Industry-led innovation could help resolve the energy trilemma

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent in any way the editorial position of Euronews.

Forward-looking companies within the energy and related industries must lend their resources and expertise to developing and integrating practical and impactful technologies that support the global energy transition, Lorenzo Simonelli writes.

Multiple recent energy outlooks have projected that the world will not meet the ambitious emission reduction targets set for 2050, with oil and natural gas still likely to meet more than half of the world’s energy needs. 


This news reflects a growing focus on energy security, as countries around the world are reluctant to sacrifice the stability of their energy supply and economic situation in order to dramatically reduce their emissions.

Balancing the Paris Accords commitment to stay within the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold with our responsibility to provide a steady and secure supply of energy is undoubtedly a challenging task. 

However, the energy industry must not be daunted or discouraged by the obstacles it faces. Instead, we must focus on what we are best equipped to provide, which in the case of industry, is the advancement of lower-emissions technologies and solutions.

Low-hanging fruit first

By breaking down the technology development and implementation process into three broad focus areas – leveraging available low-carbon technologies, investing in the development of new cleaner energy technologies, and piloting promising new concepts and solutions to make them market-ready – we can target our efforts to make significant headway in the journey towards net-zero. 

Within this framework, we can ensure we continue our momentum towards a lower-carbon economy to achieve the energy transition in a sustainable and productive manner.

Firstly, we must look to harvest the already low-hanging fruit of existing technologies that can make our current energy system more sustainable. 

As one example of the opportunity, McKinsey has reported that deploying the available technologies could deliver about 60% of the emissions abatement that will be needed to stabilise the climate by 2050. 

Electrification is an obvious way to reduce emissions, as is being witnessed with the expansion of electric vehicles, heat pumps, and electric and plasma arc furnaces.

However, we will still have to rely on hydrocarbons for at least the next few decades, particularly as we move away from coal and replace it with natural gas.

New technologies should fill the remaining gaps

In this context, we must ensure the oil and gas industry is reducing its emissions as much as possible. 

This can be done by integrating smart technologies to reduce emissions, improve the energy efficiency of hydrocarbons so less is used to achieve more and reduce the impact of hydrocarbon use. 


Smart flaring systems can be deployed at oil and gas fields to monitor, reduce, and control emissions associated with flaring. Such systems can reduce the leakage of methane, minimise costs from flaring operations, provide steam savings and improve transparency for flare operations.

In conjunction with this, we need to push investment into developing new energy technologies to fill the remaining gaps in the energy system. 

The major areas where we still need to invest in research and development include carbon capture, storage and usage (CCUS), hydrogen production, transportation and usage, and emissions management. 

By intelligently channelling investment into the new clean energy system, we can be prepared to meet the clean energy needs of tomorrow. I am proud that investment is taking place in this area today, with Baker Hughes investing more than $2 billion (€1.86bn) in new energy technologies through partnerships, acquisitions, and ecosystems. 

This trend must continue, as our actions in the first half of this decade will set the pace of change as we head into the next.


Scaling up and identifying gaps

Lastly, we need to ensure that the promising new technologies and systems that are being ideated are not just left on the drawing board or in the lab. 

The International Energy Agency has estimated in previous reports that nearly half of the emissions reductions required to achieve net zero by 2050 will be achieved by technologies that are not yet commercially viable. 

New technology concepts and designs need to be identified and tested through piloting, to see how they scale up to the required size and to identify the gaps that appear when they are deployed in the real world.

Fortunately, our industry is making a concerted effort to promote the continued development of cutting-edge climate technology that can accelerate our transition to clean energy. 

Major industry events, such as the upcoming ADIPEC exhibition and conference in Abu Dhabi, are showcasing the leading innovations in decarbonization, hydrogen, and biofuels. 


These events offer promising technology the exposure needed to attract while providing a much-needed forum for key stakeholders to align on investment priorities.

We can develop clean tech together

The journey to net zero will require many different technologies and an energy mix that will continue to evolve and change. 

Forward-looking companies within the energy and related industries must lend their resources and expertise to developing and integrating practical and impactful technologies that support the global energy transition. 

Together, we can develop the clean technologies the world needs to reach net zero, and in doing so, ensure a balanced response to the energy trilemma while driving momentum towards the energy transition.

Lorenzo Simonelli is Chairman and CEO of Baker Hughes, one of the world’s largest companies providing oil field services.

At Euronews, we believe all views matter. Contact us at [email protected] to send pitches or submissions and be part of the conversation.

Source link

#Industryled #innovation #resolve #energy #trilemma

Fossil fuel companies stand at a crossroads: Adapt or die

Less than three months before COP28, the message to the energy and transport companies is clear: decarbonisation will happen, and there is no way out, Prof Vicente López-Ibor Mayor writes.

The time has come to reach a Climate Deal that will only be accessible to companies that decarbonise. Those that fail to decarbonise will not meet the standards required by the Climate Deal and the energy sector of the future.


That goal must be a central feature of the UN COP28 climate talks in Dubai. After all, the world needs rapid decarbonisation. 

From oil to hydrogen, gas to biofuels, coal to nuclear, solar to wind, and buildings to transport, only companies that make clear commitments to decarbonisation should benefit from regulatory incentives, financing, fiscal support for innovation, and beyond.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently reported that by 2025, renewables will fuel 35% of global electricity generation, dethroning coal as the world’s largest power source. In the US, solar power alone will account for over half of the new capacity in 2023. 

These aren’t just predictions – they’re realities in motion.

Adapting to decarbonisation demands will be key

Indeed, the IEA’s findings could be conservative. According to a major study published last year by the University of Exeter’s Global Systems Institute, the world may have already passed a “global solar tipping point”, where “solar energy gradually comes to dominate global electricity markets, even without additional climate policies”.

At current exponential growth rates, solar, wind and batteries will supply over 80% of global electricity by the 2060s. Though impressive, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says this is not fast enough.

In 2018, the IPCC found that to keep global warming within the 1.5 degrees Celsius safe limit agreed upon by world governments in Paris eight years ago, we need to not only eliminate carbon emissions but start removing 5 billion tonnes a year of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by 2050. 

So, while we need to accelerate the build-out of renewables faster than the current rate, with fossil fuels supplying about 78% of the world’s energy needs, it is reasonable to foresee that we’ll continue relying on oil and gas production for decades to come.

Therefore, it’s imperative that fossil fuel industries adapt to the demands of decarbonisation — a view shared by US Climate Envoy John Kerry who just last week called on global oil and gas industry leaders to bring concrete plans to the upcoming COP28 UN climate summit for reducing emissions and investing in renewable energy by 2030.

Dominance of clean energy ecosystem is inevitable

But for COP28 to deliver a new Global Climate Deal that incentivises and compels the fossil fuel industry to decarbonise will require three things.

Firstly, we need to accelerate the build-out of global renewable energy infrastructure as fast as possible. 


