The top story of week 30, 2019 is one of hope.
People want to know that there is a future beyond the immediate worry of the near term impacts of climate change. In keeping with the purpose of Happy Eco News, the story of how we will beat climate change and what the world will look like post-carbon is compelling and is the reason why it is the top story this week.
A similar and related story is in second place. It is about how solar power is now displacing coal and LNG as the power generation system of choice for large utility scale generation.
It seems many people are looking for how they can contribute to the positive changes that can, will and must occur. Third and fourth place are about how to reduce the impacts of air travel, be it for business or pleasure, and how to get your EV completely off grid by using solar panels to charge it.
Lastly, number five is about automotive giant and hybrid car leader Toyota, working to innovate and develop a plug-in Prius that has it’s range augmented by solar cells embedded into the bodywork.
1) Yes, climate change can be beaten by 2050. Here’s how.
While most climate scientists have focussed on the negative effects of climate change, especially if current trends continue, professor Kai Chan at UBC has instead studied what success looks like. With his research and the work of others like him, society will have a road map of how to get past the current crisis. 2050 in a post carbon world will be a time where the climate is stable and employment is created from traditional sectors like energy, manufacturing and agriculture, just cleaner versions.
It will be a healthier world, with more walking, more green spaces, more plants and animals, less sickness, far less air pollution, and probably less meat but better nutrition.
The best part is that making these changes won’t mean years of being poor, cold and hungry. These scientists don’t insist we need to build off-the-grid cabins in the woods or disrupt energy, food and jobs. Instead, these scientists say that if we start right now, we stand a decent chance of transforming society without noticeable change.
2) Giant batteries and cheap solar power are shoving fossil fuels off the grid
Solar generated energy is awesome, of that there is very little doubt. However the sun only shines during the day and the demand for electricity increases during the evenings. Batteries are the answer. Just like the solar powered pathway lights you see in so many yards, a solar panel charges a battery, which then stores the energy until it is needed at night. Solar power plants combined with large scale batteries have long been thought of as the “killer app” for energy production, especially in sunny climates. Now Los Angeles, California is investing in solar in a big way with a huge solar powered battery that will provide 7% of the area’s electricity demand and increasingly, solar with energy storage is displacing fossil fuel generation. Unlike their traditional counterparts, they are doing it without any subsidies.
3) Flying Is Bad for the Planet. You Can Help Make It Better.
Almost all of us would enjoy a winter trip to a warmer climate and many of us are required to take many air travel trips per year for work. We know it’s bad for the planet due to the carbon emissions, but for some of us it is a necessity and a reality of life. What can we do to make it less impactful?
Here are a five tips to help reduce the impacts and do your part (no they aren’t too painful).
4) How many solar panels do you need to cover your daily EV recharging?
As electric vehicles (EV) become more and more popular and people move further away from consumption of fossil fuels, the demand for at home charging infrastructure is increasing. Some take it one step further and use self-generated solar electricity to charge their vehicles. Maybe they already have solar panels on their homes, maybe the cost of running power to their parking spot is too high, or maybe they just like the idea of using 100% clean energy. This article will help you decide how much to install. One interesting idea is that public charging infrastructure will increase over time so while you might need to build a system to fully charge your car today, in 5 years there may be enough chargers in your community that your car will only need to be topped up at home instead.
5) Toyota begins testing of solar-powered and self-charging Prius
Hybrid car giant Toyota has recently announced that it intends to sell more than half of its fleet as EVs as opposed to hybrid or gasoline powered vehicles. This aggressive prediction comes on the heels of announcing that it intends to have at least 10 EV models available globally from 2020, spanning everything from compact cars and medium-sized crossovers and sedans, through to various sizes of SUV and minivan. The self-charging, solar powered and autonomous Prius now being tested shows that the company, once criticized for falling behind the other large auto companies, is still innovating and intends to gain ground on the competition.