There’s a lot to like about geothermal energy. It’s clean, it’s renewable and it generates electricity 24/7. It taps heat from Earth’s interior that, in theory, will last billions of years. I recently traveled to Japan, a country that sits atop the third-largest geothermal resources of any country by some measures, with Chang W. Lee, a photojournalist at The Times, for an article about geothermal power and why it hasn’t taken off there. One reason, we learned, is longstanding opposition from an unexpected source: The owners of Japan’s numerous hot spring resorts, who fear that geothermal power plants will disrupt their precious resources. I hope you take a moment to read our dispatch and enjoy Chang’s amazing photography. What about the rest of the world? What’s the state of geothermal energy, and can it help us tackle climate change? The United States, one of the world’s energy superpowers, produces more geothermal energy than any country. Out of seven states, California generated the moss t by far, about 70 percent of the total, with Nevada making up most of the rest. But that still amounted to less than 1 percent of the electricity generated by the country’s utilities that year, and analysts say that, like Japan, America could potentially build a lot more geothermal power. Indonesia is another geothermal powerhouse, generating nearly as much geothermal energy as America does. And there, geothermal is a much bigger deal for the electric grid, making up about 5 percent of the country’s total electricity generation. In Iceland, a geothermal pioneer, geothermal plants generate a solid 25 percent of electricity. (When you add hydropower to the mix, renewables cover almost 100 percent of Iceland’s electricity needs.) More recently though, the symbol of geothermal success. Its Hell’s Gate National Park, whose rugged cliffs and vast plains inspired animators working on the 1994 Disney film “The Lion King,” has been the epicenter of a renewable energy revolution. I n 2021, almost half of Kenya’s electricity came from geothermal, the highest share of any country in the world. On a good day, renewable energy makes up as much as 95 percent of Kenya’s grid power. As in Japan, tapping geothermal energy has, At times, been contentious in Kenya. Indigenous rights groups have accused geothermal developers of land grabs and other abuses. Nature conservation groups worry about the damage that drilling geothermal wells thousands of feet into the ground could bring to the lions, leopards, wildlife in the park, in a biologically rich part of the Great Rift Valley. Still, with one in two people still lacking access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya is an example of how a country can leapfrog polluting coal, oil and gas plants by building up its renewable energy capacity instead. Not every country has geothermal potential — you need to be in a geological hot spot. About a 10th of the earth’s land surface is categorized that way. But, em erging technology to drill deeper into the earth’s surface could soon make more places suitable. The International Energy Agency counts geothermal energy as an important part of a global push to reduce carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050, which scientists the ary to say is worst consequences of climate change, from intensifying storms to deadly drought. Adequate funding for exploration and drilling will be critical to offset upfront costs, the IEA says. “All energy sources have their negatives,” Jacques Hymans, a global University energy expert at the of Southern California, told me. “But when you compare the negatives of geothermal to other energies, it seems like a good bet.” Essential news from The TimesThe benefits of cleaner air: A new study showed how stricter limits on pollution would reduce mortality for all Americans. Black communities would benefit the most.Philadelphia chemical spill: Officials are monitoring the city’s water quality after 8,100 gallons of a chemical l solution leaked into a tributary of the Delaware River. Batteries made in the USA: LG said it would invest $5.5 billion in a new battery factory in Arizona. The decision was partly driven by the Biden administration’s new climate law. Germany wants chip makers: The country is putting up billions to increase production of semiconductors, which are critical for electric cars and the broader shift to renewable energy. Rainforest mining: A gold rush has caused a crisis for the Yanomami, the largest Indigenous group living in relative isolation in the Amazon. Brazilian authorities are trying to fight back. From the Opinion section “We could be forced to leave”: The Great Salt Lake is in danger of disappearing, writes Terry Tempest Williams, with photographs by artist Fazal Sheikh. The answer to everything: A Times opinion video unpacks how economist Partha Dasgupta calculated the financial value of nature. King Charles III made him a knight for it. From outside The TimesBefore you go: A sting op evolution with no stings It’s a familiar, unhappy scenario in parts of Africa and Asia: An elephant shows up, wanders into a farmer’s field, and tramples and eats crops. Sometimes farmers fight back, and the animals are killed. But a simple, inexpensive new technology that mimics the sound of angry bees seems to be effective at keeping elephants and humans out of conflict. Correction: The newsletter of Friday, March 24, stated incorrectly the share of electricity that comes from coal in Minnesota. It is about a quarter, not more than half. Thanks for being a subscriber. We’ll be back on Friday. Manuela Andreoni, Claire O’Neill and Douglas Alteen contributed to Climate Forward. Read past editions of the newsletter here. If you’re enjoying what you’ re reading, please consider recommending it to others. They can sign up here. Browse all of our subscriber-only newsletters here. Reach us at email@example.com. We read every message, and reply to many!