[GWSG] Coal swooning; record heat now; and more to come; oil takes hits; the case for renewables

Tilley, Al atilley at unf.edu
Wed May 6 09:00:00 EDT 2020

1. In 2006, coal supplied over half of US power. Last month, it supplied 15.3%; for 40 days, renewables supplied more than coal. They are expected to increase their market dominance. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/coronavirus-lockdowns-renewable-energy-overtakes-coal-record-40-days/

2. Last month was a tie for the hottest April on record; the year is on track to be the hottest. 424 straight months have been above the 20th century average. https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2020/05/05/global-warming-pushes-april-temperatures-into-record-territory-2020-heads-disquieting-milestone/

3. At current rates of heating, and under current habitation patterns, in fifty years the planet would be over 3C hotter and over 3 billion people (about a third of the population) would be living in areas too hot for humans to flourish. Every 1C of rising heat imperils a billion people. The climate of the Sahara would expand to 19% of the earth’s surface by 2070. Food and water security would be compromised. We must stop burning coal, oil, and gas, and proceed to do all those other things we know we must—draw down carbon, rewild half the earth, reform agricultural and diet, and invent a sustainable world culture. No more lolling about dealing with a pandemic (or not dealing, in the case of our government). We need to perform a great double-task.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2020/05/04/human-climate-niche/

The Guardian’s take on this significant PNAS study. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/may/05/one-billion-people-will-live-in-insufferable-heat-within-50-years-study

Seth Borenstein of AP adds material. https://phys.org/news/2020-05-billions-unlivable.html

4. Oil firms big and small are taking financial hits now. Some will not survive in the short term; none should in the medium unless they too undergo a conversion to sustainability. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/the-energy-202/2020/05/05/the-energy-202-big-oil-posts-big-losses-during-coronavirus-crisis/5eb052a6602ff15fb00246b8/?ct=t(RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN)

5. Renewables are taking a hit from the virus too. The World Resources Institute offer three reasons that renewables should emerge from the current crisis as winners. Renewables offer big returns on investment, big savings, and 100 million new jobs, beside addressing items two and three on this list.  https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/05/coronavirus-renewable-energy-stimulus-packages
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