Google announces deals for 1.6GW of new wind and solar generation

first_imgGoogle announces deals for 1.6GW of new wind and solar generation FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Google announced a package of renewables deals on Thursday totaling 1,600 megawatts, which the tech behemoth says is the largest corporate renewables purchase in history.Made up of 18 deals, Google’s projects will be built across the U.S., Europe and in Chile. The company said the purchases will increase its total wind and solar agreements by more than 40 percent.Amazon joined Google in dropping a big commitment on Thursday, announcing plans to achieve 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 and net-zero carbon by 2040. In a statement, CEO Jeff Bezos said Amazon was “done being in the middle of the herd on this issue.”Even when companies lock in 100 percent renewables commitments, it can be tricky to quantify their environmental impact. A company’s demand for renewables doesn’t necessarily shut down fossil fuel plants and encourage building new wind or solar in their place.“We’re not buying power from existing wind and solar farms, but instead are making long-term purchase commitments that result in the development of new projects,” wrote CEO Sundar Pichai of Google’s 1,600-megawatt announcement in a note published Thursday. More than half of the new Google projects are solar, following on a trend of corporate renewables purchasers turning toward offsite solar as a low-cost option. Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables forecasts solar will overtake wind in the mid-2020s as the go-to choice for offsite corporate renewables purchases. In the U.S., all of Google’s new projects will be solar, with 75 megawatts in South Carolina and 490 megawatts in Texas.More: ‘Largest ever’: Google announces 1.6GW of renewables purchaseslast_img read more

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Governor Wolf Draws Line in The Sand on Budget After Repeated GOP Failure and Obstruction

