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A Transatlantic Green Deal Can Revive the US-EU Partnership

The so-called Green Deals on the table in Europe and the US present an enticing prospect to rejuvenate the greatly diminished transatlantic relationship — and help hit crucial climate targets before it is too late. The European Green Deal, proposed last year with much fanfare by EU commission president Ursula von der Leyen, overlaps significantly with the Green New Deal, an ecological spending program devised by congressional Democrats and endorsed by the party’s presidential candidate, Joe Biden. Paul Hockenos reports

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Green illusions: will the EU’s Clean Hydrogen plan worsen our climate crisis?  

To achieve greenhouse gas neutrality by 2050, in early July the European Commission (EC) published their new Hydrogen strategy for a climate-neutral Europe. Though the promise of a future green hydrogen-based system is the main selling point, in reality the near-term hydrogen economy will be dependent on a nightmarish mix of fossil gas-derived “grey” hydrogen, later supplemented by “blue” hydrogen, itself dependent upon the proving out of non-functional carbon capture and sequestration technologies (CCS). Behind the scenes, the oil and gas industry and their allies are pushing for a “technology-neutral” hydrogen future, thus ensuring them a handsome stream of profits. Despite the green label, there is every reason to suspect that the coming hydrogen transition will be exponentially dirtier than expected. L. Michael Buchsbaum reminds us to be skeptical in Part II of a series on the promises and pitfalls of green hydrogen.

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Why nuclear power is always going to be unsustainable

The biggest nuclear site in Europe containing the world’s biggest stockpile of nuclear explosives is at risk of blowing up. What does this short-term decay tell us about the very long-term sustainability of a technology whose toxic waste last at least 24,000 years? Dr David Lowry takes a closer look.

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Silver bullet or Trojan Horse: Clean Hydrogen poses as much promise as pitfall

Heralded as the missing puzzle piece within a fully decarbonized economy, the European Commission has determined clean hydrogen is the 21st Century solution to arresting climate change. Published in July, their new Hydrogen Strategy is also a jobs plan and pathway towards unifying the EU around a holistic energy and economic policy. But despite being framed as a green energy program, there’s a growing realization that the transition will be dirtier than expected. For the short term at least, the plan rests heavily on using fossil gas as “a bridge fuel” once again. L. Michael Buchsbaum reports in the first of a series on the evolving hydrogen revolution.

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Rethinking biomass’ carbon loophole: will the EU chart a more science-based course?

When the EU embarked upon its energy transition odyssey, regulators deemed the burning of biomass as climate neutral—which when done on a relatively small-scale and under controlled conditions, it can be. But taking advantage of the EU’s biomass baked-in carbon loophole, power generators soon began converting older, coal-fired plants to burning it instead. There’s only one catch: the climate science doesn’t add up. Biomass’ special carbon accounting loophole is creating a superficial impression of climate progress as forests disappear and emissions rise. Despite sunk capital and billions in government subsidies, the EU has vowed reform, but will regulators really change course? L. Michael Buchsbaum has the details.

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How the EU assists deforestation in Brazil

Last year, Brazil made international headlines for the devastating forest fires in the Amazon and their impact on the world’s vital oxygen lungs. Many governments – especially from Europe – were quick to condemn the deforestation of the Amazon that had been increasing rapidly since far-right President Bolsonaro took office in January 2019. Rebecca Bertram takes a closer look.

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Lunch with Mr. Energiewende: Rainer Baake is Back in Berlin

Rainer Baake, 64-years old, is a veteran renewable energy politico with roots that stretch back deep into the earliest days of Germany’s renewables movement and the Greens. In March 2018, Baake left the Federal Ministry of Economy and Energy (BMWi), where he headed up the energy portfolio, with a resounding bang. Since then, he’s travelled around the world shooting a film about climate change. Not one to fade away, he’s got a new think tank up and running called Stiftung Klimaneutralität, or the Climate Neutrality Foundation. Paul Hockenos recently met Mr. Baake for lunch.

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Beyond the Tour de France: Cycling in the post-Covid-19 French Republic

For a long time, the French have considered cycling a sport rather than a way of transport. This has changed in the past years with raising concerns about air quality, climate change and public health. 2020 can be a real turning point with long strikes in public transit as well as government support for a bike system in the aftermath of the Coronavirus crisis. Lisa Tostado takes a closer look.

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