Clean energy is sweeping across America and is poised for more dramatic growth in the coming years.
Wind turbines and solar panels were novelties ten years ago; today, they are everyday parts of America’s energy landscape. Energy-saving LED light bulbs cost $40 apiece as recently as 2010; today, they cost a few dollars at the hardware store. Just a few years ago, electric vehicles seemed a far-off solution to decarbonize our transportation system; now, they have broken through to the mass market.
Virtually every day, there are new developments that increase our ability to produce renewable energy, apply renewable energy more widely and exibly to meet a wide range of energy needs, and reduce our overall energy use – developments that enable us to envision an economy powered entirely with clean, renewable energy.
America produces almost five times as much renewable electricity from the sun and the wind as in 2009, and currently wind and solar energy provide nearly 10 percent of our nation’s electricity.
America’s institutions of higher education can play a leadership role in the fight to prevent the worst impacts of global warming. Colleges and universities across the country should aggressively deploy clean energy on campus, setting a goal to meet all their energy needs – electricity, heating and cooling, and transportation – with clean renewable resources.
Recycling rates in New Mexico reveal one of the most wasteful states in the nation. At 19 percent, the statewide rate falls almost 16 points below the national average 34.7 percent, based on the most recent available data. In other words, 81 percent of the waste in New Mexico goes to landfills, incinerators, or spills into the environment. Even the highest local rate, boasted by Lea County at 24 percent, falls well below national average.
Clean energy is sweeping across America and is poised for further dramatic growth in the years ahead.
Wind turbines and solar panels were novelties 10 years ago; today, they are everyday parts of America’s energy landscape. Energy-saving LED light bulbs cost $40 apiece as recently as 2010; today, they cost a few dollars at the local hardware store. Electric cars and the use of batteries to store excess electricity on the grid seemed like far-off solutions just a few years ago; now, they are breaking through into the mass market.
America’s waterways provide us with drinking water, places to fish and swim, and critical habitat for wildlife – when they are clean and protected.
The passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972 was a turning point in America’s efforts to protect and restore its rivers, lakes and coastal waters. Though the Clean Water Act has made some progress bringing our waters back to health, a closer look at compliance with and enforcement of the law reveals an overly lenient system that too often allows pollution without accountability.
Over a 21-month period from January 2016 to September 2017, major industrial facilities released pollution that exceeded the levels allowed under their Clean Water Act permits more than 8,100 times. Often, these polluters faced no fines or penalties.
To protect and restore our waters, state and federal officials must tighten enforcement of the Clean Water Act.
Environment New Mexico Research and Policy Center is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to getting things done.