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7 Signs Renewable Energy Is Here to Stay

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A new Greenpeace report shows how the world can move to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. The bad news? It needs political will. The good news? It's already happening!

Gemasolar, a 15 MW solar power tower plant. Photo credit: Markel Redondo / Greenpeace

Climate change deniers and investors take note. Renewable energy is here and it's growing. From large corporations to village Eisenstein's, the growing interest, investments and inventions into clean energy is this century's "goldrush."

Don't believe the hype? Here are 7 signs that give us hope the Energy [R]evolution is already on its way.

1. 2014 was the biggest year for solar in the U.S.—an increase of 30 percent from the previous year.

The Alamosa Solar Generating Plant in Colorado. Photo credit: Robert Meyers / Greenpeace

2. Renewable energy in the UK took over coal for the first time during this last quarter.

Construction of new wind turbines in the United Kingdom. Photo credit: Steve Morgan / Greenpeace

3. And in his recent U.S. visit, President Xi Jinping made a landmark commitment to put a price on carbon.

Dafeng Power Station in China. Photo credit: Zhiyong Fu / Greenpeace

According to the report, if we continue in an upwards trend we could reach 42 percent renewables by 2030, 72 percent by 2040 and 100 percent in 2050. What's more, the renewable energy sector will produce more jobs and because of all the fuel cost savings it can all be done at no extra expense.

But why wait till 2050 or for political will to kick in? The energy revolution is already happening.

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4. Greenpeace India's Dharnai village project has provided electricity to more than 2,400 people.

Children in Dharnai Village in India. Photo credit: Vivek M. / Greenpeace

This includes 450 households and 50 commercial establishments, including two schools, a training center and a primary healthcare center.

 

5. Renewable energy farms are appearing on land and water.

6. South Africa's biggest solar plant is powering 80,000 homes and helping to beat blackouts.

Installation of solar panels in South Africa. Photo credit: Nicolas Fojtu / Greenpeace

7. And activists are giving the finger to coal plants in Romania.

Installation of solar panels on school rooftop in Romania. Photo credit: Cristian Grecu / Greenpeace

It's clear that this is a type of power that's proving to be unstoppable. If you're smart about it, you'll already be jumping on that bandwagon.

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A volcano erupts on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island on Dec. 9, 2019. Michael Schade / Twitter

A powerful volcano on Monday rocked an uninhabited island frequented by tourists about 30 miles off New Zealand's coast. Authorities have confirmed that five people died. They expect that number to rise as some are missing and police officials issued a statement that flights around the islands revealed "no signs of life had been seen at any point,", as The Guardian reported.

"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."

The eruption happened on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, an islet jutting out of the Bay of Plenty, off the country's North Island. The island is privately owned and is typically visited for day-trips by thousands of tourists every year, according to The New York Times.

Michael Schade / Twitter

At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.

The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.

Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.

"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."

Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.

Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.

"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.

"White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years," said Raymond Cas, emeritus professor at Monash University's school of earth, atmosphere and environment, as The Guardian reported. "Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter."

The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.

Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.

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