August 27, 2018
"Sure, the road map is ambitious, but it proves the change is possible."
Think oil and gas drilling and nuclear power plants are the only way to power Florida’s economy? Think again.
A group of Stanford scholars say they've proven that it is “technically and economically feasible” to run Florida’s economy 100 percent on renewable energy. And they’ve already done all the hard work for politicians, mapping out exactly how to achieve such a shift by 2050.
February 19, 2019
Earth’s sea levels should be 30 feet higher than they are – and dramatic melting in Antarctica may soon plug the gap, scientists warn.
They say that global temperatures today are the same as they were 115,000 years ago, a time when modern humans were only just beginning to leave Africa.
Research shows that during this time period, known as the Eemian period, scorching ocean temperatures caused a catastrophic global ice melt.
February 17, 2019
A bright future awaits Kissimmee as it become the first city in Florida to have all government-owned facilities powered by solar energy.
By next year, 100 metered locations – including City Hall, the police department and all street lights in city limits – will operate through a new Kissimmee Utility Authority (KUA) solar program.
The big plan was approved by city commissioners Feb. 5, and doesn’t require Kissimmee to make any capital investments or long-term commitments, according Larry Mattern, KUA’s vice president of power supply.
February 16, 2019
Delray Beach will have to pay more than $378 million to save its neighborhoods from knee-deep floods, the City Commission learned on Tuesday.
Commissioners were stunned by this price tag, determined by an engineering team that said roads and seawalls will have to be raised and pipes improved to protect streets from rising waters associated with climate change.
Delray Beach is one of many coastal cities in South Florida that are working to deal with the effects of rising oceans, waterways and groundwater. In Miami Beach, construction has already begun on elevated roads and pumps that help to dry streets after floods.
February 13, 2019
“We are relieved that Rick Scott’s attempt to give a parting gift to Big Sugar has failed,” Sierra Club Organizing Representative Diana Umpierre said in a statement.
Seven environmental groups won a key legal victory Monday in a case over pollution in two of South Florida’s most critical natural areas: Everglades National Park and the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. A federal judge blocked an attempt to ditch federal oversight of Everglades cleanup.
Earthjustice, the Florida Wildlife Federation, National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, the National Parks Conservation Association, Defenders of Wildlife, and Audubon Society of the Everglades argued that the federal oversight – which dates back to 1992 – was key to enforcing water quality improvements for agricultural polluters.
Oil Spill Shuts TransCanada's Keystone Pipeline in Same County Where 'Paper-thin' Pipe Found in 2012
February 11, 2019
On Wednesday, February 6, an oil spill in St. Charles County, Missouri, caused the shutdown of two major oil pipelines, one owned by Enbridge and the other by TransCanada, as investigators began searching for the source of the spill.
Today, TransCanada confirmed in a statement that its Keystone pipeline — which has had severe corrosion issues in this area in the past — was the likely source of the oil spill, which Missouri officials initially estimated to have leaked 1,800 gallons. Meanwhile, officials from Enbridge said the company was “highly confident” its Platte pipeline was not the cause of the leak.
“Following overnight activity and excavation, a preliminary investigation has led TransCanada to believe that the oil discovered in St. Charles County likely originates from the Keystone Pipeline system,” TransCanada spokesman Terry Cunha said, according to the Associated Press, “and we will continue to conduct our activities accordingly.”
February 10, 2019
WROCLAW, POLAND - What if one day all buildings could be equipped with windows and facades that satisfy the structure’s every energy need, whether rain or shine?
That sustainability dream is today one step closer to becoming a reality thanks to Polish physicist and businesswoman Olga Malinkiewicz.
The 36-year-old has developed a novel inkjet processing method for perovskites — minerals for a new generation of cheaper solar cells — that makes it possible to produce solar panels under lower temperatures, thus sharply reducing costs.
February 8, 2019
A gas line explosion at a busy San Francisco intersection shot flames 40 feet into the air, sent people running for their lives and set five buildings on fire Wednesday afternoon.
Crews working for Verizon dug into the street at Geary Boulevard and Parker Avenue in the Inner Richmond and struck a Pacific Gas and Electric Co. gas line, setting off the blast at around 1:18 p.m.
At nearby Mel’s Drive-In, diners began running out of the restaurant when they heard a booming “rumble and felt the windows shake,” said Antelmo Faria, who had just sat down to have lunch with his girlfriend at the counter.
February 5, 2019
Overturning a decision by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, an appeals court Tuesday ordered the state to issue a permit to a major Broward County landowner that wants to drill an exploratory oil well in the Everglades.
A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal ruled the department improperly rejected a recommended order by an administrative law judge, who said in 2017 that a permit should be approved for Kanter Real Estate LLC.
February 2, 2019
Students at Lakewood High School have managed to solve two of our country’s major problems — a dependency on single-use plastic and homelessness — with one creative solution. The high school in Colorado has started a “Plarn Club”; the group works by making homemade quilts and mats by substituting yarn with recycled plastic bags.
January 30, 2019
Extreme cold, big snowstorms – and even unwelcome invasions from the polar vortex – will continue to hit the USA, even as humans continue to warm the planet.
President Donald Trump again tweeted about global warming during a cold snap: Late Monday, he wrote that "in the beautiful Midwest, windchill temperatures are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest ever recorded...What the hell is going on with Global Warming? Please come back fast, we need you!"
No matter how much humans have warmed the planet, we still didn't kill winter: Trump's own federal agency – the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – corrected the president Tuesday, noting that "winter storms don't prove that global warming isn't happening."
January 27, 2019
I started covering the solar energy industry seriously in 2009. It seemed like a hopping, exciting time in the industry — growth was exploding. I remember one early story in which readers admonished me a little because I put “Solar Power Exploding” in a headline, and they thought I was referring to genuine explosions. In 2019, 2009 and 2010 progress looks like anthills.
Scrolling back through our What Changed archives, below is a lengthy rundown of notable changes within the solar energy and energy storage industries in 2018. I’m sure I missed some of them — drop a note in the comments if you have a favorite I skipped. I’m also sure this post is far too long for the casual reader — do your best. Additionally, stay tuned for record-breaking progress in 2019.
