How US Energy Mix Compares to Others

From Statista... As of March 2019, the U.S. was using around 10% of renewable energy in its overall energy mix, a figure comparable to those of European countries like the UK and Germany. Some countries were using more renewable energy sources, like Canada and New Zealand, both of which have been investing in their respective hydropower sectors. Australia is trailing the U.S. in the adoption of renewables and is relying even more heavily on coal. The share of renewables in U.S. electricity generation is about the same as their share in total energy consumption. Here, other countries are already using more renewables, like Canada (66%), the U.K.(29%) or Germany (33%).

March 29th, 2019|Climate & Energy|

COAL POWER New Coal Power Projects Are Declining Globally by Niall McCarthy, Statista Mar 29, 2019 A new report has found that the number of coal-fired power plants around the globe is in steep decline. The research was conducted by the Global Energy Monitor, Greenpeace India and the Sierra Club who say there was a 20 percent drop in newly commissioned coal power capacity between 2017 and 2018. As well as that, pre-construction activity and new construction starts also fell 24 and 39 percent respectively. Since 2015, the number of newly-completed plants fell 53 percent while new construction starts plummeted 84 percent. The following infographic visualizes the decline across the world with planned capacity in pre-construction status falling from 1,090 GW in 2015 to just 339 GW last year. The biggest drops were seen in India and China with the latter planning 515 GW of new coal capacity in late 2015. That has now declined 86 percent, falling to just 70 GW. In India, the trend is similar with pre-construction declining from 218 GW in 2015 to 36 GW in 2018, a fall of

March 29th, 2019|Climate & Energy|

U.S. Behind in Plug-In Hybrid Sales

From Statista: Despite robust growth and record levels of electric vehicle sales in most of the largest automobile markets, combustion engines still dominate passenger car sales around the world. The share of plug-in electric vehicles in total passenger car and light vehicle sales/registrations was below 5% in all but four markets in 2018, with Norway the most notable exception at 49%. Why is Norway in the lead? Its policies (e.g. tax exemptions, toll exemptions and other incentives) have been highly effective in promoting electric cars, but its policies cannot be easily transferred to other countries. The country imposes hefty vehicle import duties and car registration taxes, which makes cars significantly more expensive than say in the United States. By waiving these duties for electric vehicles, Norway is effectively subsidizing EV purchases at a level that a larger country such as the U.S. couldn’t afford. In addition,  Norway is a very wealthy country (ironically thanks to its oil reserves) with a high level of income.    

March 27th, 2019|Climate & Energy|

The United States’ Carbon Footprint

The latest EPA data show that in 2016,  transportation  in  California,  Texas  and Florida  was  the  source  of  more  carbon  dioxide  pollution than  transportation  in  rest  of  the  United  States.  California,  Texas  and  Louisiana  led  country  in  emissions  from  industry.  Wyoming had  the  most  emissions  on  a  per  capita   basis.  (Double click to enlarge the chart. Source: Politico)

A Focused Green New Deal

By William S. Becker If Majority Leader Mitch McConnell brings the Green New Deal to a vote in the Senate this week as he intends, the result will be political theater. It won’t be more than that. Why? Because in its present form, the Green New Deal is a vision articulated in a nonbinding resolution, and the opposition of the Republican-controlled Senate is preordained. Here is what we’re likely to witness: McConnell and his Republican colleagues will try to brand the entire Democratic Party as a big-government socialist cabal. Democrats, who actually represent 50 shades of opinion on the proposals in the Green New Deal, may ask why so many Republicans are still ignoring climate change when half the states with the most weather disasters are “red”. If Senate Democrats have done their homework, they might ask McConnell how denying climate change is good for his constituents in Kentucky. The state ranks 12th the nation for its number of natural disasters. It has averaged more than one disaster declaration a year for the last 66 years. Yet it ranks 48th

23 Charts: Challenges Ahead for a Green New Deal

The Green New Deal proposal in Congress has caused a great deal of buzz, some of it enthusiastic, some of it skeptical and some of it negative. But we should be asking this: If not the Green New Deal, or something like it, then what are our options? There should be no debate about the fact that the United States and the rest of the world must act boldly and quickly to pull back from far more disastrous impacts of climate change than we are experiencing today. This post offers a set of slides that show some of the good news and the bad news about our response to climate change so far. Many of the illustrations come from Statista, a service that analyzes data from more than 22,500 sources to spot trends on a wide variety of topics including energy and climate. Others come from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communications, PoliticoPro and other data organizations. What we see is this: Although climate change must be addressed by every nation, the United States is in the driver's seat

Vote on the Green New Deal? Game on!

By William S. Becker Some of the Republican Party’s leaders say they love the Green New Deal – not because of its merits, but because they think it will keep Democrats from taking control of Congress and the White House less than two years from now. Sadly, their reaction is not about the jobs an ambitious transition to clean energy would create, or the illnesses and deaths it would prevent, or the need to keep weather disasters from getting worse. As usual, it’s all about the next election. Take Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, for example. “Let’s vote on the Green New Deal!” he tweeted about the plan unveiled last week by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey. “Americans deserve to see what kind of solutions far-left Democrats are offering to deal with climate change.” Sen. Mitch McConnell announced impishly that he’ll schedule a vote on the Deal just to see how many Democrats have the guts to vote for it. The Democrats' first response should be to ask the Republican leaders what their plan is, besides pretending

“We’ve never seen anything like this…”

In case you haven’t noticed, several new words and phrases have become more common in newspapers and on the evening news lately. They are used so often, in fact, that they are replacing “war torn nation” and “’tis the season” as the tritest phrases in the news business. This would be trivial except for one thing: The words reveal something very important about our times and about our upcoming elections. Here are some of them: Unprecedented Record-breaking Not in my lifetime Disaster Tragic Loss Victims Deaths Homeless Floods Heat Wildfire Firefighter Drought Evacuation Everything lost New normal These are part of the emerging lexicon of climate change.  We don’t have to rely on computer models and climatologists anymore to know whether global warming is real. Millions of Americans, as well as billions of people worldwide, are experiencing it first-hand. The people who still deny that climate change is real -- including the President of the United States, his Cabinet and more than half of the members of Congress -- are looking more and more ridiculous, like the proverbial ostriches with

Getting America Back on Course

By William S. Becker With important elections coming up this fall and in 2020, the American people will have opportunities to correct the mistake of putting Donald Trump in the White House, where he has used his office to undermine some of our most important institutions and laws. Trump’s damage has been widespread. Others have spoken about his impact on international relations; the stewardship of public lands; the press and the courts; the government’s divorce from science; and so on. Of special importance to those of us in the environmental sector is Trump’s great leap backward on environmental protection, energy policy and climate change. The question now is what we can do to rebuild what Trump and his minions have weakened or destroyed. On these and other issues, there seems to be three levels of volume in national politics right now. There is virtually no sound coming from the Democratic Party. It seems to have no message beyond an implicit “We’re not Trump”. Perhaps party strategists are content to remain quiet and hope that Trump will hang himself along with