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It's not every day that you'll find me agreeing with an executive from BP, but Katrina Landis, the CEO of BP's Alternative Energy division, was exactly right when she said last month that it would be a mistake to allow the federal wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) to expire at the end of this year: "It's a really compelling case of the government incentivizing the development of an industry ... that is actually really working."
Congress has already missed multiple chances to extend the PTC, which has solid support in the House but has struck out in the Senate. There's still hope that a bipartisan effort will rectify the situation—after all, the wind blows in both red states and blue states (actually, the red states might have an edge there), and the wind industry employs thousands of American workers—whose jobs would be directly threatened by letting the PTC expire.
Let's hope it doesn't come to that. Because we'd be shooting ourselves in the foot by putting the brakes on both a growing industry and an important alternative energy source. According to the American Wind Industry Association, U.S. manufacturing of wind turbines has grown twelvefold over the last six years. Iowa already generates 20 percent of its power from wind, and the Department of Energy has estimated that our entire country could get 20 percent of its power from wind energy alone by 2030. And that's a conservative estimate.
Fossil-fuel supporters in Congress and elsewhere (who tend to be the same politicians that receive fossil-fuel support in the form of campaign cash) have done their best to demonize renewable energy lately, but their rhetoric is flying in the face of the facts. The value of solar photovoltaic installations in the U.S. grew from $5 billion in 2010 to $8.4 billion in 2011. Solar power is a growing sector, and that growth is attracting investors as varied as Warren Buffet, Google, and Bank of America.
And it's not just private investors that are voting with their dollars. The Army Corps of Engineers, that citadel of progressivism, announced that it plans to award $7 billion in contracts for large-scale renewable and alternative energy projects to help the Army reach its goal of having 25 percent of its energy come from renewable sources by 2025.
Wind and solar energy aren't just the future—they are the growing, vibrant "right now" of our energy economy, and their success will breed even more success—if we let it. Alternatively, we could go on disproportionately subsidizing fossil fuels that harm our health, national security, and environment and add insult to injury by actively discouraging development of the energy sectors that will eventually allow us to leave fossil fuels behind.
I'm sure most of us—maybe even some oil-company executives—can agree on which is the wiser course.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Derrick Z. Jackson
As much as hurricanes Katrina and Maria upended African American and Latinx families, the landfall of the coronavirus brings a gale of another order. This Category 5 of infectious disease packs the power to level communities already battered from environmental, economic, and health injustice. If response and relief efforts fail to adequately factor in existing disparities, the current pandemic threatens a knockout punch to the American Dream.
'We Need People's Bailout, Not Polluters' Bailout': Climate Groups Move to Preempt Big Oil Giveaway Amid Pandemic
By Andrea Germanos
A coalition of climate organizations strongly criticized President Donald Trump's in-person Friday meeting with the chief executives of some of the biggest fossil fuel companies in the world, saying the industry that fueled climate disaster must not be allowed to profiteer from government giveaways by getting bailout funds or preferred treatment during the coronavirus pandemic.
An Important Note
No supplement, diet, or lifestyle modification — aside from social distancing and practicing proper hygiene — can protect you from developing COVID-19.
The strategies outlined below may boost your immune health, but they don't protect specifically against COVID-19.
By Zak Smith
It is pretty amazing that in this moment when the COVID-19 outbreak has much of the country holed up in their homes binging Netflix, the most watched show in America over the last few weeks has been focused on wildlife trade — which scientists believe is the source of the COVID-19 pandemic. Make no mistake: Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is about wildlife trade and other aspects of wildlife exploitation, just as surely as the appearance of Ebola, SARS, MERS, avian flu and probably COVID-19 in humans is a result of wildlife exploitation. As a conservationist, this is one of the things I've been thinking about while watching Tiger King. Here are five more:
By Hector Chapa
With the coronavirus pandemic quickly spreading, U.S. health officials have changed their advice on face masks and now recommend people wear cloth masks in public areas where social distancing can be difficult, such as grocery stores.
But can these masks be effective?