first_imgGovernor Wolf Draws Line in The Sand on Budget After Repeated GOP Failure and Obstruction October 04, 2017 SHARE Email Facebook Twittercenter_img Budget News,  Press Release,  Remarks,  Severance Tax Wolf Offers Budget Compromise Plan with Severance Tax, Calls for Immediate VoteHarrisburg, PA – Today, after the repeated failure of the legislature to finalize the budget deal, Governor Wolf called on Republican leaders to replace their most recent tax proposals with a commonsense severance tax and vote. Republican leaders could not deliver votes for a commercial storage tax or a hotel tax despite their offering of both as counters to a severance tax.“I’ve had enough of the games,” Governor Wolf said. “House Republicans again failed to deliver on a budget agreement. Over the past several months, I have been flexible and patient as they have repeatedly failed to agree amongst themselves on how to approach the budget.“They have made it clear that they would rather see me fail than Pennsylvania succeed. In the absence of a compromise revenue plan getting to my desk, I am going to take action to manage our state’s finances.”The commercial storage tax would have raised approximately $100 million in year one and approximately $170 million in year two. The severance tax passed by the Senate will raise the same amount and is widely supported throughout the commonwealth and among bipartisan legislators. Pennsylvania is the only major gas producing state without a severance tax.Without a finalized budget, Governor Wolf will securitize profits from our state’s liquor system. It will raise $1.25 billion to pay off nearly all of our prior year deficit and significantly reduce the need for additional temporary borrowing to pay our bills. The Liquor Control Board transferred $210 million to the General Fund last year, far in excess of the annual amount necessary to make payments on this loan.Additionally, the governor will take steps to manage complement and continue to find ways to streamline government services.Unlike the Republicans’ similar proposal involving tobacco settlement funds, this plan will put the commonwealth in the best position possible to protect funding for schools, senior programs, and hospitals – along with investments in our roads and bridges.The legislature also has not taken action to fund institutions of higher education including Penn State, Pitt, Temple, Lincoln, and the PennVet School.The full text of Governor Wolf’s remarks is below:Today, House Republicans again failed to deliver on a budget agreement. Over the last several months, I have been flexible and patient as they have repeatedly failed to agree amongst themselves on how to approach the budget. House Republicans continue to prolong and delay the debate over the means to pay for the programs they themselves voted to pass – overwhelmingly – in June. They have worked tirelessly to block a severance tax, at the expense of finishing this budget process months ago. In February, I proposed a budget that balanced by implementing more than $2 billion in cuts, savings, and efficiencies and relying on a severance tax and closing loopholes.I proposed this budget to begin a conversation on common ground. I was optimistic. Despite a historically divided government – big and very conservative Republican majorities and a Democratic governor, we were making real progress. We had made strides on many issues – working together: Medical Marijuana. Liquor Reform. Investing in Education at all levels. A fair funding formula. Substantive measures to combat heroin and opioids. Pension reform had been at the top of the Republicans leaders’ to-do list for decades, yet I, as a Democratic governor with Republican majorities in both the House and Senate, brought it across the finish line.But despite these efforts, one thing has become abundantly clear: Too many Republicans in the legislature are more focused on the 2018 elections than on helping Pennsylvania succeed. They would rather see me fail than Pennsylvania succeed. They would rather protect special interests, lobbyists and campaign donors than do the right thing. I’m not going to play their games anymore. I’m drawing a line in the sand.Yesterday, they said they could not pass their own proposal to lift the exemption on commercial storage. Now, their proposal to tax hotels has failed. The fairest and simplest solution to this challenge would have been, and still is, to replace these taxes with a severance tax. It’s the same amount. And it’s widely supported throughout the commonwealth and among bipartisan legislators, as was evidenced by the responsible action taken by the Senate just a few months ago. It’s commonsense. We’re the only major gas producing state in the nation without one. The House could still put that in, and have a vote this week to get this done. Doing so would bring together a budget with ideas from all caucuses and the administration.The House Republicans had every opportunity to put a balanced budget on my desk. And they have continuously failed. So, in the absence of a compromise revenue plan getting to my desk, I am taking action to manage our state’s finances.  I will take immediate steps to address the deficit.First, I will initiate plans to securitize profits from our state’s liquor system.  This will raise $1.25 billion to pay off nearly all of our prior year deficit and significantly reduce the need for additional temporary borrowing to pay our bills.  The Liquor Control Board sent $210 million to the General Fund last year, far in excess of the annual amount necessary to make payments on this loan. This would be structured similarly to the Republicans’ plan using tobacco settlement funds.Additionally, I will take steps to the best of my ability to manage complement, and continue to find ways to streamline government services that do not harm Pennsylvanians. I will also look for other state assets to monetize, if appropriate. Doing so will put the commonwealth in the best position possible to protect funding for schools, senior programs, and hospitals – along with investments in our roads and bridges. This is not the outcome I wanted.Let’s be clear: The House Republican foot-dragging has led to one credit downgrade already and warnings of more. That means the Republicans in the House, by virtue of their inaction, have handed every single Pennsylvania taxpayer a tax increase – all so special interests don’t have to pay their fair share. It means that every entity with the commonwealth’s backing will have to pay higher interest rates. This affects school districts. It affects townships. It affects cities. It affects boroughs. It affects counties. Now, we’ll all have to pay more. Just to get the same.This is not just irresponsible – it’s hypocritical. The very folks who have proclaimed themselves the protectors of the taxpayers hard-earned money have blithely reached into the pockets of those same taxpayers. I’ve had enough of the games.In February, I presented a balanced budget with no broad-based tax increases and more than $2 billion in cuts, savings, and efficiencies. It funded schools, senior programs, hospitals. It upheld our commitment to create jobs and improve our roads and bridges. But in the time since my budget speech, House Republicans have again proven themselves incapable of completing their constitutional duty.And so, I will manage the finances of the commonwealth until the House sees fit to do what it’s supposed to do. I will make sure we protect education I will make sure we protect our seniors I will continue to do what we need to do to combat the opioid epidemic. I will continue to do everything I can to create good-paying jobs and attract businesses to the commonwealth.Again, this is not the way our government is supposed to work. But I must ensure that Pennsylvanians are not hurt. And so I will act to protect the investments we all made earlier this year.last_img read more