The dominance of the new clean electricity ecosystem based on solar, wind, storage and some other clean energy solutions — utility-scale and in local markets — is inevitable, but we have to bring it forward dramatically. 

This requires prioritising climate financing to help decarbonise emerging countries with the greatest need to industrialise.

Secondly, given that we will still rely on fossil fuels during the energy transition, we need to ramp up the economic and technological viability of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies to decarbonise them as much as possible. 

By partnering with renewable energy to power CCS, fossil fuel companies can bring the economic and energy costs down dramatically, and scale it up faster.

COP 28 should consider launching an expert commission

Thirdly, we need to accelerate both carbon withdrawal technologies and nature-based solutions that can draw down billions of tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere every year. Any technology that contributes to the net-zero deserves to be studied and, where appropriate, welcomed.


Despite some scepticism, Dr Al Jaber’s presidency at COP28 proposes several ambitious goals, something that should be particularly considered. 

Admittedly, these proposals may not be fast enough to avoid dangerous climate change. 

But if this upcoming COP fails to ratify even these proposals, we will have missed yet another unprecedented opportunity to create a firm foundation for even faster action which we can demand at later summits.

That is why I believe COP28 should launch an International Commission of High-Level Experts possessing knowledge in the scientific, economic, legal, technological and social fields to lead, supervise, and ensure the fulfilment of a new Global Climate Deal on these terms.

Make no mistake: decarbonisation will happen

The implications are profound. Energy companies need to accelerate their ‘just transition’ journey or face disruption. 


Environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria will soon be insufficient, and the companies incorporating them will not be pioneers, but merely compliant. Companies that ignore them will be left out of the market. Either industries move rapidly into net-zero, or they’ll face deterioration of assets and profits.

Finally, it is important to note that energy is now not only a market for goods but also for services. For this reason, the leading companies will be those with the greatest capacity for innovation.

Less than three months before COP28, the message to the energy and transport companies is clear: decarbonisation will happen, and there is no way out. And if you choose to be part of it, you’ll not only be saving your industry, but saving our planet too.  

Professor Vicente López-Ibor Mayor is an energy and climate expert. He was a founding Member of the European Council of Energy Regulators, a Special Advisor to the European Commissioner of Energy, Transports and Institutional Affairs, a Special Advisor to UNESCO’s Energy Programme, and a Commissioner of the National Energy Commission of Spain.

At Euronews, we believe all views matter. Contact us at [email protected] to send pitches or submissions and be part of the conversation.

Source link

#Fossil #fuel #companies #stand #crossroads #Adapt #die

High-quality recycling loops are best for circular economy

On Europe’s journey to a circular economy, high quality recycling is essential. In fact, the recycling of fibre-based packaging constitutes one of the best examples. If you put your used paper products in the right recycling bin, you can count on them making their way to a facility that will recycle those materials so they can be used again many times to make packaging for breakfast cereal, boxes to carry your online deliveries, newspapers, and a whole host of other useful products.

Currently, about 75 percent of the raw materials used for the fibres in our packaging come from recycling. The rest comes from sustainably-managed forests. Our packaging helps keep fossil fuels in the ground, playing its part in making our planet greener. This is why fibre-based materials are widely recognized as one of the most sustainable choices available for packaging.

This is why fibre-based materials are widely recognized as one of the most sustainable choices available for packaging.

The EU’s packaging waste regulation: a key chance to enhance recycling systems

At Fibre Packaging Europe we believe the upcoming Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) has a key role in making recycling even better. We now have a chance to set an ambitious 90 percent separate collection target for all EU member countries.  Here separate collection means transferring materials from your paper and board bin to the recycling plant. There is no better way to ensure that our packaging reaches recyclers after it has been used, and it will further increase an already-remarkable 81.5 percent recycling rate (Eurostat, 2020), higher by volume than plastic, metal and glass combined.

Where we see a risk in the PPWR is if the regulation gets the definition of ‘high-quality’ recycling twisted by restricting it only to what it calls ‘closed loops’. A closed loop means a cereal box would need to be recycled into another cereal box. When fibres are allowed to be recycled universally into any paper and board application and product, it is effective, it is resource efficient, and it reduces CO2 emissions through avoided transportation (to that cereal box factory). Most importantly, it is a good and simple way to continue increasing recycling rates.

Brought to you by Fibre Packaging Europe

Don’t get the loop twisted: why material loops make most sense for paper

But don’t just take it from us. We spoke to seasoned professionals in the recycling business that Fibre Packaging Europe represents to hear first-hand their thoughts on closed loops, the real challenges recyclers face and what can be done to overcome them.

Does closed-loop recycling have a role to play for fibre-based packaging? John Melia, strategy development and innovation director at DS Smith’s Recycling Division, is very clear on this point. “Closed-loop recycling of paper packaging would make no sense in a mature, well-functioning recycling system built on a thriving market for secondary raw materials. It would bring disruption to the market, reduce the quality and lifespan of fibre, and increase the use of fossil fuels in the supply chain. This would be a significant step back from the high-performing recycling system we have today.” 

Recycling systems based on ‘material loops’, on the other hand, mean that the raw materials we get from recycling processes are used in way that is far more versatile. They can be used to make a wide range of sustainable products that we use every day. The system works, and there is already in Europe a unique, thriving market for secondary raw materials in the fibre-based industry. In 2020, 56 million tons of ‘Paper for Recycling’ collected were transformed into equally high-quality new paper and board products.

If fibres get to the right recyclers, they have the tools to do the job

So how to make a high-quality recycling system even better? It all starts with collection.

“All fibre-based packaging is recyclable if, through collection and sorting, the material is guided to the right type of recycling mill”, explains Michel Willems, European Business Coordinator at Smurfit Kappa Recycling. ‘Separate’ collection systems, ones where non-paper materials such as plastic, metal and glass are collected separately from used paper products, can make it much easier to sort and send the material to the right recycling facilities. When it comes to fibre-based packaging products that are discarded by households, there’s an opportunity to further increase recycling rates.

So how to make a high-quality recycling system even better? It all starts with collection.

As a general principle, the more homogenous a fibre-based waste stream is, the easier it is to find the correct mill to do the recycling. Nonetheless, the great advantage of fibre packaging recycling is that a homogenous waste stream is not an absolute necessity for the majority of paper-based products. Most can easily be collected in the same bin, for example, at home. Such a stream, following standard quality checks, is ready for immediate recycling at many mills throughout Europe”, said Michel.

“Our business is built around reducing the environmental impact of packaging on the planet, improving supply chains for billions of people. We have an excellent, high-performance recycling system for cardboard with the highest recycling rate of any packaging material in Europe. Corrugated board packaging occupies a very special place because it has been the most recycled product forever. We recycle a box a minimum of 25 times in its life. At the end, it just returns to nature. Our environmentally friendly product is 100 percent renewable, recyclable and biodegradable”, added Michel.

