Tag Archives: climate action

With new board members, Omaha utility making moves toward low-carbon future

Written by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News / Energy News Network

The staff began looking into decarbonization options nearly two years ago, [Mary Fisher, OPPD’s vice president for energy production and nuclear decommissioning] said, but picked up the pace last fall — about the time that new board members interested in cleaner energy were elected. The change stands in contrast to the state’s largest utility, the Nebraska Public Power District, where many board members continue to downplay the urgency of climate change even after catastrophic flooding in the state earlier this year. Fisher said the board is not the only reason the utility is moving toward cleaner energy. “The factor really has been the ongoing conversation about climate change and carbon emissions nationally,” she said. “You’re seeing it on the nightly news reports, you’re seeing it in the presidential debates, you’re seeing it all over.” Read more here.

Photo by Laura King-Homan, OPPD’s The Wire: Visitors view components of the Omaha Public Power District’s Sholes Wind Farm under construction near Wayne, Nebraska in November.

Additional Recommended Reading

Big Food turning to regenerative agriculture to meet sustainability goals

By Lillianna Byington, Food Dive

recent white paper from the Rodale Institute found developing tests to measure carbon sequestration is the best chance for quantitatively showing the amount of regenerative agriculture needed to actually help the climate. The trials will find the best ideas and offer support networks for farmers who are already working on regenerative models.

“With the use of cover crops, compost, crop rotation and reduced tillage, we can actually sequester more carbon than is currently emitted, tipping the needle past 100% to reverse climate change,” Mark Smallwood, executive director of Rodale Institute, said in the report.
Read more here.

Previously Posted
Nebraskans talk extreme weather. Just don’t call it climate change, Christian Science Monitor

Nebraska Regenerative Agriculture Resources

RegeNErate Nebraska Website
RegeNErate Nebraska Facebook
Guide to Regenerative Agriculture in Nebraska (PDF)

 

Nebraska Legislation
LB 243, to create a Healthy Soils Task Force, was passed by the Nebraska Legislature on April 11, 2019 by a vote of 43 to 0 and signed by Governor Ricketts on April 18th.

Nebraskans talk extreme weather. Just don’t call it climate change.

By Laurent Belsie, The Christian Science Monitor

The severe flooding that inundated Nebraska last month washed away fields, bridges, and roads. But the extreme weather is also starting to sway residents’ thinking about climate.

Part of the change in thought is coming from farmers themselves, especially those involved with the small but growing regenerative farming movement. “Conversations were already happening before the flood,” says Graham Christensen, a fifth-generation farmer and president of GC
Resolve, a grassroots community-development business. “But after the flood a lot more folks are like, ‘Yeah, I have never seen that; my dad has never seen that; my grandpa has never seen that. This is a pattern that’s emerging.’” Read the entire article here.

Photo by Annette Bloom of her Nebraska farm during the recent historic floods.

Nebraska Regenerative Agriculture Resources

As Laurent Belsie states, Graham Christensen is a fifth-generation Nebraska farmer. He also is leading the growing Nebraska
Regenerative Agriculture movement, creating a website and Facebook page, as well as collaborating with many others to develop an online resource guide:
RegeNErate Nebraska Website
RegeNErate Nebraska Facebook
Guide to Regenerative Agriculture in Nebraska (PDF)

Excerpts from the guide: 

Regenerative practices draw down carbon from the atmosphere and sink or sequester it in the ground. Agriculture can be our best chance to removing rising greenhouse gas emissions that exacerbate climate change, rather than being a catalyst of it.

Nebraska is already home to a flourishing network of regenerative farms, and many have joined together under the farmer-owned co-op model, allowing them to pool a wide variety of products and satisfy growing demand. By giving back to the land and water what they take from it, these farmers are finding drastically reduced input costs, and even achieving higher yields.

Nebraska Legislation
LB 243 to create a Healthy Soils Task Force passed April 11, 2019 by a vote of 43 to 0.

As 100% renewables goals proliferate, what role for utilities?

By Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

Utilities and state regulators take note: As of April 1, 114 U.S. cities have officially declared they want 100% renewables for their electric power needs in the next one to two decades. That will be a big change in electricity use. And it doesn’t stop there. Over 300 U.S. localities have committed to a renewables or climate change goal, according to the World Resources Institute (WRI),  which just received $70 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies to help make that change happen. And, led by local efforts, three states have committed to 100% carbon-free. Another dozen are moving that way. Continue reading here. 

Meeting Utility Investors Where They Are: Tools to Speed System Decarbonization

Rocky Mountain Institute’s Latest Electronic Newsletter

An institutional investors group representing $1.8 trillion in global assets recently asked the country’s 20 largest publicly traded energy generators to commit to achieving net-zero carbon emissions. While the challenges inherent in this shift to a decarbonized grid should not be understated, a number of innovative solutions are available to utilities to support their efforts.
Read more here.

Image Credit: Flickr

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Statement: House leaders unveil bill to help U.S. meet Paris Climate Agreement goals

Environment America News Release

Today leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives announced the
introduction this week of H.R. 9: The Climate Action Now Act.

“The United States is uniquely capable of developing and implementing the solutions we need — transitioning to a society completely powered by clean energy, electrifying our cars, and expanding mass transit and bike lanes. We have the research universities and institutions, the renewable energy technology, and most of all, the indomitable spirit of innovation that has powered America for more than 200 years. All we need is the political will to make it happen.

This bill is just a first step in solving the climate crisis and maintaining our global standing. We sincerely hope this is a building block on our road to a 100 percent carbon-neutral future, which is what science tells us is crucial to stave off the worst impacts of climate change.  Environment America looks forward to working with these leaders and anybody — no matter their political party or where they’re from — who wants to join the effort.” Read the entire statement here.

ENVIRONMENT AMERICA’S  CLIMATE ACTION RESOURCES

Environment America’s priorities are working to urge campuses, cities and states to lead the way to 100% renewable power, go big on solar, and harness the abundant wind power off the Atlantic coast. Environment America’s 100% Renewable campaign is focused on three arenas: college and university campuses, cities and states, and Congress.

Learn more about Environment America’s Clean, Green & Renewable Energy campaigns here.

Previously Posted
Mayors join call for more solar power, Norfolk Daily News

Much hotter conditions, more extreme weather await Nebraska, northern Plains, scientists say

By Nancy Gaarder, Omaha World-Herald

A much warmer future awaits the next generation of Nebraskans as a result of climate change, according to state and federal scientists. The state also is expected to see more rain and snow, but the additional moisture may not be enough to counteract the stress of a warming world on agriculture, they said. Additionally, the region is likely to see an increase in wintertime rain and ice. Last week, two climate scientists discussed some of the impacts during a briefing on the National Climate Assessment, published last fall. Continue reading here.

Upcoming Nebraska Events – Free & Open To The Public 

Nebraska Climate Summit: A One-Day Session On Climate & Climate Change. March 21, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm at the Nebraska Innovation Campus, 2021 Transformation Drive in Lincoln. Martha Shulski, director of the state climate office based at the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Tyler Williams, Nebraska Extension climatologist, as well as partners across the university and state will lead the one-day information session on climate and climate change. Registration capped at 350. Lunch provided. Register for the event here.

Nebraska Solar Schools Earth Month Event
Save the Date! Our speaker will be Mary DeMocker, author of The Parents’ Guide To Climate Revolution: 100 Ways to Build a Fossil-Free Future, Raise Empowered Kids, and Still Get a Good Night’s Sleep. April 11, 2019, UNO’s Thompson Center, 6705 Dodge Street, Omaha. RSVP & parking permit required. Download flyer here for additional details.

Also written by Nancy Gaarder
11 easy steps to going green and having fun in the process, Omaha World-Herald

2019 US Solar Market Outlook: What is happening in the US solar market, and what can we expect in US solar in the next 12 months?

Sponsored Content, CleanTechnica Media

States, cities, communities, and businesses are responding with increasingly ambitious
sustainability goals that are driving solar market growth forward, according to the
Deloitte 2019 Renewable Energy Outlook. There’s a lot happening in the marketplace — smaller corporations are joining the corporate procurement market, oil and gas companies are moving solar into their energy mixes, and asset management companies have been foregrounding
new opportunities for their clients for solar growth. Read more here.

