Polar Bears International

6/14/2013 1:42:00 PM

Good News Friday {Solar-powered Plane; Solar in Japan, Brazil and Haiti; China‰Ûªs Cap-and-Trade}

It's Friday and we want to share some good news. There's a lot of doom and gloom out there regarding climate change—and there should be. It's a serious problem that we all need to be taking action on.

But on Fridays, we like to highlight some of the good news. We focus on promising new technology and what people and communities are doing right now to reduce their carbon footprint and create sustainable societies.

  • Our favorite technology story this week is a solar-powered plane, designed by Solar Impulse, on a historic flight across the continental U.S. The journey brings with it a message of hope that pioneering innovations and a can-do attitude can help solve the climate crisis. You can follow the flight and join in the team's challenge for a clean energy future on the Solar Impulse website.
  • Japan is on track to become the world's largest solar market as it moves away from nuclear energy following the Fukishima disaster, according to analysts at Deutsche Bank. Market incentives in the form of feed in tariffs (FiTs) are spurring on the transition.
  • Solar power is also catching on in Haiti, where a new solar-powered hospital—the world's largest—will not only generate enough power for its own use, but will produce excess to give back to the national grid, helping to create a sustainable society.
  • Solar is surging in Brazil as well, with applications for solar power projects totaling 392 megawatts in just one week. (And as the Clean Technica website says, that's a lot!) The rising popularity is due to the fact that the cost is cheaper than grid electricity.
  • And, finally, China, which creates one-quarter of the world's carbon dioxide emissions, has vowed to get tough on carbon by rolling out cap-and-trade schemes in seven cities, including Beijing, by the end of the year. The move is motivated in large part by poor air quality that is fueling social unrest. "China may not have a choice any more," says Knut Alfsen, head of research at the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo. "It's just much better to control total emissions." The best news of all: a commitment from China would "breathe new life into climate talks."

Have a great weekend!

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