July 14, 2023

Thinking Thru a Heatwave

As we fret our way through the ‘heatwave’ weekend, it’s easy to forget the efforts we’re finally making. In the US, scores of agency rules and regulations are being adjusted to help implement the massive Biden investments in energy transition fairly. Not perfect, perhaps, some of the details have come under fire from Dem party progressives especially. But, overall, it’s a huge step forward.

Europe appears way ahead of the US in rolling out renewables and in developing supportive industries. And, perhaps because the EU parliament is still less plagued by MAGA-type performing artists, their deliberations seem more substantive.

The UK, still smarting from its ill-conceived Brexit move, bungled Covid policies, and post-Covid inflation, is also debating next steps, including whether to leave a fossil-fuel driven treaty. This excerpt from a  ‘petition click’ email from Global Justice Now frames the effort:

More avenues for pushing the UK to leave fossil fuel companies’ secret weapon behind are opening up in parliament - but we need your help! The Conservative MP Chris Skidmore has put down an amendment to the Energy Bill on leaving the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), and we need as many MPs as possible to get behind it.  

Just this week, Skidmore was quoted alongside us in the Guardian on news of the government’s own official advisors recommending withdrawal from the toxic treaty, which is “weaponised by fossil fuel companies in order to sue governments for introducing climate policies.”

Global Justice Now goes on to note:

In Europe, the European Commission just made a coordinated EU withdrawal from the ECT its formal position. (2) This would mean European countries working together to maximise the benefits of leaving the treaty - and gives us a great opportunity to push the UK to join the exodus.

It may not seem like a lot, or even enough, but this is just one of myriad moves being made around the world. Momentum on the official front is building. Behind the scenes, while fossil fuel interests have screamed ‘hoax,’ researchers and entrepreneurs have not been sitting on their hands. 

"Undecided" with Matt Ferrell has spot-on 15-minute videos on a host of ‘happening-now efforts. Better yet, for your doubting friends, Ferrell looks at the up and down sides. Check Undecided out for news about new windmills designed to be recycled. Likewise, new batteries are coming on line, also designed for lower-demand reuse and recycling after their useful life ends. PV perhaps got its greatest boost with perovskite cells coming out THIS year … more efficient than silicon, more durable … a product that surfaced 20 years ago and is finally scalable for production. And then there’s agrivoltaics, addressing the loss of farmland as industrial-scale PV grows. (Ferrell comes highly recommended and is transparent about his sponsors.)

Too little, too late? Perhaps. Too little, but just in the nick of time? If we’re lucky.  

A ray of hope as we hunker down and wait for a breeze? Definitely.

Because among all the scarifying news of wildfires, droughts, floods and more, there is also a lot we can still do. Must do! And in many cases, are doing. Industrial-scale. Individual action.

By the way, did you turn out that light when you left the kitchen?