Sustained appetite for coal hampers Zimbabwe’s renewable energy prospects

One of the issues hindering Zimbabwe’s urgent development trajectory is its insistent energy shortages. This has seen the government place power production at the top of priorities to achieve an “Empowered and Prosperous Upper Middle-Income Society” between 2021 and 2030. While it is unavoidable that the country will have to increase access to modern as well as sustainable energy to fulfill development plans. The current borrowing to expand and construct coal thermal power stations has sparked debate around the rationality of development using toxic means. In this story, Kennedy Nyavaya writes about how diverting investments to renewable projects will help Zimbabwe utilise its vast clean power potential and take a quick turn towards climate neutrality as well as create green jobs.

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Romania | The Global Energy Transition Podcast – Episode 3

Now committed to phasing out coal by 2032, Romania is set to embark on a sweeping energy transition. A key condition of their nearly €30 billion Recovery and Resilience Plan approved by the European Commission, the mines and old power plants will be replaced by new solar and hydrogen as well as fossil gas development. But during COP26,  Romania’s provisional government surprisingly inked a deal with the U.S. to construct a fleet of experimental nuclear units their too.
In this episode, lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum takes a deeper look in Part One of his Romanian Power Move series. Listen for interviews from Romania’s Energy Ministry State Secretary Dan Drāgan who explains the government’s “decarbonization” vision and the country’s planned shift to fossil gas and solar.
Offering more insights and color commentary, we also hear from Bankwatch Romania’s Just Transition Campaigner, Dan Dobre, just after he returned from the coal fields, and also Bankwatch’s Romanian Energy and Transition Campaign Coordinator, Laura Nazare from the NGOs national office in Bucharest. Click here for more reports from Bankwatch and to go deeper, readers and listeners can click herehere and here. To read one of the transformation strategies for Gorj County, click here.
You can also read more from host Michael Buchsbaum about Romania’s energy transition in the ongoing Romanian Power Move series on the Global Energy Transition blog here, visit his website here or follow Buchsbaum on Twitter @LMicalBuchsbaum.

You can play the episode below, and it’s also available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.


Report “Coal in Romania – A review of coal-based assets and how they affect the
environment” by Bankwatch Romania

Europe Beyond Coal “Romania commits to exiting coal by 2032 at the latest

Greenpeace CEE Press Hub “The Oltenia Energy Complex calls for more than € 1 billion to restructure and decarbonize, but significantly increases CO2 emissions over the next 10 years

Energy Policy Group & Greenpeace România report “The sustainable transition of Gorj County

2Celsius – Romanian environmental NGO

Balkan Green Energy News “Romania tells EU it would close all coal mines by 2032

Romania Insider “European Commission greenlights Romania’s EUR 29.2 bln recovery and resilience plan


Romanian Power Move: Promises of a gassy, green hydrogen (r)evolution

Touted as a vital decarbonization tool, hydrogen’s eventual climate benefit hangs upon how it’s produced. When from fossil gas, it’s potentially as bad as coal. But when generated by renewables, it may live up to the hype. Flush with billions in European Union funds, Romania looks to become a hydrogen hub: producing H2 for local industry, home heating, new rail and mass transit projects and shipping on the Danube. And despite being Europe’s second biggest fossil gas producer, Bucharest assures its hydrogen revolution will be green. Lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum continues his on-going Romanian review.

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Romanian Power Move: Coal-lapsing into solar, fossil gas and beyond

Currently generating over a fifth of the nation’s electricity, in September the Romanian government announced a coal phase-out by 2032. Though supported by various EU funds and intended to pave the way towards mid-century carbon neutrality, Romania’s energy transformation plan is far from emissions free. Despite vast renewable potential, Bucharest intends to replace most of their lignite plants with fossil gas and eventually “clean” hydrogen. In this blog, based on field research funded by a Fellowship from the International Journalists’ Program, lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum takes us to both Romania’s coalfields and speaks with Romanian Ministry of Energy State Secretary, Dan Drăgan.

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Methane pledges with no cutting edges? Is the EU Commission ready to walk the talk on tackling crucial overall emissions?

At the beginning of the COP26 the United States, the European Union and over 100 partner countries launched the so-called Global Methane Pledge – aiming at reducing global methane emissions by at least 30 percent from 2020 levels by 2030. The overarching goal is to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels (1850-1900). At the same time, the EU Commission is working on a legislative act to reduce methane emissions in the oil, gas and coal sectors. Andy Gheorghiu summarizes the state of play, explains the importance of the petrochemical sector and the supply chain and questions how ambitious the upcoming EU methane regulation might be.

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COP26 – diplomatic springboard to a world post fossil fuels?

Despite several significant shortcomings, the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26) united the globe behind the commitment to limit the warming of global climate to 1.5C degrees. Consigning coal to history was one of the central mission statements ahead of and during the conference. Just as important, though less prominent, are the implications of COP26 for the role of other fossil fuels in the global transition to net-zero – most notably for gas. Maria Pastukhova and Lisa Fischer from E3G take a closer look at how this year’s COP will shape the future gas transition diplomacy and whether the new initiatives launched can act as a springboard for the global transition beyond fossil gas.

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Bonn becomes the first city in Germany, second in EU to endorse the Fossil Fuel Treaty

On the eve of the Paris Agreement’s anniversary, the United Nations FCCC city and former German Capital of Bonn calls for international cooperation to phase-out oil, fossil gas and coal. A bold new initiative, the global Fossil Fuels Non-Proliferation treaty is modeled after the UN’s treaty against the spread of nuclear weapons. Last year Climate Breakthrough Award winner, Tzeporah Berman joined with other climate and energy activists to create this new tactic to organize local, state and regional governments to publically call for adoption.  Endorsed by tens of thousands of individuals, hundreds of NGOs and a growing list of cities, Bonn citizen, lead blogger and Global Energy Transition podcaster, Michael Buchsbaum shares this good news.

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Black gold: South Africa’s mixed coal messages

South Africa has just been given a purse of $8.5 billion to help accelerated its move away from coal. But as the international climate negotiations wrapped up in Glasgow, a few key developments at home suggest that the continent’s biggest polluter is not in a hurry to end its relationship with coal. Leonie Joubert takes a closer look.

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Scotland’s Independence Bid Can Be Green

The Scottish government, pushed hard by environmentalists, has finally announced that it is unlikely to pursue oil exploration or extraction in the North Sea’s Cambo fields. This, together with the Green Party’s entrance into a government with the Scottish National Party (SNP), burnishes its climate credentials. But, ultimately, it must exit oil production entirely. From Edinburgh, Scotland, Paul Hockenos has the story.

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Chevron’s political prisoner: Steven Donziger and the denial of environmental justice

More than a decade has passed since human rights attorney Steven Donziger helped win an unprecedented $9.5 billion judgment on behalf of 30,000 indigenous Ecuadorians against the oil giant Chevron that demonstrated how the company had dumped billions of gallons of oil waste into the Amazon’s forests and streams. But in 2016, a New York judge invalidated the verdict, claiming  “shocking levels of misconduct” by Donziger and the Ecuadorian judiciary. The judge then granted Chevron the right to seize Donziger’s laptop, phone and passwords. When he appealed, he was hit with contempt charges and placed under house arrest. After two years of confinement, this summer another judge found Donziger guilty of contempt. Now in jail and largely ignored by the mainstream media, lead blogger and podcaster, Michael Buchsbaum summarizes Donziger’s story while providing links to where readers can learn more about Chevron’s shocking abuse of judicial power.

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