Brussels delays billions in recovery funds after Romania halts coal unit closures

By the end of 2022, Romania had met only 33 of the 55 milestones established in its multi-billion euro National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP). Most problematically, major provisions around lignite-fired power plant closures remain blocked. Days before the first coal units were set to shutter, citing the ongoing war in Ukraine, lawmakers in Bucharest decided to delay closure until October 2023. While also moving forward with the construction of both new EU-funded fossil gas plants as well as U.S. subsidized nuclear reactors, NGOs and activists worry Bucharest is simply trying to cash in on the recovery monies while playing the European Union. Now regulators in Brussels have taken notice by delaying disbursement of billions in much needed green energy funding. Continuing the Romanian Power Move series, lead blogger and podcaster, Michael Buchsbaum reviews the unfolding situation.

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African leaders urge West to live up to pledges to help finance climate transition

In their quest for sustainable advancement, developing countries in Africa are struggling to switch from traditional dirty energy sources to cleaner alternatives without climate finance from abroad. Going green in the power sector has proven costly, but also very important in reducing pollution and environmental degradation across the continent. In this blog, Kennedy Nyavaya looks at how a meaningful transition in Africa will largely depend on developed countries delivering the energy transition funding they have pledged.

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Is Germany’s sudden embrace of LNG inviting a climate catastrophe? | The Global Energy Transition Podcast – S 2 EP 3

In response to Russia’s invasion and brutal war of aggression against Ukraine in 2022, many European nations, particularly Germany, have banned Russian fossil fuels imports. For Germany this has meant not only finding new sources of liquified natural gas (LNG), but also spurred the government to establish several new LNG terminals. However, LNG, which is mainly cooled and compressed methane, represents a major source of climate-harming emissions. Germany, which had no LNG ports prior to Russia’s invasion, has now embarked on a very controversial port and terminal-construction binge, citing the need to maintain energy security. As demand for LNG rises, many of the world’s largest energy firms are raking in record profits – and exporters like the United States have been reaping the benefits.

To help us understand the changing LNG situation and to breakdown LNG’s climate impacts, lead blogger and our host, Michael Buchsbaum interviews the tireless environmental researcher and campaigner, as well as fellow Energy Transition writer, Andy Gheorghiu.

Show notes

More about our guest, Andy Gheorghiu:

Recent blogs for the ET:

Recent mentions in other media:

More about the Global Gas and Oil Network, Beyond Gas Network, and the Break Free From Plastic Movement:

About plastic and the role of methane:

Publication in Nature about LNG and methane over 3%:

Information about Germany’s LNG Fast Tracking law:

Information about US LNG exports:

Current state of controversy around a potential LNG port in Rügen:

In terms of methane emissions we are repeating the Nord Stream explosions every day

One of the most methane emitting events ever recorded, the Nord Stream pipeline explosions in 2022, released a huge amount of this very potent greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. What is striking, though: Normal oil and gas operations globally emit the same amount of methane as the explosion every single day. These emissions are in large parts preventable, they are unacceptable from a climate and air quality standpoint, and they are a colossal waste of precious resources against the backdrop of energy security concerns. Lisa Tostado analyzes the latest data on methane emissions from the energy sector and argues that the issue has not received the attention it deserved.

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When Hitting the Slopes is a Sin Against Nature

In so many ways, Alpine skiing is an assault on the natural world. This will only become more pronounced as our highlands see less and less snow as a result of the climate crisis. In the short run, a dying industry is trying to save itself by means that exacerbate its toll on the environment. Paul Hockenos reports.

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Germany’s superhighway should change, for the better

Horsepower-flush automobiles and the 7,200-mile highway system that accommodates those vehicles, called the autobahn, belong to Germany’s national mythology. For decades, German drivers have relished the ostensible perk of its long stretches of asphalt without a speed limit. But the climate crisis has called this cherished tradition into question, prompting Germans to rethink their relationship to internal combustion engines – and to the autobahn itself, writes Paul Hockenos.

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Innovative Start-ups Highlight the Breadth of the Clean Energy Transition

When looking at clean energy expansion and the drive toward a sustainable future, it makes sense to start with the big picture. After all, one can easily get lost in the myriad of bit pieces. But the micro is important, too, and there’s a universe of innovation happening in the private sector: small start-ups that are filling niches in the sustainable economy (like Tesla once did.) An annual competition organized by the German Energy Agency’s Start-Up Energy Transition reflects the private sector’s advances on the countless parts of the larger Energiewende.

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Renewable Record: New solar and wind installs prevent catastrophic EU energy crisis

With war raging in Ukraine, Europe simultaneously scrambled to cut ties with Russia, its biggest fossil gas supplier, while also dealing with the lowest levels of hydro and nuclear generation in at least two decades. Though many feared a swing back to coal, a new analysis by the climate think tank, Ember reveals that wind and solar energy largely filled the gap, generating a record fifth of all the EU electricity and overtaking fossil gas for the first time in the process. Additionally, as shown in their newly published European Electricity Review, increased renewable deployment saved consumers billions in higher bills while staving off a larger return to climate-damaging coal. Proving itself to be a potent solution to the triple crisis of energy availability, affordability and sustainability, Ember sees Europe’s response as accelerating the energy transition going forward. Lead blogger and podcaster, Michael Buchsbaum, reviews the new data.

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Finito: Colombia halts new gas, oil and coal exploitation

President Gustavo Petro, Colombia’s first-ever progressive leader, wants to help slow global climate change, protect regional biodiversity and bolster Indigenous people’s rights by decoupling the nation’s economy from fossil fuels, starting with a ban on new oil and coal exploration permits. The contentious policy change for the long fossil fuel dependent nation comes on the back of a bonanza year for the industry, which enjoyed a record-setting $22 billion in export revenues. Making good on his campaign promises, in early February Petro presented a $247.1 billion four-year development plan to lawmakers full of sweeping social and economic changes. Lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum reviews the evolving situation in this installment of the Colombian Conundrum series.

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