[Jan 25-31’21] EU Renewables - The fossils: 1 - 0

  
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Welcome to this weeks edition of The Weekly Climate 🎉

References: [1], [2], [3], [4], [5] and [6].

Due to a bug in the app I’m using for the podcast (Anchor) the episode today is missing the final minute or so. I’m sorry about that 🙏. If anybody knows a great app for making podcasts let me know.

Alright, on to the newsletter! 🏃‍♂️


‼️News you can’t miss

Here’s one scary/bad (🙀), good (😻), interesting (😼) and fossil (💩) news item.

🙀 A new study has found that the annual rate of ice loss has increase 57% since 1994.

😻 Renewables (wind and solar) generation overtook coal generation just barely in 2020 in the EU.

😼 An interesting worldwide overview of different climate risks.

💩 Alberta is similar to China trying to scare journalists away from reporting on their environmental “crimes” against their own territory.


👩‍⚕️ Status: Climate & Science

Let’s look at how we’re doing this week!

[#climateadaptation] — A delicious and scary world map of which types of climate risks your country is going to be threatened by. Take a look!

[#iceloss] — New study has found that ice loss is accelerating at the worst case rate described in the recent IPCC reports. In the period studied the rate of ice melt increased from 0.8 trillion tonnes to 1.2 trillion tonnes per year or 57% increase. This means that 28 trillion tonnes of ice has been lost between 1994 and 2017. How much is that? Well, you could turn the entire UK into a 100m high iceberg. Many factors are believed to be driving this, but one which has surprised scientists is the fact that warming seas are having a significant bigger impact on larger glaciers as opposed to smaller ones.

[#futurewarming] — In the past few newsletters I have written about a couple of new reports that seem to indicate that plants and trees have a temperature limit at which point they will stop sequestering carbon and start emitting it. This week new research combines these findings and concludes that our projections of future warming may be too conservative because of this effect.


📰 The 7 Grand Challenges

⚡️Decarbonize Electricity

Clean electricity is the one do-or-die challenge we must solve.

[#renewables] — In a new report Ember declares that renewable energy (they explicitly say wind and solar here) overtook EUs electricity mix in 2020. 38% vs 37%. Denmark comes out on top having generated 61% of their electricity from wind and solar. I must admit I’m surprised by this as I know we also have a lot of biomass in our mix. I hope Ember doesn’t count that as renewable and they do in fact only report on wind and solar. The other side of this report is that renewable deployments will need to double to reach our climate targets. Link to full report here

[#rural] — A new report by Rocky Mountain Institute looks into how rural communities in the US stand to benefit from the growth of renewable energy. It looks good, and I wonder if this study can applied to the rest of the world?

[#wind] — There’s a lot of talk about that the energy transition will bring more jobs and in this article Heated goes local in Cheyenne, Wyoming and looks at what renewable energy job creation looks like. 

[#energyisland] — Denmark is constructing the worlds first energy islands 100km off the coast of Denmark in the North Sea. The islands will be able to supply 5GW of power from offshore windfarms. 5GW is enough to meet the demand of roughly 5million households.

🏘 Reduce impact of urban and rural areas

Lowering the impact of urban and rural areas.

[#ev] — GM declares in a bold move that it will only sell zero-emission vehicles by 2035. This is the first of the old automotive industry to make this commitment. Let’s see if others follow! Perhaps a bid to get a slice of Biden’s climate cake?

[#death] — Funeral home startup, Recompose, aim to make death and burial more green, by turning your remains into compost. How it works is that your remains will be put into a tube filled with bacteria that loves to chew on organic matter and will in 30 days convert you into compost. This is a much greener way than embalming or cremation. 

[#trucks] — In their Q4 earnings report Tesla teased that they intend to start deliveries of their semi truck end of this year. After last years implosion of Nikola, I think the year will be exciting for electric semis!

🛁 Clean non-electrifiable activities

Some activities we do today can’t be electrified, these must be cleaned some other way.

[#heavyindustry] — A new partnership launched called: Mission Possible Partnership. The goal is to help decarbonize the heavy industries. The platform was in fact launched in 2019 and has seen a growth from 30 companies to 400 companies. I wonder how much these companies have already done in the past year being a member of the platform.

[#plastic] — Last week (and many weeks before that) we have highlighted the problem with plastic, how people believe plastic can be recycled (due to a successful fossil fuel propaganda campaign) when in fact it can’t. A new report by the European Environment Agency reveals how EU can help reverse the trend of growing plastic usage. Plastic production today is 20% of the chemicals industry emissions EU-wide.

🌳 Protect and grow nature

Nature is our ally, we must protect it and help it help us.

[#disinformation] — It appears that climate disinformation is alive and well in Australia. Ketan Joshi from Reneweconomy dives into the amount and severity of climate disinformation spread during last years’ Australian bushfires.

🍽 Optimize food

Without the lower impact of food or drink the hero doesn’t work (modified old danish proverb).

[#fishing] — US fish startup, Dock to dish” is helping fishermen adapt to climate change and an economic crisis. And they’re now expanding into kelp. In this interview on Grist, Dock to Dish founder talks about kelp and sustainable fishing.

⚖️ Climate Justice

Without justice there’s no future.

[#mozambique] — Mozambique hadn’t even recovered fully from last years cyclone Idai, when it was hit on Jan 23 by cyclone Eloise. 250.000 people have been affected by it and more than 142.000 acreas of food crops have been flooded.

[#keystonexl] — One of President Biden’s first executive orders was to kill the much hated Keystone XL. In this piece, Atmos interviews the real people who made this gigantic climate victory possible: The indigenous water protectors.

