Dropping battery costs

From Climate Home News, 30 July 2020 – The model developed by Viswanathan and his colleagues shows that battery packs are on track to cost less than $80 per kilowatt-hour by 2025, a projection in line with leading forecasts, like that from BloombergNEF (You can read more about their model in a 2017 journal article and in a recent post …

Land-based ethics and settler solidarity in a time of corona and revolution

By Natalie Avalos, The Arrow. July 29, 2020 | STRATEGIZE! Settler colonialism has been defined as a structure, not an event, meaning that settler societies like the U.S., Canada, and Australia endure over time through racist laws and ideologies that naturalize the dispossession of Indigenous populations.1 One of the most effective strategies that settler states rely on to eliminate Indigenous peoples and their power is …

Did a third of the economy really vanish in just three months?

SectionsDemocracy Dies in Darkness By Andrew Van DamJuly 30, 2020 at 6:58 a.m. MDT The Commerce Department opened today’s announcement of second-quarter economic growth with an eyeball-blistering observation: “Real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased at an annual rate of 32.9 percent in the second quarter of 2020.” U.S. economy contracted at fastest quarterly rate on record from April to June as coronavirus walloped …

Neighborhoods and groups that were most exposed to fine particle pollution 40 years ago – lower-income and minority communities – are still exposed to higher air pollution levels and more death: Relative disparities have worsened for poorer and Hispanic communities

Disparities in PM2.5 air pollution in the United States, by Jonathan Colmer1,*, Ian Hardman2, Jay Shimshack3, John Voorheis4 Science  31 Jul 2020: Vol. 369, Issue 6503, pp. 575-578 DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz9353 Air pollution contributes to as many as 9 million premature deaths worldwide each year – twice as many as war, other violence, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. Fine particulate matter air pollution is especially dangerous: Microscopic …

Is Inequality in America Irreversible?

Chapter One summarizes the interdisciplinary research on the ways these inequalities undermine our democracy, public health, social mobility, economic stability, and civic life. In each case, I will point readers to other research on why these inequalities matter. In order to prescribe the proper remedies to reverse these inequalities, we must properly diagnose the causes. The second part of Chapter …

Is the Postal Service Being Manipulated to Help Trump Get Re-elected?

By Steve Coll, July 29, 2020 The New Yorker The American system for organizing elections is a crazy quilt of decentralization. More than eight thousand counties and towns administer voting. There is something admirably earnest and grassroots about the network of town clerks and gray-haired volunteers who fuss over the mechanisms of our democracy. Yet, because the system is embedded in …

The US has more power outages than any other developed country. Here’s why.

Our grid is outdated and rundown, but utilities aren’t willing to do much about it. By Ula Chrobak August 17, 2020 “What we’ve seen time and time again is that utilities effectively charge ratepayers for maintenance and then delay that maintenance. And instead, they prioritize shareholder dividends.” Microgrids may be part of the solution, too. These systems are fed by distributed sources, …

Who should be able to own and operate rooftop solar systems

The rapid growth of rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems can pose a number of financial challenges for both electric utility shareholders and their customers. One potential pathway to resolving those concerns involves allowing utilities to own and operate rooftop solar systems. However, the financial impacts of this business model are not well understood. In a new study published in the …

Free or reduced-fare transit pass programs structured (where a large group of potential transit riders—such as all students at a college or all employees in a large firm—periodically pays a lump sum to a transit agency) can be good for both riders and transit agencies

UC Davis, Aug 2020, by Saphores, Jean-Daniel, PhD; Shah, Deep and Khatun, Farzana https://escholarship.org/uc/item/74m7f3rxTo gain a better understanding of the current use and performance of free and reduced-fare transit pass programs, researchers at UC Irvine surveyed California transit agencies with a focus on members of the California Transit Association (CTA) during November and December 2019. Fifty-nine agencies, representing a broad …