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A 40-megawatt floating solar farm in China's coal-rich Anhui province. Sungrow Power Supply Co., Ltd.

China's Solar Surge Hits New Heights

By Zachary Davies Boren, Unearthed

It's no secret China has been installing solar panels at a record-breaking rate—it's been happening for years now.

But in 2017 China took its solar drive even further, deploying more PV capacity in one year than any other country has—or at least had at end of 2016.


Last week, Bloomberg New Energy Finance revised upwards its projection for new solar capacity in China, taking it from the pretty impressive 30GW it forecast in July to a gargantuan 54GW.

It appears that China exceeded BNEF's initial estimate for the year in just the first nine months (34.5GW).

That latest figure compares favorably to every other country's total solar capacity—topping the 40GW the U.S. had in place at the end of last year.

In fact, with the Solar Energy Industries Association expecting 12.4GW of new solar in the U.S. this year, if China does meet BNEF's projection then it will have outstripped total U.S. solar capacity with just one year of new additions.

And it would mean China's total solar capacity would be over 120GW, roughly three times that of any other country in the world (at the end of 2016).

Now it's not all hunky dory. Grid issues in China means that somewhere around 10 percent of the country's solar power is curtailed (meaning it is not used).

But overall, 2017 is yet more evidence that China is dead serious about being the world's clean energy leader.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Unearthed.

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Slava Bowman / Unsplash

How Can We Help Put a Human Face on Climate Change?

By John R. Platt

Communicating the truths about climate change isn't always easy. Sometimes the effects of climate change seem to hover in the future, or are occurring most visibly in other parts of the world. Other times they're subtle—at least for now. And of course, there are some people who just don't want to hear anything about it.

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Popular
Aerial view of Yaguas River and the Cachimbo tributary. Alvaro del Campo, Field Museum

Peru's Newest National Park Safeguards 2 Million Acres of Amazon Rainforest

The Peruvian government announced it will establish a new and enormous national park in the Amazon.

Yaguas National Park, located in the northern region of Loreto, consists of 2,147,166 acres of rainforest, a vast river system and is home to more than 3,000 species of plants, 500 species of birds and 160 species of mammals, including giant otters, woolly monkeys, Amazonian river dolphins and manatees. The park also features 550 fish species—one of the richest fish faunas in the world.

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Molteno Dam Reservoir in Cape Town. Wikimedia Commons

Will Cape Town Become the First Major City to Run Out of Water?

Cape Town is on track to become the first major city in the world to run out of water.

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Adventure
The mountains of Haiti. PO2 Daniel Barker / DVIDS

Haiti’s Most Popular Ecotourism Destinations

The tropical Caribbean island of Haiti is a paradise with a rich, fascinating history, natural wonders and diverse cultural offerings. It has also been named by some as the next big thing in regional tourism.

But ecotourism in particular could become important for Haiti, with its rich land and sea biodiversity. Globally, the business of ecotourism generates more than $600 billion a year and is connected to hundreds of thousands of jobs.

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iStock

Nearly All Coastal Governors Denounce Plan to Expand Offshore Oil Drilling

Politicians from coastal states around the country continue to call for their states to be exempt from the Trump administration's proposed expansion of offshore drilling following its politically-tinged decision last week to remove Florida from the plan.

The Interior Department said last week that Secretary Ryan Zinke had spoken with seven coastal governors opposed to drilling, including the governors of North and South Carolina, Rhode Island, Delaware and Washington. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown's office told press Zinke would consider removing the state from the plan following their call, while California Gov. Jerry Brown's office reports that Zinke promised to travel to the state to further discuss the offshore leases.

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Health
Rob Hainer / IStock

In Alabama, a Cleanup Unearths Toxins—and Scandal

By Matt Smith

Lot by lot, backhoes and dump trucks are scraping and hauling away yards on the north side of Birmingham to remove soil laced with heavy metals and other industrial wastes—the legacy of this city's years as a steelmaking power.

Federal prosecutors say that effort also uncovered something else: a scheme to save polluters millions by putting the neighborhood's representative in Montgomery on their payroll.

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Two Major Food Companies Announce War on Packaging Waste

More and more businesses are stepping up to reduce consumer waste. Iceland Foods, a major UK supermarket chain specializing in frozen food, announced on Tuesday that it will eliminate plastic packaging from its own brand of products by the end of 2023.

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Would a Beef Tax Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

By Michael von Massow and John Cranfield

Will taxing meat products based on their carbon footprint reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve public health? The answer is maybe, but not notably—and it will come with significant costs.

A recent study in the journal Nature Climate Change advocates applying taxes to the consumption of meat as a means of lowering GHG emissions.

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