New report shows that existing climate solutions could cut global emissions by 25%

Lake Mendocino drought conditions 2013Imagine this: What if there were ways that would really and effectively fight climate change? Would government leaders embrace them?

It turns out that there already are 17 solutions out there that would let the world could cut annual greenhouse gas emissions by about 12 gigatonnes [2] in 2030. These are established and proven climate solutions – no new inventions required, and no vast amounts of capital necessary to have them work.

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Renewable energy and its real potential for this country

Solar Day - celebrate the opportunities of renewable energy

Contrary to what the conservative media continues to focus on, renewable energy is alive and well and holding strong in this country. And its potential to replace fossil fuel-based energy sources looks pretty darn good.

In July, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) released a report examining and applying methods for estimating the current and future economic potential of domestic renewable energy. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), which recently crunched the numbers, NREL’s analysis shows that renewable energy sources have the potential to supply anywhere from “35 percent to as much as 10 times the nation’s current power needs.”

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Supplying electricity for homes with the Nissan Leaf

The new electric Nissan Leaf is making waves again, this time with the announcement that its power supply system that st0res electricity in lithium-ion batteries can also supply power to a house.

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Apples to Apples: Solar and Wind less costly than Coal and Oil

The following is a guest blog by Tom Rooney of SPGsolar. 

CoalEveryone knows solar and wind power are more expensive than oil and coal.

Everyone except the National Academy of Sciences.

So they put it to the test: They found coal and oil and natural gas are artificially cheap because they impose health and financial and environmental costs that all of us pay for — above and beyond the price. Whether we know it or not.

Whether we like it or not.

Sounds kind of like a subsidy, doesn’t it? It’s exactly like a subsidy.

Apples to apples? Solar and wind are often less expensive than coal and oil.

The Academy estimates that coal and oil drain $130 billion in hidden costs out of our economy. Coal is subsidized to the tune of 3 to 13 cents per kilowatt hour of energy – about 25 to 100 percent of what you pay for power.

The report comes just in time — right after the biggest energy disaster in this country’s history.

And right before a campaign to reduce support for alternative energy which some say requires subsidies and is more expensive than fossil fuels.

Coal and oilPeople like Republican functionary Christopher Horner, whose new book proclaims that renewable energy will “bankrupt” this country and is a “declaration of war against America’s most reliable sources of energy—coal, oil, and natural gas.”

Or the usually reliable Wall Street Journal editorial writer Stephen Moore, who says renewable energy such as wind and solar is a plot between Big Government and Big Labor.

Before I became a card carrying member of this conspiracy and the CEO of a solar energy company, I studied for an MBA at the University of Chicago. There I was lucky enough, on many occasions, to meet the inspiration for many solar skeptics – America’s greatest economist Milton Friedman.

More than just a libertarian icon, Friedman just wanted to know what things cost. Not their price, their cost.

You do not need a Nobel Prize to see the freshman mistake of those who say wind and solar are too expensive to compete with coal and oil: They confuse price with cost.

But still we hear that coal and oil and natural gas are cheaper. Which is like the guy who throws garbage over his neighbor’s fence, then brags about free trash disposal. But really, someone else is paying for it.

The Academy said it was too complicated to estimate the largest hidden cost of energy — the price we pay in sending our best and bravest into harm’s way to guarantee our supply of foreign oil.

You want to put a price tag on that? Go ahead. Just make sure the number starts with a T. And if you throw your garbage over the fence, count that too.

—- Tom Rooney is the CEO of SPG Solar (SPGsolar.com).

Global Warming: Earth Hour – Take 2

As a follow-up to the recent global Earth Hour, Los Angeles’ Sofitel Hotel announced their plans to implement a new custom – a nightly mini-Earth Hour.

Every evening at dusk, Sofitel guests will experience a “lights-out” ritual. Hotel staff will light candles in public areas of the hotel during that one hour, while guests are encouraged to extinguish lights in their rooms and enjoy the softer pleasant environment in the candle-lit lobby. Candles will also in the restaurant and bar, Simon LA and Stone Rose Lounge.

Sofitel Los Angeles has inistituted numerous “green” operational practices. These include: operating on wind power, utilizing an ozone laundry system to reduce water and energy use, complimentary valet parking for any electric, hydrogen or battery-powered vehicle for guests, providing charging stations for hybrid or battery-powered vehicles, using locally-grown and organic ingredients in their restaurant and using the only green cleaning solution approved for spa use in their spa.

“Protecting the environment has always been a priority for Sofitel Los Angeles,” said Gunther Zweimuller, general manager of Sofitel Los Angeles.

“We are very excited to continue the Earth Hour movement,” he said.

Located in Beverly Hills, Sofitel seems to be raising the bar for upscale and luxury hotels in going green. Look for more hotels to jump on this bandwagon.