Meet John Shannon: Environment and Development Columnist

by Borderstan.com September 24, 2012 at 8:00 am 3 Comments

From Luis Gomez. Catch his photos at One Photograph A Day. Follow him on Twitter @LuisGomezPhotos.

"John Shannon"

John Shannon. (Courtesy John Shannon)

Borderstan is happy to introduce a new columnist to the team, John Shannon. He will write about the environment, green energy, sustainable development and economic issues. We had a little chat with him and he explained what his new column will be bringing to us.

Borderstan: Tell us a little bit about yourself? Please include the types of publications and websites to which you contribute.

Shannon: Since the late 1960s I have been interested in sustainable development on the planet. We have just passed the 7 billion population mark on our way to approximately 10 billion people in 2050 and if the rapidly growing developing-world decides to match our developed-world rates of consumption, we will need another five planet Earth’s to support us at that time.

To put this in some kind of context, of the 7 billion people alive today only 1 billion live in the developed-world. The other 6 billion live in the booming (population-wise) developing world, which will add another 3 billion (approx) to the Earth by 2050. Developed-world nations will retain their largely static population numbers through 2050.

Green energy is my preferred topic and now, as solar and wind energy are about to meet price parity with conventional sources of energy, it is an exciting time for sustainable energy bloggers to be alive. I write for a number of websites covering energy, sustainable development, and diplomacy, and I contribute articles to the United Nations Development Programme.

Borderstan: Why are green energy and environmental issues so important, particularly in cities and urban areas?

Shannon: We are all healthier when we breathe clean air and have ready access to clean water. These are life necessities and are in no way optional, in my opinion.  Years ago, before California enacted air-quality legislation, that city was covered with a thick blanket of smog — just as Beijing, China, and other cities are today.

There is no doubt that the quality of life has improved for the citizens of Los Angeles — as it relates to clean air and the knock-on health effects of breathing dramatically cleaner air. Everyone on the planet deserves to breathe clean air and have access to clean water.

Borderstan: Tell us what your column will be about?

Shannon: The vast majority of people want to help our planet’s environment. This speaks well of us as a species and is in our best long-term interests. By showcasing successful examples of sustainable energy and development, with a nod to environmental policy and practices, I hope to share timely information with Borderstan readers.

Borderstan: What have we missed… what would you like to add.

Shannon: When the economics of green energy aligns with the economics of other sources of energy, the transition to cleaner energy solutions will happen quickly. In fact, this process is already beginning to happen. Until 2020 at least, green energy bloggers will be bursting with good-news stories! Life is good.

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  • “When the economics of green energy aligns with the economics of other sources of energy, the transition to cleaner energy solutions will happen quickly. In fact, this process is already beginning to happen.”

    I’d like to see one of your first posts on this very thing because it’s my understanding that so-called green energy (i.e. sustainable energy) is not in the foreseeable future and certainly not by 2020. Perhaps you could enlighten both myself and your other readers about this.

    • Hi Enviro Equipment Blog,

      Thank you for providing me the opportunity to comment.

      To directly answer your question, I offer just a tiny sampling of many huge projects recently approved, just under construction, or already completed.

      This article is from yesterday:

      “Morocco awards $1 Billion (USD) solar plant contract to Saudi firm”

      Read here: http://arabiangazette.com/morocco-solar-plant-saudi/

      You may have heard of the DESERTEC initiative, plenty of sustainable energy success stories at their website, some are in the billion-dollar range, read here: http://www.desertec.org/news/

      The U.S. based Solar ‘Energy Industries Association’ shows information about installed and planned U.S. solar projects. They point out that 5600 companies in the U.S. are providing 100,000 jobs and most of those companies are growing rapidly.

      Read here: http://www.seia.org/

      And, General Wesley Clark (Ret’d) wrote in Forbes magazine earlier this year, that the U.S. military transition to solar and other sustainable energy will save the military $4 Billion dollars in energy savings, cutting their present energy bill in half, by switching to green energy where possible.

      “Wesley Clark: Make Solar a Military Mission” Read here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/toddwoody/2012/02/14/wesley-clark-make-solar-energy-a-military-mission/

      In Germany, about one million solar panels are already installed and more are installed every month. Solar power and wind power make up less than 4% of German electrical capacity, yet consumers and businesses there are saving 15% to 40% on their electricity bills — on account of those solar panels and wind turbines.

      See here: http://johnbrianshannon.com/germany/

      And, on the topic of conservation of existing resources, China has just announced it will spend $382 Billion dollars; “China to Spend $382 Billion Reducing Energy Consumption and Pollution”

      Read here: http://energyboom.com/finance/china-spend-382-billion-reducing-energy-consumption-and-pollution

      By the way, China exported $38.5 Billion dollars worth of solar panels last year, mainly to the EU.

      Some more China info. for you here: http://cleantechnica.com/2012/07/02/china-quadruples-2015-solar-power-target/

      India too, is investing heavily in sustainable energy, this announcement of the world’s largest operating solar power plant is in India, at 214 MW. It is presently in operation, while another 286 MW are now being installed at the same site, for a total of 500 MW when complete in 2014.

      There are many more sustainable energy success stories and I will bring them to you ‘hot off the wire’ over the next months.

      If you would like to know about biofuels, wind power, or progress in sustainable energy in other nations, please check out my blog at: http://johnbrianshannon.com

      Thanks for the comment! JBS

  • Here is the link to an article which reports on the largest solar power plant in the world at this present time.

    India — 214MW photo-voltaic solar power plant is now operating, producing power and adding it to the national grid, construction continues apace and this same plant will be a 500MW power plant by the end of 2014.



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