3 Reasons Why America Is Turning to Renewable Energy
Deborah Lawrence had been watching a once-empty parking lot near Midland-Odessa, Texas, fill up with idled drilling rigs usually at work plumbing for oil in the nearby Permian Basin. In January she noticed 10 rigs, then 17 a few weeks later. As winter turned to spring, the number climbed to 35.
That trend has continued across the country. By the end of July, the nationwide rig count had slipped 54 percent since the same time a year ago, indicating distress in the oil and gas industry. The most obvious culprit is the precipitous drop in crude prices. But the trouble goes deeper, as Lawrence knows—and she isn’t just a casual observer. Lawrence is a former Wall Street financial consultant who now runs the Energy Policy Forum, helping to identify and analyze trends in the industry.
Right now, our fossil-fueled energy path has us on a roller-coaster ride and we are plunging, white knuckled. Production in the U.S. from the exploitation of shale oil (or tight oil), which accounts for 45 percent of the country’s oil production, will take a hit if prices continue to remain well below the $100 mark. Tens of thousands of jobs have already been cut and some debt-laden companies may go belly up.
This is the narrative that has been seizing headlines, but it’s not the whole story of what’s going on in our energy economy. While shales were booming and then busting, solar and wind have been surging. Renewables have been relegated to the sidelines of our energy priorities, a small blip in our electric generating capacity each year, but that is changing. How fast it happens could be enough to rock the boat in a major way.
The fact that we should be moving to more renewable energy and using less oil is no secret. Scientists have repeatedly warned that if we continue to burn fossil fuels with our current abandon, we risk catastrophic climate impacts, some of which we are already beginning to see. Instead, they caution, much of our oil, gas and coal reserves should stay in the ground.
But as long as fossil fuels remain cheap (ignoring externalities) and energy companies reap big profits from them, we will keep drilling and mining and burning—global catastrophe be damned.
If science and good sense aren’t enough to make us shift course, perhaps economics will. We’ve long heard that we must choose between jobs and the environment. Or between economic growth and clean energy. But more and more, it is looking like fossil fuels are the economic deadweight and renewables are finally ready for a seat at the table.
The U.S. boom in the production of oil and gas in the past seven years has been largely driven by horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) of rock formations known as shale plays. But the growth may not be as long-lived as advertised.
For starters, there’s good evidence to suggest that the amount of economically recoverable reserves of both shale oil and gas are not as much as previously hyped.
J. David Hughes, a geoscientist and fellow at the Post Carbon Institute, who spent 32 years with the Geological Survey of Canada, found that while short-term production of shale oil and gas is undoubtedly significant, the long-term view shows that the growth is not sustainable. His research reveals production peaking in both shale oil and gas in most of the significant plays in the U.S. by 2020.
The next problem facing the industry is the price tag of its operations. The costs to drill and complete a shale well can range from $6 million to $8 million or more a well—depending on the play and the number of drilling stages.
Production on shale wells also declines very quickly. For shale oil, the three-year average well decline rate in most major U.S. plays falls between 60 and 91 percent. Around half of all the oil that will be produced from these wells will come in the first three years. For shale gas, the three-year average well decline rate is between 74 and 82 percent.
This means that in order to maintain or increase production, you have to keep a frenetic pace of new drilling—what Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientist David Fridley likened to being on an “accelerating treadmill.” The drilling frenzy that has characterized the shale boom caused a spike in production, contributing to a global glut, which has resulted in falling prices. It’s a vicious circle and one that was hard to make economical even when crude was selling for $100 a barrel.
When prices dropped earlier this year to around $50 a barrel, things became more dire for the shale industry and they haven’t greatly improved in the last six months. Despite briefly reaching around $63 a barrel in late spring, prices have fallen again. “For the past five years we’ve been told we’re going to be energy independent and we will have all this oil and we’re going to export gas to Europe and we’re going to export gas to Asia and it’s just not going to happen,” said Fridley.
Overproduction, combined with declining consumption, has resulted in plummeting crude prices in the past year. It’s the same script that occurred just a few years earlier, when shale gas prices bottomed out in the U.S.
So what’s the industry to do?
Investor Jeremy Grantham, the founder of GMO, a Boston-based money manager, wrote in the financial publication Barron’s, “Almost no new drilling programs will be initiated at current prices except by the financially desperate and the irrationally impatient and in three years more than 80 percent of all production from current wells will be gone.”
