In support of the President’s strategy to diversify our nation’s clean energy mix, an elite team of researchers, academics, scientists, engineers, and wind industry experts revisited the findings of the Energy Department’s 2008 20% Wind by 2030 report and built upon its findings to conceptualize a new vision for wind energy through 2050.
The Wind Vision Report takes America’s current installed wind power capacity across all facets of wind energy (land-based, offshore, and distributed) as its baseline—a capacity that has tripled since the 2008 release of the Energy Department’s 20% Wind Energy by 2030 report—and assesses the potential economic, environmental, and social benefits of a scenario where U.S. wind power supplies 10% of the nation’s electrical demand in 2020, 20% in 2030, and 35% in 2050. The Wind Vision Report builds upon the continued the success of the wind industry to date and quantifies a robust wind energy future.
All-electric vehicles (EVs) run on electricity only. They are propelled by one or more electric motors powered by rechargeable battery packs. EVs have several advantages over vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICEs):
- Energy efficient. Electric vehicles convert about 59%–62% of the electrical energy from the grid to power at the wheels—conventional gasoline vehicles only convert about 17%–21% of the energy stored in gasoline to power at the wheels.*
- Environmentally friendly. EVs emit no tailpipe pollutants, although the power plant producing the electricity may emit them. Electricity from nuclear-, hydro-, solar-, or wind-powered plants causes no air pollutants.
- Performance benefits. Electric motors provide quiet, smooth operation and stronger acceleration and require less maintenance than ICEs.
- Reduce energy dependence. Electricity is a domestic energy source.
The Office of Global Change (OES/EGC) works on a broad range of international climate change issues, under the guidance of the Special Envoy for Climate Change. The United States is taking a leading role by advancing an ever-expanding suite of measures at home and abroad. The President’s Climate Action Plan highlights unprecedented efforts by the United States to reduce carbon pollution, promote clean sources of energy that create jobs, protect communities from the impacts of climate change, and work with partners to lead international climate change efforts. The working partnerships the United States has created or strengthened with other major economies has reinforced the importance of results-driven action both internationally and domestically and are achieving measurable impacts now to help countries reduce their long-term greenhouse gas emissions.
Climate Change: Basic Information
- Climate change is happening
- Humans are largely responsible for recent climate change
- Climate change affects everyone
- We can make a difference
How is the climate changing in the U.S.?
Observations across the United States and world provide multiple, independent lines of evidence that climate change is happening now.
Climate change is happening
Our Earth is warming. Earth's average temperature has risen by 1.5°F over the past century, and is projected to rise another 0.5 to 8.6°F over the next hundred years. Small changes in the average temperature of the planet can translate to large and potentially dangerous shifts in climate and weather.
The evidence is clear. Rising global temperatures have been accompanied by changes in weather and climate. Many places have seen changes in rainfall, resulting in more floods, droughts, or intense rain, as well as more frequent and severe heat waves.
The planet's oceans and glaciers have also experienced some big changes – oceans are warming and becoming more acidic, ice caps are melting, and sea levels are rising. As these and other changes become more pronounced in the coming decades, they will likely present challenges to our society and our environment.
What are climate change and global warming?
Global warming refers to the recent and ongoing rise in global average temperature near Earth's surface. It is caused mostly by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Global warming is causing climate patterns to change. However, global warming itself represents only one aspect of climate change.
Climate change refers to any significant change in the measures of climate lasting for an extended period of time. In other words, climate change includes major changes in temperature, precipitation, or wind patterns, among other effects, that occur over several decades or longer.
Learn more about the signs of climate change in the United States.
Over the past century, human activities have released large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The majority of greenhouse gases come from burning fossil fuels to produce energy, although deforestation, industrial processes, and some agricultural practices also emit gases into the atmosphere.
Greenhouse gases act like a blanket around Earth, trapping energy in the atmosphere and causing it to warm. This phenomenon is called the greenhouse effect and is natural and necessary to support life on Earth. However, the buildup of greenhouse gases can change Earth's climate and result in dangerous effects to human health and welfare and to ecosystems.
The choices we make today will affect the amount of greenhouse gases we put in the atmosphere in the near future and for years to come.
Learn more about the causes of climate change.
