- Disastrous U.S. election results might blind us from seeing some of the bricks falling, one by one, from the Berlin Climate Wall. Berlin’s seemingly permanent wall, mortared together with rigid fear, fell quickly, but only once people took power. Controlling climate won’t be one big whack at the wall, but bricks are falling. Beijing helps tackle a piece of the wall; yet, there are still huge segments beyond Beijing. Each of us can haul off a wheel barrel of bricks, too. – Editor
The climate deal that almost wasn’t
Top administration officials had worked secretly for months to nail down a major climate change deal with China. When the sides finally agreed to a final text late Tuesday, Obama had secured a startling political and policy victory — one that turbocharges his goal to reduce global carbon emissions and invigorates a presidency deflated by last week’s midterm elections. Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping stood side by side on a raised platform in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, greeted by a military band and cheering schoolchildren, to announce that the world’s two biggest carbon polluters were jointly pledging to throttle their greenhouse gas output — with the hope that the rest of the world will follow. The administration took pains to keep a tight lid on the talks for fear that leaks could spook the Chinese. Analysts warned that the 2025 target won’t do enough by themselves to limit the average global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, which scientists call the tipping point to preventing catastrophic climate change. Future administrations will need to make even bigger cuts.
“My take is that this is an historic agreement for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that we now have a good faith effort on the part of the planet’s two leading carbon emitters to
work together to lower planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.
It is probably our last-ditch opportunity to stave off
dangerous human interference with the climate.”
Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University.
“Efforts to reduce U.S. emissions have been blocked, in part, by people who argue that the U.S. should wait for China to act. [The deal] has potential to get us all beyond what has been a major — maybe the major — political challenge for emissions reductions in the U.S.”
Paul Higgins, a climatologist and Director of the American Meteorological Society’s Policy Program
“There will be a lot of pressure on the rest of the world if the U.S., China, and Europe are all on board to getting major reductions in emissions going. An important part of this is that it will likely produce momentum in energy and transportation systems towards alternative approaches that hopefully will in turn then drive prices down.”
Donald Wuebbles, professor of atmospheric science at the University of Illinois
“The agreement with China is a good first step. But we hope it is but a first step because it is not enough to prevent significant climate change. Since the current strategy allows considerable climate change to occur, a second part needs to be how we will cope with the changes that will certainly occur. The absence of such planning means we live with the consequences, which can be severe and uneven, and often fall on the heads of many innocent peoples
such as small island states inundated with high sea levels.”
Kevin Trenberth, distinguished senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
“It does at least begin to move the US in the right direction, but let me say behind the European Union. The EU and other countries are using 1990 as the baseline, the US is using 2005, and that does make it easier for the US.
Nevertheless, this is a very important announcement.
It means we are very likely to get an agreement in Paris in December 2015.”
Sir David King, UK’s lead climate diplomat
“I don’t think it’s hyperbole. It’s a groundbreaking political moment.
It will change the nature of these negotiations.”
Heather Coleman, climate change policy manager at Oxfam America
“This is an incredibly positive signal, but we need more.”
Nat Keohane, vice president of international climate at the Environmental Defense Fund
“I hope that this pledge becomes a very low floor for presidential aspirants and
not a ceiling for what is possible in the United States.
Erich Pica, president of the environmental group Friends of the Earth
Bill McKibben- The Big Climate Deal: What It Is, and What It Isn’t-
10 things you need to know about the US-China climate deal
It is historic. It isn’t binding in any way. It is proof that renewable energy is ready to go. It is not remotely enough to keep us out of climate trouble. It is a good way to put pressure on other nations. It is a reason projects like Keystone XL and fracking make even less sense than ever. It’s not, in any way, a stretch goal. It is — and this is the real key — a reminder that movements work. It isn’t, in other words, a reason to slack off one bit in the ongoing fight for a livable climate, a fight we must continue at all cost.
4 REASONS REPUBLICANS ARE UPSET
Obama is throwing down the gauntlet.
It takes away the “But we can’t do anything because China won’t” argument.
It’s another death knell for the coal industry.
Republicans are becoming internationally isolated, and it makes them look foolish.
US climate pledge 4% less ambitious than at Copenhagen
President Barack Obama’s pledge to curb US greenhouse gas emissions 26-28% on 2005 levels by 2025 received widespread praise on Wednesday. But the figures presented to the world are actually 2-4% less ambitious than those the US tabled in 2010 in the aftermath of the Copenhagen Accord, agreed at a UN summit in 2009. The reality is the US government won’t have to change its policy significantly to meet its new goal. It’s becoming clearer much of this joint pact is simply business as usual, now packaged up in an agreement that makes that trajectory slightly harder to break.
38 federal agencies reveal their vulnerabilities to climate change — and what they’re doing about it
The Obama administration published a small library’s worth of climate change documents on Friday, outlining 38 federal agencies’ vulnerabilities to global warming and how they will address them — as well as a separate and even larger set of new government-wide plans to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions and achieve new targets for sustainability. In many cases, the vulnerabilities revealed are stark. The Defense Department released its own updated adaptation plan earlier this month, with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel describing climate change as a “threat multiplier” because it worsens many of the challenges that the military faces, including terrorism and disease. The Department of Agriculture, for instance, sees “the potential for up to 100 percent increase in the number of acres burned annually by 2050″ by wildfires. The Department of Health and Human Services, in its new report, says it views climate change as “one of the top public health challenges of our time.”
