The initial sense of relief the world felt over Donald Trump’s defeat needs to become much more tempered—in particular through the lens of climate and energy ambitions. Given the near 50/50 split in the Senate, essentially mirroring a starkly polarized electorate, with each passing day that Trump and many of his loyal Republican allies refuses to concede, the chances of bold reforms happening within Biden’s term narrow further. Though more Americans voted for Biden than in any other election, the Democrats have essentially been defeated in both houses of Congress, in so far as they gained neither control of the powerful Senate nor managed to hold, let alone increase, their previous majority in the House of Representatives. Though there are many tools he can still use, by no means will Biden be able to freely wield his power, including whatever climate mandate we wish he had won. L. Michael Buchsbaum discusses what a weakened Biden can still accomplish.
Climate change and the energy transition have become driving themes of the U.S. presidential race. Stable genius Trump still doubts the science. The POTUS proudly boasts that by unleashing fracking, he’s made America great again –turning it into the world’s largest oil and gas producer. His challenger, former vice president Joe Biden, has made the greening of America’s economy central to his Covid-19 economic recovery plan. Biden intends to lead an “energy revolution” aimed at achieving 100% clean electricity by 2035 while cutting U.S. emissions to net zero no later than 2050. Center to the fight is the future of fracking. Biden’s been forced to walk a tight rope between progressive Bernie Sanders supporters who want to ban it, powerful party insiders who still profit from it, and moderate swing voters economically dependent on it. As usual, Trump is exploiting these divisions as he desperately clings to power. Lead blogger L. Michael Buchsbaum takes us through.
Ineos who? That was more or less my response too when I first heard of Ineos. And yet in 2019 Ineos was once again among the global top 5 chemical companies (in terms of sales, which totalled €27 billion). Ineos is also the top European producer of ethylene, the basic feedstock in today’s petrochemical industry and an essential component in the production of plastic. Andy Gheorghiu reports
In May, the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, Environmental Action Germany (DUH), and Food and Water Europe organized online conferences entitled “Fracking, Plastics, Methane Emissions and the Gas Lobby” to better explain the connection between them and climate crisis. The first of the two drew upon startling new satellite data explained by globally renowned methane and fracking expert, Prof. Robert Howarth from Cornell University. In his presentation, he detailed how the ongoing fuel switch from coal to gas has likely worsened the overall climate. Other speakers, including two Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), several environmental attorneys, and other fracking activists discussed continuing gas lobbying efforts to “greenwash” uninformed MEPs and the general public. Now available for streaming, the first webinar-debate provided a welcome space for an informed discussion around fossil gas policies, many of which ignore established science in favor of economic and political expediency—our L. Michael Buchsbaum reviews.
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.
Faced with dwindling oil reserves, Columbian politicians are worried about energy security and state funds. The country is looking into whether it will allow fracking if it’s ‘sustainable’ – ignoring the possibility of expanding renewables instead, says Rebecca Bertram.
Under pressure from Trump, just weeks ahead of the European Parliamentary elections, the EU Commission signed a long-term agreement locking in at least 20-years of imported fracked Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) shipments. Despite hundreds of international environmental groups warning this will torpedo the goals of the 2015 Paris Climate Accords and retard plans to decarbonize Europe, EU President Juncker and Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič are hailing the deal as part of the continent’s on-going clean energy transition. L. Michael Buchsbaum takes a look.
Multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic, over 400 million voters Europeans from 28 member states are poised to elect a new Parliament and European Commission President. Given its lead position on climate and energy issues, and under pressure to accept more American fracked fossil gas, their decision will have global ramifications. L. Michael Buchsbaum takes a look.
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.
The Mexican president let fracking opponents hope for the abolition of the environmentally harmful procedure. Rebecca Bertram explains to what extent this promise has been fulfilled.