Amazon Announces Wind Deal, Still has a Long Way to Go

Wind

Today, Internet retail giant Amazon announced the first steps in moving to 100% wind power for the servers that power Amazon Web Services (AWS), its hosting subsidiary. In response to activists (including tens of thousands of Green America members) calling out the company’s failure to create sustainability goals or green their energy sources, Amazon Web Services, Inc. announced a power […]

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Exxon Feels the Heat and Responds to the Divestment Movement  

The global fossil fuel divestment movement has been gaining a lot of steam over the past year, enough to elicit a response from one of the largest oil companies in the world – ExxonMobil. In a blog posted to their website, the oil giant attempted to explain why the continued use of oil, gas, and coal to power our economies is the only viable way forward, while dismissing both the potential of renewable sources of energy and the costs imposed by a changing climate. The reality is that fossil fuels still provide the lion’s share of the global energy supply, but the assertion that it has to be this way couldn’t be farther from the truth. In the blog post, Exxon outlines their case for fossil fuels, stating “divestment represents a diversion from the real search for technological solutions to managing climate risks.” Exxon’s idea of a technological solution to managing a climate risk, of course, is the natural gas boom currently underway in the United States. In addition to creating plenty of jobs along the supply chain and accounting for a sizeable chunk of the nation’s GDP, natural gas is supposedly responsible for the return to 1990’s emissions levels that the US has experienced over the past few years. Even ignoring the obvious environmental risks to soil, air, and groundwater associated with natural gas production, fugitive methane emissions from drilling sites are often understated and likely have a greater […]

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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 […]

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Wind: Top Source of New US Electricity Capacity for 2012

Good news for lovers of renewable energy.   According to figures released last June, wind and natural-gas ran roughly neck and neck for the title of New Energy Leader 2012.  Then, according to Financial Energy Regulatory Commission figures published by Business Insider wind pulled ahead at the end of the year, ultimately installing 10.7 MW of new energy to 8.7MW of natural gas: American-based wind manufacturers remain undercapitalized — with the exception of towermaker Trinity Energy, which saw an explosive +60% 2H2012 — so it’s a bit difficult to trade on the trend. The big gust in new wind capacity was partially attributable accelerated installation ahead of the “wind cliff” manufacturers were facing — the government’s tax credit was set to expire. But it has been renewed for at least year, which could mean the trend will continue to sail along. Huge thanks to all Green Americans who pushed Congress to extend the wind-energy Production Tax Credit (PTC).   Because Congress only extended the credit for one year, we’ll need to push again at the end of 2013.

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Keep Windmills Turning in 2013

This opinion piece originally ran in local newspapers around the country starting August 13, under the headline “How Romney Could Blow Iowa”.  You are free to repost to your own blog or Web site, or to submit to your own local newspaper, attributed to Andrew Korfhage, online editor at Green America. Should Congress renew the wind-energy production tax credit that’s scheduled to expire at the end of 2012? It depends on whom you ask — a Democrat, a Republican, or another Republican. On August 1, Mitt Romney declared his strong opposition to this tax credit. The next day, both Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee voted in favor of it. “He will allow the wind credit to expire…and create a level playing field on which all sources of energy can compete on their merits,” Romney’s spokesperson in Iowa told the Des Moines Register, one day before Sen. Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican who sponsored the tax-credit legislation, cast a key committee vote in favor of renewal. But there’s no “level playing field” for the energy industry. Even fossil-fuel giants like ExxonMobil and Chevron enjoy permanent government subsidies. So far, Romney hasn’t called for trimming the highly profitable coal, oil, and national gas industries’ massive subsidies. All told, these global companies vacuum up to $1 trillion per year in governmental support.

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