From IEEE Spectrum: At the beginning, engineers at RE<C, Google’s now defunct renewable energy initiative, had shared the attitude of many environmentalists: They felt that with steady improvements to today’s renewable energy technologies, society could stave off catastrophic climate change. They now know that to be a false hope—but that doesn’t mean the planet is doomed.
From Mining Review Africa: Environmental NGO Urgewald has revealed companies that are at the forefront to expand the world’s coal-fired power by 42.8%. The report identifies the 120 companies that are planning about 850 new coal plants in 62 countries–including Indian coal majors Adani, Tata, Lanco and Coal India, which are driving the biggest plants.
From The Hindu: The government’s recent decision to approve the construction of ten 700 MW Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors deserves to be scrutinised carefully. The government claims that this displays “India’s commitment to sustainable development”. But does the path to sustainable development run through a source of electricity that’s expensive, hazardous and antithetical to equity?
From CarbonBrief: Billions of people across the world – possibly half the global population – could see climates they’ve never experienced before by the middle of the century, a new study says. One of the authors, Manoj Joshi of the University of East Anglia, speaks on the future emergence of unfamiliar climates across the world.
Carbon Brief reports: A startling 22% of global CO2 emissions stem from the production of goods that are consumed in a different country. However, traditional inventories do not include emissions associated with imports. While Western countries have reduced domestic emissions recently, some of this reduction has been offset by increasing imports from countries like China.
From Truthout.org: This superbly researched 2015 paper explains why China’s unfolding environmental crisis is so horrific, so much worse than “normal” capitalism most everywhere else, and why the government is incapable of suppressing pollution even from its own industries. It should serve as a warning for India, whose official policies increasingly mimic the ‘China model’.
Nitin Sethi writes: Whatever a government might do to run the economic engine of the country or its politics, it has to continuously claim that it is a win-win for both the environment and development. It will talk about its moves to set up zero-effect and zero-defect industries. We all know such an idea does not exist.
Nityanand Jayaraman writes: June 5 was World Environment Day. Over the last few days, this author, an environmental activist, has been asked by many people to lay out things that people can do without really straining their daily schedules. These simple things may not exist anymore. Instead, here are six things for everyone to consider.
Keith Schneider writes: It is almost impossible for a single place to embody the full array of emerging factors around climate, carbon, water, finance, culture and cleaner technology that have utterly changed how India and the world view the value and risks of coal. But if such a place exists, it’s Vilambur in Tamil Nadu.
Climate Central reports: Two years after the Paris climate accord, climate policies are advancing in developing countries but stalling or regressing in richer ones. Here’s a trip around the world, assessing how pro-climate and anti-climate forces are faring in key nations and regions, showing how recent developments are affecting the languishing fight against global warming.
The Wire reports: If India builds all its proposed coal-based power plants, then it might not fulfill its promise made under the Paris climate agreement, says a new study conducted by CoalSwarm. The country is currently the fourth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, and its largely-coal-based energy sector contributes two-thirds of those emissions.
From Chinadialogue.net: China’s massive Asian infrastructure network of proposed new roads, railways, ports and airports, linking 65 countries to itself must grapple with the same problem as the ancient Silk Road it’s been named after. Sand. Deserts present as big a problem along the “Silk Road Economic Belt” as when camel caravans ambled across Central.
From The Wire: The planned ten-fold increase in solar energy will add on an average only 20% of the total capacity, making little difference to India’s emissions. The government has not reduced its coal output targets and plans to raise coal output from the current 550 million tonnes to nearly a billion tonnes by 2022.
With the U.S. and Russia headed for a direct confrontation in Syria, the war in that country is moving a new, more dangerous phase. The Syrian war often seems like a big confusing mess but one factor that’s not often mentioned could be the key to unlocking the conflict: the struggle to control energy markets.
Down to Earth reports: With his executive order, which lifts the ban on coal production and lifts restrictions on production of oil, natural gas, ‘clean coal’ and shale energy, U.S. President Donald Trump has literally started the process of dismantling the Paris Climate Agreement— the landmark international pact adopted in 2015 to fight climate change.
Souparna Lahiri writes: How will forests provide for such high energy demands being put on them, especially in the name of renewables? In the Global South, there’s a rise in monoculture tree plantations for biofuels, or wood. Biofuel plantations have already caused the clearing of rainforests and threatened animals and humans that depend on them.
From The Guardian: The research centres we assume to be objective, are connected with the very industry the public believes they are objectively studying. To call this conflict of interest is an understatement: many of them exist as they do only because of the fossil fuel industry. They are industry projects polished with academic credibility.
Paul McDivitt writes: Making wind and solar seem like they’re doing better than they really are could come back to bite proponents —and the climate. If people think we are about to replace fossil fuels with renewables, they will be less likely to demand new policies and take actions to lower their own carbon footprints.
This day six years ago, tsunami waves crashed into Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant, leading to a meltdown, which by one estimate continues to leak an astounding 300 tons of radioactive waste into the Pacific daily. A selection of reports and a lead article by M.V. Ramana, on what some have called history’s worst environmental disaster.
Somehow, most people seem to believe that our economy of 7.5 billion people can get along with a very short list of energy supplies. Given climate change, this short list cannot include fossil fuels, but we believe Wind and Solar can save us. Unfortunately, a transition to such alternative fuels can’t really work. Here’s why.