Category Archives: earth

Is There a Path to All Renewable Energy Use?

Some folks I talk to are very pessimistic about climate change. They don’t believe that humanity will figure out a way to change behavior patterns radically enough to stop, let alone reverse the trends that are at work now.

So what is likely to happen? No one really knows. Certainly the drastic drop in cost of solar energy is cause for optimism. If it continues to fall, the economics of burning fossil fuels to produce energy changes. But there are other challenges. This TED ED video gives an overview. Enjoy!


Some Bad News for California

Each year in September and October,  California experiences forest fires. That is normal. The bad news is that these fires are getting worse because of climate change

Climate change will continue to affect fire behavior. According to an article published in PNAS, data from Western North America confirms that human-caused climate change will lead to widespread and more frequent fires. This is because the continual warming trend sets up conditions for a longer burning season — climate change means higher temperatures and more erratic precipitation, which leads to drier fuels ripe for burning.

And this year has been very gad. Next year? Gulp!

Hurricane Irma, Richard Branson and Rush Limbaugh

We are still getting over Harvey, and  among the least welcome new events would be a level 5 hurricane. Welcome Hurricane Irma that is brewing in the Atlantic.

This new hurricane is hitting the Caribbean. And there it will find Richard Branson, determined to ride it out in his wine cellar  with his crew on his private island, Necker.  Here they are in bunk beds

Image result for Branson Hurricane Irma

If  Irma reaches Palm Beach, it will find good old Ruch Limbaugh. Rush makes a big deal each year that hurricanes are a con job — a media feeding frenzy to sell climate change, bottle water and such.

Well, Rush, I will be curious to hear what you have to say if Irma hits Palm Beach in full force.

Good luck to any and all in Irma’s path!


Why Trump is Irrelevant on Climate Change

Feeling a bit blue? Read this for a “pick me up”. Enjoy!

Donald Trump will be long remembered for his gesture of pulling the US out of the Paris Agreements. But what effect will that have overall? That depends on what forces are actually driving the human species in coping with climate change. According to Andrew Beebe, thsoe forces are not “top down”.

… all of the stakeholders addressing climate change were moving on their own before Paris, and virtually all of them already had in place plans which would result in exceeding the Paris goals. This is true of the U.S. as well. The real value of Paris was simply coming together to collectively acknowledge the challenge and show unity around a future engagement for the next steps after Paris.

It is an optimistic scenario. Moreover, as innovation drives the cost of alternative fuels down further, we will see more innovative adaptions that will multiply their impact on enegy markets.

Stay tuned on this one! And pat your dog.  It will perk you up!

When You Will Go Rooftop Solar

The trend seems to be long term – the cost of rooftop solar is going down and the cost of batteries to store the electicity that you generate is also going down. The conclusion: at some point, this means rooftop solar will be mainstream. We all will either have it or will be considering installing it. The speed at which this happens depends largely on how fast battery technology develops. But McKensy thinks it will happen fsater than many think Perhaps by 2030.

And what about utilities?

(The McKinsey report makes) clear is that for power utilities, unlike for so many other decrepit American institutions, simply clinging to the status quo is not an option. Rooftop solar can be staved off temporarily with fees and rate tweaks, but as batteries get cheaper, those strategies will stop working. More and customers are going to generate, store, and manage more and more of their own power.

Utilities will have to look elsewhere to make money: Where? That story is yet to play out. Stay tuned!

When will we No Longer Need to Burn Coal?

The trend is clear. Solar and wind costs are falling and are making coal obsolete as a fuel. So when will global coal markets collapse?

If certain preconditions are met, it may be 2040.

That sounds pretty good. And consider this

Even as President Donald Trump takes steps to increase coal use, the market isn’t likely to rebound in the U.S. Coal-fired power is expected to fall by 51 percent over the next two decades. In its place, gas-fired electricity will increase 22 percent, and renewables by a massive 169 percent.

169% Wow!