After decades of trying, petro-companies are one step closer to drilling in the Arctic Refuge.

Oct 23, 2017 by


Stuff that matters

No refuge for the weary   GRIST.ORG

This week, Senate Democrats failed to strip a line from the Republican’s budget that would encourage people to pump up and burn all of the hydrocarbon beneath the refuge.

Never mind that it’s also the largest block of undeveloped wilderness in the United States and an important home for many species, including a major caribou herd. The Gwich’in people, who depend on caribou, have opposed drilling, but the Inupiat on the coast have mostly supported it.

If this feels a bit like Groundhog Day, you’re not wrong. Back in 2005, we wrote, “Haven’t we heard this same alarm sounding before? — this time advocates on both sides of the issue agree: Congress is closer than ever before to green-lighting oil and gas drilling in one of the largest remaining undeveloped wild areas in the United States.”

The Department of Interior recommended opening the area to oil drillers in 1987, and it has been an intermittent battle royale for environmentalists ever since. Consider this the bell for the next round.

the price is right

The cost of installing solar energy is going to plummet again.

Utility-scale solar power costs could drop 60 percent over the next 10 years, provided the Trump administration refrains from tanking the solar industry.

The already booming renewable energy sector will see a sharp drop in costs thanks to improvements in efficiency and technology, the head of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) told Reuters on Monday. The agency expects the cost of batteries, an essential and expensive piece of the transition to renewables, to drop by 60 to 70 percent in the next 10 years.

IRENA predicts the world will add 80 to 90 gigawatts of new solar capacity each year for the next five to six years. For reference, one gigawatt can power a medium-sized city.

Renewables now provide a quarter of the world’s power, but not all countries are embracing them with equal enthusiasm. President Donald Trump may impose a tariff on imported solar panels to protect domestic panel makers. If he chooses to limit imports, the price of solar in America could double.

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