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Special Feature: Three views from the global economy’s energy cliff

Here are three leading observers on the world’s increasingly shaky energy situation. Minqui Li presents a through-going analysis of the global energy scenario from 2018-2050 based on the latest data, Kurt Cobb suggests that ‘peak oil’ maybe a process, rather than a event, while Chris Martenson issues a stark warning on the coming oil crash.

Coal vs Renewables: An open letter to India’s chief economic advisor

With the national energy policy about to be finalised, a recent lecture by Dr. Arvind Subramanian, India’s chief economic advisor, revealed the government’s thinking on the question of coal vis-a-vis renewable energy. This rejoinder by an energy expert flags crucial issues and suggests alternatives that are vastly more healthier for the country and the planet.

Civil society comments on NITI Aayog’s draft National Energy Policy

From Vikalp Sangam: NITI Aayog has invited suggestion and feedback on its Draft National Energy Policy. Here’s the detailed response sent by a group of civil society groups. Also linked here is energy expert Bhamy Shenoy’s critique of the draft Policy, which he says does not reflect the crucial recent transformations in the energy sector.

Solar power: Do the ends justify the means?

From World Economic Forum: People often have an idealised view of solar as the perfect clean energy source. Direct conversion of sunlight to electricity, no emissions, no contamination, perfectly clean. This however overlooks the messy reality of how solar panels are produced, right from the extraction of materials to scaling up the power generation process.

Gail Tverberg: The “wind and solar will save us” delusion

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.

New study says solar panels have repaid their fossil fuel debt

Phys.org reports: The climate friendly electricity generated by solar panels in the past 40 years has all but cancelled out the polluting energy used to produce them, a study said Tuesday. Indeed, by some calculations, the so-called “break-even point” between dirty energy input and clean output may already have arrived, researchers in the Netherlands reported.

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.

Is renewable energy really environmentally friendly?

Robin Delobel writes: The issue is rarely raised, but renewable energies have a heavy environmental impact when the total production chain and overall product life-cycle is taken into account– particularly, the stage of mining the metals needed in their production. In addition, chemical products used in the mining operations often lead to severe long-term pollution.

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.

Forecast: The world nears peak fossil fuels for electricity

The way we get electricity is about to change dramatically, as demand for fossil fuels comes to an end— in less than a decade. According to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecast, massive shifts are coming soon to power markets because electric cars and affordable battery storage for renewable power are arriving faster than expected.

Report: Coal and gas to stay cheap, but renewables still win race on costs

Bloomberg reports that cheaper coal and gas will not derail the decarbonisation of world energy. By 2040, ‘zero-emission’ energy sources will form 60% of installed capacity. Wind and solar will account for 64% of the 8.6TW of new power-generating capacity added over the next 25 years, and for almost 60% of the $11.4 trillion invested.

How viable (and sustainable) are solar PV systems? A debate

Post the Paris climate agreement, the world looks to solar energy more than ever to reduce carbon emissions and counter climate change, with multi-billion dollar solar programmes announced by just about every major country. But just how efficient,  and environmentally sustainable is the celebrated solar photovoltaic technology? Here’s what some leading voices have to say.

Video & Report: How renewable energy is already taking over the world

Juan Cole writes: In 2015 energy companies invested more in new renewables power plants than in fossil fuel plants for the first time in history. The majority of these plants were planned for developing countries, a sign that the technology is now viewed as less expensive. It is clear there is a secular trend upwards.

Richard Heinberg: 100% renewable energy is possible, here’s how

Since the renewable energy revolution will require trading fossil fuels for alternative ones (mostly wind, solar, hydro, geothermal and biomass), there will be some hefty challenges along the way. Therefore, it makes sense to start with the low-hanging fruit and with a plan in place, then revise our plan frequently as we gain practical experience. 

Video: Al Gore makes the case for optimism on Climate Change

Al Gore, former US Vice President and Founder, The Climate Reality Project, spoke at the recently concluded 2016 TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. According to him, the future of our planet looks very different today than it did when he last spoke on the TED stage nearly a decade ago.

NEWS UPDATE #85

Sukumar Muralidharan reports on Catch News: This year’s economic survey is a catalogue of crises. For one thing, it records that the situation in agriculture has been dismal on account of two successive years of poor monsoons. This is only the fourth time in 115 years that such a misfortune has hit the Indian economy.

NEWS UPDATE #81

India, Colombia and Nigeria have the most cases of conflict caused by climate change and environmental disputes, according to a map of global ecological conflict. The Environmental Justice Atlas, released last month, shows that more than 200 conflicts in India are caused by ecological disputes and scarcities of basic resources such as water and forests.

Special: Nuclear power wanes as solar rises worldwide

India drastically lowers nuclear energy target Deccan Herald With little progress on ground since the 2008 Indo-US nuclear agreement, the government has drastically cut the nuclear energy target from 63,000 Mwe by 2032 to just about 14,500 Mwe by 2024. Quiet Burial For India-US Nuclear Deal? Amit Bhandari, Gateway House Solar power developers have offered

Proposal: An Alternative Energy Strategy for India

ENERGY STRATEGY FOR INDIA BY 2035 Presenting a new vision for a totally clean and green, fossil fuel-free energy strategy for our COUNTRY (by Concerned Members of NGOs) There is a pressing need to think about a fossil fuel-less future, because according to many experts, fossil fuels have already peaked, and may be exhausted by 2030

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