“Way above what I would say are more standard returns,
I think renewable energy is good business.
I think we could really start a renewable energy movement in the U.S.
If businesses act, and
we don’t wait for policy, it could make a big difference.”
Rose Marcario, CEO, Patagonia
- Recognizing our power and not waiting are vital! The power of a rose! – Editor
Patagonia Will Start Paying for Homeowners’ Solar Panels
Patagonia plans to use state and federal tax credits to invest $13 million in the construction of solar panels on 1,000 homes in Hawaii, turning the eco-conscious retailer into the financial backer of a green electrical utility. Patagonia is joining forces with a tiny solar-financing company, Kina’ole Capital Partners as well as a local Hawaiian bank to create a $27 million fund to pay for rooftop installation and upkeep. The goal is to make solar energy available to homeowners at no upfront cost. Customers will instead pay monthly fees for the electricity generated, at a rate about 40 percent lower than average in Hawaii, according to Kina’ole. Patagonia and Kina’ole are eager to advise other companies on how to make use of state and federal tax credits and direct tax money to build clean energy infrastructure.
- Look what two people can accomplish! A great vision, determination, and willingness to dare to think big! Get some friends together, be inspired, dream, plan, take risks, and get started! Don’t wait for Federal policy to do it, especially this post-election! – Editor
For Yani and Herbert’s small solar-financing company- Kina’ole Capital
Kina’ole Capital Partners is a solar finance company dedicated to offering low-cost, solar energy that saves our customers money while contributing to our country’s shift to clean, renewable energy.
Last year the startup approached Patagonia about investing tax equity in building a renewable energy infrastructure in Hawaii. Marcario sealed the deal within a month.
One example from prior projects- Portfolio Spotlights: Simply Storage: By The Numbers
298 state-of-the-art panels manufactured in the USA by SolarWorld; $29,135 Yearly Savings
In just under two and a half years, their solar system paid for itself; In 30 years, Simply Storage will have saved more than 1.8 million dollars on its electric bill.
- The rules of the game are shifting rapidly. Large organizations like utilities tend to just fight change, failing to see the writing on the doomed wall. – Editor
Solar + storage is cost effective already in Australia
A new study from investment bank UBS says solar plus storage already make economic sense for Australian households. The arrival of cost-competitive solar plus storage will have major impacts on utilities, depending on how they react. They could see it as an opportunity – and provide zero-down installations of battery storage and solar to their customers and help the costs come down even quicker for Australian households. Or they could see it as a threat, and leave the way open for others to do the same. The UBS analysis estimates that such systems are already offering a return of capital of 10 per cent a year or more compared to buying power from the grid.
Solar Panels + Energy Storage For German Market
An integrated residential rooftop solar and energy storage system will be launched in Germany in December. Hanwha Q Cells rooftop solar and Samsung lithium-ion batteries will be sold together so German citizens can produce their own electricity from the sun and store it at home. The integrated storage technology is called Q.HOME. The intention of the Hanwha Q CELLS and Samsung energy storage residential product is to allow consumers to become more independent of the grid. This goal not long ago was generally perceived as being something for a survivalist living in a rustic cabin. Now it seems almost poised to become mainstream, at least in Germany.
- Paying for solar panels and energy efficiency through property taxes makes total sense, with potential to rapidly accelerate city energy goals, but until now, the Feds have put major kinks in a great system. Some more bricks just got quietly hauled off! – Editor
Are Housing Regulators Quietly Dropping Their Opposition to PACE?
The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) public opposition to property-assessed clean energy (PACE) initially slowed growth of these programs, which allow homeowners to finance an energy efficiency retrofit or renewable energy installation over twenty years through their property taxes. Many communities worried that FHFA would redline them if they expanded PACE offerings. The FHFA is reportedly easing its opposition to local programs that allow homeowners to pay for renewable energy and efficiency retrofits through their property taxes. For the past four years, FHFA has been publicly opposed to underwriting mortgages for homeowners that have received property-assessed clean energy (PACE) loans. After five years of experience, there is no evidence that PACE has increased the risk of default. In the last year, communities throughout California, Connecticut, Florida and New York have started offering PACE loans in record numbers.
For a good place to learn more and check on your state’s status
Texas Utility Oncor Wants to Invest $5.2B in Storage- Can It Get Approval?
Texas utility Oncor wants to spend billions of dollars on batteries to back up its transmission and distribution network– a major investment in grid-scale energy storage that will require major changes in the country’s most deregulated energy market. Oncor’s plan calls for up to 5 gigawatts of batteries, ranging from refrigerator-sized to containerized units, across its service territory. The Dallas Morning News mentioned that utility executives had met with Tesla Motors, builder of the Giga factory lithium-ion assembly plant in Nevada, along with several other companies with similar distributed-scale energy storage products on the market. Oncor’s plan represents one of the biggest potential energy storage procurement opportunities in the country — if it actually comes to pass. So far, California has led the country in energy storage, with a 1.3-gigawatts-by-2022 mandate.
- Divestment typically means some reinvestment strategies. Lots of options, but beware of some advisors- this list includes natural gas- not wise if you care about human and environmental health! – Editor
2015 Alternative Energy Stock Predictions
Time to lay out my top five alternative energy stock picks for the coming year.
Enjoy your holidays! We are taking a few weeks off for other piled-high projects, plus several days with delightful friends, support for the local, organic food economy, and no carbon footprints of air travel!