Our lives are connected to the climate. Human societies have adapted to the relatively stable climate we have enjoyed since the last ice age which ended several thousand years ago. A warming climate will bring changes that can affect our water supplies, agriculture, power and transportation systems, the natural environment, and even our own health and safety.
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Some changes to the climate are unavoidable. Carbon dioxide can stay in the atmosphere for nearly a century, so Earth will continue to warm in the coming decades. The warmer it gets, the greater the risk for more severe changes to the climate and Earth's system. Although it's difficult to predict the exact impacts of climate change, what's clear is that the climate we are accustomed to is no longer a reliable guide for what to expect in the future.
We can reduce the risks we will face from climate change. By making choices that reduce greenhouse gas pollution, and preparing for the changes that are already underway, we can reduce risks from climate change. Our decisions today will shape the world our children and grandchildren will live in.
You can take action. You can take steps at home, on the road, and in your office to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the risks associated with climate change. Many of these steps can save you money; some, such as walking or biking to work, can even improve your health! You can also get involved on a local or state level to support energy efficiency, clean energy programs, or other climate programs.
EPA and other federal agencies are taking action. EPA is working to protect the health and welfare of Americans through common sense measures to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and to help communities prepare for climate change.
STATEMENT: Secretary of Energy Should Embrace America’s Clean Energy Future
WASHINGTON (DECEMBER 13, 2016)– According to multiple media reports, President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Governor Rick Perry to lead the Department of Energy. Perry was governor of Texas from 2000 to 2015, and twice ran for president of the United States.
As Secretary of Energy, he would lead the Department’s mission to “ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.” The Secretary of Energy oversees a budget of $29.6 billion (in 2016), including $10.7 billion for all-of-the-above science and technology.
Last week, several reports revealed that the Trump transition team sent a request seeking names of people within the agency who work on climate and clean energy.
Following is a statement from Jennifer Layke, global director of WRI’s Energy Program:
“Governor Perry comes from a state long-associated with the oil industry, but he also has a successful track record of promoting wind power. When Perry took office as governor, Texas had 116 megawatts of wind power, but it now boasts 18,000 megawatts, making it the country’s largest wind producer. If the incoming Secretary truly wants to boost America’s economy, health and security, he should look no further than extending the Department’s commitment to clean, renewable energy.
“The shift to clean energy is well underway and already employing hundreds of thousands of people across the country, including in rural communities. Wind and solar power have been the largest source of new electricity in the U.S. in recent years. The cost to install solar power has fallen by more than 70 percent over the last decade. Wind power currently supplies 4.7% of U.S. electricity and employs more than 88,000 Americans. That’s why states from Texas to Maine and Iowa to Florida are all investing in renewable energy.
Global collaboration on climate change legal toolkit
Legal experts from key international organisations, including the Commonwealth Secretariat, are meeting to develop a climate change legal toolkit to help countries carry out the Paris Agreement.
The two-day consultation is taking place between 1 and 2 December at the Commonwealth Secretariat’s headquarters in London. Academics, think tanks and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are exchanging knowledge and pooling resources to explore how to best support the legal needs and priorities of countries for climate mitigation, adaptation and finance.
Partners include the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and UN Environment. Participants include representatives from six United Nations entities and the World Bank. The Paris Agreement was signed by 193 countries and aims to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.
Marking the One Year Anniversary of the Paris Climate Change Agreement Celebration and Reality Check
Marking the One Year Anniversary of the Paris Climate Change Agreement
Celebration and Reality Check
Bonn, Germany, 12 December 2016 – One year after the world adopted the Paris Climate Change Agreement, climate action across governments, business and societies continues to scale new heights. The challenge now is to take this to an even higher scale with a speed and an urgency that reflects the scientific reality.
“2016 was an extraordinary year in many ways. In less than 12 months the Paris climate agreement entered into force and almost weekly, more countries ratify. Meanwhile nations, cities, regions, businesses and investors continue to signal their unwavering support through practical action, shifts in investments and ever more ambitious pledges, “said Patricia Espinosa, the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
“This urgency and this action needs not only to continue but to go to scale and gather ever more speed over 2017 and the years and decades to come—because current ambition still falls short of what is needed. In 2016 the UN’s World Meteorological Organization announced world-wide average temperatures had risen 1-degree Celsius in 2015 and that concentrations of the key greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, reached past the significant milestone of 400 parts per million in the atmosphere over the entire year, “she added.
