Americans and Climate Change

New data released by the Yale Program on Climate Communication and summarized by Nadia Popovich, John Schwartz and Tatiana Schlossberg in the New York Times gives a detailed view of public opinion on global warming.

Spoiler alert: Americans believe in global warming, but aren’t convinced that it’s their responsibility to worry about.

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To us the most interesting point though is how much support American voters have for renewable energy, and renewable energy research. Eighty two percent of Americans are in favor of funding renewable energy research, 82%!!!! and yet our elected officials are slashing budgets and cutting departments. It begs the question, Why?

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Renewable Energy Good for the Economy

We are fans of evidence based solutions, and thus research and analysis is an important factor of how we determine what policy solutions to support, and what neighborhood projects to invest our time, resources and funding.

A new study has been released titled, A Prospective Analysis of the Costs, Benefits and Impacts of U.S. Renewable Portfolio Standards.  The National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory analyzed state renewable energy portfolios to assess costs and benefits into the future. The study analyzed two scenarios, 1) if RPS’s remain unchanged from current status, and 2) if RPS expand in every state and have higher targets.

 

The findings are dramatic. The reduction of pollutants, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption in both scenarios are incredible. The savings in health and environmental benefits are promising and all of these outweigh the costs accrued through the RPS standards. Turns out, investing in solar is a good use of public dollars.

As this MidwestEnergyNews.com article headline states: Benefits of state renewable energy policies far outweigh costs.