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How the world passed a carbon threshold and why it matters

Yale Environment 360 reports: Last year marked the first time in several million years that atmospheric concentrations of CO2 passed 400 parts per million. Frighteningly, this modern rise of CO2 is also accelerating at an unusual rate. By looking at the Earth’s climate history, scientists are getting a sobering picture of where we are headed.

Brace for the coming oil, food and financial crash

Nafeez Ahmed writes: A new research study by HSBC on global oil supply shows that the bulk of the world’s oil production has peaked and is now in decline. Welcome to a new age of permanent economic recession driven by our ongoing dependence on dirty, expensive, difficult oil — unless we choose a fundamentally different path.

Richard Heinberg: The Peak Oil President?

The final stages of capitalism, Marx predicted, would be marked by global capital being unable to expand and generate profits at former levels. Capitalists would begin to consume the government along with the physical and social structures that sustained them. These assaults would destroy the host. This final stage of capitalism is what Trump represents.

Just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions

Suzanne Goldenberg reports: The climate crisis of the 21st century has been caused largely by just 90 companies, which between them produced nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the dawning of the industrial age, new research suggests. They range from investor-owned firms –household names such as Exxon and BP– to state-owned firms.

The 10 most important climate change trends of 2016

Brian Kahn writes: This year is likely to remembered as a turning point for climate change, with world leaders agreeing to move toward a clean energy future. It’s clear 2016 was a year where planetary peril and human hope stood out in stark contrast. Here are the 10 most important climate milestones of the year.

47 of the world’s poorest countries are aiming to hit 100% renewable energy

As the world’s leading superpowers struggle to make the transition from fossil-based energy systems, 47 of the world’s poorest nations have pledged to skip fossil fuels altogether and jump straight to using 100 percent renewable energy instead. The ambitious goal was laid out during the final day of the UN Climate Change Conference in Morocco.

Flashback: On global warming

On the eve of the American presidential election, where the two leading candidates offer little hope for climate action, it’s worth revisiting this hard-hitting 2006 article by Chad Harbach, who warned, “(Other countries) will do nothing until the United States demonstrates that a grand-scale transition to renewable energy can be achieved by big industrial countries.”

Landmark carbon dioxide concentration passed; marks new climate era

Brian Kahn writes: Climate change has entered a new phase, according to the UN World Meteorological Organization. Concentrations of carbon dioxide “surged again to new records in 2016,” and the WMO predicts that the annual average for CO2 would remain above 400 parts per million, 44 percent higher than before the Industrial Revolution, for generations.

Report: Current fossil fuel projects can derail Paris climate goals

A new study by Oil Change International and 14 other organizations, scientifically grounds the growing movement to keep carbon in the ground by revealing the need to stop all new fossil fuel infrastructure and industry expansion. It’s accompanied by a letter to global leaders, to be delivered at the next round of UN climate negotiations.

The Kigali Agreement on HFCs is nothing to celebrate; here’s why

The agreement has been welcomed because it would slow down what many fear would be an exponential rise in the greenhouse gases called hydrofluorocarbons,  what with the increased use of refrigerators, ACs and cars in China and India in the years to come. But, IPCC data suggests we need to keep our excitement in check.

India’s sinking $50 billion to build hundreds of coal plants it doesn’t need

Greenpeace reports: India remains committed to one of the most aggressive programmes to build new coal plants (some 600 of them) that the planet has ever seen. Yet, 94% of the coal power capacity currently under construction will be lying idle. What’s more, solar power’s now cheaper than coal power, by the government’s own admission.

Why is India holding out on the Paris Climate Agreement?

Global Risk Insights reports: Recent developments suggest that India has been seeking to leverage its ratification of the Paris Agreement. Specifically, the Modi Government has claimed it will only be able to meet emissions reduction targets if it rapidly expands its capacity to produce nuclear energy, which would be difficult to achieve without NSG membership. Global

Point of no return: Earth breaches 400ppm climate threshold, permanently

Climate Central reports: In the centuries to come, history books will likely look back on September 2016 as a major milestone for the world’s climate. 2016 will be the year that carbon dioxide officially passed the symbolic 400 parts per million mark, never to return below it in our lifetimes, according to scientists at NASA.

India charts a roadmap to achieve ambitious solar targets

Katherine Ross reports: Last month’s release of India’s ambitious year-on-year solar energy capacity targets chart a roadmap for achieving the country’s 2022 goal. This sequence of yearly targets—as opposed to an assumed growth trend between current capacity and targeted capacity—shows that India is making concerted plans to reach its goals announced at the Paris talks.

Who was M. King Hubbert and what was his prediction about the future of oil?

Kurt Cobb writes: Hubbert is much maligned and much praised these days. But he is perhaps not well understood. Mason Inman’s compelling biography gives us all a chance finally to understand this scientific giant and the context within which he spawned insights on the future of energy that continue to be central to our lives.

Clean energy won’t save us – only a new economic system can do that

Jason Hickel writes: When it comes to climate change, the problem is not just the type of energy we are using, it is what we’re doing with it. What would we do with 100% clean energy? Exactly what we are currently doing with fossil fuels: raze more forests, build more meat farms, expand industrial agriculture.

Collision course: The incompatibility of India’s coal and renewable strategies

CoalSwarm’s new report details how India has a total of 243 GW of coal plants under development, threatening to derail its renewable energy ambitions, leading to either locked-out renewables or stranded coal plants. It would push the country towards more expensive and underutilized coal plants at the expense of lower cost and cleaner renewable energy.

Bookshelf: Our Renewable Future

The introduction to Our Renewable Future, a new book on the profound, all-encompassing energy transformation that will be witnessed throughout the world over the next few decades. Two irresistible forces will drive this historic transition: the necessity of avoiding catastrophic climate change and the ongoing depletion of the world’s oil, coal, and natural gas resources.

Study: Paris climate goals fall way short of what’s necessary

Chris Mooney reports: A large team of researchers have reviewed individual country climate pledges made at the Paris talks to conclude that they fall short, forecasting that the full carbon “budget” that we’ve left to emit if we want to stay below 2 degrees Celsius of warming could be emitted by as early as 2030.

CO2 levels breach climate red line, and will remain there for our lifetime

G.B.S.N.P. Varma writes: CO2 concentration levels in the atmosphere have risen above 400 parts per million (ppm), which scientists consider a red line for climate change, for the second year in succession, but this time they will endure for our lifetimes, according to the Mauna Loa Observatory, global record-keeper of carbon emissions since the 1950s.

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