Continuing to Decouple

Photograph by Volker Hartmann - Getty Images

For the third year in a row, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the energy sector remained level while the global economy grew. This continues to buck the economic thinking that economic growth, typically measured with gross domestic product (GDP), cannot be decoupled from environmental degradation. The current trend of…
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Obama on Climate Change

obama weekly address

In his weekly address last Friday, President Obama summed up his administration’s record on climate change.  Calling it “one of the most urgent challenges of our time,” he pointed to progress made since 2008.  This includes: clean energy investment (300% increase in wind power, 3000% increase in solar power), lowest carbon emissions from energy in 25 years, continued economic growth,…
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Solar Energy Growth Really Heating Up

Solar Market Garden in Benin

News about the increase in solar energy potential and development has been robust across all the climate news aggregators for some time. And, targeted outlets like the U.S-based Solar Energy Industries Association News (weekly) and the Australian-based Solar Daily abound with exciting stories. The overwhelming consensus is that this technology has really caught fire, as…
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Clean cars, clean energy

electric car

This piece in Bloomberg news, The Dirty Road to Cleaner Cars, captures well the conundrum of cleaning up vehicular emissions.  22% of US CO2 emissions come from the transportation sector.  (This number is17% worldwide.) Tesla set records when it launched its Model 3 in April, racking up more than 400,000 reservations for the $35,000 sedan since then. So it’s clear that there…
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If you build it, they will come

Clean Line

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz just announced the approval of a large-scale transmission project that will bring wind power from Texas and Oklahoma to the southeastern states. Called the Plains & Eastern Clean Line, the $2.5 billion transmission line is the largest of several clean energy infrastructure projects being developed under DOE partnerships. Moniz says that “moving remote and…
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Decoupling GHGs from GDP: Year 2

IEA 2015

The International Energy Agency (IEA) released new data today showing that global GHG missions related to energy held steady again for the second year in a row while the global economy grew. Renewable energy was key to stabilizing emissions levels, with more than 90% of new energy generation coming from renewables – the highest level in more than 40 years….
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Cleaning up India’s energy mix

dehli pollution

2015 marked the first time that the average Indian was exposed to more air pollution from fine particulate matter than the average Chinese, reports Greenpeace. In response, India has introduced new taxes aimed at cutting pollution and reducing emissions.  The country’s finance minister announced this week a tax of up to 4% on new passenger vehicles.  It’s estimated…
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Have these states been HAC’d?

governors accord

In the final days of COP21, the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) urged all Parties to join in the effort to keep global warming below 1.5C.  Started as an initiative of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, in its final hours HAC’s members included the US, EU, and Brazil along with the Marshall Islands and Kiribati.  It was THE in group in Paris…
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Are US COP21 pledges in trouble? UPDATE

obama at COP21

2/19/16 UPDATE:  Since my post on Monday, Todd Stern, U.S. Special Envoy on Climate Change, has weighed in.  Speaking from Brussels, where he was meeting with the EU’s Climate and Energy Commissioner, Stern was quoted as saying “it is entirely premature, really premature to assume the Clean Power Plan will be struck down but, even…
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Subnational leaders leading the way

“Under 2 MoU”  – no it’s not Prince’s latest song, it is the initiative of subnational leaders (Mayors and Governors)  committing to limit emissions below 2 metric tons per capita by 2050 which is the amount of reductions needed to limit global warming to less than 2°C. This initiative, supercharged by the leadership of Governor…
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Carbon Capture and Sequestration – A Cautionary Tale

www.energydigital.com

“That is not what the IPCC says.”   At an event promoting carbon capture and sequestration technology (CCS), an audience member who co-authored a section of the IPCC Synthesis challenged the assertion that carbon capture and sequestration is a necessary technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In doing so, he highlighted the tension between competing…
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The Ying and the Yang of the Low Carbon Economy

Montgomery Cty Division

  The call for a new low carbon economy is echoing through the halls of COP 21. In the opening ceremony, French President Francois Hollande, Prince Charles, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon all urged the world to transition to a new low carbon economy.   Making that transition requires action on multiple fronts….
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Will the Dark Cloud Over EPA’s Clean Power Plan Rain on Paris?

Powerplant.iStock

Last month, EPA published the Clean Power Plan (CPP), the most ambitious and controversial rulemaking in the history of the Clean Air Act, and set off a flurry of litigation as many Republican lawmakers urged states to challenge the rule. The Clean Power Plan is EPA’s first attempt to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing…
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Clean Energy to Go Around

rousseff

Countries, states, and the private sector took center stage last week with an array of energy announcements from around the world. When visiting the US at the end of June, Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil, announced with President Obama that both countries pledged to source 20% of their energy from nonhydro renewables by 2030.  China,…
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