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Solar Heating and Cooling Could Save $61B, Create 50,250 Jobs By 2050
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) believes the nation could save $61 billion in energy costs by 2050, creating 50,250 jobs along the way.
The U.S. could achieve those goals by vastly expanding the solar heating and cooling capacity (SHC) across the country, according to a SEIA report, Solar Heating & Cooling: Energy for a Secure Future, released this month. Installing 100 million new SHC panels nationwide would increase SHC capacity from nine gigawatts (GW) to 300 GW in the next 37 years, according to the report prepared by Boston-based BEAM Engineering.
The country's nine GW of SHC capacity ranks it just 36th in the world, relative to its population.
"With ambitious targets and a smart, easy-to-understand strategy now in place, SHC can help to displace an estimated 226 million tons of carbon emissions annually," task force chair Ole Pilgaard said. "That's the equivalent of taking 47 million passenger cars off the road."
Heating and cooling represents about 44 percent of U.S. energy consumption. Expanding SHC systems could allow the nation to generate about 8 percent of its heating and cooling needs through "clean, affordable solar energy," the report states.
The residents of 115 million U.S. homes consume about $266 billion of energy each year, with 72 percent of it related to water heating, space heating and space cooling. That's enough to put 10 million people through college, the report estimates.
SHC expansion would positively impact the country by:
- Avoiding 226 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year, which equates to taking 64 coal plants offline.
- Adding $2.1 billion in increased federal tax revenue through added jobs
- Lessening the damage caused by drilling, extracting, transporting and storing fossil fuels.
“Part of our challenge is to do a better job of educating policymakers—at both the state and federal level—about the enormous benefits SHC provides to American consumers and businesses, as well as to the U.S. economy,” SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch said. “If we’re successful, the payoff will be enormous in terms of future job creation and energy savings.”
Residential SHC systems can cost $6,000 to $10,000, while commercial and industrial systems can run from $20,000 to $100,000. The report estimates that the payback period can be as little as four years, depending on application, location and financial incentives.
A roadmap and statement from Resch calls for long-term policies and financial incentives to make the expansion work.
"The three main types of financial incentives are tax credits, rebate/grant programs and Renewable Energy Credits (REC)," according to the roadmap. "Successful financial incentives allow businesses to make investments under predictable, long-term economic conditions."
SEIA is optimistic about policymakers getting on the same page, stating that Democrats, Republicans and Independents support solar energy by counts of 94, 75 and 89 percent, respectively.
“Without question, this plan will benefit both our economy and our environment,” Pilgaard said.
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By Jennifer Molidor
One million species are at risk of extinction from human activity, warns a recent study by scientists with the United Nations. We need to cut greenhouse gas pollution across all sectors to avoid catastrophic climate change — and we need to do it fast, said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
This research should serve as a rallying cry for polluting industries to make major changes now. Yet the agriculture industry continues to lag behind.
"The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism wishes to inform the public that following extensive consultations with all stakeholders, the Government of Botswana has taken a decision to lift the hunting suspension," the government announced in a press release shared on social media.
Company Safety Data Sheets on New Chemicals Frequently Lack the Worker Protections EPA Claims They Include
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In a big victory for animals, Prada has announced that it's ending its use of fur! It joins Coach, Jean Paul Gaultier, Giorgio Armani, Versace, Ralph Lauren, Vivienne Westwood, Michael Kors, Donna Karan and many others PETA has pushed toward a ban.
This is a victory more than a decade in the making. PETA and our international affiliates have crashed Prada's catwalks with anti-fur signs, held eye-catching demonstrations all around the world, and sent the company loads of information about the fur industry. In 2018, actor and animal rights advocate Pamela Anderson sent a letter on PETA's behalf urging Miuccia Prada to commit to leaving fur out of all future collections, and the iconic designer has finally listened.
If people in three European countries want to fight the climate crisis, they need to chill out more.
"The rapid pace of labour-saving technology brings into focus the possibility of a shorter working week for all, if deployed properly," Autonomy Director Will Stronge said, The Guardian reported. "However, while automation shows that less work is technically possible, the urgent pressures on the environment and on our available carbon budget show that reducing the working week is in fact necessary."
The report found that if the economies of Germany, Sweden and the UK maintain their current levels of carbon intensity and productivity, they would need to switch to a six, 12 and nine hour work week respectively if they wanted keep the rise in global temperatures to the below two degrees Celsius promised by the Paris agreement, The Independent reported.
The study based its conclusions on data from the UN and the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) on greenhouse gas emissions per industry in all three countries.
The report comes as the group Momentum called on the UK's Labour Party to endorse a four-day work week.
"We welcome this attempt by Autonomy to grapple with the very real changes society will need to make in order to live within the limits of the planet," Emma Williams of the Four Day Week campaign said in a statement reported by The Independent. "In addition to improved well-being, enhanced gender equality and increased productivity, addressing climate change is another compelling reason we should all be working less."
Supporters of the idea linked it to calls in the U.S. and Europe for a Green New Deal that would decarbonize the economy while promoting equality and well-being.
"This new paper from Autonomy is a thought experiment that should give policymakers, activists and campaigners more ballast to make the case that a Green New Deal is absolutely necessary," Common Wealth think tank Director Mat Lawrence told The Independent. "The link between working time and GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions has been proved by a number of studies. Using OECD data and relating it to our carbon budget, Autonomy have taken the step to show what that link means in terms of our working weeks."
Stronge also linked his report to calls for a Green New Deal.
"Becoming a green, sustainable society will require a number of strategies – a shorter working week being just one of them," he said, according to The Guardian. "This paper and the other nascent research in the field should give us plenty of food for thought when we consider how urgent a Green New Deal is and what it should look like."
- Reduced Work Hours as a Means of Slowing Climate Change ›
- How working less could solve all our problems. Really. | ›
- Needed: A shorter work week – People's World ›