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Horse Racing Tips

first_imgHorse Racing TipsCAYMANAS TRACK LIMITED TIPSTERS’ COMPETITION Racedate : 24/04/2016CABLE SPORT NETWORK TRACK & POOLS RJR DAILY GLEANER1. WINESHA CLEARLY OURS WINESHA WINESHA2. SINK THE BISMARCK BARS OF GOLD BARS OF GOLD BARS OF GOLD3. BONGO KING BIG GEORGE BIG GEORGE BONGO KING4. #RACKAM’S MISTRESS RED PARROT ACAPULCO RED PARROT5. TARANTINO SIR BIGGS #SNEAK PEEK #SIR BIGGS6. FRANKENSTORM FRANKENSTORM #FRANKENSTORM FRANKENSTORM7. NO MONEY FRIEND #CHIEF PROSPECT CHIEF PROSPECT #CHIEF PROSPECT8. #COUNTER ATTACK DR. TRAIN MY WAY MY WAY9. MEGAHERTZ #SMART TRAIN GIRSHOM UNCLE CHUBBYNEWS TALK 93 WESTERN MIRROR STAR KLAS1. #PRINCE OSHAUN #WINESHA PRINCE OSHAUN WINESHA2. #BARS OF GOLD #FABULOUSCONNECTION SINK THE BISMARCK BARS OF GOLD3. BIG GEORGE LEGAL ACCOUNT BONGO KING BONGO KING4. RACKAM’S MISTRESS ACAPULCO RACKAM’S MISTRESS ACAPULCO5. DREAM ADMIRAL SNEAK PEEK #SIR BIGGS #SIR BIGGS6. DIFERENTGENERATION AUNT HILDA FRANKENSTORM DIFERENTGENERATION7. NO MONEY FRIEND SURE MAN SURE MAN #ONE GREAT TRAIN8. MY WAY MY WAY #THE PROMISE LAND MR. DOITBETTA9. GIRSHOM COOL U BOOTS GIRSHOM COOL U BOOTSCVM TV TVJ IRIE FM POWER 1061. WINESHA CLEARLY OURS WINESHA CLEARLY OURS2. FABULOUSCONNECTION #FABULOUSCONNECTION SINK THE BISMARCK FABULOUSCONNECTION3. BONGO KING BONGO KING BRAVE PROSPECT ZACKONTHEATTACK4. #RACKAM’S MISTRESS ACAPULCO ACAPULCO RED PARROT5. SIR BIGGS SIR BIGGS SIR BIGGS SIR BIGGS6. #AUNT HILDA DIFERENTGENERATION #FRANKENSTORM DIFERENTGENERATION7. CHIEF PROSPECT #ONE GREAT TRAIN #CHIEF PROSPECT SURE MAN8. MY WAY COUNTER ATTACK DR. TRAIN #ANOTHER FURY9. EAZY STEPPING MEGAHERTZ UNCLE CHUBBY #TWILIGHT ROCKETJAMAICA OBSERVER SPORTS GLOBE1. #WINESHA WINESHA2. BARS OF GOLD BARS OF GOLD3. ZACKONTHEATTACK BIG GEORGE4. RACKAM’S MISTRESS #ACAPULCO5. SIR BIGGS SIR BIGGS6. #FRANKENSTORM FRANKENSTORM7. SURE MAN CHIEF PROSPECT8. MY WAY #COUNTER ATTACK9. SMART TRAIN GIRSHOMlast_img read more

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Elizabeth Davis-Russell’s Rejection by the Senate Politically Motivated

