oceans program director at the Center for Biological Diversity, says that California’s oil platforms should be shut down: “All of the platforms were built, you know, in the late ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s.  They’re old and decrepit…They’ve outlived their intended lifespan.  If you look at the 1978 environmental documents for these platforms, they were supposed to be decommissioned after 35 years.” https://www.democracynow.org/2021/10/6/ca_oil_spill



Oil Company Executives to testify before House Environment Subcommittee

On “All in with Chris Hayes” which aired on September 17, 2021, Chris Hayes interviewed Congressman Ro Khanna, Chair of the Environment Subcommittee.  Executives from four major oil companies will be at a hearing on October 28th to give information about the disinformation they provided in the past. Also, according to Ro Khanna, “ask what the ongoing activities are in killing climate legislation, or funding…shadow groups. And…get them to commit to stop that and not run interference in the president’s agenda.” To learn more:



Good News!  Protections of the Clean Water Act are Reinstated

On August 30, 2021 a federal judge in Arizona struck down a rule enacted during Trump’s administration which ended protections for thousands of waterways and wetlands in the U.S.  Six Native American tribes sued, and won.  The judge said that “serious environmental harm would occur” if these rules were allowed to proceed.



Hurricane Ida Hits Louisiana Coast

Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana on August 29, 2021 as a Category 4 hurricane, leaving a path of destruction in her wake. Oil and gas companies and petrochemical plants, which are responsible for climate change’s devastating effects, are concentrated in the region.  Investigative journalist Antonia Juhasz, interviewed on Democracy Now, talks about how the release of toxins into the air by these storms impact communities of color on the Louisiana coast.  Learn more: https://www.democracynow.org/2021/8/30/hurricane_ida_industrial_sires_toxic_chemicals



Move Your Money to Renewable Energy

With the increase of investments in the renewable energy sector, drones and manned aircraft are being used to conduct annual inspections of solar installations for possible defects.   Once a problem is identified, repairs can be made to ensure an installation operates at peak efficiency, thereby giving investors the maximum return on their investment. 

In an article posted in Solar Industry on August 19, 2021 Mark Culpepper says, “While these aerial inspections could be viewed as incremental operating expenses, they shouldn’t be.  Rather, they should be considered as revenue recovery opportunities that enable investors, project developers and owners to increase profitability.  As the Biden administration continues to provide incentives for clean energy, expect more solar investment, and with it, more drone/aerial inspections.  In the end, inspections and maintenance that are effectively conducted translate into protecting the interests of investors.”

Learn more here:  https://solarindustrymag.com/solar-financiers-using-aerial-imaging-to-increase-revenue-and-improve-roi



IPCC Issues Warning of Dire Effects Due to Climate Change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a major report on August 9, 2021 warning of dire effects to the planet from global warming. The report, worked on by more than 200 scientists, states that humans are “unequivocally” to blame, and temperatures around the globe will probably rise 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit by 2040.  Unless immediate action is taken, the extreme weather patterns we are experiencing now will worsen. In an interview on Democracy Now, Bob Kopp, Director of the Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Rutgers, says that “Temperatures are higher than they’ve been in at least 100,000 years.  Sea level is rising faster than it has in at least 3,000 years. And it’s indisputable that these changes are linked to human activity.”  To learn more:  https://www.democracynow.org/2021/8/9/ipcc_report



Obama Era Loopholes and the Car Industry

On August 5, 2021, President Biden announced that half of all vehicles in the United States should be electric by 2030.  The infrastructure bill includes $7.5 billion to build electric charging stations across the country.  In a PBS Newshour interview, Dan Becker, Director of the Safe Climate Transport Campaign at the Center of Biological Diversity, says that the bill expands loopholes and since standards are voluntary, the only way the automakers will uphold them is to require it by law.  He believes that President Biden should toughen the standards to reach long term climate goals.To see the full interview click here:  https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/why-the-white-house-is-pushing-for-more-electric-vehicles-on-the-road

 



Surprise, Surprise!  Michael Mann's New Book

Greenpeace Banner during the Obama Administration

Science wants to say we told you so.  Before there was the misinformation of the internet and scientists predicting that disasters wouldn't happen until 2050, there was Greenpeace, which began in 1975.

In Michael Mann's new book "The New Climate War," he says we need to act now to fight the effects of climate change.  Extreme heat waves in the United States and unprecedented floods in Germany.  Portions of the Amazon rainforest are emitting more carbon dioxide due to deforestation as extreme weather patterns continue to sweep the planet.  Author Michael Mann says it is crucial to include the clean energy standard in the infrastructure bill "which would require that utilities by 2030, provide as much as 80% of their energy, their power generation, from renewable sources. ... And we have to make sure that this package is passed and that that item stays in the bill, because this is the threat we face."  Look at Michael Mann's interview with Amy Goodman on July 16, 2021 on Democracy Now here:  https://www.democracynow.org/2021/7/16/michael_mann_the_new_climate_war





THANK YOU, BUT KEEP THE PRESSURE ON


Wednesday, May 26, 2021


The Hague, Netherlands ordered Royal Dutch Shell to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 45% by 2030. Thank you The Hague! Shell is contesting.



Wednesday, May 26, 2021


Chevron shareholders voted 61% to cut Scope 3 emissions at their annual investor meeting. Scope 3 emissions are larger than the 1 and 2 scopes combined and include all things that contribute to the carbon footprint such as:
1. Purchased goods and services 
2. Capital goods, investments, and franchises
3. Leased assets
4. Waste
5. Emissions from the use of a product or service sold.



Also, Wednesday, May 26, 2021

A small hedge fund called  “Engine No. 1” appointed two new members to the Board of Directors of Exxon. Kaisa Hietala who got Finnish refiner Neste into renewables and has been on the boards of investment giant Carlyle Group and packaging firm Smurfit Kappa Group. Gregory Goff, who bought a BP refinery when he was CEO at Andeavor before becoming an executive at Marathon Petroleum, is  “not considered status quo.” 

We are still waiting to hear from BP, the company that poured oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 5 months in 2010. Perhaps Mr. Goff can tell us if B P has even developed a  better way of capping wellheads and pipelines. Check out the National Geographic article “Ten Years Later BP oil spill continues to harm wildlife - especially dolphins.”

 

Lois Carlo & Joan Amato

 

 

 



F-150 Electric Truck Could Be a Game Changer for Auto Industry

The new Ford F-150 Lightning Electric Pickup Truck, unveiled on May 19, 2021, could revolutionize the auto industry.  The move to put electric vehicles on U.S. streets and highways is part of a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.  The Ford F-150 will be made in America, providing job opportunities while making the transition to renewable energy.  Learn more here:


GREEN Act Introduced by House Ways and Means Subcommittee



The Growing Renewable Energy and Efficiency Now (GREEN) Act was introduced by the Democratic membership of  the House Ways and Means Subcommittee in February 2021 to combat climate change.  Using the tax code, the bill uses federal tax incentives to promote the use of clean energy by businesses and individuals.  Among the major points is investment in a green taskforce by giving tax credits to insulation installations and manufacturing facilities.  Individuals will get tax credits for purchasing cars with zero emissions.   Electric vehicle charging infrastructure will be deployed to encourage the transition.

To learn more, read the article in Solar Industry Magazine:  https://solarindustrymag.com/house-ways-and-means-subcommittee-introduces-green-act




The Other Benefit of the Boom in Green Energy – Jobs


The following is an excerpt from The Week magazine, February 26, 2021.

“Renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and hydroelectricity are already overtaking fossil fuels as the dominant means of power generation in some parts of the developed world. In 2019, 72 percent of power plant additions utilized renewables, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). For the first time, the European Union generated more electricity (38 percent) from renewables in 2020 than from fossil fuels (37 percent). The U.S. still relies heavily upon oil (37 percent), natural gas (32 percent), and coal (11 percent), but the country is on pace this year to generate more energy from renewables than from coal. Overall, renewables now account for roughly 11 percent of U.S. energy production—with about a quarter of that derived from wind power, two-fifths from biofuels and hydroelectricity, and a tenth from solar. … While the price of coal power largely remained the same from 2009 to 2019, the price of solar power fell by 89 percent and onshore wind power by 70 percent… The boom in renewables has another economic benefit: It has created hundreds of thousands of jobs: About 446,000 Americans worked in the solar and wind industries as of 2019—more than double the 211,000 in coal mining and other methods of fossil-fuel extraction.”



Sea Turtles Being Rescued in Texas after Winter Storm

 

Following a major winter storm in Texas on February 15, 2021, volunteers went on foot and by boat to rescue thousands of sea turtles from frigid waters.  Since the water temperature dropped below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, the sea turtles went into a state called “cold stun.”  Unable to move, they are often killed by stranding or drowning.  An organization called Sea Turtle, Inc. on South Padre Island has taken in 4,500 turtles so far.  The company SpaceX delivered a commercial generator to the site so it would have enough electricity.  Hopefully, many of the turtles will be saved.  Learn more here:  https://www.npr.org/2021/02/17/968719492/volunteers-in-texas-are-saving-thousands-of-sea-turtles-from-the-st





Texas Power Problems after Storm Would Be Helped with Renewable Energy

 

After a major storm on February 15, 2021, Texas is dealing with record cold temperatures and power outages.  Texas has its own power grid, and its natural gas and coal fired power plants are not producing energy. It would help if the United States updated its infrastructure.  In an interview on PBS Newshour on February 16, 2021, Michael Wara of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment said that “we could certainly produce a lot more of our electric power from clean energy resources than we do today, and do it reliably and safely, if we had a more robust transmission system.”  Learn more here:  https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/millions-remain-without-power-in-frigid-temperatures-after-major-winter-storm




General Motors to go Carbon Neutral by 2040

 

In a step forward for electric vehicles and renewable energy, General Motors is planning to go carbon neutral by 2040. This change will happen in phases. In an interview on PBS Newshour on February 15, 2021, Dane Parker, Chief Sustainable Officer of General Motors, said that GM’s plan is to fully eliminate tailpipe emissions from all of their light-duty vehicles by 2035.  In four years, 30 electric car models will be for sale. Learn more here:  https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/how-general-motors-is-planning-to-become-carbon-neutral-by-2040

 




Great First Steps. President Biden Signs Executive Order on Climate Change

 

On January 27, 2021 President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order making climate change the center of his domestic and foreign policy initiatives.  The Order creates a White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy headed by Gina McCarthy to implement the policy agenda. We welcome Biden’s choice of John Kerry as the first Special Presidential Envoy for Climate.

