Enviro News Wrap Up: 400 PPM CO2 Threshold Reached; Winters and Global Warming; Innovative Solar Financing a Game Changer, and more…

The Latest Environmental News HeadlinesGlobalWarmingisReal contributor Anders Hellum-Alexander wraps-up and comments on the climate and environmental news headlines for the past week:

  • 400 ppm (parts per million) of CO2 has been reached! Congratulations Planet Earth you are on your way to being unsuitable habitat for billions of humans. Humans will watch our animal brethren decline, then we will follow them. If you don’t like this reality, then “clean” up your life and get political.
  • Oil prices are very important for clean energy industries. Higher oil prices encourage consumers to look for alternatives, increase efficiency and decrease use. The other side is that higher oil prices encourage oil companies to develop previously unaffordable sources of oil in environmentally sensitive locations. Think deep water oil exploration and the BP-Transocean-Haliburton Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the Canadian Tar Sands. We need high oil prices but there will be a period of time when oil companies rush to produce as much oil as possible before they get under-priced by clean fuels.
  • Belief in global warming by the American public is always fluctuating, but is it fluctuating with temperature itself? Belief in global warming increased sharply last summer and then rose in the fall again due to the east coast storm Sandy. Then, after a cold winter we have backed down to a nation of 60 percent believers. This shows a real lack of understanding of science on the part of the American people. Its sad when a government by the people, of the people, for the people does not have a people smart enough to understand the more important and complicated issues. Without a united, consistent, overwhelming voice from the American people our government is confused about the issue leaving a void that is filled by dirty energy lobbyists.
  • Man-made dust bowls through climate change will be just like natural dust bowls, people will be displaced and they have to go somewhere. The problem with human caused climate change is that it is happening all over the globe and if people do not have any where to go, what will they do?
  • Solar technology is developing at a steady pace, but the real potential for changing the game in the short term is solar financing (full disclosure: I work for a solar company). When companies get creative and are allowed to fund solar projects in unique ways (like leasing) then solar becomes more affordable for homeowners. Without improving the technology solar can be sold for less than current utility prices. This has happened in California, New York, New Jersey and many more states. Many people do not know that solar leasing is illegal in many states, literally. If our government would just get out of the way deployment of residential solar would explode more than it already is.
  • Banks fund business, so Rainforest Action Network is putting pressure on banks to not fund dirty energy businesses. Bank of America, CitiGroup and JP Morgan Chase are the biggest investors in dirty energy. I quite Chase bank years ago and switched to credit unions, but Bank of America has got me with the credit card. Disassociating and divestment are difficult but we should all slowly figure out how to take our money out of the “dirty economy.”
  • After the devastating loss of the Rainforest Action Network’s executive director Becky Tarbotton RAN appoints an acting executive director, Lindsey Allen.
  • Being the richest nation in the world, you’d think that our drinking water would be, well, drinkable. Too often that is not the case and our government is not setup to ensure its drinkability.
  • Pacific Gas and Electric in California blew up a neighborhood in San Bruno, now their time in court is coming and it could cost them $2.5 billion.  In recent years PG&E has made about a billion dollars of profit annually.



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