first_imgI read about Dr. Elizabeth Davis-Russell’s rejection by the Senate on the grounds that she is an American citizen, and was immediately concerned. Even though I have reservations about dual citizenship for Liberia, I was stunned that a woman of Davis-Russell’s credentials, competence, and track record could be cast aside so easily for the sake of political expediency.While I recognise the need to maintain the rule of law in Liberia, I am worried that this latest rebuff was more politically motivated than based on any deep, abiding adherence to constitutionality.As a case in point, there is a fundamental contradiction between Article 27 of Liberia’s 1986 Constitution, which states, “All persons, who, on the coming into force of this Constitution, were lawfully citizens of Liberia shall continue to be Liberian citizens,” and Section 22.1 of the 1973 Aliens and Nationality Law, which automatically revokes the legal citizenship status of Liberia-born nationals of ‘Negro descent’ who naturalise in, declare formal allegiance to, enter into the armed forces of, vote in the elections of, or formally renounce their Liberian citizenship in a foreign state.Until this contradiction is resolved, the Senate has the wherewithal to use its own discretion to confirm nominees like Davis-Russell who are more than qualified for particular cabinet positions. I have seen too many unsuitable people breeze through the confirmation process, so can’t understand the Senate’s hardball stance this time around.But I was reminded recently that this is election season, so politics rules supreme.Lest we forget, however, the Senate has a record of botched confirmations. During the course of my doctoral research on the historical and contemporary factors that have influenced both the introduction and postponement in passage of Liberia’s dual citizenship bill, I encountered a number of anomalies in the legislative confirmation process and Davis-Russell is the first case of a barred confirmation based on citizenship status. For instance, Luseni Dunzo, former minister of public works, was questioned about his US citizenship, but later confirmed on a technicality. And I know a number of former and current cabinet officials, based on anecdotal evidence and personal knowledge, whose other citizenships did not stop them from passing through the same Senate that rejected Davis-Russell.  If we say we are a country of laws, then we need to uphold those laws consistently without fear or favour. As far as I’m concerned the Senate has two options: recall all the confirmations of those who have other citizenships to maintain legality or issue a moratorium on senate confirmations based on citizenship status until after the Constitution Review process is complete and the matter of dual citizenship officially resolved.A precedent has already been set on suspending decisions based on constitutional matters. For instance, when the Liberian people voted ‘No’ in the National Referendum of 2011, it was clear that the 10-year residency clause for presidential candidates should have been upheld. Instead, that particular Referendum item was forwarded to the Supreme Court and they decided it would be tabled until the 2017 elections.Why not overturn Davis-Russell’s rejection in a similar fashion and enable her to serve until 2017, on the grounds that she is capable of reviving an education system that is clearly challenged?But alas, I understand that Davis-Russell has done the honourable thing and asked the president to withdraw her nomination. I can’t help mourning this loss, especially since many with less integrity are in positions of authority across all three branches of government and failing the Liberian people in the process.Come next elections, whenever that will be, I hope we will choose wisely.Robtel Neajai Pailey is a Liberian academic, activist and author based at SOAS, University of London. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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SWINE FLU LATEST: HOSPITALS AND BUSINESSES HIT AS MEDIC WARNS ILLNESS WILL SPREAD

first_imgAN OUTBREAK OF flu in the county – including the H1N1 swine flu strain – will get worse before it gets better, the country’s top doctor warned today.Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said the number of human swine flu cases could exceed the peak seen during the pandemic in 2009.He said there is likely to be a continued rise in cases over the next two to four weeks. During the peak of the pandemic in 2009, Ireland was seeing over 200 new cases for every 100,000 people.That’s more bad news for hospitals, GPs and businesses who are reporting high sickness levels in the county this week.Some clinics at Letterkenny and Sligo hospitals are being cancelled due to an influx of suspected flu patients and illness amongst hospital staff.People due to attend outpatient clinics or surgeries over the next week are being advised to check with their hospitals first. Medical 2 Ward at LGH is closed to visitors for infection prevention and control purposes.In a statement LGH said: “Visitors are asked not to visit the hospital unless it is absolutely essential and, where it is essential, visitor numbers should be kept to a minimum and be confined to visiting times only – visitors are asked to co-operate with staff in all matters in this regard.“Visitors who themselves may be unwell or have any flu symptoms should not visit the hospital. Very young children or those with some other serious illness should avoid visiting the hospital, as they may be particularly susceptible to the virus.“Visitors are asked to wash their hands thoroughly before entering or leaving the inpatient area. Management at Letterkenny General Hospital regret any inconvenience caused and thank people for their cooperation.”Flu has also hit the Donegal GAA team, forcing a delay in the naming of the team for this weekend’s game. SEE SPORT endsSWINE FLU LATEST: HOSPITALS AND BUSINESSES HIT AS MEDIC WARNS ILLNESS WILL SPREAD was last modified: January 7th, 2011 by gregShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:fluletterkennysligoswinelast_img read more

