The International Energy Agency reports that over the next 30 years, air conditioning may be one of the top drivers of electricity demand. “Without action to address energy efficiency, energy demand for space cooling will more than triple by 2050 — consuming as much electricity as all of China and India today,” the agency reports.That makes the need for high-efficiency cooling extremely vital. Not to mention more widespread use of renewable energy and, of course, drastically curbing climate emissions.
About 290GW of new renewable energy generation capacity, mostly in the form of wind turbines and solar panels, has been installed around the world this year, beating the previous record last year. On current trends, renewable energy generating capacity will exceed that of fossil fuels and nuclear energy combined by 2026.
Democrats say the tools exist now to stave off a hotter planet: rapidly expand wind and solar energy, beef up energy storage and the electric grid, electrify transportation, and make buildings energy efficient. Many of those elements are tucked into a $3.5 trillion budget package that Democrats hope to pass in the fall.
The Biden administration framed Monday’s decision as a way to increase the nation’s renewable energy capacity while creating well-paying construction jobs building turbines and other clean-energy equipment.
The release of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report showed the magnitude of the challenge of addressing climate change in time to stop its worst impacts, and the failure of leaders to adequately respond to decades of warnings. In covering the clean energy economy, I get a close-up view of some of the potential alternatives to the continued burning of fossil fuels and get to talk to the people who do research and build businesses that support those projects. Some of the most exciting developments have been in alternatives to lithium-ion batteries for grid storage, with researchers seeking low-cost ways to store electricity from wind farms and solar arrays. The combination of batteries and renewable energy holds the promise of providing electricity around the clock and replacing fossil fuel power plants.
The $3.5 trillion budget blueprint Democrats agreed to this week includes a key part of President Biden's climate plan: a national "clean energy standard." It's aimed toward zeroing out greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector by 2035.
…the facility was a curse. Feeding it meant reducing local forests that once teemed with deer and squirrels to plantations of wimpy saplings. And many in this mostly Black community, where median incomes barely hit $10,000 a year, say it has polluted the air with disease-causing gases called volatile organic compounds without delivering them promised new jobs.
For now, the world remains off course. Last month, the agency warned that global carbon dioxide emissions were expected to rise at their second-fastest pace ever in 2021 as countries recovered from the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic and global coal burning neared a high, led by a surge of industrial activity in Asia.
To others, the facility was a curse. Feeding it meant reducing local forests that once teemed with deer and squirrels to plantations of wimpy saplings. And many in this mostly Black community, where median incomes barely hit $10,000 a year, say it has polluted the air with disease-causing gases called volatile organic compounds without delivering them promised new jobs.
Wind power capacity doubled over the last year, while solar power grew by almost 50%.
Filmed across France, California, and Texas, the film traces the history of civilization's quest to procure abundant water and energy — from ancient Roman aqueducts in Europe to modern America’s vast hydroelectric infrastructure. In the modern world, water and energy are the two fundamental components of a society, and they are interconnected. The film explores our dependence on water for energy as well as the huge vulnerabilities in our current systems, exacerbated by climate change. The documentary is adapted from Dr. Michael E. Webber’s book Thirst for Power: Energy, Water, and Human Survival. Past Presentation
Batteries containing cobalt reduce overheating in electric cars and extend their range, but the metal has become known as “the blood diamond of batteries” because of its high price and the perilous conditions in Congo, the largest producer of cobalt in the world. As a result, carmakers concerned about consumer blowback are rapidly moving to find alternatives to the element in electric vehicles, and they are increasingly looking to other nations with smaller reserves as possible suppliers.