Photo by Martin Tidbury/Flickr

Additional Recommended Reading
Renewable energy growth in USA to continue in 2019, says Deloitte, Market Business News

FEATURED OPINION

We can’t wait for Washington’s Green New Deal. California needs just transition now, Sacramento Bee
The authors: Miya Yoshitani is the executive director of Asian Pacific Environmental Network. Gladys Limón is the executive director of California Environmental Justice Alliance.

With a Green New Deal, we can build distributed energy resources that generate and store clean, renewable power locally and regionally. California has a head start. Local clean energy aggregators have sprung up in counties across the state so that people can decide where they get their power. Last year, our state committed to achieving 100% renewable energy by 2045. Frontline communities helped create the Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH) program to invest $1 billion to bring solar power to working-class renters. The California Public Utilities Commission agreed to fund community shared solar projects, which put clean energy in our neighborhoods. Such steps are crucial, but we need a full commitment and a comprehensive strategy. The Golden State must lead the way. It’s time for a Green New Deal in California.

Previously posted: 

FEATURED RESOURCES: LOCATING SOLAR ON BROWNFIELDS

Many communities are turning old coal plants, closed landfills and other brownfields into solar farms. EPA’s RE-Powering Mapper is an online interactive web application that allows users to visualize key information on renewable energy potential at specific contaminated lands, landfills and mine sites. Using screening criteria developed in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), EPA has pre-screened more than 130,000 sites for their renewable energy potential.

Access the updated RE-Powering Mapper here. 
Learn more about EPA’s RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative here.

Pixabay Photo: Solar Boom

Wisconsin’s New Governor To Join U.S. Climate Alliance, Signaling ‘A New Day’ In The State

By Betsy Lillian, Solar Industry Magazine

Gov. Tony Evers, D-Wis., has announced plans to join the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of governors committed to implementing the Paris climate accord on a state level.
“It’s a new day in Wisconsin, and it’s time to lead our state in a new direction where we embrace science, where we discuss the very real implications of climate change, where we work to find solutions and where we invest in renewable energy,” says Evers, who took office in January. “By joining the U.S. Climate Alliance, we will have support in demonstrating that we can take climate action while growing our economy at the same time.  Read more here.

U.S. Climate Alliance Website

MORE NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

‘Resilient Chicago’ strategy aims to strengthen neighborhoods, engage communities, Smart Cities Dive

Chicago has released its new resilience strategy, Resilient Chicago, devised through a partnership with 100 Resilient Cities. The plan contains 12 goals and 50 actions the city can take to improve its resilience.

A similar study for our state would be enlightening:
How much does Nebraska spend each year to import fossil fuels?
How much would it take to power our state with 80% clean technologies? 100%?

The Green New Deal Just Speeds Up The Current Green Wave. Case In Point: Solar-Plus-Storage

By Ken SilversteinForbes

The Green New Deal is not an “abstract” idea. Globally economies are trending toward cleaner energies — efforts initiated by public demands, improved technologies and forward-thinking policies: The sponsors are compelled to accelerate the pace — to not just help impoverished communities but to also prevent environmental catastrophe. Think this wild-eyed? Think again. Wind costs have fallen by 67% since 2009 while utility-scale solar has dropped by 86% since that time, according to the financial adviser, Lazard.

“People have opinions about the economics of green energy investments based on a set of facts that are five years old,” says Trip Miller, managing partner at Gullane Capital Partners, in an interview. “And if you extrapolate out, we will get to the point where these energy forms just need battery technologies before they become pervasive.” Read more here.

Photo by Martin Tidbury / Flickr

Previously Posted

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

The 25 cities involved in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ American Cities Climate Challenge are projected to collectively cut 40 million metric tons of carbon emissions by 2025, according to a new analysis released by the foundation. That’s the equivalent of eliminating 10 coal plants. The $70 million challenge brings 25 cities into a two-year accelerator program, which will offer money and technical assistance for local efforts to fight climate change. The full cohort of cities was announced last month.