by Sami Grover –
There have been some incredible changes in our energy system in the last decade or so. From the rise of LEDs to the spread of wind and solar energy, we’ve seen significant advances in both lower emissions from energy production, and in ways to cut back on energy demand in the first place.
Last week saw a particularly exciting headline in this regard. As reported by Business Green, carbon emissions from energy production in the US for the first half of 2016 were the lowest we’ve seen since 1991.
As you might expect, the reasons for this decline are mixed. Milder weather meant lower heating demand. Coal use fell 18% since the same period in 2015. And renewables were up 9%. True, as we reported previously, transportation emissions have been on the rise—but the other changes in our energy demand more than made up for an uptick in oil use, apparently.
What’s interesting about all this is that we are just getting started. Whether it’s the tantalizing prospect of large-scale offshore wind in the US; the widespread, systemic impact of electrified transportation; or the fact that the Clean Power Plan is likely to start pushing down emissions even more (SCOTUS willing), I think we have good reason to anticipate further and more rapid progress than we have seen so far.
And it’s not a moment too soon. As the effects of global climate change continue to make themselves known, we really do need to get going on this mission as fast as we possibly can.