All posts tagged: Emissions


Methane part 1 | The Global Energy Transition Podcast – Episode 6

While much of the international community’s climate action has focused on controlling carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, in doing so, we’ve essentially given a pass on another very powerful greenhouse gas: methane.

With 86 times the warming impact of CO2 over a twenty-year period, new studies show that methane accounts for about 30-50 percent of today’s global warming.

Thankfully, after years of pressure from activists and climate scientists, in 2021 world leaders finally started paying attention to our growing methane problem. While US President Biden created something of a stir leading an international pledge to reduce methane emissions, the EU actually introduced some rules intended to control methane pollution both inside the 27-member bloc as well as outside of it.

In this first episode in a series focusing on methane, host Michael Buchsbaum interviews Tim Grabiel, Senior Lawyer with the Environmental Investigation Agency in Brussels about the EU’s newly proposed methane regulations.

Then heinterviews Otilia Nutu, an energy researcher at Romanian climate think tank, 2Celsius to talk about how the new rules may or may not apply to the EU’s second largest producer of fossil gas.

Finally, we hear an excerpt of an interview with methane hunter, James Turitto with the Clean Air Task Force about what he discovered in Romania as well.

You can play the episode below, and it’s also available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Shownotes:

  • Click on this link to navigate to Environmental Investigation Agency and the EU’s new methane rules
  • Click here for more info on methane in Romania and 2Celsius’ Otilla Nutu.
  • Click here to read more about methane hunter, James Turitto and what he discovered in Romania.

Audio from the podcast was mixed and edited by audio expert Christian Kreymborg

Carbon fighting tool or economic bomb: Reviewing the EU’s new CBAM

In July the European Commission unveiled its Fit for 55 package aimed at pushing EU member states to reduce emissions by at least net 55% (compared to 1990 levels) by 2030. One of the most widely anticipated parts of the package – at least among policy wonks – is the introduction of the world’s first carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM). Intended to level the playing field between domestic and foreign producers of cement, steel, aluminum, fertilizers and electricity, CBAM’s real litmus test will be if it actually reduces overall emissions and incentivizes a greening economy both within and without the EU. But given how controversial and relatively weak the CBAM proposal is out of the gate, critics worry its presence will only distract from more effective climate strategies in the Fit for 55 plan. Worse, despite COP 26 in Glasgow, pushing CBAM could spark an international trade war. Lead blogger Michael Buchsbaum reviews the growing debate. Listen to our podcast on CBAM.

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Hydrogen in Latin America. Handle with Care (I)

Latin America’s hydrocarbon producers have long considered hydrogen as a good opportunity to render their extractivist models “greener”. There are a range of concerns about blue and grey hydrogen, but even large-scale green hydrogen may have negative social and environmental impacts. This is part one in a series exploring the background of hydrogen and its risks across the region.

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Exploring innovative ways to bring down methane emissions in the energy sector

After long years of neglecting the science about the negative climate impact of fossil gas (i.e. methane) the EU Commission finally came up with a Methane Strategy, with a concrete legislative proposal on the energy sector expected later this year. There is large consensus on the need to reduce methane emissions due to its high warming potential to limit global heating, but will the EU Commission propose sufficient measures and what other innovative policy options exist? Andy Gheorghiu summarizes the key highlights of an online event around a new study exploring this question.

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CCS Seduction IV: A new dawn for the oil industry goes Nova

Though increasingly framed as a key way to slow climate change, for most commercial Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) operations, selling the carbon they capture to produce more fossil fuels through Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) production is the only way they can ensure profits for investors. According to a count by the Global CCS Institute, of the 28 currently operable CCS complexes worldwide, 22 rely on EOR as their back end “storage” system. CCS advocates hope that under the right public policy regimes, this profit-making motive will help scale up CCS operations while driving costs down. Getting the public onboard means selling CCS as a way to prevent climate change, but who pays when they fail? L. Michael Buchsbaum reviews one of 2020’s biggest CCS disasters as the fourth part of the on-going Seduction series.

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Seduction Pt III: Carbon Capture’s expensive failure to capture carbon

As many nations develop net-zero carbon plans both to honor the Paris Climate Agreement and address the climate crisis, many are leaning heavily upon unproven and misunderstood Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) technologies. Despite billions of dollars spent in research and development, it’s unclear how much environmental progress is actually achieved by CCS. Not only is there little accurate data around how much carbon has really been buried, but there’s reason to believe CCS will actually increase overall greenhouse gas emissions. In the third part of his “Seduced by CCS” series, L. Michael Buchsbaum reviews CCS’ math and how utilizing it to produce more oil only makes things worse.

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Seduced Pt. II: Looking under Carbon Capture & Sequestration’s oily hood

Touted as a key component within many emerging national net-zero emissions strategies, carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) received a huge credibility boost from several recent IPCC and IEA studies. But CCS’ greatest advantage is that it enables oil majors to have a market in an otherwise decarbonized economy. What it doesn’t do is stop the pollution stream. Framed as a climate solution, in fact most current and planned projects use the CO2 they capture to produce more fossil fuels through various enhanced oil recovery (EOR) schemes. As part of an ongoing series deconstructing CCS, L. Michael Buchsbaum reviews some recent history.

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Playing Out: Covid-19 helps stop coal’s endless global expansion

 New data reveals that for the first time since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the world’s fleet of coal-fired power stations has grown smaller. With economies in Covid-19’s grip, more coal capacity was retired during the first half of 2020 than the amount that came online. Though terrible for the climate, make no mistake, King Coal’s reign isn’t ending just for environmental reasons. Coal has become bad for business and banks are starting to freeze investments. L. Michael Buchsbaum takes a deeper look in the first of his Playing Out of Coal series.

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EU Climate Law: business as usual or blueprint for climate action?

In what may seem a last ditch effort, the European Union has turned to the slow churning wheels of the law to stimulate climate action in 27 Member States (MS) towards a single goal: a carbon neutral Europe by 2050. European Commission (EC) president Ursula von der Leyen puts on a warm smile to say the text of the proposed European Union Climate Law is “actually rather short and it is rather simple.” We leave simplicity to constitutional lawyers, who may find “simple” an amusing word to describe a law with massive implications for national constitutions and EU treaties. Michael Davies-Venn has the story.

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