[#developingworld] — IEA chief, Fatih Birol, pointed out in a speech that the world doesn’t have a chance at solving the climate crisis if we don’t start investing in the developing countries. According to Birol, the worlds investments in the energy transition in the developing countries will need to increase at least by 3x and he’s seeing an appetite that’s nowhere near what’s required.

[#solar] — South African solar leasing startup, Solar Exchange, has raised a 3M$ series A. Solar Exchange allows companies in Africa to get solar on their roof without any upfront payment, hereby saving money on their electricity bill and helping the energy transition in Africa.

📦 Other / catch-all

All the other stuff that I couldn’t fit into any of the other categories, than the other category.

[#communication] — This is an interesting article about the way we talk about climate science is in fact undermining it. It’s an interesting point that I’ve also spent a long time thinking about, the fact that you can “believe” in science. And that we should listen to science. Of course we should. It’s science. It’s facts.

[#climateaction] — The “German Greta”, Luisa Neubauer, gives her advice on how we can turn all this climate grief and anxiety into something constructive. In short it’s: Connect with nature, join a movement, take to the streets, push for systemic change and learn from the pandemic.

[#survey] — The biggest ever climate change survey conducted by the UN confirms that 66% of people think climate change is a global emergency. 1.2 million people was asked in the survey. Probably the amount of people who think climate change is global emergency is probably even higher in real life as the survey was distributed via ads in popular gaming apps which it seems unlikely that the worlds poorest and climate vulnerable communities have access to 😬. For instance, if citizens of the island of Kiribati was asked my guess would be that they would top the charts and not UK and Italy.


⭐️Special Topics

🎩 Global and local policy

We have a special interest in covering the major global and local policies regarding climate, whether good or bad.

[#endfossil] — January 27 2021 may be an important day to remember in the U.S. as it seen as a landmark day in fight against the fossil fuel industry. Biden announced bold policies among them a complete halt on leases of federal land for fossil fuel extraction. While this act will not reduce production it does signal an important symbolic win in the fight against the fossil fuel industry. Along with that is tripling of protected US lands from 12% today to roughly 33%. Biden has taken a lot of climate actions already and here the Independent sums them all up.

[#drilling] — Odd.. Didn’t I just celebrate Biden’s ban on new drilling permits a few lines ago? Well. It seems that the opposite is also true: 31 drilling permits was issued last week as well. Weird.

[#eu] — EU foreign ministers want to align trade and investment policies to end fossil fuel expansion abroad. Interesting. I hope they put the money where their mouth is on this one. And the obvious one, look to their own economies as well.

[#climateadaptation] — World leaders held their UN Climate Adaptation Summit last week. Words were said. Now we’ll see if action follows. As mentioned in the past two weeks newsletters the developed world is still not giving nowhere near the amount of money in climate aid to the developing countries.

[#davos] — The annual World Economic Forum meeting was held in Davos and here’s Greta Thunbergs speech at that event.

[#australia] — Australia is a big country with tiny climate plans (through no fault of the Australians, who are buying solar panels like crazy people). After Trump is gone, Australia’s Morrison government is poised to be the next anti-climate goverment. A new report has found that Australia must at least double it’s 2030 goals and ideally triple them to be compliant with the Paris Agreement.

⛽️Major Carbon Emitters

We have a special interest in covering the moving of the major carbon emitters as these are the key roadblock to climate action.

[#BP] — BP’s oil exploration team has in the past years been cut. From 700 a few years ago down to less than 100. Hopefully, this is a sign of BPs commitment to the green energy transition. It should be noted that BPs main revenue will still come from oil and gas well into the 2030s.

[#Shell] — 14 years after an oil spill happened in Nigeria, the residents will now finally be compensated and the culprit, Shell, will have to clean it up. 14 years after! Can you imagine if BP after Deepwater Horizon exploded in 2010 would wait another 3 years before cleaning up the mess?

[#divestment] — New York City pension fund has committed to divest 4B$ from the fossil fuel industry. The divestment is set to be one of the biggest in the U.S. In total, according to GoFossilFree.org, 14.5 trillion dollars have been divested globally from fossil fuels.

[#health] — If you’re looking for another reason to stop burning fossil fuels, here’s one. A new study confirmed that air pollution is linked to a higher risk of irreversible sight loss. 

[#bigtech] — This article by Drilled talks about how Microsoft is pushing a lot of talk about helping the green energy transition while simultaneously making millions in selling software that helps the fossil fuel industry dig up more oil. It would be so amazing if the worlds’ biggest companies such as Microsoft, Autodesk and more who are wellknown in selling and hereby supporting the fossil fuel industry would all collectively agree to stop delivering services to these companies. 

[#canada] — Wow. Just wow. An inquiry set up by Alberta’s premier minister investigates global climate journalists for aiding Canadian environmental groups in attacking Albertas oil and gas industry (not physical attacks, but with words obviously). This is something else, the report says: “reporters who focus full-time on climate change are aiding powerful progressive global elites whose goal is to abolish capitalism and create a society in which life will be constantly monitored, short, cold, and miserable, just like pre-industrial times.” This is insane. Apparently this comes to no big surprise as big name climate journalists, like Emily Atkin of Heated has been questioned by Alberta officials already back in 2014 when reporting on Alberta’s oil sands.

[#propaganda] — It wasn’t long after Biden announced his order to stop oil and fossil gas permits when the propaganda campaigns from the fossil fuel industry started. In this piece DesmogBlog unravels the claims by the fossil fuel industry that this pause on drilling will mean lost jobs.


That’s it for this week folks! Remember if you’re feeling down, angry or sad from some of the news in this newsletter one cure is to act. And one way you can always act that also happens to be one of the most powerful things you can do is to talk about it. That also works if what you just read made you hopeful or happy btw.

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See you all next week 👋