Here comes…: solar was second largest source of new electric capacity in 2013

March 5, 2014

It’s on.  The clean energy revolution, that is.

In a preview of a big report due out tomorrow, the Solar Energy Industries Association reports that solar electricity was the second largest source of new electric capacity in the U.S. in 2013.  In 6 states in DC, solar accounted for 100% of new capacity.

solar states SEIA

Check here for the big news tomorrow.

Going to town for climate solutions: Powering the new energy future from the ground up

July 18, 2012

“Global warming” is like a general anesthetic.  Yes, it accurately describes the trend in the global average temperature.  But nobody lives in the global average temperature.  Nobody works or plays in the global average temperature.  Nobody gets anything done in the global average temperature.

(Is “global warming” better than “climate change”[i]?  Enough already.  See footnote.)

The warming may be global, but the action is local.

The impacts – the flooding, the extreme weather, the fires – hit home, not the “globe.”  We cause the problem locally, primarily with our energy and transportation investments and choices.  And most importantly, when you roll up your sleeves and get real about solutions, many of the key decisions are local:  infrastructure investments, transportation options, energy choices.

I don’t mean to say for a minute that we don’t need state and national policy and international agreements; we desperately do.  But while we’re clearing the path to those policies – and after we succeed – we can and must put shoulder to wheel in our lives and communities.

We must be, you might say, Powering the New Energy Future from the Ground Up.

And in communities across America and the world, we are.    The successes and challenges of 22 of these communities are profiled in a terrific new report from the Henry M. Jackson Foundation and Climate Solutions’ New Energy Cities program, available here.

These stories aren’t from the big, well-known leadership cities like Portland, Seattle, and New York.  They’re from small and medium-sized communities.  Many of them emerged from individuals and grassroots collaborations among community organizations.  They employ local regulation and voluntary action.  They feature broad local partnerships with utilities, businesses, workforce organizations, schools, and non-profits.  They got a boost from federal recovery investments, and are developing their own funding models.  They started with low-hanging fruit, and are building toward long-term energy transformation strategies.

They are – geographically and substantively – all over the map.  That’s a good thing.  Not all of them are motivated by climate.   These cities, and thousands of others, are demonstrating that the clean energy transition is a solid foundation for building healthier communities and stronger local economies.   Living, breathing local examples of that proposition can take us a long way toward embracing the imperative for climate solutions.

Check ‘em out.

[i] In a “secret” 2003 polling memo, conservative pollster Frank Luntz advised Republicans to use “climate change” instead of “global warming.”  Clever (kinda) climate communicators, said “aha, then ‘global warming’ it is!”  Frank Luntz knows that nothing like that stays secret.  He’s had a decade of laughs watching us argue over which is better, knowing full well that they are both profoundly useless – abstract, disengaging, completely outside the psychological scope of human agency.  Both terms work splendidly, if your goal is to avert action.  I’m going with “climate disruption.”

Yergin fertilizes ecosystem of denial

June 12, 2012

I pop out of bed early on Sunday morning.  I have to get the jump on two things before my household gets moving:  solving the theme of the New York Times crossword, and responding quickly to any major climate news in the Sunday paper.

Thanks to Joe Romm, however, I can enjoy my coffee and focus on the puzzle.  Because by the time I read anything egregious in the Sunday NYT, Joe will have already eviscerated it….

…as he did with this Daniel Yergin oped, which celebrates a new, extraction-heavy energy “reality” without reference to climate (or coal, for that matter).  This is denialism by omission, all the more potent because Yergin is not a climate denier.  Ignoring climate reality in the context of informed discussion of America’s energy production arguably plays a more important role in the ecosystem of denial than active denial does.  It creates respectable intellectual habitat for the climate-destroying “all of the above” energy policy.

Romm concludes:  “Until well-informed centrists like Yergin confront the [climate] dilemma, they are essentially failing humanity in its time of greatest need to hear the truth from across the political spectrum.”

Read the rest at “Dan Yergin’s Dilemma: Energy ‘Reality’ Vs. Climate Reality

Also see Seth Kaplan’s insightful review of Yergin’s book The Quest at Doctor Yergin’s Dilemma