For John Melia, this point is far more important to a successful circular economy than looking at changing recycling systems. “The EU should be focusing on what we know will bring rates of paper recycling even higher: better recycling infrastructure including increased segregation of recycling raw materials through separate collection of municipal waste,” he says. “We in the industry are doing our part, but achieving the full potential of the fibre recycling system will only be possible through government policies that focus on what we know will make a difference.”

So, when we look to complete the loop on the circular economy, let’s listen to the recyclers themselves. Let’s build on the high-quality recycling that already exists to build a greener Europe with the packaging products we know are sustainable.

Source link

#Highquality #recycling #loops #circular #economy

This summer is what climate change looks like, scientists say

The blistering heat threatening lives and fueling wildfires across Southern Europe and North America this July would have been “virtually impossible” without man-made global warming, scientists said on Tuesday. 

Their findings come as the planet’s ocean and land temperatures hit new records in recent weeks, with waters around Florida and the Mediterranean coast surpassing 30 degrees Celsius and parts of the Northern Hemisphere baking in heat of 45C or more. 

Scientists have long warned climate change would make heat waves hotter, longer and more frequent. Tuesday’s study found that this month’s extreme temperatures are no longer an outlier now that humans have warmed the Earth by about 1.2C above pre-industrial levels.  

In fact, “it could well be that this is what will be a cool summer in the future unless we rapidly stop burning fossil fuels,” said study co-author Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at Imperial College London. “This is not the new normal. As long as we keep burning fossil fuels, we will see more and more of these extremes.”  

The study was published by the World Weather Attribution (WWA) consortium of scientists, which uses peer-reviewed methods to conduct rapid analyses of the role climate change plays in extreme weather events. 

The researchers found heat waves like those seen in mid-July can now be expected roughly once a decade in Southern Europe and every 15 years in North America. But if the global average temperature rises to 2C above pre-industrial levels, the upper limit of the 2015 Paris climate agreement, “events like this will become even more frequent, occurring every 2-5 years,” the researchers said. 

Current climate policies put the planet on track to warm at least 2.4C by the end of this century. 

China, which registered a new temperature record of 52.2C in mid-July, can already expect such heat waves to occur every five years, the WWA study found. Climate change made the Chinese heat wave 50 times more likely to occur, according to their models. 

But global warming hasn’t just made such heat waves more likely. It’s also made them more intense. 

The study found the European, North American and Chinese heat waves were 2.5C, 2C and 1C hotter, respectively, than they would have been without climate change.

On the ground, these abstract-seeming numbers translate into record-smashing temperatures. In the U.S., the city of Phoenix saw three weeks above 43C; across the Atlantic, Catalonia and Rome hit new heat records last week. Sardinia reached 46C. 

Such extreme heat is dangerous to human health. More than 60,000 Europeans died in last summer’s heat waves, a recent study found. Italian hospitals reported an uptick in hospitalizations last week; doctors in the southwestern U.S. are warning of an increase in severe, and sometimes deadly, burns from extreme surface temperatures. 

In countries like Canada and Greece, the heat contributed to tinderbox conditions allowing wildfires to spread with ease. The smoke from Canada’s fires continues to choke North American cities, while dramatic evacuation efforts are underway on several Greek islands. 

“The Mediterranean has seen a dramatic increase in the frequency of the hot-dry conditions that were considered extreme at the end of the last century, and these increases are expected to accelerate for each added degree of warming in future,” said Matthew Jones, a fellow at East Anglia University’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. 

NASA scientists expect this July to become the world’s hottest month on record. 

Other parts of the Northern Hemisphere have seen flash flooding, record-breaking hail, intense storms or a combination of all three this month. Last week, a hail storm sent a flood of ice through the northern Italian town of Seregno. 

While scientists say that climate change will fuel extreme precipitation or flash flooding in some parts of the globe, not all such events are attributable to global warming. A WWA study earlier this year, for example, found that climate change had no significant impact on deadly spring floods in Italy. 

Attributing heat waves to climate change is a more straightforward matter, and numerous studies have found a clear link. 

“It’s a very boring study, from a scientific point of view,” said Otto. “We see exactly what we expected to see.”

She also said that the arrival of El Niño — the warming cycle of a naturally occurring phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean — contributed very little to the high temperatures seen across the Northern Hemisphere. 

“Increased global temperatures from burning fossil fuels is the main reason the heat waves are so severe,” the study authors noted. 

Scientists have also said that El Niño, whose full warming effect won’t be felt until later this year, also isn’t to blame for current sea temperature anomalies in the North Atlantic. 

Coastal waters in Florida have reached about 35C — an existential threat to coral reefs — while last month, the sea around the British Isles registered temperatures 5C above normal. 

The EU’s Copernicus climate change service, which described the North Atlantic heating as “off the charts,” says a mix of global warming and “unusual” atmospheric circulation is driving the anomaly. Scientists also point to a reduction in shipping pollution and an absence of Saharan dust over the Atlantic as contributing factors. 

While the North Atlantic’s temperature spike looks especially dramatic, global sea surface temperatures have hit record highs in recent months. 

The arrival of El Niño will fuel warming both in the oceans and on land, boosting the likelihood of extreme weather events, according to the World Meteorological Organization, whose scientists have warned that the planet is entering “uncharted territory.” 

As the Northern Hemisphere’s extreme summer goes on, all’s not well on the other side of the planet, either. 

Antarctica’s sea ice is in sharp decline, setting new records at such a pace that scientists are increasingly fearing for its capacity to recover in the winter. 

Oceanographer Edward Doddridge told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation this weekend the unprecedentedly low sea ice extent “is a five-sigma event. So it’s five standard deviations beyond the mean. Which means that if nothing had changed, we’d expect to see a winter like this about once every 7.5 million years.” 

Doddridge added the root cause of the decline is likely climate change, although he cautioned that other factors can’t yet be ruled out. 

But there’s no doubt that ice loss at the poles further accelerates climate change. The bright ice caps reflect the sun’s warming rays back into space, while the dark polar waters absorb them. Less ice means the planet absorbs more heat. 

Earlier this year, a study found the rapidly melting Antarctic ice is slowing deep ocean currents, with potentially devastating consequences for ecosystems and the broader climate. 

The authors of Tuesday’s heat study stressed that governments now have to take urgent action on two fronts — reducing emissions to avoid disastrous climate change and enacting measures to adapt to rising temperatures. 

“Even if we stop burning fossil fuels today, temperatures will not go down. They will just stop getting even higher,” said Otto. “And so the heat waves we are seeing now, we definitely have to live with that.”

Source link

#summer #climate #change #scientists

Plucky Kids Sue Montana Over Climate Policies, THIS WHOLE COURT’S OUT OF ORDER!

In Montana, the Big Sky (when there’s not a wildfire) State, a group of 16 young people ranging in age from five to 22 are getting their day — or two weeks, more like — in court, in a first of its kind lawsuit against the state, claiming that Montana policies favoring fossil fuels have failed to provide the state constitution’s guarantee of a healthy environment “for present and future generations.” The trial in the case of Held v. State of Montanagot underway Monday, with expert testimony on the reality of climate change, as well as testimony from two of the plaintiffs on how the climate crisis has directly affected them and their families.

