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Microsoft Management Comments on Climate Change -- Notable Quotes
Microsoft
Date: 2020-01-20
"We are getting extremely impatient, frankly, for policy action on climate change. We support a carbon fee because we believe it's a policy mechanism that works and accords with economic principles." -- Lucas Joppa, Chief Environmental Officer, Microsoft, 3 May, 2019

"It's important that what we build leaves a positive legacy, that we don't build it on the back of fossil fuels, but rather, we build it on the back of the next generation of energy technology of wind and hydro and solar." -- Brian Janous, Microsoft Lead Energy Manager, !9 July, 2019

More Low-Carbon Energy News Microsoft,  Climate Change,  Renewable Energy,  


2020 U.S. Transportation Climate Impact Index Released (Ind. Report)
Streetlight Data
Date: 2020-01-20
San Francisco, California-based Streetlight Data -- transportation Data on demand -- has released its first annual U.S. Transportation Climate Impact Index, a ranking of how carbon friendly the country's 100 largest metro areas are on several factors: total vehicle miles traveled (VMT), how much people are biking and walking, transit usage, population density, and circuity, which is basically the difference between how far two destinations may be "as the crow flies" and the route it actually takes to travel that distance by car.

Access the 2020 U.S. Transportation Climate Impact Index HERE. (Source: Streetlight Data, Jan., 2020) Contact: Streetlight Data, www.streetlightdata.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News Clean Transportatiom,  Carbon Emissions,  Climate Change,  


Survey Finds American Climate Change Concerns Rising (Ind. Report)
Climate Change
Date: 2020-01-20
A recently released survey conducted by the Yale University Program on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University's Center for Climate Change Communication has found 6 in 10 Americans are either "alarmed" or "concerned" by global warming -- tripling over the past five years to an all-time high. last five years and is now at an all-time high and a major shift in public perception of the issue. The two rganization have tracked American view on climate change-global warming since 2008.

As recently as 2014, the percentage of Americans categorized as "dismissive" of global warming was roughly the same as those who were "alarmed" -- around 11 to 12 pct. But in the years since, the ranks of those who believe global warming is not happening or caused by humans has fallen to just 10 pct. Over the same time, people who are most worried about global warming and support measures to reduce heat-trapping carbon pollution grew to 31 pct of those surveyed and mow outnumber the dismissive crowd by more than 3-to-1.

(Source: Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, CNN, Mercury News, 17 Jan., 2020) Contact: Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, Anthony Leiserowitz, Dir., www.climatecommunication.yale.edu; George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, www.climatechangecommunication.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  Global Warming,  


Microsoft Planning $1,000,000,000 Climate Fund (Ind. Report)
Microsoft
Date: 2020-01-20
Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft is reporting plans to cut its carbon emissions by half by 2030,

To that end, the high tech giant will: start expanding its internal carbon fee to cover scope three emissions, indirect emissions of activities like goods production and waste; invest in new and improved carbon removal and reduction technologies ; launch a $1 billion climate innovation fund; advocate for greater transparency when it comes to pollution and carbon footprints; help suppliers and customers worldwide reduce their carbon foot print; and ultimately remove all of the carbon it emitted since its founding in 1975. (Source: Microsoft, PR, ITPro, Various Others, 17 Jan., 2020)Contact: Microsoft Corporate Offices, www.headquartersinfo.com/microsoft-headquarters-information

More Low-Carbon Energy News Mocrosoft,  Carbon Footprint,  Carbon Emissions,  Climate Change,  


European Investment Bank Climate Survey (Report Attached)
European Investment Bank
Date: 2020-01-17
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has launched the second edition of the EIB Climate Survey. The findings are particularly relevant at a time when climate is one of the top priorities in the EU's agenda, and following the EIB's adoption of a new, fossil-fuel free energy lending policy and a new climate roadmap.

Conducted in partnership with market research firm BVA, the survey aims to inform the broader debate on citizens' attitudes and expectations in terms of climate action in the European Union, the United States and China. .

