In Southern Africa the population is growing at a much faster pace than the rate at which the region is developing. This is putting pressure on resources, in particular, on energy provision. Less than half the region’s population is connected to grid electricity, meaning many rely on wood fuel despite its dire impacts on the environment. Countries including Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa face a serious power crisis in recent months and need to rethink their energy production systems. Can a collaborative energy transition save Southern Africa from its crises and secure a cleaner future? Kennedy Nyavaya has the story.
All posts tagged: fossil gas
Germany’s nuclear brinkmanship: politics and fear drive debate over last reactors
Soaring energy prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, fears of a cold winter, energy shortages and a looming recession in Germany are causing much handwringing. Long dependent on cheap Russian gas, Germany’s crucial industrial sector is warning of blackouts and lasting economic damage if enough replacement fuel isn’t found. After months of partisan bickering between members of his coalition government, Chancellor Scholz decided to authorize the extended run time of the nation’s three remaining nuclear power plants until mid-April 2023, postponing their long planned, legally binding December 31st 2022 expiration date. In the first of two pieces, lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum takes us through the debate.
Wintershall Dea and Russia: The fossil fuelled franchise must end!
The war in Ukraine reveals the consequences of Germany’s fossil fuel dependency on Putin’s regime in a brutal way. The international voices to cut these fossil ties are growing by the day. Many oil and gas producing companies – such as BP, Shell and ExxonMobil – have already pulled out of Russia. However, Germany’s largest oil and gas company, Wintershall Dea, is still reluctant to follow these examples. Andy Gheorghiu gives a brief overview about Wintershall’s history and explains how its deep-rooted ties with state-controlled Gazprom – including its Nord Stream projects partnerships and a swap-asset deal that hand-delivered Germany’s largest gas storage to Putin – have also deepened Germany’s dependence on Russia.
LNG terminals for Germany: Part I – Brief history and state of play
The war in Ukraine has revealed the dependency of Europe on Russian gas. For a long time, gas has been touted as a bridge fuel. Now it turns out that gas is not only a significant contributor to the climate crisis but also a fuel to co-finance Putin’s war machine. A fast phase-out of fossil gas is inevitable, but some think that liquefied natural gas (LNG) will help the EU get rid of the Russian dependency. In this blog series, Andy Gheorghiu describes the situation in Germany and explains why the proposed LNG terminals are a climate disaster and risk to deepen the fossil dependency.
Romanian Power Move: Promises of a gassy, green hydrogen (r)evolution
Touted as a vital decarbonization tool, hydrogen’s eventual climate benefit hangs upon how it’s produced. When from fossil gas, it’s potentially as bad as coal. But when generated by renewables, it may live up to the hype. Flush with billions in European Union funds, Romania looks to become a hydrogen hub: producing H2 for local industry, home heating, new rail and mass transit projects and shipping on the Danube. And despite being Europe’s second biggest fossil gas producer, Bucharest assures its hydrogen revolution will be green. Lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum continues his on-going Romanian review.
COP26 – diplomatic springboard to a world post fossil fuels?
Despite several significant shortcomings, the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26) united the globe behind the commitment to limit the warming of global climate to 1.5C degrees. Consigning coal to history was one of the central mission statements ahead of and during the conference. Just as important, though less prominent, are the implications of COP26 for the role of other fossil fuels in the global transition to net-zero – most notably for gas. Maria Pastukhova and Lisa Fischer from E3G take a closer look at how this year’s COP will shape the future gas transition diplomacy and whether the new initiatives launched can act as a springboard for the global transition beyond fossil gas.
Lesson learned: To blunt energy price spikes, the EU needs more renewables, faster
With energy prices soaring across Europe, more gas and coal plants are firing up. Ahead of COP26 in Glasgow, emissions – along with bills – were skyrocketing. Though fossil energy dependent countries like Poland and other allies of dirty fuels are using the crisis to push back on Brussels, putting more scrutiny on the bloc’s overall decarbonization strategies, leadership is standing firm. As imported fossil gas prices are ever more manipulated on complex commodities markets, European Commission leadership says the crisis is another reminder that the best long-term solution is to accelerate the expansion of renewable generation. And thankfully that’s a key aim of the EU’s newly unveiled “Fit for 55” strategy. Lead blogger L. Michael Buchsbaum reviews the situation.
Pink and grey with just a hint of green: Biden’s “cleaner” Hydrogen plan
Over the summer, the US Senate passed a much smaller than promised infrastructure package. Despite most climate protection and clean energy aspects being stripped out, one of the big winners in the $1 trillion infrastructure plan is hydrogen (H2). In a provision originally introduced as a separate bill by fossil-rich West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, some $8 billion will go to fund dozens of “clean hydrogen” projects including the creation of four new regional integrated H2 hubs. Hailed by President Joe Biden as a key tool to tackling the growing climate crisis, almost all energy funding in the bill will go to advancing “grey” H2 production from fossil gas as well as “pink” H2 generated by increasingly marginalized nuclear plants – throwing a lifeline to both sectors while ensuring little overall emissions reduction. In the next part of a longer series, lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum reviews America’s murky steps into the increasingly over-hyped H2 solution.
Worse than coal: New data finds Nord Stream 2 contradicts EU climate goals
In the years since the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany was permitted, evidence continues to mount that fossil gas does not provide a clean bridge to renewables. Projected to emit over 100 million metric tons of CO2 per year – plus fugitive methane, German regulators refuse to investigate the climate impacts of Europe’s largest fossil fuel project. Nor have they agreed to hold hearings on this emerging data ahead of September’s federal elections. But the EU’s adoption of emissions reduction targets of 55% by 2030 on the way to mid-century carbon neutrality means NS2 will clearly breach these limits. In the third installment in an on-going series, Lead Blogger L. Michael Buchsbaum interviews one of the world’s leading authorities on methane, Dr. Robert Howarth, whose data suggests the pipeline’s impacts could be worse than the coal it’s replacing.
Nord Stream 2: Putin’s Fossil Money Pipeline into Germany
Poised to split the EU and poison the climate for generations, the controversial Nord Stream 2 fossil gas pipeline is almost complete. With Russian Premier Vladimir Putin its nominal chief, the €10 billion project to transport Siberian gas to western European markets is headed by a former German Chancellor and a former spy in the East German Secret Police. To understand how such a project could come this far, despite tightening environmental regulations and ever more alarming scientific evidence, one must look at the personalities behind the pipeline. In the second in a series of posts, lead blogger L. Michael Buchsbaum reviews the strange bedfellows created by Nord Stream 2’s climate killing politics.