An unemployed American worker, a Tea Party activist, and a Chinese solar entrepreneur race to lead the clean energy future. Over the course of a solar jobs training program, we follow the hope and heartbreak of unemployed American workers seeking jobs in the solar industry. We also see countries like China investing in innovative technologies and capitalizing on this trillion-dollar opportunity. Their successes and failures speak to one of the biggest questions of our time: Can the U.S. build a clean energy economy? Past Presentation
Shot on the road, the film covers a wide variety of environmental issues with a distinctively fun and solutions-oriented approach YERT explores smart grids, renewable wind energy, Earthships, and sustainability as a movement, and has received the Audience Award at the 2011 Yale Environmental Film Festival. Past Presentation
All around California, the development of open space to produce renewable energy has put climate and biodiversity goals at odds. To meet the state’s 2045 goal of 100 percent renewable energy will require between 1.6 and 3.1 million acres of wind and solar, according to projections from The Nature Conservancy, and much of that land, like the North Livermore Valley, has wildlife living on it. The debate has become acrimonious, framed as a choice between stopping the extinction of the desert tortoise or the extreme heat killing people in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to limiting development and saving ratepayers money, Del Chiaro says, distributed solar is safer since those high-voltage transmission lines that stretch across California’s dry landscape all-too-frequently spark wildfires, as well as more reliable because local energy generation “is just inherently more reliable and resilient.”
In a highly unusual move, Texas’s governor, Greg Abbott, has written to the all-Republican court – half of whose members he appointed – in support of Exxon. He accused the California litigants of attempting “to suppress the speech of eighteen Texas-based energy companies on the subject of climate and energy policies”.
Kansas has about as much solar potential as Florida but lags far behind the state, powering only about 12,000 homes – or less than 2% of what is covered in Florida, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. That could be related to an ongoing debate in the states that is pitting utilities companies against solar energy.
Chemicals are essential for the well-being, high living standards and comfort of modern society. They are used in many sectors, including health, energy, mobility and housing.
Power use will become smarter and more automated, with technology helping spread energy use throughout the day to work in tandem with a grid powered by variable wind and solar, rather than cause big surges in demand that require the burning of gas or coal.
Oregon lawmakers this week approved what’s been described as the nation’s most ambitious clean electricity standard, targeting 100% emissions-free power for the state by 2040.
100 Short Stories is a collage ranging from the serious to the humorous. This original and engaging documentary tackles opinions regarding governance, public policy, and questions what are sound ideas socially, environmentally and culturally in today’s society. It’s about predatory Capitalism, renewable energy, stopping the frakers, and contemporary life in Atlantic Canada. Created by Neal Livingston, a well-known Nova Scotian documentary filmmaker and artist – as well as renewable energy practitioner, developer and policy advocate – who calls the film partly autobiographical. Past Presentation
Based on six years of intensive research and devoted exclusively to solutions to man-made global warming, Deep Green cuts through the clutter to bring new clarity to an increasingly-urgent situation. The best applications worldwide in energy efficiency, green building, decarbonizing transportation, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy and smart grids, and forest restoration. Some profoundly personal and practical— like what one person can do to lower their carbon load in their own house, with their own Lifestyle, on their own land. Others necessarily complex, such as Southern California Edison’s quest to find the best batteries to electrify transportation. Past Presentation
But the most promising concrete technologies utilize very little energy to incorporate CO2. That’s because when CO2 is incorporated into concrete, it’s literally piped into the mix. The natural tumbling motion of churning concrete is all the energy that’s needed to transform the CO2 into a calcium carbonate, a substance that doesn’t just act as filler but also actively strengthens the concrete mix. All of this tough calcium carbonate means the concrete needs less cement in its mix, which is another environmental savings, since cement is the worst polluting component of concrete.
This Argentine production depicts the conscious and subconscious energies that each one of us has, which have the ability to influence others, ourselves, and our surroundings -- positively and negatively. We all have seeds from our past and it is up to us to work to make them conscious and transform them positively. Our energy can be passed on to others, to close ones, strangers and places with a strength that we do not realize. It is an invisible force, which we are not always aware we have or that it has the power of changing the world and its environment. It is up to individuals and human society to channel this energy to allow our future earth to be healthy and prosperous. Now Playing
American schools are the second-largest public infrastructure investment. But what most people don’t know is that they are also among the biggest energy consumers in the public sector. K-12 schools consume about 8% of all the energy used in commercial buildings. In turn, they emit as much carbon dioxide as 18 coal-powered power plants. This not only burdens the environment, but children themselves – students suffer from heatstroke, affected hormone and sleep cycles, as well as respiratory issues. Many schools have started redesigning their infrastructure with the climate crisis in mind. From installing more solar panels to replacing old heating, cooling and ventilation systems, or HVAC systems, with more sustainable ones, school districts are increasingly transitioning to cheaper and greener options. But old building habits and funding constraints can pose a challenge.
