The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties − COP26 – is happening at the moment, with countries to be asked to cut emissions by 2030 in keeping with the goal of striking net zero by the middle of the century. The European Union (EU) aims to be climate neutral by 2050, as climate change and environmental degradation loom large over its economies and societies, including the Visegrad countries (V4). The summer heat wave in Europe, with its increased risk of wildfires and impact on food prices coincided with flash floods cause chaos in many countries while Poland and Czech Republic suffered devastating tornadoes. These extremes flag risks for the future. Diana Süsser and her colleagues from the V4SDG Lab organised an online workshop on climate action in the Visegrad countries and summarised the debates in this blog post.
Energy communities have existed in the European Union (EU) for decades, yet they have been long overlooked as a way to ease the energy transition. Increasingly aware of their potential for socio-cultural and economic change, the EU is exploring these communities as key players in the energy transition. But more effort is needed to elevate them to forming a viable alternative. Teo Bierens and Anastasia Skapoula have the details.
Implementing carbon pricing mechanisms (CPMs) that impose fees on emissions in the power and industrial sectors can be a powerful tool to affect current production and consumption patterns. Under last year’s Sofia Declaration, Western Balkan countries pledged to align their climate change mitigation efforts with the EU targets and programs. Policy makers have declared pricing carbon to be one of the most important instruments in the effort to concretize political promises. However, the Western Balkan region has limited experience with carbon pricing initiatives – and only Albania and Montenegro have taken their first tentative steps so far. Daniel Muth has the details.
As Kosovo’s new coalition gets down to business, the young state has the chance to wean itself off its long-standing coal dependency. But will the government, which came into power in March this year, seize the opportunity to turn a green agenda into reality for Kosovo? Granit Gashi has the story.
In its so-called taxonomy, the EU seeks to define the economic activities that can be considered sustainable. Pro-nuclear lobby groups and countries are fighting tooth and nail for nuclear energy to be one of the lucky recipients of this label. Germany could block this plan, but the fact it wants fossil gas labelled as “sustainable” suggests that the entire issue could degenerate into horse-trading. Julian Bothe (.ausgestrahlt) surveys the fault lines of the debate.
A total solar eclipse on December 14th left the Chilean south briefly in the dark. Between local indigenous groups and the solar industry, the event was affronted with respect and ingenuity. Vera Dickhoff takes a closer look.
In addition to other profound impacts, the corona virus has offered global energy markets an unprecedented natural experiment. Collapsing demand for conventional energy fuels and inelastic supply responses have depressed oil prices that are now being incorporated into forward energy planning. This adverse investment accelerator effect is now expected to bring forward the so-called “peak oil” milestone, significantly shortening the profitable lifecycle of known oil reserves. Thus a global health crisis has given us only a foretaste of what we can expect over a longer time horizon, as climate risk continues a slower but more inexorable ascent. Simply put, the rising social cost of carbon will exert the same effect on conventional energy demand, compounded by the emergence of ever more affordable renewable substitutes. Furthermore, the international push for a ‘green recovery‘ in the aftermath of the pandemic is perceived to hasten the end of the oil era. Oyuna Baldakova and David Roland-Holst report
Europe’s economy is well placed to benefit from the fledgling global hydrogen economy and should decisively follow through with its hydrogen strategies, says Veronika Grimm, a member of Germany’s council of economic experts, one of the country’s most important advisory committees. “We are in a very strong position in Germany and Europe when it comes to hydrogen and synthetic fuels, and we should keep that advantage,” Grimm told Clean Energy Wire. “It’s very important to create, on an ambitious timeline, the energy policy framework conditions that make hydrogen-related investments attractive for european companies,” said Grimm, who is also a member of Germany’s freshly launched hydrogen council dedicated to supervising the implementation of the country’s recent hydrogen strategy. In this interview, Grimm talks about her expectations for a global hydrogen economy, its implications for industries across the globe, and why she thinks the coronavirus crisis might speed up the transition rather than slowing it.
The European Union (EU) is planning to tax carbon-intensive products as a strategy to decrease global emissions and avoid carbon leakage. But will exporters be able to adapt? Lilia Maximova, Gabriela F. Kilpp, Natalia Koto, and Bárbara Martins take a look.