Category: Climate Change

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08/14/13

  09:17:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 442 words  
Categories: Climate Change

Of Unicorns and Climate Change Deniers

Unicorns are a charming fantasy; mythical creatures from a world that never was.

climate deniers believe in unicorns

But to activists trying to bring reason to the Climate Change debate, Unicorns are just as real as the world inhabited by climate change deniers.  Noting that “one good fantasy deserves another,” yesterday, activists awarded Unicorn shaped statues to 135 members of Congress who deny that the climate is changing and that human activities are the cause.

Sadly, such mockery is well deserved.  Look at this collection of jaw-dropping quotes collected just from members of the California Congressional delegation:

The earth cools, the earth warms…It could be caused by carbon dioxide or methane. Maybe we should kill the cows to stop the methane, or stop breathing to stop the CO2…Thousands of people die every year of cold, so if we had global warming it would save lives…We ought to look out for people. The earth can take care of itself.

Rep. Duncan Hunter

One of the difficulties in examining the issue of the climate change and greenhouse gases is that there is a wide range of scientific opinion on this issue and the science community does not agree to the extent of the problem or the critical threshold of when this problem is truly catastrophic.

Rep. Darrell Issa

We’re all told of course the debate is over and that all the scientists agree… and as all of you know, that is succinctly [sic] not the case.

Rep. Tom McClintock

However, scientists admit that they cannot be sure whether the Earth’s temperature is rising due to cyclical warming and cooling processes, or whether and how much humans are influencing it.

Rep. Devin Nunes

Too often, when congress is asked to pass environmental legislation, the legislation is based on emotional junk science rather than data based on reproducible, rigorous, tested, peer-reviewed results. In no area has this been more obvious than climate change. Because the Kyoto Treaty and much of the suggested environmental legislation would decimate jobs in southern California, constituents may be interested to learn of the growing scientific consensus that global warming is not manmade, if it is in fact even occurring.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher

Wow.  And because a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s some highlights (er, lowlights) of these wizards of Fantasyland in action:

Fortunately, we have our own antidote to this brand of concentrated stupidity.  It is called solar energy and it is a great way to do your part in reducing our carbon footprint, making the world a better place for our children to inherit.  Give us a call today and let’s start moving toward a cleaner world, no matter what the deniers say.

07/25/13

  10:00:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 255 words  
Categories: Solar News, Climate Change

Enphase Systems Reach 1 TWh of Energy

1 terrawatt hour of energyA Terrawatt hour of energy - 1 TWh - is a whole lot of energy. It is one thousand, million kilowatt hours of energy. A typical home uses roughly 25 kWhs of energy per day, which means that 1 TWh of energy could run that house and some 110,000 more just like it - for a year! That is indeed, a lot of energy - and that is the amount of energy Enphase systems have reported generating since 2008.

A cool blog post over at the Enphase website reports that at the same time that they were rolling out their new, fourth generation microinverter to much fanfare, they quietly reached the 1 TWh milestone.  With more than 100,000 systems installed worldwide (3.3 million units shipped), Enphase is gathering 150 gigabytes of data - each day! (We can only hope that their data centers are solar-powered!)

At Run on Sun we are proud to say that our solar installations have helped contribute to that 1 TWh of energy. To date, systems installed by Run on Sun have accounted for 279 MWh of energy - enough to keep 31 homes fully powered for a year.  That is how solar adds up - from lots of small to mid-sized installations around the country we start to combine to have a big impact on energy use.  That is a trend that is growing ever more rapidly - and with the growth of clean renewable energy, we lower Greenhouse Gas emissions and save water, too!

Give us a call or click on the button on the right and let’s get you started on joining this wonderful world of renewable energy.

07/24/13

  07:38:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 459 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Utilities, Climate Change, Commercial Solar, Residential Solar, Ranting

Palo Alto is All Green - Et tu, Munis?

A news report from RenewEconomy highlights the transition of Palo Alto, California to 100% renewable energy and it got us to wonder, so what about the rest of you munis?

City of Palo Alto logo

To be sure, Palo Alto has a significant advantage over most utilities - IOU or municipal - in that it gets 50% of its electricity from hydro-electric sources.  Still, this was a giant leap forward toward sustainability for the city which is home to Stanford University.  Palo Alto intends to supplement its hydro sources with wind farms, solar arrays and renewable gas captured from landfills.  If those aren’t sufficient to meet the city’s needs, they will buy non-renewable energy with renewable energy credits.

If you are expecting that much progress to come with a shocking price tag, you would be right.  But the shock is how low - just $3 per customer per year!