California officials want to slash payments for rooftop solar power, saying the changes would help the state achieve 100% clean energy while keeping the lights on, preventing electricity rates from rising and encouraging people to install batteries. But solar executives are furious with the changes, saying they would backfire and crater a thriving industry. The proposal from Martha Guzman Aceves, one of five members of the California Public Utilities Commission, would revamp an incentive program called net energy metering that has helped the state become a national solar power leader, with more than 1.3 million rooftop and other small-scale systems installed. The solar industry and climate change advocacy groups are lobbying Gov. Gavin Newsom and his appointees on the utilities commission to keep the program’s basic tenets unchanged. Solar executives and climate activists, though, said the proposal would only impede California’s aggressive climate goals.
Floating wind projects take advantage of steady winds that blow offshore. Those faster, steadier winds can produce more energy. Wind power increases with the cube of wind speed. Bigger turbines with longer blades capture more wind and are more aerodynamically efficient. How they overcome obstacles such as interference with fisheries, environmental damage, and high cost will influence how many, and which ones, get built.
In 2010, the United States announced the first new nuclear power plant construction in over 32 years. The 'Nuclear Renaissance' was born, and America's long-stalled expansion of nuclear energy was infused with new life. On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit Japan and caused chaos at the Fukushima Power Plant. That accident sent ripples all the way to the US and suddenly the fierce debate over the safety and viability of nuclear power was back in the public consciousness. Our documentary takes the viewer on a journey to reactor communities around the country. This film exposes the truths and myths of nuclear power, and poses the question of whether or not man can responsibly split the atom. Past Presentation
Carbon Nation is an optimistic, solutions-based, non-preachy, non-partisan, big tent film that shows tackling climate change boosts the economy, increases national & energy security and promotes health and a clean environment. Past Presentation
The Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA)—a power organization formed by the County of Humboldt and Northern Californian cities such as Trinidad and Eureka—has been working for years to prepare for that opportunity. In 2018, RCEA submitted an unsolicited application to the U.S. Department of the Interior in hopes of building wind energy in waters just west of Humboldt Bay. Most essential to the plan is a “heavy-lift terminal,” basically a huge dock that can support the weight and size of different wind turbine components, including blades longer than a football field and towers nearly as tall as the Washington Monument. Because California’s deep waters require floating offshore wind technologies, those gigantic structures will then get towed out to sea. Construction out in the ocean also requires a nearby operations port to support smaller vessels associated with projects, said Shane Phillips, a civil engineer who specializes in coastal planning at infrastructure consulting firm Moffatt & Nichol. If manufacturing comes to Humboldt—as the Harbor District hopes—the area would need a fabrication facility that can access the dock where turbines are assembled.
The federal government is the largest land owner, energy consumer and employer in the US and it will “lead by example in tackling the climate crisis”, the White House said, by eliminating greenhouse gases from its activities.
"The administration established a multi-agency target of deploying 30 gigawatts, or 30,000 megawatts, of wind energy by 2030, enough to power 10 million homes for a year and slash 78 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions."
“So far only about 20 percent of clean energy investments are going to emerging countries,” said Mr. Birol. “That needs to change. This is a race that no one wins unless everyone finishes the race.”
Filmed by students during a four day trip to Kahoʻolawe, this film outlines the history of environmental degradation on the island, the restoration efforts of Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission and the role of a county-funded solar installation in making the island more sustainable. Past Presentation
Resilience (USA, 30 min) Energy Award Directed by Stephen Farina. In 1998, a vast power grid serving 5 million people in Canada was destroyed by an ice storm. Twenty years later researchers of that disaster are developing a new kind of resilient power grid. Based in part on the book The Grid and the Village, the film explores how to protect grids and the people they serve from war, terrorist attack, and extreme weather. Now Playing
On Coal River takes viewers to the Coal River Valley of West Virginia — a community surrounded by lush mountains and a looming toxic threat. The film follows four longtime residents as they confront their local school board, the state government, and a notorious coal company — Massey Energy — for putting their families and community’s health at risk. Past Presentation
Priceless looks at the consequences of big-money campaign donations and a Capitol overrun by lobbyists. This non-partisan film includes a look at two national policies - agriculture and energy - shaped by a variety of interests including industry groups, political parties, lobbyists, citizen groups, candidates and officeholders. Past Presentation
After February's deadly power outages, new legislation would mandate winterizing parts of the state's energy system. But lawmakers took a pass on major market reforms to make the grid more resilient.
