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Fracking bans: Ireland firmly in favor while Germany sits on the fence

While the Irish Centre For Human Rights has outlined severe negative impacts from fracking, the German Expert Committee on Fracking sees no reason to recommend a comprehensive fracking ban. Andy Gheorghiu outlines the fault lines of the debate and explains why it is vital that the general public weighs in to comment on the draft report of the German Expert Committee on Fracking.

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Nuclear Power debate rumbles on in Taiwan and Korea

Ten years have passed since the Fukushima disaster in 2011. In the aftermath, some countries have undergone profound energy-policy shifts to prevent such a disaster in the future. However, Japan’s closest neighbors, Taiwan and South Korea (Korea) are struggling to push through the nuclear phase-out agenda. Instead, support for nuclear is on the rise among the population in both countries. What has happened in those countries in the last decade? Yi hyun Kang & Milan Chen have the story.

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EU taxonomy: Lobbyists and nations gear up for a fight

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.

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Poland’s Białowieża forest: an endangered carbon sink and biodiversity reserve

Poles tend to see the ancient forest of Białowieża as home to extraordinary wildlife. For the climate conscious, the old-growth wilderness that straddles the Polish-Belarus border is a vast carbon sink. Both camps are incensed that the Polish government wants, again, to log the UNESCO World Heritage site. Forests elsewhere in Europe are under threat, too. Paul Hockenos conducted interviews with locals from Białowieża Forest in Poland.

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Out of arguments: In a last ditch effort, King Coal tries pounding on the table

There’s a lot less coal smoke in the air, approaching mid 2021. Analyses from climate think tanks Ember and E3G illustrate a dramatic drop in the US and the European Union. But there are still a few holdouts as some continue digging in their heals. The US state of Wyoming, long the nation’s largest coal producer, is threatening to sue those who turn to cleaner energy sources. And Poland, Europe’s biggest coal dependent, has decided to ignore international law and cause a diplomatic crisis to keep mining. Aren’t these the antics of a dying King? Lead Blogger L. Michael Buchsbaum weighs in on the fray.

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Good news from Chile

Chile is the new renewable energy champion of Latin America. It has overtaken Brazil and Mexico in attracting more foreign direct investment in the sector. Smart and stable energy policy lies behind this success as Rebecca Bertram reports.

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Germany’s high-risk clean-energy balancing act

As coal-fired and nuclear power plants go dark, Germany needs to find ways to balance the grid when weather-dependent renewables cannot get the job done. German and European experts are considering three options. The most promising is the rapid rollout of renewables combined with demand management, diversified storage, and regional smart grids.

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World’s Smart Cities Show How They Do it Themselves

Toronto’s former mayor shines light on best practices in cities from San Francisco to Tokyo in his new book “Solved: How the World’s Great Cities Are Fixing the Climate Crisis”. He argues that innovative transitions to low-emission cities are not just possible, or planned, but are already success stories.

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Will the EU Methane Regulation ignore the climate polluter role of the petrochemical industry?

Fossil gas has long been touted as being the cleanest of fossil fuels as well as a needed “bridge technology”. Plastics on the other hand have been hailed an integral part of modern society that might even deliver climate benefits due to their light weight. Andy Gheorghiu takes a closer look at the link between gas, climate and plastics and argues for an EU Methane Regulation that applies strict rules for both the fossil energy and the petrochemical sector.

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