2012 Hottest Year in United States History

The New York Times reports that “temperature differences between years are usually measured in fractions of a degree, but last year’s 55.3 degree average demolished the previous record, set in 1998, by a full degree Fahrenheit.” This staggering increase in average heat resulted in “34,008 daily high records.” This comes on the heels of the fact that 2000-2010 was the hottest decade ever recorded. A recent review of 14,000 peer-reviewed publications by National Science Board member James Lawrence Powell found that 99.9% of climate studies agreed that humans were responsible for climate change. If you believe the scientific facts above, then you would agree that the situation calls for serious action!

What Can We Do in Response?

Not all of us can be activists on the same level as Bill McKibben of www.350.org, but we can support his efforts while working to reduce fossil fuel consumption in our day-to-day lives. Maine and New Hampshire have the highest per capita CO2 emissions in New England due to our over-reliance on fossil fuels for transportation and home heating and we all need to own this problem and help solve it.

The good news is that Maine and New Hampshire enjoy abundant renewable energy resources in the form of solar, biomass, tidal and wind power. We also have many local organizations that are working hard to combat CO2 emissions and there are a number of ways to support the efforts. Here’s a short list of actions we encourage everyone to consider, from easiest to hardest:

  1. Volunteer or Donate to an Environmental Organization: www.350.org is 100% focused on eliminating CO2 emissions. Visit their website and get involved any way you can. The Natural Resources Council of Maine is fighting hard against Tar Sands Oil Extraction & Transportation, find them at www.nrcm.org and do what you can to help. The Conservation Law Foundation is also fighting Tar Sands and many other key battles at www.clf.org. Other frontline organizations include www.sierraclub.org and www.audubon.org.
  2. Simple Steps at Home: Adhere to the basics of reduce, re-use, and recycle; turn off lights and turn down the thermostat, shop and eat local, walk or bike whenever possible, turn off your car if it will be idle for 30 seconds or more, plant a garden and invite your family, friends, neighbors and colleagues to do the same.
  3. Bigger Ambitions at Home: Get a home energy audit to find inefficiencies. Update older appliances with modern, high-efficiency appliances. Get a 6% or better annual return on investment by taking advantage of today’s generous government financial incentives for solar hot water and/or solar electric systems. Cut your household CO2 emissions by more than 90% per year by switching from an oil boiler to a modern, fully automated pellet boiler that uses locally grown fuel and keeps your energy dollars in the local economy.
  4. Go Net Zero (most difficult): Eliminate fossil fuel completely by building or renovating with state-of-the-art materials, insulation and mechanical systems. Use solar energy to power hyper efficient airsource heat pumps, or use solar to power a geothermal system. See examples of our net zero work here:
  5. Stop Using Gasoline (also difficult): 50% of ME and NH’s CO2 emissions come from transportation. Modern plug-in electric vehicles can be powered with solar electricity, giving consumers all the technology they need to completely eliminate or significantly reduce gasoline consumption.

ReVision Energy is committed to helping people make the transition from finite, polluting fossil fuels to clean renewable energy. Big things start on the small level, and you can stay with us here throughout 2013 for stories on the people taking action to save money and reduce their carbon dependence, and how you can do so too.