2015-12-10 Energy Week

Thursday, December 3:

  • With COP21 underway in Paris, a conference in Rome on Thursday reflected on Pope Francis’s social encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care For Our Common Home. Hosted by the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, the meeting examined what role free markets can play in helping to protect the environment. [Vatican Radio]
A power-generating wind turbine is seen on the Champs Elysees avenue with the Arc de Triomphe in background as part of COP21. – AP

A power-generating wind turbine is seen on the Champs Elysees avenue with the Arc de Triomphe in background as part of COP21. – AP

  • In the wake of yet another bout of devastating smog, China announced today that it plans cut its power sector emissions 60% by 2020, a promise that puts the US Clean Power Plan to shame. If fulfilled, the pledge would make a major dent in global carbon pollution. China’s cabinet made the announcement at COP21. [Gizmodo India]
China's pollution.

China’s pollution.

  • 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News Channel, is first on the list of 73 major companies that have just signed on to President Obama’s “American Business Act on Climate Pledge.” A total of 154 major US and global companies have signed in support of a strong outcome for this week’s COP21 Paris climate talks. [CleanTechnica]

Friday, December 4:

  • In the first 10 months of 2015 the US installed 4.18 GW of wind and 1.4 GW of solar power generation capacity. Renewables accounted for 63% of all the new power capacity. In October, 200 MW of wind, 33 MW of solar and 10 MW of biomass power generation capacity went online. [SeeNews Renewables]
Wind farm in New Jersey, US. Author: nosha. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.

Wind farm in New Jersey, US. Author: nosha. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.

  • Google has purchased the output of renewable energy generation facilities around the world totalling 841 MW. The company has to date invested in more than 2 GW of renewable energy facilities and claimed the 841 MW of deals is the “biggest ever non-utility purchase” of renewable energy. [PV-Tech]
Google's infographic of the latest procurements. Image: Google company blog.

Google’s infographic of the latest procurements. Image: Google company blog.

  • The sustained rise in power bills over the past several years has prompted a surge in Australian households wanting to “do-it-yourself” by unplugging from the power grid, which may result in further declines in carbon emissions. As much as 90% of households are looking to renewable energy. [Sydney Morning Herald]
Ninety percent of households are looking to solar panels. Photo: Matt Bedford

Ninety percent of households are looking to solar panels. Photo: Matt Bedford

Saturday, December 5:

  • In an announcement made at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris, Monsanto will stand trial for ecocide and crimes against humanity and nature at the International Court of Justice. An umbrella group of over 800 organizations in 100 countries is involved in the action. [Care2.com]
March Against Monsanto in Eugene, Oregon, 2014. Photo by Visitor7. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

March Against Monsanto in Eugene, Oregon, 2014. Photo by Visitor7. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

  • A senior Indian negotiator says his country will cut back its use of coal, if it gets sufficient cash from a Paris deal. The country believes rich nations responsible for the bulk greenhouse gas emissions released so far must provide cash if they want developing countries to cut their emissions. [TV Newsroom]

Sunday, December 6:

  • As renewable technologies become more cost-effective, investors are now waking up to opportunities in the previously unattractive green sector. Climate change is a reality and we appear to be in the middle of an energy revolution. Environmental investments are both right and smart. [Irish Independent]
Climate change is a reality, and so is the revolution that has emerged to tackle it.

Climate change is a reality, and so is the revolution that has emerged to tackle it.

  • Delegates at a UN climate conference in Paris have approved a draft text they hope will form the basis of an agreement to curb global carbon emissions. The 48-page document will be discussed by ministers on Monday. They will try to arrive at a comprehensive settlement by the end of next week. [BBC News]
BBC News

BBC News

  • The Paris climate conference today published a draft treaty that sets out a warming limit of 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels as its long term temperature goal. Seen as a victory for poor countries, it reduces limit of 2° C warming that had previosly been agreed to as a safe level warming. [The Ecologist]
  • The US, Japan, European and other developed nations are poised to consider boosting their annual financial assistance for developing nations to over $100 billion in 2020 and beyond in a bid to break a COP21 deadlock. The money would include both public and private-sector funds. [Nikkei Asian Review]