Download the 2nd EIB Climate Survey HERE. (Source: European Investment Bank, Website, Jan.,2020) Contact: EIB, www.eib.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News European Investment Bank,  Climate Change,  


Aussie PM Climate Change Policy Called to Account (Int'l. Report)
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison
Date: 2020-01-15
In the Land Down Under, in response to increasingly vehement criticism of his government's handling of his country's bushfire emergency, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (Lib.) has signaled the government could stop claiming Kyoto carbon credits to "meet and beat" its 26 - 28 pct carbon emissions reduction target. The Prime Minister also declared the government's climate change policy "would be updated without destroying jobs and regional economies."

To that end, the PM announced the formation of an official inquiry to investigate and make recommendations on emissions reduction and building better resilience and adaption to climate events such as fire, drought, floods and cyclones. However, the PM emphasized, reducing carbon emissions required a "balanced and global response because even if Australia shut down all its power-generation assets, the equivalent amount of emissions would be produced by China in just nine days." (Source:Office of Australian Prime Minister Scott MorrisonFinancial Review, 13 Jan., 2020) Contact: Office of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, www.pm.gov.au

More Low-Carbon Energy News Australia Climate Change,  Carbon Credits ,  


Missoula Climate Resiliency Plan Nears Completion (Ind. Report)
Montana Climate Change
Date: 2020-01-15
In Big Sky Country, Climate Smart Missoula, along with Missoula County, is reporting work on the Missoula Climate Resilency Plan aimed at reducing the effects of climate change in the Missoula area is underway.

According to its website, the plan focuses on various areas -- energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable development, clean transportation, land and water management, forest and open land management, green buildings, education and outreach -- all of which are crucial to Missoula's climate mitigation and resiliency efforts.

Download Climate Resiliency Plan details HERE and HERE (Source: Climate Smart Missoula, 8KPAX, 13 Jan., 2020) Contact: Climate Smart Missoula, 406-926-2847, www.missoulaclimate.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  Climate Change Mitigation,  


Ocean Renewable Energy Action Coalition Launched (Int'l Report)
Ocean Renewable Energy Action Coalition
Date: 2020-01-15
An international Ocean Renewable Energy Action Coalition has been formed to advance sustainable deployment of ocean-based renewable energy -- offshore wind, floating solar, tidal and wave power -- and at the same time mitigate the impacts of climate change while meeting roughly 10 pct of the annual greenhouse gas emissions reductions needed by 2050 to keep global temperatures under 1.5 degreeC above pre-industrial levels, according to a report released by the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy. Most of this climate change mitigation potential is expected to come from offshore wind.

The Action Coalition includes MHI Vestas, Orsted, Equinor, CWind, Global Marine Group, JERA, Shell, Mainstream Renewable Power, Siemens Gamesa, TenneT and The UK Crown Estate.

Download the The Ocean as a Solution to Climate Change -- Five Opportunities for Action Report HERE. (Source: High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, Various Media, Maritime Executive, 13 Jan., 2020) Contact: High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, www.oceanpanle.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News Ocean Energy,  


Newsom Touts Calif. Climate Change Budget Proposals (Ind Report)
Climate Change
Date: 2020-01-13
On Friday in Sacramento, Golden State Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) introduced a $12.5 billion 5-year budget proposal with ambitious goals for addressing climate change.

The budget proposal includes a Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, a $4.75 billion climate resilience bond that would to encourage investments that reduce risks from water, fire, extreme heat and sea level rise, as well as partially fund the recently introduced California Green New Deal Act.

The climate budget also includes $66 million for reducing flood risks, $51 million to speed up the deployment of electric vehicle infrastructure and $103 million for water resiliency. The budget proposes a $4.75 billion climate resilience bond which would address risks especially in the state's most vulnerable communities. The bond would also allocate $500 million to harden infrastructure in high-fire-risk communities and $250 million for forest health projects -- that's in addition to fuel reduction activities paid for by the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund as well as the amount that the Legislature and governor have required utilities to contribute.

