One of the Green Business websites that you can reach through the many links on this blog, Green Biz, has this heart-warming news as far as I am concerned: http://www.greenbiz.com/news/2009/03/26/renewable-energy-generation-climbs-2008-fossil-fuels-dip In 2008, non hydro-electric renewable power generation grew 17.6% while electricity generated from coal and natural gas declined. Overall electricity generation declined due to the economy, but, hey, if this trend continues through the present and into the future, we will breathe cleaner air.
While there are some skeptics who feel that Renewaable Energy will lose steam in the present and into the near future because of economic conditions worldwide, I personally think that the opposite is true. Many nations have understood that the old ways of wasteful spending and inefficiency are no longer viable. When large economies like the US and European ones grow only by 2 or 3% a year, the only way that they would be able to offer better lives to those living in these parts of the world would be by saving money. One way to do this would be to enhance efficiency - nothing can be more efficient than a system that uses local environmental factors like the wind, sunlight, wave power etc to generate the energy required by a nation. While some forms of renewable energy are currently expensive to exploit, the fact is that engineers like nothing better than a challenge. I do think, looking at the many blogs that I have been following like an addict, that there is some superb competition going on at various universities, in various companies and in garages around the world to build highly efficient clean gadgets for use in our day to day lives.
Those countries that manage to get an advanced foothold in these areas at this bleak economic time will be the ones most ready to do well when economic conditions improve. There are many vastly better informed people than I am who also believe this. And, in this, I am happy to be a member in an optimistic circle that is working to make things better in some small way.