“The countries that take decisive actions now” to tackle climate change, Mr. Biden said, “will be the ones that reap the clean energy benefits of the boom that’s coming.”
The ambitious 150,000-acre proposal promises eco-friendly architecture, sustainable energy production and a purportedly drought-resistant water system. A so-called "15-minute city design" will allow residents to access their workplaces, schools and amenities within a quarter-hour commute of their homes.
In May, the Biden administration and California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, announced a plan to bring floating offshore wind to California. They have identified two sites: a nearly 400-square mile area north-west of Morro Bay, which could host 380 floating wind turbines, and another further north off Humboldt Bay. Together these projects could bring up to 4.6GW of clean energy to the grid, enough to power 1.6m homes.
Tuesday's announcement outlines a compromise for a 399-square-mile area off Morro Bay, a site that's appealing to renewable energy companies because of existing transmission lines nearby that once serviced a retired power plant. It also identifies a location off Humboldt County in Northern California.
Cape Spin! An American Power Struggle tells the surreal, fascinating, tragicomic story of the battle over America’s most controversial clean energy project. Cape Wind would be the U.S.’s first offshore wind farm… But strange alliances formed for and against: Kennedys, Kochs, and everyday folks do battle with the developer and green groups over the future of American power. With full access to both sides, a commitment to impartial storytelling and fueled by a satiric ‘revolutionary’ soundtrack, Cape Spin! is a “gripping and entertaining study of eco-capitalism and grassroots democracy. It proves that environmental films can be crowd pleasers, and not at all just about the environment.” Past Presentation
Though focused on West Virginia, this film serves as a cautionary tale for a world heavily relying on fossil fuels and the hefty price it exacts from society. Responding to one of the worst yet least publicized industrial contamination disasters in the US, courageous Appalachians fight to defend their human right to clean water and persevere in their quest for truth and justice. Coal Rush dramatizes the human and societal costs to a democracy of relying on cheap energy and the environmental hazards that can affect any of us - rural or urban. Past Presentation
In Peru, the headwaters of the Amazon River cut through the Andes Mountains and help sustain resident communities as well as the most diverse ecosystem on Earth. As the energy demands of Peru increase, the currently free flowing Marañón River faces over 20 proposed dam projects, two of which have already been approved. Our international team of scientists and river experts spent 28 days rafting the Marañón while documenting the natural and cultural resources that would be eminently impacted by proposed dam projects. Past Presentation
Hundreds of acres are set to be blanketed with solar panels in the coming year, installed by locals, many of them former miners. The $231 million project, which recently cleared its last regulatory hurdle, may well be the biggest utility-scale coal to solar project in the country.It would be a desperately needed economic boost drenched in symbolism: Renewable energy generated from a shuttered mine in the heart of Appalachia.
Critics warn that carbon markets incentivize countries and corporations to offset – rather than cut – emissions responsible for global heating by investing in so-called green energy projects like biofuel monocrops and hydroelectric dams, which are linked to environmental destruction, forced displacement, arbitrary arrests and even murder.
Some of this gear can weigh thousands of pounds and have buoys that prevent entangled whales from diving deep enough to find food. Whales who don’t drown or starve right away will often drag gear for several years. Doing this can create deep lacerations in the whales’ soft flesh and sap energy from essential processes such as reproduction and, the researchers suspect, growth.
The Defense Department has hired eight climate change experts from the Army Corps of Engineers; Mr. Biden’s budget calls for 17 more. “The impacts of climate change on the department’s mission are clear and growing,” Richard Kidd, deputy assistant secretary of defense for energy, environment and resilience, said in a statement. “We need a work force that reflects that fact.”
