Tag Archives: Inside Climate News

A New Program Like FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps Could Help the Nation Fight Climate Change and Transition to Renewable Energy

By Judy Fahys, Inside Climate News

President Joe Biden has been talking about the idea since before he took office. A week into his presidency, he directed the secretary of the interior to lead development of a strategy to mobilize a Civilian Climate Corps—“the next generation of conservation and resilience workers”—to help address the climate crisis. Then he called for spending $10 billion on the updated CCC in the $2 trillion jobs and infrastructure plan he proposed earlier this month.

“It’s reached a level of seriousness and intention that I have never seen before,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, president and CEO of the Corps Network, a national association representing the nation’s 135 existing conservation corps, mostly private-public partnerships that have adopted the corps model for job training and community service. Read more here.

Civilian Climate Corps Act

Image Credit: The Corps Network

Additional Recommended Reading

Student Conservation Association News Release

Young Americans Believe Climate Change is Real – and Want to Do More to Stop It
Eighty-six percent of young Americans believe the world’s climate is changing and 71% conclude human activities are the cause, but youth are struggling to identify individual practices they can take to improve global sustainability, according to a new nationwide poll.

Released by the Student Conservation Association (SCA)The SCA Climate Survey reveals the perspectives of 15-25 year olds on climate change, environmental justice, and related public policy initiatives. The poll shows that although nearly 40% of respondents view climate change as a “crisis,” 83% believe there is still time to prevent its worst effects. Youth are split, however, on whether that goal is achievable.

About the Student Conservation Association
The Student Conservation Association (SCA) is America’s oldest and largest youth conservation organization. SCA conserves lands and transforms lives by empowering young people of all backgrounds to plan, act, and lead while they protect and restore our natural and cultural resources. Founded in 1957, SCA’s mission is to build the next generation of conservation leaders, and seven in 10 of alumni worldwide are employed or studying in conservation-related fields. For more, visit www.thesca.org.

Additional Climate Resource

Climate Science 101, Covering Climate Now 
Climate scientist Dr. Katharine Hayhoe explains the basics of climate change for beginners and those in need of a refresher.

About Covering Climate Now

Mindful of the media’s responsibility to inform the public and hold power to account, we advise newsrooms, share best practices, and provide reporting resources that help journalists ground their coverage in science while producing stories that resonate with audiences. Co-founded by the Columbia Journalism Review and The Nation in association with The Guardian and WNYC in 2019, CCNow’s 460-plus partners include some of the biggest names in news, and some of the smallest, because this story needs everyone.

These States Are Winning on Clean Energy

By Robert Harding and Amanda Levin, Natural Resources Defense Council

To take on the climate crisis, the United States needs to build a lot of renewable energy, and fast. While the power sector—which accounts for 28 percent of the nation’s climate pollution—has been getting cleaner every year as renewable energy becomes the cheapest form of new electricity, new data shows some states are moving faster than others.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) power sector data released last week offers the first official state-by-state look at 2019—what was built last year, what was closed, and what it means for our nation’s power mix and emissions. With some politicians promising radically different futures for the country—from a coal-powered renaissance to a 100 percent clean futureEIA’s new release shines a light on how these futures stack up relative to today. Continue reading here.

Related Reading 

Inside Clean Energy: An Energy Snapshot in 5 Charts, by Dan Gearino, Inside Climate News
New data from the Energy Information Administration show coal tanking, solar surging, wind growing fast and electricity usage remaining stable.

Nebraska Wind Energy Information Sources 

Additional Recommended Reading 

Solar panels gaining popularity in Lincoln, 1011 NOW
LES says that solar energy use in Lincoln doesn’t stack up to bigger coastal cities but we are using it more than other Midwest cities. “Compared to other states in our region the number of systems is pretty good,” said Marc Shkolnick the manager of energy services with LES said.

Incentives for Homeowners & Businesses
Business and residential solar projects qualify for the federal solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which is now 26% through December 31, 2020. Resource: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

 

 

 

 

All Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency

Resource: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

LES Solar Incentive
Additionally, LES customers may qualify for a one-time capacity payment of up to $1,000 per kilowatt of peak demand reduced. The total amount customers can receive is determined by the system size and primary direction the system is facing, for example:

  • Southern facing fixed-photovoltaic solar – the unit’s nameplate DC capacity (kW) x $375.
  • Western facing or single or dual axis tracking fixed-photovoltaic solar – the unit’s nameplate DC capacity (kW) x $475.

