As China GDP Growth Slows, Central Government Reaffirms Commitment to Renewables FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Louise Watt for the Associated Press:China will not return to its era of pursuing economic growth at the expense of the environment despite its slowing economy, the country’s environment minister said Friday. Chen Jining said China would continue to restructure its economy away from heavily polluting companies to create more room for “good companies” to develop and focus on technological innovation, for example.For decades, China pursued economic growth with little care of the damage to the country’s environment. In recent years, the Chinese government has changed tack as it tries to move away from an economy dependent on heavy industry to a more sustainable one based on domestic consumption and services.At the same time, China’s increasingly wealthy citizens have become more concerned with the consequences of environmental pollution.“What is development? We used to equate it with GDP and production,” said Chen. “We have come to believe that nature is valuable and priceless. We have abandoned the former idea of contrasting development with environmental protection but rather believe the two elements can be unified and balanced.”Today, China is aiming to transform its economic development model and pursue “economic quality, but also environmental quality,” Chen told a news conference during an annual meeting of the country’s legislature.“Only when those polluters bow out of the market will it be possible to set aside some development space for good companies to focus on innovation and improving product quality, and to avoid the phenomenon of ‘bad money driving out good’ in our development,” said Chen.China is the world’s largest coal user, but its coal consumption has fallen for the past two years, and it has become the world’s leading investor in renewable energy. Yet China approved more than 200 new coal-fired power plants last year, with a capacity three times as much as that in each of the previous two years, according to a Greenpeace analysis published last week. It attributed the jump to a change in March last year to allow local governments to give permits, rather than central government agencies.“The coal bubble is an example of how their attempts to prop up GDP can lead to economically and environmentally perverse outcomes,” said Lauri Myllyvirta, senior global campaigner at Greenpeace.The building of these new plants doesn’t mean an overall increasing in coal-burning because China is continuing to close down older plants, Greenpeace said. But it does mean “massive economic waste, and a missed opportunity to channel the investment spending into renewable energy, enabling even faster growth.”Full article: China says slowing economy won’t stop anti-pollution efforts
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Devin Henry for The Hill:Residents in the western United States support reforming the federal coal-leasing program. According to a new poll released Tuesday by Public Policy Polling, 64 percent of voters in western coal states support updating the coal-leasing program, including looking at royalty rates for companies and updating the leasing terms.Fifty-two percent of coal state Westerners support reforming the program so “taxpayers get a fair deal,” according to the survey. Two-thirds say those leases should not go to companies that haven’t cleaned up former mining sites, and 53 percent said a new coal leasing program should do more to protect public lands.“The thing about this issue that unites a majority of Westerners is they are interested in making sure the government doesn’t waste taxpayer money when it comes to the use of natural resources,” said Chris Saeger, the director of the Western Values Project.“The thing that unifies people in the center in a number of these coal-producing states is the idea that when publicly owned coal is being used to produce energy or to be sold to produce energy, it should be done transparently and that American taxpayers should get an honest return on that transaction.”The poll — of 3,017 residents of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Washington — comes as the Interior Department continues its review of the coal-leasing program. Officials are aiming to update the terms of the coal-leasing program for the first time in decades, with the goal of accounting for the impact coal mining has on climate change and the state of the land.Poll shows support in West for coal-leasing reform Poll Finds Majority Support for Western U.S. for Coal-Leasing Reform
Utility coal shipment revenues continue falling at major U.S. railroad FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Kansas City Southern’s utility coal revenues decreased 23% year over year in the third quarter from $46 million to $35.4 million, while its coal and pet coke revenues increased 27% from $9.4 million to $11.9 million.Since the first of the year, the railroad’s utility coal revenues have dropped 31% to $88.6 million as coal and pet coke revenues grew 8% to $33.3 million, the company reported Oct. 19.Brian Hancock, executive vice president and chief innovation officer, said on an Oct. 19 earnings call that the company’s shipments have shifted away from domestic coal and “more towards cross-border refined products, automotive and intermodal businesses.”The company also reported a decline in coal revenue in the second quarter, largely due to the closing of a Texas power plant closing that had once been a major customer.Kansas City Southern saw record revenues of $699 million in the third quarter, up 6% from the year-ago period. Diluted EPS was $1.70, a 38% increase from 2017.More ($): Kansas City Southern sees another drop in utility coal revenue in Q3
