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.

Derailed: despite its obvious success, Germany to scrap €9 public transport ticket

This spring Germany’s three-party coalition government announced plans to introduce a discounted €9 nationwide public transportation travel pass for the summer months. Intended as a way to cushion the blows of rising inflation, high energy and living costs while reducing fossil fuels usage and emissions, at least 21 million tickets were sold between May, when the ticket became available, and July. Sales figures and passenger numbers surpassed industry expectations and data shows that highway traffic congestion nationwide is easing. But despite its obvious success, Berlin is poised to not extend the offer beyond August, prompting fears that rail travel costs will jump, highway traffic jams will lengthen as Germany squanders another opportunity to show real leadership. Lead blogger, podcaster and frequent rail passenger, Michael Buchsbaum, reviews the situation.

Read More

Harnessing the power of the sun in Greece’s Valley of Tears

The global energy transition is full of ironies. On the same spring day that Greece inaugurated its largest solar plant, located adjacent to several lignite mines in the coalfields of Western Macedonia, the government announced a short-term increase in mining as it responds to feared fossil gas shortages following Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. Then in late June, Greece passed a sweeping renewables law targeting 15GW of new clean energy capacity to be built by 2030, much of it in this coal dependent region. Lead blogger and podcaster, Michael Buchsbaum, discusses the region’s planned transformation into one of the world’s largest centers of solar generation.

Read More

Romania’s continuing power moves: coal exit codified as EU funds new energy projects

Though briefly this year, the Romanian government announced plans to phase out coal by 2030, with the war in Ukraine and the spiraling energy crisis, it now aims to place its coal-fired plants into reserve status with a total shut down fixed for 2032. Newly passed legislation makes this decision binding. With Brussels backing their transition plan, EU funds are flowing in to build new gas-fired and nuclear plants that will replace dirty coal. In the first of two blogs, Lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum updates readers on Romania’s evolving Energy Transition.

Read More

Romanian Power Move: Gas is flowing from the Black Sea as the prosumer solar booms

Following changes to tax legislation, fossil gas is now flowing out of the Black Sea where an estimated 200 billion cubic meters of climate killing methane could be tapped. While drillers look further, homeowners and businesses are installing solar panels at record rates as “prosumers” look to cash in. Lead blogger and podcaster, Michael Buchsbaum reviews the nation’s energy transition in this edition of the Romanian Power Move.

Read More

The most dangerous radicals are those ignoring the IPCC

Russia’s invasion into Ukraine coincided with the release of two sweeping assessments by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the perilous state of our planet’s health. Desperately warning of the need to get off fossil fuels, as the body starts hammering out a synthesis report, lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum reflects on how Europe’s desperate attempts to find alternative fossil fuel sources may end up turbo-charging climate chaos.

Read More

Insane methane: The disastrous explosion of American Freedom molecules

As Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine metastasizes into a global humanitarian crisis, fossil fuel interests are wasting no time in trying to wrench as much glorious shareholder value as possible out of the growing calamity. Lead blogger and podcaster, Michael Buchsbaum argues there’s little coincidence that the United States, the world’s largest oil and fossil gas producer, is using fears of global energy insecurity to gain more market’s for their liquid natural gas (LNG) sector.

Read More

Recount: New tool shows how much clean energy EU could build instead of buying more Russian blood oil

Despite uniting in opposition to the Russian government’s brutal February invasion of Ukraine, in the days since, EU nations have still spent some 60 billion euros in imported Russian coal, oil, and fossil gas according to estimates by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA). While governments scramble to find alternative sources of fossil fuels – sending prices and profits soaring, they continue pouring ever more money into the Kremlin’s war machine. As lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum reviews, the surest way to reduce Russia’s military might is to ramp up investments in renewables. A newly released tool by the NGO Europe Beyond Coal dramatically illustrates the bloody tradeoff European leaders keep sadly making.

Read More

Don’t Look Up: star-studded film is a disaster-parable on climate inaction

The apocalyptic film has polarized critics while furthering a global debate on our collective failure to act on the climate emergency. With Hollywood stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence, since it’s release on December 24, it’s become the second-most-watched Netflix original film in the streaming platform’s history. Its popularity demonstrates a widespread hunger for climate-themed media while offering a global warning about trusting U.S. politics. Lead blogger and podcaster, Michael Buchsbaum offers his take.

Read More

Hunting Methane in the United State’s #1 oil and gas producing Permian Basin

Methane emissions from oil and fossil gas facilities are skyrocketing, potentially accelerating the severity of climate change. Nowhere is the problem worse than in the United State’s Permian Basin, the biggest oil and gas field in the now world-leading petro-carbon producing nation. Stretching from Texas into New Mexico, satellites are detecting worsening levels of methane pollution. This comes as no surprise to “Texas” Sharon, one of the world’s first methane hunters. Recording thousands of leaks with a specially designed camera, she shares her observations with lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum.

Read More

Permian Climate Bomb: The US’ biggest oil and gas field is spewing dangerous amounts of methane

Methane pollution stemming from oil and gas production is accelerating climate change. New data from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) finds that methane may be responsible for almost half of all global warming to date. As the United States becomes the world’s largest producer and exporter of oil and gas, monitoring suggests methane is simply billowing out from its biggest fields, particularly in Texas’ Permian Basin. In a new series on methane, lead blogger and podcaster, Michael Buchsbaum reviews the Permian’s growth and new efforts by Washington to get those rising emissions under control.

Read More