Could Hell Freeze Over?

We’re not used to getting good news on the climate. Let’s face it, we’re not used to getting good news on anything these days. So let’s take a detour from news that’s stuck where the sun don’t shine to some energy news related to where the sun does shine (and the wind does blow and the hydro does flow). “The world reached a huge milestone in 2023: Renewable sources accounted for 30% of global electricity for the first time. That’s the biggest takeaway from the annual report produced by the energy think tank where I work, Ember. The rapid growth in solar and wind power has brought the world to a crucial pivot point — likely this year — where fossil fuel-powered generation will start to decline at a global level.” Semafor: The world has passed a turning point in the history of energy.

+ “California draws more electricity from the sun than any other state. It also has a timing problem: Solar power is plentiful during the day but disappears by evening, just as people get home from work and electricity demand spikes. To fill the gap, power companies typically burn more fossil fuels like natural gas.” So how do you solve that problem? At the risk of getting too science-y, with some big-ass batteries. NYT (Gift Article): Giant Batteries Are Transforming the Way the U.S. Uses Electricity.

+ Some people aren’t waiting around for the future to suck, they’re sucking the future. The ‘world’s largest’ vacuum to suck climate pollution out of the air just opened. Here’s how it works.

+ The stories above show promising trends. But this is no time to chill. We’ve established that humans can make big strides toward cleaner energy. What we don’t know is whether we can do it fast enough. Most experts don’t think we can. The Guardian: World’s top climate scientists expect global heating to blast past 1.5C target. “Many of the scientists envisage a ‘semi-dystopian’ future, with famines, conflicts and mass migration, driven by heatwaves, wildfires, floods and storms of an intensity and frequency far beyond those that have already struck. Numerous experts said they had been left feeling hopeless, infuriated and scared by the failure of governments to act despite the clear scientific evidence provided. ‘I think we are headed for major societal disruption within the next five years,’ said Gretta Pecl, at the University of Tasmania. ‘[Authorities] will be overwhelmed by extreme event after extreme event, food production will be disrupted. I could not feel greater despair over the future.'” I know, I know, this started out as good news about the climate and then things reverted to the norm. At least scientists see a future that is only semi-dystopian.

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