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4 Former EPA Chiefs Speak Out Against Trump Administration

It's simple. Clear air, drinkable water and a livable climate should not be partisan issues.

Four former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrators were appointed by four different presidents—two Democrats and two Republicans. So, what could they have in common?

All of them have spoken out against the current administration's environmental policies—as new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt repeats fossil fuel talking points, the president signs extreme executive orders that roll back environmental progress and a new federal budget proposes to cut EPA funding by 31 percent.

But here's just some of what these former administrators had to say:

1. William K. Reilly

EPA administrator under President George H. W. Bush (1989 - 1993)

"For a prospective EPA administrator to doubt or even contest a conclusion that 11 national academies of science have embraced is willful political obstruction."

2. Carol Browner

EPA administrator under President Bill Clinton (1993 - 2001)

"This budget makes significant cuts to programs that protect our air, our water, our land, which is not an American value. Eviscerating resources for scientific research on climate change and pollution is not an American value."

3. Christine Todd Whitman

EPA administrator under President George W. Bush (2001-2003)

"I don't recall ever having seen an appointment of someone who is so disdainful of the agency and the science behind what the agency does … [Scott Pruitt] obviously doesn't care much for the agency or any of the regulations it has promulgated. He doesn't believe in climate change; he wants to roll back the Clean Power Plan."

4. Gina McCarthy

EPA administrator under President Barack Obama (2013 - 2017)

"This budget … really represents an all-out assault on clean air, water and land. You just can't put America first when you put the health of its people and its country last and that's what this budget really represents."

Science Has No Party Affiliation

It's clear from the words of these former EPA chiefs—Democrats and Republicans alike—that climate science and the mission of the EPA shouldn't be political footballs. But while what's going on in Washington, DC is discouraging at best, we don't have time to waste on despair and cynicism.

As Climate Reality founder, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, has said, "We must, we can and we will solve the climate crisis. No one man or group can stop the encouraging and escalating momentum we are experiencing in the fight to protect our planet." No matter what's going on in DC, you can take action.

Here are four things you can do right now to be part of the movement to solve the climate crisis:

1. Join us at the People's Climate March on April 29 (in DC and around the country). Like we saw at the Women's March in January, regular people like us can send a powerful message to policymakers when we come together in massive numbers and speak with one voice. On April 29, we're coming together again and marching to demand climate action.

2. Subscribe to email alerts to be notified when the next Climate Reality Leadership Corps training will take place. You'll be the first to know when and where you can attend our next event with hundreds of other committed activists.

3. Take one action every day to stop climate change, organized by our friends at Years of Living Dangerously. Because every action you take can make a difference.

4. Pledge to #StandWithReality. According to a recent Gallup poll, seven in 10 Americans want to emphasize alternative energy over oil, gas and coal. Existing renewable technologies like wind and solar are creating millions of jobs around the world and will help us solve the climate crisis. But we have to make sure our leaders insist on truth, accept reality and listen to science.

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11 Things You Probably Don't Know About Ryan Reynolds

In an interview with Jamil Smith during The Climate Reality Project's 24 Hours of Reality, Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds spoke about his passion for the planet—and how important it is to fight against climate change.

Watch here:

Here are 11 things you probably don't know about Ryan Reynolds:

1. He's been an environmental activist for 25 years

"For me, it was about 25 years ago—I was in 10th grade—and I joined an outdoor education program called 'Trek,' which was offered at one of the local schools in Vancouver, where I grew up. In this program you'd do an accelerated curriculum so you'd basically do a year's worth of school in about three months, and the rest of the year you spend outdoors, learning survival techniques, and learning about our resources, and how we can better serve our environment. A lot of it focused on the environment, and that—for me—was like a huge eye opener. It actually changed my life—from that point forward I led a very different lifestyle than that of my parents."

2. He LOVES trees

"I grew up in the clear cut era, where people started to get hip to this idea that—here's what's going on in the forests in British Columbia. We have this incredibly diverse ecosystem in British Columbia that is so precious and so beautiful. You'd drive down the street—down a country road or in the mountains—and you'd basically see beautiful forests on either side of you, but if go just beyond that, you're going to see clear cuts. And a lot of the kids I grew up with were tree planting in the summer. That was a way they'd have a summer job, but they would also give back."

