The early stages of switching an entire nation's energy system from nuclear and fossil fuels to renewables are incredibly complex, as Germany is finding out. With a goal of switching to almost entirely solar and wind power by 2050, the nation's energy changes are for now leading to high prices, unexpected road bumps and some nervous stomachs. [New York Times]
The World Bank thinks it's time for countries to plan for future energy and water infrastructure together. Why? Because it's estimated that a 35 percent growth in global energy consumption by 2035 will lead to an 85 percent increase in water consumption. [EDF Energy Exchange]
Last year saw significant changes in how and where energy resources are gathered, but there are two constants: the slow pace of energy transitions and the continued high inequality of energy use. Our transition to renewables is occurring slowly just as past transitions have done, and big energy growth in developing nations like China and Brazil is not being matched in much of Africa. [Global Energy Initiative]
Happy New Year! Here, in lieu of our usual Eco News roundup, a roundup of our top blog posts from the past year. Our ongoing coverage of the latest food, water and energy issues, from GMOs to food waste to fracking, kept us busy last year - expect even more in 2014!
Smithfield Foods claims an environmental benefit to its September sale to Chinese meat processing-giant Shuanghui: that it will inspire more humane, less impactful industrial farming in China. The Waterkeeper Alliance's CAFO campaign in North Carolina remains dubious, concerned that as pork exports ramp up, they'll be stuck with polluted water and air - contrary to Smithfield's PR. [The Guardian]
Need evidence that renewables are a favored source of energy across all political leanings? Of at least 37 bills that have been introduced this year to eliminate or weaken states' renewable portfolio standards, which set a minimum requirement for how much energy a state's utilities must draw from renewable sources like solar and wind, only one succeeded. [Huffington Post]
Uganda-based Solar Sister helps women to begin their own small businesses in a bag - selling solar-powered lamps to their neighbors through their own personal networks. The technology allows women to earn and save money and their families to have clean, safe indoor lighting.
Take Action: Learn more about Solar Sister.
Senior Energy Analyst John Rogers of UCS sees collisions everywhere - between the House and Senate, between Democrats and Republicans and between energy and water. Rogers explains why "a clear view of current energy-water collisions can certainly help point us to the fixes there."
The EPA issued clarifications to Clean Water Act protections for small streams and wetlands, especially those that aren't wet all the time. The clarifications are intended to help farmers, ranchers and others understand which streams fall under CWA protections. Environmentalists cheered. Republicans complained. [The Washington Post]