The embargo on raw materials from Russia following its invasion of Ukraine exposed weaknesses in the Polish energy system as well as political errors. For many in Poland, this winter will serve as a reminder of communist-era shortages. Michał Olszewski has the details
Representing a district near several of Germany’s largest coal mines and lignite-burning power plants, Kathrin Henneberger entered the Bundestag, Germany’s Federal Parliament, on a mandate from Green voters to accelerate the clean energy transition both at home and abroad. Long involved in the campaign to curtail global coal and fossil fuel production as well as human rights, during the summer of 2022, Henneberger traveled to Colombia, visited with front line coal, oil and gas communities and began forging a new intergovernmental climate alliance.
Its many manifestations give those intent on helping curb climate breakdown a spectrum of choices and models. The no-holds-barred climate activism of Letzte Generation and Just Stop Oil grabs headlines today the way Fridays for Future did a couple of years ago. But the climate movement is a broad and textured phenomenon that encompasses thousands of bottom-up groups around the world, with strategies and approaches that vary immensely. Paul Hockenos has an overview.
In the wake of Russia’s February invasion and skyrocketing prices, to ensure energy security and affordability, nations worldwide are installing record levels of solar and wind capacity. Now, for the first time ever, in their annual World Energy Outlook the International Energy Agency (IEA) is predicting fossil fuel demand will peak near-term as non-emitting sources begin producing the majority of global power by 2030. Moreover, following sustained market turbulence on top of its proven climate impacts, the IEA no longer backs “natural” fossil gas a reliable transition fuel. Also, building upon Egypt’s COP27, several wealthy nations and investment agencies are banding together to assist top-ten emissions producer, Indonesia, as well as several other developing countries to accelerate their shifts from coal to clean. Lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum helps us navigate through the rapid changes.
From California to Greece, there are ever-more laws that mandate solar panels on roofs. In Europe, southern Germany is held back by a lack of trained electricians. Paul Hockenos reviews.
As winter approaches, Serbia finds itself behind the eight ball. Its coal reserves, about two-thirds of its 2021 energy supply, are dwindling in terms of quantity and are ever poorer in terms of quality. This is why the country’s import of electricity and coal are expected to increase this year and next – along with an energy bill that will double, at the very least. Serbia’s coal deficit will only grow larger the longer it continues to leans on it.
The Polish government has taken a first step towards realizing its nuclear energy aspirations – building a reactor with a total capacity of 9 GW by the year 2043. At the beginning of November, an agreement was signed with the American, Pittsburg-based company Westinghouse to build its first nuclear project on the Baltic coast. It marks a significant pivot in the Polish energy transition. Nuclear has long formed part of the country’s energy plans, but scant action was taken in that direction, more hope was put into renewable energy sources. Now it looks like green-energy sources may take a hit. Agata Skrzypczyk has the details.
The global climate movement’s smaller numbers, expanded focus, distrust of parliamentary democracy, and radical offshoots reflect a mass movement frustrated with its inability to turn around international climate politics. Although understandable in light of the pace of climate breakdown and international backsliding, this frustration, channeled in the wrong direction, could sap the power of this vitally important protest movement rather than energize it. Paul Hockenos takes a closer look.
Covering an area the size of Belgium, Argentina’s Vaca Muerta oil and gas field comprises the second-largest known reserve of shale gas and the fourth-largest reserve of shale oil in the world. During the COP27 climate conference in Egypt, the international environmental NGO 350.org issued a warning that exploiting the field’s full reserve could unleash a veritable “carbon bomb,” accelerating already quickly rising global temperatures while putting agreements to hold to a 1.5 degree rise out of reach. Now, in the wake of the world’s reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, drillers are accelerating fracking activities as producers rush to backfill missing energy supplies. Supported by international investment banks and their partners, new pipelines and liquid natural gas terminals are enabling Argentina’s toxic hydrocarbons to capture long-term global supply contracts. 350.org’s Latin American Managing Director, Ilan Zugman and 350.org’s Senior Latin America Campaigner M. Victoria Emanuelli along with lead blogger Michael Buchsbaum review the situation.