A lot of climate-related lawsuits have sought damages and injunctive relief against fossil fuel companies that knew damn well their products contributed to global warming; in the US, many such suits have so far been thrown out or are still working their way through early procedural stages. Happy news: An April US Supreme Court decision allowing such suits in state courts may help move a number of cases forward. Held v. Montana, filed in 2020, wasn’t affected either way, since the defendant is the state itself.

The lawsuit argues that the state’s energy policy violates the state constitution by promoting fossil fuel development and use. It also seeks to strike down a provision of the Montana Environmental Policy Act that flatly forbids the state from considering climate change when approving energy projects. Despite last minute attempts to get the state Supreme Court to throw out the case, it’s going forward this week in Lewis and Clark District Court, under Judge Kathy Seeley.

In opening arguments Monday, the Guardian reports,

Roger Sullivan, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, explained that climate change is fueling drought, wildfires, extreme heat and other environmental disasters throughout Montana, taking a major toll on the young plaintiffs’ health and wellbeing. There is a “scientific consensus”, he noted, that these changes can be traced back to the burning of fossil fuels.

He described how some plaintiffs have asthma that has been worsened by abundant wildfire smoke in recent years. Some love to hunt and fish but have seen stocks deteriorate. One plaintiff works as a ski instructor – a job threatened by warm winter temperatures and decreasing snowfall. And others are members of Indigenous tribes whose cultural practices are threatened by climate crisis-linked shifts in weather patterns, he said.

Montana is responsible for more planet-heating pollution than some countries, said Sullivan. Without urgent action, these climate consequences will only get worse.

Plaintiffs. Pic by the editrix’s dear best friend Susan Evans

The state, represented by assistant Attorney General Michael D. Russell, argued that since climate change is a global problem, nothing Montana does on its own can be proven to have made any difference one way or the other, aw shucks. He also claimed that the state no longer promotes fossil fuels since the state this year repealed its 30-year-old energy policy, so there’s nothing to sue over.

“This case as it currently exists is far more boring than the plaintiffs would make it out to be,” Russell told the court. “It’s simply a challenge to a discreet provision to a purely procedural statute.”

While it’s true that one bill passed this spring repealed the old climate policy, a bunch of others very specifically promote fossil fuels, like the measure prohibiting climate considerations in permitting, and other measures that will

loosen coal-mining regulations, prohibit local governments from adopting regulations to steer their communities toward cleaner energy sources, and make it harder and more expensive for environmental groups to delay or stop projects with litigation.

One bill even prohibits local building codes from “requiring solar panels, solar panel-ready wiring or electric vehicle charger-ready wiring in new construction,” and another forbids bans on methane gas hookups, because George Washington fought to secure a future for gas stoves. What we’re saying is, that guy’s a fucking liar.

Testimony began with Mae Nan Ellingson, who was a delegate to Montana’s constitutional convention in 1972, where she had advocated for the provision guaranteeing Montanans the right to a “clean and healthful environment.” This paragraph from the Montana Free Press sure makes us like her. When she moved to Missoula to attend the University of Montana in the ’60s, Ellingson testified, air pollution was

so bad that she couldn’t see Mount Sentinel, the iconic prominence that looms over the campus. She began phoning in reports to the local radio station and joined the group Gals Against Smog and Pollution (GASP), signaling her entrée to environmental activism.

No two ways about it: The Left has way more fun with acronyms.

The court also heard from Nikki Held, the lead plaintiff in the case, who grew up on a ranch in southeast Montana and in middle school helped gather data for a

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) research project surveying cross sections of Montana’s Powder River, one of the longest undammed waterways in the West, which happens to pass through her family property. That research experience, along with learning about climate change in school, led Held to study environmental science at Colorado College, where she graduated with her bachelor’s degree just a few weeks ago.

Held testified that she had seen firsthand the effects of a changing climate on her family’s ranch, including “wildfires, drought, flooding, more extreme weather events such as windstorm and hail, changes in wildlife behavior,” and pointed out that her family ranch has seen drought and declining snowfall threaten its water supply. She started to discuss how the climate crisis has left her stressed out, but the state objected since that was “speculative,” and Judge Seeley sustained the objection since Held isn’t a climate expert or a psychologist.

The court also heard from expert witness Steven Running, a professor emeritus of ecosystem and conservation science at U of M, who explained the scientific consensus that climate change is real and caused by greenhouse gases, resulting in worldwide effects that include Montana, like, even if Republicans say it’s not allowed to.

“I think Montana and really everywhere else needs to, as rapidly as possible, quit burning fossil fuels,” said Running, who was a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for which he won the Nobel Peace prize in 2007. “It’s quite straightforward.”

Weirdly, as Running answered questions about a report this year from the IPCC, Mark Stermitz, an attorney for the state, objected that the IPCC report was “hearsay” somehow, a complaint Seeley denied. When he cross-examined Running, Stermitz asked whether Montana can stop climate change all on its own, aha, gotcha! Running agreed that a single state can’t do that, but that Montana could indeed lead wider action:

“What has been shown in history over and over and over again is that when a significant social movement is needed, it’s often been started by one or two or three people,” Running said.

The Guardian did not note whether the state’s attorneys mocked Running by singing “Kumbaya” in falsetto, but you just know they wanted to.

The trial continues today and the rest of the week; you can even watch it online here when court is in session. Not like anything else of interest is going on.

Susan Evans

Also, don’t forget our Wonkette Book Club continues; We’re reading Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2020 climate epic The Ministry for the Future, which is about, among other things, building a legal case for keeping the planet habitable for young people, even the non-plucky ones.

[Guardian/ Montana Free Press / Guardian / Our Children’s Trust / Photo by Nikki Held, provided to Montana Free Press]

Yr Wonkette is funded entirely by reader donations. If you can, please give $5 or $10 monthly so we can keep you up to date on everything, including the young people trying to save humanity from itself.

Do your Amazon shopping through this link, because reasons.

Source link

#Plucky #Kids #Sue #Montana #Climate #Policies #COURTS #ORDER

RFK Jr. And Elon Musk: Two Great Dicks That Taste Like Sh*t!

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. sure has come a long way from 2014, when he angered fossil fuel lobbyists by saying that climate change deniers should be jailed. Or maybe not such a long way; by 2005 he was already spreading the anti-vax gospel and falsely claiming that childhood vaccines cause autism. And now he’s running for president and everyone is reminding you what a complete freakass whackaloon he is.

We’ll do our part. Hey, remember that long-ago time in 2022 when he said, of COVID vaccine mandates, that at least in Nazi Germany “you could cross the Alps into Switzerland, you could hide in an attic like Anne Frank did.”