Additionally, the budget proposes a $965 million plan to spend cap-and-trade dollars on Cal Fire's forest health and fuel reduction program and reducing emissions from transportation -- "the largest greenhouse gas emissions source in California."

The budget includes $1 billion in general fund dollars -- $250 million this year and more in future years -- for a Climate Catalyst Fund that will offer low-interest loans for climate-related projects that help the state meet its climate goals. (Source: Office of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Capital Public Radio, 10 Jan., 2020) Contact: Office of California Gov. Gavin Newsom , Kate Gordon, Director of the Governor's Office of Planning and Research, Snr. Climate Advisor, (916) 445-2841, (916) 558-3160 - fax., www.gov.ca.gov

More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  


ExxonMobil -- Climate Change, the Work Ahead Opinions & Asides)
ExxonMobil
Date: 2020-01-13
"As we wrap up 2019, it's useful to take stock of the past year and keep looking ahead to the future and what we need to do to accomplish our energy goals. We need to do a lot. We are at a crucial inflection point with climate change, as is all too clear from the regular stream of updates in our news feeds every day. ExxonMobil’s annual Energy Outlook, which came out recently, discusses how the world is still offtrack to meet certain climate goals without a lot of additional effort.

"That further work means continued technology innovation. We have to keep finding and inventing solutions to the myriad of individual problems posed by the dual challenge. These different efforts -- both within and outside of our own research labs -- are all essential to moving us forward. They include the important renewables work being done with wind, solar and geothermal by so many around the world; they also include research focused on carbon capture technology and biofuels -- and everything in between. On ExxonMobil’s end, we are proud of our portfolio of innovative emission-lowering projects that have led to more than 10,000 patents in the last decade. Since 2000, we've spent $16.5 billion on this kind of R&D.

"Moving into 2020, we need to stay focused on several key themes related to solving the dual challenge: scale, speed, collaboration and training the next generation of scientists, engineers and other problem solvers. Scale is everything in our efforts. Reducing carbon emissions to fight climate change as we simultaneously deliver more and more energy to a growing world is a big job. And it's not just one job. As I said earlier this year, 'Not only are the sizes we are talking about so big they are sometimes unfathomable, but we must deploy solutions globally AND across countless end uses. It's not one equation with one unknown, but multiple equations with multiple unknowns.'

"As we work to solve for these multiple unknowns, we are pursuing projects big and small. What they share in common is the strict requirement that they must lead to a scalable solution. Energy is gigantic, from the infrastructure that supports it to the markets that drive its supply and demand. Any solution we find in the lab, however brilliant, must be ready to immediately scale.

"And it needs to happen quickly. As we know, scientific discovery is an ongoing endeavor -- you can't put a deadline on invention. But we can accelerate innovation. First, we can follow the example of parallel processing from computer science. In our labs, we don't wait for the basic science to be definitively 'concluded' (if it even can be). We start the engineering while we're still doing the science and iterate between the two. That requires collaboration between different types of researchers and innovators – between our corporate lab and government and academic labs, for example -- and that's the other way we speed up scalable solutions: with partnerships. Partnerships are a force multiplier. They are absolutely key when it comes to solving the dual challenge. When I look back on the past year, I am proud of the scope and variety of partnerships we undertook as a company. To name just a few:

  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (and other DOE-funded labs) -- in a 10-year, $100 million collaboration to bring advanced energy technologies to market at scale, focused on reducing carbon emissions.

  • IBM -- to collaborate on quantum computing that could help make energy exploration and extraction enormously efficient.

  • MIT Energy Initiative -- to extend our existing relationship supporting this project, which is committed to discovering new emission-reducing technology.

    Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) locations in Madras and Bombay -- to continue our research with scientists and students working on the ground in India to address the energy needs and challenges on the subcontinent, including studying life cycle greenhouse gas emissions in India's power sector.

