Reasons to be cheerful (parts 1-327)
We can be a gloomy lot, us environmentalists – always on the verge of despair. But, hold on a minute…
- Renewable energy produced a record 15.5% of the UK’s electricity in the second quarter of 2013 – up 50% on the previous year (rewind a decade and renewables hardly bothered the statisticians);
- Portugal managed a whopping 70% of electricity from renewables in quarter 1. Iceland is pretty much zero carbon in this respect, Spain and Germany are also breaking records left right and centre;
- The cost of a solar panel has plummeted by a factor of 100 since the 1970s and halved in just the last couple of years;
- Electric vehicle sales in the US have risen 447% on the back of the Tesla Model S. The Tesla was also the best selling car of any kind in Norway in September, but it got bumped in October – by its electric cousin the Nissan Leaf.
- The amount of material going to landfill in the UK has hit an all-time low;
- According to the CBI, a third of all UK growth now comes from the green sector;
- The rise in global carbon emissions slowed last year.
And there’s grim news for business as usual:
- Fossil energy prices remain stubbornly high despite the shale gas boom in the US;
- Commodity prices in general are higher than they have ever been since we started measuring them.
OK, there’s no room for complacency, but we are making progress and we should be proud of that. We won’t get to tipping points without struggling through the ‘hard yards’ of breaking open vested interests and established infrastructure first. Telling other people “we’ll never make it” dispirits them as well as us. So let’s cheer up, be proud and keep on at it!