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North America

Storm and Drought

What a great report!

The US National Climate Assessment is clear, definitive, and very straightforward.

The warnings are stark, and will be no surprise to BCSEA readers. If we fail to act, and to do so decisively, the increase in heat waves will become even more brutal.

Parts of the US southwest will become a permanent dustbowl as soil moisture falls. The deluges of rain will become more frequent. The sea level could rise by up to four feet by the end of the century, threatening the homes of five million people.

The Pacific Coast Climate Agreement: West Coast Progress

At the end of October, Christy Clark, BC’s Premier, signed a high profile agreement with the Governors of Washington, Oregon and California in which the four leaders make a strong and clear commitment to lead national and international policy on climate change. (1)

So what was in the agreement?

Can Earth’s modern economy operate without any fossil fuels?

Can Earth’s modern economy operate without any fossil fuels? 

There are plenty on the right who insist that it’s impossible: they’re hooked on coal, oil and fracked shale gas, and to make life easier, they often argue that climate change is just not a problem. 

There are plenty on the green left too (yes, there’s a right green, a middle green and a left green) who see peak oil as bringing the collapse of modern civilization, and who see the whole concept of endless economic growth as being completely unsustainable. 

But Mark Jacobson from Stanford University has news: they’re both wrong. 

Divestment outperforms conventional portfolios for the past 5 years

IMAGE: Five year snapshot of FTSE's fossi fuel free indices

February 16, 2015
Climate Spectator

The Independent Petroleum Association of America recently commissioned and funded a study, covered in The New York Times and elsewhere, which claimed that university endowments would suffer without fossil fuels in their portfolios. The Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed calling fossil fuel divestment a "Feel-Good Folly."

Rooftop Solar Cost Competitive with the Grid in Much of the U.S.

Creative Commons, Mike Baker

December 1, 2014
Scientific American
Can solar power compete with fossil fuels?

Deutsche Bank says that solar electricity in the US is on track to be as cheap or cheaper than average electricity-bill prices in all but three states by 2016—assuming that the federal government maintains the 30% solar investment tax credit it currently offers homeowners on installation and equipment costs.

But even if the credit is reduced to 10%, solar power would still achieve price parity with conventional electricity in some 36 states by 2016.

Canada does not have a solar tax credit. 

Swanson’s Law and Making US Solar Scale Like Germany

November 24, 2014
Greentechsolar
Can the U.S. halve the price of solar?

Swanson's law states that with every doubling in the production and shipments of solar PV panels, there has been a 20% reduction in their cost. By getting to scale, with solar installations becoming widespread and common, Germany has reduced the cost of installed solar to half of what it is in North America. So we can observe, learn, and do the same.