  • Clariant and Genomatica -- to convert residue left over from farming into biofuel that can power trucks, ships and more. Clariant has expert processes to extract sugars from agricultural leftovers like wheat straw, while Genomatica turns sugars into biofuels.

  • Global Thermostat -- to evaluate the scalability of their innovative carbon capture technology, which removes CO2 from the atmosphere and industrial sources.

  • Microsoft -- to digitally transform 1 million acres of unconventional oil and gas fields in the Permian Basin, making it the largest-ever oil and gas acreage to use cloud technology, and also making it more efficient. Energy efficiency is an often overlooked area when we think about the dual challenge.

    (Source: ExxonMobil, PR, , 31 Dec., 2019) Contact: ExxonMobil, Dr. Vijay Swarup, VP Research and Development , www.linkedin.com › dr-vijay-swarup-120a95159, (972) 444-1107, www.exxonmobil.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  ExxonMobil,  Vijay Swarup ,  


  • Kresge Foundation Commitment to Advance Solar+Storage, Energy Efficiency (Ind. Report, Funding)
    Clean Energy Group
    Date: 2020-01-13
    The Kresge Foundation, the Montpelier, Vermont-based not-for-profit Clean Energy Group (CEG) and New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation (NYCEEC) are reporting a $3.3 million commitment to accelerate the market development of solar PV plus battery storage (solar+storage) technologies in historically under-served communities. The multiyear financing program guaranteed by the Kresge Foundation includes:
  • A $3 million loan guarantee to reduce credit risk for solar+storage projects in low- and moderate-income areas. Structured as a 50 pct payment guarantee to help ensure borrowers' loan payments remain current, this innovative credit enhancement reduces the risk of a payment default to lenders and their investors who provided capital for solar+storage loans.

  • $170,000 in a capacity-building grant to accelerate the participating lender's ability to finance solar+storage projects, build project pipelines and actively engage in information sharing.

  • $120,000 in technical-assistance grants to enable eligible project owners and developers to assess the technical and financial feasibility of new solar+storage projects.

    Clean Energy Group is a national, nonprofit advocacy organization working on innovative technology, finance, and policy programs in the areas of clean energy and climate change.

    Established in 2010 as the nation's first local green bank, NYCEEC is a 501(c)(3) mission-driven lender focused exclusively on energy efficiency and clean energy in buildings. (Source: Clean Energy Group, Vermont Business, 9 Jan., 2020) Contact: NYCEC, Jessica Luk, Director of Development, www.nyceec.com; Clean Energy Group, Robert Sanders, rsanders@cleanegroup.org, www.cleanenergygroup.org; Kresge Foundation, www.kresge.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Clean Energy Group,  Solar+Storage,  Energy Storage,  


  • Climate Leadership and Environmental Action for the (CLEAN) Future Act Released (Reg. & Leg. Report)
    Climate Change
    Date: 2020-01-10
    In the nation's capitol, U.S. Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.) has released the legislative framework of the draft Climate Leadership and Environmental Action for the (CLEAN) Future Act -- an ambitious new climate plan to ensure the U.S. achieves net-zero greenhouse gas pollution and 100 pct clean energy no later than 2050. The draft bill incorporates both proven and novel concepts, presenting a set of policy proposals that will put the U.S. on the path to a clean and prosperous economy. Specific to carbon emissions and climate change, the draft legislation:
  • Directs all federal agencies to use all existing authorities to put the country on a path toward net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It does not stipulate which energy sources or strategies qualify, instead taking a technology-inclusive approach to reaching net-zero emissions by mid-century. To ensure federal agencies' collective efforts remain on track, the draft legislation directs the EPA to evaluate each agency's plans, make recommendations and report on progress each year.