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Huge response for TUSLA’S appeal for new foster carers

first_imgTusla, the Child and Family Agency has received 350 enquiries from the public following the agency’s first-ever national public awareness and recruitment drive for new foster carers.The organisation’s National Fostering Week took place from the 14th – 20th October last.Since then the agency has received dozens of calls, emails, and online applications on a daily basis from people who are interested in becoming foster carers. The campaign aimed to challenge common misconceptions about foster care eligibility, and encouraged people from all walks of life to consider providing a loving, stable home environment to a vulnerable child.Patricia Finlay, Service Director and national lead for fostering, Tusla said they are deeply grateful that such a large number of people have got in touch with Tusla requesting information on how to become a foster carer.She said “We have also been overwhelmed with the support from a range of other stakeholders too. I urge anyone who has an interest in becoming a foster carer to contact us, and we will provide them with details and advice about what fostering entails.“Our need for carers is particularly acute in the greater Dublin area, and in larger urban communities. “There are currently 4,254 foster carers in the Republic of Ireland. We are mindful, that in the course of family life, emergencies and incidents happen that require out-of-hours support. To assist foster carers in these situations Tusla now offers emergency out-of-hours phone line support 365 days a year for Tusla foster carers (1890 800 511).“In addition, the Government recently announced that foster carers will now be entitled to insurance cover from the State in their role as foster carers.Tusla is very keen to ensure that existing, and a new generation of foster carers feel rewarded and valued for the hugely important and positive influence they have on the lives of children in their care.“It is essential that we provide them with optimum support, guidance, training and encouragement in the course of their family life.”Members of the public wishing to contact Tusla about fostering can call freephone 1800 226 771, email [email protected] or visit fostering.ie. Huge response for TUSLA’S appeal for new foster carers was last modified: November 22nd, 2019 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Ups and downs for small businesses

first_img25 January 2011Almost half of small business owners in South Africa reported an increase in turnover in 2010, while an equal proportion reported stagnated or decreased revenue, according to a new survey.Forty-nine percent reported an increase in turnover, while the remainder reported a stagnation or decrease, accounting software provider Pastel Accounting said in a statement on Thursday.“Despite the seemingly good news, profit margins were squeezed, with just more than a third (32 percent) of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) reporting an increase, and an almost equal amount (29 percent) facing a decrease in profitability,” managing director Steven Cohen said.Participants blamed market uncertainty, due to the current economic condition, for the slump in profitability.The Pastel SME Survey, which will become an annual review, was conducted online among small businesses nationally in December 2010.Of the 2 000 respondents, 63 percent reported an annual turnover of less than R5-million. Only five percent had turnover of more than R50-million, and the other 32 percent were evenly spread between these values, Cohen said.When it came to employee size, 52 percent of survey participants currently employed a maximum of 10 people, 17 percent employed 10-20 people, and 14 percent up to 100 people.“The survey provides us with empirical data that the financial success of SMEs is based on a delicate balance of factors, not all within the control of the business owner,” Cohen said.“And the marked increase in 2010 in the price of electricity, rates and taxes, labour and inflation has put many small businesses under severe pressure as they have had to keep their own prices low to remain competitive.”In contrast, JSE trading statistics for the first half of 2010 were up year-on-year by 22 percent in volume and by 17 percent in value to R1.5-billion.Cohen said these numbers often masked the struggle small businesses faced.Sapalast_img read more

