After yet another year in which many parts of the country were hit by scorching heat, devastating wildfires, crippling drought, record floods and severe storms like Hurricane Sandy, a new Environment California Research & Policy Center report finds that weather-related disasters are affecting hundreds of millions of Americans, and documents how global warming could lead to certain extreme weather events becoming even more common or more severe in the future.
Leading California businesses are showing that consumer products don’t have to contain toxic chemicals, threaten public health, or produce large amounts of waste. Safer alternatives exist, and they work. Companies that design their products to be safe from the start are seizing new business opportunities, gaining access to new markets, improving efficiency, and saving money—all of which gives them an edge over their competitors. These businesses are also building momentum for a new green chemistry industry in California.
Environment California Research & Policy Center prepared this series of factsheets to provide information about local energy technologies that are well-suited to help California reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and achieve a clean energy future.
All across California, businesses, farms, government agencies, schools and nonprofits are demonstrating that action to reduce heat-trapping emissions can improve competitiveness and strengthen the bottom line. Energy efficiency measures and clean energy projects reduce waste, cut energy costs, limit exposure to fossil fuel price spikes, and attract environmentally aware customers.
Coal- and natural gas-fired power plants pollute our air, are major contributors to global warming, and consume vast amounts of water—harming our rivers and lakes and leaving less water for other uses. Wind energy has none of these problems. It produces no air pollution, makes no contribution to global warming, and uses no water.
America has more than doubled its use of wind power since the beginning of 2008 and we are starting to reap the environmental rewards. Wind energy now displaces about 68 million metric tons of global warming pollution each year—as much as is produced by 13 million cars. And wind energy now saves more than enough water nationwide to meet the needs of a city the size of Boston.