3. He's a "big fan" of solar technology

"I'm a big fan of solar technology. For me that's everything—I'm excited to see solar energy take off. … I can see these companies and these technologies becoming multibillion dollar companies—they already are! And it's a beautiful thing to see."

4. He drives an electric car—and wants everyone to be able to, too!

"I've solarized my home, I drive an electric car—these are just the things that I do. But I also recognize that the prices for these sorts of things are falling dramatically, and I love to see that. I'm in a position where I can afford to do this sort of thing—not everyone is. As we see these prices going down, I think it's important to create infrastructure and to create systems in which people can afford this. And not just in ways that they're incentivized to get a tax break or something like that, but it's just absolutely affordable to everyone across the country."

5. He gets that people are concerned about the future

"... Especially in these transitioning times and in our politics in the United States you might feel some anxiety and some concern over the environment and how that's going to be protected in the future, because it's not looking great right now."

6. Wildfires get him down

"A lot of [the impacts of climate change are] the same as it is here [in the United States]. We're seeing these huge wildfires—the Fort McMurray wildfire was such an eye-opener for me, watching the devastation that happened in that beautiful town and watching those hardworking people fleeing from their town—that was horrendous. We're seeing the permafrost go away, we're seeing the snowpacks melt, we're seeing the same sort of droughts that are happening in the United States."

7. He's hopeful for the future

"You have to be [hopeful about the future]. You absolutely have to be. That's what draws people from rest to effort. I have two young kids both under two, and I want them to experience the same things that I got to experience when I was a kid, you know? I want them to be able to walk out into the wilderness and enjoy everything—we live in the United States, and there are some of the most beautiful national parks that I've ever seen anywhere, and—you know—I want them to enjoy that the way I've able to enjoy that when I first moved to this country. But I am hopeful, I'm seeing that change."

8. He thinks Hollywood needs to step up its climate change game

"I think [Hollywood] could do a lot more, and I hope to be an agent of change in that in the near future. I also work as a producer, so I have some say in how we conduct ourselves on the set. You can do little things obviously there's a lot going on on the film sets where bottled water is just, sort of, banned. These are just small, topical things, but I think there's a larger way to look at the future—these trucks, these heavy trucks, the generators that are running 24/7 when you're on a film set—it's a massive footprint and it's something that needs to change."

9. He hates fake news, but he still thinks people should share their thoughts on social media

"There's a crap ton of the fake news out there, which is a little bit concerning. But I think it's sort of like anything: we follow the people that we trust and follow the people whose opinions matter to us—I know I look at my timeline and I see things that I care about, issues that I care about, ideas being exchanged there. So I think absolutely: the more you pump it out on social media, the better."

10. He's got no time for deniers

"Scientists all over the world have basically proven that this is the case and our climate is changing for these specific reasons. When somebody denies climate change, I really don't know what to say, except that they're dead to me."

11. He wants everyone to become a Climate Reality Leader

"There's an incredible amount of resources out there that we can get involved with. [The] Climate Reality Project is one that has done—becoming a Climate [Reality] Leader is a huge thing that somebody can do."

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Vancouver, Canada.

3 Cities Prove Climate Action Works

The climate crisis is a problem caused by humans that can be solved by humans. These three cities are proving it.

While a lot of media coverage around the crisis is doom and gloom, cities around the world are coming up with powerful solutions on the local level. Here's how a Canadian city, an American city and a Chinese city are taking on climate action.

1. North America's First Renewably Powered City

City: Vancouver, Canada

Van­couver's am­bi­tious vis­ion to power the city en­tirely on re­new­able en­ergy will help curb emis­sions from its two biggest emit­ters: trans­port and build­ings.

