Bill Gates thinks the 1% should foot the bill for renewable energy, and he’s offering the first $2B.

Whatever you might think of him, Bill Gates is a man who knows a thing or two about a thing or two.

After all, he is the richest man in the world. And while money isn’t necessarily an indication of intelligence, he’s clearly doing something right.

(I don’t say this lightly either; I’ve been a loyal Apple user for 22 years, and even I can admit the guy’s had a few good ideas here and there.)

But when Gates says something like “We need an energy miracle,” he’s got my attention.

Gates recently sat down for a lengthy interview with The Atlantic about energy, the economy, and innovation.

Specifically, he talks about the relationships between research and development (R&D) and public versus private funding and how a historical look at the radical advancements in cancer treatment, the Internet, and more could serve as a guide for the future of the clean energy industry.

Sure, there are some people who have interpreted the article as an attempt by Gates to justify his refusal to divest from anything related to the fossil fuel industry. But at least in this case, he’s putting his money where his mouth is.

The whole interview is worth a read. It’s an eye-opening look at the intersections of energy and economics.

A lot of the issues he addresses about the current climate threat boil down to the never-ending debate between public and private sectors, between capitalism and socialism. But as Gates rightly points out, those issues are not nor have they ever been black and white.

(Gates does, of course, point out that companies like IBM and Google are the random flukes that keep the venture capital machine going.)

If you want to make a difference, join us in demanding that our world leaders take action at the upcoming Paris climate talks.

Maybe that way we won’t be have to choose between cash or the survival of the human race as our only two choices for return-on-investment. Because if “life itself” is not incentive enough to inspire innovation, what else is left to do?

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Scientists explain why we’re seeing this astonishing increase in wildfires.

When I hear about a wildfire, I usually think it’s out west somewhere.

The West has been hit by some incredibly devastating wildfires in the last several years, such as the one that hit Fort McMurray back in May or the Long Draw fire in Oregon back in 2012.

But the latest fires aren’t just out west. They’re in Alabama too.

Northern Alabama is going through an incredible drought and that’s made it really easy for fires to start and spread. As of this writing, there have been over 700 wildfires in Alabama in the last 30 days alone.

“You know it’s dry when a bush hog hitting a rock will start a fire,” CBS quoted forestry commission member Coleen Vansant as saying, although most of the fires are actually caused by people, through things like arson or debris fires.

Residents and workers have been able to fight them back, but the state’s not out of the woods yet. Fire crews from the southern part of the state are coming up north to help.

Zooming out, wildfires are on the increase across the United States.

Wildfires are four times as common now as they were in the 1970s and they burn six times as much land. This year alone, nearly 5 million acres of forests have burned in the West. That’s about the size of New Jersey. Last year, it was 9 million acres.

Fire can be a natural part of an ecosystem and some amount of regular small burns are expected from stuff like lightning strikes. But this expansion is something else. What the heck is going on?

Part of the answer might be how our climate’s changing.

I grew up in Texas and I can’t remember a single Fourth of July that was wet enough for fireworks. Anyone who lives out West knows that heat, drought, and fire go hand in hand.

So, what’s causing all that aridity? A recent report pointed at our changing climate as a major part of the problem. There were other factors, like natural changes in the weather and other human activities, but about half of the increase in fire-ready conditions came from climate change.

“A lot of people are throwing around the words climate change and fire,” said lead author John Abatzoglou in a press release. “We wanted to put some numbers on it.”

Experts think the upward trend is likely to increase, and some scientists are predicting that droughts out west could last a lot longer maybe for decades.

Addressing climate change could help head off this increase in wildfires and give us other benefits too.

Natural disasters are expensive; in 2015, the federal government spent $2 billion on firefighting. And clean energy doesn’t need to cost more than current power plants. In fact, at one point, Germany was actually paying consumers to use electricity.

The simplest and most effective thing we can all do is use our political power tovote, express that we need to address these changes. In the meantime, we can keep the people who are battling these fires in our thoughts.

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#Solyndra trends as Obama promotes government funding of clean energy!/DJ_TommyD/status/301521593945972736

President Obama talked a lot tonight about funding new “green” technology. Of course, research and development is great, but funding politically-connected renewable energy companies isn’t the answer. Private businesses innovate. Government gets in the way.

#sotu Dept of Energy “jobs” = #Solyndra green “energy” nightmare messes.

— Seton Motley (@SetonMotley) February 13, 2013

Our economy is also stronger when we’re not funding failing solar companies with taxpayer money #solyndra

— Chris McMillan (@chriscmcmillan) February 13, 2013

So he criticizes Congress for “manufactured crisis”, then claims we need to spend tax $ on climate change. #solyndra #stateoftheunion #tcot

— Dylan Young (@BobSugarLives) February 13, 2013

I turned on the tv when Obama just so happened to be giving the SOTU… He’s talking about energy… I have one word #solyndra #abcpolitics

— Adham akel (@Adham_Akel) February 13, 2013

RT @jrsalzman: Nothing says drive down solar energy costs quite like #Solyndra.

