UK clean energy milestone

UK coal fired electricity graph

The United Kingdom generated 100% of its power from sources other than coal last Friday.  This day made history, the first time since 1882 that the UK had not relied on coal for electricity production for a continuous 24 hours. National Grid spokesman Sean Kemp told the New York Times that this marks “a kind of end of an era.”  Coal consumption…
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Coal plant capacity decline worldwide

global coal plant tracker

The Global Coal Plan Tracker reports this week that the “coal plant pipeline” (defined as coal-fired generating capacity in pre-construction planning) dropped 14% during the first half of 2016. This 158 gigawatts (GW) reduction (from 1,090 GW in January 2016 to 932 GW in July) almost equals the EU’s total coal-fired generating capacity.  The report points out significant drops in Asia, with China leading the way…
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Climate Change News from Across the Pond

france frack

Newsflash #1 France has announced that it might stop importing shale natural gas from the United States because it’s extracted using hydraulic fracturing.  Fracking was banned in France in 2011. Two French utilities currently contract with Houston-based Cheniere Energy, which sells them liquified natural gas (LNG) comprised of 40% shale gas. Notably, this policy debate in France is taking place as the US seeks to step up its LNG…
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US energy use of coal drops big

EIA coal drop

The US Energy Information Administration reported last week that US power plants reduced their use of coal by almost 30% during the past nine years.  In 2015, 739 million short tons of coal were burned to produce electricity, down from a 1.045 billion short tons in 2007, the peak year. Coal use also fell in nearly every state. States with the largest…
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UK hits new carbon low

uk-energy-infrastrucutre-closures_499x255

The United Kingdom’s carbon emissions have fallen to their lowest level since the 1920s. Coal consumption in 2015 fell 22% from 2014, and led to a 4% decrease in GHG emissions. Renewable energy produced 25% of the UK’s electricity in 2015. This trend is expected to continue in 2016, as four coal plants closed in March. The Cameron government has pledged…
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China now sets its cap on energy consumption

china cap

China just announced in its 13th Five Year Plan (2016-202) that it will set an energy consumption cap.  Its goal: to improve industrial efficiency and reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The consumption cap will be 5 billion tons of standard coal equivalent by 2020.  China also pledged to cut carbon intensity by 18% by the same deadline.  The Five Year Plan nonetheless…
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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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Flat lining of GHG emissions in 2014: trend or one off?

smokestacks

The International Energy IEA recently released data showing that the global CO2 emissions associated with the energy sector remained stable in 2014, not increasing from the 2013 output even though the world economy grew.  E&E reported that “researchers said the early numbers showing that CO2 emissions remained steady at 32.3 billion metric tons in 2014 mark[s]…
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Spotlight on India at COP20

india modi

“We have forgotten to live with nature,”  India’s new prime minister, Narendra Modi, told a group of school kids in September.  Urging them to conserve electricity by switching off fans and lights when not in use and turning off tap water when brushing teeth, he connected energy use with climate change impacts.  Modi wrote a 2011…
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Africa on track to contribute to majority of global particulate matter

german coal fired

A study co-authored by researchers from France and Cote d’Ivoire concludes that Africa will contribute as much as 55% of the world’s particle pollutants by 2030.  In 2005, the continent accounted for 5% of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions and 20% of organic carbon emissions.  These particles come from petrol and diesel fuel combustion…
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Germany, Exhibit A of the EU Emissions Debate

german renewables

Although Germany is popularly viewed as an international leader in the clean energy field, its 2013 performance in producing electricity tells a different story.   Electricity output from brown coal plants rose .8% in 2013, to 162 billion kilowatt hours, according to the German Institute for Economic Research.   This was the highest level since reunification, when Germany…
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EU Debating Internally Its Carbon Emission Pledges

Polish coal fired utility

This article in Bloomberg News explores the divide among EU member countries when setting the bloc’s overall commitments under the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, as well as those it will agree to in the KP’s successor agreement due to be signed in Paris in 2015.  A draft plan due to be released tomorrow by the…
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Warsaw, Wildlife, and Greenpeace

orangutan_wwfwallpaper

The trip has come to an end. And what an experience it was. During the 12-14 hour days, it felt like it was going on forever, but at the end of the week I was questioning where my week had gone. Some of the highlights included getting 2 feet away from Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon,…
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Gender Day – UNFCCC’s Christiana Figueres gives no love to (coal) scrubs, calls on women to demand climate action

Today is Gender Day at the UNFCCC COP19. The purpose of Gender Day is to raise awareness on gender in the climate change context. It is not just a thematic day, it is a legal mandate from the Doha Climate Gateway, Decision 23/CP.18, to examine gender balance in the UNFCCC negotiations. “2. [The Conference of the…
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