Kennedy did his part to help out that educational endeavor Monday night by sitting down with chief Twitter troll Elon Musk, who seems to love conspiratorial bullshit nearly as much as Kennedy does. He started out by thanking Musk for ending all the terrible “censorship” on the platform — by making it a free-for all for COVID and vaccine disinformation, not to mention for Nazis, far-Right conspiracy theories, and rampant hatred of transgender people, but also by actually censoring people on behalf of authoritarian governments. Kennedy also explained that in 2021, “the government pressured Mark Zuckerberg” to ban him from Instagram, although now his account has been restored because he’s running for president. Talk about ineffective censorship!

Rolling Stone reports that for the first 40 minutes of the Twitter Spaces chat, Kennedy barely talked about his candidacy, because he and Musk were too busy telling each other how much they admired each other for being courageous and shit, which is honestly what free speech is for.

At one point, Kennedy asked where Musk got the courage to be like one of America’s Founders by being “willing to take this huge, massive, unspeakable economic hit on behalf of a principle for a country in which you weren’t even born?” Musk, who does kind of have US citizenship after all, replied, “I should say I do very much consider myself an American.” Musk also acknowledged that advertisers had deserted the platform because he was so very committed to democracy, at least for people who think he’s cool, so it’s been “frankly a struggle to break even” (he is not breaking even) and then everyone with an $8 blue checkmark felt very warm that they had done their part to save America and/or Twitter.

After they both agreed that free speech is the very best, and that they both really love free speech the most, Kennedy bemoaned the sad fact that “we’re no longer living in a democratic system,” because Big Pharma controls the government and silences brave advocates of medical disinformation, which would explain why we only hear from anti-vaxxers everywhere on social media but not yet in (most) doctors’ offices.

Among other great trolls, Musk and Kennedy were joined by Tulsi Gabbard and Michael Shellenberger, author of books about how environmentalism is bad for everyone and global warming is happening but is honestly no big deal, yeesh, calm down. UPDATE/CORRECTION: I initially had a brain fart and confused Shellenberger with a different “contrarian” dipshit, Alex Berenson, formerly of the New York Times. Wonkette regrets the error.

Kennedy and Musk agreed that America shouldn’t be supporting the Ukrainian government, since as Kennedy put it, the Ukrainian people are “almost equally” victimized by America as by Russians. Musk added that the war was kind of our fault anyway, since “We are sending the flower of Ukrainian youth and Russian youth to die in the trenches, and it’s morally reprehensible,” and when you think about it, we probably shouldn’t be ordering Russia’s youth flowers around like that, how would we like it huh?

The conversation got even more sane when Gabbard added that

the U.S. had turned Ukraine into a “slaughterhouse” and blamed the conflict on an “elitist cabal of war-mongers” who had seized control of the Democratic Party.

Those war-mongers, Kennedy warned, hadn’t just taken control of the Democratic party: They were in control of the Deep State as well.

He recalled being told by Donald Trump’s former CIA Director Mike Pompeo that the “top layer of that agency is made up almost entirely of people who do not believe in the American institutions of democracy,” which is pretty rich coming from a top guy in the Trump administration.

Kennedy also said he opposed an assault weapons ban, because the Second Amendment is pretty awesome, and anyway, the problem isn’t guns, it’s antidepressant meds, which turn people into mass shooters, explaining that

“prior to the introduction of Prozac, we had almost none of these events in our country. […] The one thing that we have, it’s different than anybody in the world, is the amount of psychiatric drugs our children are taking.” He then alleged that the National Institutes of Health won’t research the supposed link between these drugs and shootings “because they’re working with the pharmaceutical industry.”

It’s pretty convincing until you remember that antidepressants are prescribed worldwide, but in countries where there aren’t more guns than people, there aren’t a bunch of school shootings. Also, maybe someone could have pointed out that only about a quarter of mass shooters use antidepressants, while 100 percent of them use firearms, albeit not usually with a doctor’s prescription.

Along the way, Kennedy also insisted that COVID was a “bioweapon,” lied that after the passage of the Affordable Care Act the “Democrats were getting more money from pharma than Republicans” (it’s the other way around, according to STAT News, but then STAT News believes vaccines work), and promised to go to the US-Mexico border to “try to formulate policies that will seal the border permanently,” so he really sounds like the mainstream Democrat that everyone on the far Right has been looking for, the end and OPEN THREAD.

[Rolling Stone / Insider / NYT]

Yr Wonkette is funded entirely by reader donations. If you can, please give $5 or $10 a month so we can keep this little mommyblog going!

Do your Amazon shopping through this link, because reasons.

Source link

#RFK #Elon #Musk #Great #Dicks #Taste #Sht

Huzzay! Debt Ceiling Raised, Catastrophe Averted, Republicans And Joe Manchin :(

The Senate passed the debt limit bill last night, raising the ceiling on how much the government can borrow to pay for spending it’s already done, and thereby avoiding a default on the federal debt and the attendant economic disaster that would follow. The bill now goes to President Joe Biden, who will sign it today and is scheduled to address the nation this evening at 7 p.m. Eastern. We expect the speech will say something along the lines of, “Now look, for cryin’ out loud, we need to pay our bills, I mean it! None of this was necessary, and that’s why I’m invoking the 14th Amendment, I’m not joking, to make the Supreme Court rule on whether the debt limit law is even constitutional. What a load of malarkey, goodnight.”

Following the Senate vote last night, Biden actually said in a statement, “No one gets everything they want in a negotiation, but make no mistake: This bipartisan agreement is a big win for our economy and the American people,” which was far nicer.

The bill passed in the Senate on a 63 to 36 vote, enough to avoid a filibuster. Five members of the Democratic caucus — John Fetterman (Pennsylvania), Ed Markey (Massachusetts), Jeff Merkley (Oregon), Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) voted nay. (They presumably would have voted for it if necessary.) The majority of Republicans, 31 of ’em, also voted against the bill albeit for very different reasons. Only 17 Republican senators voted for the bill. I’ll note that it was a rare thing for me to see both of Idaho’s senators, Mike Crapo and the other one, voting with Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

Before the vote, the Senate debated and rejected 11 amendments to the bill, including Virginia Democrat Tim Kaine’s amendment to yeet Joe Manchin’s pet methane pipeline project out of the bill (which Manchin had somehow sneaked into the House version) and into the sun. That was the only amendment offered by a Democrat; the others were Republican attempts to demand deeper cuts to domestic spending programs than in the House bill, to increase military spending even more than the House bill did, to Git Tougher on the border, and the like.

During floor debate, several Republicans fretted that without unlimited Pentagon spending, the Russians, Chinese, or Martians might try something sneaky, or that the US would be unable to support Ukraine’s defense against Russian invasion (as far as we can tell, no Republicans rose to shout, “That’s the point!”). Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said that the defense hawks needn’t worry, and that the debt ceiling bill

does nothing to limit the Senate’s ability to appropriate emergency supplemental funds to ensure our military capabilities are sufficient to deter China, Russia and our other adversaries, and respond to ongoing and growing national security threats, including Russia’s evil ongoing war of aggression against Ukraine.

