In an era of sensationalism and malevolent media spinning, uplifting facts are sometimes hard to come by. You know as well as I that decades of alarmist rabble-rousing by scientists and forward-thinking individuals has finally awakened the conscience of America to environmental degradation and turned long-absent attention on climactic degradation. Carbon footprint as a household word? Greening as a national pastime? These are signs of an autotelic involution of national consciousness...but is this changing our behavior, not just our minds?
Recent trends say yes. Since 2007, carbon emissions in the United States have dropped 9%, the first decrease in 100 years. Since the beginning of 2009, oil use has dropped 5%, with the same drop reported over the course of 2008. The efficiency of Nuclear power plants in this country have increased from ~60% to above 90% in the last thirty years for the same safety levels, allowing our energy demand from more polluting sources such as coal plants to fall. And it seems the current trends will continue --- California has institutionalized a desire to increase its renewable energy generation from the current 11.8% of the total demand to 33% in eleven years. Bring on the good news!