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The United States and world are facing a crisis of enormous magnitude if the global warming problem is not addressed properly. Every country in the world, except the current U.S. administration, supports the Paris climate agreement goal limiting the rise in global average surface temperature to 2°C (3.6°F). The consequences of failure could be a catastrophic future: Flooding from rising sea levels, more severe hurricanes/heat waves/wildfires, crop failures and droughts, and greater stress on an already aging infrastructure. Climate scientists generally agree carbon emissions should be reduced to near zero by mid-century to avert catastrophic climate change. But the voluntary… [more]View Discussion
Associate Professor of Sustainability Science and Policy
University of Vermont
Energy systems are in transition from predominantly centralized fossil-fuel and nuclear-based infrastructures to more efficient and heterogeneous renewable-based configurations that include a diversity of different kinds of decentralized, distributed energy. This energy transition is much more than a technological substitution; this transition also includes major social innovations including institutional and cultural changes related to expectations for how individuals, households, communities and organizations use and manage energy. The renewable energy transition also has huge potential to redistribute the political “power” associated with huge multi-national conventional energy companies. This political potential of the local, distributed, abundant, and renewable characteristics of renewable-based energy… [more]View Discussion