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From talk to action: Signs of progress since the Paris climate talks

In December, 196 countries adopted the historic Paris Agreement on climate change, creating the first universal pact to put the world on a path towards a zero-carbon, resilient future. Since then, some concrete steps have been made while examples of substantial progress that took place in 2015 is just now coming to light. Countries, regions, cities and businesses are taking action to move the world in the right direction toward a low-carbon, climate resilient future. With global leaders gathering in New York on April 22 to sign the Paris Agreement, now is a good time to reflect on the changing landscape of the global response to climate change.

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The World Could Phase Out Fossil Fuels Within A Decade

The G7 leading industrial nations pledged last year to phase out fossil fuels by the year 2100. While the announcement by German Chancellor Angela Merkel was hailed by environmental campaigners as historic, a new study claims the feat could theoretically be achieved by 2026. Researchers at the University of Sussex found that, if the right measures were put in place, the world could completely transition away from fossil fuels in less than a decade. “Energy transitions have no magic formula,” the study, published in the journal Energy Research and Social Science, states. “Moving to a new, cleaner energy system would require significant shifts in technology, political regulations, tariffs and pricing regimes, and the behaviour of users and adopters.

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We can run the world without consuming the earth: The Solar Impulse journey continues

The Solar Impulse project to fly a plane around the world without consuming a drop of fossil fuel is nearing the end of the Pacific crossing — its biggest hurdle. While its mission is not over yet, the team has already demonstrated that renewables can provide reliable power both day and night, an important step towards a clean energy future.To get this far, the Solar Impulse team has had to overcome many of the same technological challenges that are facing humanity on our low-carbon transition. Its solutions to these challenges deserve our attention.

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Global electric car sales on the rise

After four years of steady growth, U.S. plug-in electric car sales were essentially flat last year. Low gas prices and increased demand for SUVs had a dampening effect on the segment, which still accounts for a very small fraction of U.S. new-car sales. However, in other parts of the world, it was a different story. Global electric-car sales actually increased significantly last year, thanks to strong sales outside the U.S., according to data compiled by the Department of Energy.

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Follow the sun

RAED KHADER, a Jordanian driver, has an alarming habit of thumbing his mobile phone while at the wheel—albeit on a straight road cutting across the desert. But after scrolling back through almost two years of photos, he finds a picture that tickles him: of camels against a sandy backdrop. Today that same spot outside Ma’an, a poverty-stricken city in south Jordan, is crawling with workers in the final stages of installing five square kilometres (almost two square miles) of solar panels.

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Lance Brown: Wind energy tax credits are working for Oklahoma

Subsidies for renewable energy aren’t always all they are cracked up to be. The Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy has written in recent years of failed promises and bad policies that hurt taxpayers. On the other hand, we back a simple strategy about renewables: Build them where they work best. Subsidies, too, should be targeted to create real, measurable results.

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Corporate green bond issuance could triple this year

The issuance of green bonds by corporates could reach up to $28 billion this year, three times more than last year, if the Chinese green bond market takes off as expected, credit ratings agency Standard & Poor's said on Friday. Green bonds are created to fund clean energy or low-carbon infrastructure projects such as water treatment or wind and solar plants. They are typically issued by banks and corporate companies. The corporate sector issued $9.6 billion in green bonds last year and will issue at least $15 billion this year, Standard & Poor's said in a report.

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Energy Department Announces $4 Million for Projects Launching the Orange Button Solar Energy Data Initiative

The Energy Department today announced nearly $4 million for projects to increase access to solar data. Four partners will help launch the new Orange Button℠ initiative, which will increase solar market transparency and fair pricing by establishing data standards for the industry. In order to understand the financial risk of solar energy project development, the solar energy community relies on fragmented datasets released by state energy offices and a limited number of private organizations regarding project origination, grid integration, operations, and retirement. These datasets vary widely in format, quality, and content, which makes it difficult for potential providers to have an accurate understanding of potential markets. The Orange Button project will standardize this data, making it easier to share and secure, which will ensure a more standardized and transparent marketplace.

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Renewable Portfolio Standards Drive 60% of US Clean Energy Boom

The renewable portfolio standards that many states have enacted are responsible for 60 percent of the growth in non-hydro renewable energy generation, according to a new study from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Most of the additional capacity to meet RPS requirements has come from wind, but in recent years, solar energy is gaining traction. Renewable portfolio standards call for a certain percentage of power generation to come from renewable resources, although what qualifies as renewable and which power generators have to meet the obligations varies by state.

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Report: One-third of solar installers offer energy storage, number set to rise

Just over one-third of solar photovoltaic installers offer energy storage solutions to customers, and those numbers could rise significantly in the coming year, according to a new report.
A report by research group EuPD found that only 34% of PV installers in the United States offer storage solutions to customers, but 26% of those who do not said they hope to do so this year.
Of the installers who do not offer storage, 38% said current battery prices inhibit them offering storage to customers.

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