Given the costs of drilling and completing wells and the number needed to keep production growing, companies must have lots of cash to stay on the treadmill. And that may become harder and harder for many to do.
The Energy Policy Forum’s Lawrence has been comparing the financials of some of the industry’s top companies for years; she found that they lack free cash flow.
“They were spending a lot in capital expenditures—the money needed to drill and complete the wells,” she said. “And that was growing every year while the money they were actually making, the cash that was left over at the end of the day, was deteriorating. It was never positive.”
Lawrence crunched the numbers on more than 20 U.S. shale operators and found that the companies had been cash-flow-negative since 2009. As Alberta Oil Magazine reported, “In 2013, U.S. onshore oil producers outspent their operating cash flow by a ratio of two-to-one.”
The record-high production boom we’ve witnessed has been sustained by companies taking on high levels of debt, including $120 billion in high-risk, high-yield bonds. JPMorgan’s estimate of the default rate for these junk bonds is nearly 4 percent this year and will be a whopping 20 percent next year, if crude prices remain around $65 a barrel.
This may mean lights out for a number of debt-laden companies. Some will go out of business, while others may be gobbled up by larger corporations. Expect lots of consolidation and cherry-picking of assets by the big players. Giants like Chevron and Exxon Mobil will likely make out well, but they aren’t the only ones. “It will be fantastic for the investment banks, because they will make a fortune off of fees,” says Lawrence.
Those who won’t make out well, however, include more than just the debt-heavy industry players. It could be you. “A lot of pension funds invest in energy stocks and the energy stocks have just gotten creamed,” says Lawrence. “They haven’t had good share returns. You’re going to see that reflected in your portfolio.”
Despite the bad news on shales, Lawrence sees a lot of good economic news when it comes to renewable energy.
“I have this feeling that we are on the cusp of a new energy paradigm and things are changing so rapidly,” says Lawrence. “I think you’re going to see a lot of disruption in the next five to 10 years and I don’t think the oil and gas industry really thinks it’s coming.”
Install, Baby, Install
In March the Texas city of Georgetown announced plans to ditch gas and coal for electricity generation in favor of wind and solar. The city’s spokesperson told the press it was “primarily a price decision” and the Texas Tribune reported that the switch allowed Georgetown to “lock in cheaper electricity” and “hedge against any future spikes in coal or natural gas prices.”
If you don’t closely track the energy markets, you may be surprised to know that generating electricity from wind and solar is cost competitive in some places in the U.S. already—and getting close in many others. Globally, renewables could even become the top source of electricity in just 15 years, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency.
Renewables still account for a small percentage of overall U.S. electricity generation—13 percent for all renewables, with wind at 4.4 percent and utility-scale solar at less than 1 percent. But some states are showing that much greater exploitation of renewables is indeed possible. Iowa got 27 percent of its total electricity from wind in 2013 and last year California became the first state to get more than 5 percent of its electricity from utility-scale solar.
In the past seven years, wind and solar capacity in the U.S. has tripled and new capacity has favored renewables. In 2014 wind and solar made up 55 percent of new electric generating capacity in the U.S. By comparison, natural gas was 42 percent. The other new sources—coal, nuclear and oil—were all under 1 percent.
Currently, the federal government allows a 30 percent investment tax credit for solar, but it is set to expire at the end of 2016, at which point it will decline to 10 percent. A report from Deutsche Bank says that even without additional subsidies, solar is already cost competitive in 14 states. If the credit is renewed and costs for solar continue to fall as predicted, then we could see solar electricity as cheap as average electricity bill prices in 47 states within the next two years, according to Deutsche Bank’s report. If the credit is not renewed, we could still see 36 states at grid parity.
“Gone are the days when solar panels were an exotic plaything of Earth-loving rich people,” Tom Randall writes for Bloomberg Business. “Solar is becoming mainstream.”
One of the things driving that growth is that costs are falling and the products are getting better. Solar and wind, points out Lawrence, are technologies and not fuels and as such they typically become cheaper with scale and time.
Even more promising, while prices are declining in these industries, the number of people employed has skyrocketed. The Solar Foundation reports that jobs in the solar industry grew by 86 percent in the past five years. As of 2013, according to industry estimates, there were 143,000 solar jobs and more than 50,000 in wind in the U.S.
For wind and solar, falling prices means more jobs. Lawrence likens it to what economists call a virtuous circle: “A recurring cycle of events, the result of each one being to increase the beneficial effect of the next.”