— Milhealth (@milhealth) February 13, 2013

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Solar power equipment manufactures express concern over GST

Manufacturers of solar equipment have raised concern over the possible cost escalation of power projects and subsequent higher tariffs burden on consumers once the Goods and Service Tax (GST) is impl

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Scorpius inks MoUs with three solar entities

Typically, these single-axis trackers — electro-mechanical devices — allow solar panels to track the sun from sunrise to sunset. One can re-orient the solar module accordingly to improve power output.

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How Costa Rica went without fossil fuels for 76 days and what we can learn from it.

If Costa Rica were a kid going back to school, it would have a pretty awesome story to tell when asked what it did over its summer vacation.

“Oh nothing. I just ran entirely on renewable energy for 76 days. BOOYAH!” Costa Rica would say proudly.

According to the Costa Rica Electricity Institute (ICE), from June 17 through Aug. 31, 100% of Costa Rica’s energy needs were met by renewable energy, predominantly from hydropower.

This makes considering the small country is overflowing with various bodies of water.

Hydropower supplied 80% of the country’s energy requirements, followed by geothermal at 12%, and wind at 7%. Solar only contributed 0.01%, but that was to be expected considering how often it rains there.

As exciting as this news is, it’s only about half of Costa Rica’s environmentally conscious accomplishments concerning energy production over the past year.

Even more impressive, the country has accumulated over 150 days of 100% clean electricity this year to date, according to the National Center of Energy Control.

“We are a small country with great goals!” ICE wrote on its Facebook page. “We remain committed to the goal of carbon neutrality by 2021.”

They’re well on their way, too. In 2015, the country managed to produce 99% of its energy through renewables.

It should be noted, of course, that Costa Rica is a small country and therefore doesn’t need to generate as much power as, say, America.

And, as mentioned, Costa Rica has a ton of water power from which to pull energy.

But that doesn’t mean its achievement should be discounted. If anything, it’s a shining example of what a country can do with the natural resources it has.

Costa Rica joins a number of other smaller countries making the deliberate shift toward complete reliance on renewable energy.

On Aug. 7, 2016, Scotland, which boasts the largest oil reserve in the European Union, produced enough energy from wind turbines to power the country for an entire day.

While that may not sound like a lot compared to Costa Rica’s two-month renewable power feat, when you consider that Scotland is one-third larger than Costa Rica and that wind power typically produces less energy than hydropower, it’s still a pretty impressive achievement.

Meanwhile, Germany is sprinting ahead when it comes to production of solar energy. On June 25, 2015, 78% of the country’s electricity demands were met by solar power.

These countries’ renewable energy models may be difficult for larger countries to emulate exactly, but their efforts are inspiring nonetheless.

In order for renewable energy to really make an impact worldwide, there’s a lot that will need to be done in terms of city planning, allocating costs, etc. But these small models prove it can be done with a little ingenuity and concerted effort.

In fact the United States, Mexico, and Canada are taking a lesson from these star student countries and have already pledged to have 50% of their power come from renewable energy by 2025.

Renewable energy classes are officially in session. Take a seat, rest of the world.

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Solar-powered pumps to rejuvenate abandoned wells

Work on installing solar power-operated pumpsets through the Agricultural Engineering Department has been in progress in Thottiyam block in the district. As many as 23 solar pumps have been sanctioned

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Narendra Modi government looks at ashrams to harness solar power – Times of India

In a bid to promote its target of creating 40,000MW of rooftop solar power capacity, the Union new and renewable energy ministry is roping in religious and interfaith gurus to demonstrate the virtues of green energy and set an example by ensuring that their ashrams are solar powered

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30 years after nuclear catastrophe, Chernobyl has a new energy mission.

The Chernobyl meltdown on April 26, 1986, remains the most ruinous nuclear catastrophe in world history.

More than 30 people died in the immediate aftermath, and cleanup costs ran into the billions of dollars.

After the meltdown, the city and surrounding areas were evacuated, leaving 1,600 square miles of radioactive real estate rotting away in what was then the Soviet Union, now Ukraine.

The abandoned town of Pripyat and the Chernobyl power plant, through scaffolding holding a remnant of the Soviet Union hammer and sickle. Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images.

30 years later, we’re still discovering the long-term effects of this devastating fallout.

The total body count is estimated to be in the tens of thousands now, although it’s difficult to determine exactly how many cases of cancer and other health complications in the surrounding areas can be attributed directly to the toxic waste still lingering in the ground.

To this day, the area remains abandoned except for occasional workers still struggling to contain the wreck in its concrete sarcophagus. But even the milk produced at the farthest edges of the disaster zone still contains 10 times the acceptable radiation limit.

On the bright side which, ya know, is a pretty low bar here the general lack of human activity means that wildlife in the area is thriving. So that’s nice.

Horses in Belarus near Chernobyl. Photo by Viktor Drachev/AFP/Getty Images.