Van­couver is the first city in North Amer­ica to de­velop a re­new­able city strategy to de­rive 100 percent of the city's en­tire en­ergy needs from re­new­able sources by 2050. To achieve this goal, the city is pri­or­it­iz­ing ef­forts around re­du­cing emis­sions from its most pol­lut­ing sec­tors, build­ings and trans­port­a­tion and in­creas­ing the use and sup­ply of re­new­ables. In the trans­port sec­tor, this in­cludes meas­ures such as the pro­mo­tion of re­new­ably powered car-shar­ing fleets and the de­vel­op­ment of stand­ards to sup­port re­new­ably powered private vehicles. Sim­ul­tan­eously, ret­ro­fits of ex­ist­ing build­ings and en­sur­ing the grid en­ergy sup­ply is 100-percent re­new­able will spur the clean en­ergy shift for the city's build­ing stock.

Un­der­pin­ning the strategy is an in­nov­at­ive en­ergy sys­tem model that maps en­ergy de­mand across the year and by time of day, match­ing it with an en­ergy sup­ply model to identify the most eco­nom­ical ways en­ergy de­mand can be met by re­new­able sources. In this way, Van­couver is us­ing cut­ting-edge tech­no­logy—em­ployed for the first time by a mu­ni­cip­al­ity—to solve press­ing en­ergy con­cerns and guide plans for a 100 percent re­new­able fu­ture.

The Result: 80 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, from 2007 levels, by 2050 due to the re­new­able city strategy.

2. Legal Ordinance for Solar-Powered Buildings

City: New York, New York

New York City's gov­ern­ment agen­cies are now leg­ally re­quired to as­sess po­ten­tial solar PV ret­ro­fits at all mu­ni­cipal build­ings.

In 2016, New York City passed a law re­quir­ing local gov­ern­ment agen­cies to as­sess all city-owned rooftops for solar photo­vol­taic (PV) po­ten­tial, in or­der to sup­port the city's goal to in­stall 100 MW of solar PV on mu­ni­cipal prop­erty by 2025. Agen­cies must re­port on factors in­clud­ing the po­ten­tial re­duc­tion in en­ergy use and green­house gas emis­sions, the fin­an­cing of the pro­ject and whether build­ings' rooftops are suit­able for a solar in­stall­a­tion. In keep­ing track of the pro­jects, the city will also take into con­sid­er­a­tion the fin­an­cial sav­ings ac­cru­ing from CO2 emis­sions re­duc­tions in or­der to bet­ter re­flect the value of the ret­ro­fits.

To date, the city has in­stalled 8.8 MW of solar PV across 52 mu­ni­cipal build­ings. In­formed by the gov­ern­ment agen­cies' eval­u­ations, New York City plans to de­velop a strategy to ex­pand the ini­ti­at­ive to 4,000 city-owned build­ings, which in­clude schools, hos­pit­als, lib­rar­ies, court­houses, fire­houses, of­fices, po­lice pre­cincts, wastewa­ter treat­ment plants and re­cre­ation cen­ters and which will help the city reach its goal to re­duce citywide green­house gas emis­sions 80 percent by 2050.

The Result: 35,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions will be reduced by solar projects by 2025.

3. Low-Carbon Megacity Encourages Green Growth

City: Guangzhou, China

Guang­zhou is plan­ning for an in­creas­ing pop­u­la­tion and rising de­mand for en­ergy with a multi-sec­tor, low-car­bon plan for green growth, tar­get­ing in­dustry, in­fra­struc­ture and build­ings.

Guang­zhou, a mega­city with a pop­u­la­tion ex­ceed­ing 13 mil­lion, is still in a stage of rapid eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and urban con­struc­tion. In 2012, Guang­zhou launched the Pi­lot Low Car­bon City Im­ple­ment­a­tion Plan in an ef­fort to re­duce green­house emis­sions through sys­tem­atic meas­ures in the grow­ing city. The plan in­cludes the elim­in­a­tion of out­dated in­dus­trial ca­pa­city and equip­ment and the pro­mo­tion of en­ergy-ef­fi­cient tech­no­lo­gies and green, low-car­bon build­ings. Trans­port in­fra­struc­ture is also be­ing tar­geted, with a new pub­lic trans­port sys­tem mainly based on rail transit.

