Low-carbon technology has a Russia problem, too. And it’s going to get bigger. Higher prices, supply chain disruptions, and the war in Ukraine has Europe’s clean tech branch scrambling for non-Russian suppliers of key raw materials, such as nickel, palladium, lithium, platinum, cobalt, and neon-gas, as well as aluminium and copper. Some countries, such as the UK, have already begun to sanction them – a move the entire EU could take, if it chose to. But just about the only alternative markets that can cover rising European demand for exactly these raw materials is other authoritarian regimes. Paul Hockenos reviews.
This chart is easy to remember. On 24 June 2022 the energy think tank Instrat published data on energy production with a special focus on its sources. Combined, photovoltaics and wind energy yielded more power (26.3 %) than the total electricity production from lignite (24.2 %). This means that a revolution took place in a country where successive governments blocked the development of renewable energy sources. For a long time, RES was an alien idea for Polish elites, especially for those on the right. RES was suspicious, contrary to the coal-oriented national interest. Poland was supposed to be a country fuelled by Polish coal. There is a very long list of politicians who have talked a greater or lesser degree of nonsense, or sometimes simply lied, about the subject.
In 2022, there are wins to be celebrated for climate policy. The recent US legislation is the first time in 40 years that the government has managed to pass any meaningful climate policy. The invasion of Ukraine has shaken Europe to accelerate the move away from Russian oil and gas. However, it is hard to celebrate wins for the climate without addressing the elephant in the room – the thriving and ever-profiting oil and gas sector. While recent geopolitical events did indeed infuse the energy transition with, (no pun intended), some much needed energy, Joelle Thomas would argue that the biggest winners of the past year’s events have been oil and gas companies. What does this mean for the energy transition?
While much of the international community’s climate action has focused on controlling carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, in doing so, we’ve essentially given a pass on another very powerful greenhouse gas: methane.
With 86 times the warming impact of CO2 over a twenty-year period, new studies show that methane accounts for about 30-50 percent of today’s global warming.
Thankfully, after years of pressure from activists and climate scientists, in 2021 world leaders finally started paying attention to our growing methane problem. While US President Biden created something of a stir leading an international pledge to reduce methane emissions, the EU actually introduced some rules intended to control methane pollution both inside the 27-member bloc as well as outside of it.
In this second episode in a series focusing on methane, host Michael Buchsbaum interviews James Turitto, Campaign Manager for Methane Pollution Prevention at the Clear Air Task Force.
We also hear an excerpt from Sharon Wilson, Senior Field Advocate at Earthworks, who has long been documenting carbon leakage in the US.
Audio from the podcast was mixed and edited by audio expert Christian Kreymborg.
Biomethane and biogas are increasingly turned to as alternatives for fossil gas. However, their production and distribution can still result in climate damaging methane (CH4) emissions, the magnitude of which remains unclear. A new study from the Imperial College London finds that emissions along the supply chain are much greater than previously estimated. Mitigating CH4 throughout not only fossil gas, but also biomethane and biogas supply chains is urgently needed. Lisa Tostado investigates.
While media coverage has mainly focused on China and India’s record-level imports, other countries in Asia – particularly East Asia – have also been among the top global importers of Russian energy – and are therefore also implicit contributors to the war effort. A new data visualization website shows that countries in the region are likely to become top importers of Russian fossil fuels once Europe finalizes its plans to phase them out, and that moving towards renewables makes more sense considering the global security risks of fossil fuels, the climate crisis and the falling costs of renewables.
The Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine is not only barbaric – it is also a harbinger of rapid economic changes around the world. Even if the war ends relatively soon (and that is unlikely), a return to the status quo ante is unthinkable. So too is a return to the heavily fossil-fuelled and import-dependent European energy model that existed before the war. Is it appropriate to ponder over raw materials as bombs fall on Kharkiv and Mariupol? Yes, if solely for the reason that the future shape of the energy market should constitute a response to this barbarism. The question is whether Poland is genuinely prepared for such a response. Michał Olszewski with a perspective from Warsaw.
In war there are winners and losers. One U.S. gas company profiteering off the back of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is America’s largest Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) exporter, Cheniere Energy. The company has pivoted more of its exports this year to Europe, which is in desperate need of alternatives to Putin’s gas. Over 70% of the company’s LNG exports went to Europe in the first half of 2022, up from less than 40% the year before. Lorne Stockman and Andy Rowell report. This article was originally published on Oil Change International.