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By Andy Rowell
The annual survey by REN21, the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century, found that "Newly installed renewable power capacity set new records in 2016, with 161 gigawatts (GW) added, increasing the global total by almost 9% relative to 2015."
The good news for people fighting the fossil fuel industry is that for "the fifth consecutive year, investment in new renewable power capacity (including all hydropower) was roughly double the investment in fossil fuel generating capacity, reaching USD 249.8 billion."
And "the world now adds more renewable power capacity annually than it adds in net new capacity from all fossil fuels combined."
The report also blows another argument often used by the fossil fuel industry that because renewables are intermittent, on the days the sun does not shine and wind does not blow, that you need a baseload provided by fossil fuels to back them up.
"The myth that fossil and nuclear power are needed to provide 'baseload' electricity supply when the sun isn't shining or the wind isn't blowing has been shown to be false," said the report.
In 2016, for example, Denmark and Germany successfully managed peaks of 140 percent and 86.3 percent of electricity generation from renewable sources. In several countries, including Portugal, Ireland and Cyprus, they were able to achieve annual shares of 20 to 30 percent electricity from variable renewables without additional storage being added.
The new data was released just as it was announced that, despite the best efforts of Donald Trump to promote fossil fuels, California has set an ambitious goal to be 100 percent renewable by 2045.
We know Trump is an oil man through and through. As Michael Klare, professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College, recently pointed out: Trump is "working in every way imaginable to increase the production of fossil fuels domestically, even as he engages in a diplomatic blitzkreig to open doors to American fossil-fuel exports abroad … The president is remarkably consistent when it comes to pushing coal, oil, and gas on foreign leaders."
But back home, the states are fighting back.
A bill introduced by California Senate President Kevin de León (D) would simultaneously limit California's hydrocarbon consumption as well as set strict renewable targets, 60 percent by 2030, and 100 percent renewable energy by 2045.
It has officially cleared the committee stage, with reports that it will be signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. As one commentator noted, "Perhaps most striking is that Californians want this bill. They have come out en masse to support it, and with this kind of public support and commercial potential, the bill has a great chance of success."
Backed by people power rejecting Trump's fossil fuel agenda, once again the Sunshine State leads the way.
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By Jessica Corbett
A week after construction was scheduled to resume on a long-delayed $1.4 billion telescope at the summit of Mauna Kea — a dormant volcano on Hawaii's Big Island — thousands of Native Hawaiians who consider the mountain sacred continued to protest the planned observatory.
The statistics around threatened species are looking grim. A new report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has added more than 9,000 new additions to its Red List of threatened species, pushing the total number of species on the list to more than 105,000 for the first time, according to the Guardian.
By Kristy Dahl
Last week, UCS released Killer Heat, a report analyzing how the frequency of days with a dangerously hot heat index — the combination of temperature and humidity the National Weather Service calls the "feels like" temperature — will change in response to the global emissions choices we make in the coming decades.
Green is the new black at Zara.
The Spanish fast fashion behemoth has made a bold move to steer its industry to a more environmentally friendly future for textiles. Inditex, Zara's parent company, announced that all the polyester, cotton and linen it uses will be sustainably produced by 2025, as CNN reported.