Both mar­ket mech­an­isms, such as lim­it­ing entry per­mits for high-car­bon pro­jects to con­trol green­house gas emis­sions, and in­sti­tu­tional mech­an­isms, such as stricter emis­sions stand­ards, have been used to pro­mote low-car­bon de­vel­op­ment un­der the plan. Green in­dus­tries have de­veloped quickly in the city, with an ad­ded value of $4.2 bil­lion in 2014, an 11.1 percent in­crease com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year. As a com­mit­ment to the plan, Guang­zhou an­nounced in 2015 it will reach its car­bon emis­sions peak by 2020.

The Result: 35.9M tons of CO2 emissions reduced between 2010 and 2014.

Republished from the Cities100 guide (the work of Sustainia, C40 Cities and Realdania) with permission.

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5 Cities Leading the Charge on Climate Action

For centuries, cities have been at the heart of the arts and culture, thriving businesses and innovative ideas. More than 90 percent of urban areas are coastal, which means that most cities on the planet are extremely vulnerable to the effects of the climate crisis as sea levels rise, polar ice melts and powerful storms sweep across these regions.

The sheer number of people who live in cities now and who are expected to move into them in the coming years is startling. Around two-thirds of the world's population is predicted to live in an urban area by 2050, which means there are also major financial implications when extreme weather like unexpected storms and flooding cause disruptions in businesses and governments.

The good news is that while cities are particularly at risk from the climate crisis, they are also behind some of the most powerful solutions. That's why we're taking a look at five of our favorite sustainable cities in the world and the steps they've taken to become leaders in clean energy and climate solutions.

1. Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen is often ranked as one of the greenest cities on the planet. Why? For starters, in 2009 the city set a goal to become the world's first carbon neutral capital by 2025 as part of its CPH 2025 Climate Plan. Copenhagen has focused on reducing energy consumption in a variety of ways, including using an energy-efficient district heating system that connects to nearly every household and innovative cooling systems that save around 70 percent of the energy compared to traditional air conditioning.

Copenhagen has also focused on reducing emissions and improving the health of its residents by improving mobility, integrating transport and building what's known as a super cycle highways. Super cycle highways and other bike lanes around the city have led to 45 percent of the city's residents commuting by bike every day.

2. San Francisco, California

It's no secret that San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area are a serious tech-hub and home to some of the most innovative companies in the world, including Salesforce, Airbnb, Uber and Twitter. Innovations in technologies to improve energy efficiency in buildings and enhance its transportation system have helped make San Francisco a leader in sustainability and clean energy. Just look at the city's public transit system: it's not uncommon to see hybrid-electric buses driving down the city's streets and more than half of all MUNI buses and light rails are zero-emission.

The Bay Area has also cut its water consumption drastically in recent years. As California has battled serious droughts, San Franciscans have reduced their water consumption to around 49 gallons of water per day on average (the national average is 80-100 gallons per day). These conservation tactics and other advances in sustainable food, recycling and composting are expected to help San Francisco reach its goal of becoming zero waste by 2020.

3. Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver has been on the forefront of environmental activism for decades. In 1990, it became one of the first North American cities to outwardly address the climate crisis by releasing a report called The Clouds of Change. This was just the beginning of an environmental strategy that Vancouver released years later in 2012, the Greenest City Action Plan, which set 10 goals to achieve by 2020, including increasing green jobs, reducing community-based greenhouse gas emissions and expanding green buildings around the city.

Additionally, Vancouver has committed to getting 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2050. This goal is particularly bold given that it targets all forms of energy in the city—including heating, cooling and transport—not just electricity. The city's focus on clean energy and sustainability has led it to have the lowest greenhouse gas emissions per person of any major North American city. Between making sustainable improvements to neighborhoods' energy consumption, striving for zero waste and continuing to develop its successful Greenest City Action Plan, Vancouver has set the stage for businesses and residents to work together to be one of the greenest and most climate change resilient cities on Earth.

4. Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm is a growing city that seeks to be an attractive home for newcomers and do good for the planet at the same time. Awarded the first "European Green Capital" recognition by the European Commission in 2010, Stockholm aims to be fossil-fuel free by 2050.

How does the city plan to reach this goal? One component is Sweden's shift from oil to "district" heating, which means the nation now uses heat from centralized sources (such as a power station) to more efficiently heat and cool its buildings. District heating alone accounts for more than 80 percent of heating and hot water in apartments today and is one of the key factors in how Sweden has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions in recent years.

