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2014-11-23. Good News on Energy.

posted Dec 5, 2014, 11:59 PM by Alan Gould
By Ralph Cavanagh, The New York Times. For GSS Energy Use chapter 10. Excerpt: When the world’s two largest polluters join in establishing new goals for reducing emissions of climate-disrupting gases, criticism and skepticism are predictable. ...Critics warned of a “war on coal,” regulatory overreach and the surrender of American interests to Chinese duplicity. Skeptics wondered whether the goals were even feasible. In fact, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than one-quarter over the next decade, as the United States has agreed to do, is simply another step in a transition to cleaner energy that has been underway for decades. ...A recent study by the Natural Resources Defense Council, where I work, found that total energy use in the United States peaked in 2007 and has trended downward since. ...We also found that economic growth decisively outpaced any increases in energy use over recent decades, as America found smarter ways to use energy (like the LED, which uses one-fifth as much electricity as Edison’s original light bulb). Improvements in energy efficiency over the last 40 years have done more to meet growth in America’s energy needs than the combined contributions of oil, coal, natural gas and nuclear power. Without energy productivity improvements, America’s energy needs would have tripled since 1970, according to a report by the Bipartisan Policy Center. Actual growth was only one-fifth of that. Energy efficiency has emerged as the largest and cheapest alternative to burning fossil fuels to generate electricity. ...oil consumption by vehicles, homes and businesses is down more than 12 percent from its 2005 peak, despite a slight increase in 2013. ...By last year, wind was providing more than 4 percent of America’s electricity generation. ...More than one-eighth of our electricity supply is now in the “renewable” category, which is growing faster than any other.....  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/24/opinion/good-news-on-energy.html *.