Check out this article in Mother Jones for some very interesting facts about solar energy. For example, by 2016 solar power will be as cheap or cheaper than conventional electricity in every state except three. Also, in the past decade, the amount of solar power produced in the United States has increased by 139 times. But solar still only produces less than one half of 1 percent of the energy produced in the US, even though it could power the entire country 100 times over.
See this inspiring video from Indian Country Today about 16-year-old Raquel Redshirt , who solved a critical problem for her community on the Navajo Nation in New Mexico and won the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. She used materials readily available in her community to build solar ovens, taking advantage of the ubiquitous New Mexico sunlight.
“My great grandparents barely used their stove because they couldn’t afford to buy propane,” Raquel says in the video.
Former Vice President Al Gore presents concrete reasons to be hopeful in this piece in Rolling Stone.
“In the struggle to solve the climate crisis, a powerful, largely unnoticed shift is taking place. The forward journey for human civilization will be difficult and dangerous, but it is now clear that we will ultimately prevail. The only question is how quickly we can accelerate and complete the transition to a low-carbon civilization. There will be many times in the decades ahead when we will have to take care to guard against despair, lest it become another form of denial, paralyzing action. It is true that we have waited too long to avoid some serious damage to the planetary ecosystem – some of it, unfortunately, irreversible. Yet the truly catastrophic damages that have the potential for ending civilization as we know it can still – almost certainly – be avoided. Moreover, the pace of the changes already set in motion can still be moderated significantly.”
Eight states have collaborated on an Action Plan to develop infrastructure, coordinated policies, codes, standards, and a viable consumer market in order to put 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) on the road by 2025. The Action Plan is the first milestone for the bi-coastal collaboration to pave the way for the cleanest cars in the nation.
The partner states are California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont. Together they comprise about a quarter of the nation’s new car sales. See the full press release here.
The IPCC has released the latest working group contribution to their Fifth Assessment Report, Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change.
An interesting piece about it in RealClimate from one of the co-authors can be found here.
The IPCC has also started the review process for the synthesis report, which will be geared toward policymakers and based on the three Working Group Reports and Special Reports of the Fifth Assessment Cycle.
From IPCC Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change Technical Summary.
In honor of Earth Day (although the Earth arguably deserves more than just a day), here is a clip of Van Jones describing the inspiration for his work in the green jobs movement. It’s from the film Carbon Nation which is an interesting blend of climate change data and profiles of people who are finding alternatives to business as usual.