Under President Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan, 1. Federal agencies will acquire pollution-free electricity and vehicles without emissions to stimulate growth in renewable energy and good paying union jobs for American workers; 2. A pause and review of federal oil and gas leases on public lands; Federal agencies will eliminate subsidies for fossil fuel and focus on ways to implement clean energy technology; the Secretary of Agriculture will work with farmers on practices to reduce the carbon footprint; 3. a White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council to identify and deliver 40 percent of federal investments to communities most impacted by the climate crisis; 4. a Presidential  Memorandum on Scientific Integrity that will include input from scientists and engineers to make decisions regarding the environment. 5. In addition, the President will host a Leaders Summit on Climate Change in April to work with other nations on the climate crisis.

 

Oil and gas industry workers will not be left behind.  They can immediately be working on capping open wells that leak oil and methane while transitioning to building solar panels and renewable infrastructures, ensuring jobs for every community across America. If solar panels are added to more highways, these jobs cannot be outsourced.

 

Envoy John Kerry said, "You can look at the consequences of black lung for a miner, for instance, and measure that against the fastest growing job in the United States before Covid, was solar power technician. The same people can do those jobs, but the choice of doing the solar power one now is a better choice.”  He pointed out that $265 billion was spent on the cleanup for three hurricanes:  Irma, Harvey, and Maria.  Money is being spent now, but not in a way that will sustain us in the future.  Therefore, the money the federal government will spend on climate change policy does make financial sense.

 

We applaud President Biden’s decision to boost our economy by a transition to renewable energies like wind and solar.

Learn more:  https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/01/27/fact-sheet-president-biden-takes-executive-actions-to-tackle-the-climate-crisis-at-home-and-abroad-create-jobs-and-restore-scientific-integrity-across-federal-government/

 

For reactions: Check out the interview on PBS news hour with Judy Woodruff between the Mayor of Pittsburgh William Peduto and Midland Texas Mayor Patrick Payton. The Mayor of Pittsburgh is one of 8 American mayors to present an American Marshall Plan to invest in areas that will be hardest hit from the transformation to renewable technology.

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/two-mayors-offer-starkly-different-views-on-bidens-climate-policies

 

Our intention is to be an information highway, not to demonize anyone. The private sector must be part of the green transition. Exxon may not go quietly into renewables, but believe us, move their subsidies and they will follow the money. They invested heavily into gas 10 years ago when hydrofracturing, sold to us as the interim energy source, became a lucrative investment.  "Shale Gas is Going to Rock the World", May 10, 2010, The Journal Report.

 

Lois Carlo & Joan Amato

Solar Panel Highways

 

 



Federal Court Denies Approval of Offshore Oil Facility Drilling in the Arctic

 

Broadcast on Democracy Now, December 9, 2020.

 

A federal appeals court has rejected the Trump administration’s attempt to construct the first offshore oil production facility in federal Arctic waters.  A nine-acre artificial island would be built so an oil company could begin drilling for oil in the Beaufort Sea.  We don’t need to build islands for drilling, we need to create floats so that polar bears can survive.




Indigenous Water Protectors Protest Enbridge Pipeline

Indigenous water protectors have held a sit-in protest and other actions against the construction of the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota.  The pipeline, which activists say violates U.S. treaties, would carry 750,000 barrels of oil a day, polluting the ecosystems in the region.



 

Climate Emergency Declared by New Zealand

New Zealand declared a climate emergency on December 2, 2020.  Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that “It acts as a catalyst for change.” The government will be carbon neutral by 2025. 



 

Goldman Environmental Prize Winners Announced

The winners of the 2020 Goldman Environmental Prize were announced on December 1, 2020.  Among those honored are:  Kristal Ambrose of the Bahamas, who pressured the government to ban single-use plastics; Chibeze Ezekiel, National Coordinator of 350 Ghana Producing Our Carbon; Indigenous activist Nemonte Nenquino who fought to protect the Ecuadorian Amazon from oil extraction; and Leydy Pech, a beekeeper and Indigenous Mayan woman who advocates sustainable development practices for Mayan communities in Mexico.

 



Climate Lawsuit Against Shell in the Netherlands

Friends of the Earth and six other environmental organizations are suing Shell, along with 17,000 Dutch nationals.  The Netherlands has a plan to phase out fossil fuels, and the plaintiffs want Shell to reduce carbon emissions. Learn more:  https://www.npr.org/2020/12/01/940717012/climate-case-against-shell-begins-in-the-netherlands



 

 


Good News! Innovation in Portable Wind Turbines on Lampposts Can Generate Electricity on Motorways

Posted on intelligentliving.co, Luana Steffen, October 16, 2020.

 

Barry Thompson, UK Businessman and CEO of Alpha 311, has developed wind turbines that fit around lampposts.  These will be used to power lights on motorways and generate electricity from traffic.  The energy produced could be enough to sell back to the grid. This innovation could help the United Kingdom achieve its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.  Learn more here:  https://www.intelligentliving.co/amp/wind-turbines-lamp-posts/

 



Exxon Has No Plan to Curtail Carbon Emissions


This excerpt appeared in The Week magazine, Business column, October 16, 2020, page 32.

"Internal documents reveal that Exxon Mobil projected it would "increase annual carbon dioxide emissions by as much as the output of Greece," said Kevin Crowley and Akshat Rathi in Bloomberg.com.  The leaked emissions estimates predate the Covid-19 epidemic, which has reduced oil demand.  But unlike rivals BP and Shell, "the largest U.S. oil producer has never made a commitment to lower oil and gas output or set a date by which it will become carbon neutral."  Instead, Exxon has projected its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions will rise by 17 percent over the next five years as it pursues an "ambitious growth plan."





A 'Super Enzyme' That Eats Plastic


This excerpt appeared in The Week magazine, Health & Science, October 16, 2020, page 22.

Scientists in the U.K.have developed a cocktail of enzymes that can break down plastic much more quickly than current methods, a possible game changer for recycling. ... The new "super enzyme" is a combination of PETase-an enzyme previously shown to break down plastic-and another enzyme called MHETase.  When these are stitched together, the scientists found, the speed of the breakdown increased sixfold over when PETase is used alone.  The process leaves behind the building blocks of plastic, which can be used over and over again."




Top Official at NOAA Disputes Human Activity Drives Climate Change


This excerpt appeared in The Week magazine, September 25, 2020, page 18.

"A scientist with a history of disputing that human activity is driving climate change has been appointed to a top post at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which oversees federally funded climate research. New NOAA official David Legates is affiliated with the conservative Heartland Institute and has had research funded by Exxon Mobil and Koch Industries. NPR.org

 



Maybe it’s time for ExxonMobil to go solar before they frack every rose garden

On August 25, 2020, "The Dow Jones industrial average kicked out ExxonMobil, the index's oldest member, in its biggest shake-up in seven years, said Sarah Ponczek and Katherine Greifeld in Bloomberg.com. The rejection marks a "stunning fall from grace" for Exxon, the world's biggest company as recently as 2011. It has been part of the Dow index since 1928, when it was called Standard Oil of New Jersey." The Week.

Antonia Juhasz, author and journalist, says in her latest article "The End of Oil is Near" August 24, 2020, Sierra Magazine: "By 2019, the fossil fuel industry ranked dead last among major investment sectors in the United States....the U.S. oil and gas industry was in debt to the tune of $200 billion, largely because of struggling small fracking companies."  https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/2020-5-september-october/feature/end-oil-near  The first CARES Act had a corporate tax loophole for the oil and gas companies that the Democrats are attempting to leave out of the second stimulus. Antonia Juhasz was interviewed on this subject by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now. https://www.democracynow.org/2020/9/2/the_end_of_oil 


The Labor Department gets political

In July 2020, the Labor Department which sets the rules for retirement accounts, and is headed by President Trump appointee Eugene Scalia (2019) proposed to bar retirement managers from “making investments based on environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations”.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_Scalia

 

Meanwhile, our government has subsidized the fossil fuel industry for decades, President Trump wants to buy oil which is parked on tankers at sea, ( "Disaster Capitalism", Naomi Klein) and fracking companies are going bankrupt. Even before COVID 19 renewable companies were out hiring and competing with coal and hydraulic fracking companies. In 2017, renewable energy already employed more than three quarters of a million Americans. Nadja Popovich, “Today’s Energy Jobs Are In Solar, Not Coal”, New York Times, April 25,2017www.nytimes.com/interactive2017/04/25/climate/todays-energy-jobs-are-in-solar-not-coal.html?mcubz=1&_r=0.


"In the United States, solar power now employs more than oil, coal, and gas combined.  A 2017 study by the International Renewable Energy Agency showed that investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency would add nearly 1 percent to the global gross domestic product by 2050 – that’s a boost of $19 trillion, not to mention millions of new jobs.  The facts are undeniable: The renewable revolution is already under way and is economically effective and potentially more inclusive."  “2017 U.S. Energy and Employment Report,” U.S. Department of Energy, January 2017, www.energy.gov/downloads/ -us-energy-and-employment-report    Mary Robinson, 2018, Climate Justice, Bloomsbury Publishing. The latest 2019 report from the U.S. Department of Energy is 48 pages, if you have the stamina to read it.  USEER_EPG_ Chapter.pdf.  The Clean Jobs America annual report bragged that 3.3 million workers were employed in 2019.https://e2.org/reports/clean-jobs-america-2020/ Yes, there have been jobs lost in renewable energies too, but renewable industries have grown with little or no help from the U.S. government.


We believe that the ESGs are a good investment for retirement fund managers focusing on investment returns AND social good. https://theweek.com/print/484222/121116/investing-should-401k-promote-social-goals   It’s politics to assert pressure on fund managers with “unlawful” rule passing. Tell your representatives that we’re not falling for it!

September 2, 2020: Senator Ed Markey, (D.Mass), proponent of the Green New Deal, won his primary against Joseph Kennedy III.

Lois Carlo & Joan Amato

Solar Panel Highways







Greta Thunberg Wins Gulbenkian Prize

On July 21, 2020, environmentalist Greta Thunberg was awarded the Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity.  She will be donating all earnings from the $1.15 milion award to environmental groups.  One hundred and fourteen thousand dollars will go to SOS Amazonia, an organization that is fighting the coronavirus pandemic in indigenous territories of the Amazon; another $114,000 to the Stop Ecocide Foundation, whose mission is to make environmental destruction an international crime.  The rest will go to organizations that are helping those on the front lines of the climate crisis.

 




First Cross Country Electric Vehicle Charging Route in U.S is Complete

The following is an excerpt from The Week magazine, July 10/July 17, 2020, page 20, Technology.

