Bob Inglis: We are All on the Record On Climate Change

February 11, 2015

Some touchy and nervous folks in the denialosphere yesterday, as Boston continued to get buried under a remarkable precipitation event, with more on the way.

Important to understand that a lot of folks hate to think rationally about the problem, because they think the solutions will be onerous and difficult.  It will only be difficult to the degree that we have wasted time and allowed a certain amount of change to be “baked in” – we’ll have to adapt.  But sustainable 21st century solutions are outcompeting 19th century energy around the world.  As they do, they will bring more personal freedom, more opportunity for entrepreneurship, and devolve power away from big governments, big institutions, big business, down to states, counties, townships, villages, small businesses, farmers, and individuals.

That message is getting thru, even to the hard-to-reach corners of the denio-sphere.

Climate Central:

The electric power industry is turning away from coal, and clean energy is growing again in the U.S. as investments in renewables increased in 2014 after a two-year decline.

Those are the conclusions of the 2015 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook report released jointly Wednesday by Bloomberg New Energy Finance and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, which ranks the U.S. as second in the world behind China for clean energy investments in 2014.

“Against the backdrop of a surging economy and crumbling oil prices, major trends around decarbonization and improving energy productivity continued in the United States,” Michael Di Capua, head of Americas research for Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said in a statement.

bloombergnewen

U.S. investments in clean energy jumped to $52 billion in 2014 from $48 billion the previous year, a 8 percent increase. Bloomberg ranked China first globally with $89 billion in clean energy investments, up from $68 billion in 2013.

Greater financing for wind farms and rooftop solar drove U.S. renewables investments last year as the U.S. became the world’s second-largest market behind China for new wind turbine construction, and the third-largest for new solar power installations behind China and Japan.

Bloomberg highlights the decarbonization of the U.S. power sector, showing that 93 percent of all new U.S. electric power production capacity constructed since 2000 has come from lower-carbon sources including natural gas, wind, solar and other renewables.

Though the climate benefits of switching to natural gas from coal are debated among scientists who worry about methane emissions from natural gas infrastructure affecting the climate, Bloomberg’s report touts U.S. progress toward replacing coal with natural gas.

Coal represented 39 percent of total U.S. power generation in 2014, the same as in 2013, and 2 percent higher than 2012, the year in which use of natural gas by the electric power sector peaked as natural gas prices hit historic lows.

But Bloomberg said that despite the use of coal gaining slightly or remaining flat over the past three years, long-term trends are showing the U.S. power sector is eschewing coal for cleaner energy sources.

Renewables have grown from about 8 percent of total U.S. electric power generation in 2007 to nearly 13 percent in 2014, a steady rise that shows no sign of slowing. Wind and solar power generating capacity more than tripled between 2008 and 2014, the report says.

Wind-farm construction rebounded in 2014 following the expiration of the wind Production Tax Credit in 2012. That year, nearly 14 gigawatts of new wind power production capacity were built, then fell to only 1 gigawatt of new wind power capacity in 2013, or enough to power about only 200,000 homes.

Last year, nearly 5 gigawatts of new wind were built, the report says.

Another trend is the retirement of coal-fired power plants. Twenty coal-fired power plants have been retired nationwide since 2012, with 20 more expected to be retired in 2015 and 18 more by 2018.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration is forecasting that 90 percent of the coal-fired power plants expected be shuttered by 2020 will actually be shut down by next year in order to avoid having to comply with new pollution standards that require expensive desulfurization equipment to be installed.

States are also considering how they will comply with the Obama administration’s proposed Clean Power Plan, which, if approved, would require CO2 emissions cuts from existing coal-fired power plants.

As the electric power sector continues decarbonizing, the U.S. transportation sector is seeing its dependence on crude oil decreasing, mainly because of fuel efficiency and Americans choosing to drive less, the report says.

The U.S. economy is growing while energy production overall in the U.S. is growing, Lisa Jacobson, president of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, said in a statement.

“All of this is happening as investment in clean energy continues to grow and as new natural gas infrastructure continues to come online,” she said. “These are strong positive signs for America’s economy and environment.”

6 Responses to “Bob Inglis: We are All on the Record On Climate Change”

  1. Gingerbaker Says:

    But sustainable 21st century solutions are outcompeting 19th century energy around the world. As they do, they will bring more personal freedom, more opportunity for entrepreneurship, and devolve power away from big governments, big institutions, big business, down to states, counties, townships, villages, small businesses, farmers, and individuals.

    What is this paranoia about “big government”? What in the world makes decentralization of energy an issue of “personal freedom?

    Is it the “personal freedom” to pay way more for energy than you need to? Is it the “personal freedom” to bear the responsibility for the international energy crisis upon the shoulders of individual homeowners and businesses instead of where it properly belongs – as a national responsibility?

    Is it the “personal freedom” to essentially have a balkanization of our energy sector, with ten thousand self-interested parties and no central policy and planning?

    Is it the “personal freedom” to take our public and semi-public utility system and just transfer it into the private sector?

    Dave Roberts had a recent article (http://grist.org/climate-energy/heres-how-to-make-sure-renewables-keep-getting-cheaper/) on how to keep the cost of renewable energy low. And the graphs he provided showed that across every technology, China had the lowest costs. By far. And China, of all the ownership and distribution schemes, was the model with the largest centralization, the one with the largest scale installations, the one with the highest degree of central planning.

    “Personal freedom” could mean the freedom of getting free or nearly free electricity at the lowest capital investment with public ownership on a national scale, using large-scale power plants beaming energy along a new smart grid. Paid for equally by all, as a national program. It could mean that… if we demand it.

    Instead, we are being told that each person or city needs to build their own system out of their own pockets and that this idea maximizes “personal freedom”. What a scam.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      easy there. I’m just pointing out that the right wing canards against a sustainable system are exactly 180 degrees counter to reality, and that, for so-called “free market” champions to defend the current system, which is the epitome of monopoly and regulatory control, is counter factual.

  2. anotheralionel Says:

    I watched the entire programme of talks, including the ramblings of the openings especially that from Ralph Hall, during that hearing where Bob Inglis made his ‘on the record’ speech.

    Comparing what Lindzen, Curry and Michaels actually said with the words in their written testimonies is informative. Lindzen practically repeated his in London a few years later and was especially misleading there.

    It is worth searching them out, I recently went checking the links and they were still available at that date.


  3. […] Some touchy and nervous folks in the denialosphere yesterday, as Boston continued to get buried under a remarkable precipitation event, with more on the way. Important to understand that a lot of f…  […]


  4. […] you are all Democrats or that only the Democrats amongst us should consider running for office. I love what Bob Inglis is doing. In fact, I think it is even more important that Republican climate hawks try to shift the […]


  5. […] you are all Democrats or that only the Democrats amongst us should consider running for office. I love what Bob Inglis is doing. In fact, I think it is even more important that Republican climate hawks try to shift the […]


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