Joe Biden’s electoral victory has renewed European hopes of putting the brakes on global climate change. But before he becomes a global climate leader the new president faces a string of obstacles not only from Republicans and the US courts but also from within his own party. Sarah Jackson and Noah J. Gordon have the story.
Achieving the goals of the European Green Deal and striking climate neutrality by 2050 means transforming the entire mobility sector, which currently makes up nearly 30 percent of the bloc’s CO2 emissions. To help steer readers in the right direction, the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung’s (hbs) new 2021 European Mobility Atlas provides a host of fact-based recommendations from sector experts. As 2021 is also the European Year of Rail, many of the Atlas’ graphics focus on this key sector, including the impacts of enhanced night-train service and more continent-wide cross-border connections. Franz Timmermans, Executive Vice President of the European Commission for the European Green Deal, dubbed the publication a “fantastic resource,” and underscored that “the more people who know about this, the more successful we’ll be.” A review by L. Michael Buchsbaum.
When the UK finalized a trade and security agreement with the European Commission on 24 December last year, it left with a set of arrangements governing future energy cooperation.
Here, Dr David Lowry looks at the background and reveals one extraordinary condition that could terminate the nuclear component of the deal.
The world’s largest wind farm two decades ago may not survive as a co-operative. At least this is what the Danish energy industry says. The co-op’s founders remain defiant – and optimistic. Paul Hockenos has the story.
The report “Water in Agriculture” shows that without fundamental reform, the problems of Polish agriculture, and thus of the entire economy, will only deepen. Michał Olszewski has the details.
The time to panic is clearly upon us. No more beating around the bush: we must recognise the inevitability of the climate catastrophe. But has everyone noticed it yet? The beginning of 2020 saw the premiere of a documentary by American director Jonathan Ramsey about the Polish atmospheric physicist Szymon Malinowski, who is fighting for the climate. The film’s title announces that It’s okay to panic. It would appear that the public is realising that the time has come for controlled panic, or rather for action. The film presents determined social activists and wise scientists. There are still plenty of politicians and media outlets that have not recognised that it is time to panic, nor noticed the inevitability of climate change in the country and the world. Where does this resistance come from? What is the climate debate in Poland like, and who is generating it? Agata Skrzypczyk reports
The window of opportunity to keep the average global temperature from breaking through the ceiling of 2°C — or preferably 1.5°C — as set out in the UN’s Paris Agreement is closing fast. But for parts of the Kalahari, a vast semi-desert in southern Africa, the battle to stabilise the regional temperature is already lost. Botswana is expected to reach an average warming of 2°C in less than five years. At a time when the science warns that countries need to keep their fossil fuels in the ground, conservationists here have expressed alarm at the news that oil and gas prospecting licenses have been issued for large parts of Botswana and Namibia, including in the ecologically and water-sensitive Okavango Delta and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Leonie Joubert reports
Though increasingly framed as a key way to slow climate change, for most commercial Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) operations, selling the carbon they capture to produce more fossil fuels through Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) production is the only way they can ensure profits for investors. According to a count by the Global CCS Institute, of the 28 currently operable CCS complexes worldwide, 22 rely on EOR as their back end “storage” system. CCS advocates hope that under the right public policy regimes, this profit-making motive will help scale up CCS operations while driving costs down. Getting the public onboard means selling CCS as a way to prevent climate change, but who pays when they fail? L. Michael Buchsbaum reviews one of 2020’s biggest CCS disasters as the fourth part of the on-going Seduction series.
As many nations develop net-zero carbon plans both to honor the Paris Climate Agreement and address the climate crisis, many are leaning heavily upon unproven and misunderstood Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) technologies. Despite billions of dollars spent in research and development, it’s unclear how much environmental progress is actually achieved by CCS. Not only is there little accurate data around how much carbon has really been buried, but there’s reason to believe CCS will actually increase overall greenhouse gas emissions. In the third part of his “Seduced by CCS” series, L. Michael Buchsbaum reviews CCS’ math and how utilizing it to produce more oil only makes things worse.
Touted as a key component within many emerging national net-zero emissions strategies, carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) received a huge credibility boost from several recent IPCC and IEA studies. But CCS’ greatest advantage is that it enables oil majors to have a market in an otherwise decarbonized economy. What it doesn’t do is stop the pollution stream. Framed as a climate solution, in fact most current and planned projects use the CO2 they capture to produce more fossil fuels through various enhanced oil recovery (EOR) schemes. As part of an ongoing series deconstructing CCS, L. Michael Buchsbaum reviews some recent history.