Bloomberg, February 7, 2020
By Josh Petri (Bloomberg) – One of the major news stories of the week was the acquittal of U.S. President Donald Trump. As part of his effort to get Ukraine to probe a political rival, Trump withheld almost $400 million in aid appropriated by Congress for Ukraine’s defense. Now Democrats say Trump is doing something similar on clean energy, withholding $823 million Congress allocated for a program aimed at countering the global climate crisis.
Despite Trump’s unwavering opposition to climate-friendly policies, the switch to renewable energy continues. Texas and Iowa, already leaders in the field, installed more wind turbines than ever last year. The country as a whole installed 9.1 gigawatts of wind power in 2019, the most since the expiration of federal tax credits triggered a building boom almost a decade ago.
That wind power is generated via massive fiberglass blades, each of which can be longer than a Boeing 747 wing. Built to withstand hurricane-force winds, the blades can’t easily be crushed—or recycled or repurposed for that matter. It’s a curious conundrum: Tens of thousands of blades must be replaced each year and most have nowhere to go but landfills like the one below. But the industry is working on a green solution to wind power’s dirty downside.
Legendary investor Jeremy Grantham last year announced he was devoting almost his entire fortune, more than $1 billion, to fighting climate change. In a new interview, he warned that the impacts are “accelerating.”
For some species, things are already quite bad. A new study published Thursday in the journal Science found spikes of extreme heat are a critical factor in the widespread die-off of wild bumblebees.
As for Grantham’s anecdotal observations, computer climate models agree with his observation. These sophisticated programs—which have successfully projected global warming for half a century—are now running are now running red hot, and scientists don’t know why.
The question is, it seems, how bad will climate change get, and how soon?
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