Wind turbines

Climate Change & Conservation eNews

Renewables

Home > Climate News > Climate News: Renewables

Solar Panels In Field
Judy Anderson

The next money crop for farmers: Solar panels

Farmers are facing increased stress from a variety of factors, including extreme weather, and suicide rates are climbing. It's time to consider how renewable energy can keep farming families on the land and lower their stress. Land conservation takes a long-term view, and now it needs to include the viability of farms in the face of climate change.

“There’s enough energy produced to run the whole complex,” said DeBaillie, 50, who farms 6,500 acres with his brother and cousin. They typically grow corn and soybeans each spring, but this year they want to put more solar panels on 15 acres—and sell the energy.

The earnings, he said, would be about three times what an average harvest would yield there.

According to the federal government’s Fourth National Climate Assessment, released in November, more extreme high temperatures plus increased humidity and precipitation could mean more pests and pathogens on farms throughout the Midwest in the coming decades. Productivity could drop to levels not seen since the 1980s, the report warned…

Read More »
Young Farmers
National Young Farmers Coalition video screen capture

Climate change makes farming harder

Climate change is increasing a risk to farm and ranch survival, given extreme weather, blights, water challenges, and changes in soil. That’s one of the reasons why farmers are embracing renewable energy to help buffer potential losses and help restore the land.

The Young Farmers Coalition speaks here with Yale Climate Connections about what this means to young farmers. This could be something you could share with folks who care about farming and farmers, with a link to how they can slow down climate change. This is short—probably even too short—but it’s a good snippet.

Read More »
NREL Scientist Jordan Macknick And Jake Janski By Solar Panels
Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Solar farms shine a ray of hope on bees and butterflies

The tidy rows of gleaming solar panels at Pine Gate Renewables facility in southwestern Oregon originally sat amidst the squat grasses of a former cattle pasture. But in 2017 the company started sowing the 41-acre site with a colorful riot of native wildflowers.

The shift was not merely aesthetic; similar projects at a growing number of solar farms around the country aim to help reverse the worrying declines in bees, butterflies, and other key pollinating species observed in recent years…

Read More »
Energy At Dusk
Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomerberg

Renewables investment nudges out fossil fuel and nuclear

“The global clean energy transition is gaining pace as it becomes a mainstream investment option. According to the latest research from CERES on progress to a ‘Clean Trillion’ it is also one that far outstripped fossil fuels and nuclear in 2017.

In 2017 the clean energy industry reached a critical turning point. Growth and cost reductions across the sector have far outperformed expectations based on policy frameworks alone.  Dramatic reductions in cost, increases in scale, and technology improvements have fundamentally changed the dynamics of the clean energy market. Energy market dynamics have shifted in favor of clean energy technologies such as wind and solar, which increasingly out-compete new fossil fuel and nuclear power sources…”

Read More »
Pit

Do you have questions about divestment and socially responsible investment?

The Land Trust Alliance provides some thoughtful information on their climate change website about divestment and socially responsible investment.  You may find it helpful when discussing whether this is a path your land trust wants to take as a moral, ethical, and financial statement.

As the financial world looks at the risks associated with fossil fuels, others are considering different investment strategies, as noted in this article earlier this year from Forbes.

Read More »
Smoke Stack
Kestral Land Trust

Example: Kestrel Land Trust takes action against climate change with fossil fuel divestment

Kestrel’s mission to conserve and care for forests, farms, and riverways in the Pioneer Valley protects the future health of our planet. They state that “the work we do is impacted by—and has an impact on—the crisis of climate change that is now defining our future. The overwhelming scientific consensus is that the burning of fossil fuels is warming our planet and threatening our global life support systems.

That’s why Kestrel’s Board of Trustees voted to eliminate equity holdings in companies owning fossil fuel reserves in all of the long-term endowment accounts that support their work…”

Read More »
Smoke Stack Video Clip

Planet has only until 2030 to stem catastrophic climate change, experts warn

With as little as 10 - 30 years to make a significant difference—or risk massive species die-off, loss of agricultural lands, forest loss, and extreme weather—I applaud the realization that we can’t continue to conserve land as if climate change is a distant issue.

“Governments around the world must take “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” to avoid disastrous levels of global warming, says a stark new report from the global scientific authority on climate change.

The report issued Monday by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), says the planet will reach the crucial threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels by as early as 2030, precipitating the risk of extreme drought, wildfires, floods and food shortages for hundreds of millions of people…”

 

Read More »
Sheep Under Solar Panels
Oregon State University

Study shows crops, forage may benefit from solar panel shade

An accidental discovery at Oregon State University may reveal how solar panels can help grow healthier crops on dryland farms.

Not only can solar power lower energy bills and increase efficiency, but the shade afforded by photovoltaic panels might also boost agricultural production on non-irrigated farmland, retaining more moisture for crops and livestock forage…

Read More »
Forbes Media Wind Farm
© 2020 Forbes Media LLC

No, wind farms are not causing global warming

If you hear pushback about wind energy, whether it’s because of the impact on birds and bats, land fragmentation, or light and sound, it’s helpful to frame your response based upon facts and in the context of what havoc climate change will wreak if we don’t slow it down.

Research is documenting we are headed towards massive species die-off, including birds and bats, if we continue on our current track to an increase of three degrees Celsius.

One of the strategic actions your land trust can take is to help your community understand the need for renewables and how they are a necessary part of the conservation solution. A good place to start? Dispel this misconception…

Read More »
Climate Change Protest
Wiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Where Americans (mostly) agree on climate change policies

“Americans are politically divided over climate change, but there’s broader consensus around some of the solutions.

New data from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication — in partnership with Utah State University and the University of California, Santa Barbara — show how Americans across the country view climate and energy policies.

There is widespread support for renewable energy…”

Read More »