From the article:

“Palo Alto has been a leader in reducing its carbon emissions,“ Mayor Greg Scharff said of the decision – the city first established its Climate Action Plan in 2007, setting goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from all sources.

“When we realized we could achieve a carbon neutral electric supply right now, we were compelled to take action,” Scharff added. “Climate change is one of the critical challenges of our generation and we hope our actions will inspire others to follow suit.”

But, as PaloAltoPatch notes, being the owner of all of its energy utilities has given the city an advantage in the low-carbon stakes – the autonomy to make decisions based strictly on the best interests of Palo Altans, without worrying about shareholders.

“As a City, we’ve had cheaper, greener power for our citizens for decades, and being able to make this recent move to 100% carbon-free electricity is just another example of how owning our own utilities pays off,” said City Manager James Keene.

Of course, every muni utility has that same advantage - they can do what is best for the local residents without having to answer to far-flung shareholders who may not care what happens within the city.  So why are the policies of so many munis every bit as backward as their IOU cousins?

Could it be because in most cities the residents only pay attention to what their utility is doing when it dramatically raises rates?  Surely that is the case in Glendale - when Glendale Water & Power rolled out their fatally-flawed Feed-in Tariff, not a single resident spoke on the subject.  But now when GWP is trying to institute a 24% rate hike they are getting lots of public participation, that is - anger - in response.

Palo Alto may be in a particularly fortunate place to allow them to take this step, but every muni could be taking similar, if smaller, steps.

The public simply has to demand it.

06/23/13

  06:49:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 80 words  
Categories: Climate Change

President Obama to Tackle Climate Change - Finally, Maybe

This coming Tuesday, President Obama will layout his strategy for addressing climate change.  As this is the most serious challenge the world faces in the 21st Century, we can only hope his Vision will be up to the Task.

Here’s his announcement of the upcoming speech:

We will be watching on Tuesday with great interest and will offer our thoughts then. Never has the scriptural imperative - “Without Vision the People Perish” - been more apt.

Let’s hope for something big!

06/02/13

  09:08:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 439 words  
Categories: Climate Change, Ranting

Without Vision: Exxon CEO on Carbon Future

ExxonMobilExxonMobil CEO, Rex Tillerson - whose name and position inevitably conjures images of dying dinosaurs - emceed the company’s annual shareholder meeting this past week and he had some blunt words for those who were advocating for a resolution on reducing greenhouse gas emissions - forget about it, we can’t get there.

Mr. Tillerson responded to questions from proponents of the resolution - which Management had recommended be voted down - during the open comment period before the vote.  When asked about the problem of exceeding 350 parts per million CO2 - the limit widely acknowledged as the threshold for preventing significant climate change - he replied:

Well, I can not conclude there is something magical about 350 because that suggests these models are very competent and our examination of the models, are that they’re not that competent…


We do not see a viable pathway with any known technology today to achieve the 350 outcome that is not devastating to economies, societies, and people’s health and well being around the world. You cannot get there.

When he speaks of steps that might be “devastating to economies” he is deathly serious:

We do not have a readily available replacement for the energy that provides the means of living that the world has today, not our standard of living but equally, if not more importantly, a standard of living that more than 2 billion people on the planet are below anything any of us would find acceptable from a poverty, hunger, education standpoint.

How do you want to deal with that great social challenge?  To what good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers in the process of those efforts when you don’t know exactly what your impacts are going to be?

(Rough transcript here - edited for accuracy based on audio, starting 1:39 in.)

The irony here is pretty intense - Mr. Tillerson is only focused on the risks associated with reducing the use of his company’s products - but he glosses over the impact that climate change is having now, and will have in the future.  It is insulting to suggest that he, or ExxonMobil, is actually concerned with raising the standard of living of the billions to which he refers and yet they are exactly the people who will suffer the most from fossil fuel-ed climate change.

Instead, Mr. Tillerson expounds on his “faith” that technology will allow us - or at least the First-Worlder’s amongst us - to adopt a “mitigation and adaptation” approach to dealing with climate change.  That might work in Dallas - where the meeting was held - but it is a death sentence for say, the Maldives.

Taking comfort in his words, the shareholders dutifully voted down the resolution 73 to 27%.

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Jim Jenal is the Founder & CEO of Run on Sun, Pasadena's premier installer and integrator of top-of-the-line solar power installations.
In addition, Run on Sun offers solar consulting services, working with consumers, utilities and municipalities to help them make solar power affordable and reliable.

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