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Old forage gets a new life

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest A forgotten forage grass imported from Europe in the 1800s could soon be helping to boost cattle and dairy production. The grass, which has adapted well to parts of the Upper Midwest, has been released by U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Resarch Service scientists in Madison, Wisconsin.The forage grass was discovered on a farmer’s shaded hilltop in a long-time pasture that had never been seeded with commercial forages. Cattle thrived on it and it gradually spread from the hilltop grove into gullies and open areas, possibly because cattle eating the ripe seed spread it in their manure. The farmer fed hay made from it to more cattle, to spread it further. He also eventually began consulting with ARS plant geneticist Michael Casler and his colleagues at the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center.Casler and his colleagues have since spent more than a decade evaluating the grass, named Hidden Valley for the farm where it was discovered. In field trials and other tests, they evaluated how cattle respond to it and how well it grows in a variety of locations. They found that it produces a 9% lower yield than orchardgrass and tall fescue, but has a 9% higher rate of neutral detergent fiber digestibility. That means cattle digest it more easily and eat more of it, in turn gaining more weight and producing more milk. Research also shows that it has adapted to the Upper Mississippi River Basin by developing several desirable traits. It is drought tolerant and will survive freezing temperatures and repeated grazing.DNA tests show it to be a meadow fescue brought to the United States by European settlers in the 1800s. By the 1950s, meadow fescues had largely been replaced with higher yielding tall fescues and other grasses. But they never completely disappeared as forages. A movement toward managed grazing operations in the 1980s prompted renewed interest in them, and ARS researchers and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin evaluated 91 varieties in extensive field trials, including seven European varieties, on three Wisconsin dairy farms. But Hidden Valley stands out, according to Casler.“What was originally found on this farm is really remarkable,” he said.Like other meadow fescues, it has an endophyte (symbiotic fungus) that gives it some degree of environmental protection. But it does not produce the compounds found in tall fescue that can sometimes harm cattle.Surveys of the Upper Midwest “Driftless Region,” which includes parts of Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota, also show that it can be found in a wide range of habitats and seems to grow well on land taken out of crop production and allowed to revert to pasture.Casler released Hidden Valley in June 2014, publishing an announcement in the Journal of Plant Registrations, and seed is available through the National Plant Germplasm System.last_img read more

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The Spoken History of Rural Britain Goes Online

first_imgGeorge Ewart Evans, the pioneer of British oral history, collected 250 recordings of around 170 individuals born largely in the 1880’s and ’90s. That collection is now accessible online via the British Library, pioneers in their own right. The George Ewart Evans Collection “document(s) rural life and agricultural work in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, folk beliefs about animals, medicine and witchcraft, folk and popular songs.” The recordings, made between 1956 and 1977, were interviews, primarily with farmers and other rural workers, in the English county of Suffolk, as well as some in Wales, Ireland and Scotland. The recordings are, aptly I think, arranged by interviewee. There is a search field that allows a search in “oral history,” but unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a collection-specific search function.If you register on the site, you can respond to a request that comes with every sound file, “Can you tell us more about the context of this recording? Or can you share information on its content – timings of key sections or important details? Please add your notes. Uninformative entries may not be retained.”In an email announcement Rob Perks, lead curator of oral history at the British Library, pointed out the oldest of George’s interviewees. “The oldest are Aldeman Ling, born in 1875, discussing bell-ringing; George Messenger, born in 1877, who talks about threshing and about working on the barges at Snape in Suffolk; and Susan Mullenger, born in 1878, recorded in 1967 talking about eating fried mice as a remedy for whooping cough!”To hear the voices of men and women talking about, say malting barley, men and women who were born 130 years ago and long gone, to hear the conversations between them and George, is to realize that history is no grand thing, a castle on a distant hill, but a real thing, something you can touch with your hands and hold in your mind, hear and see. It’s a real gift. Tags:#Real World#web A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… curt hopkinscenter_img 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostinglast_img read more

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Is the Green New Deal Just a Pipe Dream?

