Just one word, Benjamin: Solar . Well, actually, one more: Wind . The sun, the air and the chemistry to bottle their limitless power — it’s looking more and more as if these constitute the world’s next great technological advance, a leap as life-changing for many of us as was aviation, the internet or, of course, plastics. Faster than many thought possible, and despite long doubt about renewable energy’s practicality, a momentous transformation is now well underway. We are moving from a global economy fueled primarily by climate-warming fossil fuels to one in which we will cleanly pluck most of our energy out of water, wind and the fire in the sky. People who study energy markets say economics alone ensures our eventual transition to clean fuels, but that policy choices by the governments can speed it up. In October, the International Energy Agency declared solar power to be the cheapest new form of electricity in many places around the world, and in particularly … [Read more...] about Opinion: The wind and solar boom is here
List of planets in our solar system
Recently, California, the world’s fifth-largest economy, cranked out 94.5 percent renewable energy . This landmark moment occurred on April 29 around 2:30 in the afternoon, just days after we celebrated the 51st Earth Day. Gone are the days where renewables are considered an afterthought that tinker at the margins. In case you believe 100 percent renewable energy is a pipe dream — you’ve been officially put on notice. When we look around the world, we read headlines like this from time to time. Iceland currently achieves nearly 100 percent of its power from renewable energy. Costa Rica recently powered itself with 100 percent renewable energy for 299 days. But when the world’s fifth-largest economy does it, that should make you sit up in your chair. Politics, it seems to me, is more often guided by our psychology of what we collectively think is possible rather than the physics or even economics of what’s actually possible. In regards to a swift transition to renewable … [Read more...] about California blazes a trail with 95 percent renewable energy
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy said : “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.” President Joe Biden launched his own moonshot last week with an ambitious pledge to reduce America’s emissions of climate-changing pollution by at least 50 percent from 2005 levels — about 35 percent below current levels . Biden’s plan, if realized, will change the scope and direction of American life for generations to come. And just like Kennedy’s, Biden’s vision could very well leverage innovation, ingenuity, and technology that secures American leadership through the remainder of the century. Sixty years ago, in April, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first … [Read more...] about Biden’s moonshot
How politically realistic are the climate action goals that European governments are setting in lockstep with the United States? Some analysts are warning that the rich can afford the necessary changes, but the burdensome costs of a green transition for middle-class and poorer voters could trigger a backlash and prompt electoral reversals. Others worry European governments have still not fleshed out in practical terms how to meet their ambitious climate action and emissions reduction goals and that a failure to deliver solutions, as happened after the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference, risks undermining an emerging public consensus about the danger of climate change and a recognition action is required. “If you create a deadline that is unrealistic, which we will not be able to actually achieve, you put it completely beyond the bounds of possibility — that doesn’t mean you can’t have a high bar, you should be aiming for a high bar — but it can’t be unrealistic,” Jamie … [Read more...] about Are Europe’s Climate Action Goals Realistic?
(CNN) By 2035, NASA wants to land humans on Mars . But reaching the red planet, on average around 140 million miles away , will be a mammoth feat. Colder than Antarctica and with little to no oxygen , Mars is a hostile environment. The longer it takes astronauts to get there and the longer they stay, the more they are at risk. That's why scientists are looking at ways to reduce trip time. Seattle-based company Ultra Safe Nuclear Technologies (USNC-Tech) has proposed a solution: a nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) engine that could get humans from Earth to Mars in just three months. Currently, the shortest possible trip for an unmanned spacecraft is seven months, but a crewed mission is expected to take at least nine months. The idea of nuclear rocket engines dates back to the 1940s, but the technology has only recently been revisited as a solution for deep space exploration. Michael Eades, director of engineering at USNC-Tech, says … [Read more...] about Nuclear-powered rocket could get astronauts to Mars faster