  • Empowers the states to complete the transition to a net-zero economy, based on the existing federalism model in the (Obama administration) Clean Air Act. The bill sets a national climate standard of net-zero greenhouse gas pollution in each state by 2050. States are then granted flexibility to develop plans to meet the 2050 and interim standards based on their policy preferences, priorities and circumstances. Each state must submit a climate plan to EPA, which then reviews and approves or disapproves each plan.

  • Establishes a National Climate Bank to mobilize public and private investments in low- and zero-emissions energy technologies, climate resiliency, building efficiency and electrification, industrial decarbonization, grid modernization, agriculture projects, and clean transportation.

  • The draft legislation reduces transportation emissions, the largest source of GHG emissions, by improving vehicle efficiency, accelerating the transition to low- to zero-carbon fuels and building the infrastructure needed for a clean transportation system. The bill directs EPA to set new, increasingly stringent greenhouse gas emission standards for light-, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, including off-road modes of transportation. (Source: Office of Congressman Frank Pallone Jr., Jan., 2020) Contact: Congressman Frank Pallone Jr , Chairman, Energy and Commerce Committee, (202) 225-4671 (202) 225-9665 - fax, https://pallone.house.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Net-Zero Greenhouse Gas,  Climate Change,  Carbon Emissions,  


  • Vermont Reports Slow Progress on Cutting Emissions (Ind. Report)
    Vermont Climate Change
    Date: 2020-01-10
    In Montpelier, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Conservation is reporting the issuance of its Vermont Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory and Forecast: Brief 1990–2016 report. According to the report, while greenhouse gas emissions for Vermont in 2016 were down 4 pct from 2015 levels, they’re still 13 pct above 1990 levels.

    The report notes that most of the state's GHG emissions reductions came from the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors, with small decreases in waste and agricultural sectors. Meanwhile, increases were seen from the industrial processes, fossil fuel industry and transportation sectors. To uphold the Paris Climate Agreement, the state needs to cut greenhouse gas emissions somewhere between 26 pct to 28 pct below 2005 levels by 2025, the report notes.

    Download the report HERE. (Source: Agency of Natural Resources Department of Environmental Conservation, Rutland Herald, 8 Jan., 2020) Contact: Agency of Natural Resources Department of Environmental Conservation , Emily Boedecker, Commissioner, 802-828-1556, https://dec.vermont.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Paris Climate Vermont Climate Change,  Agreement,  Carbon Emissions,  Climate Change,  


    Equinor Announces Major GHG Reduction Goals (Int'l, Ind. Report)
    Equinor
    Date: 2020-01-10
    Oslo-headquartered Norwegian oil and gas major Equinor -- fka Statoil -- reports it aims reduce the absolute greenhouse gas emissions from its operated offshore fields and onshore plants in Norway by 40 pct by 2030, increasing to 70 pct by 2040 and to near zero by 2050, using 2005 as a baseline.

    The GHG reduction goal will cover all of the company's Norwegian offshore fields and onshore plants, including both Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions of CO2 and methane, levels of which are very low at the Norwegian continental shelf.

    The reductions will be achieved through large scale industrial measures, including energy efficiency, digitalization and the launch of several electrification projects at key fields and plants, including the Troll and Oseberg offshore fields and the Hammerfest LNG plant, at an estimated cost NOK 50 billion ($5,630,500,000 US) or more. (Source: Equnior, Smart Energy Jan., 2020) Contact: Equinor, Eldar Saetre, CEO, Pal Eitrheim, VP New Energy Solutions, www.equinor.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Equinor,  Carbon Emissions,  Climate Change,  


    Cenovus Claims Targeted CO2 Emission Intensity Cuts (Ind. Report)
    Cenovus
    Date: 2020-01-10
    On the Canadian prairies, oil-soaked Alberta-based integrated oil and gas company Cenovus Energy has unveiled plans to reduce per-barrel greenhouse gas emissions by 30 pct by the end of 2030 with the end goal of net -zero emissions by 2050.

