Costa Rica enjoys widespread international fame for being one of the “greenest” countries on earth. The small Central American state has repeatedly been praised for its outstanding efforts in combating climate change, for its reforestation efforts and for generating almost all its electricity from renewable energy sources. Though the government has adopted an ambitious economic plan to make the country carbon neutral by the middle of the century, “green” policies are sometimes not as rosy as they seem. Rebecca Bertram reports from San José.
As utilities across Europe make the switch from coal to gas, CO2 emissions there are falling. But on the other side of the Atlantic, ever-rising fracking production deteriorates air and water quality, impacting public health. Buchsbaum reports from Colorado where ozone and other industry associated pollutants regularly makes outdoor exercise dangerous.
The EU has introduced a new measure to decrease aviation emissions, which is called CORSIA. But it’s not strong enough to protect the climate, say Mareike Willems and Christoph Störmer.
With the ink barely dry on Germany’s Coal Commission report recommending a phase out by 2038, the oil and gas industry is breaking out the champagne. While environmentalists criticize the plan’s particulars, the other side is celebrating the slaying of their strongest competitor. And they’re translating that joy into furious lobbying aimed at ensuring that renewables don’t fill the majority of the void as coal plants are shuttered. L. Michael Buchsbaum explains.
Exhibiting the fastest growth among all fuels in the electricity sector, renewables are about to fundamentally change the energy system. This change is hoped to bring about important social and economic co-benefits, including sustainable and affordable energy for all, green job opportunities, and increased human health and wellbeing. But there may also be some fundamentally political implications of the low carbon shift. This is what a high level group of global leaders was tasked to look into, the result of which was published in their recent report titled A New World The Geopolitics of the Energy Transformation, published by IRENA, the international renewable energy agency. Three authors of the IASS Potsdam reviewed it:
Poland’s energy supply is still based on fossil energy. The dream of expanding renewable energies has been bursting over and over again in the recent years. Michał Olszewski reports on political mistakes and a poor energy strategy.
South Africa’s electricity sector has emerged from a turbulent decade that has been tarnished by corruption and mismanagement. Vested political interests within the electricity industry here could still be locking the continent’s biggest carbon emitter on its current course as one of the dirtiest and most energy-intensive economies in the world, writes Leonie Joubert.
In the past few years, Brazil has experienced its worst economic recession in history, political crises, and corruption in the energy sector (especially the state company Petrobras). Now, the right-wing Jair Bolsonaro has become president of Brazil. What will be the consequences for energy, the environment, and the struggle against climate change? Maximiliano Proaño explains.