Enviro News Wrap: Growth in US Solar; Changing Perceptions of Global Warming; US Plays Catch-Up in Enviro Policy, and more...
GlobalWarmingisReal contributor Anders Hellum-Alexander wraps-up and comments on the climate and environmental news headlines for the past week:
- Growth in the solar industry in the US is strong and likely to become the second largest of new energy production in 2013. Chinese solar manufacturing took a hit this month though because Suntech is falling into bankruptcy. It looks like the Chinese government will let Suntech fall, and the ripple effect of that might be that solar panels will stop experiencing a free fall in price. Low cost solar panels are good, but it needs to come from innovation, not debt, over-the-top government subsidies and a disregard for our environment.
- Our buildings use an incredible amount of fuel to keep us warm, and our old ones have super dirty coal and oil systems. The cost of upgrading is expensive but it must be done. Buildings in New York City are being upgraded to cleaner fuels, mostly natural gas, a source of energy that is artificially cheap and stuck in a heated battle over the regulation of fracking.
- Is global warming real, and if it is, what is humanity's role? For the general public it depends on how you ask the question. While people debate the existence of global warming, real people are having real problems, like the very troubling prolonged drought in the US. The next frontier of climate science is connecting global warming to the elevated extreme weather events that we are experiencing.
- Oil, natural gas, coal, do we really need them? Oil is famous for its spills, the XL Tar Sands Pipeline, its volatile price, international conflicts and epic amounts of air and water pollution. Coal is famous for its mine disasters, air pollution and the creation of an asthma epidemic in America. Natural gas is famous for fracking, false campaigning as a clean fossil fuel and a price that is so low it is closing coal power plants and sucking investment money away from wind and solar power. Do we really need them, or is it just a story told to us to keep the industries afloat as they extract the last glut of money out of our economy? We could be spending money to develop a new energy future, but instead we are spending billions to slightly alter the current dirty energy economy.
- In the 1970's the US was leading the world in environmental regulation. The dirty energy industry realized that they were under attack and launched a war of their own to keep government policies and the american public on their side. Their campaign worked well and now even China has more advanced regulation when it comes to climate change. How much longer can we continue to not address the most impactful issue of our time?
- Apple is installing renewable energy in a big and meaningful way and showing other companies how to bring their business into this modern world. Apple's data centers now run on 100 percent renewable energy, and it would never have happened without organizations like Greenpeace forcing the issue.