Solar and wind energy are passing a tipping point


I think at long last, we are passing a tipping point on renewable energy, in particular solar and wind energy. The article below references it more as a turning point, but the public and industry are seeing the dividends that are presented with healthier and environmentally safer energy, which also is producing jobs. Further, the cost of production is falling so dramatically, it is close to being on par with other sources. And, when the cost of water loss, clean-up, maintenance, healthcare, environmental degradation, and litigation are valued for fossil fuel produced energy, the comparative cost of renewable energy is even more compelling.

Please do read the attached article called “Solar and wind just passed another big turning point.” But, keep the following tidbits in mind as you do:

  • Amazon, Facebook, Google and other companies that manage electricity intensive data centers are powering them with solar energy.
  • Aldi, IKEA, Target and Walmart and other cost-conscious retailers are powering (or have significant targets to power) stores with solar energy.
  • 10% of the power produced in the oil-rich state of Texas comes from wind-energy. An even higher percentage of power is produced by wind energy in Iowa. Ranchers and farmers like leasing vertical space to wind mills, with some North Carolina farmers getting $5,000 per windmill per year.
  • The City of Burlington, VT is 100% powered by renewable energy. They have not had a utility rate increase for consumers in five years.
  • At the end of last year, there were 170,000 US solar energy jobs, which have been growing at double-digit rates for the past several years.
  • In a recent survey of Republican voters by ClearPath a conservative group, 75% favored greater use of renewable energy and 56% said climate change was real and man-influenced. A group called Conservatives for Clean Energy is very active in the push for renewable energy, so this is more than a progressive voter issue.
  • Finally, we need to be more concerned by the use of water in the energy acquisition and creation process. Fossil and nuclear fuel have to boil water into steam to turn the turbines which turn the generators. Although the process is usually repeated, the water that is eventually released into the river source has diminished. Plus, fracking uses a huge amount of water that cannot go back into the system with its added fracking chemical toxins.

Thanks for your interest and sharing my concerns and hopes.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/technologyinvesting/solar-and-wind-just-passed-another-big-turning-point/ar-AAf9JuJ?li=AA4Zjn&ocid=DELLDHP

A few paraphrased quotes for fun

Politicians, pundits and so-called experts say the darnedest things. And, they tend to forget that they have been recorded. The sad truth is some do not care, as they have “evolved their opinion” or “changed their mind.” Nonetheless, these quotes provide nice vignettes into the absurd world of our leaders and so-called thought leaders. It is a reminder that every thing you see and hear should be taken with a grain of salt.

– In 2008, both current Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Leader Mitch McConnell said these statements on camera. “Climate change is real and man-influenced and we need to do something about it.”

– Roughly in 2007, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and then current Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi did a television commercial together. Newt said “I was wrong about global warming. It is a problem and both Nancy and I agree we need to do something about it.”

– In 2014, both Boehner and McConnell said roughly “The science is not clear on climate change.”

– In his 2012 Presidential election run, Gingrich said, “I was wrong to say I was wrong about climate change.”

– Last month, Presidential candidate Rick Santorum in response to a question about Pope Francis’ paper on the Catholic Church’s concern over doing something about climate change, “We need to leave this to the scientists.” The Pope not only is supporting what governing scientific bodies are saying, but he also has a Masters in Chemistry, so technically he has some science qualifications.

– A public relations person who is well-compensated by the fossil fuel industry portrays himself as a scientific expert and argues on the split screen shots with scientists on talk shows. In the documentary movie “Merchants of Doubt,” he made fun of scientists saying they were “boring” and took pride in selling a story of climate change being a hoax. These scientists have spent a life studying the problem, but sometimes find it hard to articulate a complex argument into sound bites. When he was asked by Glenn Beck if he was an independent, unbiased expert, he lied and said he was.