What do you do with 1 million acres of uninhabitable nuclear wasteland? It’s no good as farmland, and you can’t build houses…

But you can harvest sunlight.

These are actually in South Burlington, Vermont. But you get the idea. Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images.

That’s right: The Ukrainian government is turning Chernobyl into one of the world’s largest solar farms.

“The Chernobyl site has really good potential for renewable energy,” Ukrainian environment minister Ostap Semerak explained at a recent press conference in London. “We already have high-voltage transmission lines that were previously used for the nuclear stations, the land is very cheap, and we have many people trained to work at power plants.”

As crazy as it might sound to build another power plant on the site of such a famously poisonous disaster, we can be fairly confident that sun fuel doesn’t come with the same toxic risks.

Ostap Semerak (right) examines a hot cell on the construction site of a spent nuclear fuel storage facility next to the Chernobyl plant on the 30th anniversary of the disaster. Photo by Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images.

If this Chernobyl solar farm reaches fruition, it won’t just energize the country. It’ll dramatically transform it on a political level, too.

The estimated $1.1 billion project would produce 4 megawatts of energy, or enough to power up to 4,000 Ukrainian homes. “We want to be a successful Ukraine, to show people in the conflict zone that life is better and more comfortable with us,” Semerak said at the press conference.

Clean, steady energy would obviously have a positive impact on the lives of those families. But it would also help the country wean off its reliance on neighboring Russia, which still provides Ukraine with much of its natural gas supply (except for when they don’t, which is sometimes).

The relationship between Russia and Ukraine is complicated, to say the least. So in addition to the power-producing benefits of this potential new solar farm, energy independence offers an opportunity for the Ukraine to ally itself more closely with the European Union. As Semerak said, “We have normal European priorities, which means having the best standards with the environment and clean energy ambitions.”

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko speaks at Chernobyl on the 30th anniversary of the disaster. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

While Ukraine is still in the planning stages, this ambitious project represents a positive potential for a brighter, sun-fueled future.

There are still some hurdles to cross, of course. The big one right now is fundraising, which was the impetus behind Semerak’s press conference in the first place. While solar power is undeniably more efficient and affordable, the up-front overhead costs run a little steep, even if they ultimately pay off.

There’s also the fact that it’d be naive of Ukraine to enter into such a huge campaign without considering the full ramifications of nuclear fallout. Given the increased wildlife presence, it’s entirely possible that the radioactivity has subsided enough that it would be safe to start a large-scale construction project with proper precautions for the workers, just in case.

But this is definitely a situation where it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Photo by Sergei Gapon/AFP/Getty Images.

Humans have done serious damage to the planet over the years. But if it does work out, the Chernobyl solar farm could be an inspiration for all of us.

This is not to the diminish the tragedy of April 26, 1986, of course.

But building a clean-energy plant on a radioactive graveyard is a strangely powerful reminder that our people and our planet can rebound from even the most terrible catastrophes.

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He Turned His Jeep Into A House On Wheels. This Is Amazing!

Dan is no stranger to adventure. Just a few years ago, he took to the open road and drove a Jeep from Alaska to Argentina…covering 17 countries over the 22-month trip.

What did he learn from that journey? That he wanted to keep traveling!

So, after a few years saving up and planning his next great adventure, Dan got to work on his ultimate travel-mobile. This time around, he planned on exploring all of Africa with it.

Check out how he turned this regular car into a full-on home that you’ll be entirely jealous of.

Dan bought one Jeep, got to work on it, but not long after that, the engine exploded. After a period of feeling like a failure, the world traveler picked himself back up and bought a new car.

He decided his plans were too big and too exciting to let go of. These were the dimensions for his custom-built cabinetry.

He was able to transfer them from the other Jeep — thankfully, they fit perfectly.

Dan learned his lesson from the mistakes he made with the original engine.

He added some cool things like an air compressor so he could pump his own flat tires.

Due to the arid climate, Dan wanted to prepare for lots of dust…this snorkel will filter it out before it reaches the car’s air cleaner. It’ll also help if he has to cross any streams.

On the back, he mounted a carrier that can hold a 13-gallon tank of gas.

And on the undercarriage? That’s where he built storage for a jug of drinking water.

He had a custom pop-up roof installed that would allow him to stand up and walk around inside.

Look at all this space!

Mattress slats slide out and are covered with pads for a complete sleeping space.

Here’s the roof popped up…along with solar panels.

He installed a tailgate table and added a cutlery holder that he crafted himself.

This is a pretty tricked out Jeep.

The final touch? Dan painted the continent on his hood…

His plan was to trace his route as he went along.

Of course he couldn’t leave without giving it a test drive — he spent a couple of weeks in Moab, Utah, off-roading and camping.

Then, it was time to ship out! The Jeep fit in a shipping container and set out across the Atlantic.

How cool is that? He turned something that was a car into an actual home!

If you’d like to follow along with Dan’s wild adventures, you can do so here on his website or via Facebook.

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