Austin City Council adopted a resolution on April 10, 2014 to become carbon neutral as soon as feasible, but no later than 2050. This is one of the most ambitious goals ever set by a city in the world and we are going to help with the development of the framework how to get there, and write up sector plan on what energy, waste, transportation and manufacturing sectors have to offer to make this a reality.

Our mission: Climate Buddies is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that wants to empower people to include climate change considerations into every decision they make. We focus on live interaction with groups of people, for-profits, spiritual groups, public and academia. We focus on people, inspiration, guidance and are result driven. Anyone who wants to start to integrate climate considerations in decision making is welcome to join us or invite us for collaboration.

Our invitation to you: meeting the global energy and climate challenges

  • If you could work on meeting the greatest challenge humankind has ever faced, would you?
  • Would it surprise you to know that the climate and oceanic systems have been so perturbed by the massive burning of fossil fuels that the very continuation of human civilization is threatened?
  • Do you yearn to be able to say to your grandchildren, and theirs – and everyone else’s – that you did your part to leave the earth in a healthier condition than when you were born into it?
  • Many suspect that the time left to return the earth to a healthy, resilient condition capable of sustaining human civilization is short. The climate recovery challenge is in fact an energy issue, a challenge to increase both the energy available to power essential services and to make affordable, renewable energy accessible to all.
  • We must and can increase the supply of energy available while reducing the total greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy generation to near-zero rates.

Understanding these premises, we must have the courage to yearn for a credible possibility that each of us, and billions of others like us from all over the world, will become true caretakers for the earth – our planet that has given life to our kind; the creation which protects and nourishes us even in its injured state.

We believe in a world where if we take care of the earth, we can take care of the people. The economy is facilitating in this, not the starting point, just the result.

Solar energy grows 62% in Austin in 2014

AUSTIN – Austin experienced explosive growth in distributed solar energy installations in 2014, growing from 13 megawatts (MW) in 2013 to 21 MW by the end of 2014, an increase of 62%. Solar panels were installed on hundreds of homes, schools and businesses, including at Huston Tillotson University, AISD’s new Performing Arts Center, Goodwill Industries and Howdy Honda.

“Austin is a star when it comes to solar power,” said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas. “We hope state leaders and other Texas cities will follow Austin’s shining example.”

Solar power is on the rise across the country, with another project installed every three minutes last year. Plummeting costs, increasing public concern over global warming and energy independence, and technological innovation have all played a role in spurring the growth of the pollution-free energy source. ERCOT projects that under a business-as-usual scenario, more than 10,000 MW of solar will be installed in Texas by 2029. An estimated 4000 Texans currently work in the solar industry.

As population centers, cities are home to large electricity markets, and can also have an important influence on the way grids are powered. In May 2014, the Austin City Council approved a deal with Recurrent Energy to build 150 megawatts of utility-scale solar in west Texas, in a historic deal priced cheaper than building a new natural gas plant. Austin Energy said solar power has grown exponentially in Austin recently in part due to city initiatives.

"I think the continued solar growth in Austin shows both what a strong local installer base we have, and that the Value of Solar is working," noted Debbie Kimberly, Austin Energy's Vice President of Customer Energy Solutions. "Despite reductions in incentives, the amount of Solar being installed each year has increased significantly, and thanks to the VoS rate structure, the utility and our other customers are kept cost-neutral. Rather than battling solar, we're able to embrace it."

Los Angeles, San Diego, and Phoenix topped the list for most solar power installations in a new Environment Texas Research & Policy Center analysis, Shining Cities: Harnessing the Benefits of Solar Energy in America. The report counted just solar installed inside city limits, thus excluding Austin Energy’s 30 MW Webberville solar farm, located just outside the city. As a result Austin came in ranked 17th in the nation. San Antonio came in 7th nationally with 88 MW (also not counting some large solar farms outside its city limits), Houston 32nd with 5 MW and Dallas 45th with 2 MW.

In December, the Austin City Council approved a new generation plan setting a goal to obtain 750 MW of utility-scale solar, and 200 MW of local solar by 2025. Solar advocates called on Austin Energy to move forward with that goal by immediately issuing a request for proposals (RFP) to obtain an additional 600 MW of utility-scale solar, as directed in the generation plan.

“With the 30% federal tax credit for solar expiring at the end of 2016, Austin should work to maximize our investment in solar in the next year to make we sure we get the most bang for our buck,” said Kaiba White, energy and outreach specialist at Public Citizen’s Texas office.

While solar power is growing in Texas and throughout the nation, energy companies are campaigning to repeal the state’s renewable energy law. Environment Texas and other advocates urged legislators to reject Senate Bill 931, which passed the Senate Natural Resources Committee this week.

“With prices going down and concern about global warming going up, solar power is growing rapidly in our state,” said Metzger. “We need state leaders to continue the policies that allow solar to shine.”

Environment Texas Research & Policy Center is a statewide advocacy organization bringing people together for a cleaner, greener, healthier future. www.EnvironmentTexasCenter.org
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Charging your vehicle while renting an apartment? That is not always as easy as pie. But Austin is working on it so we can all drive clean. ... See MoreSee Less

Via News Radio KLBJ: learn more about our #EV charging stations at apartment complexes. bit.ly/1Ngl7Uy #PlugInEVerywhere

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Interfaith action in Central Texas

Central Texas based churches and Congregations are invited to participate in a first step towards becoming Climate Positive. Together with the Faith and Energy  Action Team we put out a call to you to participate in a benchmark program to start to monitor your Climate Impact. If you are interested in participating, please read the following document: A Free Climate Impact Audit of Your Congregation. Read more about this program >>

We invited the faith-based community to come and check out a couple of hopeful and optimistic energy and environmental systems experts at the IEN Monthly Symposium on where we provided some technically-sound scenarios that offer a plausible pathway by which all humankind can meet these challenges and win a world far better than most people have imagined. This is our Interfaith Energy Action Team that has developed a manual and toolkit for congregations to become carbon positive. We celebrated the release of the manual on Earth We DIDDay 2013 in Austin.

We are gearing up for our donation drive for our “Faith and Energy Action Team” Please donate if you can.

A Carbon Diet program for individuals and households

We are developing a program for individuals and households “how to lose 5000 pounds in 30 days”. We are starting pilots with groups of 10-12 people this fall and go live in 2013. If you want to be involved, be a group leader (Climate Buddy Catalyst), start a group of friends or neighbors, or just stay in the loop, let us know via info@climatebuddies.org . Read more about this program >>

Organizing for a Texas Climate Alliance

We are developing an alliance of Austin and Texas organizations and businesses that have dedicated programs for climate change.  The purpose of this alliance is to:

  • Understand how large the local climate change movement has grown and who the participants are.
  • Develop camaraderie among the participants.
  • Share information, resources, skills and programmatic synergy.
  • Support each others climate change causes.

2013 will be an organizing year where we will grow our impact and influence by leveraging each other’s strong competences. Read more here >>

Are you in?textballooniwanttobeaclimatebuddyhomepage

For those who are ready to hope and to implement action initiatives, we invite you to join us in helping to lead on climate solutions. A lot of work will be involved, as will a lot of joy. That’s right: It’s serious business, but as long as it is joyful and fulfilling in the doing, a lot of people all over the world will want to get in on it!