January 23, 2019
In February, before an invitation-only crowd assembled in near secrecy behind locked gates, Scott Pruitt, then head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, signed over control of one of the nation’s biggest toxic waste sites to the state of Nevada. A blue sky blazed over the 3,400-plus-acre Anaconda Copper Mine near Yerington, Nevada, as Pruitt and Governor Brian Sandoval signed the paperwork. Beaming, they posed for a photograph with proponents of the deal, including John Minge, then the CEO of BP America, and Robert Genovese, then president of Atlantic Richfield Co. (ARCO)—senior representatives of both parties responsible for cleaning the site.
Many locals who watched coverage of the ceremony on TV news that evening, meanwhile, were dismayed by the transfer.
January 18, 2019
Plastic bags were the first to go from Loosey’s.
The foam containers used to hold half-eaten leftovers were next. And soon, every other business in Gainesville will be doing the same.
January 15, 2019
The apocalypse has a new date: 2048.
That's when the world's oceans will be empty of fish, predicts an international team of ecologists and economists. The cause: the disappearance of species due to overfishing, pollution, habitat loss, and climate change.
The study by Boris Worm, PhD, of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, -- with colleagues in the U.K., U.S., Sweden, and Panama -- was an effort to understand what this loss of ocean species might mean to the world.
January 11, 2019
In April of this year, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled the company is indeed subject to the laws of Massachusetts because it conducts extensive business operations within the state. Maura Healey’s office made a jubilant statement to the press after that decision.
ExxonMobil filed an appeal of the Massachusetts decision with the US Supreme Court. Under federal law, hearing such an appeal is discretionary. The US Supreme Court can decide whether to hear the case or not. On January 7, the court declined to hear the appeal, according to Reuters. The result of the court’s decision not to accept the appeal is that the civil investigative demand must now be complied with, which got a celebratory tweet from Healey.
January 8, 2019
The first of four plastic-free flights departed Portugal on Boxing Day in a bid by an aircraft leasing company to banish the material from its planes by the end of 2019.
Hi Fly said the first trial trip left Lisbon, Portugal for Natal, Brazil, on Wednesday without a single-use plastic item on board.
Among the innovations presented to passengers were bamboo cutlery, new paper packaging and containers that can be easily composted.
January 5, 2019
As thousands of people in the Northeast lost power due to a pre-Christmas storm that put coastal towns on flood alert, the Pacific coast was grappling with its own flood warning brought upon by the largest high tides of the year("King Tides"). As climate change progresses, storms will increase in strength, sea levels will rise more rapidly, U.S. coasts will flood more frequently, and shoreline properties will disappear.
Each year, $500 million worth of coastal structures are lost as coastlines disappear. The federal government spends nearly $150 million each year to manage the loss of beaches and coastal real estate. Two-thirds of the U.S. population lives and works in coastal counties. Ocean-related businesses are responsible for over $352 billion of the U.S.' annual GDP. By the end of the century, as sea levels rise between six to ten feet and nearly 2.5 million coastal homes experience chronic flooding, many coastal livelihoods will be put at risk.
January 2, 2019
2019 promises to be an exciting year for clean tech. An increasing number of countries, companies and regions are embracing sustainable energy generation and the landscape is rapidly evolving.
December 21, 2018
Conservation groups today filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s approval of the first offshore oil drilling development in federal Arctic waters. Hilcorp Alaska received approval in October to build and operate the controversial Liberty project, an artificial drilling island and underwater pipeline that risks oil spills in the sensitive Beaufort Sea and threatens polar bears and Arctic communities.
Today’s lawsuit was brought by the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Defenders of Wildlife, and Pacific Environment, all represented by Earthjustice. They say the Liberty approval violated federal laws and ignores the causes and effects of climate change. The project is in the heart of polar bear habitat.
December 16, 2018
California is officially the first state to require newly built homes to come with enough solar panels to offset their electricity use. The state Building Standards Commission voted unanimously to add the requirement to the state building code last week, the San Jose Mercury News reported
The new code takes effect in 2020 and covers all single-family homes as well as multifamily buildings up to three stories high. There are exceptions for houses with too-small roofs or those in the shade. An average home is expected to use 53 percent less energy under the new code than one built under the previous standards.
December 13, 2018
Climate change comes with a hefty bill. The United States stands to experience major economic losses over the 21st century as sea levels rise, heat waves become more frequent and rains fall in heavier bursts, according to the recently released National Climate Assessment (NCA). Sources of the costs range from damaged and abandoned coastal properties to wages lost when it is too hot to work outdoors, to premature deaths caused by increased air pollution and disease exposure.
December 8, 2018
A record-breaking, New Jersey-sized dead zone was measured by scientists in the Gulf of Mexico this week—a sign that water quality in U.S. waterways is worse than expected.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced today that this summer’s dead zone is the largest ever recorded, measuring 8,776 miles. This is more expansive than the nearly 8,200 square-mile area that was forecast in July. Since monitoring began 32 years ago, the average size of the Gulf’s dead zone measured in at 5,309 square miles.
December 5, 2018
As the all-important United Nations climate talks kick off in Katowice, Poland this week, the World Bank Group announced Monday that it will significantly ramp up its investments to fight climate change, and it is urging the wider global community to do so as well.
December 3, 2018
It’s the centerpiece of the biggest holiday of the year for many American families: the Christmas tree, the focal point for parties and presents, replete with favorite ornaments and lights.
Some cherish the scent of a real tree and the tradition of bringing it home, while others prefer the tidier and easier option of the plastic variety.
October 29, 2018
The battle has set a new Washington state record for spending on a ballot issue. The Clean Air Clean Energy coalition to say “yes” on the ballot has raised more than $15 million, including $1 million each from Gates and former New York mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Big oil companies belonging to the Western States Petroleum Association — including Koch Industries — have given more than $31 million, according to the state’s Public Disclosure Commission.
October 21, 2018
Beer drinkers might pay more and find less of their favorite beverage as climate change comes for barley. Scientists expect that extreme droughts and heat waves will become more frequent and intense in the regions that grow the grain.
