Climate Catastrophe Controlled
Depressed about Global Warming, Climate Change, and Global Catastrophe?
There is hope! In an article entitled, “The Sunniest Climate-Change Story You’ve Ever Read” by Jonathan Chait in the September7-20 issue of “New York” he writes about the interaction between Politics and Technology with respect to the acceptance of man-made climate change and the ability of technology to develop alternate energies.
He cites the cost of solar, for example. In 1990 it cost $10 a watt to produce. Twenty years later it was down to only $3, and four years later .50 a watt. The same rapid pace of technology working in its application to solar energy. He continued outlining how building new solar-powered plants cost less than coal or natural gas plants in the “sunniest locations in the world” and that by 2020 (that’s only five years away) that will also apply to places where only average sunlight is available.
With respect to wind power, he notes that the taller turbines with longer more powerful blades have made wind power competitive in the windy parts of our country. By 2023 (eight years down the road) new wind power will cost less than new power plants burning natural gas.
He notes that the coal industry, the dirtiest of all fossil fuels, is in freefall. In 2009 there were 523 coal-fired plants in operation in the United States. In 2015 only 323, a drop of 200, many reconfigured as natural gas facilities. New regulations make it virtually certain, no new coal plants will break ground in the United States ever again. Renewable-energy installations now account for 70% of new electric power.
Even something as seemingly insignificant as our lights has been part of a “total bulb revolution” as LED’s have lead the charge in providing low energy light sources. And our top scientists and researchers are racing to develop next-generation batteries as well as ultra-efficient solar cells and vehicles and kitchen appliances.
And for all of you out there that think our efforts remain futile in the face of other developing nations especially China; China burns less than half as much carbon per person as the United States. Half. It also has increased wind-energy production ten-fold since 2003 and has started the largest build-out of hydroelectricity the world has ever seen.
By investing in Green Energy China expects to increase solar energy this year by 18 gigawatts; the total amount in the U.S. today. Many smaller developing nations have also realized that building alternate energy sources such as wind and solar are far more cost-efficient than having to also fund the tremendous infrastructure required to transport energy from coal or gas plants. Solar and wind is local, and affordable.
I felt empowered and encouraged after reading this article, hopeful that despite the oppositional and functional denial of one of our major political parties, the rest of the world is moving along to derail the death spiral of climate change with the help of scientists and the President of the United States, Barack Obama.