China Tops Renewables Investment Rankings, U.S. Regains No. 2 Spot
The bi-annual Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI) was released Tuesday by London-based accountancy firm Ernst & Young.
Despite being the world's largest emitter and remaining heavily dependent on coal, China is shifting towards clean energy amid concerns of air pollution and climate change. In its pledge as part of the Paris agreement, the country said it will aim to source 20 percent of its energy in 2030 from low-carbon sources.
China has emerged as a global leader in solar generation. Last July, the nation exceeded the government's 2020 goal of 105 gigawatts of total solar PV capacity, an amazing feat considering how it only had 100 megawatts of solar PV capacity installed a decade ago. China hit 130 gigawatts of total solar capacity in 2017, making up 32.4 percent of all installed capacity globally.
According to the latest RECAI, the U.S. and Germany leapfrogged over India, which fell from second to fourth place. India's threat of a 70 percent tariff on imported solar panels and low power bids sparked "investor concerns" regarding its "over-ambitious" 2022 solar power goals.
"While the current economic climate has driven a relentless focus on costs, that focus is paying dividends with the global cost of electricity from renewable sources falling year-on-year," Ben Warren, the chief editor of RECAI, said in a statement. "Combined with the plunging cost of battery technology, we anticipate further rapid growth of the evolving renewable energy sector in the coming years."
The U.S. was in third place in the previous RECAI due to President Donald Trump's energy policies. However, in the current index, a press release noted that Trump's 30 percent tariffs on solar panel imports have been mostly absorbed by the market and wind projects are not subject to subsidy cuts under the recently passed U.S. tax reform bill.
The report adds another reason why Trump will never stop the renewable energy revolution.
"Solar import tariffs imposed by the U.S. government in January are likely to have only a limited impact on solar energy development in the country but are likely to tip the scales toward wind projects at the utility scale," the report said, as quoted by Reuters.
"The solar tariffs—which are to be challenged under World Trade Organization rules—are neither expected to seriously derail U.S. solar investment, nor encourage much, if any, shifting of solar manufacturing back to the U.S.," it added.
What's more, the accounting firm predicts that another 21 million electric cars will be on the road globally over the next decade due to growing market demand for clean transportation, government subsidies, as well as bans on fossil fuel cars.
Sunoco's controversial Mariner East pipeline project in Pennsylvania is beginning 2019 on unstable ground, literally. A sinkhole opened in the suburban development of Lisa Drive in Chester County Sunday, exposing the old Mariner East 1 pipeline built in the 1930s.
Greenland is melting about four times faster than it was in 2003, a new study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found, a discovery with frightening implications for the pace and extent of future sea level rise.
"We're going to see faster and faster sea level rise for the foreseeable future," study lead author and Ohio State University geodynamics professor Dr. Michael Bevis said in a press release. "Once you hit that tipping point, the only question is: How severe does it get?"
By Marlene Cimons
Most Europeans know the great tit as an adorable, likeable yellow-and-black songbird that shows up to their feeders in the winter. But there may be one thing they don't know. That cute, fluffy bird can be a relentless killer.
The great tit's aggression can emerge in gruesome ways when it feels threatened by the pied flycatcher, a bird that spends most of the year in Africa, but migrates to Europe in the spring to breed. When flycatchers arrive at their European breeding grounds, they head for great tit territory, knowing that great tits—being year-round European residents—know the best nesting sites.
Most people have heard of the Amazon, South America's famed rainforest and hub of biological diversity. Less well known, though no less critical, is the Pantanal, the world's largest tropical wetland.
Like the Amazon, the Pantanal is ecologically important and imperiled. Located primarily in Brazil, it also stretches into neighboring Bolivia and Paraguay. Covering an area larger than England at more than 70,000 square miles, the massive wetland provides irreplaceable ecosystem services that include the regulation of floodwaters, nutrient renewal, river flow for navigability, groundwater recharge and carbon sequestration. The wetland also supports the economies of the four South American states it covers.
By Patrick Rogers
If you have ever considered making the switch to an environmentally friendly electric vehicle, don't drag your feet. Though EV prices are falling, and states are unveiling more and more public charging stations and plug-in-ready parking spots, the federal government is doing everything it can to slam the brakes on our progress away from gas-burning internal combustion engines. President Trump, likely pressured by his allies in the fossil fuel industry, has threatened to end the federal tax credits that have already helped put hundreds of thousands of EVs on the road—a move bound to harm not only our environment but our economy, too. After all, the manufacturing and sale of EVs, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids supported 197,000 jobs in 2017, according to the most recent U.S. Energy and Employment Report.
This week, people across the country are joining environmental leaders to speak out against the nomination of former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler to lead the the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As Scott Pruitt's hand-picked successor, Wheeler has continued to put polluters over people, most recently by using the last of his agency's funding before it expired in the government shutdown to announce plans to allow power plants to spew toxic mercury and other hazardous pollution into the air.