It’s the exact opposite of the shale industry’s vicious circle, where high production results in plunging prices, followed by thousands of layoffs.
“The self-styled ‘shale revolution’ was built on the back of very expensive oil and gas prices,” writes Lawrence. “Shales need very high prices to work. While high prices are great for oil and gas balance sheets, they cannot help but translate into more expensive products and services overall in the economy. It does not benefit all. It benefits only a few.”
The Path Forward
While there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about future prospects for renewables, we have a long way to go and it’s not smooth sailing by any stretch. We’re talking about disrupting a system where the entrenched interests are some of the wealthiest companies in the world.
In the U.S., the best way to aid continued growth for renewables, the industry says, is to lock in federal support that investors and businesses can count on. The investment tax credit for solar that Congress can renew at the end 2016 is one example. For wind it’s the production tax credit (PTC), which dates back to 1992. In the past 23 years Congress has let the PTC expire a total of six times and has also elected to renew it six times. The results, as you can imagine, were a series of ups and downs for wind installation. “Industry needs confidence,” said Tom Kiernan, the CEO the American Wind Energy Association. “It needs multi-year extensions for as long as possible.”
There are other hurdles. Conservative groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have helped launch attacks against state-level regulations such as the Renewable Energy Standards. In the last few years more than a dozen state-level bills have been introduced attacking those standards, but so far Ohio has been the only state to sign one into law. More successful at discouraging the growth of renewables have been utilities like Pella Electric Cooperative in Iowa, which will start tacking $85 a month to the bills of homeowners who install solar or wind systems. In Arizona, fees for homeowners installing solar may rise from $5 to $21 a month, although the utility (Arizona Public Service) originally proposed a hike as high as $100 a month.
At the most basic level, the country has yet to go all in on a commitment to supporting renewables, but economics may just push us there anyway. A new report from Citigroup dismissed ideas that cheap oil prices would negatively impact renewables, arguing instead said that a combination of “economic competitiveness, energy security and environmental goals” would quickly drive the global push for more renewables.
The price volatility in the oil and gas market is not going away anytime soon. And coal, still the biggest sources of U.S. electricity generation overall, has suffered a one-two punch from natural gas and renewables. From 2010 to 2014, coal’s net generation of electricity fell by 14 percent. The U.S. coal industry is now deemed in “structural decline” and there doesn’t seem to be any way up.
Coal’s fall and the oil industry’s latest stumble with shales reveal more cracks in the fossil-fuel industry’s once impenetrable wall of dominance. But the biggest threat to the industry will likely come soon, as the global community gets serious about tackling climate change. Our future energy plans will be contingent on how this plays out politically and economically.
The fossil-fuel divestment movement is gaining strength and the idea of “stranded assets” is moving closer to economic reality. In March, the Bank of England warned insurers that policy changes addressing climate change could threaten investments in fossil fuels. And MSCI, one of the world’s top stock-market index companies, reported that investors who have divested from coal, oil and gas over the past five years are now outperforming those who haven’t.
“Climate change can no longer be discounted in any future energy business model,” writes author and resource expert Michael Klare. “Whether Big Oil is ready to admit it or not, alternative energy is now on the planetary agenda and there’s no turning back from that.”
This December, when international climate talks resume in Paris for the next installment of the United Nations Climate Change conference, we will see just how serious governments really are about commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This year, at least, the U.S. is willing to play. The Obama administration has already noted that Washington has a plan to reduce emissions up to 28 percent below 2005 levels in the next 10 years.
From a scientific standpoint, the results from Paris may be too little, too late, even if big polluters like the U.S. can make good on new commitments. And political will is only one part of the puzzle. Numerous voices have called for a rethinking of our cultural and economic norms that drive perpetual growth.
“Because of our endless procrastination, we also have to pull off this massive transformation without delay,” writes author Naomi Klein in her newest book, This Changes Everything. “Is it possible? Absolutely. Is it possible without challenging the fundamental logic of deregulated capitalism? Not a chance.”
Fridley, the scientist from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, has also called for a deeper conversation on what a path to renewables would look like. Most of the focus has been on how to use renewables to fill our electricity needs, but this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the energy we use in our highly industrialized lives.
Globally, electricity accounts for only about 20 percent of our final energy consumption, says Fridley and even if we hit 50 percent renewables for electricity, we still have only addressed about 10 percent of how much energy the world consumes.
