Tag Archives: clean

Scotland city.

Scotland will probably reach 100% renewable energy goal ‘soon’

With nearly three-quarters of its energy coming from wind, solar, and hydroelectric energy, Scotland is well on its way to a carbon-free energy grid.

Image via Pixabay.

Scottish Renewables, “the voice of Scotland’s renewable energy industry” predicts in a recent report that the country will soon be meeting its 100% target for energy from clean sources.

Wind, solar and hydropower are now Scotland’s main sources of electricity, providing around three-quarters of all the energy the country generates. The report also suggests that renewable energy as a whole is providing significant benefits to almost every aspect of the nation’s economy. The use of renewable energy fosters innovation and supports growth, the local economy, and protects the environment.

The report lists the onshore wind and solar projects of recent years as central to the reductions seen in energy costs in Scotland. Right now, onshore solar and wind are the cheapest sources of electricity available in the country. Together, they’re covering more than half of Scotland’s electricity requirements. All in all, the renewable energy sector directly employs a total of 17,700 people across Scotland, with thousands more involved in hundreds of community energy projects.

All this progress, the report points out, was made possible by favorable policy. The Scottish Government declared a climate emergency earlier this year and committed to zero emissions by 2045.

While the results so far are definitely encouraging, Scottish Renewables stresses in its report that efforts must be made to decarbonize the heat and transport sectors in a similar way.

“This publication sets out just some of the many benefits renewable energy is bringing to Scotland, from islands which rely on wind power for their everyday energy to rural businesses which have turned to renewable heat to improve their sustainability, both economically and financially,” says Claire Mack, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables.

“I’m hugely proud that renewable energy projects across Scotland are delivering on jobs and for communities, particularly in rural areas, while helping to displace the carbon emissions which cause climate change.”

Solar Panel Workers.

Clean energy creates more than twice as many jobs than fossil in the US, report finds

Clean energy is providing more jobs for Americans than fossil fuel across the country. Big win for team green!

Solar Panel Workers.

Image via Pixabay.

A new report from environmental group Sierra Club shows that clean energy is making its mark in the United States’ economy. We’ve already talked about how investment in green tech seems to be more profitable and cost-efficient than fossil fuels, and people seem to have caught on to the fact. There are now more jobs in the renewable energy sector than in coal, oil, and gas in 41 American states and Washington D.C., the group reports.

Panel-to-paycheck

So when people think of green energy they probably think wind turbines, solar panels, and maybe dams. But the market as a whole includes a lot of fields, from generation, to storage (which is used to compensate for fluctuations in power output), to smart grid technology applications which make sure as little of the power is wasted as possible. Taken together, these jobs exceed those in the coal, oil, and gas sectors from extraction to processing and power generation. Drawing on job data recorded by the Department of Energy for 2017, Sierra Club found that clean energy jobs outweighed those in fossil fuels by more than 2.5 to one.

“Nationally, clean energy jobs outnumber all fossil fuel jobs by over 2.5 to 1; and they exceed all jobs in gas and coal sectors by 5 to 1,” the paper reads.

The report had many questioning the current’s administration’s motives for pursuing a fossil fuel agenda with such gusto.

“Right now, clean energy jobs already overwhelm dirty fuels in nearly every state across America, and that growth is only going to continue as clean energy keeps getting more affordable and accessible by the day,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune.

“These facts make it clear that Donald Trump is attacking clean energy jobs purely in order to boost the profits of fossil fuel billionaires.”

The report goes on to say that despite the president’s best efforts, clean energy is growing strong in the US, with “over twenty cities nationwide” having set the goal to use 100% clean energy by 2030. The groups also warns that faced with this rapid development, we should be careful “not to make the mistakes of the past”, and ensure that the benefits brought by clean energy are equitably shared instead of pooled by a few individuals or companies.

The way forward

Putting workers and the community first, especially those who depended on fossil fuels in the past, is the way to go, Sierra Club says. The report highlights job stability, opportunities for fair and merit-based upward mobility in the industry, and secure pathways to the middle class for workers as a way to ensure this equitable sharing of benefits.

“This means supporting high road job strategies like responsible trade policies, project labor agreements, community benefits agreements, employer neutrality in union organizing drives, local hire, union apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs, and efforts to open more of those opportunities to communities of color and low-income people,” the paper explains.

“In practice, this means working tirelessly to ensurethat the communities and workers historicallydependent on fossil fuels are prioritized and putfirst at every stage of our ongoing transition to aneconomy powered more fully by clean energy.”

Investment in workforce development should also be a prime focus for the industry, as almost three-quarters of employers across all energy sectors found it difficult to hire skilled workers. The report concludes that policies aimed at investing in and incentivizing clean energy could generate millions of new jobs across America — more than the fossil fuel sector ever could.

You can read the full report on Scribd.

 

NASA tells us which plants to buy for cleaner air — in 100% infographic format

A healthy environment at home goes a long way towards improving your well-being. The NASA Clean Air Study identified several species of plants that are effective in scrubbing your home’s air of nasty chemicals.

Image via lovethegarden

Compounds including benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and ammonia float about in the air around you, released by aging adhesives, fire proofing, car exhaust, and the list goes on. These chemicals have been linked to negative health effects — headaches, dizziness, eye irritation, and others.

