Climate Solutions

Solar cars, wind farms and cactus in trouble

Test your knowledge about the ways the climate is changing — and what we can do about it
(Michael Parkin for the Washington Post)

All right: Time to see if you’ve been paying attention to Washington Post coverage of the people, organizations and governments trying to mitigate climate change, found on our Climate Solutions page. If you have, this quiz should be an easy A.

1. Which of the following describes a prototype of a solar powered vehicle that actually worked?

Answer: D. Inventors and engineers have been working since 1955 to design a vehicle that can run on sunshine, powered purely by rays. Over the decades, their work has resulted in a string of working prototypes.

2. Aptera, a start-up in California, says it expects to roll out the first commercially produced solar cars later this year. How much will they cost?

Answer: A. Aptera has priced its three-wheel ultra-aerodynamic electric vehicle covered in 34 square feet of solar cells at $25,900.

3. On a clear day, how far can the Aptera solar car travel, according to its makers?

Answer: D. If the sun is out, the solar cells on the car can provide enough energy to drive about 40 miles — more than twice the distance of the average American’s commute, the manufacturers say.

4. In early March, the Biden administration gave a serious boost to wind energy by approving what will be the nation’s first large-scale offshore wind farm. Off the coast of which state will it be built?

Answer: C. The Biden administration gave a greenlight to a $2.8 billion wind farm about 12 nautical miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., a project whose fortunes had risen and fallen for 20 years.

5. New research suggests that a strategic, globally coordinated effort to protect more of the world’s waters might have a surprising side benefit. What is it?

Answer: B. Certain fishing practices, such as bottom trawling, which involves dragging a net across the sea floor, loosens and releases carbon that is otherwise buried in the ocean floor. A recent study published in Nature suggests that the carbon emissions generated by bottom trawling are equivalent to those of the global airline industry. The more the ocean is protected from bottom trawling, the better the chances that the carbon will stay at the bottom.

6. In Quartzsite, Ariz., why is there a steady hum of diesel- and gasoline-powered generators in the air?

Answer D. Quartzsite is popular among RV boondockers — people who live off the grid in recreational vehicles on federal lands at no cost or for a very nominal fee. With nowhere to plug in, the converted school buses, vans and RV campers run on generators.

7. How is one man, Ryan Pohl, helping Quartzsite, Ariz., go green?

Answer: C. Ryan Pohl founded High Desert Off Grid, which repurposes used lithium batteries from electric cars and uses them to power the campers, buses and other vehicle that are “boondocking” in Quartzsite.

8. An iconic cactus species of the American West is threatened by an invasive plant that is exploding in growth because of climate change. What kind of cactus is under siege?

Answer: A. The Saguaro cactus is under threat by buffelgrass, an invasive plant that is thriving in the rising temperatures linked to climate change. The plants form a flammable carpet around the cactus and pose a fire risk. Thousands of saguaros died on the buffelgrass-laden lower slopes of the Santa Catalina Mountains on the north side of Tucson in June, when a massive lightning-ignited fire erupted and burned for seven weeks.

9. How tall can a Saguaro cactus grow?

Answer: D. The largest cactus in the United States, a mature saguaro can grow to 40 feet and weigh a ton after soaking up rainwater.

10. St. Corona is a small village tucked in the Austrian Alps that is seeing the gradual disappearance of what?

Answer: C. St. Corona and other Alps villages dependent on ski resorts have experienced several recent winters with unusually warm temperatures and little snow. St. Corona has reinvented itself into a summertime destination, investing heavily in hiking and biking trails and other vacation activities that don’t depend on snow.

0 to 3 questions correct

Climate novice: You still have a lot to learn about climate change. But that’s okay: We’ve got you covered. Have a question? Ask us here.

4 to 7 questions correct

Climate curious: Hey, not bad! You know a thing or two about climate change. But there’s still more to learn, and we’ve got you covered. Have a question? Ask us here.

8 to 10 questions correct

Climate expert: Well done! You’re super climate-literate. You probably already know that one of the most important things you can do as an individual to combat climate change is to spread the word. Go ahead: Brag a little, share this quiz with your friends, and find out who knows the most about climate change.

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