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:A recent report affirms that corporations have carved out a prominent position in growing the renewable energy market. According to research firm Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, corporate contracts accounted for 22 percent of 2018 power-purchase agreements for renewables in the U.S.WoodMac’s conclusions affirm a handful of findings that credit large corporations with pushing the solar and wind industries forward in 2018. The Business Renewables Center at the Rocky Mountain Institute, the American Wind Energy Association, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance have also reported that last year was an annual record for companies purchasing solar and wind energy.The dramatic rise in corporate deals puts the sector on par with solar purchases driven by renewable portfolio standard policies, according to Colin Smith, senior solar analyst at WoodMac. According to WoodMac’s numbers, the United States now has over 8.8 gigawatts of wind and solar capacity tied to corporate and industrial customers.The research firm puts the current pipeline of projects at over 6.8 gigawatts and forecasts that projects in development could top 10 gigawatts by the end of this year.Between 2017 and 2018, procurements grew 109 percent. Analysts at WoodMac attribute that increase to procurement of solar power. Though C&I deals have historically prioritized wind, more companies are now looking to solar deals and their increasingly favorable economics. Capacity brought into operation in 2015 and in the years before included 4,332 megawatts of wind and just 985 megawatts of solar. Last year, the capacity breakdown was 3,360 megawatts of wind and 2,455 megawatts of solar brought online. Beyond 2019, analysts expect corporate procurements to continue to grow, helped along by factors such as increasingly favorable contract terms and sustainability goals.More: Corporate renewables procurement accounted for nearly a quarter of all deals in 2018 Corporate renewable project pipeline could top 10GW in 2019
This fall, after the crowds had left, we had the chance to tour the Yosemite Valley and hike a section of the John Muir Trail. Photos by AMGA certified mountain guide Mark Smiley.
Photo Courtesy of the American Hiking SocietyThis Saturday, June 6 is National Trails Day. Coordinated by the American Hiking Society, National Trails Day is the single largest trail celebration in the country with events taking place in all 50 states. It’s designed to draw attention to and create awareness for the protection of the magnificent trail systems that exist throughout the United States.According the American Hiking Society, there are more 200,000 miles of recreational, multi-use trails criss crossing the country.To find a National Trails Day event near you, use this handy event locator provided by the American Hiking Society.
We’re going sailing! We did it. YOU DID IT! The Pirate Mama Kickstarter campaign has crossed the finish line and will be setting sail on January 2nd.From this vantage point, it’s tempting to pretend I believed all along the campaign would go off without a hitch. I did not. I paced and doubted and second-guessed my decision to leave my stable and secure office job on a daily basis. And on bad days, this occurred hourly.The things I told myself I wouldn’t say to anyone else. I wondered if I was failing my son by prioritizing this adventure over a bigger house or a more rigorous routine. I berated myself for not being happy with what I already had. I worried my friends and the rest of the world reading about my idea would consider me foolish or selfish or perhaps both.Every time I got close to the brink of quitting the Kickstarter campaign, when the desire to retreat to a more comfortable space welled up in side of me, I thought about the last time I was sailing.In September, I took my certification class at Charleston Sailing School. A light drizzle kept the skies dulled by grey all day, the fog heavy on the horizon that windless day. We tacked our way up the harbor and Sterling, the captain, pointed out a shrimp boat cleaning its nets before heading back to dock.“Want shrimp for dinner?” he asked with a gleam in his eye.“Yum! I’d love that,” I said, before I understood his trick. Now I’d have to negotiate shallow water and a narrow channel to dock the boat at a pier. I was the only student that week, which meant I had Sterling’s undivided attention. He noticed every time I got careless and steered too close to a hazard or misjudged the current’s strength. He commented every time I let the sail luff or failed to keep an eye on the chart.There was so much to remember. The shapes and colors and numbers of buoys and what they all meant. The point of sail and the direction of the wind. Then there was reading the water itself, studying the surface for telltale texture and color differences and scanning the horizon for other boats.A voice looped inside my brain. This is too much, you’ll never get all this down in time to take Tobin sailing this winter. You’re in over your head.Sterling must have noticed. “Sailing requires an on-going conversation with the wind and current. Just be willing to listen.”That was a game changer. I didn’t have to memorize every scenario and know the correct answer. I needed to observe and use that awareness to constantly adjust my responses.We sailed throughout the overcast afternoon, making short tacks toward the creek where we would anchor that night. I steered as close into the wind as I could, sheeting in the sails and waiting to tack until the last possible minute when the muddy banks were less than a few boat lengths away. I kept an eye on the chart, finding landmarks to measure our progress to navigate toward our anchorage and glanced at the depth finder every few minutes to avoid grounding our boat.That evening we set anchor. I gazed out at the marsh and light filtered through the grey. I blinked, thinking I was imagining the pale rainbow that spanned the marsh. The colors intensified with each passing second. I spent the next thirty minutes watching the rainbow form and then a second halo of a rainbow echoing its brilliance.We ate shrimp and drank wine basking in the glow of the setting sun. We cleaned up and were about to head to bed when Sterling called out. “There’s bioluminescent in water, I’ve never seen it here before.”I jumped off the stern and the water exploded with hundred of glowing specks. I swam, leaving a wake of fluorescence. I splashed and laughed. I was living a life full of discoveries and wonder. I would have never guessed the magic of buying fresh-caught shrimp or seeing rainbows after a day of plodding through the grey or swimming in bioluminescent.That memory reminded me about possibility. Thinking back on it, I realized that no matter how scary venturing into the unknown toward unrealized dreams can be, there is nothing so hazardous as remaining stagnant, in the shadows of security and stability.Thank you for helping to make the dream of sailing with my son actually happen. I can’t wait to share the journey with you this January.
