Author: L. Michael Buchsbaum


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.

Fracking chaos: As debt-ridden gas producers go bankrupt, who’ll be left to clean up their mess?

Though fracking enabled the U.S. to finally re-achieve the long held conservative dream of energy independence, the ever-increasing volume of fracked fossil gas flowing out of the U.S., has led to an international glut as prices continue to fall. Now neck-deep in debt and historically unprofitable, pure play gas frackers are starting to struggle. Mass bankruptcies, shut-ins, and layoffs are likely. But Trump’s evisceration of environmental protection laws combined with ludicrously low liability bonds virtually ensures the public will be stuck with the clean up bill. Michael Buchsbaum explains.

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German wind and renewables overpower filthy lignite and hard coal in 2019

Preliminary figures conclusively reveal that renewables produced over 40 percent of Germany’s electricity in 2019. Combined with offshore production, wind energy overtook both filthy lignite and hard coal, and has now become the nation’s largest energy source. But as fossil gas prices fall and the ruling government’s fragile coalition stumbles its way through the Energiewende it created, 2020 will likely prove a make or break year for the clean energy transition. Only the future will reveal if 2019 will actually be remembered as the year renewables really powered past coal in Germany. L. Michael Buchsbaum explains.

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Wind-wreck: Germany’s Grand Coalition derails the turbine train

While ostensibly trying to craft policy that both transforms Germany’s energy sector to 65% renewables by 2035 and protects the security of Germany’s 20,000 coal workers, the Grand Coalition Government’s halting energy policies have just cost the jobs of over 30,000 workers through the wind sector. Facing the worst domestic slowdown in 20 years, manufacturers spent much of 2019 hemorrhaging jobs, going bankrupt or heading into reconstruction. As 2020 begins, L. Michael Buchsbaum brings us up to date.

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Irrational thinking: Merkel’s government stunningly green-lights new coal-fired power plant

Despite all their rhetoric, Angela Merkel’s Grand Coalition government is clearly not all that interested in really powering past coal. The latest evidence is its decision to allow the Uniper-owned 1,200 MW hard coal-fired power plant, Datteln 4, to come online in 2020 — against the recommendations of the Coal Commission. As the government embarks on a bizarre sales campaign peddling the idea that Datteln’s advanced technology will somehow help improve the climate, activists are organizing a protest wave that will dwarf previous actions around the embattled Hambach Forest. Michael Buchsbaum reviews the situation.

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New English edition of Plastic Atlas spotlights humanity’s toxic addiction

Published jointly by Break Free From Plastic, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, and the German Association for the Environment and Nature (BUND), the new report portrays a startling window into the toxic deluge fouling our planet. In just 60 years over 8.3 billion tons of petroleum-based plastics have been produced worldwide – more than one ton per person living on earth today. But only 10% has been recycled. As new production rates are accelerated by cheap fracked gas, the only solution is to drastically reduce our dependency. Buchsbaum reviews the Atlas’ findings.

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Fire in the holes: Transforming mined out lands into solar plants

While most post-mining plans, especially for surface mines, calls for pits to be redeveloped into lakes or farm land, an increasing body of research and evidence shows that these ripped-up landscapes can be successfully transformed into clean energy gold mines—whose solar PV resource potential, unlike coal’s, is infinite. L. Michael Buchsbaum reports

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