“Yes, we can have a renewable world, but it’s not really going to look like the world we have today,” says Fridley. “It could be a better world to live in, it could be a much worse world to live in, depending on many of the decisions we make in the next decade or two.”
Tara Lohan is a freelance writer and former senior editor at AlterNet. She is the editor of two books on the global water crisis, including Water Matters: Why We Need to Act Now to Save Our Most Critical Resource. Follow her on Twitter @TaraLohan.
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Do you feel embarrassed due to the foul odor coming from your mouth? Or your oral hygiene isn't as good as before, and you are suffering from gingivitis (inflammation of gums)?
Well, these oral problems are skyrocketing, and even young people are suffering from oral issues that result in a lack of confidence.
It's common to change your toothpaste by seeing the TV commercials that claim to free you from bad breath or sensitive teeth, but these products don't always work.
Fighting oral issues isn't that easy, even if you religiously follow what your primary school teacher has taught, to "Brush two times a day!"
Well, there is a much-hyped supplement in the market that claims to help you fight all of these oral issues: The Steel Bite Pro.
Steel Bite Pro is an oral supplement that claims to cure bad breath and other such oral issues like sensitivity and gum problems.
But does the supplement really work, or is it just like the useless toothpaste that you tried before? Let's find out in this review.
Who Should Use Steel Bite Pro?
The best part about Steel Bite Pro is that anyone can use the supplement to get rid of oral issues. The supplement contains natural ingredients such as turmeric, zinc, alfalfa, jujube seeds, and much more, so there are no chemicals at all.
No matter whether you are 20 or 60, you can use this supplement to overcome oral issues and get the confidence back that you are missing due to bad odor and sensitive teeth.
Steel Bite Pro Review: Overview of the Supplement
Steel Bite Pro is an all-natural supplement that contains a mix of natural supplements to rebuild your gums and teeth.
The supplement contains 29 different foods that help you reduce the gum pain and other dental problems you have been facing for years.
More than 55,000 people have used Steel Bite Pro till now, and the results of the supplement are pretty impressive. Furthermore, the supplement is prepared in an FDA-approved facility in the USA.
It is available in the form of pills that you can consume anytime, so using the supplement is incredibly convenient. There are numerous benefits of using the Steel Bite Pro as it solves a plethora of dental problems.
Pros and Cons: Steel Bite Pro
To understand the supplement better, it is essential to know about its pros and cons.
Convenient to Use
The dietary supplement is convenient to use as it comes in the form of pills. You can take the pill anytime, even when you are in your office or somewhere else. Now there is no need to use multiple kinds of toothpaste and splurge money by visiting a dentist.
All the ingredients present inside the supplement are natural, and there are no chemicals that can harm your teeth or gums.
When you compare the cost of 1 bottle with the cost of a special toothpaste with the fee that your dentist charges, Steel Bite Pro will seem much more affordable. The supplement is available in multiple packages, so you will find it affordable to use.
No Side Effects at All
There are no side effects to using Steel Bite Pro, so you can rest assured that you won't face any headaches or other issues while curing the oral issues. The reason why Steel Bite Pro has no side effects is due to its natural ingredients.
Designed by Experts
The supplement is designed by experts that have been in the industry for years.
No Additional Medicines Are Required
When you are using Steel Bite Pro, you can avoid using other medicines that you have been taking to cure oral issues.
Attacks on the Pain
There are several ingredients present in Steel Bite Pro that attack tooth and gum pain so that you get some instant relief with the supplement.
Comes With a Money Back Guarantee
The supplement comes with a 60-day money back guarantee, so you can claim a full refund if you find the supplement isn't working for you, or if it isn't doing what the manufacturer has promised.
You Can Purchase It From the Official Site Only
The supplement is only available for purchase from the Official Website. Sometimes the supplement gets out of stock, so you have to wait for it to get back in stock.
A Single Bottle Costs More
If you buy a single bottle of the supplement, it'll cost you more than other packages with multiple bottles.
Ingredients in Steel Bite Pro
All the ingredients present in Steel Bite Pro are natural and have proven benefits for humans. Here is a list of supplements explained in detail and how they can benefit you if you start using Steel Bite Pro.
As per a study, there are innumerable benefits of using turmeric on your teeth. The natural herb has antimicrobial properties that help remove the plaque effectively from the teeth, exterminate bacteria and help cure sensitivity.
