climate change

New report highlights clouds in solar growth for North Carolina

Over the last few years North Carolina has emerged as a national leader in solar power. But according to a new report by Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center titled “Lighting The Way,” the story might not be as bright as often told. While North Carolina ranks fourth for solar installation in terms of overall capacity, the state ranks tenth per capita, behind cloudier states like New Jersey and Massachusetts. The report emphasizes that it is not availability of sunlight that makes states solar leaders, but the degree to which state and local governments have created effective public policy to help capture the virtually unlimited and pollution-free energy from the sun.

N.C. falls behind in offshore wind

North Carolina could reap tremendous environmental and economic benefits from offshore wind, but is failing behind other states in developing the resource, according to a new report from Environment North Carolina and the National Wildlife Federation. The report, Catching the Wind: State Actions Needed to Seize the Golden Opportunity of Atlantic Offshore Wind Power, analyzes and compares the actions by Atlantic Coast states toward progress on offshore wind.


I've been thinking a lot these days about the human capacity for denial. It is an amazing thing to behold, even when the consequences are profoundly dire and imminent. From the coming water wars and climate change to income inequality, poisoning the environment, peak oil, and our infrastructure collapse, the signs of growing chaos surround us.

This from a billionaire:

At the same time that people like you and me are thriving beyond the dreams of any plutocrats in history, the rest of the country—the 99.99 percent—is lagging far behind. The divide between the haves and have-nots is getting worse really, really fast. In 1980, the top 1 percent controlled about 8 percent of U.S. national income. The bottom 50 percent shared about 18 percent. Today the top 1 percent share about 20 percent; the bottom 50 percent, just 12 percent. But the problem isn’t that we have inequality. Some inequality is intrinsic to any high-functioning capitalist economy. The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day. Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society. Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution.

Electric Cars Are Putting the Brakes on Pollution

More than 1,600 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles are on North Carolina’s roads today, and more than 190,000 across the United States, delivering real benefits for our health and our environment, according to a new report released today by the Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center. In just the last two years, annual sales of electric vehicles have increased by 500 percent.

Now, with strong implementation of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan and the development of more renewable energy, electric vehicles are set to deliver even greater benefits for the environment.

North Carolina leaders come together to praise new carbon pollution standards

Today, a broad cross section of community and elected leaders joined Environment North Carolina to praise the newly announced federal carbon pollution limits for power plants, the leading cause of climate change. Members from the medical, faith, and business communities all the lauded public health and other benefits the new rule will have for North Carolinians.

“This announcement is a huge win for the health of our families, our environment, and our clean energy economy,” said state representative Pricey Harrison. “It gives North Carolina a chance to increase jobs generating wind and solar power, and improved energy efficiency; jobs that cannot be outsourced. We are already a leader in the South, and I look forward to helping our state become a national leader in the clean energy economy.”

This next global crisis will kill you

Climate change deniers have all but won their war on science. Motivated by petty obstructionism or short-term profits, they have effectively delayed collective action in most of the world’s industrialized nations. Their militant resistance to reason has accelerated the slide into oblivion for more than a billion human beings who live near rising oceans, and billions more who don't. These same people are now gearing up to combat the next major crisis sweeping across the globe.

Antibiotic-resistant pathogens have reached every country, with some patients being treated with drugs that are now the last line of defence against infections. Scientists gathered at the Royal Society in London on Thursday warned the situation is so desperate that a global response in line with efforts to combat climate change is needed.

Pardon my cynicism, but if a “global response in line with the efforts to combat climate change” is what’s being called for, we are well and truly screwed.

More climate change denial

After the hullabaloo that ensued when NC's Coastal Resources Commission previously predicted dire consequences from sea level rise, causing the NCGA to pass a law making sea level rise (or at least its scientific prediction) illegal, the CRC is at it again.

This time they're going to look only 30 years into the future, rather than about 90 years into the future, because...well...when they predicted what is likely to happen in the year 2100, developers and legislators got themselves all in a lather -- because there's money to be made, dammit!

Hoping to avoid a repeat of the uproar sparked in 2010 when a state science panel warned of a possible 39-inch rise in sea level by the end of this century, the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission decreed Thursday that the next official forecast will look no farther than 30 years into the future.

Never mind that their original prediction was most likely pretty accurate, according to scientific consensus.

Open thread: That sinking feeling

On the collapse of major ice sheets in Antarctica.

“This is really happening,” said Thomas P. Wagner, who runs NASA’s programs on polar ice and helped oversee some of the research. “There’s nothing to stop it now."

It's not like we haven't had time to alter the course of history, we've just chosen not to.

The new finding appears to be the fulfillment of a prediction made in 1978 by an eminent glaciologist, John H. Mercer of the Ohio State University. He outlined the uniquely vulnerable nature of the West Antarctic ice sheet and warned that the rapid human release of greenhouse gases posed “a threat of disaster.” He was assailed at the time, but in recent years scientists have been watching with growing concern as events have unfolded in much the way Dr. Mercer predicted. (He died in 1987.)

For those of you who have children or plan to, the reality of global sea-level rise should scare the hell out of you. In less than a hundred years, shorelines all around the world will be reshaped, leaving low-lying land submerged under at least 10 feet of water.

Sea level rise: Practical and dire consquences

I know sea level rise has been declared illegal in North Carolina, but that doesn't change the fact that it is happening ... and accelerating. For a practical look at the consequences for infrastructure (especially sewage systems), take a look at this excellent story at North Carolina Health News. It's a sobering reminder that the people in charge of our government are, for the most part, clueless fools with their heads stuck in the sand.

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