Over the summer I’ve taken some time off from writing while paddling, fishing and backpacking.  During this time a great deal has occurred that present an interesting picture of multiple trends that are interacting.  This is causing increased alarm and hope at the same time.  Below is a listing of some recent developments and news. 

Much of this you may have seen in the news but I think it is valuable to see it all together to get a feeling of how these items are all interacting as we head to the Paris Climate Conference in December.

In general, my take on this as a whole is that while the world is getting hotter and hotter, setting records as a planet and suffering record breaking heat waves in specific locales worldwide, there is becoming an increasing awareness and urgency to initiate solutions.  Furthermore, as the solutions are not only becoming increasingly implemented, the costs of doing so are declining rapidly and there is becoming an understanding that the economic opportunities are enormous.  In addition, the benefits of implementation go way beyond saving the planet from Climate Crisis.  

1.  In March 2015 Global CO2 levels passed 400-ppm for the first time in millions of years.  

2.  July 2015 was the hottest month on record worldwide.  

3.  January through July 2015 were the hottest first seven months worldwide in recorded       history.

4.  It is now almost certain that 2015 will be the hottest year worldwide in recorded history.

5.  In July, the Sierra Club announced that the 200th coal plant in the US is now officially slated for retirement.  That means that the total is closing in on 40% of the US fleet and our objective of 50% by 2017!

6.  Iowa is now getting almost 30% of its power from wind and moving towards 50%.

7.  Solar panel prices have dropped by 80 percent while becoming 40 percent more efficient since 2009. In at least 60 countries, the price of electricity from solar is the same or cheaper than power from the grid. Investments in renewable energy are on the rise with a record $271 billion in investments last year.

8.  Former University of Chicago (my alma mater) Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stieglitz said,”Creating a green economy is not only consistent with economic growth, it can promote economic growth” .

9. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced that it will reinvest in the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign with a three year grant totaling $15 million dollars to support its efforts to retire or transition to cleaner energy half of American’s coal plants by 2017.

10. Tackling climate change by reducing emissions would generate long-term economic benefits that far outweigh the short-term costs, a new study from the London School of Economics said.


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