Schumer added that the bill wouldn’t limit Congress’s ability to pass emergency funding for disaster relief or other needs, either, although he failed to note that Republicans would certainly whine about such expenditures unless their own states were affected.

All told, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the spending caps in the bill would reduce federal spending by $1.5 trillion over the next decade. Reuters rather cheekily adds, “That is below the $3 trillion in deficit reduction, mainly through new taxes, that Biden proposed,” and we say good on you, Reuters.

Also, in a coda that gives us at least a satisfied smirk, Fox News reports that in an interview, Joe Manchin (D?-Methane) complained that Republicans were getting too much credit for his personal boondoggle in the bill, the fast-tracking of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The debt limit agreement forces an end to all regulatory and court challenges to Manchin’s pet project, which he has pushed since it was proposed in 2014, and by golly, Joe Manchin isn’t about to have any Republicans take the focus away from him and the ginormous favor he’s doing for the fossil-fuel industries (of which he’s not only the president, he’s also a client).

What’s the problem here? They’re afraid of who gets credit for it?” Manchin told Fox News Digital. “You know, what we said before — success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan. Well, I guarantee you, I was an orphan there for a long time because I was the only one on the front taking all the spears and everything, taking point on this.”

“But I’m happy to — everyone is happy — to share the success. I think everybody knows how this happened,” the West Virginia senator added. “I mean, my God, for the whole year I’ve had the living crap beat out of me, back and forth and everything.”

Now there’s a man who loves sharing the spotlight, as long as nobody else is right in the center. Manchin also whined that it really pissed him off something fierce that Republicans might get any credit (which he’s happy to share, but not) since it was his hard work and stubborn assholishness that won over or exhausted the White House in negotiations, and where were Republicans the other times he tried to ram through a bunch of fossil fuel projects, huh?

“It’s bulls— because they knew there was not going to be a problem on the Democratic Senate side or the Democrat president and his staff because they were the ones who supported it and got us 40 votes in the Senate when we voted,” Manchin said.

“It was the Republicans that killed us when we voted last time — only got seven votes. And the Republicans have always supported permitting. The only reason they wouldn’t support that is because of the Republicans being upset about the [Inflation Reduction Act]. That’s it. So it got caught in the politics.”

Still, you have to be impressed by the bipartisan outreach, calling Joe Biden a “Democrat president” just like the Fox News analyst he’s destined to become following his Senate career.

[CNBC / The Hill / Reuters / Fox News]

Yr Wonkette is funded entirely by reader contributions, unlike certain senators who are cozy with the Awl Bidness. If you can, please give $5 or $10 monthly so we can keep this little solar-powered mommyblog on the tracks?

Do your Amazon shopping through this link, because reasons.

Source link

#Huzzay #Debt #Ceiling #Raised #Catastrophe #Averted #Republicans #Joe #Manchin

The EU greenwashed fossil gas. Today, we are suing.

Last July, EU policymakers decided to greenwash fossil gas. Today, the WWF European Policy Office, Client Earth, BUND and Transport & Environment are taking them to the European Court of Justice.

We are doing it to reassert a basic truth: all fossil fuels are dangerous for the planet. Only last summer, European cities baked under fierce heatwaves, rivers across our continent ran dry, and whole swathes of France, Spain, and Portugal were burned by unprecedented wildfires. In the midst of this devastation, the EU approved a new chapter of its supposed green investment guidebook — the EU Taxonomy — which stated that fossil gas-fired electricity is ‘green’. In fact, fossil gas is a fossil fuel that can cause plumes of methane that harm the climate just as badly as coal.

However, under the guise of climate action, the gas Taxonomy could divert tens of billions of euros from green projects into the very fossil fuels which are causing those heatwaves, droughts, and wildfires. This is while scientific experts at the International Energy Agency and the United Nations continue to stress that we must halt any expansion of fossil fuels and invest exclusively in developing clean energy sources. Even the EU’s own experts have said we must use much less gas by 2030. The gas Taxonomy is not just at odds with the science: it also flies in the face of market dynamics. Renewable investments across the world reached $500 billion last year, which shows that there is already a massive, readily available alternative to gas-fired power.

For all these reasons, having previously filed a request for the Commission to review the gas Taxonomy, we are filing a case at the CJEU today. We will argue that the gas Taxonomy, and the Commission’s refusal to review it, clash with the European Climate Law, the precautionary principle, and the Taxonomy Regulation — the law on which the Taxonomy is built. It also undermines the EU’s obligations under the Paris Agreement. We expect a judgment within the next two years.

Fossil gas at the heart of two European crises

Europe faces two interlocking crises: an inflation crisis and a climate crisis. Fossil gas is at the heart of both. Had we decided to invest with more determination in renewables and energy efficiency even just 10 years ago, our continent would not have been so dependent on energy imports. We would not have faced such great spikes in energy and food prices, which disproportionately hurt our poorest citizens. We would be closer to meeting our Paris Agreement goals.

Instead,  largely due to decades of industry pressure — the gas lobby spends up to €78 million a year in Brussels alone — our continent has remained extremely dependent on destructive fossil fuels. That dependency must end. It is high time to direct billions of euros into installing more renewables more quickly, with a focus on secure, cheap wind and solar power. It is time to expand the technologies to back them up, such as building insulation, energy storage, and strong grids. And above all, it is time to stop the lie that putting money into any fossil fuel will help the green transition. That is the purpose of our legal case.

Policymakers and financial institutions beware

EU policymakers are increasingly inserting references to the EU Taxonomy into other policies. If our case is successful, and the Taxonomy’s gas criteria are overturned, any legislation tying gas financing to the Taxonomy would become inapplicable.

Policymakers beware: the Taxonomy is on shaky ground, and you should not use it to justify new gas investments. Fossil fuel companies that get hooked on green funding will face a rude awakening if our legal case cuts that support off. They may even incur steep losses if they have made investments based on EU policies only to find that gas has been struck out of them.

Fossil fuel companies that get hooked on green funding will face a rude awakening if our legal case cuts that support off.

Financial institutions also face real reputational, financial and legal risks from the gas Taxonomy. Fossil gas is excluded from the global green bond market. Leading institutions such as the European Investment Bank or the Dutch pension federation have openly criticized the Taxonomy’s greenwashing. What is more, taxonomies in several other countries exclude fossil gas-fired power, so the European one lags behind. Any financial institution that uses the EU Taxonomy to justify investing in fossil gas assets therefore risks direct, robust and repeated attacks on its reputation.

The inexorable public policy shift towards energy efficiency and renewables, and the plummeting price of wind and solar power, have made fossil gas-fired power uncompetitive. Investments in more fossil gas, even if encouraged by the EU Taxonomy, would quickly result in stranded assets and could even cause billion-euro losses. Financial institutions must guard against these risks by stopping their support for gas expansion now.

