[Nov 20-26'23] COP28 starts next week
New Emissions Gap report is out, solar and wind waste is minuscule, how electricity production is changing globally and coal killed 460.000 since 2000.
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!
[#emissions] — The CO2 readings from Mauna Loa show a failure to combat climate change, with a record-breaking rise in carbon dioxide levels over the past year. Despite efforts from nearly 200 member states, there is no sign of carbon dioxide levels decreasing or reaching a safe level.
[#cop28climate] — Ahead of Cop28, reports indicate that while annual emissions may have peaked, the world's temperature will continue to rise until reaching net zero. There is a 70% chance that emissions will peak in 2023, mainly due to electric vehicles, solar, and wind power. However, greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere continue to rise, and the earth's temperature is now 1.25C hotter than in the nineteenth century. Rising emissions lead to increasing destruction caused by climate change, impacting food security, disease transmission, and property damage. Investment in fossil fuel production remains high, but demand for fossil fuels is about to peak. Solar and electric vehicles are booming, while heat pumps are gaining popularity as an alternative to gas boilers.
[#emissiongap] — According to the UNEP Emissions Gap Report, global greenhouse gas emissions have reached a new record high, despite falling clean-energy costs and more ambitious climate policies. The report highlights the urgency of strengthening mitigation measures and narrowing the emissions gap to meet the Paris Agreement's temperature targets. It also emphasizes the need for high-income countries to accelerate emissions reductions and provide support to low- and middle-income countries. The report reveals that the world is already occasionally exceeding the 1.5C target, signaling the need for immediate action. The report also discusses the persistently wide emissions gap and the shrinking carbon budget, highlighting the importance of reducing emissions and avoiding reliance on carbon dioxide removal technologies.
📰 The 7 Grand Challenges
Clean electricity is the one do-or-die challenge we must solve.
[#24hwind] — Chinese wind turbine maker Goldwind has set a new record by installing its 16 MW offshore wind turbine in just 24 hours. The company achieved this through optimized processes and simulations, reducing construction costs. The turbine's fast installation is seen as a breakthrough for scaling up offshore wind potential in future projects. Beat that nuclear!
[#fossilgasvbatteries] — Giant batteries are becoming cheap enough to make developers abandon gas-fired power plant projects worldwide. Battery operators are already supplying back-up power to grids at a competitive price with gas power plants, challenging assumptions about long-term gas demand. In the first half of the year, 68 gas power plant projects were put on hold or cancelled globally. Financial modelling for gas power plants needs to consider peak demand and the intermittency of renewable sources. Efforts to cut carbon emissions and the rise of electric vehicles may further reduce the need for gas-fired power plants.
[#electricityproduction] — This article from The New York Times explores how electricity generation is changing country by country. It highlights the rise of wind and solar power, but also the continued reliance on fossil fuels, particularly coal and gas. The article emphasizes the need to rapidly reduce fossil-fueled power to combat climate change and achieve global climate goals. It discusses the declining trend of fossil-fueled power in the United States and Europe, as well as the growth of coal power in countries like China and India. The article concludes by emphasizing the importance of transitioning to cleaner sources of energy and the challenges that lie ahead.
[#solarwindwaste] — According to a recent study, solar waste generation in 2050 is estimated to be much smaller compared to other waste streams, such as e-waste, coal ash, and municipal waste. Similarly, projections for wind power indicate a similar range of waste generation. When comparing waste generation per unit of electricity, coal generates significantly more waste than solar, wind, and nuclear. Additionally, the toxicity of waste from solar and wind is relatively low compared to coal ash, which contains elements that can be harmful to human health. Transitioning from coal to renewable or nuclear energy sources would significantly reduce waste generation and mitigate the negative impacts of fossil fuels.
🏘 Reduce impact of urban and rural areas
Lowering the impact of urban and rural areas.
[#hydrogenfleet] — This article, "The Odyssey of the Hydrogen Fleet: A Tragicomedy in Six Acts" highlights the challenges and failures of hydrogen as a transportation fuel. It portrays the recurring pattern of hype, government involvement, fleet owner enthusiasm, and eventual disappointment. The article provides examples from different countries, including France, Germany, Austria, India, and California, where hydrogen initiatives have faced difficulties and ultimately shifted towards more viable alternatives like electric vehicles. The author urges caution and suggests learning from past experiences to avoid wasting resources and perpetuating the hydrogen hype.