And we’re off for another round! This year bigger and better. We’ve secured a whole new adventuremobile, and it’s got all the tricks. Take a look at this year’s “Van Cribs 2” and see what’s new.If you want a view of last years van to see how much has changed (it’s a new vehicle, for starters!) take a look here: Live Outside and Play Van: A Tour of Our Crib.There is one way for this tour to be a reality, our sponsors! Sending a thank you shout out to our title sponsor Nite Ize, and all of our other awesome sponsors like Crazy Creek, National Geographic, Sea to Summit, Mountain House, Lowe Alpine, Old Town, Leki, HydraPak, UCO Gear and Wenzel. If you like the gear that keeps us groovin’ click here to enter for a chance to win our Grand Gear Giveaway!
Blue Ridge Parkway sees large decline in visitors, loses spot as most popular unit in the National Park Service The Blue Ridge Parkway saw a large decline in visitors in 2018, dropping from 16.1 million visitors in 2017 to 14.7 million in 2018, a decrease of 8.8 percent. Until last year, the Blue Ridge Parkway was the most visited unit in the National Park Service. The Golden Gate National Recreation Area now claims that title, with a visitation of 15.2 million people in 2018. Access to the parkway is highly dependent on weather, where rain, snow and ice can close the road for long stretches of time. Last year was the wettest on record in Asheville, NC, which received 79.48 inches of rain. Other parts of Western North Carolina also saw record or near-record rainfall. Marine Biologists in Brazil are baffled as to why a young humpback whale washed ashore on a remote island in the Amazon at a time of year when the whale should have migrated thousands of miles south to Antarctica. Members of a conservation group found the whale after following a group of circling vultures. The whale was lodged in thick shrubs and brush and had been dead for several days. Scientists estimate that tens of thousands of humpback whales live in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brazil, but this time of year they should have migrated to feed near Antarctica. The young whale was about half the size of a full-grown humpback and scientists hypothesize that the whale was separated from its mother before it died. Scientists are trying to determine if a boat hit the whale or if it became entangled in fishing net before it died. A necropsy report is expected this week. Humpback whale washes ashore in Amazon River, stunning scientists
By Dialogo March 23, 2009 Servicemembers from Forward Operating Location Manta and the military group of the U.S. Embassy in Quito donated $6,000 in materials to a daycare center in Colón, Ecuador. Over 40 children under the care of the Colón facility will now benefit from a refrigerator, bedding, storage cabinets and windows supplied through the U.S. Southern Command Humanitarian Assistance Program. “We are so thankful. The help of the FOL has made a difference,” said Tatiana Picó, a caregiver to the center’s six-month to one-year-old children. In a community where resources are often limited, the new refrigerator will allow them to store food, and cribs and mattresses will provide an improved place for children to sleep. This donation is one of five local initiatives in the past year coordinated through HAP, a U.S. Southern Command program managed in Ecuador by members of the military group at the U.S. Embassy in Quito. HAP emphasizes infrastructure development and is geared toward building stability and security in local communities. “We saw a need in this community and hope the impact of this project will affect children in Colón long after the FOL transitions from Manta,” said Lt. Col. Jared Curtis, 478th Expeditionary Operations Squadron commander at FOL Manta. Other HAP projects initiated by the FOL include resurfacing a courtyard and building a roof for Angelica Flores, a special needs school; donating an electrical transformer to OSCUS, a vocational school; and rebuilding two burn center rooms within Zambrano Hospital, Manta’s only public hospital. In addition to HAP, FOL volunteers donated over 9,000 hours to bring 180,000 items, including clothing, school supplies and toiletries, to local organizations in 2008. Over 1,200 kilograms of food and 2 million packets of vitamins were also distributed last year with the help of FOL volunteers.