Another reason for Stockholm's success with sustainable living is its residents, who pride themselves on being "climate-smart." Eight out of 10 residents feel the city should urge citizens to live more environmentally-friendly and believe being climate-smart should be a natural part of living in a city (we do too!).

5. Singapore

With a population of more than five million people, Singapore is often recognized as one of the most forward-thinking green cities in Asia. The city-state has developed a Sustainable Development Blueprint, which outlines sustainability goals leading up to 2030. The targets include improving energy efficiency by 35 percent, ensuring 80 percent of its buildings are certified green and having 80 percent of households be within a 10-minute walk to a train station.

Singapore has also improved its sustainability by making drastic changes in transportation. The city-state limits car ownership among its residents and has built effective public transportation systems, which has helped reduce pollution and crowding on streets and highways. Singapore's public transit system helps residents navigate the city, along with biking and walking.

Learn More About Other Green Cities

These are just five examples of cities that have become leaders in clean energy and sustainable development. To learn more about additional sustainable cities and how they're working toward solutions to the climate crisis, download the Cities100 guide. The Cities100 guide shares 100 solutions from 61 cities in 10 different sectors, ranging from clean energy to transportation to social equity and more.

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Al Gore: CDC Canceled Climate Conference Is Back On

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, the American Public Health Association (APHA), Climate Reality Project, Harvard Global Health Institute, University of Washington Center for Health and Global Environment, and Dr. Howard Frumkin, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Environmental Health, announced Thursday a Climate & Health Meeting that will take place on Feb. 16 at the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Supported by the Turner Foundation and other organizations, the event will fill the gap left by the recently-canceled Climate & Health Summit originally to be hosted and sponsored by the CDC and others.

"They tried to cancel this conference but it is going forward anyway," said former U.S. Vice President and Climate Reality Founder and Chairman Al Gore. "Today we face a challenging political climate, but climate shouldn't be a political issue. Health professionals urgently need the very best science in order to protect the public and climate science has increasingly critical implications for their day-to-day work. With more and more hot days, which exacerbate the proliferation of the Zika virus and other public health threats, we cannot afford to waste any time."

"Climate change is already affecting our health," said Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director of APHA. "This meeting fills an important void and will strengthen the public health response to this growing threat."

2016 was the third consecutive hottest year on record and 16 of the 17 hottest years on record have occurred since 2001. Given the dramatic developments of infectious diseases like Zika and other related public health issues, understanding the threats climate change poses to public health is vitally important. The Climate & Health Meeting is a critical step in bringing together the diverse stakeholders who face climate-related public health issues on a daily basis.

"The evidence is clear that climate change is a major threat facing the public's health," said Ashish Jha, MD, a physician and director of the Harvard Global Health Institute. "Openly discussing these scientific issues will help us prepare for this looming challenge and better protect the American people."

Given the expedited timeframe of the event, the meeting will not seek to replace the full three-day conference originally planned by the CDC. However, the event will preserve the focus of the CDC conference and will be a substantive working session for participants, providing a crucial platform for members of public health professions, the climate community and officials tasked with responding to local health problems, to come together around solutions.

Politics

Take Action: Say No to Oil Insiders and Climate Deniers for Trump's Cabinet

There's breaking from tradition. Then there's giving away our democracy.

Republican or Democrat, almost every incoming president has turned to the best and the brightest we have—Nobel Prize winners, visionary business leaders, proven diplomats and field-leading experts—to serve on the cabinet and lead U.S. policy in areas like foreign relations, environmental protection and energy.

But with the incoming president, we've instead got a long list of oil industry insiders and climate deniers nominated for critical cabinet positions. Just look at some of the names:

1. Former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson

Led a company under investigation for misleading the investors and the public about the climate crisis and has strong ties to Russia, the same country that intelligence officials say hacked our elections. Nominated to become secretary of state.

2. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt

Received more than $300,000 in campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry and involved in multiple lawsuits attacking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Nominated to become EPA administrator.

3. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry

Called the climate crisis "one contrived phony mess" and proposed eliminating the U.S. Department of Energy. Nominated to become secretary of energy.

4. Representative Ryan Zinke

Disputes the reality of the climate crisis as "not proven science" and supports mining coal on public lands. Nominated to become secretary of the interior.

The implications couldn't be clearer—or more frightening. So we're standing with millions of Americans—Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians and everyone in between—to say no.

This isn't about party affiliation or debates about big and small government. All Americans deserve leaders we can trust to put our needs before the profits of powerful corporations. All Americans deserve clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. All Americans deserve a safe future without the devastation of the climate crisis.

But if the Senate confirms these nominations, we're turning over the air we breathe and the lands we share to the oil companies that have willfully polluted them for decades. We're potentially opening U.S. foreign policy to be shaped by Russian influence. We're giving up our leadership on climate action to China and Europe. And we're stepping back into the nineteenth century world of fossil fuels at a time when clean energy technologies like wind and solar are getting cheaper every year and putting thousands of Americans to work.

Now it's up to the Senate to confirm or reject these nominees. So it's up to us to make sure our senators do their job and only confirm nominees we can trust to protect the health of our families and the future of our planet.

We've got our work cut out for us. Already, the Senate has taken the almost unprecedented step of scheduling five confirmation hearings on one day, Jan. 18, to minimize the media coverage and public scrutiny of controversial nominees.

The only way to fight back is by speaking up. The message to the Senate is simple: We need nominees we can trust to put ordinary Americans first. To protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the planet we share from oil companies polluting our environment and driving the climate crisis. Not oil insiders and climate deniers ready to roll back the environmental protections millions of us rely on.

It's time to stand up. Take five minutes today and let your senators know our democracy is not for sale. Not to the oil industry and its allies. Not at any price. Our families, our friends and future generations are counting on us. And we won't let them down.

Call your senators today and tell them to vote against the oil insiders and climate deniers nominated for the cabinet: Rex Tillerson, Scott Pruitt, Ryan Zinke and Rick Perry.

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WATCH LIVE: Al Gore's 24 Hours of Reality, Starts at 6 PM EST

On Dec. 5-6, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and The Climate Reality Project will host the sixth-annual 24 Hours of Reality broadcast—24 Hours of Reality: The Road Forward—a star-studded, 24-hour live event focused on climate solutions watched by millions of viewers around the world.

You can watch the entire 24 Hours of Reality right here, live, starting at 6 p.m. EST:

"The Paris agreement has fundamentally and permanently altered what the world thought was possible in terms of addressing the climate crisis," Gore said.

"The conversation no longer hinges on if we can do something to address climate change. Instead, world leaders, environmental activists and ordinary citizens are asking what we can do to solve this crisis and how we can work together to do it. This year's 24 Hours of Reality will help the global community envision the Paris agreement coming to life, as we look at the elected officials, business leaders and activists that are making climate action a reality in countries around the world."

As with the previous years' programs that have rallied millions to demand action on climate, this year's broadcast will feature special appearances and interviews with celebrities, musicians, thought leaders and environmental experts. The broadcast also marks the world premiere of an exclusive, never-before-seen aerial performance imagined by Cirque du Soleil.

Each hour of the broadcast will explore the landscape of the climate crisis in one of the 24 largest CO2-emitting countries, delving into its commitments to the climate fight, the region's unique challenges related to climate change and most importantly, how each country can do its part to make the goals of the Paris agreement a reality.

The U.S. was instrumental in orchestrating the Paris agreement, but the country faces a lot of uncertainty on climate issues after the November election. 24 Hours of Reality: The Road Forward will look at how federal initiatives, including the Clean Power Plan, the Climate Action Plan and fuel efficiency standards, have been important in reducing emissions and moving the U.S. toward a clean energy economy. The hour will also focus on the the transformation of the U.S. electricity sector and the increasing importance of local, state and private sector action on climate.

"24 Hours of Reality: The Road Forward is a celebration of how far we have come in the year since COP 21, but also a reminder of the hard work that lies ahead," said Ken Berlin, president and CEO of The Climate Reality Project.