Monday, December 7:

  • Australia agreed to support the push to lower the global warming goal to 1.5° in a Paris deal in exchange for more favorable carbon emissions rules. With this, the New Zealand Youth Delegation dared Prime Minister John Key to follow Canberra’s example and also for Wellington to back a more ambitious global climate target. [International Business Times AU]
Indonesia could lose about 2,000 islands by 2030 due to climate change, the country's environment minister said on Monday. Reuters/Beaawiharta

Indonesia could lose about 2,000 islands by 2030 due to climate change, the country’s environment minister said on Monday. Reuters/Beaawiharta

  • The company responsible for more than one-third of Germany’s electricity grid says there is no issue absorbing high levels of variable renewable energy such as wind and solar, and grids could absorb up to 70% penetration without the need for storage. The CEO of 50 Hertz says industry views on renewable energy integration have evolved. [RenewEconomy]
  • China’s capital issued its first ever “red alert” for pollution, the Beijing city government said on Monday, warning that the city would be shrouded in heavy smog from Tuesday until Thursday. China’s leadership has vowed to crack down on environmental degradation, including the air pollution now covering many major cities. [Thomson Reuters Foundation]

Tuesday, December 8:

  • After lower-level negotiators at the Paris climate talks delivered a drafted agreement that left all crunch issues unsolved, foreign and environmental ministers stepped in. Warning that “the clock is ticking towards climate catastrophe,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon told ministers the world expects more than “half-measures.” [The Weather Channel]
Demonstrator at the Global Climate March on Nov. 29, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images)

Demonstrator at the Global Climate March on Nov. 29, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Senator Bernie Sanders released his ambitious plan for climate change, a problem he pointedly says is being perpetuated by the “billionaire fossil fuel lobby.” The plan reads like an ecological wish list. It would US carbon pollution by 40% by 2030 by such measures as putting a tax on carbon and cutting subsidies for fossil fuels. [Washington Post]
Bernie Sanders. Photo by Gage Skidmore. Public Domain Pictures

Bernie Sanders. Photo by Gage Skidmore. Public Domain Pictures

  • Michigan’s two biggest power companies are up against both lliberal Democrats and conservative Republicans over what they pay customers for electricity from solar panels. Environmental Democrats and Tea Party Republicans have joined forces to promote choices for customers and alternative energy. [The Detroit News]
  • Every year, Lazard Associates publishes its Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis on different types of power plants including wind, solar, natural gas, coal, nuclear and other technologies. Their analysis shows that wind energy and solar power are more affordable than ever. In fact, they beat fossil fuels, even without federal incentives. [Clean Energy News]

Wednesday, December 9:

  • Rising global temperatures are helping to speed up slow moving landslides across Alaska. Known as frozen debris lobes, they are threatening a major highway. The warming climate is said to have hastened some of them to a heady speed of five meters a year. Engineers believe that they must either keep the ground frozen or move the roadway. [BBC]
Alaska’s famous Dalton Highway runs through the valley of the slow moving landslides. UAF

Alaska’s famous Dalton Highway runs through the valley of the slow moving landslides. UAF

Alaska's highways department is set to move a section of roadway under greatest threat from the landslide. UAF

Alaska’s highways department is set to move a section of roadway under greatest threat from the landslide. UAF

  • Alaska is suffering significant climate impacts from rising seas forcing the relocation of remote villages. Governor Bill Walker says that coping with these changes is hugely expensive. He wants to “urgently” drill in the protected lands of the Arctic National Wilderness Refuge to fund them. The state gets 90% of its revenues from oil and gas. [BBC]
  • New figures from researchers at the University of East Anglia and the Global Carbon Project suggest that global carbon emissions would stall in 2015. The researchers predict that not only might the growth of CO2 emissions slow or stall this year, but that there might even be a chance emissions growth would decline by 0.6% in 2015. [CleanTechnica]

 

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