Finally, if our case is successful, financial institutions could find they have purchased or sold products mislabeled as ‘green’. They must be careful to verify the legal consequences of such an event, particularly for its impact on any climate claims they have made.

Our message to the EU

Policymakers and financial institutions should note that the Taxonomy faces four further court cases: one from the governments of Austria and Luxembourg, one from Greenpeace, one from the Trinational Association for Nuclear Protection (ATPN) and another from MEP René Repasi. The EU’s greenwashing is now being discredited from all sides – amongst scientists, in financial markets, and soon, we expect, by the judiciary.

Our message to the EU is simple: do not help fossil lobbyists to block our continent’s move to clean, cheap and secure energy. If you do, we will meet you head-on.

Victor Hugo once said that nobody can stop an idea whose time has come. Today, despite much fossil fuel lobbying, denial and delay, it is the turn of the green transition. Our message to the EU is simple: do not help fossil lobbyists to block our continent’s move to clean, cheap and secure energy. If you do, we will meet you head-on.

See you in court.

Source link

#greenwashed #fossil #gas #Today #suing

Global progress on phasing out coal in 2022 weighed down by China

Despite the energy crisis sparked by the Ukraine war, a phasing out of coal continued across the world in 2022, according to a new report by the NGO Global Energy Monitor. Everywhere except China, where new coal production capacity under development increased, offsetting the gains in the rest of the world.

With the spring comes a rare bit of good news in the fight against climate change. In a study published this week, Global Energy Monitor, a San Francisco-based NGO, reported that in 2022, global efforts to phase out coal, one of the most climate-damaging energy sources, continued. The “coal comeback” fears, sparked by the fallout and disruptions of last year’s Russian invasion of Ukraine, did not come to pass in the end.

That’s the good news. Now for the bad: China bucked the global trend. Worse, China’s new coal plant additions last year offset the coal plant shutdowns in the rest of the world.

In its annual report on coal production, “Boom and Bust Coal 2023”, Global Energy Monitor recorded progress everywhere in the world – except China. The number of coal-fired power plants in operation has decreased worldwide and these include retiring or converting coal plants in countries such as Peru and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

According to the study, no new coal-fired projects are under consideration in the European Union, North America or North Africa. In the Middle East, the report noted that the Tabas plant under construction in Iran could be “the region’s last new coal plant”.

The US tops the list of good performers: its coal-fired power generation fell by 13.5 gigawatts (GW). That’s half of the global decline, estimated at 26 GW by 2022.

Limited use of coal in the EU

The EU, on the other hand, recorded a decrease of only 2.2 GW. This is a low figure compared to 2021, when it reached a record retirement of 14.6 GW.

The gas crisis sparked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine prompted seven countries to authorise the restarting or operation of coal-fired power plants. These include Germany and Austria, as well as the Netherlands, which reversed a law limiting the operation of power plants to 35% of their capacity.

France, on the other hand, restarted production at the Emile-Huchet power plant in the eastern Moselle region. In total, 26 coal-fired power plants in the EU that were already shut down or scheduled to be closed finally operated during the winter, according to Global Energy Monitor figures.

“It was a question of prioritising energy security, in a context of shortage fears,” explained Nicolas Berghmans, lead European affairs and energy and climate expert at the Paris-based Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI). “But in the end, these 20 or so power plants were little used and the ‘coal comeback’ that was feared did not take place.”

But while the worst did not come to pass, there were plenty of energy challenges last year, noted Berghmans. “After a historic summer drought, hydroelectricity capacities were limited and, in France, we were facing the shutdown of several of our nuclear reactors,” he explained. “The damage was limited thanks to energy saving measures that worked well, helped by a mild winter. They have reduced energy consumption both in gas and electricity during the winter,” he said.

“Beyond the results for 2022, this shows that coal is no longer considered the first response in case of crisis,” said Berghmans. “In the EU moreover, this has mostly led to a surge in investments in renewable energy, and while this was not very noticeable in 2022, it will be felt in the coming years. This is very encouraging.”

China bucks the tide

But in stark contrast to this promising trend in many parts of the world, China moved against the tide, darkening the global picture. “China’s steady new coal plant additions (26.8 GW) offset coal plant retirements in the rest of the world (23.9 GW) in 2022,” said Global Energy Monitor.

China now has 365 GW of generating capacity, compared to an average of 172 GW elsewhere. More alarmingly, China alone now accounts for 68% of coal-related projects under development worldwide, and 72% of those are in the pipeline.

“Because of its size and population, China’s energy consumption is necessarily very high,” explained Thibaud Voïta, a researcher at the Center for Energy and Climate at the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI). “One of the major challenges for Beijing is to meet the energy demand that has been constantly increasing for several years.”

It was a challenge that was particularly hard to meet in 2022 due to gas price rises linked to the Ukraine war, the post-Covid economic recovery as well as repeated heat waves. The long spell of extreme hot and dry weather, that scientists called “the most severe” ever recorded in the world, led to massive use of air conditioning. This in turn saw electricity consumption soaring when hydroelectric capacity was at its lowest.

“To a certain extent, this surge is beyond Beijing’s control and is rather the work of local or provincial authorities,” said Voïta. “Developing coal-fired power plants is still seen by many as the best solution to meet short-term demand while guaranteeing the population the lowest possible electricity prices.”

This saw annual coal capacity additions for many Chinese provinces topping the capacity additions for entire countries. Citing the example of the northern Chinese province of Inner Mongolia, the report noted that, “Inner Mongolia (6 GW) surpassed India (3.5 GW) despite India being the country with the most coal commissioned in 2022 after China. In fact, Inner Mongolia nearly had more new capacity than the next two countries after China combined (India and Japan).”

>> Behind a ‘green façade’, Modi expands coal mining on India’s tribal lands

China’s bleak record however must be qualified, according to Voïta. “In 2019, coal accounted for 57.7% of China’s energy mix. In 2022, it will be 56.2%. We are therefore on a downward trend,” he noted. “Not to mention that in parallel, China is investing massively in renewable energies. They represented, with nuclear, 15.3% of the energy mix in 2019. This share has climbed to 17.4% in 2022 and the goal is to reach 20% by 2025.” That’s some reason for hope.

Zero coal target by 2040

“Today, nearly one-third of operating global coal capacity (580 GW) has a phase out date, and much of the remaining capacity (1,400 GW) is under the purview of carbon neutrality targets,” noted the report, making it a “a reality completely unthinkable a decade ago”.

Despite these advances, the pace of the global coal phase-out remains incompatible with the goal of the Paris Agreement. In order to limit global temperature rise to well to below 2°C, all existing power plants should be closed by 2030 in developed countries and by 2040 in the rest of the world.

Berghmans would like to believe the 2030 objective “remains achievable” in the EU. “On one condition: continue the massive deployment of renewable energies, this is really key,” he stressed.

