Electric cars represent only a tiny fraction of the overall auto market. The numbers are growing, most certainly, but they are still quite small in most places. The recent start of production of the Tesla Model 3 has attracted quite a bit of attention to electric cars, but in many countries, there is much more to the story than just media buzz about a new car.
Offshore wind farms are becoming increasingly important around the world. Europe has thousands of wind turbines off its coasts generating more and more of its power. The first offshore wind farm in the U.S. opened for business last year and more are on the way.
On Monday, August 21, there will be a total solar eclipse visible in a band across the entire contiguous United States. The last time that happened was in June of 1918. In fact, the last time a total solar eclipse was visible anywhere at all in the continental U.S. was in 1979. So, this is a big deal for American eclipse watchers and millions of us will be heading for some part of the 65-mile-wide band of totality that wends its way from Oregon to South Carolina.
There is no question that solar power has been growing by leaps and bounds in recent years, but whenever one really looked at the numbers, it seemed to still be only a tiny fraction of the country’s power generation – until quite recently, less than one percent.
We are well-aware of the negative effects of air pollution on human health and on the environment, but a recent study at Duke University has revealed that global solar energy production is taking a major hit due to air pollution and dust.
Last December, the first commercial offshore wind farm in the United States started operation off the coast of Rhode Island. The Fisherman’s Energy Atlantic City Windfarm off the coast of New Jersey is under construction. With the lengthy logjam finally broken, there is increasing activity in the emerging U.S. offshore wind sector.
The changing climate is having a marked effect on forests in this country. In particular, trees along the U.S. eastern seaboard are changing their range as they slowly seek to escape rising temperatures.
There are an estimated 84,000 dams in the United States which impound 600,000 miles of river, or about 17% of the rivers in the country. Within the next 15 years, more than 90% of the world’s rivers will be fragmented by at least one dam.
China and India have 36% of the world’s population and produce about 35% of global CO2 emissions, ranking first and third respectively in that category. The United States, with a little over 4% of the world’s population, produces about 16% of global CO2 emissions, good for second place.
So far, it has been a big year for the U.S. wind industry, which experienced its fastest first-quarter growth since 2009. In total, about 2,000 megawatts of new capacity was installed, enough to power about 500,000 homes. With this addition, wind now produces 5 1/2% of the country’s electricity.
Solar panels on the roofs of houses have become a familiar sight in recent years, but utility-scale solar – installations of 10 megawatts and greater – are really booming these days. Throughout the United States, more than 10.5 gigawatts of utility-scale solar were added to the electric grid in 2016 – enough to power more than 2 million homes – and at least 8 gigawatts more are scheduled to come online this year.
There’s ample evidence over the past decade or so that Americans are gradually changing their diets, driven by health concerns among other factors. But there’s one change that really stands out. According to a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Americans have sliced their beef consumption by 19% between 2005 and 2014.
Poor air quality is a major problem worldwide. Exposure to air pollution is linked to the premature deaths of an estimated 6.5 million people every year. This makes air pollution the fourth largest threat to human health, trailing only high blood pressure, dietary risks, and smoking.
Public opinion about global warming is an important influence on decision making about policies to combat global warming and to be prepared for its consequences. An extensive polling effort by Yale University has produced an estimate of public opinions down to state, congressional district, and county levels.
The federal government now appears to be headed down the path of not honoring America’s commitments to tackle global warming, but many of the country’s cities and states as well as its corporations have no intention of breaking our promises to the world.
This Saturday is Earth Day and it’s also the occasion for the March for Science taking place in Washington, DC and in many other cities around the world. The purpose is to express support for scientific research and evidence-based policies in a tumultuous political environment.
With the arrival of the Chevy Bolt and the long waiting list for the forthcoming Tesla 3, there is starting to be some momentum for electric cars in the United States. But we are still well behind Europe in terms of the significant growth of so-called e-mobility.
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.