A Low Carbon Future for China's Furnace Cities (United Kingdom [UK], 10 min). Directed by Monika Koeck. China’s economic development and rapid urbanization has led to a dramatic rise in energy consumption due to excessive heating and air-conditioning causing carbon emissions of immense proportions. China’s government has set the ambitious target of reducing CO2 emissions by 40–45% by 2020 against the 2005 baseline. A UK/China-funded team working on how to solve the problem in some of the most extreme climate regions in China. The team discovers groundbreaking solutions using computational-fluid-dynamics simulations. Now Playing
There’s no oil or natural gas here, despite a cluster of Halliburton cement tanks and the hum of a generator slowly pushing a drill bit through thousands of feet of underground rock. Instead, an Australian company is preparing to tap a buried reservoir of salty, superheated water to produce renewable energy — and lithium, a crucial ingredient in electric car batteries.
The San Onofre reactors are among dozens across the United States phasing out, but experts say they best represent the uncertain future of nuclear energy. “It’s a combination of failures, really,” said Gregory Jaczko, who chaired the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the top federal enforcer, between 2009 and 2012, of the situation at San Onofre.
Just outside the snowy, crumbling town of Grants, New Mexico, is a 200-acre pile of toxic uranium waste, known as tailings. After 30 years of failed cleanup, the waste has deeply contaminated the air and water near the former uranium capital of the world. While those in town want the prosperity that new uranium mining would bring, the 200 residents who live near the tailings pile have had enough of the uranium legacy. Tailings is a cinematic, Gasland-esque investigation into the little-known conflict that is a grim reminder of the past, and a timely notice for the future of nuclear energy. Past Presentation
San Onofre is not the only place where waste is left stranded. As more nuclear sites shut down, communities across the country are stuck with the waste left behind. Spent fuel is stored at 76 reactor sites in 34 states, according to the Department of Energy. Handling those stockpiles has been an afterthought to the NRC, the federal enforcer, said Allison Macfarlane, another former commission chair.
A recent report by the International Energy Agency found that, in order to keep average global temperatures from increasing 1.5 Celsius above preindustrial levels, the threshold beyond which scientists say the Earth faces irreversible damage, all nations would have to end the sale of new gasoline-powered cars by 2035. The Earth has already warmed an average of 1 degree Celsius since the late 1800s.
Many leading venture capitalists in Los Angeles say they've altered their investment strategy because of climate change, and some are responding to the crisis by pouring more cash into clean-tech startups. As of late October, Pitchbook tracked $6.4 billion in Southern California "climate tech" deals this year — nearly twice as much as in the entirety of 2020. The expansive sector, as mapped out by the data firm, includes everything from clean-energy generation and electric transportation to the development of plant-based proteins (a.k.a fake meat).
California denied 21 oil drilling permits this week in the latest move toward ending fracking in a state that makes millions from the petroleum industry but is seeing widespread drought and more dangerous fire seasons linked to climate change. State Oil and Gas Supervisor Uduak-Joe Ntuk sent letters Thursday to Aera Energy denying permits to drill using hydraulic fracturing in two Kern County oil fields to “protect “public health and safety and environmental quality, including (the) reduction and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions."
The experimental short film ANSAGE ENDE is an artistic reflection on being engaged with the world. Combining fiction and documentary, music and text, this hybrid film calls for a collective and activist approach to the climate crisis. The visually stunning ANSAGE ENDE opens with an imaginative journey through an empty landscape where water meets land. Two characters walk through the mud, away from the viewer, into an open yet unknown future. They fantasize about what our rapidly developing world might bring and question their personal participation in this possible future. Slowly the film moves away from the imaginary into the real. Climate destruction becomes ghastly visible: huge machines in a brown coal mine eat up the soil, searching for energy and profit. Policemen and women enable sawers to cut down the neighboring forest for the expansion of the mine. Young activists occupy the trees, trying to stop the destruction of this primeval forest. Now Playing
"The New York Democratic representative spoke to NPR this week hours before final details on Biden's much-awaited infrastructure package were released. That plan would spend $2 trillion over eight years, much of it on mitigating the climate crisis. It is the first of a two-part push on an expansive array of infrastructure initiatives, green energy projects, as well as social programs that the administration refers to as "human infrastructure," that is estimated to be around $3 trillion to $4 trillion."
As Japan marks the 10th anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the global conversation around the merits of using nuclear power to tackle the climate crisis remains hot. Many environmentalists are opposed, pointing to the risk of nuclear meltdowns and the difficulty of properly disposing of nuclear waste.
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