3 clean energy myths that can lead to a productive climate conversation

3 clean energy myths that can lead to a productive climate conversation

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Renewable energy innovations symbolize what's great about America. Discussing them provides opportunities for climate dialogue. Energy use is the biggest cause of climate change, and it’s the first place we should look for solutions. It’s also a smart angle for talking about climate change, because it’s easy to find agreement on issues like improving energy efficiency, reducing pollution, cleaning up our energy supply, and reducing reliance on unstable foreign supplies. But energy can be a bit of a double-edged sword. The very reason that some people reject climate change is that they fear some of its solutions, such as regulations on carbon, or government subsidies for clean energy, pose risks to established fossil-fuel based ways of life. The good news is that it’s not hard to have positive conversations about…
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Meet the microgrid, the technology poised to transform electricity

Meet the microgrid, the technology poised to transform electricity

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By David Roberts and Alvin Chang This is the path to a cleaner, more reliable, more resilient energy grid. If we want a livable climate for future generations, we need to slow, stop, and reverse the rise in global temperatures. To do that, we need to stop burning fossil fuels for energy. To do that, we need to generate lots of carbon-free electricity and get as many of our energy uses as possible (including transportation and industry) hooked up to the electricity grid. Electrify everything! We need a greener grid. But that’s not all. The highly digital modern world also demands a more reliable grid, capable of providing high-quality power to facilities like hospitals or data centers, where even brief brownouts can cost money or lives. The renewable energy sources…
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$3 billion already spent to end longest blackout in US history. Could renewable energy help Puerto Rico?

$3 billion already spent to end longest blackout in US history. Could renewable energy help Puerto Rico?

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A brigade from the Electric Power Authority repairs distribution lines damaged by Hurricane Maria in the Cantera community of San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Oct. 19, 2017. (Photo: Carlos Giusti, AP) ADJUNTAS, Puerto Rico – Visitors to Casa Pueblo, a community center in this mountain hamlet, can tour the solar-powered meeting rooms, listen in on the solar-powered radio station or catch a documentary at the solar-powered movie theater. Later, they could lunch at one of Puerto Rico’s first fully solar-powered restaurants just down the street. On an island gripped by energy anxiety, Casa Pueblo is a calming oasis. “This is the model we want for the rest of the (island),” said Alexis Massol-Gonzalez, founding director of Casa Pueblo, a community center and renewables advocacy group. “It would be an energy revolution.” Hurricane Maria blasted through…
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Hurricane Florence crippled electricity and coal — solar and wind were back the next day

Hurricane Florence crippled electricity and coal — solar and wind were back the next day

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By IRINA IVANOVA MONEYWATCH  Nearly two weeks after Hurricane Florence swamped North and South Carolina, thousands of residents who get power from coal-fired utilities remain without electricity. Yet solar installations, which provide less than 5 percent of North Carolina's energy, were up and running the day after the storm, according to electricity news outlet GTM. And while half of Duke Energy's customers were without power at some point, according to CleanTechnica, the utility's solar farms sustained no damage. Traditional energy providers have fared less well. A dam breach at the L.V. Sutton Power Station, a retired coal-fired power plant near Wilmington, North Carolina, has sent coal ash flowing into a nearby river. Another plant near Goldsboro has three flooded ash basins, according to the Associated Press, while in South Carolina, floodwaters…
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The Frightening Lesson Hurricane Maria Taught the World About the Politics of Climate Change

The Frightening Lesson Hurricane Maria Taught the World About the Politics of Climate Change

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By KUMI NAIDOO September 19, 2018 Exactly a year ago, on Sept. 20, 2017, one of the most violent storms ever to hit the Caribbean made landfall on the island of Puerto Rico. The storm, the likes of which Puerto Ricans had not seen in several generations, had gathered in intensity before tearing through Dominica and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and ending in Puerto Rico. No one can deny the devastation that Hurricane Maria brought on the population of Puerto Rico. Most people survived the hell of the storm but were then forced to live through the hell of the aftermath. Food and water shortages were pervasive throughout the island, power was virtually wiped out, hospitals were closed because of extensive damage, and basic services all but collapsed. No one…
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Humans Are Making Hurricanes Worse. Here’s How.

