Circumventing landfills by turning garbage into energy sounds like a win-win proposition. But the incineration of garbage has high carbon emissions and produces other dangerous toxins. Waste-to-energy (WtE) plants may be necessary for the very last of unrecyclable waste, but we do not need more of them to accomplish this. Already recycling has cut into their feed supply – and should, hopefully, put them out of business.
2021 is the European Year of Rail in recognition of the key role trains play in efforts to strike climate neutrality by 2050. As well as reducing short-distance flights, regulators across the continent are also promoting night trains as a more sustainable form of travel. This summer, rail operators are re-launching services that had been halted and are investing in new routes and equipment across the continent. As part of its , the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung has launched a to underscore the benefits of night trains as a climate solution and urge more action from Brussels and other capitals. Lead Blogger Michael Buchsbaum reviews recent European Night Train developments and interviews one of the two Atlas’ Chief Executive Editors and rail expert, Philipp Cerny.
In May, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) published the draft of its new energy policy, a big step, given its clout over energy systems in Asia and the Pacific. The document pledges a new era in the multilateral bank’s financing approach. But despite major improvements on coal, there remains a long way to go. Maria Pastukhova looks at the small print.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.