Resource: Customer-Owned Generation, LES

Business Equipment Depreciation Resources

Inside Clean Energy: The Case for Optimism

By Dan Gearino, Inside Climate News

You might say I’m the climate change therapist in my neighborhood. When people find out that I write about climate change and clean energy, they often react with some version of a despair story. And that’s when I launch into my case for optimism. It goes like this: I spend just about every day talking to the researchers, entrepreneurs and advocates behind the transition to clean energy. Their enthusiasm, plus the evidence of their progress, makes me feel like I’m covering the story of our lifetimes.
Continue reading here.

Click here to read more articles by Dan Gearino.

Additional Recommended Reading

New report: Renewable energy generation jumped 77 percent during 2010’s, by Greg Alvarez, AWEA Blog. The Business Council for Sustainable Energy has released its annual Sustainable Energy in America Factbook:

Today, the U.S. has three times the amount of wind that it did when the 2010’s began. As noted when we announced the U.S. wind industry’s 100 gigawatt (GW) milestone, it took 28 years to build the country’s first 25 GW of wind. But it only took 11 to build the next 75. That’s an explosive growth rate, and with another 44 GW of wind under development and a burgeoning offshore wind resource, more wind is on the way. Looking pan renewable, the Factbook finds almost 150 GW of wind and solar were built over the past decade.

Previously Posted

Middle America’s Low-Hanging Carbon: The Search for Greenhouse Gas Cuts from the Grid, Agriculture and Transportation

Reporters in 14 newsrooms across the Midwest teamed up with InsideClimate News to explore local solutions to climate change.

By John H. Cushman Jr., InsideClimate News

The American Midwest is at a turning point as it confronts the global climate crisis. It’s a landscape of opportunity, where investment is starting to pour into renewable energy, farmers are turning to climate-friendly practices, and automakers are introducing new electric vehicles. But its path forward is still cluttered with obstacles.

The region is already feeling the environmental and economic tremors of climate change. It’s still a rare day when Chicago’s thermometers hit 100—hot enough to be deadly. But the latest science predicts that by mid-century heat waves will routinely strike the region with temperatures much hotter than was common just a few decades ago. Summers will warm faster in the Midwest than in any other American region, according to the National Climate Assessment. Continue reading here.

To read the stories in this series, click here.

 ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Commentary: Now is the time to pass the next Illinois clean energy bill, by Andrew Barbeau and Christie Hicks, Environmental Defense Fund. It has been just over two years since Illinois enacted the groundbreaking Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA), which set bold new goals for solar, wind and energy efficiency. Already, substantial gains from FEJA are being seen across the state. But, a just-completed lottery for renewable energy credits demonstrates that there is a voracious demand for solar and wind energy in Illinois that far exceeds current capacity. 

Missouri solar installer making strides recruiting and hiring military veterans, by Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network. Missouri Sun Solar far exceeds the industry average for veteran employment — and its founder isn’t done hiring.

Indiana utilities are in midst of identity crisis as customers take power into own hands, Indianapolis Star. Until recently, virtually all residents in Indiana, and many states across the country, had little say in where their electricity came from or how it was produced. Bills arrived in the mail — whether from one of the big, investor-owned utilities or a smaller municipal or rural cooperative — and customers paid them. But Indiana utilities no longer hold a monopoly on energy generation in the state.

Ohio regulator approves two solar-powered facilities, Kallinish Energy
The Ohio Power Siting Board has approved construction on two solar-powered electric-generating facilities: one in Hardin County and one in Highland County, Kallansh Energy reports. Hardin Solar Energy Center II in northwest Ohio will be capable of generating up to 170 megawatts. It will include a lithium-ion battery storage system with a capacity of up to 60 MW. It would be one of the first such storage systems in the Midwest.

Midwest Flooding Exposes Another Oil Pipeline Risk — on Keystone XL’s Route

By Neela Banerjee, Inside Climate News

Rushing rivers have exposed once-buried pipelines before, leading to oil spills. With climate change exacerbating flood risks, Keystone XL critics see dangers ahead.

NAPER, Nebraska — Standing on the banks of the Keya Paha River where it cuts through his farm, Bob Allpress points across a flat expanse of sand to where a critical shut-off valve is supposed to rise from the Keystone XL pipeline once it’s buried in his land. The Keya Paha flooded several weeks ago, and when it did, the rush of newly melted water drove debris, sand and huge chunks of ice deep inland, mowing down trees and depositing a long wall of ice 6 feet high and 30 feet wide across Allpress’s property.  “It would’ve taken out their shut-off valve,” Allpress said of the river flooding. “Right where they propose to put it at. And it wouldn’t have been a good thing.” Read more here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

What the historic Midwest floods look like from space — and from the ground, by Vox. “This really is the most devastating flooding we’ve probably ever had in our state’s history,” Nebraska’s governor said.