"The first cross-country electric vehicle charging route is complete, said Sasha Lekach in Mashable.com.  Electrify America has finished its network of EV chargers "every 70 miles on the 2,700 mile journey" from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles along Interstates 15 and 70.  "The best part" is that the route "includes super-fast chargers at public stations recharging cars at speeds up to 350 kilowatts."  At that rate, it takes roughly 20 minutes for a full recharge "with the average electric vehicle boasting a range of about 200 miles."  Tesla already has a super-charger network connecting most of the country, but Electrify America's initiative is a breakthrough for owners of other EVs.  A second route will connect Jacksonville, Fla., and San Diego by September."



New Report Says Solar is Growing Rapidly in U.S. Cities
The top five U.S. cities for solar are: Los Angeles, San Diego, Honolulu, Phoenix, and San Antonio.
According to an article posted on "Smart Cities Dive", on May 28, 2020 by Chris Teale, "Fifty U.S. cities have more than doubled their total installer solar photovoltaic capacity since 2013."


Breakthrough In Effort to Save Coral Reefs

Great News!  The Florida Aquarium has made a major breakthrough in the effort to save the Florida Reef tract from extinction.  Its scientists are the first in the world to reproduce ridged cactus coral in human care.



A Bacterium That Eats Plastic

The following is an excerpt from The Week magazine, April 17, 2020, Health & Science.

 

“In what could be a breakthrough in the battle against plastic pollution, German scientists say they have identified a bacterium that feeds on polyurethane. Discovered in the soil of a site covered in plastic waste, the as-yet unnamed species of Pseudomonas is the only organism known to attack polyurethane, which is used in everyday items including diapers, sneakers, and foam insulation. Millions of tons of the plastic are produced each year, with much of it ending up in landfill because it is so difficult to recycle, reports The Guardian (U.K.). …  When scientists fed the bacterium chemical components of polyurethane in the lab, it used the compounds as a source of carbon, nitrogen, and energy. …  if researchers can identify and produce the enzymes that cause this biochemical reaction, the bacterium could one day be used to biodegrade discarded plastic on a much larger scale. Lead author Hermann Heipieper says the findings are “an important step in being able to reuse hard-to-recycle polyurethane products.”




Happy Holidays from Solar Panel Highways!  Stay well!



Imagine What a Year of 50% Renewable Energy Could Accomplish

Let's Stop Subsidizing Fossil Fuel

Here is an excerpt from TheGuardian.com that appeared in The Week magazine, page 16, April 3, 2020.

Airborne pollution over China and Europe has plunged as industry and traffic slow amid the coronavirus pandemic, satellite imagery shows.  In northern Italy, levels of nitrogen dioxide, which is produced by car engines, power plants, and other industries, have fallen by 40 percent since the country locked down on March 9.  In Venice, the once opaque canals have become clear enough to see fish swimming.



Floating Solar Panels in Peru

Good News!  A Peruvian engineer, Juansergio Castro, is using solar panel technology to help irrigation of the soil in the Chullpia region of Peru.  He invented a method to take water from the lagoon and use it to irrigate nearby pastures.  Thirty-four solar panels attached to a metal and rubber structure travel the lagoon daily.   The energy created by solar panels powers an engine that fills up eleven reservoirs, and the area now has water all year long.

Read more: https://stories.undp.org/floating-solar-panels-restore-life-to-peruvian-soil



Hopeful or Not?

 

The following is an excerpt from The Week magazine, January 17, 2020, page 38.

 

Big Tech can still save us… Kara Swisher from The New York Times

  “The next decade in tech could be a lot better than you expect, said Kara Swisher. I’ve been a strong critic of the industry, for good reason. But there are also “big, positive ideas that I think you will hear a lot more about in the coming years.” I predict that more tech investors will turn their attention toward combating climate change—as Bill Gates already has. “There are many areas to explore, including battery storage, renewables, software and artificial intelligence to help us understand climate data, the food ecosystem, and even the way we construct our buildings.” I’m also convinced “there is money to be made in appealing to our weariness with how our tech lives have been shaped.” The savviest tech entrepreneurs will create new forms of communication that eliminate toxicity and anonymity and finally “give the advantage to users.” Lastly, there is yet another opportunity to push for gadgets that will take us away from the screen instead of feeding screen addiction. By 2030, “carrying around a device in our hand and staring at it will be a thing of the past.” Tech instead will surround us, incorporated into our daily lives, invisible as the electric grid.”



Greta Thunberg Gives Speech at COP25 Climate Summit in Madrid


After being named Time Magazine's Person of the Year, Greta Thunberg gave a speech on December 12, 2019 at the Climate Summit in Madrid. She called out world leaders on their inaction on the climate crisis:  "There is no sense of urgency whatsoever.  Our leaders are not behaving as if we were in an emergency."  She says she sees hope from "the people who have been unaware but are now starting to wake up....People are ready for change."

You can read all of Greta's speech at:

https://www.democracynow.org/2019/12/12/greta_thunberg_speech_cop_time_magazine






Greta Thunberg arrives in New York on Boat powered by Solar Panels


Climate change activist Greta Thunberg arrived in New York City on August 28, 2019 aboard a 60-foot racing yacht covered in solar panels. Thunberg will attend a massive climate march planned for New York City on September 20, 2019. She will also attend the COP25 summit in December.


In an interview on Democracy Now on August 29, 2019, Greta Thunberg says,"my message to all the activists: to just keep going...if you try hard enough and long enough, you will make a difference. And if enough people stand together, fight for the right thing, then anything can happen".


Read more of Amy Goodman's interview with Greta Thunberg here:

https://www.democracynow.org/2019/8/29/greta_thunberg_nyc_climate_activists







Great News!  Ethiopia Has Planted More Than 350 Million Trees


This is an excerpt from The Week magazine, August 9, 2019.


Ethiopians have smashed a world record by planting more than 350 million tree seedlings in just 12 hours.  In the early 20th century, 35 percent of the country was covered in forest, but by the beginning of this century, that figure had fallen to 4 percent.  Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has made reforestation a central goal of his government.  The deep roots of native trees help combat the desertification caused by drought - a frequent occurrence in Ethiopia - by binding the soil and bringing groundwater to the surface, helping other plants with shallower root systems.  





New York Bans Offshore Drilling


On April 29, 2019 Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation banning offshore drilling in New York State waters.  The Trump Administration had announced a plan to open nearly all of the country's offshore waters to drilling. Governor Cuomo's bill prohibits leasing for oil and gas exploration.






Give Mother Nature a Chance


This is an excerpt from The Week magazine, page 6, May 3, 2019.


"Cleveland's Cuyahoga River, which was named America's "River of the Year" for 2019- 50 years after the then-pollution-clogged waterway caught fire and helped inspire the Clean Water Act.  The Cuyahoga's turnaround is "a national success story," said Bob Irvin, president of American Rivers."





Elizabeth Warren Stands Up for the Environment


On April 16, 2019, Elizabeth Warren said on her first day in office she will ban any new fossil fuel drilling on public lands or waters.  In a post on Medium, she stated:

"We must not allow corporations to pillage our public lands.  America's public lands belong to all of us.  We should start acting like it."




Bill McKibben Praises Solar Power


In his new book Falter author and environmental activist  Bill McKibben of 350.org talks about the significance of solar power. On Democracy Now on April 15, 2019, McKibben said:

"I think there were two great inventions of the 20th century that might just save us in the 21st.  The first was the solar panel. ... I mean, you put a sheet of glass at the sun, and out the back flows light and communications and modernity."

You can read more of Bill McKibben's interview here:

https://www.democracynow.org/2019/4/15/falter_in_new_book_bill_mckibben



Patagonia to Wall Street:  Go Green


The following is an excerpt from The Week magazine, page 32, April 19, 2019.


A panic erupted on Wall Street this week when Patagonia announced it would sell its custom-made vests only to "mission-driven companies," said Akane Otani in The Wall Street Journal. ... when a financial communications firm recently placed an order for co-branded vests, it was denied.  Patagonia, long a paragon of social awareness, said those hedge funds or banks hoping to make a purchase have to convince it that "they are helping turn America green-and not just by making money."






Midwestern Floods the Result of Climate Change


In mid-March 2019, flooding across the Midwestern United States has been unprecedented.  In addition to farmers, Native American communities have been hit hard and declared states of emergency.  In his new book, "Our History is the Future", Lakota historian Nick Estes talks about indigenous resistance and how Native American communities have been in the forefront of combating climate change.

Read the interview here:  https://www.democracynow.org/2019/3/22/water_is_life_midwestern_floods_threaten






United States still on track to meet President Obama's Climate Goals


Despite the efforts of the Trump Administration to rollback the requirements of the Clean Power Plan, the U.S. is still on track to meet it's targets.  According to The Week magazine in late December 2018, "the power sector's carbon dioxide emissions have fallen 28 percent since 2005, ahead of schedule to meet the Clean Power Plan goal of reducing emissions by 32 percent before 2030."  This is good news for all who are concerned about climate change and its effects.






President Trump Rolls Back  EPA Protections


In 2018, President Trump attempted to overturn President Obama's climate initiatives and gutted the EPA by appointing corrupt heads and former fossil fuel executives.  See Eric Liption's article in The New York Times on lack of oversight.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/26/us/trump-environment-regulation-rollbacks.html





Green New Deal Proposed by Rep.elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez faces challenge from other Democrats


Rep. elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal proposal was blocked by Democrats even though 81 percent of registered voters would have supported the policies outlined in the Green New Deal resolution. Kathy Castor, democrat of Florida voted it down as unconstitutional since it would prevent those representatives supporting fossil fuel subsidies from sitting on the committee.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/kathy-castor-climate_us_5c1c0843e4b08aaf7a869cfd





Greta Thunberg of Sweden fights to combat climate change at UN


15 year old climate activist Greta Thunberg of Sweden spoke at the UN in NYC as well as the Climate conference in Katowice, Poland in December.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/16/world/greta-thunberg-cop24/index.html





Climate Summit in Katowice, Poland 


The Climate Summit in Katowice, Poland began on December 10, 2018. Costa Rica provides a good example to countries around the world wanting to transition to green energy.  Costa Rica now gets over 90% of its electricity from renewable energy.  You can learn more about this here:  

https://www.democracynow.org/2018/12/13/fossil_free_costa_rica_how_one




Yanis Varoufakis and Bernie Sanders launch Progressive International

Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and Bernie Sanders of Progressive International advocate a “Green New Deal” a transition to green energy and quality jobs.

https://www.democracynow.org/2018/12/7/progressive_international_yanis_varoufakis_bernie_sanders




Winona LaDuke of "Honor the Earth" Fighting Against the Enbridge Pipeline


Check out the Democracy Now interview with Winona LaDuke of “Honor the Earth”.  Her organization won’t quit fighting against the Enbridge pipeline in Minnesota.

https://www.democracynow.org/2018/12/7/winona_laduke_calls_for_indigenous_led






Hurricane Florence makes landfall in the Carolinas and Virginia


Hurricane Florence hit the Carolinas and Virginia on September 14, 2018.  As of September 17, 17 people have been killed and more than 30 inches of rain have fallen in parts of North Carolina.  More flooding is expected this week.  Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected by the storm.









