OK, relatively short diary because I need to get to work fulfilling some New Year's resolutions, y'know, on NEW YEAR'S DAY and stuff. Been dragging my feet a bit because it's been raining off and on where I live. Oh well, might as well enjoy it now before climate change screws up weather patterns worldwide.
And that's kinda where I wanted to go. While everyone here seems to be jubilant about six million or so having greater access to health insurance starting today, and indeed we should all take some comfort after what it took to get THAT far, my mind is on more long-term things at the moment. Prevent ecocide, stuff like that.
But alas, look at all the rumblings regarding renewable energy in 2013. The price of solar power continuing to drop like a rock, speculation that wind power can excel without renewal of government support, nearly all of new power generating capacity in America toward the ass-end of 2013 being renewables, and grid parity close to being reached in many places, if it hasn't already.
And that's just the, ahem, supply-side of things. What about things to do with this abundant, cheaper, minimally-polluting source of power down the line? Plug-in electric vehicles are finally, FINALLY working their way into the market, even here in the somewhat-red, upper right end of Florida. I've seen a Tesla parked at the big outdoor mall in my area. And yesterday I had to use the family car to get new tags and drop off recyclables, (I usually use a bus) and saw a Chevy Volt for the first time. Ford has a plug-in hybrid and an all-electric now, and as I understand it, BMW plans to get in the game, if they haven't already. And don't forget all the Priuses already on the road, proving many people are cool with stuff that's not straight-up gas-powered. Slowly but surely, it's happening. And the technology for batteries with longer life and range will only get better, the price will get cheaper, and demand for this spiffy new futursiticy mode of transportation will rise.
Too slow, you say? We always knew the transition would take time, and wouldn't be painless. Cue ALEC and the Kochs' attempts to label solar users as 'freeriders' or some shit like that, and have ridiculous taxes levied on them. Do NOT let this frighten you. Instead, see it for what it is: proof of fear and desperation on their part.
But will this allow humanity to cut emissions enough to allow the planet to stay under that 2°C rise? Maybe. I mean, if NEW YORK CITY can cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 19% in eight years, anything is possible. And another rumbling in 2013 has me optimistic about long-term sustainability: notions that nuclear fusion is back on track. And what to do with this new source of power? Easy. This new gizmo unveiled by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory back in May of 2013. Basically, it removes CO2 from the air, generates hydrogen fuel, and produces alkalinity to counteract ocean acidification. All for the proposed price tag of $50.00 per ton of CO2 removed, the lowest price yet attached to any proposed geoengineering tactic! I know I know, it's controversial topic in these parts. Believe me, dumbass ideas like huge space umbrellas and screwing with aerosols to let people keep driving their gas-guzzling sports cars reek of assiness. But a technique with the aim of simply cleaning up the collective mess humanity has made, while our collective behavior slowly but surely changes for the better, is a winner in my book.
So though we have a long, torturous road ahead of us if we wish to drag our teabagger neighbors kicking and screaming into a better, sustainable future, quiet progress was made this year. So don't get discouraged as we gear up to make sure it still doesn't all come crashing down anyway. Happy Fucking New Year.
EDIT: Wow, Community Spotlight? Whatever I'm doing right, I suppose I'd better keep doing it.