The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
San Francisco's Rapid Transit Likely Nation's First to Run on 100% Renewables
Taking public transportation already makes a big difference in reducing your carbon footprint. Now, the San Francisco Bay Area's rapid transit system is reducing its own carbon footprint by committing to 100 percent renewable energy.
Earlier this month, BART's board of directors approved a new wholesale electric portfolio policy enabling the transportation agency to buy more power directly from renewable sources, including solar, wind and small hydroelectric facilities.
Transit agencies usually buy power from their local provider but under a 2015 California law, BART has the freedom to choose its own power sources. The aim is to increase its use of renewable energy to 50 percent by 2025, and 100 percent by 2045.
BART said its current portfolio is already 78 percent cleaner in terms of carbon content compared with a typical large customer of electricity utility PG&E, but its new "aggressive guidelines" makes it even greener.
BART is one of the largest power users in Northern California, consuming roughly 400,000 megawatt-hours annually. That's slightly more than the city of Alameda, which has an estimated population of 80,000.
"Every day, BART takes cars off the road and helps drive down our greenhouse gas emissions," said BART Director Nick Josefowitz in a statement.
"But especially now, BART and the Bay Area must shoulder even more responsibility to combat climate change. Even though BART is not required to comply with the state's renewable energy standards, we have committed to purchasing 100 percent renewable electricity and taking a leadership role in decarbonizing our transportation sector."
BART's clean energy goals puts it on track to exceed California's Renewable Portfolio Standard that mandates 50 percent renewables by 2030.
"Given that renewable energy supply costs have fallen significantly in recent years and have approached cost parity with other supply sources, BART has an opportunity to set clean energy goals that are both ambitious and realistic," BART's Sustainability Manager Holly Gordon said.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Carey Gillam
For the last five years, Chris Stevick has helped his wife Elaine in her battle against a vicious type of cancer that the couple believes was caused by Elaine's repeated use of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide around a California property the couple owned. Now the roles are reversed as Elaine must help Chris face his own cancer.
The last 50 years have been brutal for wildlife. Animals have lost their habitats and seen their numbers plummet. Now a new report from a British conservation group warns that habitat destruction and increased pesticide use has on a trajectory for an "insect apocalypse," which will have dire consequences for humans and all life on Earth, as The Guardian reported.
By Jake Johnson
A Greenpeace report released Tuesday uses a hypothetical "Smart Supermarket" that has done away with environmentally damaging single-use plastics to outline a possible future in which the world's oceans and communities are free of bags, bottles, packaging and other harmful plastic pollutants.
By Irene Banos Ruiz
Pediatricians in New Delhi, India, say children's lungs are no longer pink, but black.
Our warming planet is already impacting the health of the world's children and will shape the future of an entire generation if we fail to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius (35.6°F), the 2019 Lancet Countdown Report on health and climate change shows.