The frozen landscape of Antarctica is getting greener. Researchers drilling into layers of moss that have been accumulating in Antarctica over the last 150 years have found that the growth rate of the moss has been speeding up over the past 50 years.
There is a tendency to think of the changes in the energy industry as a pitched battle between fossil fuel companies and renewable energy. There is some truth to this, but only to a certain extent. The multi-trillion-dollar fossil fuel industry is made up of businesses dedicated to growth and increased profits. And like businesses in other industries when major changes occur, fossil fuel companies may read the tea leaves and change with the times.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced that the state’s support for solar power initiatives has resulted in an 800% increase in industry growth since 2011. New York’s various renewable energy programs have resulted in $1.5 billion in investments. The NY-Sun Initiative has produce a 10-fold increase in solar projects in several regions of the state. The Mohawk Valley led the way with an almost 16-fold increase in solar capacity.
When we think of global climate change, what comes to mind? Rising seas? Melting glaciers? Shrinking sea ice? How about diminishing ocean oxygen levels?
Back in 2011, utility-scale solar power cost a little over $4 per watt on average. In February of that year, former Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the SunShot initiative, which had the goal of reducing the total cost of photovoltaic systems by 75% to the target value of $1 a watt by the year 2020.
From melting Arctic ice to dying coral reefs to rising sea levels, there was no shortage of grim environmental news in 2016. But the news wasn’t all bad. There were several bright spots for the environment last year as well.
Part of Hillary Clinton’s proposed energy plan is a pledge that half a billion additional solar panels will be installed by the end of her first term if she is elected President this year. This number sounds wildly ambitious. It is even realistic?
We have talked about the impact of light pollution on our ability to see stars and the Milky Way. We have also discussed its impact on our circadian rhythms. Recently, scientists in Great Britain published a report on the relationship between light pollution and the timing of when trees produce their buds. The results of the study suggest that light pollution is causing plants to jump the gun on spring.
Sometime early in May, the United States installed its one millionth solar energy system. Achieving this milestone took the solar industry about 40 years to accomplish. Because of the phenomenal growth of solar power in this country, industry experts predict that it will only take two more years to reach the second million and there are predictions that by the year 2025, there will be one million new installations in the U.S. each year.