During the most severe climate events, the study predicts that global beer consumption would decline by 16 percent, an amount about equal to the total annual beer consumption of the United States in 2011. It also expects average beer prices to double.
We need to save the Everglades quickly because it helps protect South Florida’s drinking water and can limit hurricane damage
October 20, 2018
Saving the Everglades from sea-level rise means much more to South Florida than just protecting panthers, alligators and those pesky pythons. Without the Everglades as a buffer to hurricanes and as a source of drinking water, it’s the people living in South Florida who risk becoming the endangered species.
The Everglades guards our western flank during hurricanes, absorbing storm surge and the drenching rains that can come from hurricanes blowing in from the Gulf. And long after storm season passes, we rely on Everglades water seeping into and replenishing underground supplies we tap for drinking water.
October 18, 2018
"To face this growing threat, we can no longer rely on old energy systems — we must develop infrastructure that can withstand increasingly frequent climate hazards. This gives us an opportunity to build in a smarter, more sustainable way."
Climate change has created a terrifying new normal of severe weather patterns in many regions, and it seems we are now facing once-in-a-lifetime storms on a regular basis. To face this growing threat, we can no longer rely on old energy systems — we must develop infrastructure that can withstand increasingly frequent climate hazards. This gives us an opportunity to build in a smarter, more sustainable way.
Florida Supreme Court says Amendments 7, 9 and 11 can stay on ballot
October 18, 2018
The Florida Supreme Court is overturning a lower court decision to toss three proposed constitutional amendments off the Nov. 6 ballot.
Wednesday's ruling means voters can still vote on Amendments 7, 9 and 11.
October 14, 2018
Even the visionary Walt Disney probably could not have imagined this one.
The Walt Disney Company is just months away from generating enough renewable solar energy to fully power two of its four parks at the Walt Disney World Resort in central Florida.
October 4, 2018
In late August, permit applications for six exploratory oil wells, on four platforms, were submitted to Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) by Cholla Petroleum of Dallas, Texas. Cholla Petroleum previously conducted seismic testing in Calhoun County in 2016. The application packet is available online through FDEP. Hard copies are also available at the Blountstown library.
More than 40 species of amphibians and 80 species of reptiles live within the Apalachicola River basin, the highest diversity of amphibians and reptiles in the United States and Canada. More than 1,300 species of plants, including 103 that are threatened or endangered, are also found in the Apalachicola basin.
September 22, 2018
A new interactive map tool from the Union of Concerned Scientists lets you explore the risk sea level rise poses to homes in your congressional district and provides district-specific fact sheets about those risks. No matter where you live along the coast, chances are that rising seas will begin to reshape your community to one degree or another in the coming decades.
September 19, 2018
In the fourth rollback of a major federal climate rule in less than two months, the Interior Department eased requirements Tuesday that oil and gas firms operating on federal and tribal land capture the release of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
Officials said that the rule, adopted in 2016, was duplicative, given state laws, and imposed too heavy a burden on the private sector. Environmentalists and Democrats vowed to fight the reversal in court, saying that it would lead to greater air pollution and boost emissions linked to climate change.
September 17, 2018
Federal government lawyers say a 14-year-old leak is releasing much more oil each day into the Gulf of Mexico than officials previously claimed, and it may be getting worse.
"A Friday court filing in a case involving Taylor Energy Co. says 10,000 to 30,000 gallons (37,000 to 113,000 liters) daily is leaking from multiple wells around a drilling platform toppled by 2004's Hurricane Ivan."
September 14, 2018
"Climate change is 'a real and present danger to California and to the people of the world,'"
Seeking to cement California's reputation as a global leader in combatting climate change, Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed two measures designed to push the state to 100 percent renewable electricity and so-called carbon neutrality by 2045.
Senate Bill 100 raises the state’s already ambitious goals for producing electricity from wind, solar and other green sources. The aim is to ensure greenhouse gas emissions are low enough that they can be absorbed by forests, oceans, soil and other natural systems.
September 13, 2018
September 10, 2018
Gowans and marine science professor Amy Siuda are leading an initiative to eliminate the use of single-use plastics at Eckerd College after receiving a grant for more than $115,000 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Debris Program.
"People don’t always practice what they talk about," Siuda said. "I try my hardest and I know I don’t always as well. ... I think it’s important for people to think about that you eating a snack pack of crackers could impact the marine ecosystem. Not everyone thinks about that, and recycling is not really the answer. We need to think about our use."
September 8, 2018
When it comes to climate change and sea level rise, the news has been generally bad for communities on the U.S. Southeast coast. Florida is set to lose more than 10 percent of its homes by 2100, and five southern states have already lost $7.4 billion in home values.
September 7, 2018
After being motivated by swimming through garbage in Greece, Dutch teenager Boyan Slat, backed with a major investment and lots of engineering from the Dutch Government, created a garbage collection system to help rid our oceans of garbage.
The key point is that the collection system is passive - there are no motors, no machines. Instead, it'll drift, acting like an artificial coastline, gently gathering any plastic in its path. Like a giant snake, made up of sections of tube, it's 600m (2,000ft) long and will float in a giant 'U' shape. Beneath it a screen will hang down 3m (10ft).
September 2, 2018
Facebook has committed to cutting its greenhouse emissions by 75 percent and powering global operations with 100 percent renewable energy by the end of 2020. The new commitment builds upon the firm's 2015 aim of supporting 50 percent of its facilities with renewable energy by 2018. That goal was reached in 2017.
Facebook's move was welcomed by environmental campaigners. "CEO Mark Zuckerberg has reaffirmed Facebook's place among business leaders in the race to be coal-free and 100 percent renewable-powered," Gary Cook, senior corporate campaigner at Greenpeace, said in an online statement Tuesday.
August 31, 2018
According to a recent study conducted at Duke University revealed that Hydraulic fracking is having a catastrophic impact on water supplies throughout the US. The findings of the study suggest that fracking is using far much more water than before, and putting a huge dent in the amount of drinkable water available in water supplies.
"In many cases, people who live near fracking sites have been able to set fire to the water and air that comes through their pipes. It has also been found to contaminate drinking water, rendering it permanently undrinkable."
Miami will be Underwater Soon. It's Drinking Water Could Go First.
