Environment America Latest Blog Posts

It’s International River Otter Awareness Day! Here are five reasons we appreciate these amazing creatures.

If you’re like us and follow renewable energy closely, the past few weeks have been nothing short of astonishing. Whether for several hours or in some cases days, a handful of European countries experienced periods of time where they needed only renewable energy to cover all or most of their energy needs.

Already, India is a renewable energy leader, especially when it comes to solar. It has some of the largest solar projects in the world, and plans to expand to 20 gigawatts (GW) by 2020 and 200 GW by 2050 as part of the “National Solar Mission.” Given recent circumstances, however, they appear poised to go even bigger.

Global warming is taking its toll on people and the environment around the world. Here in the U.S., we see more extreme weather like heat waves, droughts, floods, and bad air days because of global warming. We know that to avoid catastrophe and meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement, the US will need to cut overall global warming pollution by more than 80 percent by mid-century.

As a kid growing up in Wisconsin, I would attend the annual summer fly-in of the Experimental Aircraft Association in Oshkosh. It’s truly a spectacle -- on display you can find everything from World War II bombers to ultralights to the SR71; one year they even had the Harrier jet demonstrate a vertical take off.

According to a recent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) report, 98.6% of all new energy capacity brought online in the first quarter of 2016 came from renewable energy. It’s not quite 100%, but it’s close. The remaining 1.4% came from natural gas.

Last week, San Francisco became the first major U.S. city to mandate solar on every new building, further reinforcing the city’s commitment to meeting its goal of getting to 100% of its power from renewable energy within ten years. They become the first major city to do this and 3rd overall, joining small California towns Lancaster and Sebastopol, who made the same move in 2013.

Every day, we see another example of tremendous progress on renewable energy. Wind and solar, as well as electric cars, are becoming mainstream “go-to” options, reinforcing that the move to 100% renewable energy is underway. At the same time, most experts will acknowledge that one of the next biggest challenges will be powering our aircrafts with renewable energy.  

 | by
Ben Hellerstein
State Director

Finally! After more than year of gridlock, Governor Baker signed a bill that lifts restrictive caps on solar, opening the door for enough solar to power 100,000 Massachusetts homes with clean energy. The bill is a necessary step that will allow solar to continue to expand — but there is more work to do to put Massachusetts on track towards 100% clean, renewable energy.

Professor Hughes recalls his reaction to finding that 93 percent of the Great Barrier Reef’s coral is bleached: “And then we wept.”