8/2/2013 8:22:44 PM

Good News Friday {Bold Visions for Action, Republican Support, Solar in Delhi, Carbon-free Shipping}

Momentum continues to build for action on climate change, with Gina McCarthy, the new U.S. EPA chief, and Maryland 's Governor O'Malley sharing bold visions for the future. We focus on this and other positive news in our Good News Friday round-up:

  • Chief Gina McCarthy used her first speech as head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to confirm her commitment to stopping climate change. She emphasized that plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will benefit the economy by sparking business innovation and increasing jobs. "Let's talk about this as an opportunity of a lifetime," she said.
  • Following McCarthy's speech, four former EPA chiefs, all Republican, expressed their support for taking "substantive steps to curb climate change" in an op-ed in the New York Times. Calling the costs of inaction "undeniable," they stressed there is no time to waste.
  • Meanwhile in Maryland, Governor Martin O'Malley shared an aggressive plan for reducing the state's carbon footprint, calling averting climate change a "moral obligation." Among the proposed steps: more renewable energy; increased composting and recycling programs; double the current mass transit ridership; tree-planting programs; and a lower emissions cap on the state's coal-burning power plants.
  • In Delhi, India, a new proposal for a "rooftop revolution" using solar panels has the potential to bring 2 gigawatts of energy to residents by 2020. The plummeting cost of solar combined with extensive roof space makes the project feasible. 
  • In Japan, 30% of the residential solar power added last year was part of new home construction, called "smart homes" by builders appealing to energy-conscious Japanese citizens.
  • And, finally, farmers in Vermont and upstate New York are experimenting with transporting their produce on a sailing barge, hoping it will serve as a model for carbon-free shipping in the 21st century. Don't you love the idea?

Have a great weekend!

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