Global Climate Action Summit Faces Protests


On September 14, 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown's Global Climate Action Summit began.  Protestors for climate justice and people from indigenous communities staged protests.  They are demanding that Governor Brown ban fracking and stop cap and trade.  








Climate Change and its Effect on Hurricanes


Hurricane Florence is set to make landfall on September 14, 2018.  More than a million people have been ordered to evacuate the coasts of Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Michael Mann, Director of the Earth Science Project at Penn State University, believes hurricanes such as Florence, have a link to climate change.  Climate change influences the jet stream so storms do not get pushed out to sea; more devastation occurs since the storms linger. Read the interview here:


https://www.democracynow.org/2018/9/11/climate_change_supercharges_hurricane_florence_as





In Puerto Rico, Solar Power Keeps Going



During Hurricane Maria, Casa Pueblo, a community and ecology center, maintained power.  The home was built over twenty years ago with solar panels.  Many areas still are without power six months after the hurricane.

Right now, there is a battle waging for controlling the recovery efforts and if power will be restored using solar energy or oil and gas.  Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine, discussed this subject on Democracy Now, March 21, 2018. You can read more here:  https://www.democracynow.org/2018/3/21/the_battle_for_paradise_naomi_klein




Trump Places 30% Tariff on Imported Solar Panels


President Trump announced on January 23, 2018 import tariffs on crystalline silicon photovoltaic (CSPV) cells and modules starting at 30 percent, with an annual exemption for the first 2.5 GW of imported solar cells.  The tariffs were designed to help domestic manufacturers, but they are expected to ultimately hurt American companies and their workers. Raising the cost of one important element could make solar power less competitive with other sources of energy, resulting in construction of fewer solar projects.

Read more:  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/23/us/politics/trump-solar-tariffs.html


Contact your congressperson and tell them to find other ways to support the solar manufacturers instead of imposing 30% solar tariffs.







China's New Towering Air Purifier Powered by Solar Energy


The following is an excerpt from The Week, January 26, 2018. page 9.


China has built a 330-foot-tall experimental air purifier to scrub pollution from the air in the city of Xi'an, and early tests suggest it's working.  Polluted air is suctioned into greenhouses heated by solar energy at the base of the tower, and the warm air then rises through layers of cleansing filters before exiting out the top.  The scientist leading the project, Cao Junji, said the air in a 4-mile radius around the tower was now markedly less polluted.  Xi'an is one of China's most ancient cities and has some of the worst air quality in the country, because of its coal-fired heating systems.  "In autumn and winter, the pollution is so severe in Xi'an that we have to wear masks and use air cleaners all the time," said one resident.




President Trump Expands Offshore Oil Drilling 


President Trump announced on January 11, 2018 that he would reverse Obama-era restrictions that would open more than a billion acres of water in the United States to offshore oil and gas drilling.  The only state exempt from this policy is Florida, led by Trump's political ally Governor Rick Scott.  Now governors of many states are voicing their opposition to the plan.





Mayor de Blasio takes on oil companies in lawsuit to fight climate change


On January 9, 2018, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced New York would be suing five major oil companies for billions of dollars worth of damages to pay for effects of climate change.


The lawsuit alleges that the oil companies - BP, Chevron, Conoco Phillips, Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell - hid conclusions of their own scientists that burning fossil fuels caused climate change.  NYC will be spending billions of dollars to deal with the consequences of climate change, like the effects of Hurricane Sandy, and is seeking to hold the companies responsible to pay for those costs.  


Also, NYC is seeking to divest its pension funds from fossil fuels.  City Comptroller Scott Stringer said the goal was to complete the divestment within five years.


Read more:  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/10/nyregion/new-york-city-fossil-fuel-divestment.html







President Trump Announces Shrinking of Bears Ears National Monument


On December 8, 2017, President Trump announced that the boundaries of the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah would be reduced by 85 percent.  Bears Ears is a site dotted with Native American sites.  Following the announcement, five Native American tribes filed a lawsuit against the administration, saying that the President was "attempting to, in effect, abolish the Bears Ears National Monument."  Many conservation groups are opposed to the administration's drive to open public lands for mining and other uses.

Read more:  https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/12/08/climate/bears-ears-monument-trump.html







Senator Ed Markey On Trump's Denial of Climate Change


At the climate change conference in Bonn, Germany, Senator Ed Markey and other U.S. senators and mayors are staging an anti-Trump revolt.  These members of the U.S. Delegation who oppose Trump are speaking out, declaring "We Are Still In"; that there are politicians, companies, and individuals who will move forward to meet the goal the United States agreed to in the Paris accord.  There are existing federal laws that Ed Markey says they will "make it very difficult for the president to roll back any of these standards." 

Read more:  https://www.democracynow.org/2017/11/13/sen_markey_on_trumps_climate_denier






After Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico may get solar energy


Half of Puerto Rico lacks clean water and nearly 90% of the island is without electricity three weeks after Hurricane Maria.  The power industry wants to privatize Puerto Rico's electric company, which is the largest public utility in the United States.  The CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, says he could help Puerto Rico regain their power with solar energy.  Other solar organizations are also willing to help.  If solar is brought to Puerto Rico, it would help the country get back on its feet faster and be a victory for the solar industry.

Read more:  https://www.democracynow.org/2017/10/11/puerto_rico_3_weeks_after_hurricane






Trump Repeals Obama-Era Carbon Emissions Rule


EPA Chief Scott Pruitt announced on October 10, 2017 that the administration will end President Obama's Clean Power Plan.  The plan would have reduced greenhouse gas emissions in part by decommissioning coal-fired power plants.  Environmentalists have spoken out against Trump's decision.





Hurricane Maria Hits Puerto Rico


Hurricane Maria made landfall on September 20, 2017 as a Category 4 hurricane.  There has been catastrophic flooding and record rainfall.  Power is out in the country and is not expected to be restored for a month. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims.


There is concern about environmental pollutants affecting the island's soil and water in wake of the storm.  

Read more here: https://www.democracynow.org/2017/9/21/environmental_disaster_looms_in_puerto_rico





Oil Spill in Greece Labeled "An Ecological Disaster"


On September 14, 2017, the oil tanker Agia Zoni II sunk off Salamina Island in Greece.  The vessel carried 2,500 tons of fuel oil and marine gas.  The oil spill extends from Salamina Island to the Athens coast.  Beaches have been closed, and oil slicked birds and other animals have been seen.  Right now, steps are being taken to seal the vessel's cargo hold to prevent further leakage into the sea. It could take about four months to clean up the spill.  

Read more:  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/14/greek-oil-spill-forces-closure-athens-beaches



Hurricane Irma Hits Florida


On September 10, 2017 Hurricane Irma, a Category 4 Hurricane, hit the Florida coast, causing major flooding and the biggest evacuation in U.S. history. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims.  Elizabeth Kolbert, a writer for The New Yorker magazine, says we should be talking about the connections between climate change and storms like Hurricane Irma. Read more here: https://www.democracynow.org/2017/9/11/elizabeth_kolbert_an_honest_conversation_about





Chemical Plant in Crosby, Texas Explodes


Following the Arkema explosion, authorities have tried to reassure the public.  But how safe are the residents?   On September 1, 2017, Matt Dempsey of the Houston Chronicle talked about the chemicals being stored at these plants. https://www.democracynow.org/2017/9/1/should_texas_residents_know_the_chemicals


On August 31, 2017 the Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, Texas was rocked by two explosions. Highly volatile chemicals known as organic peroxides were released into the air.  


Hilton Kelley, winner of the 2011 Goldman prize for his activism fighting for the communities living around chemical plants in Port Arthur and the Texas Gulf Coast, talks about the impact of the storm on the area.

Read the interview here: https://www.democracynow.org/2017/8/31/surrounded_by_oil_refineries_port_arthur








Evacuation in Crosby, Texas Following Hurricane Harvey


On August 30, 2017 residents of Crosby, Texas were evacuated following fears a chemical plant could explode.  Chemicals from the factory damaged by Hurricane Harvey have already been released into the atmosphere.  Bryan Parras, organizer with Sierra Club's Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign and the group Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services, talks about pollution and the environmental impact of Hurricane Harvey on the Houston area.

Read more here: https://www.democracynow.org/2017/8/30/environmental_crisis_unfolding_in_Houston_as#transcript


James Hansen, ex Nasa scientist, warned about the dangers of climate change back in 1988.  He talks about the effects of climate change fueling storms like Hurricane Harvey.

Read the interview here: https://www.democracynow.org/2017/8/30/ex_nasa_scientist_james_hansen_there




Hurricane Harvey Devastation


On August 25, 2017 Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, Texas bringing record amounts of rainfall.  So far, 66 lives have been lost and the death toll could rise.  Our thoughts and prayers are with all who are affected by the storm.


Climate change is fueling storms like Harvey.  The flooding is unprecendented and the storm has been described as apocalyptic.

https://www.democracynow.org/2017/8/28/as_catastrophic_flooding_hits_houston_fears




New Innovation in Solar


This article appeared in The Week, June 9, 2017.


"Despite places like Australia being bathed in sun, the cost of traditional silicon-based solar cells hasn't inspired people to buy,"...said Johnny Lieu in Mashable.com.  But new superthin, printable solar panels could bring the price of rooftop solar power down dramatically.  Researchers at the University of Newcastle in Australia are testing solar cells that use electronic inks printed on plastic film to conduct electricity. The panels are less than one-tenth of a millimeter thick and can be printed quickly in large quantities.  Eventually, the panels could cost as little as $8 per square meter, says Newcastle professor Paul Dastoor, who is leading the project.  That's considerably less than Tesla's new solar roof shingles, which run around $235 a square meter.  "We expect in a short period of time the energy we generate will be cheaper than that generated via coal-based fire stations," Dastoor said.





EPA Overhauls Scientific Board


This article appeared in The Week magazine, May 19, 2017. 

