By Yessenia Funes for Color Lines – A study published yesterday (April 13) in the journal Nature Communications shows countries that have signed the Paris Climate Accord must reduce their carbon emissions much sooner than anticipated to reach the agreement’s goal. Meeting that goal means that fossil fuels should make up less than a quarter of global energy production by 2100 when they currently power the world’s energy almost entirely. The study, by researchers at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, shows that this shift needs to happen “well before 2040,” according to a press release, which individual countries aren’t on track to accomplish. “This study gives a broad accounting of the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, where it comes from and where it goes,” said World Bank consultant Brian Walsh, who led the study, in the press release. “We take into account not just emissions from fossil fuels, but also agriculture, land use, food production, bioenergy, and carbon uptake by natural ecosystems.” Even if countries took on a “high renewable” energy plan where wind, solar and bioenergy increase production by five percent a year…
By Nina Chestney for Reuters – The falling cost of electric vehicle and solar technology will halt demand growth for oil and coal from 2020, according to research published on Thursday, posing a threat to fossil fuel companies unprepared for the transition. The Grantham Institute at Imperial College London and independent think tank Carbon Tracker Initiative analyzed cost forecasts for electric vehicle (EV) and solar photovoltaic (PV) technology, government policies and the impact on road transport and power markets, which account for half of global fossil fuel consumption. “Fossil fuels may lose 10 percent of market share to PV and EVs within a single decade.
By Cole Mellino for Eco Watch – Nicaraguan officials have set goals of 75 percent renewable energy by 2017 and 90 percent by 2020, ProNicaragua reported. An International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) report from January 2015 found that “Nicaragua’s renewable energy sector has a bright future, both for utility-scale and small-scale projects, due to the country’s largely untapped renewable resources.” Javier Pentzke, manager of Amayo Wind Farm, told NPR his farm’s location on the shores of Lake Nicaragua is one of the top places in the world for wind energy. “You have all the opening here from the lake all the way to the Caribbean, so it’s like a tunnel,” he said.
By Jessica Collingsworth for Nation of Change – In August, the California legislature passed remarkable climate change legislation. SB 32 builds on Assembly Bill 32, the landmark Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 that required California to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. SB 32 now sets the next target, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. Another bill, AB 197 increases legislative oversight and transparency for the state’s climate change programs and emphasizes the state’s commitment to ensuring these policies help communities most impacted by climate change and air pollution.
By Michael J. Coren for Quartz – Ten years of effort finally paid off for Las Vegas this week when officials announced the city government will now be powered entirely by renewable energy. After a large solar array, Boulder Solar 1, came online on Dec. 12, the city was able to buy enough carbon-free electricity to power its 140 buildings, streetlights and other facilities. The power flows from a mix of solar panels and hydroelectric turbines including the Hoover Dam. The renewables, plus energy efficiency savings, are estimated to save the city roughly $5 million per year, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Las Vegas is one of many cities pushing ahead with aggressive efforts to leave fossil fuels behind.
By Tom Randall for Bloomberg – A transformation is happening in global energy markets that’s worth noting as 2016 comes to an end: Solar power, for the first time, is becoming the cheapest form of new electricity. This has happened in isolated projects in the past: an especially competitive auction in the Middle East, for example, resulting in record-cheap solar costs. But now unsubsidized solar is beginning to outcompete coal and natural gas on a larger scale, and notably, new solar projects in emerging markets are costing less to build than wind projects, according to fresh data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The chart below shows the average cost of new wind and solar from 58 emerging-market economies, including China, India, and Brazil.
By Colin Woodard for Politico. Much of the rest of what Burlington’s 42,000 citizens need to keep the lights on comes from a combination of hydroelectric power drawn from a plant it built a half mile up the Winooski River, four wind turbines on nearby Georgia Mountain and a massive array of solar panels at the airport. Together these sources helped secure Burlington the distinction of being the country’s first city that draws 100 percent of its power from renewable sources. The net energy costs are cheap enough that the city has not had to raise electric rates for its customers in eight years. And Burlington is not done in its quest for energy conservation. Add in the city’s plan for an expansive bike path, a growing network of electric vehicle charging stations and an ambitious plan to pipe the McNeil station’s waste heat to warm downtown buildings and City Hall’s goal to be a net zero consumer of energy within 10 years starts looking achievable.