Moreover, turmeric is good for fighting oral inflammation issues. When applied on teeth, the ingredient gives instant relief from pain and is effective in curing mouth ulcers as well.
Berberine is a natural herb with proven antioxidant power to help you get rid of microorganisms developing inside the mouth. Furthermore, the ingredient has anti-inflammatory properties and is good for curing oral issues caused due to viruses and bacteria.
It is another natural ingredient that is used in a range of health supplements due to its healing power. The ingredient naturally heals the gums and the damage caused to the teeth by bacteria and microorganisms.
As per a study, it helps reduce the infection, oral pain, and cures other dental issues.
Your liver has a significant impact on your oral health, and that's where milk thistle works. The natural ingredient eliminates toxins from the liver and detoxifies your mouth as well.
Here is a study that proves how milk thistle is beneficial in detoxifying the liver.
The decaying of teeth is the initial phase of damage caused by bacteria thriving inside your mouth. Alfalfa works by reducing tooth sensitivity drastically and repairs the tooth decay caused by the bacteria.
It even stops the bacteria from growing further so you can expect good oral health.
A lot of natural supplements for teeth contain ginger because of its benefits on the teeth and the stomach. This ingredient present in the Steel Bite Pro reduces nausea and inflammation.
As per this study, there are umpteen other benefits of ginger as well, such as it maintains the pH inside your mouth.
Jujube seeds are good for boosting the immunity. Also, the ingredient has excellent antioxidant properties and is rich in Vitamin C, which is beneficial for the teeth and overall oral health.
Dandelion is a natural ingredient extracted from herbs. The ingredient is rich in minerals and has immense benefits such as fighting the bacteria and preventing the infections occurring inside your mouth.
Zinc is essential for teeth, and that is why many toothpaste brands advertise that their product contains a good amount of zinc. Further, zinc is a natural immunity booster and fights against bacteria to prevent gum disease and cavities.
Moreover, zinc repairs the enamel on your teeth that's damaged due to toothpaste or any other reasons. Here is a study that shows the benefits of zinc for your teeth and mouth.
Chicory root acts as a catalyst and increases the effectiveness of other ingredients. The reason why you get instant relief from pain after using Steel Bite Pro is due to the presence of chicory root in the pills.
Bacteria result in bad odor and can create cavities in the teeth. Furthermore, some bacteria result in tooth decay and harm the gums. The celery seeds fight these bacteria and prevent further growth.
To stay healthy, the teeth need to absorb the minerals present in the saliva. When your teeth are damaged for any reason, they stop absorbing the minerals, and the damage continues further.
Yellow dock helps the teeth to absorb the minerals while reducing the inflammation. Various studies have proven the efficacy of yellow dock for teeth and gums, and it is a natural and effective ingredient to keep the teeth healthy.
Raspberry, Chanca Piedra, and Artichoke
These three natural ingredients have similar properties and contribute a lot to the effectiveness of Steel Bite Pro. The ingredients have good amounts of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin K, Vitamin C, magnesium, phosphorus, and folate.
The purifying agents will remove bacteria and other impurities from the mouth so that the other ingredients work well by repairing the teeth and gums.
The worst thing about oral issues is the pain that you have to go through. Steel Bite Pro claims to help with the pain as it contains feverfew, which is a natural pain reliever. The ingredient suppresses oral and dental pain so you will feel better instantly.
As per a study, there are some other benefits of feverfew, because it is a medicinal plant that suppresses other pains as well. Also, there are no side effects of feverfew at all.
The root of the burdock plant comes loaded with antioxidants that improve the gum health and the overall health of your mouth.
The best thing about Steel Bite Pro is that the ingredients are present in exact quantities, so you can rest assured that there will be no side effects. Every ingredient is tested in the labs for its efficiency, and that's what makes the Steel Bite Pro a considerable option if you want to improve your oral and dental health.
How Does Steel Bite Pro Work?
It is crucial to understand how the supplement works so that you can decide whether to invest in it or not. Below is a step by step process that will help you understand Steel Bite Pro on the go.
When you start consuming the supplement, the pills break down in your mouth. The ingredients then mix with saliva to perform their particular actions.
The ingredients fight the bacteria and heal issues such as wounds while reducing the inflammation caused in the mouth.
The supplement cements the root of the teeth so that there are no further oral and dental issues. Also, it heals the gums and repairs the enamel to provide you relief from sensitivity.