Ms Espinosa said achieving the aims and ambitions of the Paris Agreement will also rest on the speed and urgency of realizing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted in 2015.
Investing in Infrastructure? Don't Forget the Electric Grid
December 7, 2016
Photo by artJazz/Getty Images
One of the initiatives on President-elect Donald Trump's agenda for his first 100 days in office is a plan that would spur $1 trillion in infrastructure investment over 10 years.
Along with fixing America's dilapidated roads, bridges, transit and airports, the plan envisions spending $52 billion in taxpayer money on electricity infrastructure, with a presumed emphasis on integrating advanced “smart grid” technologies. While many consumers might see this as just another technology rollout that could be best left to the private sector and the free market, leaving the future of the electricity grid to chance should not be an option.
To maximize the potential benefits of a multibillion-dollar smart grid investment, a closer examination of smart grid technology and policy is needed.
A smart grid is an electric grid that connects electricity producers to consumers in new ways, including allowing for electricity and information to flow not just from the producers, but back to them as well. It includes the various pieces of equipment and devices that are used to produce, deliver and monitor the electricity that keeps America's lights on.
The environmental costs and benefits of fracking: The state of research
Tags: carbon, global warming, greenhouse gases
Respecting the law up to now has been easy, given America’s declining domestic oil production and thirst for imported oil — in 2006, the country imported 3.7 billion barrels. What changed between then and now all comes down to one word: fracking, the popular name for hydraulic fracturing. Combined with horizontal drilling, the technique has powered a boom in U.S. energy production, unlocking substantial petroleum and natural gas deposits trapped in shale formations. A lot of this is good news: U.S. consumers and industry rarely complain when energy prices fall, and reducing imports from unstable parts of the world has considerable appeal. Natural gas also releases half as much carbon dioxide as coal, allowing it to potentially serve as a “bridge fuel” to the cleaner energy supported by the majority of Americans.
Despite these advantages, fracking remains highly controversial, in large part because of the potential damage it poses to human health and the environment. Reports of fracking operations contaminating aquifers are widespread, and research has found indications of higher rates of silicosis among well workers, an increase in congenital defects to children born nearby, and elevated cancer risk due to air pollution. Even earthquakes have been linked to fracking operations. Such concerns have led a number of towns to try to ban the practice, and fracking has become one of the central issues in the 2014 battle for Colorado’s governorship, a crucial swing state.
Air Pollution in China
Coal is the leading culprit of air pollution in China. A recent University of Leeds study sponsored by Greenpeace East Asia traced PM2.5 (fine particles with a diameter under 2.5µm) in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and found the amount of PM2.5 released into the air in 2010 alone was more than ten million tons.
The study also confirmed that the majority of air pollution happens when certain gases are discharged into the air and turn into fine particles. And coal burning contributes most of these gases.
China's epic climb to the world's second-largest economy has had devastating health impacts. Another research project co-authored by Greenpeace on the health impacts of coal power plants shows that PM2.5 pollution from the 196 coal-fired power plants in the capital region of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei caused 9,900 premature deaths and nearly 70,000 outpatient visits or hospitalizations during 2011. 75% of the premature deaths are caused by the 152 coal-fired power plants in Hebei Province.
Air pollution will remain a serious problem in China as long as coal continues to be the country's major energy source.
PM2.5 concentration levels have particularly endangered public health in big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xi’an. The PM2.5 concentration levels in all four cities exceed World Heath Organisation (WHO) air quality guidelines. This means higher health risks to the cardiovascular system, cerebrovascular system and an increase in the probability of cancer and premature death.
The purpose of this report is to give investors a better idea of which turbine is suitable for a particular setting and to provide a new outlook on vertical-axis wind turbines. Vertical-axis wind turbines are more compact and suitable for residential and commercial areas while horizontal-axis wind turbines are more suitable for wind farms in rural areas or offshore. However, technological advances in vertical-axis wind turbines that are able to generate more energy with a smaller footprint are now challenging the traditional use of horizontal wind turbines in wind farms. Wind technology has grown substantially since its original use as a method to grind grains and will only continue to grow.