China’s vision of a global energy system overemphasises the benefits of connectivity. Planners and investors also have to consider the potential impacts on biodiversity and local community livelihoods from different power generation methods and find ways to prevent them.
As the world's biggest polluter, what China decides to do with its energy policy matters to the whole planet. And while progress on the domestic front has rightly won Beijing praise from climate scientists, China is the world's largest funder of coal plants overseas. Is the country employing double standards?
EU and island leaders are calling for more ambition at the International Maritime Organization, while major emerging economies resist a tough cap on emissions. Negotiations over a long-term climate strategy for the global shipping industry are growing fractious as countries battle over the level of ambition.
Representatives from around the world are meeting in Bonn this week to discuss progress towards the goals of the Paris climate agreement. A large part of this challenge involves rapidly scaling up the deployment of renewable energy, while curbing fossil fuel use – but little attention has been paid to the minerals that will be needed to build these technologies.
Climate change remains a serious threat to mankind despite the moment of hope after the successful conclusion of the COP21 last December with the Paris Agreement. Promises given at COP21 to implement mitigation and adaptation measures are based on non-binding proposals causing doubt about what the signatory countries will really do about reducing their greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions. There are several ways to tackle climate change, and break business-as-usual patterns through new technologies, a global carbon tax and greening the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements.
Plastics have boosted our economy because they are versatile, cheap and durable. Yet, thanks to these same traits, in the course of establishing a US$750 billion global industry, we have also created a massive problem. Rivers are filled with plastic garbage. Plastic bottles soil beaches. Masses of plastic are floating in the ocean. Birds become entangled in plastic pieces, and whales’ stomachs fill with plastic debris. Plastics can harm humans, too, by releasing toxic additives.
California has been at the forefront of the modern environmental movement that, in its most iconic form, we associate with hippies and alternative lifestyles. In the following decades, Silicon Valley - the mecca of tech-companies and engine of technological innovation and progress – also became another widely known Californian export. It is thus fitting that the Californian think tank The Breakthrough Institute held its annual Dialogue in Sausalito, CA, - close to Berkeley and Mountain View - bringing together scientists, journalists, activists, and entrepreneurs from across the world to discuss how to overcome societal and technological hurdles for a brighter future for humankind and nature.
Intensive international cooperation is a key prerequisite for successful and ambitious global climate action. Russia, one of the world’s top 5 greenhouse gas emitters and the second largest producer of crude oil and natural gas, has long been regarded as one of the major veto players in international climate politics. Nevertheless, during the last decade climate awareness among Russian policymakers and other relevant stakeholders has increased dramatically. This is illustrated by the fact that the updated Strategy of National Security of the Russian Federation refers to climate change as a threat to national and public security. The Paris Agreement gave the Russian climate policy a new strong impetus.
"If you think current conflicts are all-consuming, imagine what happens when we add food shortages, water shortages, stronger storms, longer droughts, steady rises in sea-levels, which are already being predicted, and entire countries swallowed by the sea. […] We don’t have to sit here and wait for this to happen. If we accelerate the transition towards clean energy solutions – we have the technology, we have the knowledge.”
On May 1st to 2nd 2016, the G7 Energy Ministers together with the European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy met at Kitakyushu, Japan to discuss developments since their 2015 Hamburg meeting, especially against the background of volatile energy prices and the Paris Agreement.
Mission Innovation is an initiative by twenty leading countries to double their Research & Development budgets for clean energy innovation in the next five years. In this opinion piece, Johannes Ackva lays out why this new initiative is an essential complement to carbon-pricing and deployment policies and should receive far more attention in the future.