Credit: (100% Campaign/flickr)

Peter Dykstra: Are you ready for some good news?

It's often our duty to report bleak news on climate and the environment. But let's not skimp on the good news—like the continued momentum of clean energy

After years of promise and halting progress, wind and solar energy have simply, undeniably, irrefutably arrived.


A report from the Rocky Mountain Institute foresees a world that, by the year 2035, has wind and solar energy positively crushing the reigning champ, natural gas. Touted as a "bridge fuel," advocates of gas—and of the hydraulic fracturing used to extract it—have told us that fracked natural gas, while still a fossil fuel, is measurably cleaner than oil or coal.

The reality is that fracking has brought us previously-unheard-of problems with methane releases, not to mention rampant use of water, sand, and a mix of chemicals and real estate shenanigans similar to a 19th Century gold rush.

A bridge fuel it's not. Fracking has also vaulted the U.S. into the world leadership of oil and gas production, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Cheap, abundant natural gas has largely priced coal and nuclear out of the electricity market. So, fracking's got that going for it, which is nice. Nevertheless, the RMI "bridge backward" study, if validated, can move markets and bring investment in new natural gas plants to a halt, and turn the controversial buildout of gas pipelines into a costly bust.

Not that the markets aren't already moving: Another report, released last week by the UN Environment Programme, charted a quadrupling of clean energy investment in the past decade. China leads the world in such investment, with the U.S. a distant second.

When an idea moves from visionaries, entrepreneurs and advocates to investors, it has indeed arrived.

Solar arrays are covering Carolina farmland. After years' worth of delays, offshore windmills are taking root, or are poised to jump off the drawing boards.

It's all within reach. If you don't believe me, believe the parting speech of the most recent Governor of Texas: "You can be proud that Texas produces more energy from wind turbines than all but five countries."

Well, that 2015 speech was from Governor Rick Perry. Since he became Trump's obedient Secretary of Energy, we don't hear such encouraging words. But the wind power success remains.

Solar isn't far behind, with some of the gaudiest progress happening on the vast roofs of big box stores, of all places.

These are victories, but they're not even a small fraction of what's needed for humanity to get a grip on itself. Avoiding a beef burger, taking public transit, buying a Prius, planting a few trees – these may do as much to assuage our eco-guilt as they do to fix what's broken.

It's late in the game. Wind, solar, storage batteries, carbon-free energy and dozens of other ideas, virtues, policies, and gadgets all need to show up – and soon.

Finally, we need to run those who deny science and block policy implications out of office and far from influence. There will be a time to engage them, and a time to ignore. A time to inform, and a time to ridicule.

We need it all, and soon. Or maybe right now.

How Biden and Kerry could rebuild America’s global climate leadership

Strengthening partnerships with like-minded countries will be critical to bring about a transition to cleaner energy as well as sustainability in agriculture, forestry, water and other sectors of the global economy.

John Kerry helped bring the world into the Paris climate agreement and expanded America's reputation as a climate leader.
Keep reading... Show less

Get our Good News newsletter

Get the best positive, solutions-oriented stories we've seen on the intersection of our health and environment, FREE every Tuesday in your inbox. Subscribe here today. Keep the change tomorrow.

www.theguardian.com

Climate ‘apocalypse’ fears stopping people having children

People worried about the climate crisis are deciding not to have children because of fears that their offspring would have to struggle through a climate apocalypse, according to the first academic study of the issue.

www.huffpost.com

The pandemic's effect on climate-change pollution was 'just a tiny blip'

To the atmosphere, this year’s “return to nature” — a silver lining for some amid a deadly virus — was virtually meaningless.
www.politico.com

How Biden may save U.S. gas exports to Europe

Cleaning up fuel producers' climate pollution at home could help the industry avoid "a trans-Atlantic green gas war."

"Clean creatives" campaign asks PR firms to fire fossil fuel clients

The “clean creatives” campaign is calling on creative agencies to drop fossil fuel clients.
insideclimatenews.org

When autumn leaves begin to fall: As the climate warms, leaves on some trees are dying earlier

New research shows that, as the planet warms, deciduous trees in temperate European forests are losing their leaves earlier, and that could reduce the amount of CO2 forests will remove from the atmosphere in the decades ahead.

www.publicsource.org

Bid to frack on Edgar Thomson site goes to court

A New Mexico company's bid to frack on U.S. Steel's land in North Versailles and East Pittsburgh is now in court following a Tuesday appeal filing.