White House: Climate Change is Already Here

While most Americans understand that climate change is a real threat, they often see it as a problem to be dealt with in the distant future.  However, a growing body of data is demonstrating that climate change is already impacting our lives. Coming on the heels of increasingly alarming UN Climate Assessment Reports, the new National Climate Assessment, released on Tuesday May 6, 2014, quantifies the effects of a changing global climate on the United States. The report is comprehensive, covering all available climate data since the end of the 19th century for the US, as well as future projections obtained by climate models. The report explores the implications of a changing climate across 14 sectors in 8 distinct regions of the country. Given the fact that since the mid-1970s the US has observed between a 1.3oF and a 1.9oF increase in average temperatures, the NCA goes much deeper than making a case for the existence of climate change. Rather than stating that changes are happening, the report describes at great length what is actually changing. For Americans, this report strikes a much more resonant chord than the ambiguously-worded reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Click on the links above to find out what is going on in your native region, or a relevant sector, and see in real time how climate change is affecting your life. President Obama spent the day of the release in interviews with […]

Read More →

U.N. Reports on Climate Change Mitigation

The latest installment of the U.N’s fifth Climate Assessment Report explores what we must do in order to lessen the negative impacts of a changing climate.  As our understanding of climate change continues to develop, we hear more and more about a few particularly important numbers: to ensure that average global temperature increase does not exceed 2oC by the year 2100, we mustn’t allow the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide to exceed 350 ppm (parts per million). Currently, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 is about 400ppm, with an additional 2ppm emitted each year. Accounting for population and economic growth, CO2 concentrations are projected land between 750 and 1,300 ppm by the end of the century. To offset the emissions resulting from this growth, we need to substantially cut emissions by 2050 (by 40-70%), and to completely cease emissions by 2100. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, released its third working group summary this weekend in Berlin, Germany, as a part of its fifth Climate Assessment Report. Previous working group summaries have tackled the physical scientific aspects of changing climate systems, as well as impacts, adaptations, and vulnerabilities for people across the globe. The latest installment examines the topic of mitigation: the “human intervention to reduce the sources or enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases.” There are currently great efforts underway to achieve both goals of greenhouse gas mitigation. Forests are one of our most valuable carbon sinks; trees […]

Read More →

Production Tax Credit for Wind Set to Expire, Extension Could Support Renewable Energy’s Transition to Substantial Growth

PTC-Graph UCSUSA

The federal renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) offers tax relief on a per-kilowatt-hour basis to producers of electricity generated by qualified renewable sources. It was introduced as a part of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 in an effort to foster growth in clean energy markets. The credit has been largely utilized by the wind industry, resulting in substantial […]

Read More →

Can Crowd Funding Kickstart Clean Energy?

Solar Power

Crowd funding refers to the collective contributions of many individuals to fund a larger effort by other people or organizations. Internet platforms like Kickstarter are the most common vehicles for collecting donations for projects, but recent legislation may begin a shift to a new method of actual financing, where investors can potentially see a return on investment. The JOBS Act […]

Read More →