Linda Zahrt: Moving on with clean energy in 2018
At first it looked like we had been taking one step forward and two backward with renewable energy in 2017. But looking around the world there are activities, policies and programs that are making a cumulative difference in reducing greenhouse gases (GHG), the major cause of climate change. Five major energy gains stood out for me.
Renewables are expanding energy access, especially in rural areas of developing countries. Small solar panels and batteries are allowing children to study at night in their homes where before they had only candles or kerosene for light. Another example: Tesla is deploying energy storage for solar power in Puerto Rico.
Less deforestation and increased tree planting to store carbon is happening in Africa, Brazil and India. This shows local people are keen on helping their communities, whether or not they understand how this cuts GHG emissions and helps meet their country’s Paris climate agreements.
Sustainable agriculture and land management techniques are catching on with traditional farmers. We’re getting smarter in how we farm, using fewer chemicals, no till and rotation practices, and assisting nature do what it does best. And not only is the food healthier, but the farmer gets a larger return on investment.
Clean energy improves public health by reducing the amount of pollution in our air, water and land. When people can breathe easier and have access to clean water and healthy food, they’re more likely to be active and working toward their goals. By staying healthy they help reduce our national healthcare costs.
And, in 2016, 9.8 million people had jobs in the renewable energy industry worldwide. In the U.S. alone solar energy is the top employer in the electric power generation sector, accounting for 43 percent of the total jobs in the field. It’s creating jobs 17 times faster than the rest of the U.S. economy.
So, what do we project for 2018? I’m hoping for more good news; more renewables worldwide, more forest restoration, better farming practices, increased care of our precious resources of air, water and land, a variety of clean energy jobs, and a more secure world.
Here in the U.S. we can also expect the 66-member bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus to expand as politicians realize innovative approaches are needed to have a lasting impact on climate change. There are organizations that are eager/willing to be at the table.
The Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) is working with Congress to establish a revenue-neutral climate solution. It would place a gradually-rising fee on carbon in fuels. The revenues would be returned to households, keeping the money in the economy. To learn more, see citizensclimatelobby.org. Let us move forward into 2018 with individual and community care, and with CCL’s motto: “Political Will for a Livable World.”
Linda Zahrt is a Carson City resident.