The good news is, that pressure is growing. In fact, that relentless climate movement is starting to win big, unprecedented victories around the world, victories which are quickly reshaping the consensus view – including among investors – about how fast a clean energy future could come. It’s a movement grounded in the streets and reaching for the photovoltaic rooftops, and its thinking can be easily summarised in a mantra: Fossil freeze. Solar thaw. Keep it in the ground.
Triumph is not certain – in fact, as the steadily rising toll of floods and droughts and melting glaciers makes clear, major losses are guaranteed. But for the first time in the quarter-century since global warming became a major public issue the advantage in this struggle has begun to tilt away from the Exxons and the BPs and towards the ragtag and spread-out fossil fuel resistance, which is led by indigenous people, young people, people breathing the impossible air in front-line communities. The fight won’t wait for Paris – the fight is on every day, and on every continent.
Press link for more: Bill McKibben | theguardian.com
The Guardian is embarking on a major series of articles on the climate crisis and how humanity can solve it. In the first, an extract taken from the Introduction to THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING by Naomi Klein, the author argues that if we treat climate change as the crisis it is, we don’t just have the potential to avert disaster but could improve society in the process.
Living with this kind of cognitive dissonance is simply part of being alive in this jarring moment in history, when a crisis we have been studiously ignoring is hitting us in the face – and yet we are doubling down on the stuff that is causing the crisis in the first place.
I denied climate change for longer than I care to admit. I knew it was happening, sure. Not like Donald Trump and the Tea Partiers going on about how the continued existence of winter proves it’s all a hoax. But I stayed pretty hazy on the details and only skimmed most of the news stories, especially the really scary ones. I told myself the science was too complicated and that the environmentalists were dealing with it. And I continued to behave as if there was nothing wrong with the shiny card in my wallet attesting to my “elite” frequent flyer status.
Climate change has never received the crisis treatment from our leaders, despite the fact that it carries the risk of destroying lives on a vastly greater scale than collapsed banks or collapsed buildings. The cuts to our greenhouse gas emissions that scientists tell us are necessary in order to greatly reduce the risk of catastrophe are treated as nothing more than gentle suggestions, actions that can be put off pretty much indefinitely. Clearly, what gets declared a crisis is an expression of power and priorities as much as hard facts. But we need not be spectators in all this: politicians aren’t the only ones with the power to declare a crisis. Mass movements of regular people can declare one.
Press link for more: Naomi Klein | the guardian.com
Burning coal for energy that remains Australia’s dirtiest industry, responsible for a whopping 54 per cent of emissions in 2013-14.
In a country blessed with abundant solar, wind & wave energy resources this is criminal negligence. Ignores all the warnings from climate scientists & destines future generations to mega droughts, more intense cyclones & metres of sea level rise.
Press link for more: Sophie Vorrath | renew economy.com
BP has warned that carbon dioxide emission levels from burning fossil fuels are unsustainable unless the international community unilaterally introduces tougher binding regulations on atmospheric pollution.
The stark warning from the UK’s second-largest oil company came with the publication on Tuesday of its closely-watched long-term outlook for global energy markets, which predicts that CO2 emissions will increase by 1pc per year, or 25pc in total, through to 2035.
This rise in pollution would be worse than the current rate, which scientists have said would have a negative effect on climate change. The United Nations is seeking to limit the increase of the average global surface temperature to no more than 2C, compared with pre-industrial levels, to avoid “dangerous” climate change, and will hold a major conference in Paris in December to agree on a firm system for restricting emissions.
Press link for more Andrew Critchlow | telegraph.co.uk
Solar energy is set to become the cheapest source of electricity in many parts of the world within the next 10 years, according to a new report released by German think tank, Agora Energiewende.
The report was commissioned by the independently funded organisation, designed to steer Germany towards its 80 per cent renewable energy target.
Chief executive officer Dr Patrick Graichen said they wanted to see if recent falls in the cost of photovoltaics would continue.
“The finding is there’s no end to the cost decline in photovoltaics,” he said.
“The technology still has further improvements so we expect that within the next 10 years photovoltaics will become, in many regions of the world, the cheapest source of electricity.”
Press link for more: Annie White | abc.net.au
Don’t look now but the anti-fossil fuel movement is quickly building momentum.
Climate activists have campaigned against oil, gas, and coal for years. And while legislation in the U.S. Congress addressing climate change seems as remote as ever, outside of the beltway the anti-fossil fuel movement is building support at a breakneck pace.
Consider the series of wins that environmentalists continue to rack up.
The Keystone XL pipeline seemed destined for approval several years ago with an oil-friendly Secretary of State in Hillary Clinton and a largely indifferent President in the White House. That all changed when environmental groups led by 350.org made the project a defining issue for the Obama administration. Nearly five years after protests began, the pipeline appears close to being killed off for good.
Or look to New York, where late last year, after several years of grinding opposition, Governor Andrew Cuomo finally banned fracking indefinitely. With vast reserves of shale gas located in the Marcellus and Utica shales in large swathes of southern and western New York, the fracking industry was stunned by the defeat.
Press link for more: Nick Cunningham | oilprice.com
When it comes to innovation, businesses often follow the lead of government. Take large-scale renewable power—especially solar. Before the 2009 stimulus package, solar power was nowhere in this country. But the same program that brought us the Solyndra debacle offered loan guarantees for the first efforts to build truly massive, utility-scale projects—ones that could supply massive quantities of energy and theoretically replace plants fired by fossil fuels. Those projects worked. America now is home to the world’s two largest solar plants. California’s Desert Sunlight and Topaz facilities each have a capacity of 550 megawatts. Both were made possible by Energy Department loans.
Once the technologies were proven, and the costs began to come down, investors and operators stepped in. Companies put up plants, and then made deals with utilities to buy the output—often at a price above the cost of electricity created by coal plants. Utilities complied in part because of state requirements that they source a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable sources.
Now we’re entering a new stage. Companies in sectors such as technology, health care, and consumer products—all big consumers of power—are striking deals to purchase huge amounts of renewable energy from newly constructed plants. This is different than companies putting up a solar array, or buying some carbon offsets, or making token greenness gestures. They are conjuring into existence new infrastructure that can’t help but replace coal.
Press link for more: Daniel Gross | slate.com