Before I head out into the clean air for my daily dose of forest – part of my new routine the last few weeks – I thought I would quickly write the top 5 post for this week. I am giving myself a total of 1 hour to write this, I need to get to nature…
The number 1 spot for March 30, 2020 is about US coal consumption – specifically the lack of consumption. Despite president Trump’s best efforts, the coal industry is not turning around. It is now just another fossil fuel industry in its twilight. In US Coal Consumption Drops to Lowest Level Since 1979, the author explains that while tougher pollutant restrictions are partially responsible for coal’s decline, the main reason may have more to do with economics than with regulation.
For example, it is now the same or cheaper to engineer, commission, procure and build a solar farm than it is to simply maintain and run a coal fired power plant. Very basic economics would dictate that the solar plant gets built. Since these trends are expected to continue, a coal plant might not even get its financing approved.
According to an article in Inside Climate News, a report commissioned by Bloomberg New Energy states, “The price of solar already costs roughly 1/4 of what it did in 2009 and is forecast to drop another 66 percent by 2040. Solar is already at least as cheap as coal in Germany, Australia, the U.S., Spain and Italy. By 2021, it will be cheaper than coal in China, India, Mexico, the U.K. and Brazil, as well.”
This is good news, but it gets better: “Of the $10.2 trillion the world will invest in new power generating technology from now until 2040, a stunning three-quarters will be in renewable energy. Wind and solar will jump to 34 percent of electricity generation worldwide by 2040, compared with just 5 percent now.”
This is incredible. Combined with a consumer shift toward use of electric vehicles and deep investment in carbon capture technology (and tree planting), we might just be able to keep our Paris agreement climate goal of 1.5% and avoid the worst of climate change.
While many of the power brokers of today cling hopelessly to the sinking ship of the past, it is obvious that they see and feel it sinking beneath them. They sense the inevitable rise of the water and yet the band plays on. Their desperation to return to the way things used to be is palpable and can best be visualized by their ruthless attempts to maintain control over government and the courts. They long for a return to a world where they reign supreme with wealth, power and influence. These old, grey men know that the world’s poor will take the brunt of their callous and selfish decisions, but they don’t care. In their world, it is the cost of doing business.
But they should care, and soon they will. The young people of today are the only thing that scares these old men and their dirty industries. The students of Fridays for Future made it clear that they will not continue to support those who would destroy their future for personal gain. They will not be bought; they will not sacrifice the very planet they will someday inherit, and when they are of age, they will vote and make purchasing decisions in the same way.
The old men in power also need young bright minds to help them run their businesses and political organizations and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find them. The brightest and best university graduates of today are not as interested in embarking on a career in industries that are dying. Just as they always have, they want to build great things, to advance humanity, to solve the world’s problems, not add to them.
“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.” Franklin D. Roosevelt
As I enjoy my walk through the forest today, I will be appreciating the crisp, clean air and the knowledge that despite the best efforts of some of the most powerful people on the planet, the world is changing for the better. People are taking action and given a chance, nature will heal itself. I truly believe that in my lifetime we will turn this ship around. It is not too late.
If you enjoy Happy Eco News, please share this email with friends and family. You can follow, like our posts and share us on social media too. It all helps. Find us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @HappyEcoNews.