For the New Year, I thought it appropriate to list a few of the accomplishments from 2013. First the good news:
1 – Millions more Americans now have health insurance thanks to Obamacare. More than 2 million have signed up on the federal and state exchanges, tens of millions more will benefit from Medicaid expansion.
2 – US demand for electricity dropped in 2013. Some utilities reported a decrease in residential demand by as much as 9 percent and up to 5.9 percent overall. This is likely the result of conservation measures, such as CFL and LED light bulbs, new green construction techniques, and growth of solar and wind energy. Imagine what would happen if we ever took conservation and alternative energy seriously.
3 – The US continues to shift electricity production away from coal-burning power plants. Just this week, Arizona Public Service Co. closed three 1960s era coal-fired generators in the Four Corners region near Farmington, New Mexico. These old generators were among the nation’s dirtiest.
4 – According to the Census Bureau, the US population is growing at the slowest rate since the Great Depression – just 0.72 percent. Even if it’s the result of the Great Recession, it’s definitely good news. There will be fewer demands on our natural resources and our infrastructure. Of course, large corporations think this is terrible news since there will be more competition for customers and (gasp) workers.
Now the bad news:
According to a new study published in Nature: The International Journal of Science and reported by HuffPost, climate change could pose more significant problems than previously thought. Climate sensitivity models show that global temperatures could rise as much as 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100! The result of such an increase could be worse than the extreme storms and rising sea levels already predicted. It could be catastrophic.
Happy New Year, everyone! Be sure to stock up on sun block.