[Nov 13-19'23] Current policies will increase emissions
We're behind on almost all policies, right-to-repair is gaining momentum, net-zero pledges are greenwashing and current climate plans will increase emissions.
Welcome to this week’s edition of The Weekly Climate 🎉
‼️News you can’t miss
Here’s one important scary/bad (🙀), good (😻), interesting (😼) and fossil (💩) news item.
👩⚕️ Status: Climate & Science
Let’s look at how we’re doing this week!
[#microplastics] — New research shows that microplastics have been found in cloud samples collected from a mountain in Eastern China. These microplastics could potentially affect cloud formation and the weather, though more data is needed for a better understanding. The presence of microplastics in clouds provides significant evidence of their abundance. Further research is needed to investigate the specific effects of microplastics on cloud formation and the presence of toxic metals in the atmosphere.
[#ice2C] — A new report warns that a warming of 2°C would lead to catastrophic loss of the world's ice, including retreating glaciers, thawing permafrost, and loss of sea ice. The report highlights the impact on water supply, tourism, and carbon emissions from permafrost thaw. It emphasizes the need to limit warming to 1.5°C to preserve snow and ice, and calls for urgent action to reduce fossil fuel use and mitigate the effects of climate change on the cryosphere.
📰 The 7 Grand Challenges
Clean electricity is the one do-or-die challenge we must solve.
[#southafricacoal] — According to BloombergNEF, South Africa's coal-heavy power system is expected to rapidly transform due to a solar boom and the need for investment in power generation. Small-scale solar installations are increasing, and over 3.5 gigawatts of residential and commercial solar are expected to be added annually until at least 2025. The deployment of wind and solar power will reduce coal generation by 28% by 2030, and renewables are projected to supply two-thirds of South Africa's electricity mix by 2040. New generators, battery storage, and flexible gas plants will be needed to replace retiring coal plants and ensure system adequacy. The power system transition in South Africa requires significant investment in new generating capacity, with a focus on zero-carbon plants.
[#fusionstartup] — Start-up companies are pursuing laser fusion as a solution for boundless energy. After the success of the National Ignition Facility (NIF) in achieving ignition, private enterprises and scientists have been inspired to explore their own variations of laser fusion. Different techniques, lasers, and fusion reactions are being tested. The Energy Department is gathering views and providing funding to start-ups to design commercial laser fusion power plants. Various approaches, such as direct drive and hydrogen-boron fusion, are being pursued. The competition among these companies is friendly, as the goal is to meet the growing demand for clean energy.
[#hydrogen] — According to BloombergNEF research, only 10% of the planned clean hydrogen capacity by 2030 has identified a buyer. Of the 149 offtake agreements tracked in the Hydrogen Offtake Agreement Database, only 13% are binding contracts, while the remaining agreements are either pre-contractual or unspecified. Nearly half of the contracted hydrogen volume is planned to be delivered as ammonia, with one third replacing emission-heavy 'gray' hydrogen and 20% for emerging applications. The US is the largest supplier, followed by China, Canada, and Australia, with South Korea and Europe as the largest export destinations.
[#mining] — A study published in the journal Joule examined the demand for materials in low-carbon electricity systems and found that there are enough minerals and metals to decarbonize our electricity systems. The demand for most materials is less than 15% of global reserves, with the exception of tellurium. While some minerals would see a significant increase in demand, the production increase needed is typically in the range of 5% to 15%. The emissions from building low-carbon infrastructure are small compared to emissions from fossil fuels. The challenge lies in developing and opening mines in time and ensuring secure supply chains.
🏘 Reduce impact of urban and rural areas
Lowering the impact of urban and rural areas.
[#electrifyrenters] — Renters face challenges in electrifying their homes due to limited control, financial incentives, and government assistance. Homeowners have more options to reduce carbon emissions through electrification, but renters often encounter roadblocks such as reluctant landlords, outdated infrastructure, high costs, and lack of government support. Policymakers need to develop solutions to decarbonize the entire housing sector and provide rebates and incentives for renters to adopt electric appliances.
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