So how can you scrub these nasties out of your air? Well, a NASA study led by B. C. Wolverton some 27 years ago found that The Florist’s Mum and Peace Lily are the strongest choices for the job. Following the study, the agency also recommends you have at least one plant per 100 square feet (10 square meters). Although the research technically classifies as “old” (and further research has been done on the subject, as we detail here) it still remains one of the most inclusive and accurate works on the issue.

[ALSO SEE] 7 potted plants that will remove air pollution from your home 

The guys over at Lovethegarden.com have luckily framed the findings of the study in a handy inforgraphic format. Ah, the wonders of modern technology.

So enjoy, and next time you’re looking for a potted friend to bring back home, consider consulting this guide.

Image credits lovethegarden

Letter signed by 154 Australian experts calls for the Land Down Under to step up its game

Leading Australian climate and environmental scientists penned an open letter to Malcolm Turnbull, urging for action “while there is still time”.

The Three Sisters, Sydney, Australia.
Image credits Joshua Willson / Pixabay

More than 150 Australian experts have signed an open letter addressed to the country’s prime minister Malcolm Turnbull urging for legislation and action on climate issues in tune with what scientists are reporting. The document was organised by Australian National University climatologist Andrew Glikson and urges the federal government to make “meaningful reductions of Australia’s peak carbon emissions and coal exports, while there is still time”.

The 154 signatories include hard-hitting names such as Climate Council member Tim Flannery, Will Steffen, Lesley Hughes, as well as reef scientists Ove Hoegh-Guldberg and Charlie Veron. These aren’t some miss-informed activists — they’re leading minds in climate and environmental research, and they know what they’re talking about.

The letter points out that July 2016 was one of the hottest months ever, and it followed a nine-month streak of record-breaking temperatures. It also cites work showing that the average concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached 400 parts per million in 2015 and is still rising at a rate of nearly 3 ppm each year. We’re already witnessing the effects shifting climate patterns have on the planet, the letter goes on to say, such as an increase in freak and extreme weather events, ocean acidification and melting of the polar ice sheets.

We’re not aiming high enough

Last year at the UN conference held in Paris, Australia and a host of other 179 countries signed a climate treaty to limit to limit average global warming to “well below 2C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5C”. In a report issued on Wednesday, the Climate Institute highlighted that aiming for 1.5C instead of 2C would avoid longer heatwaves and droughts, and give the Great Barrier Reef a better chance of survival. The institute recommended that Australia adopts an emissions reduction target of 65% below 2005 levels by 2030 and phase out coal power by 2035.

Back in 2014, the Climate Change Authority, which advises the government on climate policy, recommended that Australia adopts a target of 40% to 60% below 2000 levels by 2030. The greenhouse gas target Australia agreed on at the Paris climate summit however only calls for emission levels to be reduced by 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2030.

But, as Glikson points out, “the Paris agreement, being non-binding, is in danger of not being fulfilled by many of the signatories”. The treaty will not come into effect until 55 countries ratify it, accounting for at least 55% of the world’s greenhouse emissions. He called for action to “transition from carbon-emitting technologies to alternative clean energy as fast as possible, and focus technology on draw-down (sequestration) of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere”. Even more, researchers have criticized the Paris goal as not being ambitious enough. ANU engineering professor Andrew Blakers believes the county can cut emissions by two-thirds until that time “at negligible cost”.

With the falling cost of renewable energy, particularly solar and wind power, clean energy plants can take over part or all of the conventional ones. Factor in replacing gas with electricity for heating and combustion engine vehicles with electric ones, and you’ve eliminated most emissions. Australia already adds 1 gigawatt of solar and wind power each year, but this would have to be increased to 2.5 gigawatts each year to reach 100% renewable energy by 2030. The remaining sources, such as shipping, aviation, and industry, could be dealt with after that time, as they will probably take a little more effort and investment.

Climate Council member and professor at the Macquaire University Lesley Hughes said that a number of factors are causing the gap between scientific fact and policy. Vested interests, perception of economic downsides of climate action, ideological biases and inertia in the system from investment in fossil fuels are some of the reasons he cited. But she said the “most important issue” was the difficulty in convincing people to act to reduce risk decades in the future.

 

 

Future cars could be partially powered by their bodywork

Parts of the car’s bodywork could double up as it’s batter in a not so far away future; at least that’s what the people involved in the 3.4 million project believe. They are working on a prototype that can store and discharge electrical energy; the material is also light and very hard.

Ultimately, this will not only double the battery, but it will make cars lighter, more compact and more energy efficient, allowing drivers to travel longer distances without having to recharge. Furthermore, the material could also be used in different fields, such as mobile phones or computers, so they wouldn’t need a separate battery.

“We are really excited about the potential of this new technology. We think the car of the future could be drawing power from its roof, its bonnet or even the door, thanks to our new composite material. Even the Sat Nav could be powered by its own casing. The future applications for this material don’t stop there – you might have a mobile phone that is as thin as a credit card because it no longer needs a bulky battery, or a laptop that can draw energy from its casing so it can run for a longer time without recharging. We’re at the first stage of this project and there is a long way to go, but we think our composite material shows real promise.”, said The project co-ordinator, Dr Emile Greenhalgh, from the Department of Aeronautics at Imperial College London

You can find a demonstration and additional details here.