August 30, 2018
Miami-Dade is built on the Biscayne Aquifer, and the infrastructure that draws from it cleans its water, and keeps it from overrunning the city combine to form a giant but fragile machine. Without this abundant source of fresh water, made cheap by its proximity to the surface, this hot, remote city could become uninhabitable.
Barring a stupendous reversal in greenhouse gas emissions, the rising Atlantic will cover much of Miami by the end of this century.
"The economic effects will be devastating: Zillow Inc. estimates that six feet of sea-level rise would put a quarter of Miami’s homes underwater, rendering $200 billion of real estate worthless. But global warming poses a more immediate danger: The permeability that makes the aquifer so easily accessible also makes it vulnerable."
August 28, 2018
Former Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp caused a furor recently when he claimed oil from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster "didn't even reach the shores of Florida."
His attempt to walk back the remark could offer a preview of the campaign to come as groups push to expand drilling in federal waters eight years later. He and another industry representative say the BP oil spill was more of a public relations disaster fueled by the television news media, rather than an environmental disaster.
Kroger, the nation's largest grocery chain, will phase out the use of plastic bags in its stores by 2025
August 24, 2018
Kroger, the nation's largest grocery chain, will phase out the use of plastic bags in its stores by 2025. The grocer orders about 6 billion bags each year.
Kroger operates 2,779 stores in 35 states and the District of Columbia, serving almost 9 million people daily through two dozen different grocery chains. Kroger said Thursday that will start the project at its Seattle chain QFC, where it expects to be plastic-bag free by next year.
August 23, 2018
The oldest and most robust sea ice in the Arctic has reportedly begun breaking up for the first time in recorded history. The Guardian reported on Tuesday that the ice breaks, which result in water opening up north of Greenland, have happened twice in 2018 because of warm winds and a heat wave caused by climate change.
The sea off the northern coast of Greenland was once referred to as "the last ice area” because of how perpetually frozen it normally is.
"It was also believed that it would be one of the final northern areas to be impacted by the world's hotter temperatures."
Contact Lenses to Add to Earth's Microplastic Crisis
August 21, 2018
Contact lenses may appear harmlessly soft and small, but a big chunk of American users are improperly disposing their used lenses and adding to the planet's microplastic problem, Arizona State University researchers found.
In a survey of 409 wearers, about 1 in 5 responded that they flushed their used lenses down the toilet or sink instead of throwing them in the trash, according to a new study presented at the American Chemical Society's National Meeting and Exposition. The flushed lenses, which are mostly plastic, turn up at wastewater treatment plants and become part of sewage sludge that gets spread on farmland.
August 20, 2018
"For climate change, Florida is the ballgame."
So says Rafe Pomerance, a man who has worked longer to stave off the threat of global warming than just about anybody. If the national politics on climate change is ever to shift from denial to action — in time to stop the disgorging of carbon dioxide beyond the point of no return — Florida, he says, is the key.
August 18, 2018
"Toxic wastewater from fracking jumps 14-fold from 2011 to 2016 — and it may get 50 times bigger by 2030."
An alarming new study reveals fracking is quite simply destroying America’s water supply.
That means we are losing potable water forever in many semi-arid regions of the country, while simultaneously producing more carbon pollution that in turn is driving ever-worsening droughts in those same regions, as fracking expert Anthony Ingraffea, a professor at Cornell University, explained to ThinkProgress.
August 17, 2018
On Tuesday, the city commission of Largo, Fla., approved the city’s commitment to transition to 100% clean, renewable energy.
Largo, which is located in the Tampa Bay Area, represents the fourth city in Florida and the 75th in the U.S. to establish this goal, according to the Sierra Club.
The plan includes 35 indicators to guide sustainability efforts, focusing on three main areas: infrastructure, workforce and natural resources. In addition, the city has adopted a goal to power all municipal operations with at least 50% renewable energy by 2030 and 100% renewable energy by 2035.
August 15, 2018
"Red tide is killing Florida’s southwest coast."
Fish, manatees, sea turtles — some of them endangered — and nine dolphins have washed up dead on the beaches, and all of them are confirmed or suspected to have been poisoned by the algal bloom. The body of a young whale shark was found on a beach in late July, and biologists believe that it was the first known whale shark to have been killed by red tide.
Now the toxic algae — Karenia brevis — is working up the coast from Sanibel Island to Tampa Bay. Algal blooms are common in Florida and along the rest of the Gulf Coast, but they don’t always get this bad. This one began in 2017 and, over the past few months, has slowly ballooned into a nightmare scenario for residents and business owners — not to mention the thousands of animals that have died.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for seven counties on the southwest coast Tuesday.
August 10, 2018
The Trump administration took the first steps on Wednesday towards opening up 1.6 million acres of public land in California to fracking and oil drilling, The Sacramento Bee reported.
In a notice of intent published on the Federal Register Wednesday, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) said it would prepare an environmental impact statement on the use of fracking on 400,000 acres of public land and 1.2 million acres of mineral estate overseen by BLM in California counties including Fresno, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara, The Hill reported.
"'It's a coordinated attack on California by the Trump administration,' CBD senior attorney Clare Lakewood told The Hill."
August 5, 2018
Deadly fires have scorched swaths of the Northern Hemisphere this summer, from California to Arctic Sweden and down to Greece on the sunny Mediterranean. Drought in Europe has turned verdant land barren, while people in Japan and Korea are dying from record-breaking heat.
June 23, 2018
Hurricane season is upon us. The activity of individual seasons goes up and down, but trends are becoming clear: rising sea level and increasing storm intensity and rainfall are elevating the hazard.
Rising sea levels is one of the most robust consequences of a warming climate. Warmer water expands and takes up more volume. Melting land-based ice also adds more water. The consequences for Florida are dire.
June 19, 2018
“Sourcing 100% renewable energy will make us cleaner and greener, reducing our grid reliance, and running some of our buildings on zero carbon electricity.”
In a move which continues to place London as one of the world’s leading climate and environmentally-friendly cities, the City of London Corporation, the governing body of the Square Mile (the colloquial nickname for the City of London), announced that it plans to source 100% renewable electricity from October 2018 onward.
