As winter approaches, Serbia finds itself behind the eight ball. Its coal reserves, about two-thirds of its 2021 energy supply, are dwindling in terms of quantity and are ever poorer in terms of quality. This is why the country’s import of electricity and coal are expected to increase this year and next – along with an energy bill that will double, at the very least. Serbia’s coal deficit will only grow larger the longer it continues to leans on it.
The Polish government has taken a first step towards realizing its nuclear energy aspirations – building a reactor with a total capacity of 9 GW by the year 2043. At the beginning of November, an agreement was signed with the American, Pittsburg-based company Westinghouse to build its first nuclear project on the Baltic coast. It marks a significant pivot in the Polish energy transition. Nuclear has long formed part of the country’s energy plans, but scant action was taken in that direction, more hope was put into renewable energy sources. Now it looks like green-energy sources may take a hit. Agata Skrzypczyk has the details.
The global climate movement’s smaller numbers, expanded focus, distrust of parliamentary democracy, and radical offshoots reflect a mass movement frustrated with its inability to turn around international climate politics. Although understandable in light of the pace of climate breakdown and international backsliding, this frustration, channeled in the wrong direction, could sap the power of this vitally important protest movement rather than energize it. Paul Hockenos takes a closer look.
Covering an area the size of Belgium, Argentina’s Vaca Muerta oil and gas field comprises the second-largest known reserve of shale gas and the fourth-largest reserve of shale oil in the world. During the COP27 climate conference in Egypt, the international environmental NGO 350.org issued a warning that exploiting the field’s full reserve could unleash a veritable “carbon bomb,” accelerating already quickly rising global temperatures while putting agreements to hold to a 1.5 degree rise out of reach. Now, in the wake of the world’s reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, drillers are accelerating fracking activities as producers rush to backfill missing energy supplies. Supported by international investment banks and their partners, new pipelines and liquid natural gas terminals are enabling Argentina’s toxic hydrocarbons to capture long-term global supply contracts. 350.org’s Latin American Managing Director, Ilan Zugman and 350.org’s Senior Latin America Campaigner M. Victoria Emanuelli along with lead blogger Michael Buchsbaum review the situation.
Fundamental to Germany’s Energiewende is its long-planned nuclear energy phase-out. For over a decade the nation has gradually reduced its reliance on atomic power with a planned end date of December 31st 2022. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the subsequent boycotting and weaponization of Russian fossil fuels, plus fears of a cold winter have upended the nuclear exit-strategy. With three plants still online in October, Chancellor Scholz decided to extend their runs until the following April. But delegates at the Green Party’s recent congress in Bonn overwhelmingly voted against backing any measures allowing the purchase of new fuel rods to further extend their runs. And as lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum reminds in this second piece on Germany’s fractious nuclear exit debate, despite the ongoing war, it’s still possible that uranium for any new rods would be imported from Russia.
Soaring energy prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, fears of a cold winter, energy shortages and a looming recession in Germany are causing much handwringing. Long dependent on cheap Russian gas, Germany’s crucial industrial sector is warning of blackouts and lasting economic damage if enough replacement fuel isn’t found. After months of partisan bickering between members of his coalition government, Chancellor Scholz decided to authorize the extended run time of the nation’s three remaining nuclear power plants until mid-April 2023, postponing their long planned, legally binding December 31st 2022 expiration date. In the first of two pieces, lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum takes us through the debate.
As our planet warms, cooling technology becomes ever more relevant. Staying comfortable doesn’t have to come at the expense of the climate. Paul Hockenos reviews.
Led by reformer Gustavo Petro, Colombia’s new leftist government, the first in its long history, aims to both reduce its dependence on fossil fuel exports and achieve 100% clean electricity by 2032 while creating peace and creating economic prosperity. But to ensure these aims can justly be reached, Petro’s administration will need assistance, particularly from Germany. Its fifth largest trading partner and biggest in the EU, new treaty obligations to protect indigenous rights and control supply chains may force Germany to re-evaluate its still extractivist behavior. In the final piece in the series, Lead blogger and podcaster, Michael Buchsbaum reviews several of the necessary changes required of the German companies still profiting off the mining and burning of Colombian blood coal.
South Korea is jeopardizing its ability to meet its 2030 methane reduction target under the Global Methane Pledge due to the country’s plans to massively expand fossil-based hydrogen, according to a recent study by Seoul-based Solutions for Our Climate (SFOC) led by legal, economic, financial, and environmental experts with experience in energy and climate policy. Jinny Kim explains.