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt dismissed half of the members on a key scientific advisory board last week, part of an overhaul of the way the EPA approaches the science and research that underpin regulations. All nine of those removed from the 18-member Board of Scientific Counselors, which is typically composed of academic scientists, had completed their three-year terms, though these terms are often renewed.  The outgoing members had advised the agency on issues including toxic water pollution, climate change, and chemical safety.  They are expected to be replaced by industry-aligned advisers.  An EPA spokesman said Pruitt was simply seeking "a clean break with the last administration's approach."




U.S. Senators Call for 100% Renewable Energy by 2050

On April 28, 2017, Senators Jeff Merkley and Bernie Sanders proposed landmark climate change legislation to transition the United States to 100% clean and renewable energy by 2050. The plan is also endorsed by Senators Edward Markey and Cory Booker.

This means an economy without fossil fuels - no coal, natural gas, or oil.  Time is of the essence since 
the effects of climate change can be seen everywhere. But it can be done.  Senator Edward Markey stated,"It is no longer a question of if we can power our country with 100% renewable energy-it is a question of when...And we have 100 percent of the technological capacity to achieve this goal."  (Quote from Solar Industry Magazine, April 28, 2017). 

Why wait?  We need to get started as soon as possible on powering our country with  renewable energy.  Let's contact our representatives in Washington and let them know we want them to act on this legislation today.




Executive Order Signed by Donald Trump Dismantles Rules to Fight Climate Change

On March 29, 2017 President Trump signed an Executive Order to undo climate regulations
 approved by President Obama.  The purpose of President Obama's Clean Power Plan was to limit plant emissions and replace coal-fired power plants with solar and wind energy.  It would be dangerous to continue using fossil fuels due to their harmful effects on people and the environment.  Let's contact our representatives in Washington and let them know we want the transition to renewable energy to continue.


Activists Protest Dakota Access Pipeline


On March 10, 2017 thousands of Native American activists marched to the White House to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes brought a lawsuit to halt the last stage of construction of the pipeline.  They say it would pollute the Missouri River, which is a a main source of drinking water.  A few days before the protest, a federal judge had ruled against the lawsuit.

We will update you as to the latest developments in this story.




Cut and Paste Pruitt is Now Head of the EPA


Thousands of recently released emails reveal the close ties between the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency and the fossil fuel industry when he was Oklahoma's Attorney General.  They 

include a collaboration between oil and gas companies backed by the Koch brothers and Devon Energy, an oil and gas exploration company in Oklahoma City. He was also in touch with conservative groups, and talking about how to combat federal environmental regulations.






Solar Energy being Used to Power an Entire Island


On T'au, an island in American Samoa, a microgrid was built that can supply almost 100% of the

 island's power with solar energy.  The project, a collaboration between Tesla and Solar City, combined 5,300 solar panels and 60 Tesla powerpacks.  This represents a major step forward in the use of solar and renewable energy projects.





Construction Halted on Dakota Access Pipeline


On December 4, 2016 the Army Corps of Engineers said they will not approve permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline to drill under the Missouri river.  It is a victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and environmentalists who have been protesting the pipeline since September 2016.  The Standing Rock Sioux said the pipeline would threaten the water and Native American sacred sites.




Solar Panels on Roads to be Built Across Four Continents


Bouygues SA is constructing solar panels for roads that will be used on 100 test sites.  There are plans to commercialize the technology in early 2018.   Learn more: 

Look at our Also of Interest page for the video featuring Scott Brusaw's Solar Roadways.  Brusaw, an electrical engineer, built the first solar panels for roads in 2010.





Standing Rock Protesters Attacked by Police


On November 21, 2016, police attacked protesters of the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock.  The activists and indigenous people  were attacked at night in temperatures of 26F.  Water hoses and tear gas were used. The video below shows water cannons being used against the protesters. 






Standing Rock Sioux Pediatrician Opposes Dakota Access Pipeline

The protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline continues.  Native American and environmental activists have been at the site since early September 2016.

Dr. Sara Jumping Eagle, a pediatrician and member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, calls the threat from fracking chemicals "environmental genocide."  The city of Bismarck, North Dakota was deemed not safe for the pipeline, and then the companies decided to place it near Native land.  She spoke with Democracy Now on October 18, 2016 about the dangers of fracking and the importance of changing to renewable energy. 

 

 http://www.democracynow.org/2016/10/18/standing_rock_sioux_pediatrician_threat_from





Jill Stein: "I Approve Of This Message"

Native American tribes and environmentalists are protesting against the Dakota Access pipeline.  Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee for President, joined the protest and spray painted the words "I approve of this message" on a bulldozer.  This action led to a warrant for her arrest on misdemeanor charges.
Over 1,000 people from more than 100 tribes from across the U.S. and Canada have protested the pipeline's construction for months near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.  They say the pipeline threatens sacred sites and drinking water.  On September 9, 2016, the Army Corps asked Dakota Access to stop construction 20 miles east and west of the Missouri River.
Native American activist Winona LaDuke, who is participating in the protest, stated on Democracy
Now, that "it's time to move on from fossil fuels. ... these guys don't need a pipeline. ...  What they need is solar."
 
Read the complete interview with Winona LaDuke here:

Imagine if solar panels were being placed in the area, subject to Native approval.  It would be a
resource of clean energy that would ensure the area would be safe for future generations.



Target to Install Solar Panels on its Stores

 
 
   
   
   
   
The superstore chain Target has announced plans to install solar panels on a quarter of its stores by 2020. This represents a victory for advocates of renewable energy.  Hopefully, Target will install solar panels on all of its stores.





France to Pave Over 600 Miles of Roads with Solar Panels

Over the next five years, France will be paving its roads with solar panels. This project will provide about 8% of the country's population with low-cost and renewable power.






Solar Will Be Used to Power Space Satellite

This is an excerpt from The Week magazine, Health & Science column, page 21.
 
About two years from now, NASA will send a shoebox-size satellite into space propelled entirely by an ultrathin "solar sail."  
...the probe will break off on its own to survey a distant asteriod.  Known as the Near-Earth Asteriod Scout, it uses its sail to draw power from sunlight-a vast improvement over rockets, which eventually burn up their fuel.  When light particles bounce off the sail's mirror-like surface, that pushes the Scout forward, accelerating the mini-satellite to 63,975 mph and enabling it to reach its destination in two and a half years.





Good News!
Energy Storage Batteries are on the Verge of a Breakthrough!

This will lead to more widespread use of renewable energies such as wind and solar.

Photo: bbc.com

California Gas Leak Worst Disaster Since BP Oil Spill

The infrared photo above captures the methane gas polluting Southern California since late October 2015.  Many people have been evacuated from the area.





Don Ryan/Associated Press


Greenpeace Activists Dangle From Oregon Bridge for 2nd Day to 

Protest Arctic Drilling


The following article by Christine Hauser was posted on The New York Times website, July 31, 2015. 


Activists who have spent more than 24 hours dangling from an Oregon bridge to protest Shell’s plans to drill 

in the Arctic vowed to sustain their human barricade, after they joined kayakers in the water below to block an icebreaking ship from leaving Portland.


Some of the 13 activists from Greenpeace are providing live updates from their swaying bivouacs beneath the 

St. Johns Bridge, where they unfurled banners and stayed roped together to form a blockade as helpers on the bridge lowered supplies in sacks.


According to the Greenpeace blog, the icebreaker Fennica leased by Shell was prevented on Wednesday 

from joining the rest of the drilling fleet in the Arctic. Unless it does so, the company will be unable to proceed with drilling in the Chukchi Sea. The vessel is carrying a piece of equipment that is used to cap an oil well in the event of a blowout.


A Shell spokesman, Curtis Smith, told the Associated Press: “As for the activities of the day, we respect the choice that anyone might make to protest based on Shell’s Arctic aspirations; we just ask that they do so safely and within the boundaries of the law.”

 

On Thursday morning, the icebreaker started moving toward the bridge, with Coast Guard vessels nearby, and then retreated. The activists cleared out of the way for a barge, unrelated to the protest, to pass through.


The protest could become costly. On Thursday, a federal judge in Alaska ordered Greenpeace to pay an hourly fine starting at 11 a.m. Pacific time that would increase as the protest continues. The fine on Thursday is $2,500 an hour, and would rise by $2,500 each day until maxing out at $10,000 an hour from Sunday onward.


The protest against Shell’s Arctic drilling plans in Portland follows another in Washington state, where 

protesters, some in kayaks, helped muster public pressure to seek a delay of the mooring of Shell’s rigs.


It is not clear how long the activists can sustain their midair protest site over the Willamette River.

Kayakers have been working in shifts, Daphne Wysham, a member of the group, told The Oregonian.


The executive director of Greenpeace USA, Annie Leonard, said in an interview at the start of the protest that 

the bridge danglers and the kayakers were a “line of defense.”

“And these activists, in the air and on water, are right now the last thing that stands between Shell Oil and 

its absolutely pathological plans to drill for oil in the Arctic this summer,” she said in an interview with Democracy Now!

A spokesman for the local sheriff’s office, Lt. Steve Alexander, said on Wednesday in The Oregonian that 

the authorities were there in case anyone fell from the bridge and to keep the river navigable. …

the activists described some of the conditions, such as how they prepared for the heat of 100 degrees Fahrenheit: with long-sleeve shirts, sunscreen, shade and water. They are also posting images and updates on Twitter from the protest via #ShellNo of the view from their suspended sites.






Congratulations, Bank of America!


Bank of America has just announced it is curbing its financing of coal extraction.  The decision comes after years of pressure by activists who targeted the bank for its role in funding the coal industry.  Bank of America CEO of corporate social responsibility Andrew Plepler said the bank will "reduce our credit exposure, over time, to the coal mining sector globally." Hopefully, this will signal a transition of funding to renewable energy sources and away from fossil fuels by the banking industry.






New Proposal Could Bring Solar to more New Yorkers


Community net metering, a policy that allows multiple customers to buy into a renewable energy system, could make shared solar accessible to more people in New York state.  There is a proposal being considered which contains 15 rules that could provide a legal framework for New York.


This program would help all renters, regardless of income, to buy into a shared solar system.  The residents would benefit from a cleaner energy system and savings on utility bills.


Read more:  http://www.triplepundit.com/2015/03/will-community-net-metering-make-solar-available-to-all-new-yorkers/





An Effort to Promote Solar Power in Westchester County, New York


Learn more:  http://www.solarizewestchester.com/






Apple Addresses the Issue of Climate Change


The following article appeared in The New York Times Business Section, by Brian X. Chen, February 11, 2015.



Apple to Build Solar Farm For California Operations


Apple is going big on solar.