June 18, 2018
In findings released today, the Union of Concerned Scientists reports that — of all the coastal states in the lower 48 — Florida has the most existing homes at risk of eventually experiencing chronic flooding caused by rising sea levels.
That flooding, the researchers warn, could make those residential properties no longer practical to inhabit, much less insure, rent or sell — causing their market and taxable values to plummet.
June 17, 2018
“Tampa Electric is becoming cleaner and greener,” said Cherie Jacobs, spokesperson for Tampa Electric. “Solar power plays a key role in our fuel mix for our future years.”
Tampa Electric, one of Florida’s largest investor-owned electric utilities that serves about 750,000 customers in West Central Florida, was given the thumbs up by the Florida Public Service Commission last month for the initial phase of its efforts to expand the use of solar energy in Florida.
June 16, 2018
“The people of Florida voted with a firm, clear voice. And the court said today that counts,”
Ruling from the bench Friday, Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson sided with environmental groups in the lawsuit centered on whether lawmakers “defied” the 2014 Florida Water and Land Conservation Initiative by improperly diverting portions of the money to such expenses as staffing – allegations legislative leaders have repeatedly disputed as they continued to make such budget allocations.
June 14, 2018
Dr. Tim Hall is a Senior Researcher with NASA and an adjunct professor at Columbia University. In this interview with Dr. Hall, he explains his research in weather patterns and their correlations to climate change. Utilizing data from recent hurricanes Irma, Maria and Harvey, Dr. Hall explains that NASA has begun to prove that hurricanes are in fact getting worse.
June 11, 2018
A new paper in the journal Earth’s Future examines the effects of hydraulic fracturing on water supplies worldwide. 30% of shale deposits are located in arid regions where aquifers are already heavily tapped for other uses including environmental, human and agricultural needs. The paper concludes on a need for water management in areas where hydraulic fracturing could result in competing for water resources.
June 11, 2018
“the fire was "very large—if you can see it from your house, evacuate."
A TransCanada pipeline that was installed in January, has exploded in Marshall County West Virginia. The explosion could be seen from as far as 20 miles away. TransCanada, the same company behind the Keystone Pipeline, reports the explosion was contained and being investigated.
At the opening of the line, TransCanada President and CEO Russ Girling stated, “ "This is truly a best-in-class pipeline and we look forward to many years of safe, reliable, and efficient operation on behalf of our customers."
June 10, 2018
Thanks to some new technology, South Florida will have access to real time data on rising tides, incoming storms, climate change and overall sea-level rise. Installed by NOAA, the Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS) is a tool the public can access through Port Everglades’ website. Boaters and vessel operators can also utilize the tool to more safely navigate South Florida waters.
June 9, 2018
“Surpassing a mark set during the peak of the Dust Bowl in 1934, the continental U.S. just had its hottest May on record thanks in large part to the human-caused climate crisis, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced on Wednesday.”
June 5, 2018
“Now with the oceans facing more threats than ever, it is time for all of us to come together to protect our treasured marine environment.”
In 2002, the United Nations declared June 8th World Oceans Day. This day is dedicated to the celebration and protection of our oceans. It is more important now than ever for grassroots action given the current administration’s vast offshore drilling plan that threatens our marine environments. On World Oceans Day, take action by:
- Telling your federal leaders to stop the rollback of ocean protections.
- Reduce your consumption of plastics with a #ZeroPlasticLunch.
- Join the March for the Ocean (or wear blue to show support).
#MarchForOcean #ZeroPlasticLunch #WorldOceansDay
June 4, 2018
“In the not-too distant future, we will live on one of the small islands of South Florida.”
South Florida is built on porous, dead coral which is experiencing water intrusion from the top and the bottom. The pressure of seawater pushing up from beneath is our biggest fear. Saltwater intrusion has reduced the freshwater in the Biscayne Aquifer by about 17% since 1985. If we do not take serious action to intervene in the Everglades, there will not be enough freshwater to sustain the population.
“If we want to continue to live in South Florida, then maintaining our freshwater supply is imperative, and that will require a restored everglades.”
May 29, 2018
“Many residents have questioned whether city officials are doing enough to prepare for the storm surges and massive rainfalls from hurricanes.”
While Hurricane Irma produced damage and flooding in Miami last year, so did a number of other rainstorms and tropical systems. Regular flooding has become common. In a new study by the National Center for Atmospheric Studies, predictions show that hurricanes will get wetter and slower thanks to climate change. Reminiscent of Hurricane Harvey, hurricanes could park over a location and dump unprecedented amounts or rain over areas that are most vulnerable to flooding. In a study of 22 recent storms, scientists found variations in speed, size and other variables. However, all 22 storms produced more rain, regardless of the differences in other factors.
“Though some studies have produced inconsistent results, the bulk of the science has trended toward predicting that hotter ocean temperatures will create stronger, more damaging storms.”
May 28, 2018
““It’s very different from many other coastal communities in Florida,” Chawla said, citing its European roots and its importance to the history of the nation as a whole. “So engaging them and opening up dialogue was very important.”
Graduate-level students from the University of Florida spent three days over Spring Break in the City of St. Augustine addressing the city’s coastal flooding issues. Students from a variety of different disciplines prepared for their field work by researching sea level rise and its impact on the city in the last few years. The students prepared white papers and proposals with a myriad of ideas which included extending stormwater pipes, structure retrofitting as well as solutions from policy and technical levels.
May 26, 2018
“In South Florida, where we are faced with frequent “sunny day flooding,” most residents have little lingering doubt that our climate is changing.”
Given the unique nature of the Florida landscape, it has become imperative that we transform our communities to have a global impact and to implement adaptation measures. We have seen sea level rise to the tune of 9-inches in the last 100 years, and there is a possibility of a an additional 3-foot rise by 2060. The vulnerability of our location is apparent as “sunny day flooding” and more frequent high tides become commonplace. It has become necessary to engage city and county governments to advocate for adaptation measures, address our unique situation and inspire imaginative solutions.
“This process can lead us into a new form of resilience as a community, sharing challenges with a sense of responsibility for one another.”