12 excuses for climate inaction and how to refute them, by Eliza Barclay & Jag Bhalla, Vox
There’s a reason why the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has successfully goaded powerful politicians into long-overdue climate action in just six months. Fortunately, Thunberg is just one of many great minds helping us summon moral clarity to address the tricky problem of framing the climate crisis.

Rural Jobs: A Big Reason Midwest Should Love Clean Energy

By Dan Gearino, Inside Climate News

Wind turbines have become a familiar part of the landscape in the rural Midwest, and with them have come jobs, income for farmers and tax revenue for communities. They’re one sign of how the clean energy transition is helping to transform areas that sometimes struggle to attract jobs and investment.

A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council shows the extent to which clean energy is contributing jobs to the rural economies of 12 Midwestern states. It also reflects what the rural Midwest stands to lose from Trump administration actions that harm clean energy, such as its recent call to eliminate subsidies for renewable energy, its tariffs on solar energy equipment, and its plan to weaken the Obama-era Clean Power Plan. The authors say the numbers underscore the need in the Midwest for government policies that are supportive of clean energy instead. Read more here.

Dan Gearino covers the U.S. Midwest, part of Inside Climate News’ National Environment Reporting Network. His coverage deals with the business side of the clean-energy transition, and he writes Inside Climate News’ Clean Economy Weekly Newsletter.

Image: Pixabay / Public Domain

RESOURCES: SOLAR & WIND ENERGY JOBS

National Teachers Group Confronts Climate Denial: Keep the Politics Out of Science Class

By Phil McKenna, Inside Climate News

In response to what it sees as increasing efforts to undermine the teaching of climate science, the nation’s largest science teachers association took the unusual step Thursday of issuing a formal position statement in support of climate science education. In its position statement, the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) calls on science teachers from kindergarten through high school to emphasize to students that “no scientific controversy exists regarding the basic facts of climate change.”

“Given the solid scientific foundation on which climate change science rests, any controversies regarding climate change and human-caused contributions to climate change that are based on social, economic, or political arguments—rather than scientific arguments—should not be part of a science curriculum,” it says. It also urges teachers to “reject pressures to eliminate or de-emphasize” climate science in their curriculum. And it urges school administrators to provide science teachers with professional development opportunities to strengthen their understanding of climate science. Read more here.

Examples of NSTA-Recommended Resources

For Science Educators

For Parents and Community Members

SEIA Raises Doubts About Trump Administration’s Proposed Climate Rule

Solar Energy Industries Association Media Release 

“With or without this new proposal, solar will continue to grow, power the economy and provide the clean energy that consumers want and the grid needs. When you combine low-cost and low-carbon with technology that continues to get smarter, you can compete in any market and under any regulatory regime. We pledge to work constructively with the administration to develop policies that help American consumers, add American jobs and protect the planet.”  – Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association on the Trump administration’s proposal to revise the Clean Power Plan.

Read the entire release here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Commentary: To fight climate change, we must change our vocabulary

By Dick Munson, Director of Midwest clean energy for the Environmental Defense Fund, Guest Opinion, Midwest Energy News

Each fall, Chicago throws a Humanities Festival to promote “the lifelong exploration of what it means to be human,” attracting thoughtful authors and expressive performers. Two lectures on a recent Saturday afternoon provided fresh perspectives on how environmentalists combat pollution and envision a healthier planet.

For me, those discussions revealed how we can tap different threads — specifically faith and literature — to make our cases more effectively.

Read more here.

 

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

Congress Opens Arctic Wildlife Refuge to Drilling, But Do Companies Want In?

By Sabrina Shankman, Inside Climate News

[Those] hoping that oil companies will flock to the refuge—and that revenues raised can help offset some of the deficit created by the tax bill—might be sorely disappointed, said Bud Coote, a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center. “In the current economic environment, it’ll be a tough sell,” he said . . . In late October, a poll conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Communication found that 70 percent of Americans oppose drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and that only 18 percent of Republicans “strongly support” it. [Sen. Maria Cantwell], who is the ranking member on Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, said that those who want to protect the refuge will capitalize on the public support going forward.
Read More Here.

ALSO PUBLISHED BY INSIDE CLIMATE NEWS