Promoted as a vital tool to slow climate change, hydrogen (H2) is set to decarbonize long-distance transportation, steel and other industries while utilities plan to blend it with fossil gas for electrical generation. Yet 96% of H2 is currently produced from fossil fuels – mostly gas – resulting in massive carbon pollution. Though industry counters with promises of capturing and storing that CO2 – so called “blue” H2, there’s been no peer-reviewed data available to refute their claims it’s clean. Until now. A new life cycle assessment published in the Journal Energy Science & Engineering by influential scientists Robert Howarth and Mark Z Jacobson finds that instead of being an improvement, blue H2 is at best a “distraction” away from genuinely green solutions. Lead blogger, podcaster and advisor to the Energy Transition, L. Michael Buchsbaum reviews the study and its implications in the first of a series piercing through some of the hydrogen hype.
With carbon emissions set to blow past limits agreed to under the 2015 Paris Agreement and most governments taking little or no action to curtail them, it’s clear new tactics to deal with the climate crisis are urgently needed. A bold new initiative seeks to establish a global Fossil Fuels Non-Proliferation treaty. Modeled after the UN’s treaty against the spread of nuclear weapons, last year Climate Breakthrough Award winner, Tzeporah Berman joined with other climate and energy activists to forge a new path towards ending the expanding volumes of climate killing coal, oil and gas still under development. Endorsed by tens of thousands of individuals, hundreds of NGOs as well as a growing list of cities worldwide – like Sydney and Toronto just this summer, lead blogger and Global Energy Transition podcaster, Michael Buchsbaum reviews the concept and what organizers plan for COP26 in Glasgow.
Pollution from the burning of ever more coal, oil and methane gas is accelerating the climate crisis. As national governments fail to control these emissions, cities and regions around the world are banding together to adopt a Fossil Fuels Non-Proliferation Treaty. Modeled after efforts to reduce the spread of nuclear weapons, this new global initiative is gaining support ahead of the upcoming COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.
Launching the The Global Energy Transition Podcast series, host Michael Buchsbaum, lead blogger of Energy Transition.org, reviews the treaty and interviews two of its team of all-star advocates: Richard Folland from Carbon Tracker and Mitzi Jonelle Tan, a Filipina climate justice activist and organizer with Fridays for Future. Audio from the podcast was mixed and edited by Christian Kreymborg.
Environmental disasters and global warming severely threaten global biodiversity. Few wild places can boast diverse ecosystems that are largely intact. One such area – Kavango Zambezi Transfontier Conservation Area (KAZA) – is being threatened by plans by the oil and gas industry. Andy Gheorghiu reports on the fight to prevent oil and gas extraction in Southern Africa that is threatening our planet’s largest nature protection zone.
A year since the first COVID-19 cases appeared in South Africa, the disease has killed more than 50,000 people. A new study now shows that a similar number of South Africans die each year due to diseases caused by air pollution linked with the burning of fossil fuels.
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