Monday, November 30, 2015

Paris Climate talks start

Plenty of reports on the Paris climate talks, which started today. This dynamic graph nicely indicates the multitude of angles one can look at the problem on who's to blame and who should act based on responsibility and impact.

Monday, November 23, 2015

64 Dutch professors request immediate closure of all coal powered electricity plants

64 Dutch professors in the topics of sustainability and environment write a public letter to the government and parliament [, in Dutch] requesting immediate closure of all coal powered electricity plants. Noting that according to a recent report of the European Environment Agency, presumably this one [], The Netherlands is among the worst performing on the targets that were set under Kyoto and EU 2020 objectives.

They argue that The Netherlands has enough spare capacity in gas powered electricity plants to shut down all coal powered plants immediately. The additional gas should be imported from Norway.

The purpose would be to 1) meet the emission targets a Dutch court has already ruled the government should abide to, 2) send a strong signal in preparation to the Paris climate talks, 3) do away with impression that a country that is among those most at risk of rising sea-levels is doing very little to prevent it.

The closing of coal powered electricity plants is a world wide pattern, with commitments from the US, UK and Germany, while China has been reducing the number of coal powered plants it is planning to build. Global investors have been pulling money out of the industry, seen as a liability.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

New Canadian Premier makes quick policy changes in Canada's oil development

Back in September we wrote on Canada's pipeline projects []. The Economist writes [] now how the new Canadia PM Justin Trudeau might have to come true to his greener credentials without entirely decapitating the oil industry. What he did already is to virtually scrap the Northern Gateway Enbridge proposed pipeline from Alberta to British Columbia coast by imposing a moratorium [] on oil tankers off the coast. The alternative is a pipeline to the east coast or transport by rail. With regards to the latter, reports [] of accidents and derailed carriages, with punctured tanks spilling oil and ethanol in surroundings, continuing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

NYT: ExxonMobil investigated for frauding investors over climate research

Back in september we looked at a report on Exxon's shifts from climate export to being a fierce critic. The New York Times reports that the New York Attorney General has now started an investigation into the issue and whether ExxonMobil may have mislead investors.
The investigation focuses on whether statements the company made to investors about climate risks as recently as this year were consistent with the company’s own long-running scientific research.

Monday, November 16, 2015

World Energy Outlook cautiously optimistic on shift to low carbon future

The International Energy Agency issued its World Energy Outlook []. It's heavy on the connection between energy demand and climate change and aims to give some projections on short and long term developments.
Some interesting quotes from the Executive Summary []:

There was also a tantalising hint in the 2014 data of a de-coupling in the relationship between CO2 emissions and economic activity, until now a very predictable link.

By 2040, Asia is projected to account for four out of every five tonnes of coal consumed globally, (...). However, its continued use around the world is compatible with stringent environmental policies only if it is used in the most efficient way, with advanced control technologies to reduce air pollution, and if progress is made in demonstrating that CO2 can be safely and cost-effectively captured and stored.

Despite the shift in policy intentions catalysed by COP21, more is needed to avoid the
worst effects of climate change. There are unmistakeable signs that the much-needed
global energy transition is underway, but not yet at a pace that leads to a lasting reversal 10 of the trend of rising CO2 emissions.