May 25, 2018
“In January, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke appeared briefly in Tallahassee to announce drilling would not occur off Florida’s coasts. But the White House’s position has not yet been formalized.”
According to a report by the National Parks Conservation Association and the Natural Resource Defense Council, eleven national parks in the state of Florida are threatened by the White House Proposal to open oil drilling in the currently protected continental shelf. In addition to putting m more than 9,000 jobs at risk, the economic output from the state of Florida could cost more than $876 million annually.
May 19, 2018
Children are estimated to bear 88% of the burden of disease related to climate change, according to a paper published Tuesday in the journal Pediatrics.
According to a new study, climate change is presenting an increasing risk to children’s health. Citing rising outdoor temperatures, water related infections, extreme weather events, poor air quality and the spread of mosquito derived illnesses, children are part of a vulnerable population that stands to be most effected by climate change.
"The basic message is that climate change is occurring, and I think it disproportionately affects the most vulnerable populations, and that includes children,"
May 18, 2018
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010 certainly played a role in showing the devastating impact that offshore drilling can have on coastal communities and their livelihoods.
The Surfrider Foundation, in cooperation with other environmental groups, once again hosted The Hands Across the Sand event on May 19. What began in 2009 as Floridians standing against offshore drilling has grown to an international event with over 100 coordinated events. The event aims to:” Bring together individuals and organizations to promote a clean energy future across the world and end our dependence on dirty fuels. Gather thousands of Americans and global citizens at beaches and cities to draw metaphorical and actual lines in the sand; human lines in the sand against fossil fuels that threaten our future.”
May 17, 2018
The lead researcher, Dr Justin Chalker, said it had the potential to be a cheap and sustainable recovery tool in areas affected by oil spills.
A new floating substance made from sulfur and canola cooking was tested by South Australia's Flinders University. The newly developed polymer acted like a sponge, effectively removing crude oil and diesel from seawater, according to a new study published by Sustainable Systems Journal. Last year nearly 7,000 tons of crude oil were spilt in our oceans. This new polymer is potentially less expensive and more sustainable than current clean up tools.
May 17, 2018
“A revolution is underway in the world’s power markets.”
In the past 20 years, global cumulative installed solar and wind power has grown from less than 8GW to nearly 800GW. As a leader in this transition, the United States can attribute nearly half of the 24.6 GW of new electrical generating to renewables.
May 13, 2018
"We want to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with local leaders, supporting them, urging them to do more, and celebrating the innovations that improve the quality of our air, the quality of our lives, and our communities everywhere for future generations.”
The “Mama Summit” occurred on Mother’s Day this year in 11 different cities to bring a host of stakeholders together to address the negative impacts of climate change and how it affects future generations. Organized by Moms Clean Air Force, the summit brought awareness to surrounding issues and encouraged working with government officials to improve climate resilience infrastructure.
May 11, 2018
“Over 500,000 new jobs were generated by the renewable energy industry last year, a 5.3 percent rise when compared to 2016, according to a report.”
According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the number of people working in the renewable energy sector has hit 10.3 million. As a pillar for low-carbon economic growth, data reveals nations with attractive policies are experiencing the most social, economic and environmental benefits.
“Fundamentally, this data supports our analysis that decarbonization of the global energy system can grow the global economy and create up to 28 million jobs in the sector by 2050."
May 10, 2018
“Climate Change is a growing threat to national security and a concern for the military. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has said climate change is already impacting global stability”
An interview with Retired Vice Admiral Lee Gunn, a 35-year veteran of the US Navy, reveals the growing concerns about climate change and the impact it will have on our national stability and security. The United States military base structure, which is essential to readiness, is threatened by sea level rise. The Union of Concerned Scientists published a report that 18 various military bases on the East and Gulf Coasts are also threatened. Regardless of higher levels of office denying the existence of sea level rise and climate change, Gunn is confident the military is taking prudent steps in combating it.
“This is really an important factor. The base structure of the United States military is absolutely essential to the generation of readiness. Those stateside bases are invariably ... under threat from the consequences of climate change.”
"Eight young Florida residents — the youngest is 10, the oldest is 20, and one is a University of Miami marine science student— are the named plaintiffs in a lawsuit that seeks to force a state extremely vulnerable to climate-driven sea rise to start work on a court-ordered, science-based 'Climate Recovery Plan.'”
April 16, 2018
The young group suing Governor Scott is represented by Our Children's Trust, which is an organization that sponsors similar law suits from children across the country. Some perceive this as a legal stunt, but a federal judge recognized the claims to be legitimate enough to send the case to trial. Florida is vulnerable to rising sea levels caused by climate change, especially in the southern regions of the state. In the law suit, the children and their lawyers are accusing Scott and his administration of falling short in the implementation of legislation aimed at curbing carbon emissions, and ignoring the inevitable damage caused by sea-level rise.
"Gov. Scott says he's not a scientist. Well, neither are most of the people that are forced to take action because the state is failing us."
"While some CRC members wanted all the proposals to stand on their own to avoid voter confusion, others argued they wanted them grouped to save voters’ time."
April 4, 2018
A preliminary proposal unanimously adopted by the Style and Drafting Committee of the Constitutional Revision Commission would allow 24 proposals to be condensed into 12 amendments on the November ballot. Interestingly enough, Proposal 91, which would ban oil and gas drilling in Florida- owned waters, would be paired with Proposal 65, which would ban indoor vaping. Some believe that the bundling of proposals will lead to unfair outcomes, while others are concerned with minimizing lines at the polls.
“We owe the citizens of this state the opportunity to decide on each individual proposal as to whether that proposal should become part of our Constitution,” Henry Coxe, a Jacksonville lawyer, wrote in a letter to the committee’s chair, Brecht Heuchan on Monday.
“Massachusetts’ top court on Friday rejected Exxon Mobil Corp’s bid to block the state’s attorney general from obtaining records to investigate whether the company for decades concealed its knowledge of the role fossil fuels play in climate change.”
April 13, 2018
The Supreme Judicial Court of Mass. ruled that Attorney General Healey could legally obtain records to determine whether or not Exxon's marketing or sale of products derived from fossil fuel infringed upon the state's consumer protection law. Healey is eager to receive documents from Exxon that would most likely disclose the fact that they were aware of climate change, the risk involved in their industry, and at what time in the company's history that this knowledge came to fruition. The Mass. investigation into Exxon began in 2015.