first_imgThe Green New Deal that Democratic lawmakers recently proposed would confront climate change by eliminating America’s net carbon emissions within a decade. If enacted, it would transform America’s energy industries and slash pollution, improving public health. This proposal is a non-binding resolution, not an actual bill, and many of the proposed measures are long shots as long as the Republican Party holds a majority in the Senate and the Trump administration remains committed to its fossil fuel-supporting energy dominance policies. Having studied the electric power sector and energy policy for more than 20 years, I think that some of the changes in the Green New Deal could actually happen within a decade — as long as all three branches of the federal government were on board.RELATED ARTICLESRenewable Portfolio Standards Produce Big SavingsCalifornia Governor Ups Renewables CommitmentBritain’s Zero Carbon MandateIf Carbon Pricing Is So Great, Why Isn’t It Working?‘All New Construction and Retrofits Must Be Carbon-Neutral’ But even if the most progressive Democrats were calling all the shots, the idea that the U.S. could accomplish this ambitious overarching goal within a decade strikes me as a stretch. California, which is committed to making all of its electricity carbon-free, aims to get that done by 2045, rather than 2030. Even if completely revamping the nation’s power grid within a decade proved feasible, the Green New Deal also targets emissions from sectors such as transportation and agriculture. And reducing their carbon footprints has proven much harder around the world. Change can be fast Politically, the Green New Deal certainly seems like a non-starter even if the environmental and economic benefits would likely outweigh many of the costs. But are the ideas in the Green New Deal — especially those that would require radical changes, such as reinventing how the U.S. generates and consumes energy within a decade — truly outlandish? While no nation has ever achieved anything quite as dramatic in so short a time, countries can rapidly change how they get their energy, without destroying their economies or compromising energy security. There are several good examples, especially in Europe. Perhaps France’s swift adoption of nuclear power is the best one. Nuclear reactors generated only 10% of France’s electricity in the mid-1970s, a share that rose to 70% within 10 years and has remained at about that level ever since. More recently, countries such as Denmark, Germany, Ireland and Portugal have made strides toward shrinking their carbon footprints within a decade by ramping up the power they get from renewable energy, primarily onshore wind energy. Denmark now gets 42% of its electricity from wind, while Portugal and Ireland both derive around 20% of their power from that renewable energy source. Likewise, Brazil managed to boost the share of ethanol produced from sugarcane in the fuel it used to run cars and trucks from virtually nothing to about 50% within a decade following the adoption of targeted policies in 1975. Change can also be slow A common thread running through many of these success stories is a limited number of players. France’s nuclear embrace largely involved its big state-run utility company, Électricité de France. Having a single big state-run oil and gas company, Petróleo Brasileiro, or Petrobras, made it easier for Brazil’s government to bring about such a quick shift with ethanol. When there are multitudes of companies and decision-makers, as is the case in the United States, these transitions tend to be harder and take longer. Two proposals in the Green New Deal, to make buildings highly energy-efficient and to electrify transportation, would require action on the part of hundreds of millions of people. These are also areas where change has generally come much more slowly. The potential for energy efficiency is vast, but getting people to upgrade appliances or buildings to increase energy efficiency has been particularly difficult. What’s more, some researchers have found a persistent gap between whether an energy efficiency investment is worthwhile and the willingness of consumers and businesses to spend their money on them. This is probably due to a number of different factors. Researching and replacing your old appliances and equipment takes time and effort. There are usually high upfront costs when you own your own washing machines and water heaters. And for renters, problems arise when it’s up to landlords to buy new equipment so their tenants can save money on their electric bills. Some states have ramped up energy efficiency through outreach efforts and incentives. But there is still a long way to go, and revising building codes to raise these standards is politically very challenging. Replacing vehicles that run on gasoline, diesel, and other fuels with electric models is also harder than it may sound. Despite years of federal subsidies for electric vehicles, U.S. EV sales remain sluggish. Only around 360,000, or 7%, of the 5.5 million passenger vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2018 were electric models. And because cars generally last longer than a decade, replacing all of the nation’s cars, trucks, and SUVs will take a long time. Power plants also last a long time, but since many of the most polluting power plants in the U.S. are several decades old, many of them could be retired soon. Even in Norway, where nearly half of the new vehicles sold are electric, EVs account for only 10% of the vehicles on the road today. Market forces and policies One common thread in every country that has been able to make rapid and major changes in their energy supply has been the role of government initiatives. To be sure, market forces can contribute to clean energy. The wind and solar power industries are growing rapidly, and natural gas has overtaken coal as the main fuel for power generation in the U.S. Big changes in the U.S. energy mix are nothing new. The U.S. transformed from a wood-based energy economy to mostly coal within a few decades at the end of the 19th century. And as Americans rapidly increased how much energy they were using in the mid-20th century, their reliance on oil, natural gas, and nuclear power grew. Since 2000, wind and solar power have become more significant contributors to a diverse mix of energy sources. But, from what I can tell, market forces alone are setting a much slower path toward a lower-carbon economy than the Green New Deal’s supporters would like to see. A two-decade transition, in my opinion, is more likely to succeed as long as the nation’s politicians were to unite around making it a top priority.   Seth Blumsack is a professor at Pennsylvania State University. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.last_img read more

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