How Would Francis Invest?

How Would Francis Invest?

When Pope Francis unveiled his letter to the world about how we must stop trashing the planet, he nearly broke the Internet. The pithy document included hundreds of zingers, including this line: “Whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the...
Solar-Powered Friars

Solar-Powered Friars

If you visit the Franciscan Friars Conventual of Ellicott City, Maryland, you’ll notice a large solar array standing in one of their fields. The friars have dramatically reduced their electricity bill, but that’s not the primary reason they invested in renewable...
Relying on Coal for Electricity is Destroying Appalachia

Relying on Coal for Electricity is Destroying Appalachia

As a child, I remember sitting on my father’s shoulders as we surveyed a valley below. He said, “This is where your Daddy’s from,” and my response was, “Then I’m from here, too.” I wonder if that mountain from which we surveyed the valley is gone now. A year after my...
A Green-Energy Founding Father

A Green-Energy Founding Father

When historians get around to identifying who greened the national grid, Scott Sklar belongs on their list. The energy consultant and former solar lobbyist with a wild white beard has spent more than 40 years bolstering industries that tread more lightly than fossil...
Virginia Is for Dirty-Energy Lovers

Virginia Is for Dirty-Energy Lovers

If you live in Virginia and would like to shrink your carbon footprint, here’s what passes for good news: We’re now officially free to ban fracking. For two years, Old Dominion communities weren’t at liberty to prevent that kind of oil and gas drilling. After the...
Blowing Past Political Turbulence

Blowing Past Political Turbulence

The gaggle of workers in Montana’s Carbon County hacking at the barely thawed ground in late December were on a mission: Secure Mud Springs Wind Ranch’s eligibility for a green-energy incentive. Why were they racing to catch a tax credit in that sparsely inhabited...
Fudging the Future

Fudging the Future

I recently mentioned in a column on renewable energy that solar power could generate half of the world’s electricity by 2050. I cited the International Energy Agency as my source. Actually, the IEA is predicting that rooftop, utility-scale, and industrial solar will...
Tilting at Turbines

Tilting at Turbines

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and several of John D. Rockefeller’s heirs have some investment advice for you. They want you, your college or alma mater, your local firefighters’ pension fund, and all other investors — big and...
Wealthy Countries Pony Up for Climate Justice

Wealthy Countries Pony Up for Climate Justice

It’s one of the oldest tricks in politics: Talk down expectations to the point that you can meet them. And it played out again in Berlin as 21 countries—including the United States—pledged nearly $9.5 billion to the Green Climate Fund, a UN body tasked with helping...
Make Your Investments Fuel Change

Make Your Investments Fuel Change

People around the world are pressing their leaders to act on climate change and fueling change on their own. With U.S. political leadership on climate policy in a shambles, many Americans are taking matters into their own hands. Nearly 400,000 people marched in New...
The Moment for Climate Justice

The Moment for Climate Justice

This week, the House will vote on the Electrify Africa Act. This bill directs the president to draw up a multi-year strategy to strengthen the ability of countries in sub-Saharan Africa to “develop an appropriate mix of power solutions” to provide electricity, fight...
Electrifying Africa – But at What Cost to Africans?

Electrifying Africa – But at What Cost to Africans?

As families in the United States steel themselves for the possibility of another sweltering summer with rolling blackouts triggered by high demand for air conditioning, it’s a good time to remember that many families throughout Africa work and live in buildings with...
Sustainable Energy Access For All?

Sustainable Energy Access For All?

In 2011, the UN established “Sustainable Energy for All”, a global initiative with three goals: achieving universal energy access, increasing energy efficiency, and doubling the renewable energy supply by 2030. The first of these goals seems daunting considering that...
World Bank Energy Lending Still Veering in Wrong Direction

World Bank Energy Lending Still Veering in Wrong Direction

More than one billion people around the world still lack access to modern electricity. At this week’s spring meetings, discussions between environment and development civil society groups and the World Bank highlighted tensions between those who seek to tackle energy...