Timothy D. Cook, the company's chief executive, said at an investors' conference on Tuesday that Apple planned to build an $850 million solar farm that would power its California operations, including its new Cupertino campus, stores, and a data center in Fremont.


Apple said it teamed up with First Solar, a solar-energy equipment supplier, to consruct the solar farm in Monterey County.  The farm is expected to be completed by the end of 2016, First Solar said.


Apple's investment in the solar farm is a significant expansion of its efforts to shift toward more renewable energy sources, incuding wind and solar, to power its operations.  Renewable energy has powered the company's corporate campuses in Austin, Tex., and Sacramento for many years.  In 2013, Apple completed a transition to using 100 percent renewable energy to power its data centers.


Last week, the company said it would invest $2 billion to convert a closed sapphire glass plant in Arizona into a data center that would be powered mostly by solar energy.


Mr. Cook said in an onstage interview at a Goldman Sachs conference here that the company was looking to address the issue of climate change.


"We know at Apple that climate change is real," Mr. Cook said at the conference.  "The time for talk is past.  The time for action is now."


Read more:  http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/02/10/apple-to-build-california-solar-farm/





Bomb Train


Another reason to replace fossil fuels with renewables

The following appeared in The Week magazine, February 27, 2015.

Mount Carbon, W.Va.



A train carrying more than 3 million gallons of crude oil from North Dakota derailed and exploded alongside a creek during a snowstorm in Mount Carbon this week, launching huge fireballs into the sky and setting off blazes that burned for days.  At least 19 of the train's 109 railcars caught fire during the accident, which temporarily displaced around 1,000 local residents.

"I saw a plume, an inferno," said resident Charles Keenan."[It was] biblical or wrath-of-God type stuff."

The explosive accident topped off a record-breaking year for oil-railroad accidents.  Last year, the number of rail-related oil spills skyrocketed to 141, far above the annual average of 25 from 1975 to 2012.  The boom in oil production in North Dakota and Montana has led to a huge increase in rail shipments of crude, from 9,500 carloads in 2008 to more than 435,000 in 2013.

 



Look at the Mirai - Toyota's New Hydrogen Powered Car
Photo: David Paul Morris
This article was posted on the CNN website, January 5, 2015, by Charles Riley.

 

Toyota said Monday that it will share thousands of fuel cell patents with competitors, a move designed to kick-start the commercial production of hydrogen-powered cars.


The automaker announced the decision, which covers some 5,680 patents, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Many of the patents were used in the production of the Toyota Mirai, the company's new hydrogen fuel cell car.


Nearly 2,000 of the patents are related to fuel cell stacks, 290 are associated with high-pressure hydrogen tanks, and 3,350 are used with fuel cell system software controls. Others are used in construction of hydrogen-refueling stations.


"By eliminating traditional corporate boundaries, we can speed the development of new technologies and move into the future of mobility more quickly, effectively and economically," said Bob Carter, an automotive operations executive at Toyota.


Toyota's move follows a similar decision by Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, who announced in June that he would not take legal action against anyone who used Tesla (TSLA) technology in good faith.  The idea was that opening the patents to a wider audience would help boost the electric car industry at large.


Toyota (TM) appears to be looking to create similar momentum--but for hydrogen systems. The company said that it would request, but not require, companies that license its patents to share their own fuel cell patents in return.


The Mirai--which means "future" in Japanese--went on sale late last year in Japan. It will be offered later this year in the U.S., but initially only in California. The car will not be cheap, with prices starting at $57,500. In California, after federal and state incentives, that translates to $44,500.


Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles use compressed hydrogen gas instead of gasoline. A fuel cell stack in the car then combines that hydrogen with oxygen from the atmosphere in a process that produces electricity to power the vehicle's motor, with water being the only byproduct of the reaction.


As with plug-in electric cars, you get no nasty emissions.  But it takes only a few minutes, not hours, to "recharge" for a full 300 mile range.

 
 



Governor Cuomo Bans Fracking in New York State
CREDO.fracking/Flickr

The Alarming Research behind New York's Fracking Ban


This article is posted on The Atlantic website,  Nicolas St. Fleur, December 19, 2014.


The battle over untapped natural gas in New York State appears to have reached its end.

Following an extensive public health review of hydraulic fracturing, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a complete ban on the oil and natural gas harvesting practice in the state on Wednesday.


The 184-page report, conducted by the New York State Department of Health, cites potential environmental impacts and health hazards as reasons for the ban. The research incorporates findings from multiple studies conducted across the country and highlights the following seven concerns:


  • Respiratory Health: The report cites the dangers of methane emissions from natural gas drilling in Texas and Pennsylvania, which have been linked to asthma and other breathing issues. Another study found that 39 percent of residents in southern Pennsylvania who lived within one kilometer of a fracking site developed upper-respiratory problems compared with those who lived more than two kilometers away.
  • Drinking water: Shallow methane-migration underground could seep into drinking water, one study found, contaminating wells. Another found brine from deep shale formations in groundwater aquifers. The report also refers to a study of fracking communities in the Appalachian Plateau where they found methane in 82 percent of drinking water samples, and that concentrations of the chemical were six times higher in homes close to natural gas wells. Ethane was 23 times higher in homes close to fracking sites as well.
  • Seismic activity: The report cites studies from Ohio and Oklahoma that explain how fracking can trigger earthquakes. Another found that fracking near Preese Hall in the United Kingdom resulted in a 2.3 magnitude earthquake as well as 1.5 magnitude earthquake.
  • Climate change: Excess methane can be released into the atmosphere, which contributes to global warming. One study predicts that fracking in New York State would contribute between 7 percent and 28 percent of the volatile organic compound emissions, and between 6 percent and 18 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions in the region by 2020.
  • Soil contamination: One analysis of a natural gas site found elevated levels of radioactive waste in the soil, potentially the result of surface spills.
  • The community: The report refers to problems such as noise and odor pollution, citing a case in Pennsylvania where gas harvesting was linked to huge increases in automobile accidents and heavy truck crashes.
  • Health complaints: Residents near active fracking sites reported having symptoms such as nausea, abdominal pain, nosebleeds, and headaches according to studies. A study in rural Colorado which examined 124,842 births between 1996 and 2009 found that those who lived closest to natural gas development sites had a 30 percent increase in congenital heart conditions. The group of births closest to development sites also had a 100-percent increased chance of developing neural tube defects.


In 2008, New York State suspended its fracking activities pending further research into the health, environmental, and economic effects. Since the moratorium six years ago, many different scientific groups have conducted hydraulic fracturing research, as the state's report reflects. 



Howard Zucker, the acting state health commissioner who helped spearhead the report, addressed the ban with Gov. Cuomo in Albany. "I cannot support high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the great state of New York," said Zucker, according to The Wall Street Journal. He added, "I asked myself, 'would I let my family live in a community with fracking? The answer is no," The Los Angeles Times reported. ...


Zucker also voiced concern over how little is known about the long-term effects of injecting water and chemicals into the Marcellus shale, the disputed natural gas reserve that has been the subject of debate in New York and elsewhere.  The newreport, he said, highlights gaps in the current scientific understanding of fracking's impact on groundwater resources, air quality, radon exposure, noise exposure, traffic, psychosocial stress, and injuries.



"The bottom line is we lack the comprehensive longitudinal studies, and these are either not yet complete or are yet to be initiated," Zucker said according to The Syracuse Post-Standard. "We don't have the evidence to prove or disprove the health effects. But the cumulative concerns of what I've read gives me reason to pause."





People's Climate March September 21, 2014
The New York Times estimates that 311,000 people attended the People's Climate March. ("Taking a Call for Climate Change to the Streets", Lisa W. Foderaro, September 21, 2014). The Sierra Club puts that figure at 400,000.  

Some celebs like Leonardo DiCaprio, Edward Norton, and Mark Ruffalo attended, and we were there too.

Leonardo DiCaprio spoke at the United Nations on Tuesday urging members to take a stand on climate change.

Check out Jon Stewart's coverage of the march and scientist John Holdren's interview here.




Photo: Solar Roadways

Along our highways or under our wheels – Solar Roadways presents another solution.


 "Solar Roads Could Power An Entire Country" 

by Justine Alford, May 12, 2014, iflscience.com

"A small US-based company called Solar Roadways are developing a solar road surface that, if installed nationwide, has the potential to produce more renewable energy than the entire country uses.  In fact, they've actually already developed a working prototype that's been installed in a parking lot, and they're now crowdsourcing funds in order to tweak the design and move towards production."


Read more:  http://www.iflscience.com/technology/solar-roads-could-power-entire-country


See the video about Solar Roadways here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch/?v=SNMFKKyFU60



You can learn more about the process here:  http://www.frequency.com/video/solar-freakin-roadways/169522111?cid=4-648703








Funding for Solar Creates New York Jobs


New York State which has lagged behind its neighbors in the Northeastern states is finally closing the gap by funding solar projects. According to the NY-Sun Initiative  http://ny-sun.ny.gov/about   "The current solar program is investing $800 million through 2015." 


One example:

"The project in Romulus, N.Y. that will produce much of the electricity for the Seneca County sheriff's department, was funded in part with a grant of almost $1 million from the state's NY-Sun program. The initiative by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration will provide tens of millions of dollars a year for public and private projects producing at least a megawatt of solar power, the equivalent of about 200 typical residential installations." This is according to an article by the Associated Press appearing on the Crain's New York Business website: http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20131223/REAL_ESTATE/131229976


The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) which runs NY-Sun said that at the end of this year 299 megawatts of solar power had been brought online or were in development through NY-Sun.  A total of $126 million for 184 projects was awarded this year, the authority said.


David Sandbank, president of OnForce Solar, said his company is working on several projects-including a 2.3-megawatt system for the town of Clarkstown in Rockland County-and is on  a "hiring spree," with 50 employees at a headquarters where there were a dozen last year.


Governor Cuomo proposed in his January, 2013 State of the State address to extend the annual funding for the successful NY-Sun program through 2023. "The extended solar jobs program will provide longer program certainty to solar developers than current programs, funded through 2015, and is expected to attract significant private investment in solar photovoltaic systems, enable the sustainable development of a robust solar power industry in New York, create well-paying skilled jobs, improve the reliability of the electric grid, and reduce air pollution."  Both chambers in the New York legislature passed measures last year that would extend the NY-Sun program for 10 years.  But the legislation stalled over disagreement about a provision in the Senate bill that would have provided incentives to attract manufacturers of solar energy components to do business in the state. 






