Because it was vulnerable to worker sabotage, the coal sector provided an environment in which democracy could grow stronger, at least up until the mid-20th century, when oil began to replace it – not only as a source of fuel, but as a way of keeping democratic demands in check. Craig Morris goes in-depth.
In Carbon Democracy, Timothy Mitchell calls into question our simplistic notions of why there is democracy in some countries and not in others. He claims that vulnerabilities in the coal sector opened up opportunities for democracy to advance, but in the past hundred years the rise of oil sector was exploited to undercut it. Craig Morris has the details.
The results are in, courtesy of the Fossil Fuel Finance Report Card, on how the world’s biggest private banks are tooling up (or not) to tackle climate change. While there are clear signs of improvement in many of the banks’ policy coverage, most notably on coal, overall the picture remains bleak and highly concerning. Yann Louvel and Greig Aitken dig into the numbers.
The island of Malta is heavily dependent on oil imports, and could benefit greatly from its own energy transition. Despite some barriers to renewables, solar is booming – and if it continues to do so, Malta should be able to meet its 2020 energy goals. Geoffrey Saliba explains.
As the largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world, how much coal China is burning is of global interest. According to the country’s National Bureau of Statistics, the tonnage of coal has fallen for the second year in the row. Nevertheless, there is one scenario in which coal use could easily go back up again: high oil and natural gas prices. Valeria J. Karplus explains.
Is it paradox or even hypocrisy? The French government bans liquefied natural gas (LNG) shale as an example to the world, but imports and makes money on it at the same time. Is there something like a French blind spot about shale? Nick Grealy takes a look.
A new piece by German economics daily Handelsblatt claims to shed light on the “dark side” of “Germany’s massive push into renewable energy.” It comes across as a strained attempt to find a cloud hidden behind a giant silver lining. But despite covering the topic quite broadly (in around 2,000 words), the article is nonetheless unbalanced: the examples given are unconvincing; the gaps, glaring. By Craig Morris.
A company called German Pellets has filed for insolvency. As recently as 2013, it was the largest pellet producer in the world. Low oil prices were given as one reason for this development, but that’s not all. Craig Morris reports.
It’s official: more money was invested in renewables and more generation capacity added in 2015 than ever before. Conventional wisdom has always been that low fossil fuel prices would make renewables uncompetitive even as the cost of renewable energy continues to drop. In that view, fossil fuel prices drive investments in renewables. It’s not happening, however, so maybe it’s time to consider the reverse paradigm: renewables driving fossil fuel prices. Craig Morris investigates.
In recent years, the debate about the reserves of shale gas in Latin American countries, such as Mexico and Argentina, has led to the formation of a growing civil movement against it. Sandra Guzman reports from the region.