Author: L. Michael Buchsbaum


L. Michael Buchsbaum is an energy and mining journalist and industrial photographer based in Germany. Since the mid-1990s, he has covered the social, environmental, economic and political impacts of the transition from fossil fuels towards renewables for dozens of industry magazines, journals, institutions and corporate clients. Born in the U.S., he emigrated to Germany and Europe to better document the Energiewende. He is also the host of The Global Energy Transition Podcast.

Europe formally embraces Carbon Capture as a climate tool: But is the public aware?

During the European Commission’s Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) Forum in Aalborg, Denmark held in November, five member states signed an agreement essentially clinching the technology’s role in the energy transition and the European Union’s decarbonization strategy. The Aalborg Declaration, signed by Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, and Germany, will enable the scaling up and wider usage of CCS throughout Europe, however questions remain about which industries it will be applied upon. But lead blogger Michael Buchsbaum, recipient of a Journalism Fund EU grant to report on Europe’s CCS buildout, reminds that most CCS operations worldwide use the carbon they capture to produce more oil. Read More

With renewables growing, nations at COP28 vow to triple rate of expansion

The adoption of renewables, especially wind and solar, continues grow — though certainly not fast enough. In 2022, solar and wind power accounted for an impressive 12% of electricity generated worldwide. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) in 2023 solar adoption surged above 50 percent. Going forward, the IEA’s Net Zero Scenario (NZS) calls for an anticipated 25% growth rate for solar generation annually through by the end of the decade. To ensure this happens, during COP28 in Dubai, many nations agreed to set a goal of tripling renewable capacities by 2030. While certainly the world faces many challenges to hold to only 1.5 degrees of heating – as lead blogger Michael Buchsbaum relates, the necessary rapid build out of renewables looks like it’s starting to happen. Read More

U.S. sets rules on methane emissions, first nation to set fines for polluters

During COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), the US Environmental Protection Agency announced plans that could reduce an estimated 58 million tons of methane emissions over the next 15 years. More than 80 times more heat trapping than CO2 over a twenty year period, methane emissions continue to increase throughout the U.S., the world’s third largest emitter of this powerful greenhouse gas. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, today’s concentrations of methane in the atmosphere are higher than at any time in at least 800 000 years, and methane has contributed around 30% of observed global warming to date. The energy sector is responsible for around 40% of total methane emission. But now, as lead writer Michael Buchsbaum relates, for the first time, the U.S. federal government has set rules to regulate methane pollution from new and existing oil and gas facilities while preparing to set fines for violators. Read More

With methane emissions soaring, the UN is sending in the satellites

With support from the UN, private and public initiatives, a fleet of satellites equipped with space-based detection and sensors are being launched to identify and measure the concentration of methane in the atmosphere. The main component of natural gas, methane is over 80 times more heat trapping than CO2. Now the second-most prominent greenhouse gas, it can leak at all stages of its production and use — from wells, refineries, pipelines and even at homes and buildings. Globally in 2022, methane emissions from the energy industry totaled some 135 million metric tons, slightly higher than the year before. As lead writer Michael Buchsbaum relates, the new satellites will be able to locate emissions even from remote or inaccessible areas and hopefully help regulators and operators finally control them. Read More

Carbon capture and storage | The Global Energy Transition Podcast

In this episode of the Global Energy Transition podcast, host Michael Buchsbaum, lead blogger for the Energy Transition.org talks with David Schlissel, attorney and Director of Resource Planning Analysis for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) about carbon capture and storage (CCS) which got a lot of attention at the recently concluded COP28 in Dubai. Read More

Shell Games: Holding them accountable

Recently the powerful climate NGO ClientEarth took the unprecedented step of filing suit directly against Shell’s Board of Directors on behalf of investors for failing to manage risks posed to the company by climate change and implement an energy transition strategy that aligns with the Paris Agreement. Nevertheless, at their most recent shareholder meeting, Shell announced plans to reduce renewables spending while investing more in fossil gas and LNG. So will legal action be able to force Shell to actually change course? In this edition of the Shell Games series (read part 1 and part 2), lead blogger and podcaster, Michael Buchsbaum reviews the status of even more lawsuits and legal questions now being brought against this oil and gas behemoth. Read More

Shell games: dodging lawsuits and greenwashing charges on both sides of the Atlantic

In 2021, a court in the Netherlands, where Shell was long been headquartered, ordered this leading historical global polluter to drastically change tactics and begin reducing emissions, immediately. Since then, Shell has moved their HQ to the UK and is enjoying record profits while announcing plans to reduce investments in renewables. Undaunted, Civil Society continues taking aggressive action. In February 2023, Global Witness lodged a greenwashing complaint against Shell to U.S. authorities, a tactic also used by NGO ClientEarth. Recently an advertising board in the UK ordered Shell ads off the airwaves for making false environmental claims. How can legal action force Shell to actually change course? In this edition of the Shell Games series (read part 1 and part 3), lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum reviews a few of the mounting legal challenges being brought against this oil and gas behemoth. Read More

From coal to renewables | The Global Energy Transition Podcast

The international response to Russia’s brutal February 2022 invasion of Ukraine has altered and transformed the energy transition, in some ways accelerating the move towards wind and solar generation but also forcing countries dependent on Russian fossil fuels, particularly European nations and the European Union as a whole, to search for and secure alternative supplies.

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Shell games: unearthed docs reveal company’s deep awareness of fossil fuels’ existential risks

The third largest oil and fossil gas producer behind ExxonMobil and Chevron, as late as 2021 Shell and its customers released almost 1.4 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere—more than the emissions of Japan, the world’s third-largest economy. Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine proved a boon to Shell: on the back of record energy prices, the company reported profits of $39.9bn for 2022, the highest in its 115-year history. But despite heat-trapping emissions skyrocketing along with global thermostats, during their annual earnings call, CEO Wael Sawan announced plans to cut spending on its renewables unit given their thinner profit margins. This comes after a cache of documents published earlier this year prove Shell knew far more about the “greenhouse effect” and the existential threats posed by the burning of fossil fuels than previously revealed — potentially bolstering legal efforts to hold Big Oil accountable for the worsening global climate emergency. In the first of a multi-part series (read part 2 and part 3), lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum reviews new revelations around what Shell knew, when it knew it and how it publicly denied its own terrifying data.

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Lithium-rich Chile, already a global renewable energy leader, proposes a new strategy

Despite its historic ties to fossil fuels and copper mining, in recent years Chile has accelerated its energy transition. With a population of just under 20 million, Chile is now targeting 80% renewable electricity by 2030 and a 100% zero emissions power grid by 2050. Last year wind and solar overtook coal as renewables now dominate the local energy sector. Containing massive lithium reserves, a metal critical for renewables, this April Chile’s leadership announced a new national lithium strategy aimed at ensuring that future mining and development proceed equitably as well as environmentally friendly. Already offering global policymakers a playbook for a successful transition towards renewables, Michael Buchsbaum reviews Chile’s emerging plans for its lithium future. Read More