 

GREAT NEWS FOR SOLAR! The first solar power airplane cross country flight arrived at JFK Airport on July 6, 2013.The following appeared in The Boston Globe on July 8, 2013. 


Solar Powered Plane Lands in US

 

Associated Press July 8 2013
 
Solar Impulse pilots Bertrand Piccard (left) Andre Borschberg after landing in New York City.
 

NEW YORK— A solar-powered aircraft completed the final leg of a history-making 

cross-country trip on Saturday night, gliding to a smooth stop at New York’s John F. Kennedy

International Airport.

The Solar Impulse touched down at JFK at 11:09 p.m., completing the final leg of the cross-continental journey that started in California in early May. For Saturday’s final leg, the aircraft

left Dulles International Airport a little before 5 a.m.

The flight plan for the revolutionary plane, powered by some 11,000 solar cells on its oversized wings,had called for it to pass the Statue of Liberty before landing early Sunday at New York. But an unexpected tear discovered on the left wing of the aircraft Saturday afternoon forced officials to scuttle the fly-by and proceed directly to JFK for a landing three hours earlier than scheduled.


Pilot Andre Borschberg trumpeted the milestone of a plane capable of flying during the day and night, powered by solar energy, crossing the nation without the use of fuel.

 

‘‘It was a huge success for renewable energy,’’ Borschberg said while standing in front of

the plane on the runway at JFK. ‘‘The only thing that failed was a piece of fabric.’’
 

Bertrand Piccard, the other pilot who took turns flying the Solar Impulse across the

 United States, said the flight across the country tested the entire project team.

‘‘Flying coast-to-coast has always been a mythical milestone full of challenges for aviation pioneers,’’ 

Piccard said.

The aircraft soars to 30,000 feet while poking along at a top speed of 45 miles per hour.

Most of the 11,000 solar cells are on the super-long wings.

 

  

                                            

Christopher Gregory/The New York Times

President Obama had a hot day to

discuss climate change

 

We applaud President Obama's speech on reducing greenhouse gases

(June 25, 2013) mainly because it was a call for citizens to take action.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/26/science/earth/clean-air-act-reinterpreted-would-focus-on-flexibility-and-state-level-efforts.html?pagewanted=all

 





The MS Turanor last year became the first solar boat to sail around the world. 

The name "Turanor" comes from JRR Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" and means "power of the sun."  It now has been commissioned as a research vessel. 



Solar-powered boat to gather valuable

data about climate change

by Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, June 20, 2013


Solar-powered boat Türanor arrives in New York City



Sun-powered craft that went around the world will now gather data on how global warming is affecting the Gulf Stream.


The solar-powered boat docked in Battery Park City in New York could easily have been packed off to a museum as a relic.


The MS Turanor Solar Planet saw its glory days last year, when the catamaran went around the world powered only by the sun and energy stored in the huge battery packs in each pontoon.


Now the 102-ft craft has embarked on a new life as a research vessel for a team of scientists from the University of Geneva studying the Gulf Stream

under climate change.


The Swiss research team departs from New York on Friday for Boston,

St John’s Newfoundland, Reyjavik, Iceland and Bergen, Norway to study
the ocean current’s response to the warming of the atmosphere.


“We know very little about what is taking place over the ocean,” said 

Prof. Martin Benitson who heads the institute for environmental research at the University of Geneva.


One big plus offered by the Türanor: the boat produces no emissions.

Bentison said that zero emissions status means scientists for the first time
will be able to collect data free of polluting substances, such as diesel fuel.


“Once we start measuring emissions in the open ocean, we can be

almost 100% certain that these are ocean emissions, and not biased by a ship’s.chimney,” he said.


The team will be collecting data from air and water to study the Gulf Stream’s

response to climate change. The powerful ocean current carries water from
the tropics up to the polar reaches of the Atlantic, taking the edge off
winter temperatures in northern and western Europe.


Benitson and his crew will be harvesting data on aerosols, tiny, airborne particles,over the ocean, as well as phytoplankton, the microscopic, plant-like

animals that are at the bottom of the ocean food chain.


They will also take a look at ocean eddies, the whirlpools that break off

from the main current carrying large amounts of energy.


Scientists believe slowing of the Gulf Stream under climate change could

bring colder conditions to Europe.


Projected changes in the Gulf Stream could also produce more

intense hurricanes along the east coast of the United States.


“Sandy might not have been a one off, but something that might repeat

itself two or three times in a decade.” Benitson said.


The research voyage offers a new lease of life for a ship that has outlasted

its original purpose, said Gérard d’Aboville, the French captain.


But there were also challenges, he said. In addition to the usual instrument panel, d’Aboville receives daily weather updates from the French weather

service, enabling him to change course if he sees a patch of cloud ahead.


Another monitor displays battery strength. Once fully charged, the boat

can run on battery power for 72 hours. It was at 20% when it arrived in New York harbour on Monday afternoon. Within less than a day it was back up to full strength.


“With a usual boat you take care of the sea, the winds, the currents. Now you

have to take care of the sun,” he said.


It was also strangely quiet, he said. “It’s a bit strange the first time you

pilot the boat because you put it in forward motion, and there is absolutely
no noise,” he said.


And not much in the way of pick-up. Maximum cruising speed of the
Turanor is about 8 knots.


But at least the catamaran remained at sea, he said. “Instead of being in

a museum somewhere in some harbour, the boat is now engaged in this
second life,” d’Aboville said. “We can have a second life and we can have a mission.”




The following article appeared on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times

on July 29, 2013.

 

Gangplank to a Warm Future


ITHACA, N.Y. — Many concerned about climate change, including President Obama, have embraced hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. In his recent climate speech, the president went so far as to lump gas with renewables as “clean energy.”


As a longtime oil and gas engineer who helped develop shale fracking techniques for the Energy Department, I can assure you that this gas is not “clean.” Because of leaks of methane, the main component of natural gas, the gas extracted from shale deposits is not a “bridge” to a renewable energy future — it’s a gangplank to more warming and away from clean energy investments.


Methane is a far more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, though

it doesn’t last nearly as long in the atmosphere. Still, over a 20-year period, onepound of it traps as much heat as at least 72 pounds of carbon dioxide.
Its potency declines, but even after a century, it is at least 25 times as powerful as carbon dioxide. When burned, natural gas emits half the carbon dioxide of coal, but methane leakage eviscerates this advantage because of its heat-trapping power.


And methane is leaking, though there is significant uncertainty over the rate. But recent measurements by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at gas and oil fields in California, Colorado and Utah found leakage rates of 2.3 percent to 17 percent of annual production, in the range my colleagues at Cornell and I predicted some years ago. This is the gas that is released into the atmosphere unburned as part of the hydraulic fracturing process, and also from pipelines, compressors and processing units. Those findings raise questions about what is happening elsewhere. The Environmental Protection Agency has issued new rules to reduce these emissions, but the rules don’t take effect until 2015, and apply only to new wells.


A 2011 study from the National Center for Atmospheric Research concluded

that unless leaks can be kept below 2 percent, gas lacks any climate
advantage over coal. And a study released this May by Climate Central, a group of scientists and journalists studying climate change, concluded that the 50 percent climate advantage of natural gas over coal is unlikely to be achieved over the next three to four decades. Unfortunately, we don’t have that long to address climate change — the next two decades are crucial.


To its credit, the president’s plan recognizes that “curbing emissions of methane is critical.” However, the release of unburned gas in the production process is not the only problem. Gas and oil wells that lose their structural integrity also leak methane and other contaminants outside their casings and into the atmosphere and water wells. Multiple industry studies show that about 5 percent of all oil and gas wells leak immediately because of integrity issues, with increasing rates of leakage over time. With hundreds of thousands of new wells expected, this problem is neither negligible nor preventable with current technology.


Why do so many wells leak this way? Pressures under the earth,

temperature changes, ground movement from the drilling of nearby wells
and shrinkage crack and damage the thin layer of brittle cement that is supposed to seal the wells. And getting the cement perfect as the drilling goes
horizontally into shale is extremely challenging. Once the cement is
damaged, repairing it thousands of feet underground is expensive and
often unsuccessful. The gas and oil industries have been trying to solve this problem for decades.


The scientific community has been waiting for better data from the E.P.A.

to assess the extent of the water contamination problem. That is why it is
so discouraging that, in the face of industry complaints, the E.P.A. reportedly
has closed or backed away from several investigations into the problem.
Perhaps a full E.P.A. study of hydraulic fracturing and drinking water, due in 2014, will be more forthcoming. In addition, drafts of an Energy Department
study suggest that there are huge problems finding enough water for
fracturing future wells. The president should not include this technology in his energy policy until these studies are complete.


We have renewable wind, water, solar and energy-efficiency technology options now. We can scale these quickly and affordably, creating economic growth, jobs and a truly clean energy future to address climate change. Political will is the missing ingredient. Meaningful carbon reduction is impossible so long as the fossil fuel industry is allowed so much influence over our energy policies and regulatory agencies. Policy makers need to listen to the voices of independent scientists while there is still time.

Anthony R. Ingraffea is a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Cornell University and the president of Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers for Healthy Energy, a nonprofit group.



      

 

 New York State Unanimously Passed the New York Solar Bill

 

The New York Solar Bill (A.5060/S.2522) will solidify the state's commitment to solar energy by establishing, in statute, a stable and predictable incentive program through 2023. Specifically, the bill would extend Governor Cuomo's successful NY-SUN Initiative for 10 years. This policy would provide a long-term strategy for continued solar market expansion and job creation balanced with the equally important goal of minimizing costs to New York rate payers. 

 

New York solar power today:

  • There are currently more than 347 solar companies at work throughout the value chain in New York.
  • New York ranks 12th nationally in cumulative installed solar capacity. There is

enough solar energy installed in the state to power 27,000 homes. 

  • In 2012, $257 million was invested in New York to install solar on homes and businesses.

This represents a 91% increase over the previous year, and is expected to grow again this year.

  • Average installed residential and commercial photovoltaic system prices in New York continue to

 fall-by 13% from last year. National prices have also dropped steadily--by 14% from last year and

 31% since 2010.

The New York Solar Bill would ensure that solar  power keeps bringing these many benefits to New Yorkers.

 

 

 Governor Cuomo releases Earth Day Statement and New Environmental Initiatives, April 22, 2013

 

 



 


 

It's the first solar project built along a major highway 
on the East Coast 

 

Jack Hunter, Carver’s town planner, inspects the new solar panels set up along Route 44. Jack Hunter, Carver’s town planner, inspects the Route 44 solar panels providing electricity for a water-treatment plant.
Jack Hunter, Carver’s town planner, inspects the new solar panels set up along Route 44. Jack Hunter, 
Carver’s town planner, inspects the Route 44 solar panels providing electricity for a water-treatment plant. 
(Debee Tlumacki for the Boston Globe)


By Robert Knox

The Boston Globe   August 30, 2012

The first solar project built along a major highway right-of-way on the East Coast

 has begun producing energy to power the town of Carver’s water-treatment plant.
 

