COP28: an opportunity for Africa to reduce sovereign debt and stimulate renewable energy transitions

Almost 20 years ago, and following long debate, the wealthiest countries wrote off some of the debts owed to them by economically disadvantaged countries. With the United Nations recently declaring ‘a world of debt’, we’re back to it again, and so soon. But this time around, an imminent environmental crisis looms in the background. Developing countries simply cannot contribute to climate change solutions when weighted with debts. As many as 27 countries in Africa have ratio of debt to GDP above 60 per cent. Another important difference is that this time around, Africa holds more than half the raw materials needed for decarbonizing global economies. This year’s COP28 would be most effective by solving this paradox, as well as securing decarbonisation gains made so far, mostly in wealthier countries. Africa’s natural resources for energy transitions positions the continent to sustainably manage its debt, encourage economic growth and stimulate energy transitions across the continent, writes Michael Davies-Venn. Read More

Global gas demand: locking in the peak for economic, energy and climate security

Under current trends, global gas demand is set to peak before the decade’s end. Bringing forward this peak in line with climate imperatives can bolster economic growth, security, and resilience. To do this, demand must fall by 110 bcm per year until 2030. Structurally reducing demand should become a focus of international collaboration, write Kamila Godzinska, Maria Pastukhova, Lisa Fischer from E3G.* Read More

The return of the returnable bottle

It took nearly 30 years of debate – and eventually pressure from the European Union – to restore the bottle deposit system in Poland. At the beginning of the 1990s the reusable packaging market, especially for reusable bottles, began to die out in Poland. This was one of the few elements of the economy that was worth preserving as a legacy from the People’s Republic of Poland. In times of widespread shortage of raw materials, virtually every glass bottle circled around in the socialist closed-loop economy. At the beginning of the 90s, however, the era of disposability and plastic packaging began in Poland. And it’s only now that there’s been a rethink. Read More

Readers’ survey 2023 – We need your feedback!

The Energy Transition Blog has been published for more than a decade by the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, the German Green political foundation. It started as an outlet to explain Germany’s Energy Transition (Energiewende) and it progressively broadened its geographical coverage and thematic scope. 15 contributors from around the world write about different aspects of the green socio-ecological transformation and the efforts to transition to 100% renewables.

We are planning to revamp our Blog to make sure it still provides relevant and useful information to inform debates around energy and climate in the next years.

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Shell Games: Holding them accountable

Recently the powerful climate NGO ClientEarth took the unprecedented step of filing suit directly against Shell’s Board of Directors on behalf of investors for failing to manage risks posed to the company by climate change and implement an energy transition strategy that aligns with the Paris Agreement. Nevertheless, at their most recent shareholder meeting, Shell announced plans to reduce renewables spending while investing more in fossil gas and LNG. So will legal action be able to force Shell to actually change course? In this edition of the Shell Games series (read part 1 and part 2), lead blogger and podcaster, Michael Buchsbaum reviews the status of even more lawsuits and legal questions now being brought against this oil and gas behemoth. Read More

Wind bad because German, gas good because Polish

In May 2023, the Polish parliament has passed a law that facilitates the construction of biogas plants. The new rules are intended to help smaller towns in particular ensure energy stability and accelerate the transition away from coal. Critics, however, argue that the new law is a case of too little, too late in an agricultural country that would be ideally suited to biogas. Read More

Poland’s answer to the climate crisis: one hundred nuclear reactors

The good news is that Poland is no longer denying or ignoring the climate crisis. The bad news is that it believes the solution to eradicating its 80 percent dependency on fossil fuels – the highest in the EU – is an expansive nuclear energy program. Even the three democratic parties likely to form a new, liberal-minded coalition government, the outcome of the October 15 general election, believe that their country is going nuclear – big time and very soon – by building in total six full-size conventional reactors and as many as one hundred small modular reactors (SMR) in coming years. Paul Hockenos reports. Read More

Shell games: dodging lawsuits and greenwashing charges on both sides of the Atlantic

In 2021, a court in the Netherlands, where Shell was long been headquartered, ordered this leading historical global polluter to drastically change tactics and begin reducing emissions, immediately. Since then, Shell has moved their HQ to the UK and is enjoying record profits while announcing plans to reduce investments in renewables. Undaunted, Civil Society continues taking aggressive action. In February 2023, Global Witness lodged a greenwashing complaint against Shell to U.S. authorities, a tactic also used by NGO ClientEarth. Recently an advertising board in the UK ordered Shell ads off the airwaves for making false environmental claims. How can legal action force Shell to actually change course? In this edition of the Shell Games series (read part 1 and part 3), lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum reviews a few of the mounting legal challenges being brought against this oil and gas behemoth. Read More