"Ensuring global access to clean and affordable energy and climate-resilient infrastructure for people around the world will not be an easy task, but the Paris agreement has provided us with the first step in the right direction. We're excited to share stories of climate action and progress from the 24 largest-emitting nations on Earth and we hope to inspire people to take up the mantle of climate action within their own communities."

Participants in this year's event, include:

Government Officials

  • Gov. Jerry Brown
  • President Felipe Calderon
  • Patricia Espinosa
  • EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy

Media Personalities

  • Patrick Adams
  • Ken Ayugai
  • Sarah Backhouse
  • Gisele Bundchen
  • Sam Champion
  • Maggie Grace
  • Vanessa Hauc
  • Carole King
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus
  • Edward Norton
  • Zachary Quinto
  • Nikki Reed
  • Ryan Reynolds
  • Jonathan Scott
  • Jamil Smith
  • Ian Somerhalder
  • Mbali Vilakazi
  • Matt Walsh
  • Bradley Whitford
  • Calum Worthy

Musicians and Performers

  • One Night for One Drop imagined by Cirque du Soleil
  • Jon Bon Jovi
  • Mary Lambert
  • PJ Harvey
  • Pete Yorn
  • Thirty Seconds to Mars
  • The Skadoos
  • The RUA
  • Tom Chaplin
  • Vance Joy

Solar Is Booming ... Costs Keep Falling

Today, solar power is everywhere. It's on your neighbor's roof and in tiny portable cellphone chargers. There are even solar powered roads. And as solar power heats up, prices are going down. In fact, over the past 40 years, the cost of solar has decreased by more than 99 percent!

But how did we get here? Ready for a quick history lesson on one of the world's fastest growing sources of energy?

You might find this hard to believe, but we can trace the idea of harnessing the power of the sun back to 1839. A bright (pun intended!) young French physicist named Edmond Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect—the creation of an electric current in a material after being exposed to light—while experimenting in his father's laboratory. Over the following hundred-plus years, scientists continued exploring this phenomenon, creating and patenting solar cells, using them to heat water and doing extensive research to increase the efficiency of solar energy.

The 1970s brought a period of change not only in the form of political and cultural upheaval, but also saw the rise of solar as a viable way to produce electricity. The first solar-powered calculator was commercialized, the Solar Energy Research Institute (now called the National Renewable Energy Laboratory) was established, and U.S. President Jimmy Carter installed solar panels on the White House for the first time. But it was also quite expensive, costing an average of $76 per watt in 1977.

But as advancements in the industry continued, the costs began to fall. Over the next 10 years, the price would drop sevenfold to less than $10 per watt, hitting a plateau in the late 1980s and early '90s.

Fast-forward to a few years later and solar technology was really hitting its stride as huge cost reductions were made in recent years, causing world leaders, governments, and the private sector to get on board and moving solar from a niche technology into the mainstream. Soon, regular people in communities all over the world were installing panels on their roofs and in numerous other applications thanks to the technology's improving economics and innovative incentives and financing models.

Which brings us to today, when solar power can cost a minuscule61 cents per watt.

In a relatively short period of time, it's become clear that an incredible future is ahead for this renewable source of energy. And as you might expect, the more the price falls, the more attractive it becomes. Forty years ago, the total global installation of solar was around 2 megawatts. Today, total global installation is closer to 224,000 megawatts.

And as we start down the road forward after the historic Paris agreement, we're noticing just how many countries are working to meet their carbon emissions reduction goals by going solar.

That's why we're hoping you will join us Dec. 5-6 for 24 Hours of Reality: The Road Forward as we travel the world for a look at how solar power is revolutionizing access to electricity in Mexico, Malaysia and Venezuela. We'll visit southeast Asia to meet a "solar monk" in Thailand and to South Africa, where sheep and solar live together on one solar PV farm. We'll even hear from oil-rich countries in the Middle East that are starting to prepare for a future beyond fossil fuels—and renewables like solar are becoming more and more cost effective.

Sign up today to receive reminders about these inspiring stories. We'll see you Dec. 5-6 for The Climate Reality Project's annual 24 Hours of Reality live event. You won't want to miss out!

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