The hydrogen transition – a crucial political, economic and climate initiative for the European Commission – got a massive boost from their newly released Fit for 55 strategy. But despite growing concerns about how dangerous the expanded carbon footprint of H2 produced from fossil gas will be, many policymakers like EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson remain firm on backing both “blue” and “grey” H2. Among many incentives in the new policy package is the shielding of this highly polluting sector from having to pay additional carbon taxes under the European Trading System (ETS). In a recent Politico Energy Visions web event sponsored by Shell, Simson batted away all criticisms, stating that during the H2 transition phase “we will need all low-carbon hydrogen solutions.” Lead blogger L. Michael Buchsbaum reviews some of the ways not-so-low H2 benefits under the bloc’s new theoretical pollution prevention plans.
While construction on the Russian-backed Nord Stream 2 fossil gas pipeline nears completion, international media attention remains focused squarely on its geopolitical significance. Often missing are the project’s looming climate impacts. Following the landmark decision by Germany’s Constitutional Court ordering politicians to protect future generations from climate harm by staying within the nation’s carbon budget, NGO Deutsche Umwelthilfe or Environmental Action Germany is suing the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) to revoke its construction permit. Despite the pipeline being the largest fossil fuel project in Europe, its climate impacts have never been reviewed during its approval process, nor has any official body ordered a complete lifecycle analysis of the project. Against this backdrop, Nord Stream 2 is also a litmus test of Germany’s commitment to climate. The first in a series of posts, lead blogger Michael Buchsbaum reviews how Nord Stream 2 contradicts German and European Union climate targets, the 2015 Paris Agreement and violates recent court decisions.
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.
The European Union (EU) is planning to tax carbon-intensive products as a strategy to decrease global emissions and avoid carbon leakage. But will exporters be able to adapt? Lilia Maximova, Gabriela F. Kilpp, Natalia Koto, and Bárbara Martins take a look.
Building a climate-resilient South Africa calls for a grassroots drive that addresses the systemic inequality resulting from decades of colonialism and capitalist development. A new Climate Justice Charter has just been unveiled here, which gives a roadmap for how citizens can roll up their sleeves and help bring about a just transition to a post-carbon society. Leonie Joubert reports
Why should individuals refashion their lifestyles to cut down on emissions when the real battlefield is the political arena? Critics say environmentalists focus too much on personal choices rather than fighting for systemic change. Paul Hockenos says he’s on board with the larger goal, but there are valid reasons to start decarbonizing at home.
The Green New Deal is a strategy for transitioning to renewable energies and reshaping national economies. Does the American GND represent a greener version of capitalism as usual, or does it question our growth and consumption philosophies? Paul Hockenos reports.