"Healey’s probe related to how manmade greenhouse gas emissions had caused climate change, “a distinctly modern threat that grows more serious with time, and the effects of which are already being felt in Massachusetts.”
“On April 12, an oil spill in the Mississippi River brought noxious fumes to music lovers at the New Orleans French Quarter Festival. The U.S. Coast Guard estimates 4,200 gallons of diesel oil spilled when a cargo ship hit the Nashville Wharf.”
April 13, 2018
Traffic had to be stopped on the Mississippi River while the Coast Guard and Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator's Office worked together to clean up the oil spill. According to witnesses, thick layers of oil and sludge were lining the shore, giving off intense fumes. Ironically enough, the main sponsor of the festival is Chevron, with many other popular New Orleans festivals being "underwritten" by big oil companies sponsorship.
"Statistics from the Solar Foundation show Atlanta, which pledged in 2017 to make the transition to 100 clean power by 2035, had a 21% increase in solar jobs last year – one of the biggest rises in the country."
April 6, 2018
"Climate change: it's disrupting our planet, and it's going to disrupt your future travel plans, especially if you're planning to fly. Weather disruptions will mean more delays and cancellations, strengthening jet streams at high altitudes means more turbulence, and traveling against the jet stream (like flying from Europe to the U.S.) means your flights will take longer."
April 8, 2018
Rising temperatures are predicted to give travelers a more difficult time for several reasons. Increased temperatures and subsequent heat waves will result in thinner air, which makes it more difficult for planes to generate the appropriate amount of lift during takeoff. Planes schedules to take off during the hottest times of the year will need weight restrictions to safely fly. Along with this, unpredictable storms and flooding can damage planes and terminals, as well as delay flights.
“We’ll be able to adapt to these things, but it does have a penalty,” says Coffel. “You have to spend money just to maintain today’s performance, so in that sense [with] any adaptation, even if its successful, you’re still basically paying the cost of climate change.”
"Around 407,000 gallons (338,900 imperial gallons) spilled onto farmland when the pipeline broke near Amherst in Marshall County on Nov. 16, a spokeswoman for pipeline owner TransCanada Corp., told the Aberdeen American News. TransCanada had originally put the spill at 210,000 gallons (174,860 imperial gallons)."
April 7, 2018
The new development in the pipeline spill makes it the seventh- largest oil or petroleum spill on land since 2010. A mere 12 days after the leak, TransCanada continued normal use of the pipeline. It is estimated that the spill cost TransCanada $9.57 million. A report indicates that the pipeline might have been damaged during the construction process in 2008.
"Solar, wind, biomass and other renewables generated 12.1 percent of world electricity in 2017, up from 5.2 percent a decade earlier."
April 6, 2018
The world set a new record for installation of solar power in 2017, that is 98 GW of energy capacity. The capacity for fossil fuels in 2017 was much lower at 70 GW. Climate experts have encouraged governments to transition to renewable energy sources by mid- century if they are to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris climate agreement. Investment in renewables increased by two percent across the globe. Furthermore, the cost of producing electricity from solar technologies fell by 15 percent last year.
“'We are at a turning point ... from fossil fuels to the renewable world,' Erik Solheim, head of U.N. Environment, told Reuters. 'The markets are there and renewables can take on coal, they can take on oil and gas.'”
"President Trump's plan to open large swaths of the East and West coasts to offshore oil and natural gas drilling faces significant headwinds."
April 6, 2018
Zinke claims that a significant factor he is taking into account in moving forward with his offshore drilling plan is local opposition. States across the county have been vocal in their disapproval of opening up their coastlines to offshore drilling exploration. Zinke believes that the industry is uninterested in increased offshore exploration and points to the expensive infrastructure and environmental risk as reasons for the discouragement.
"'There is a lot of opposition, particularly off the coast of the East Coast, the West Coast, on oil and gas," he said. "And so our plan takes into consideration the local communities, the voice of the governors.'"
"Protecting Florida's environment has been a top priority during my time as governor," Scott said in the veto letter. "Florida has stringent water quality standards, and we are going to keep it that way."
April 6, 2018
The 'toilet to tap' bill would have given way to treated wastewater being pumped back into Florida's groundwater. Historically, Scott has not sided with environmentalists, but a handful of groups rallied citizens together to call and email the governor's office. Proponents of the bill claimed that the water would meet federal standards for drinking water; opponents countered that federal water standards do not test for harmful things, e.g. pharmaceuticals, which spread through human waste.
"'I am surprised by this, for sure, and pleasantly surprised by this, of course," said event organizer Brian Lee, who chairs the Leon County Soil and Water Conservation District. "I hope that means he was listening to the people.'"
“Internal company documents uncovered by a Dutch news organization show that the oil giant Shell had a deep understanding, dating at least to the 1980s, of the science and risks of global warming caused by fossil fuel emissions.”
April 5, 2018
The scientists at Shell urged the company to address the potential that fossil fuel emissions would have profound consequences such as unnatural climate change. Essentially, Shell, as well as several other oil and gas companies, knew of the danger associated with greenhouse gasses, yet kept that knowledge out of the eyes of the general public. Dutch environmentalists intend to sue Shell for withholding this information and perpetuating the climate crisis.
In one Shell report from the 80s, the company acknowledged that "'The emerging problem "could have major social, economic and political consequences," it said—a powerful enough upheaval to be "the greatest in human history.'"
"Around nine in ten millennials understand that the climate is changing, the highest proportion of any age group, while nearly eight in 10 think humankind must work to stem the rise in temperature."
April 1, 2018
Students from across the country have made their voices heard on the issue of climate change, and the need to take action. High school students from Connecticut founded a youth- led climate advocacy group called Zero Hour. The group is fundraising in order to organize a march in Washington, DC this July. The ultimate goal of the group is to demand lawmakers to transition the U.S. to 100 percent renewable energy sources by 2028.
“'We really want to focus on finding youth from front-line communities who want to speak out and tell their stories,” Artis said. “We don’t want to make it about partisanship, but rather an issue that is going to affect everyone.'"
