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.
Despite so much criticism directed at the International Energy Agency (IEA) over the years, the Paris-based intergovernmental organization, which was established in the framework of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in 1974, refuses to seriously rethink its affinity to fossil fuels and nuclear power – and its timid embrace of renewables.
After twenty years of negotiations, the European Union is in the process of advancing one of the world’s largest free trade agreements with four states of Mercosur. The planned agreement suggests a political path that veers towards a worsening of the international climate crisis. Kathrin Meyer discusses the questionable contents of the political act, which will solidify inequality amongst the trade partners and enable the expansion of environmentally harmful methods.
Several countries’ national determined contributions (NDCs) highlight climate finance as a precondition for the ambitious action needed to achieve development paths compatible with limiting global warming to 1.5°C in 2100. Many hopes have been pinned on new market mechanisms in this context, but the trade-offs demanded by carbon trading schemes continued to be hotly debated at the UNFCCC last week, not least due to their political and economic implications. Laima Eicke reports
On July 12, a group of economists called on the German government to take quick climate action. This new proposal packs because the messenger officially advises the government – and doesn’t come from the climate camp. Craig Morris reports
Fossil fuel industries still have an unfair advantage in South Africa: the economy externalises the costs of carbon emissions, the state subsidises the biggest emitters, and financial institutions still invest in high-carbon industries. How can the country level the playing fields for a greener economy? Leonie Joubert takes a look
Croatia’s plan to construct a liquified natural gas (LNG) import terminal has been on its energy policy agenda for decades, but was postponed over and over again. Finally investors have decided to build the Krk LNG terminal, and argue that it will increase energy security in Central Europe and the Balkans. But its impact can range from maintaining the country’s reliance on fossil fuels to becoming an underutilised piece of infrastructure sapping away governments’ attention from their renewable energy agendas, says John Szabó.
With Germany’s coal plants scheduled to close by 2038, operators now face some major decisions about how to restructure energy systems. One idea is to convert polluting power stations into batteries. L. Michael Buchsbaum takes a look.