By David Swanson for Let’s Try Democracy – Here’s the idea. There is huge potential for solar and wind energy in vast open spaces of the United States. There is a need for pathways through which to transmit renewable-produced electricity to where it’s needed in big cities and small towns. Meanwhile, under-used railroad lines crisscross the country. As coal and oil use drop, those lines will be even more under-used, unless we change something. Yet, trains are more efficient than trucks even now, and would be much more so if electrified.
By Jeremy Brecher for Dollars & Sense. A series of reports by the Labor Network for Sustainability (LNS), and partners provides good news: The U.S. can meet the targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction that climate scientists say are necessary while also creating half-a-million jobs annually and reducing the cost of energy to consumers. The reports, gathered in the LNS Climate, Jobs, and Justice Project, also show that protecting the climate in a way that maximizes the benefit for working people and discriminated-against groups will take deliberate public policies and action by unions and their social movement allies. The Clean Energy Future will create a substantial number of new jobs. The increase in jobs created, compared to the business-as-usual scenario, will start around 200,000 per year in 2016–2020 and rise to 800,000 a year in 2046–2050. The average job gain compared to business-as-usual scenario is 550,000 per year for the entire period.
By Jon Queally in EcoWatch. In a new piece published Monday in The New Republic, the co-founder of the global climate action group 350.org said there is simply no more time to waste and that a full-scale mobilization, like the one orchestrated by the U.S. government during World War II, is now necessary if the adversary—human-caused global warming and the climate change that results—is to be vanquished. “World War III is well and truly underway,” McKibben wrote. “And we are losing.” With the introductory paragraphs reading like a battlefield assessment in which melting ice sheets, firestorms and historic floods represent the movements of enemy forces, McKibben offered a rebuke to the inaction of world leaders who have refused to acknowledge the scale of the attack:
By Staff of Science Alert – Last Sunday, Scotland achieved something great – for the first time on record, wind power alone generated 106 percent of Scotland’s electricity needs in a single day. Environmental group WWF Scotland has just confirmed that on 7 August 2016, wind turbines in Scotland pumped 39,545 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity into the National Grid, while the nation’s homes, businesses, and industry needed just 37,202 MWh.
By Alexander Reed Kelly for Truth Dig – A new kind of renewable energy technology in use off Australia’s coast converts the relentless movement of the ocean’s waves into what is potentially a virtually endless supply of electricity. “Wave energy [has] been estimated to be able to supply more than the whole world’s current power consumption,” says Michael Ottaviano, CEO of the company developing the new technology. In addition to supplying electricity, water drawn through the system can be turned into potable drinking water.
By Andy Rowell for Oil Change International – As the renewable revolution gathers a pace, the oil industry has launched yet another PR offensive trying to rebrand fossil fuels as sustainable. So first the good news. The percentage of electricity generated by renewables in the world’s largest economies has soared by 70 per cent over the last five years, according to new research. Data compiled by the Bloomberg New Energy Finance research group for theFinancial Times reveals that a real “shift away from fossil fuels is starting to take hold in some regions”.
By Sebastiaan Faber and Becquer Seguin for The Nation. Barcelona, Spain—“When we moved into city hall, there were only paintings by men,” Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau tweeted in March, attaching a picture of her current office wall, which now featured portraits of eight prominent Catalan women—including the legendary anarchist leader Federica Montseny. “Redecorating the walls, that was the easy change,” Colau’s second in command, Gerardo Pisarello, joked when we spoke with him in late June. “The other ones take quite a bit longer—they are more difficult and don’t just depend on us.” Pisarello’s office, too, features black-and-white photographs: one of a woman celebrating the proclamation of Spain’s Second Republic in 1931, and another taken at the country’s first LGBT protest after dictator Francisco Franco’s death in 1975, a demonstration that, as Pisarello proudly points out, happened in Barcelona.
By Kate Colwell for Friends of the Earth – BERKELEY, CALIF. – An historic agreement has been reached between Pacific Gas and Electric, Friends of the Earth, and other environmental and labor organizations to replace the Diablo Canyon nuclear reactors with greenhouse-gas-free renewable energy, efficiency and energy storage resources. Friends of the Earth says the agreement provides a clear blueprint for fighting climate change by replacing nuclear and fossil fuel energy with safe, clean, cost-competitive renewable energy.