The year 2020 brought us a devastating pandemic and an economic slowdown but also some decisive moments for the global energy transition. Last year ushered in a wave of groundbreaking pledges on carbon and climate neutrality. Meanwhile, clean energy investments have proven resilient to the global economic downturn, further shrinking prices for renewable power generation equipment and the ongoing electrification of many economies. Finally, a potential game changer for the global energy transition occurred last November: After nine years of protracted negotiations, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was signed by 15 Asian and Pacific countries. Early signs, however, suggest it will prove a mixed bag for efforts to reduce global CO2.
Germany’s state-owned railroad, Deutsche Bahn (DB), proudly boasts it’s the largest green electricity user in the nation. With uptake scheduled to grow to 80% by 2030, in tandem with the newly passed German coal-exit laws, DB aims to become 100% renewable by 2038. But by beginning the long-sought phase-out by simultaneously firing up of the new Uniper-owned Datteln IV coal plant, Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition government has thoroughly derailed the railroad’s green ambitions. In one of the worst missteps on Germany’s tortured road towards carbon neutrality, politics has turned Deutsche Bahn into the land’s largest publically-funded greenwasher. L. Michael Buchsbaum takes a look
The lack of gender-specific configurations of transport designs reflecting actual travel behaviour wastes significant efficiency in energy usage. In the last article of her three-part series, Kathrin Meyer explains why it is necessary to build on gender-responsive planning within the transportation sector.
For a long time, the French have considered cycling a sport rather than a way of transport. This has changed in the past years with raising concerns about air quality, climate change and public health. 2020 can be a real turning point with long strikes in public transit as well as government support for a bike system in the aftermath of the Coronavirus crisis. Lisa Tostado takes a closer look.
The transportation sector in Latin America is still largely based on fossil fuels and responsible for 35 percent of the continent’s carbon emissions. Greening public transportation systems is an issue predominantly for a few wealthier cities. But many remain highly inefficient, insecure and in the hands of powerful transportation mafia-like groups, which make them a difficult subject for reform. Yet the main hurdle for developing a sustainable transportation concept in many Latin American countries is the disconnect between national and municipal policies on transportation and energy policy. Rebecca Bertram reports
For climate activists, the coronavirus pandemic has held some positive news with regards to its short term effects. As a result of the economic standstill in large parts of the world, global carbon emissions decreased by 20 percent by the end of March compared to the previous year. But as pressure is building up to get the economies going again, they must also fear that once this global health crisis has waned political and economic activity will return to business as usual, with the global climate agenda losing out against the urgency of rebuilding growth with the help of old industries. Rebecca Bertram takes a look at the possible sustainable future.
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
Sometimes clean and efficient energy solutions do not require rocket science or fancy buzzwords, such as block chain or other digital jargon. When it comes to reforming public transportation in urban areas the City of Guatemala is now retrieving old train tracks – put in place in the late 1800s to aid the country’s growing banana exports – to solve its mounting traffic nightmare. Rebecca Bertram reports