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india solar train railway
Image courtesy of Anil Kumar Chhatri, Indian Railways

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India’s rail system is as massive as it is dirty – the trains are powered by diesel. But India, whose commitment to reducing its dependence on fossil fuels has been incredible, sees solar as a solution.

Indian Railways began running its first solar-powered train on July 14th. The panels, situated atop the trains themselves, will power lights, fans, and other electrical devices inside of the passenger coach trains.

The solar panels won’t be powerful enough to actually move the trains; they’ll still be pulled by a diesel-powered locomotive. But by installing sets of 16 solar panels atop each coach train, they’ll reduce the amount of diesel the trains use by 21,000 liters per year.

The first train has been put to use in the suburbs of New Delhi, one of the more polluted cities on Earth.

This is a small step for Indian Railways, but they have bigger plans ahead for solar. By 2020, the transportation authority intends to generate 1,000 megawatts of solar power; 5,000 megawatts by 2025. This will be a considerable chunk of India’s renewable energy goal of 175 gigwatts by 2022.

So far, Indian Railways has installed only 16 megawatts of its 5,000 megawatt goals, currently falling extremely short. But more solar is in the works. With any luck, they’ll reach their goals.


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President Trump has been no stranger to cutting the world off from unfavorable data. He even had the USDA remove information about animal abusers to placate the NRA and big ag. Now, Trump’s proposed budget could cut us, and the rest of the world, off from some pretty vital data.

An alert was sent out by a U.S. Geological Survey program coordinator that warned of the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts, set for 2018. The cuts, if they end up being approved, will undermine the availability of data that’s been gathered on critical areas like geology, climate change, and weather.

The email was sent to more than 500 researchers on June 19th in the hopes that it would give them enough time to react and comment on these proposed changes.

Up to 40 programs are threatened by these cuts, with programs that focus on climate change and the impact of land use being the most severely hindered.

Debra Willard, a coordinator for the USGS Climate Research and Development Program, said that the cuts “would reduce or eliminate the availability of current data and collaborations between the USGS, other agencies and universities.”

“There was a consensus that suspension of the USGS projects would impede ongoing activities in the international research and policy communities,” Willard said after reading responses from her colleagues.

Without this data being readily available, we’ll be flying blind in a number of ways. Weather and climate could be harder to predict and the impact of land use may not be thoroughly studied and understood.

Cutting off this data could imperil lives as well, with critical information about natural hazards like volcanoes and earthquakes being affected.

There is, of course, no guarantee that the Trump budget is going to be passed, but it’s clear as day that the proposed changes benefit his core message: take what you want now, stymie resistance, and make someone else pay the price down the road.


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In an attempt to justify the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, Donald Trump claimed that scientists “can’t even get the weather report right, so how come they think they can get [climate change] right?” The comment was originally reported by Politico. 

The comment was made after a round of golf at the Trump National Golf Club because of course it was.

Trump officially withdrew the US from the non-binding global agreement, citing research that he intentionally misunderstood, claiming that it was the international community’s attempt to pull a fast one on the American economy. Which it wasn’t. The agreement was totally voluntary. But Trump doesn’t want you to know that.

Circling back around to the original cringe-worthy remarks, Donald Trump demonstrated clearly that he has zero understanding of the climate and doesn’t even know the difference between climate and weather. So Mr. President, in case you’re reading (which I don’t know why you would be since this isn’t an episode of Fox and Friends) here’s the difference between climate and weather, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center:

Weather is the day-to-day state of the atmosphere, and its short-term variation in minutes to weeks.

Climate is the weather of a place averaged over a period of time, often 30 years. Climate information includes the statistical weather information that tells us about the normal weather, as well as the range of weather extremes for a location.

Learn the difference.


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Located at a waste incineration facility in Zurich, Switzerland, the first commercial carbon-capturing plant is now operational. The plant is able to capture carbon and turn it into something that can be used or simply buried.

Inside of the Climeworks plant, three shipping containers hold six carbon collectors. Inside these collectors, spongy filters are in place to absorb carbon pulled in by fans. Each sponge is fully saturated within a few hours.

Once the container is full, it’s closed and heated to over 200 degrees Fahrenheit, which releases carbon in a usable form. This carbon can be turned into products, buried, or sold to interested commercial buyers.

But don’t get too excited about this plant, it’s a drop in an ocean. Climeworks believes that hundreds of thousands more will be needed by 2050 if we’re to put a dent in the amount of carbon currently in the atmosphere and keep runaway climate change from happening.

Carbon that has been captured in facilities like this has numerous uses. Researchers at UCLA recently found a way to turn it into concrete for building.

“You can do this over and over again,” Jan Wurzbacher, director of Climeworks, told Fast Company. “It’s a cyclic process. You saturate with CO2, then you regenerate, saturate, regenerate. You have multiple of these units, and not all of them go in parallel. Some are taking in CO2, some are releasing CO2.”


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It wasn’t known until recently, but approximately every 300 years, the Cascadia subduction fault erupts, causing a terrifying approximately 9.0 earthquake.

On Wednesday, scientists put out an alert that, after a semi-annual “slow slip” event near Seattle, the chances of a devastating earthquake have increased somewhat.

A slow slip event usually happens about every 14 months in the Puget sound area. It’s effectively a slow earthquake that happens over about 2 weeks.

During a slow slip, the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate, which typically moves toward the east, stalls out and moves west, putting pressure on the already volatile Cascadia subduction zone.

“It’s loading up the edge of the lock zone of the Cascadia subduction zone more rapidly than normal tectonic processes would do,” said Bill Steele, director of communications at the PNSN.

“You’re getting seven months of strain accumulation applied to the back edge of the fault over a week.”

