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Back to the Future

Remember that day in October 1985 when Marty McFly blasted off into the future in his garbage-fed flying DeLorean? That future was, well, our recent past: October 1, 2015. John Rogers, senior energy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists, has recorded a few of the milestones that have actually occurred in this 30-year period.

We've increased wind generation by 3200%, have equipped more than 645,000 homes and businesses with solar, and have put 370,000 plug-in electric cars on the road. Thankfully, to me at least, those cars have yet to fly though Elon Musk's ridiculously overpowered Teslas (zero-to-60 in 2.8 to 3.2 seconds, depending on the model you choose) come pretty close. McFly, at least, would be impressed.

These are promising beginnings, but if we're really going to move to a more sustainable energy economy, we still have orders of magnitude of further progress ahead of us. For more of Rogers's findings, see his blog, "The Equation."