The end of 2013 marked the first occasional observations of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere of 400 parts per million. There is nothing magical about that value, but we do tend to focus on round numbers.
Despite efforts by the new administration to increase support for fossil fuels, there is increasing momentum towards a clean-energy future. State and local efforts are driving the country to a 21st-century energy infrastructure, with or without the federal government.
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.
Globally, 40% of invertebrate pollinator species, such as bees and butterflies, are facing extinction. And since approximately three-quarters of the world’s food crops depend on pollination, the decline of these pollinators could pose a threat to food security around the globe.
Back in December of 2013, a little less than three years ago, Earth Wise reported that the observatory on Mauna Loa in Hawaii had briefly measured carbon dioxide levels greater than 400 parts per million for the first time ever. During the following year, readings above the 400 level started to pop up occasionally elsewhere as well.
It’s no secret that pollinators around the world are under threat. According to a U.N. sponsored report released earlier this year, 40% of invertebrate pollinator species, such as bees and butterflies, are facing extinction. And since approximately 75% of the world’s food crops depend on pollination, the decline of these pollinators poses a major threat to food worldwide.
Back in June, we talked about The Ocean Cleanup, a Dutch foundation founded in 2013 by an 18-year-old named Boyan Slat, which is developing technologies to rid the oceans of the vast collections of plastic that have been accumulating over the past 50 years.
By some estimates, America’s oceans could provide enough electric power to meet a quarter of the country’s energy needs. Despite this, until recently the contribution to the U.S. electric grid from marine energy has been exactly zero.