The last time the Cascadia subduction zone erupted in a quake was in the year 1700. There exists only oral legends of the event from indigenous people, as well as the story of a “phantom tsunami” in Japan.

So if you live in Northern California, Oregon, Washington, or British Columbia, you might want to be extra sure you have some water and canned food stored.


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Even after a deal was brokered with the EPA to keep it running through 2044, the owners of the Navajo Generating Station, the 7th largest carbon polluter in the U.S., have decided to shut it down.

The station, which is located near Page, Arizona, pumps out 14 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, but that’s not the reason it’s being closed down. At the core of the issue is money: cheap natural gas has made it so the NGS is just not viable anymore.

Even though there are clear negative effects on the health of the Navajo who live near it, the Navajo and Hopi tribes are bothered by the loss of revenue from the plant’s closure. The tribes are hoping that President Trump, an advocate for coal, will step in and intervene.

But even if the president did want to help, it would only delay the inevitable. No amount of money or deregulation can save coal at this point. It’s dying at the hands of the free market, and that’s okay.

While the plant is closing down, the infrastructure exists in the reservation for new electrical generation plants. The area is prime real estate for solar and wind power in particular. My hope is that the NGS will be replaced by cleaner power generation.


holierThis site is not paid for by third party ads or annoying popups that don’t go away. If you want to support more articles like these, consider picking up a Resist Tee or bumper sticker. Together, we’ll resist environmental destruction by planting 10 trees for each one sold. Free shipping in the US.✊

The Trump administration is expected to come out with a plan to cut a quarter of the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget, causing layoffs for about 20% of the agency.

The proposed cuts would remove about $2 billion from current spending and about 3,000 employees.

The White House has been laying out its plan for federal agencies as well as the budget as a whole, announcing a plan to add more than $50 billion to the defense budget and cutting domestic discretionary spending, like the safety net, by about the same amount.

Ultimately, congress is responsible for making the budget, but they will doubtless be looking to the White House for guidance. Democrats are gearing up to oppose it as furiously as possible, but without a majority in either legislative chamber, it will likely be futile.

These cuts will give us an EPA with fewer resources than at any time since Reagan was president. Their ability to enforce regulations that keep our air and water clean will be severely hindered. When it comes time to vote in 2018 and 2020, don’t forget this.


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To Bill Nye and Bernie Sanders, ending climate change isn’t just about saving the planet: it’s a huge jobs creator too. That’s the opening point that Nye made in today’s live chat with Bernie Sanders on climate change.

As of this writing, the video has been viewed 2.4 million times and has received more than 65,000 shares.

Sanders, a former presidential candidate, has been an outspoken critic of Donald Trump on a number of issues, including climate change.

“We have a president of the United States who thinks that climate change is a ‘hoax’ emanating from China,” Sanders said in his opening remarks. “We have a new administrator of the EPA—somebody who I strongly opposed—who is in the process of dismembering environmental protection regulations in this country.”


holierThis site is not paid for by third party ads or annoying popups that don’t go away. If you want to support more articles like these, consider picking up a Resist Tee or bumper sticker. Together, we’ll resist environmental destruction by planting 10 trees for each one sold. ✊

September 10, 2012- REC Solar employees Brian Webster, left and Mario Richard, right, install PV modules on a Englewood, Colorado home participating in the Solar Benefits Colorado program. (Photo by Dennis Schroeder / NREL)

It’s no secret that the coal industry is a dying one. A large part of why it’s dying is because, currently, natural gas is a cheaper source of energy. As solar power has gotten cheaper, the industry has grown and with it, new jobs have been created.

The solar industry is growing jobs almost 17 times faster than the economy as a whole. More than twice as many people work in the solar industry than the coal industry according to a survey by the Solar Foundation, a nonprofit org.

Some politicians are trying to revive the dying coal industry, but last year alone, 40 coal plants were shuttered and none were built. The solar industry, however, added 14,000 megawatts of new power generation.

It may seem like a lot, but solar still only accounts for about 1% of the country’s total power generation. That means there’s a lot of room for the industry to grow and a lot of potential jobs.

Despite Trump’s opposition, solar power will likely grow from its current 39,000 megawatts of installed power to 100,000 by 2021. Of course, progressive policy can help grow the industry even faster, but what’s becoming clear is that the industry will grow regardless of what state and federal governments decide to do.

It’s a popular form of energy too. The survey found that 83% of Republicans and 97% of Democrats want to see more solar installed. The future is looking bright!


holierThis site is not paid for by third party ads or annoying popups that don’t go away. If you want to support more articles like these, consider picking up a Resist Tee or bumper sticker. Together, we’ll resist environmental destruction by planting 10 trees for each one sold. ✊

One of the numerous bizarre, unattainable things that Trump ran on during the presidential campaign was saving coal, a dirty and dying form of energy production.

But while Trump chases coal down the drain, states are doubling down on renewable energy, which creates more jobs than every type of fossil fuel combined.

In California, Senate leader Kevin de León introduced a bill that would make the state’s grid carbon-free by 2045 and to hit 50% renewable energy by 2025.

In Massachusetts, legislators have introduced two bills to promote renewable energy, HD.3357 and SD.1932. They would require the state get all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2035 and 100% of energy needs, be it heating or transportation, by 2050.

Hawai’i also has an aggressive standard enacted back in 2015 mandating 100% renewable energy by 2045.

A bill introduced in Nevada also sets a fairly rigorous standard of 80% renewable energy by 2040. Their current goal is 22% by 2040.

So while Trump digs coal, the states are being realistic and implementing renewable energy. Let’s see who wins this contest.


holierThis site is not paid for by third party ads or annoying popups that don’t go away. If you want to support more articles like these, consider picking up a Resist Tee or bumper sticker. Together, we’ll resist environmental destruction by planting 10 trees for each one sold. ✊