"One brand-new Florida town has taken its first steps toward becoming completely solar powered. Babcock Ranch, just north of Fort Myers, already has residents moving in and businesses looking to get in on the action."
April 2, 2018
Syd Kitson, the developer of Babcock Ranch, is striving to keep the solar energy they are producing in the hands of the private sector instead of dealing with involvement from the federal government which could mean high tariffs. Upwards of 250 families are predicted to settle into the town withing the next year. Residents will enjoy inexpensive energy, autonomous transportation shuttles, and a wildlife preservation- with more than 90% of the land set aside for preservation purposes.
"'I think the state of Florida has really, over the last several years, realized that it's the Sunshine State, and that this is a great opportunity for a renewable energy source for the state of Florida,' said Kitson."
"Unlike plenty of other areas threatened by a changing climate, South Florida cities and counties have come up with plans to stem the floods — and they’ve committed hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars for the work."
March 9, 2018
In an effort to control the impacts of sea level rise, Miami recently voted to tax itself close to $200 million. Miami Beach is also contributing half a billion on improved storm-water systems and raised roads. However, new feelings area brewing within a political movement in Miami and it's pushing for a radical proposal. Polluters pay, not taxpayers.
"“You hear them say the responsibility should be shared with states and federal government, but we’ve never had the conversation about polluters. What responsibility do they have?” said Maggie Fernandez, committee chair of the Miami Climate Alliance and president of Sustainable Miami."
"U.S. oil and natural gas is on the verge of transforming the world’s energy markets for a second time, further undercutting Saudi Arabia and Russia."
March 6, 2018
Just in the time span of a few years remade the global energy sector by the mass adoption of fracking in the U.S. spiked barrels of oil into the billions and cubic feet of natural gas in to the trillions. The International Energy Agency said in a recent forecast that the increase in U.S. oil production will account for 80% of global demand for oil over the next three years. It is predicted to grow almost 30% to 17 million barrels per day by 2023. Much of that increase being attributed to fracking in West Texas.
The second fracking boom in the U.S. is followed by noticeable ramifications for the global energy markets and geopolitics in broader terms.
“In a shale revolution world, no country is an island,” said Birol. “Everyone will be affected.”
"There has been an acceleration in the total rise of sea level on Earth in recent years rather than it rising at a steady pace, a new NASA study has reported."
March 5, 2018
NASA has been compiling data on sea level rise for the past 25 years. This information was used to conduct a projection study that attributes the increase in sea level rise to the accelerated melting in Antarctica and Greenland. This incredible acceleration has the capacity to double the global sea level by 2100. This means if the melting continues, at this rate, the sea level would rise 26 inches by 2100.
"This is almost certainly a conservative estimate," study lead author Steve Nerem said. "Our extrapolation assumes that sea level continues to change in the future as it has over the last 25 years. Given the large changes we are seeing in the ice sheets today, that's not likely."
Floridians Against Fracking Call On Senator Bradley to Be A Hero On Fracking With Virtual “Bradley Bat Signal”
Asking Sen. Bradley to schedule SB 462 in his last Appropriations hearing
February 28, 2018
Tallahassee-, FL -- Today, the Floridians Against Fracking again called on Senator Rob Bradley to hold a final hearing on a bill that would ban fracking in Florida on Friday, March 2nd. The event is the culmination of nearly 1500 phone calls and several actions across the state over the past week to encourage Senator Bradley to continue his legacy as a clean water champion by passing a bill to ban fracking.
Food and Water Watch
February 14, 2018
"After passing through the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee unanimously, the fracking ban bill moved to the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources for the first time ever.
Each of these votes has been bipartisan and featured unprecedented support."
WGCU SW Florida
February 12, 2018
"Supporters and opponents of offshore drilling have one thing in common: neither believe Florida is off the table in the federal government’s proposed 5-year offshore leasing plan."
Uncertainty regarding Florida's Future means we still have to fight! We don't need oil to meet energy demands with the untapped potential of renewables!#SunshineState #ProtectOurCoasts
The Bradenton Times
February 11, 2018
"Florida now leads the nation in new residential rooftop permits with a growth rate of 110 percent in 2016. The Florida Solar Energy Center reports solar jobs are growing at a rate of ten times that of the Florida economy."
January 22, 2018
"The US will impose duties as much as 30 percent on solar equipment made abroad, a move that threatens to handicap a $28 billion industry hat relies on parts made abroad for 80 percent of its supply."
"A group of Lee County residents met in downtown Fort Myers Tuesday night to stage a mock oil rig spill to draw attention to the risks of fracking and promote the proposed bipartisan legislation that would ban the practice in Florida."
"Approximately 80 percent of Florida’s population has supported a ban on fracking through city and county resolutions. Is Rodrigues representing the majority of Floridians or fossil fuel interests?"
Tallahasseeans want more money for schools and the environment, restrictions on guns and a ban on fracking
ReThink Energy Florida attended the 2017 Leon County Legislative Delegation Meeting on Monday, Oct. 30, 2017 to let our legislative delegates know we want a ban on fracking to be an issue they focus on in the upcoming legislative session. The event, which happen at the Leon County courthouse was packed with over 100 people. To learn more about the event and hear about how ReThink Energy Florida Executive Director: Kim Ross and Communications Director: Brian Lee were involved, check out the full article in the Tallahassee Democrat by clicking the title above.
At the Leon County Legislative Delegation Meeting, many issues were discussed including mental health problems, crime rates, and because of the attendance of ReThink Energy Florida and Floridians Against Fracking, fracking was a major issue discussed as well. You can read a synopsis of the issues discussed from Florida Politics by clicking the title above.
"UCF’s solar array would be the biggest in the state not backed by a utility and may mark Florida’s energy timeline as beginning to crack the utility monopoly on electricity."
ReThink Energy Florida Pres. Kim Ross to be interviewed on 'Tallahassee National Action In Action' radio show
FSView & Florida Flambeau
February 19th, 2017
WTXL ABC 27
January 18th, 2017
November 21, 2016
Protesters Take to the Streets for National Day of Action against Pipeline
November 15, 2016