Friday Linkage 1/22/2016

It’s official. 2015 was the warmest year on record. If you want to know why we get freak storms more often, it’s because we have messed up the planet. If you want to know why we have more extreme droughts, it’s because we have messed up the planet.

We have a choice to try and make things better or be silly humans that stick our heads in the sand when presented with difficulty. Leadership will not come from politicians because they are merely mirrors of society that parrot back what we desire to hear. Leadership will come from people who care deeply about the future.

On to the links…

Obama Ends New Coal Leases On Public Lands—I am thankful that the Obama administration’s decision to halt new leases for coal mining on federal lands got so much traction in the press. If we have any hope of saving our species’ future on this planet it will start with keeping fossil fuels in the ground.

We Might Have Finally Seen Peak Coal—We can hope so. With bankruptcies in the U.S. becoming common for large coal companies and China’s demand leveling off there seems to be an increasing momentum behind the death of coal.

China’s Coal-Burning in Significant Decline—Part of this may be due to a slowing economy, but coal is on the decline in China.

Renewables Attracted Record $329BN of Investment in 2015—Oil prices have crashed and coal is on the way out, meaning that investors are not willing to place capital behind those ventures. Renewables continue to see investment growth and reached record levels in 2015. Maybe there is hope.

SunEdison To Cover 25 California School Parking Lots With Solar—Some people estimate that there are enough parking lots to cover an area the size of Connecticut. Why isn’t every parking lot a candidate for a solar awning?

Wind Power Supplied 97% of Electricity Needs of Scottish Households in 2015—Granted, this does not include industrial or transportation needs, but it is an impressive number nonetheless. Accounting for all energy, renewables provided over 15% of Scotland’s needs.

Texas Sets Wind Energy Record as Turbines Produce 40% of the State’s Power—Texas is most often associated with the “dinosaur business,” but it has a lot of renewable energy and more potential to exploit. Higher than average winds mean a lot of wind energy getting pumped into the grid.

Can You Guess Which Country Just Set a New World Record for Wind Power?—Freaking Denmark. Again.

The Problem With Rooftop Solar That Nobody Is Talking About—This article is not trying to say don’t get a rooftop solar system, but rather that there are some financial and regulatory shenanigans going on that enable you to get that system.

Half of Plastic Pollution Comes from 5 Nations—That is right. China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand are responsible for approximately half of the ocean’s plastic pollution. Seems like the place to start to get some change happening.

Report Warns that Plastics Will Soon Outweigh Fish in World’s Oceans—It gets better. We have poured so much plastic crap into the oceans and continue to do so at such a rate where it is expected that there will be more plastic, by weight, in the oceans than fish.

Power to the Poop: One Colorado City is using Human Waste to Run its Vehicles—Why doesn’t every waste treatment facility in the United States use a system such as this?

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