In this week's Newsletter: Some worst-case climate scenarios we should all be aware of, the mainstreaming of the electric car, the success of the NY Green Bank could spark a national model and much more!
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What's the Worst That Could Happen? 


One of the great challenges of dealing with a chaotic climate is that scientists' models of the future naturally tend to show a range of possibilities, some more remote and some more likely. Since climate and environmental science and awareness really took shape in the 1970s, we've spent the past generation looking for confirmation of the models (if we believe that climate change is happening and that humans are making it worse) or clear evidence that our fears are overstated (if we don't believe). Now that a generation of study has been completed and we're starting to see more flooding, more extreme weather and the alarming collapse of the Larsen C ice shelf, it's time to take some of the biggest concerns more seriously.

Normally, we try to steer clear of the most alarming climate change stories, because you're probably already more than aware of the problem, right? Not so fast. It seems that for a lot of people, climate change is mostly about sea level rise and carbon in the atmosphere. But there are actually a series of inter-related problems that could quite easily turn into a full-blown catastrophe...and sooner than we think.

This article from NYMag.com explores some of the worst possible and most likely effects from climate change- effects we could see as soon as the end of this century, or even sooner. The details are pretty harrowing, so we won't go into them here, but the broadest categories of concern are: Mass extinctions; lack of food; release of ancient bacteria and viruses from the permafrost; unbreathable air; an increase in war and violence; global economic collapse; and poisoned oceans. All of which add up to a very scary situation indeed.

And of course, with a climate denial administration in Washington, it's even more frightening than it would be if we had leaders whose concern were equal to the scale of the problem. But rather than be frightened into inaction, we'd like to urge you to be motivated into action. If you have friends or relatives who are on the fence about the seriousness of the problem, maybe this article will help. Start a community group to press your electeds to do something about climate and environmental issues. Support organizations like NRDC, the Environmental Defense Group, BIG ReUse, Lower East Side Ecology Center and Solar One. And know that even as scientists are making ever more dire predictions, those same scientists truly believe that we can change our evil ways, baby, before the Earth stops loving us.

Auto Makers Bet on the Future of the Plug-In Car

Within the last ten years, solar electricity producers went from dreaming that their technology could be cost-competitive with coal to seeing that dream turn into reality. Now the same thing could be happening with plug-in electric cars.

While the conventional wisdom has long been that cost-competitiveness for electric cars was many years away, a new report from the research group Bloomberg New Energy Finance claims that it could happen as soon as 2025 and probably between 2025 and 2030. And that's without subsidies or taking fuel economy into account.

“Our forecast doesn’t hinge on countries adopting stringent new fuel standards or climate policies,” said Colin McKerracher, the head of advanced transport analysis at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “It’s an economic analysis, looking at what happens when the upfront cost of electric vehicles reaches parity. That’s when the real shift occurs.”

If that prediction pans out, it will have enormous consequences for the auto industry, oil markets and the world’s efforts to slow global warming. Volvo has already announced plans to phase out conventional gasoline engines as soon as 2019.

You can read more about this from the NY Times here.

Could the NY Green Bank's Success Be Replicated Nationally?

New York State's Green Bank, which supports organizations and institutions that would like to become "greener" but face significant economic or market obstacles, has been a tremendous success since it was founded in 2014.

According to New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) annual review, the program has far exceeded its financial goal for the year, having had an initial objective to invest $200 million during this period. As of June 2017, the NY Green Bank has invested $291.6 million and has generated a net positive income of $2.7 million for the 2016/17 fiscal year. These investments are projected to generate 217-341 MW of energy distributed among residential, commercial, and other sectors. In the three years since its inception, NY Green Bank’s investments are expected to curb as many as 6.4 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of removing between 50,000 and 70,000 cars from the road for 20 years.

The popularity of New York’s Green Bank, as well as those of five other states, has caught the attention of the federal government. US Rep. Paul Tonko, representing Amsterdam, NY, is co-sponsoring a bill attempting to establish a National Green Bank. This piece of legislation would create a federal program to finance renewable energy projects, with an initial investment cap at $10 billion. While as of now only Democratic representatives have co-sponsored the bill, it has also piqued the interest of some Republicans in favor of clean energy.

You can read more at the New York League of Conservation Voters' website here.
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Upcoming Events at Solar One

7/15
Community Volunteer Day in Stuyvesant Cove Park
Solar 1, Stuyvesant Cove Park, 23rd Street & the East River, 10am-1pm, free
Includes free pizza lunch. RSVP to liza@solar1.org.

Rooftop Films Summer Series: LA Times
Solar 1, Stuyvesant Cove Park, 23rd Street & the East River, 8-11:30pm, $15

7/17
Stuyvesant Cove Park Association Presents the NYPD Jazz Band
Solar 1, Stuyvesant Cove Park, 23rd Street & the East River, 6:30-8pm, free

7/19
Stuyvesant Cove Park Association Presents the Josh Davis Quartet Featuring Sarah Elizabeth Charles
Solar 1, Stuyvesant Cove Park, 23rd Street & the East River, 6:30-8pm, fre

Other Events


7/15
E-Waste Recycling with the Lower East Side Ecology Center: Washington Heights
Broadway bet W. 175th & W. 176th Sts, Manhattan, 10am-4pm, free

City of Water Day
Governor's Island and locations throughout the city, 10am-4pm, free

7/16
E-Waste Recycling with the Lower East Side Ecology Center: Flushing
Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main Street bet Dahlia & Peck Aves, Queens, 10am-4pm, free

7/18
Emerging Professionals Happy Hour with Urban Green Council & Structural Engineers Association of New York
Pera Soho, 34 Thompson Street bet Grand & Watts Sts, Manhattan, 6:30-9pm, $15

7/19
Port Newark Food Truck Fest
SCI International Seafarers' Center, 118 Export Street bet Calcutta & Tyler Sts,Port Newark, NJ, 3-7pm, $25+
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