Archives


Carbon markets are stalling speedy global climate action

Six years on from the cheers, claps and cries to welcome the Paris Agreement, global temperatures and emissions are rising, as dusk settles on the promise the agreement holds for planet Earth. It’s fading hope is today matched with faltering efforts to implement its Article 6. Michael Davies-Venn argues that failures to reach agreements on Article 6 illustrates an unfortunate mistake of conceiving of an imminent global environmental crisis as an economic problem. This misconception, he says, creates an illusion that an international carbon market is a suitable climate change solution.

Read More

Worse than coal: New data finds Nord Stream 2 contradicts EU climate goals

In the years since the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany was permitted, evidence continues to mount that fossil gas does not provide a clean bridge to renewables. Projected to emit over 100 million metric tons of CO2 per year – plus fugitive methane, German regulators refuse to investigate the climate impacts of Europe’s largest fossil fuel project. Nor have they agreed to hold hearings on this emerging data ahead of September’s federal elections. But the EU’s adoption of emissions reduction targets of 55% by 2030 on the way to mid-century carbon neutrality means NS2 will clearly breach these limits. In the third installment in an on-going series, Lead Blogger L. Michael Buchsbaum interviews one of the world’s leading authorities on methane, Dr. Robert Howarth, whose data suggests the pipeline’s impacts could be worse than the coal it’s replacing.

Read More

The Energy-Water Nexus in the Middle East: Will water scarcity compromise the Middle East’s green hydrogen future?

The race to become the world leader in hydrogen production has begun—and the Middle East is at the front of the pack. Hydrogen—and in particular—green hydrogen, is often portrayed as the “silver bullet” in decarbonization technology—able to decarbonize even the hardest-to-abate sectors. With some of the best renewable energy sources in the world (both solar and wind), many Middle Eastern countries seek to maintain their position as global energy giants by producing and exporting new energy vectors — namely, hydrogen and its derivatives. Yet Joelle Thomas found herself wondering whether these lofty hydrogen goals will be sustainable in a region with one significant resource constraint: water.

Read More

Eastern Greater Poland: An Energy Transition Trailblazer

As the first of the country’s six coal regions to start planning its coal phase-out, Eastern Greater Poland is the undisputed leader in Poland’s just energy transition. For 80 years, the region’s industry has revolved around lignite, but Eastern Greater Poland has ambitions not only to change the status quo with regard to coal, but also to serve as an example for the rest of the nation. Grass-roots projects lie at the heart of their new approach to energy. Agata Skrzypczyk has the story.

Read More

South Africa’s new energy policy is a game-changer for Africa’s biggest carbon polluter

What better way to set a country on a path to a just transition than to allow lower-income families to harvest the free solar energy falling on or around their homes, and sell it to the national grid? After years of regulatory deadlock on the private sale of electricity in South Africa, sudden tectonic policy changes mean community energy co-operatives might be able to join the energy supply sector.

Read More

How smart grid technologies are disrupting the energy sector

In order to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement of 2015, the European Commission has set the long-term goal that EU Member States should be climate neutral by 2050. The energy sector must be transformed to keep the temperature rise well below 2°C. Renewable energy supply, combined with energy efficiency and the electrification of heat and transport, is seen as the key to reducing energy-related CO2 emissions by over 90 per cent compared to 1990. Part of the strategy implemented by the German Federal Government for tackling climate change is to further decentralize the electricity distribution system by 2050. This is reshaping the role of Distribution System Operators (DSOs). Philip Emmerich reports how smart grid technologies are disrupting the energy sector and challenging the business of DSOs in Germany.

Read More

The energy transition and its copper problem

Proponents of a global energy transition often claim that it is a completely renewable and clean project. True, renewable energy resources, such as solar, wind and geothermal are abundant, but the metals used for the production of the technologies are not. Take copper for example: it is a vital – yet limited – resource that has been largely absent from energy transition debates. Rebecca Bertram has a closer look.

Read More