Archbishop Tutu: Save the Planet; Boycott Carbon
April 26, 2014
Desmond Tutu / Popular Resistance & Solar Industry Magazine
Recalling the boycott movement that helped liberate South Africa, Desmond Tutu recently declared: "We must stop climate change. And we can, if we use the tactics that worked in South Africa against the worst carbon emitters
." In December, the US Energy Information Administration predicted the US would get about 16% of its electricity from renewables by 2040. The Sun Day Campaign argues the evidence shows the US will reach this target in 2018 -- 22 years before the government’s estimate.
Tutu Calls For Apartheid-Style Boycott To Save The Planet
Desmond Tutu / Popular Resistance
(April 11th, 2014) -- We must stop climate change. And we can, if we use the tactics that worked in South Africa against the worst carbon emitters
Twenty-five years ago, people could be excused for not knowing much, or doing much, about climate change. Today we have no excuse. No more can it be dismissed as science fiction; we are already feeling the effects.
This is why, no matter where you live, it is appalling that the US is debating whether to approve a massive pipeline transporting 830,000 barrels of the world’s dirtiest oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Producing and transporting this quantity of oil, via the Keystone XL pipeline, could increase Canada’s carbon emissions by over 30%.
If the negative impacts of the pipeline would affect only Canada and the US, we could say good luck to them. But it will affect the whole world, our shared world, the only world we have. We don’t have much time.
This week in Berlin, scientists and public representatives have been weighing up radical options for curbing emissions contained in the third report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The bottom line is that we have 15 years to take the necessary steps. The horse may not have bolted, but it’s well on its way through the stable door.
Who can stop it? Well, we can, you and I. And it is not just that we can stop it, we have a responsibility to do so. It is a responsibility that begins with God commanding the first human inhabitants of the Garden of Eden “to till it and keep it“. To keep it; not to abuse it, not to destroy it.
The taste of "success" in our world gone mad is measured in dollars and francs and rupees and yen. Our desire to consume any and everything of perceivable value -- to extract every precious stone, every ounce of metal, every drop of oil, every tuna in the ocean, every rhinoceros in the bush -- knows no bounds. We live in a world dominated by greed. We have allowed the interests of capital to outweigh the interests of human beings and our Earth.
Throughout my life I have believed that the only just response to injustice is what Mahatma Gandhi termed “passive resistance.” During the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, using boycotts, divestment and sanctions, and supported by our friends overseas, we were not only able to apply economic pressure on the unjust state, but also serious moral pressure.
It is clear that those countries and companies primarily responsible for emitting carbon and accelerating climate change are not simply going to give up; they stand to make too much money. They need a whole lot of gentle persuasion from the likes of us. And it need not necessarily involve trading in our cars and buying bicycles!
There are many ways that all of us can fight against climate change: by not wasting energy, for instance. But these individual measures will not make a big enough difference in the available time.
People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change. We can, for instance, boycott events, sports teams and media programming sponsored by fossil-fuel energy companies. We can demand that the advertisements of energy companies carry health warnings.
We can encourage more of our universities and municipalities and cultural institutions to cut their ties to the fossil-fuel industry. We can organise car-free days and build broader societal awareness. We can ask our religious communities to speak out.
We can actively encourage energy companies to spend more of their resources on the development of sustainable energy products, and we can reward those companies that do so by using their products. We can press our governments to invest in renewable energy and stop subsidising fossil fuels. Where possible, we can install our own solar panels and water heaters.
We cannot necessarily bankrupt the fossil fuel industry. But we can take steps to reduce its political clout, and hold those who rake in the profits accountable for cleaning up the mess.
And the good news is that we don’t have to start from scratch. Young people across the world have already begun to do something about it. The fossil fuel divestment campaign is the fastest growing corporate campaign of its kind in history.
Last month, the General Synod of the Church of England voted overwhelmingly to review its investment policy in respect of fossil fuel companies, with one bishop referring to climate change as "the great demon of our day." Already some colleges and pension funds have declared they want their investments to be congruent with their beliefs.
It makes no sense to invest in companies that undermine our future. To serve as custodians of creation is not an empty title; it requires that we act, and with all the urgency this dire situation demands.
Renewables Could Provide 16% of US Power by 2018
EIA Does A 'Disservice' With US Renewable Energy Projections
Solar Industry Magazine
(April 15, 2014) -- In December, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) released a draft report projecting that the nation would get about 16% of its electricity from renewables by 2040. However, Ken Bossong, executive director of the Sun Day Campaign, says his analysis of the EIA's data shows that the percentage is likely to be hit in 2018 -- 22 years before the government’s estimate.
According to the EIA, the percentage of net electrical generation represented by renewable energy in the U.S. has grown from less than 9% in 2004 to nearly 13% in 2013. Given the growth trends of at least the past decade, Bossong says, the EIA's forecast seems highly conservative, if not simply wrong.
"Inasmuch as policymakers in both the public and private sectors -- as well as the media and others -- rely heavily upon EIA data when making legislative, regulatory, investment and other decisions, underestimation can have multiple adverse impacts on the renewable energy industry and, more broadly, on the nation's environmental and energy future," Bossong says. "Consequently, the EIA is doing a serious disservice to the public by publishing analyses that are inherently inconsistent with its own historical data and near-term projections."
As a rebuttal, the Sun Day Campaign has produced its own report using the EIA's published data showing that the future of renewable energy growth in the US is on a much faster track.
Solar's share of net electrical generation in 2013 was about 0.23% - although this figure does not reflect electricity generated by distributed PV systems not connected to the grid. However, solar grew by 50% from 2010 to 2011. Growth jumped 138% in 2012 and by 114% in 2013.
A continued annual doubling of solar-electric generation for next couple of years appears to be possible, the Sun Day Campaign says. Moreover, this estimate might even be conservative in light of the number of PV and solar thermal projects slated to come online this year and next.
Thereafter, the report says, a more conservative assumption is that solar continues to grow in increments comparable to that now being experienced by wind beginning in 2016.
While the Sun Day Campaign report makes no assumptions about specific renewable energy technologies after 2016, it notes that the percentage of renewable energy capacity in the US has expanded from 8.85% in 2004 to 12.87% in 2013. In other words, the average percentage has widened by roughly 0.4% each year over the past decade.
Given the mix of dropping costs; continued pressure by state renewable portfolio standards; and the political desire to displace coal, other fossil fuels and nuclear power, the Sun Day Campaign says it is reasonable to expect this past decade's pace of growth to at least continue in the near term.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.