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Beyond Fossil Fuels. Series in New York Times

06.01.2011, Age: 2904 days

NYT reporters travel the world to examine innovative attempts to reduce the world's dependence on coal, oil and other carbon-intensive fuels, and the challenges faced. Their reports show impressive attempts on a local scale to counter the effects of global change.

This remarkable series shows how in many places around the world people are looking for alternatives for fossil fuels. Even smal-scale solutions appear to make a great difference.

The latest article, African Huts Far From the Grid Glow With Renewable Power, is a good illustration of this. Until they bought a small solar power system worth $80, a Kenyan farming family needed to travel to the nearest town with electricity to have their mobile phone charged, a trip that took a whole day. Only three days later could they retrieve their charged phone, as the charging service was in such great demand. Now, with the solar charger the family is not only saving money and time, but also finally have electric lighting. This has already markedly improved the children's school results.

Previous articles are: Portugal Gives Itself a Clean-Energy Makeover (August 10, 2010), A Battle in Mining Country Pits Coal Against Wind (August 15), Finding New Ways to Fill the Tank (August 19), As Europe Kicks Coal, Hungarian Town Suffers (September 16), Can We Build in a Brighter Shade of Green? (September 26), Ancient Italian Town Has Wind at Its Back (September 29), U.S. Military Orders Less Dependence on Fossil Fuels (October 5), In Kansas, Climate Skeptics Embrace Cleaner Energy (October 19), Cost of Green Power Makes Projects Tougher Sell (November 8), Nations That Debate Coal Use Export It to Feed China's Need (November 22), Using Waste, Swedish City Cuts Its Fossil Fuel Use (December 11).

In his Dot Earth column, Andy Revkin writes about "what is perhaps the most important frontier for energy innovators to attack - not improving the chemistry driving photovoltaic efficiency ( although that's important, too), but finding ways to do for distributed electricity generation what Vision Spring has done for cheap reading glasses."

He adds: "If you want to build climate resilience in poor places, bring people education (kids reading by electric lighting), information and paths to prosperity."


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