Humans Are Making Hurricanes Worse. Here’s How.

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A rescuer helped a resident of New Bern, N.C., from her home on Saturday.CreditCreditVictor J. Blue for The New York Times  When hurricane Florence struck the Carolinas last week, humanity played a role in the destruction. Human intervention is making natural disasters unnaturally harmful, both in causes and effects, and the number of ways our own influence is making things worse, taken together, is sobering. On a global scale, we are bolstering the destructive potential of hurricanes and other extreme weather events by driving climate change. At the local level, we remain reluctant to deal with the problems of our own making, building and rebuilding in risky areas even as we avoid the policies and investment that would help mitigate the threats. Kim Cobb, a climate scientist at the Georgia…
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Research forecasts US among top nations to suffer economic damage from climate change

Research forecasts US among top nations to suffer economic damage from climate change

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  Flooded street in Houston after Hurricane Harvey in 2017 Credit: © Irina K. / Fotolia For the first time, researchers have developed a data set quantifying what the social cost of carbon -- the measure of the economic harm from carbon dioxide emissions -- will be for the globe's nearly 200 countries, and the results are surprising. Although much previous research has focused on how rich countries benefit from the fossil fuel economy, while damages accrue primarily to the developing world, the top three counties with the most to lose from climate change are the United States, India and Saudi Arabia -- three major world powers. The world's largest CO2emitter, China, also places in the top five countries with the highest losses. The findings, which appear in Nature Climate…
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Warned 30 years ago, global warming ‘is in our living room’

Warned 30 years ago, global warming ‘is in our living room’

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We were warned. On June 23, 1988, a sultry day in Washington, James Hansen told Congress and the world that global warming wasn’t approaching — it had already arrived. The testimony of the top NASA scientist, said Rice University historian Douglas Brinkley, was “the opening salvo of the age of climate change.” Thirty years later, it’s clear that Hansen and other doomsayers were right. But the change has been so sweeping that it is easy to lose sight of effects large and small — some obvious, others less conspicuous. Earth is noticeably hotter, the weather stormier and more extreme. Polar regions have lost billions of tons of ice; sea levels have been raised by trillions of gallons of water. Far more wildfires rage. Over 30 years — the time period…
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Forecasters predict a near- or above-normal 2018 Atlantic hurricane season

Forecasters predict a near- or above-normal 2018 Atlantic hurricane season

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Forecasters predict a 35 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, and a 25 percent chance of a below-normal season for the upcoming hurricane season, which extends from June 1 to November 30. “With the advances made in hardware and computing over the course of the last year, the ability of NOAA scientists to both predict the path of storms and warn Americans who may find themselves in harm’s way is unprecedented,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The devastating hurricane season of 2017 demonstrated the necessity for prompt and accurate hurricane forecasts.” NOAA’s forecasters predict a 70-percent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 5 to 9 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or…
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Puerto Rico seeks to delay releasing death records after hurricane; judge rejects motion

Puerto Rico seeks to delay releasing death records after hurricane; judge rejects motion

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    San Juan, Puerto Rico (CNN) Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló told CNN last month that there would be "hell to pay" if officials withheld records related to Hurricane Maria. Yet his government filed a motion late Monday asking for permission to stall the delivery of death certificates and other data a judge had ordered to be released to CNN and the Center for Investigative Journalism, or CPI, after the organizations sued for access to those records. In response, the court said it would not lift its requirement that records be released to CNN and CPI by Tuesday. "This new delay tactic (speaks) to the Rosselló government's credibility," said Carla Minet, executive director of CPI. "The government didn't need seven days to hand in most of the information -- and yet…
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