To face social and environmental problems generated by fossil energies, market-based solutions have emerged to tackle these challenges on a broader scale. These proposals are often also framed as a “green” approach to economic growth. They include e.g. regulatory disincentives for emitting CO2 through a form of carbon pricing or more specifically, emissions trading systems (ETS) and carbon taxes. Although their rationale sounds adequate, their design and implementation are flawed from different points of views and subsequently result in a minimal decrease of CO2 emissions. The following analysis will focus on the main causes of this (political) deficiency with a focus on Latin America. Maximiliano Proaño has the details.
Global trade has been a notorious difficult sector to sign up for decarbonization. The crux of the problem is that its business is crossborder, and thus skirts the emissions reduction plans of individual national states. Much of it thus gets a free ride. Paul Hockenos reports
The so-called Green Deals on the table in Europe and the US present an enticing prospect to rejuvenate the greatly diminished transatlantic relationship — and help hit crucial climate targets before it is too late. The European Green Deal, proposed last year with much fanfare by EU commission president Ursula von der Leyen, overlaps significantly with the Green New Deal, an ecological spending program devised by congressional Democrats and endorsed by the party’s presidential candidate, Joe Biden. Paul Hockenos reports
A year after Germany’s 28-member “Coal Commission” presented a fragile compromise brown coal phase-out, in mid-January Merkel’s Grand Coalition government formally released their own plan. Breaking with the Commission’s recommendations by slowing down the pace of the phase-out, immediately greenlighting the new Datteln 4 hard coal plant and showering RWE and other coal operators with billions of Euros, it also calls for more gas plants and additional wind turbine construction limitations. Neither ensuring Germany can adhere to the Paris Agreement nor its own clean energy targets, environmental groups are outraged as investors celebrate. L. Michael Buchsbaum takes us into the dirty deal.
Four years after world leaders came together on the Paris Climate Agreement – and an increase of 4 percent in global carbon emissions later –, the COP25 in Madrid failed to reach what it was set out to do: reach an agreement on international carbon markets, a mechanism intended to make it easier for many countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The COP25 shows yet again how divided the world remains on climate change. Meanwhile global temperatures keep rising, the scientific prognosis is as unequivocal as ever, and a growing number of people are urging their governments to act. Rebecca Bertram reports
After months of deliberations, in late September Germany’s ruling coalition, made up of the center-right CDU/CSU and the Centrist SPD unveiled their new climate action strategy—to near universal disappointment. Now approved by the government, the plan’s architects hope a weak plan is better than none at all. L. Michael Buchsbaum summarizes
While most post-mining plans, especially for surface mines, calls for pits to be redeveloped into lakes or farm land, an increasing body of research and evidence shows that these ripped-up landscapes can be successfully transformed into clean energy gold mines—whose solar PV resource potential, unlike coal’s, is infinite. L. Michael Buchsbaum reports
Despite increasing public pressure, both coalition parties within Merkel’s so-called Climate Cabinet favor taxes or market based trading schemes to tackle the climate crisis instead of new regulations to increase renewable energy or hard measures to phase out fossil fuels. L. Michael Buchsbaum takes a look
On a high-speed, zero-emissions vessel, Greta Thunberg arrived in the
U.S. from Europe on August 29 – a masterpiece of symbolism and PR savvy, the kind which by now we’ve come to expect from the Swedish teenager and her fellow activists in the Fridays for Future movement. In the space of just one short year, their audacious “school strikes” on Fridays have prompted a startling reality check among citizens and politicos in much of Europe and beyond, including German chancellor Angela Merkel – but, alas, not in the US. Paul Hockenos reports