Built along Route 44 on an easement awarded by the state to the town, the 99-kilowatt project makes

use of the highway’s east-west orientation to erect an array of south-facing solar panels in a nearly
ideal location in terms of power-generating efficiency.
 

Carver’s town planner, Jack Hunter, who attended a national meeting with federal officials on how

to make good use of highway corridors, said the only other solar project on a highway right of way
is in Oregon.
 

The project is a high-efficiency use of underutilized property that solar power advocates

and government officials say can serve as an example for future projects on major roads such as
the Massachusetts Turnpike. 
 
For Carver, the renewable power supply will save about $3,000 a month in electricity costs, Hunter said.

“It’s clearly the right thing to do for our environment,” Selectwoman Sarah Hewins said last week, “and it’s the right thing to do for our country — every bit of renewable and alternative energy we use is that much less dependence on foreign oil. And finally, it is a demonstration project that hopefully

will make it possible to show there are good places to site solar.”
 

The 600-foot-long series of linked panels went on line earlier this month, after NStar examined

and approved its connection to the power grid.


 

When the solar array produces more power than needed by the water- treatment plant, the surplus will be sold to the grid. When the plant needs more than the panels are producing, the utility will provide it.

And in accord with the state’s Green Communities Act, intended to promote renewable-energy projects, the utility will provide the power at a substantially below-market rate.


Built by SolareAmerica LLC, the solar array sits on a 1¼-acre site east of the highway’s Route 58 

interchange, occupying about a quarter of the 25-year easement granted to the town. ...

After two companies chosen through the public bidding process pulled out over funding issues, the town had nothing built and no developer as time ran out on its ($150,000) grant.  


SolareAmerica managing partner John Scorsone said his company stepped in largely because of the

Carver project's value as a demonstration project.


"We wanted to enter the Massachusetts market,"  Scorsone said recently.  "To do that and make a splash, we took the challenge.... It's such a great utilization of unused land, to use the highways in such an efficient way and produce renewable energy."


The company believes there will be more projects built on roadsides  where panels can be situated for

high efficiency, Scorsone said.  Carver's installation can also be expanded to two ranks of panels along the 1,200-foot-long, 50-foot-wide easement, quadrupling its energy-generation capacity.  


The company also installed underground power lines connected to the treatment plant for the new

water district.  Created at least in part to attract business to the town's Route 44 corridor, the North
Carver Water District began pumping water a year ago, and now serves about 60 customers, both
 residential and commercial.


"Businesses know it's a good deal," Hunter said.


State officials said the solar project is a good deal, too, helping the town while promoting the state's

goal of expanding sustainable energy resources.  


"This project is an example of the administration's commitment to making smart investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy," Mark Sylvia, commissioner  of the Department of Energy Resources, said last week.


Sylvia said he's looking forward to the official ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the project, scheduled for 10 a.m. Oct. 5 at the water treatment plant on Pleasant Street.



Clinton At Solar Power International: 'You're Going To Win This Battle'
in News Departments >
 



Solar Power International (SPI) attendees were treated to a high-profile pep talk from none other than a former U.S. president on Thursday.


Weaving encouraging words, insider policy advice and a couple of allegorical Arkansas anecdotes into his keynote address, President Bill Clinton reassured the industry crowd that solar power can, indeed, flourish in the U.S.


"I love what you guys are doing," Clinton told the audience, which filled the Orange County Convention Center's large Valencia ballroom and spilled into two overflow viewing rooms. "This place is full of entrepreneurs."


Unfortunately, he added, much of solar's recent success - and, especially, the

vital role that the federal government has played in bolstering the

industry - has gone unnoticed or been misconstrued by Americans outside the industry.


"Most people don't know that in spite of economic adversity, government support and venture capital have catapulted the U.S. to lead clean energy investment in 2011," Clinton noted.

 "They don't know how much public-private cooperation there is."

Solar power's perception gap - a challenge familiar to the industry - was a recurring theme in Clinton's speech, as he cited statistics about job creation, solar project deployment totals and other industry growth metrics,

with each fact preceded by "most don't know that…"

For instance, Germany recently generated the equivalent of 20 nuclear power plants with PV, despite the country's limited solar resource. Although opponents of Germany's solar program have claimed that the government "threw money at solar and practically bankrupted the country," hard numbers from apolitical sources have proven otherwise, he noted.


"Go read the Deutsche Bank study," Clinton said, referring to an analysis that showed Germany has netted thousands of jobs from its solar initiative. "Not Greenpeace - Deutsche Bank."


Similarly, here in the U.S., where incentives for solar power and other renewable energy have become an increasingly politicized issue, a study from the Baker Center (named for Republican Senator Howard H. Baker Jr.) found that government support given to renewables is perfectly in line with subsidies given to other industries, Clinton added.


"Americans don't know that, but they need to know that," he stressed.

No solar company has been used as heavily in the political and public case against supporting solar as failed thin-film manufacturer Solyndra - which, according to critics, was a symbol of corruption and wasted taxpayer money spent on an undeserving industry.

Clinton offered some tough love for solar professionals who wanted to reshape the nefarious Solyndra story told to Americans.


"You can't blame people for reacting to an isolated incident out of context if you don't provide the context and the other side of the story," he pointed out.


Clinton added that he saw Solyndra as a company with an innovative yet expensive technology that failed to reach volume and bring its costs down quickly enough to compete - especially once the Chinese government doled out billions to their domestic solar manufacturing industry.


"Since no one explained that to the American people, they can be forgiven for listening to the worst possible explanation," he said. He urged solar companies and their partners to "get the basic positive facts out there" in order to counteract the negativity.


Anti-solar political attack ads laced with Solyndra references will fade after the November presidential election, but what about afterward? Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) President and CEO Rhone Resch told Clinton in a post-keynote Q&A session that SPI attendees were all eager to know the former president's thoughts on the fate of the solar sector under either a Mitt Romney presidency or a second term under President Barack Obama.


The two candidates often offer more clues into their plans than voters may realize, Clinton said. "My advice is that you should assume they will do what they say and attempt to know what they say," he suggested.

"Politicians are much more honest with the voters than you think they are during campaigns."

As for known specifics, Clinton added that Romney has said he would eliminate clean energy tax breaks, while Obama will likely seek to bring back the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Section 1603 program, which expired last year.


Renewable energy incentives, however, have historically enjoyed bipartisan recognition of their economic benefits. For instance, Clinton noted that President George W. Bush provided tax credits to wind power companies while serving as governor of Texas, thus helping propel the state's boom in wind energy development and create significant private investment.


"Around the world, no one makes energy policy without public-private cooperation," Clinton stressed. Nongovernmental organizations may also begin to play a larger role, especially in developing nations. For instance, houses being built as part of a post-earthquake redevelopment effort in Haiti - home to extremely high electricity rates - must now be equipped with PV-ready roofs.


Back in the U.S., numerous forces are in solar's favor - despite the aforementioned public-perception issues, Clinton said. For instance, California's aggressive 33% renewable portfolio standard, falling PV module prices, a growing interest among utilities in large-scale plants, and the widespread availability of state-level tax credits will all help solar reach what Clinton believes is an inevitable tipping point.


"You're going to win this battle," Clinton assured the crowd. "The question is where and when and how."

Photo provided with permission from SEIA and the Solar Electric Power Association.







Tightening the tap on '$1 trillion' a year

fossil fuel subsidies

By Eoghan Macguire, for CNN
July 18, 2012 -- Updated 1124 GMT (1924 HKT)
Activist unveil a banner on Copacabana beach to ask world leaders to end fossil fuel subsidies
Activist unveil a banner on Copacabana beach to ask world leaders to end fossil fuel subsidies
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Activists called for an end to fossil fuel subsidies at last month's Rio +20 Earth Summit
  • Subsidies for the fossil fuel sector total $1 trillion annually, according to Oil Change International
  • OCI says public money should not be going to industries that contribute to climate change
  • Others believe cutting fossil fuel subsidies could hit the people in the developing world hardest

(CNN) -- Political consensus was hard to find at last month's Rio +20 Earth Summit but there was at least one group speaking with unity on the planet's environmental and economic future.

Hundreds of activists gathered on the city's Copacabana Beach to make a simple demand of

their elected leaders and representatives: Commit to ending fossil fuel subsidies, now.

More than a million people around the world -- including actor Robert Redford and comedian Stephen Fry -were quick to lend their support by backing #endfossilfuelsubsidies, an affiliated online campaign.

But as the summit came to a close it became clear that no new enforceable commitments on the issue were to be included in the final version of the Rio agreement text.

For those behind the protest however, the widespread exposure and support afforded the oft ignored subject ensured their efforts still represented a success.

The complete article "Tightening the Tap on '$1 trillion' a year fossil fuel subsidies,"

by Eoghan Maguire, July 18, 2012 can be found on the CNN Website at the link below.

http://edition.cnn.com/2012/07/18/business/fossil-fuel-subsidies/index.html?hpt=hp_bn

 




 

"Maryland Legislation to Accelerate Solar Carve-Out Signed Into Law" - Originally posted on Solar Industry Magazine Website, SI Staff, Policy Watch, May 22, 2012

 

Gov. Martin O'Malley, D-Md., has signed into law the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard for

Solar Energy and Solar Water Heating Systems Bill (S.B. 791 and H.B. 1187), which accelerates the target date for achieving the state's renewable portfolio standard (RPS) 2% solar carve-out by two years.

 

Each incremental solar requirement from 2013 to 2021 was increased slightly, so that the state now reaches the 2% mark in 2020 rather than in 2022.  The final carve-out amount remains unchanged.

 

In April, when S.B. 791 cleared the state Senate after intensive lobbying efforts, Francis Hodsoll,

executive director of the Maryland-D.C.-Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association, hailed the legislation as a "huge victory."

 

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the legislation will ensure that Maryland's solar sector maintains positive year-over-year job growth.  It is expected to create 10,000 new local jobs between now and 2018, with a strong concentration in the construction industry.

 

"The state's RPS policy has worked," says Rhone Resch, President and CEO of SEIA.  "We've seen

a dramatic decline in the cost of solar energy, rapid job growth and tens of millions of dollars in economic expansion. But a potential market distortion would dramatically constrain growth of solar in Maryland."