The minerals present in these ingredients strengthen the crown area of the teeth while repairing the cracks so that the damage can be stopped.
The supplement also has some impact on your overall health as the ingredients detoxify the liver by flushing away the toxins.
Consuming the supplement regularly will help you maintain the shield on the teeth that fights against bacteria and microorganisms. Also, it improves the condition of the teeth and curtails bad breath.
The working of Steel Bite Pro is really simple, as there are no complex ingredients present in the supplement. It is easy to use, and all you have to do is consume the pill regularly to keep your oral and dental health up to the mark.
Benefits of Steel Bite Pro
There are many benefits of using Steel Bite Pro since it is an all-natural supplement that has no side effects at all. Here are some benefits you need to consider before buying it.
Prevents Bleeding and Improves Gum Health
The reason why your teeth bleed is due to the loose gums. The space between the tooth and the gum results in bleeding, and that's where Steel Bite Pro helps. The supplement tightens the gums so that there is no bleeding at all.
Whitens the Teeth Naturally
The ingredients present in the supplement, such as zinc and milk thistle, whiten the teeth naturally. There is no need to invest in expensive teeth whitening toothpaste if you are using Steel Bite Pro.
Reduces Bad Breath
The supplement contains ingredients that improve the overall health of the teeth, and it automatically reduces bad breath.
Helps Cure Tooth Pain
Steel Bite Pro has feverfew, which is a natural pain reliever ingredient. The ingredient cures tooth and gum pain and can have instant results after you consume Steel Bite Pro.
Side Effects of Using Steel Bite Pro
You may find it surprising, but Steel Bite Pro has no side effects at all as the supplement contains natural ingredients and has exact quantities so that there are no ill effects on your health. If you keep using the supplement as prescribed, then it can have some excellent results.
Who Should Refrain from Steel Bite Pro?
Steel Bite Pro is an all-natural dietary supplement to improve your dental and oral health.
Anyone can use the supplement, including pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers. There are no harms of using the supplement.
However, it would be great to consult a doctor before using the supplement to find out if you are allergic to any of the ingredients.
Dosage and Tips to Start
To get the most from Steel Bite Pro, you should consume two pills with water every day. Take both capsules together anytime that's convenient for you.
To get the best results, follow a brushing regime, and massage your teeth regularly with some good-quality oil to increase the effectiveness of the pills.
Where to Buy Steel Bite Pro, and Guarantees?
You can only buy Steel Bite Pro from the Official Site, as the supplement is not available anywhere else for purchase. You can choose from three available options:
●1 bottle (60 pills) $69
●Three bottles (180 pills) $117
●Six bottles (360 pills) $294 (Best Deal)
You get a 60-day money back guarantee with all the packages, no matter if you go for one bottle or six bottles. You are eligible to claim the full refund within 60 days of the date of purchase.
Steel Bite Pro Reviews: Closing Thoughts
After this definitive review, it will be easier for you to find out whether you should use Steel Bite Pro or not. The supplement contains a mix of 29 natural ingredients that have proven benefits and are tested in labs.
It is essential to get rid of oral and dental issues before things get out of control and you have no option left despite visiting a dentist.
Getting a good quality supplement is essential, so Steel Bite Pro is a viable option if you need a supplement with no side effects.
Anyone can use this supplement irrespective of age, sex, and medical conditions. Lastly, buy the supplement only from the official site so that you can easily claim the refund if required.
Along the Atlantic coast, ghost forests provide haunting signs of sea-level rise. These stands of bleached and broken tree trunks are all that remain after salty water inundates a forest.
Matt Kirwan is with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. He says ghost forests are not a new phenomenon, but they're moving inland faster as seas rise.
"Eventually they'll fall apart and become stumps surrounded by marshland," he says. "And so when you see a ghost forest now, you're seeing where the marsh will be in the future."
Marshes are valuable ecosystems, so in some ways, that's positive.
"Ghost forests are a surprising indicator of ecological resilience in coastal systems," Kirwan says. "They mark how marshes naturally migrate in response to sea-level rise."
But that migration comes at a cost.
"Places that people have lived for hundreds of years are becoming too wet and too salty to grow crops on, in some cases," Kirwan says. "And of course, the forest resources are being lost. And in some cases, people are forced to move from their homes as the land becomes too flooded."
So ghost forests have become eerie symbols of rapid change.
Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.
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