As huge slabs of ice calve off of Arctic formations, as wildfires flare across Europe, in Hawaii, and across Canada, as floods ravage the Midwest, as hailstorms batter Texas, California – the list of climate extremes and natural disasters goes on and on. As this news pours out, many are either in denial or are throwing up their hands and feeling hopeless. But there is hope – and it’s within our power to make it real.
Because of the pressure of advocates and the ingenuity of visionary entrepreneurs, engineers, and businesses, many of the technologies enabling us to meet the climate challenge are here now. The question is: Will our human community rise to the occasion? Will we recognize that the blanket of heat-trapping greenhouse gases accumulating in our atmosphere, largely as a result of fossil fuel use, is destroying the environmental conditions that have made our planet a flourishing place for so many life forms? Will we commit to change and actually see it through?
At Energy Vision, we are proud to have identified and to be promoting one of the critical strategies available today. When you read in this issue of EV News about the anaerobic digester in Buffalo, New York which is capturing the methane biogases emitted by food wastes from farms, food processors, restaurants, and grocery stores so they don’t escape (and then refining them into a clean energy and fuel source), you are learning about a strategy that every city and community in this country can adopt. And these facilities are a great investment because once the infrastructure costs are covered, the organic wastes are a free local resource and one that will expand as the population grows.
The international scientific community has clearly articulated the reason why such facilities are crucial worldwide. It is because methane, one of the most powerful climate-warming gases – 84-87 times more potent than CO2 on a 20-year timeframe – must be cut 30% in just the next 7 years if we are to avoid “runaway climate change.” What’s that? As the oceans continue to warm they won’t be able to absorb as much carbon, and as our polar ice masses melt they release trapped methane and won’t reflect as much sunlight, all of which will accelerate climate change to disastrous levels.
The US goal is to cut our greenhouse gases 80% by 2050. But that long-term goal risks making us complacent. The world’s scientists have laid out the risks. We know there are strategies to adopt today and more will become available. The key is to act NOW. The public policies described for New York State in our lead article can spur that action. But those policies require citizens to voice their support and to speak out locally for strategic action and investments – in solar, wind, geothermal energy, etc. and in anaerobic digestors to turn our country’s organics from a climate liability to a climate asset.
What is needed is not a secret. Every anaerobic digester built, every solar panel installed, and every coal-fired power plant closed brings us closer to humanity’s shared goals – what the clean energy revolution is all about.
For more information on Energy Vision membership or physical copies of EVNews and other publications, contact: Michael Lerner, Dir. of Research & Publications | 138 E. 13th Street | NY, NY 10003 — Email: email@example.com