Today’s Solutions: October 16, 2021

If you’re in the U.S. (with the possible exception of California), you probably noticed it’s cold this week. But while Americans endure the cold snap—yes, that’s an understatement—other parts of the world are undergoing a heat wave. And although The Onion is defeatist, countries around the world—including the U.S.—are taking stronger strides toward renewable energy and climate change mitigation.
Spain and Portugal released numbers from 2013, indicating that more than 50 percent of their energy came from renewables. Scotland and Denmark are close behind, but the real surprise is China. Despite leading the world in wind power, the country is notorious for its pollution. Perhaps motivated by smog—and deaths from smog—and partially enabled by the sheer amount of power the country uses, it is poised to become a leader in both quantity and innovation of wind power.
Even the U.S. is making steps. The EPA is expected to release new regulations that will require carbon capture and storage devices on every new coal-fired power plant. But perhaps most important, renewables are becoming competitive with fossil fuels based on cost alone. On December 31, a judge in Minnesota ruled that solar power was fiscally preferable to natural gas, based partly on energy distribution costs and the potential for future carbon taxes. Though you’d expect to hear those comparisons coming from a scientist or an economist, Eric Lipman’s position as a judge at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is important because it will nudge the state’s utilities into contracting renewable companies for public energy generation.
If that news isn’t enough to take the chill off, read more good news from The Intelligent Optimist—download a free issue here.
Photo: Lars Falkdalen Lindahl/Flickr

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