“But whatever the global efforts, China will play a decisive role,” said Voïta. “Beijing has stated, on the international scene, that it wants to peak its emissions in 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2060. The only way for it to achieve this goal is to give up coal. It must now agree to start this process as soon as possible.”

(This article is a translation of the original in French)

Source link

#Global #progress #phasing #coal #weighed #China

2022 In Energy And Climate: The Transition Is ON

Climate and energy stories are always about numbers, so let’s start this review of 2022 with a fairly small one that should give you hope: Nine. That’s nine percent, and according to polling by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, it’s the percentage of Americans who are “dismissive” of the reality of climate change: They “believe global warming is not happening, human-caused, or a threat, and most endorse conspiracy theories (e.g., ‘global warming is a hoax’).” Just nine percent. That’s roughly the percentage of Americans who think Elvis is still alive or that the Holocaust never happened. But because they make so much noise, spreading their denialism at every opportunity, most people would assume the number is a lot higher.

The poll also identified another 10 percent as “doubtful” of climate realities; these folks may say it’s happening, but “do not think global warming is happening or they believe it is just a natural cycle. They do not think much about the issue or consider it a serious risk.” I think that probably describes most Republicans apart from the all-out cranks, and it’s very bad news that many members of those two groups are in positions of political or economic power, of course. But here are the other good numbers from the poll:

Most Americans are either “concerned” or “alarmed” about global warming and its effects on climate, and as those effects become all too visible in our lives, those numbers are only going to increase. We’re finally demanding changes. And those changes are happening — 30 or 40 years later than needed to have headed off the significant worldwide damage that’s now locked in, and we still need to dramatically cut greenhouse gas emissions much more quickly to avoid the worst possible effects of warming.

The Paris goal of limiting total warming since the Industrial Revolution to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) remains theoretically possible, but unlikely without dramatic changes in how we create and use energy. That’s the bad news. But every tenth of a degree C of warming we prevent will also prevent progressively worse and worse outcomes. There’s good reason to think we’re finally heading in the right direction. The International Panel on Climate Change reports are going to continue to be grim, but it’s no time to throw our hands in the air and say we’re screwed — I worry that climate despair may be as bad a disincentive to pursue change as denial — and as unrealistic.

For a sobering but grimly optimistic look at where we are now, see this important David Wallace-Wells essay in the New York Times (gift link) published in October. Wallace-Wells explains that, thanks to changes in energy production that are already happening, the hands of the climate doomsday clock have slowed compared to estimates of just a few years ago. The “business as usual” estimates, which assumed no slowing in the rate of greenhouse emissions, pegged the likely increase in global temperatures at four or even five degrees by the end of the century. That would be

a change disruptive enough to call forth not only predictions of food crises and heat stress, state conflict and economic strife, but, from some corners, warnings of civilizational collapse and even a sort of human endgame. (Perhaps you’ve had nightmares about each of these and seen premonitions of them in your newsfeed.)

Now, with the world already 1.2 degrees hotter, scientists believe that warming this century will most likely fall between two or three degrees. […] A little lower is possible, with much more concerted action; a little higher, too, with slower action and bad climate luck. Those numbers may sound abstract, but what they suggest is this: Thanks to astonishing declines in the price of renewables, a truly global political mobilization, a clearer picture of the energy future and serious policy focus from world leaders, we have cut expected warming almost in half in just five years.

Needless to say, that doesn’t mean we can pat ourselves on the backs and throw another endangered species on the barbeque. But the range of outcomes has changed, as Wallace-Wells notes. The nightmare scenarios have been “made improbable by decarbonization,” although the most hopeful options have been “practically foreclosed by tragic delay.”

The window of possible climate futures is narrowing, and as a result, we are getting a clearer sense of what’s to come: a new world, full of disruption but also billions of people, well past climate normal and yet mercifully short of true climate apocalypse.

Go read/listen to the whole thing. It’s a holiday weekend, and you have a gift linky right there.

Part of the reason I’m feeling cautiously optimistic is that people who know climate and energy policy are generally very pleased with this year’s climate bill, aka the Inflation Reduction Act. Independent energy reporter David Roberts has discussed it extensively with energy and climate experts, and while it has some dumb shit in it that was the price of getting Joe Manchin’s support, they say the bill really deserves the praise it’s received.

There’s a perfectly good reason the climate provisions in this bill are so good. They’re taken more or less directly from Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s “gold standard” climate plan from the 2020 presidential campaign, which itself reflected the work of a whole bunch of climate policy wonks. The dollar amounts are smaller, but the effects are going to be significant.

What’s more, Roberts points out, the “green bank” and other research and development provisions in the bill will provide billions of dollars in seed money for new clean energy enterprises, which are likely to lead to even more reductions in emissions over the next decade — but because those companies and technologies don’t exist yet, they can’t be included in any models. That means the total US emissions reductions resulting from the bill are likely to be more than the 40 percent already estimated. Roberts believes this law has the potential to remake large parts of the US economy.

Another reason for optimism came in the form of a peer-reviewed study published in September by Oxford University’s Institute for New Economic Thinking. The researchers explain that a rapid transition to renewable energy will actually cost far less than going slowly, because greater deployment of renewables will drive down the price of electricity enough to save the world $12 trillion, compared to continuing to use fossil fuels. It’s simply not true that the clean energy transition would be too costly to pursue: If anything, not transitioning quickly will cost far more. And damn right you should go give a listen to this Dave Roberts interview with Dr. Doyne Farmer, one of the study’s co-authors. I am just plain turning into a mouthpiece for Roberts is what’s happening.

Want a book to help you be a climate activist and help make change? That would be The Big Fix: 7 Practical Steps to Save Our Planet, by Hal Harvey and Justin Gillis. It’s a handy guide to policies that will move us closer to a survivable climate situation, and how you can be an Active Citizen, like finding or starting a local climate group and, say, showing up at those mandatory public meetings on utility policies that are normally only attended by business reps and utility spokespeople. Well sure, there’s also a Dave Roberts interview with the authors.

One more book: I’m currently reading Kim Stanley Robinson’s excellent near-future science fiction novelThe Ministry for the Future, which manages to make discussions of climate science, sustainability policy, international tensions, and UN agencies an exciting read. It may help that there’s a subplot involving a terrorist group that’s out to assassinate the hundred people most responsible for continued fossil fuel use, which of course you should not advocate in the comments, but ups the ante and tensions in the novel. Some reader reviews found it preachy, if it is, I must be in the choir.

Happy new year. Consume less. Keep up the pressure for change.

[Yale Project on Climate Change Communication / Volts / NYT gift link / Scientific AmericanOxford University / Ministry for the Future (Wonkette revenue-sharing link) / The Big Fix (Wonkette link too) / Image generated using DALL-E 2 AI]

Yr Wonkette is funded entirely by reader donations. If you can, help us keep pointing to the horizon with a $5 or $10 donation. We can get there together.

Do your Amazon shopping through this link, because reasons.

Source link

#Energy #Climate #Transition