By Joanna Clark

In October 2018, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report 1.5°C and the U.S. 4th National Climate Assessment gave us 12 years to limit devastating global warming.  It is now October 2020, which leaves us 10 years to save our home planet from severe changes.

The sad thing is that we have known how greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) affect the environment and climate since the late-1800s. Furthermore, we have recorded the rise of atmospheric CO2 from its pre-Industrial 1760 C.E. level of 280 parts per million (ppm) to its present-day level of 417 ppm.

With only 10 years to take action, we must pull out all the stops to fast-track clean, renewable energy, especially solar and battery storage, in light of the rolling blackouts we’ve experienced in response to the recent record-breaking heatwaves. 

The state law mandating solar on all new construction that went into effect on January 1, 2020, is a start, but think what we could do if we installed solar in every new-car sales lot and parking lot with more than 10 spaces.

Parking lot pavement absorbs and retains heat from the sun, lots of it, creating “urban heat islands.” The result is our cities are hotter than the surrounding areas.

A solar canopy over new-car sales lots and larger customer parking lots will not only provide vast amounts of protective shade, but they will also generate vast amounts of electrical energy.

Consider the advantages of parking your car in a shaded area while you shop; your vehicle is cooler when you return. Its fuel efficiency will increase because you won’t have to crank up its air conditioner as high when you return from your shopping spree. Simultaneously, the energy generated could help keep up with our increased energy demand during heatwaves, while powering the car dealerships andshops in the mall. 

Lancaster is well on its way to producing more electricity from solar energy than they consume daily.  Why are we not following their lead?

Joanna Clark served as a Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War, training aircrews on the Lockheed P3 0rion patrol aircraft. After leaving the Navy, she spent 22 years involved in global AIDS education .In 2015, she became involved in climate change. She is a member of the South Orange County chapter of Citizens Climate Education.

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comments (3)

  • In the mid seventies scientists told us we would be in the middle of an ice age right now. What happened to that?

    • Humans became dependent on fossil fuels and began adding ton upon ton of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (NH2), etc.) to the environment. The result was the planet began to warm instead of cool, as our glaciers and the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps, began to melt.

    • This notion has been totally debunked. It was only a few scientist and the cooling trend was dealt with because people listened to scientists and stopped the over use of aerosols.

      “Those who continue to spread this idea create a straw man argument. A straw man is when an opponent’s position is misrepresented in order to make that position easier to attack. In this case, the position is the cooling prediction that was only held by a small minority of scientists, and has since been abandoned. This straw man results in the distortion of public understanding of climate science, and made it easier to cast doubt on the fact that our planet is currently warming due to human activity.”

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