– Former Congressman Bob Inglis of South Carolina, who was a climate change skeptic, traveled to Antarctica to see for himself. He came away convinced that the science was real and climate change is the problem as advertised. On the floor of Congress, he made a speech about his findings and that we need to do something about it. He was trounced in the next election by a fossil-fuel backed candidate. He now travels around telling his story as a Republican supporting the need to act on climate change and faces uphill battles everywhere he goes.

Man-influenced climate change is here and is causing problems around the world from Ecuador to Bangladesh to the Cartaret Islands to Miami to the Everglades to Norfolk to Texas to California. The drought areas will become worse and they are. Forest fires will become worse and they are. Sea-level rise will encroach into low-lying areas and it is. Hurricanes will hit shore from an elevated water level and be worse like Hurricane Sandy. And, chemicals in the ground will heat up like a crock pot.

The world can ill-afford a President or politicians to not recognize climate change for the problem it is. Please ask questions of politicians why they believe the way they do and what framed their opinion.

Playing both ends against the middle

This has always been a problem, but with the vast sums of money that it takes for a US politician to get elected, large industry groups end up supporting both sides and play the ends against the middle. When you tack on the monied lobbyist influence and reasonable, even handed legislation does not stand a chance. The end result is we are closer to oligarchy in this country approaching the days of the Robber Barons, which Teddy Roosevelt adamantly fought. Roosevelt was against corporate funding whatsoever, but now with recent court decisions, companies are given freedoms to control elections and elected officials.

If you look at the largest and most influential industry in America, the fossil fuel industry, it is easy to see why we still debate over man’s influence over climate change and that fracking should be viewed as perfectly safe because the pretty and earnest spokeswoman tells it is so on the excellently crafted commercial. I have said this before, but they are not my words – the fossil fuel industry pretty much owns the Republican Party in the United States. Oh, I am sure we could argue degrees of influence, but there should be little debate that the fossil fuel industry can get the attention of the GOP.

The sad part of the equation is they also fund Democrats, as well. While they would prefer the Republicans to win, because of the canned legislation ready to be enacted for their betterment through organizations like ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, if the Democrats win, they have that base covered. Coupling that with a heavy lobbying effort and these legislators don’t stand a chance. While the President has espoused moving the ball forward on addressing climate change and has done some good things, we have been fracking like there is no tomorrow, which is an intended pun.

In fact, with Republicans in Congress bashing the EPA efforts, someone high up in the Administration has on more than one occasion asked the EPA to cool their jets. This is one reason EPA Director Lisa Jackson resigned in December 2012 shortly after a report on fracking water poisoning in Pennsylvania was released that was watered down in the headlines. Since no one reads anything any more, people went with the headlines which were less forthcoming about the problematic results. I guess she was hoping someone would have her back in this hard fight. I am likely over-simplifying the reasons, but she was a frustrated camper when she left.

I could have easily picked on another industry group, such as the NRA. There is a reason that goes beyond Republican obstinance that works against getting some legitimate and wanted legislation done. But, the key takeaway is funders can play both ends against the middle in a fight no one knows is going on outside of government halls. In the case of the fossil fuel industry with connections and money, they are a formidable power to reckon with. So, this more than anything is why the EPA is a target. They stand in the way of the industry making decisions where the environmental impact is not highlighted as much as it needs to be. Other environmental groups have had to become more active to lend their voice to the understaffed and under supported EPA. If you hear “we should do away with the EPA” at a cocktail party, you should ask the person, “do you really mean that?”

So, the heavy lifting is going to fall on us citizens. We have to be better informed. We have to ask more questions about why people are advocating something that does not feel right. We cannot rely on party politics to dictate what we do. We need to get our information from reputable and multiple sources. There are too many so-called news sources and pundits that are giving out misinformation and disinformation, or at best spin-doctored news. If you are watching a news source that mentions Benghazi more than half a dozen times, you are not watching a reputable news source.

Let’s keep these folks honest. We have our work cut out for us.

Also, please check out my friend Hugh Curtler’s post on “Corporate Persons” from this morning. http://hughcurtler.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/corporate-persons/