    To that end, the company will reclaim 1,500 decommissioned well sites, complete $40 million ($30.65 million US) of caribou habitat restoration work by 2030, and institute a comprehensive climate and greenhouse gas emissions strategy to help it reach targets. The strategy will also advance its methane emission reduction initiatives that are already underway at its Deep Basin operations. (Source: Cenovus, KFGP-FM, Jan., 2020) Contact: Cenovus, (403) 766-2000, (403) 766-7600 - fax, questions&comments@cenovus.com, www.cenovus.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Cenovus,  Carbon Emissions,  Climate Change,  CO2,  


    Russian Long Range Climate Change Plans Quashed (Int'l Report)

    Date: 2020-01-08
    Following up on our 23rd October, 2019 coverage, The Moscow Daily is reporting the Kremlin has drastically watered-down its new national carbon trading system and penalties for major emitters as part of its climate change plan in the face of resistance from the country's largest companies and the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP). The government will however, go ahead with proposals to measure and collect data on emissions as part of a five-year green audit, according to the Moscow Daily report.

    Following the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, the Russian government proposed introducing new climate legislation in two phases -- a five-year stock-taking exercise to measure company-level emissions and set appropriate quotas for reducing emissions and a carbon cap on the country's biggest polluters and penalties for those that exceed their quotas. Earlier plans also envisaged the creation of a national fund to support emissions reduction and a system of nation-wide carbon trading. (Source: Kommersant, Moscow Daily, Dec., 2019) Contact: Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, eng.rspp.ru


    Moscow says Nyet to Fossil Fuel Reductions (Int'l. Report)
    Climate Change
    Date: 2020-01-08
    The Barents Observer is reporting Russia's response to climate change includes no measures aimed at reducing fossil fuels extraction. On the contrary, the country intends to continue to boost production of the world's top climate change triggering hydrocarbons -- oil, gas and coal.

    In 2019, Russian oil production totaled 560 million tons, natural gas amounted to 738 billion cubic meters, and coal production increased to 440,7 million tonnes -- a 30 pct increase over a seven year period -- and is expected to reach as much as 670 million tonnes within 15 years.

    Since the mid-1970s, Russian air temperatures have increased by an average of 0,47 degree С per decade, which is 2,5 times more than the average global temperature increase. Other climate change impacts include more extreme weather, the melting of permafrost, more drought and flooding, loss of biodiversity, infectious diseases outbreaks and a the violation of the entire environmental balance.

    Even so, the Kremlin reportedly has no coherent plan to fight climate change and, as noted in its 2019 Energy Doctrine, the Kremlin asserts Russia's position as an energy superpower is challenged by international efforts to combat climate change and the rapid shift to a "green economy" must be perceived as a foreign policy challenge and an issue of concern. (Source: Barents Observer, 6 Jan., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  Fossil Fuel,  


    Energy Efficiency, Green Buildings Key in Vancouver Greenest City 2020 Action Plan (Report Attached)
    City of Vancouver
    Date: 2020-01-06
    In British Columbia, the city of Vancouver has released its Greenest City 2020 Action Plan (GCAP) which builds on the 2009 work of Mayor Gregor Robertson's Greenest City Action Team -- local experts researched best practices from leading green cities around the world.

    According to the GCAP overview, Vancouver aims to cut community-based greenhouse gas emissions to 5 pct below 1990 levels, even though the city's population has jumped 27 pct and jobs have increased more than 18 pct. Vancouver secured 93 pct of it's electric power from British Columbia-based renewable sources. The city has implemented the greenest building code in North America, stresses energy efficiency and other measures aimed at encouraging and support a low-carbon economy and addressing climate change.

    Download the Greenest City Action Plan HERE. (Source: City of Vancouver, CBC, 3 Jan., 2020) Contact: City of Vancouver, (604) 873-7000, www.vancouver.ca

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  City of Vancouver,  


    Amazon Employees For Climate Justice (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Amazon, Climate Change
    Date: 2020-01-06
    "How will the world remember Jeff Bezos in the era of climate emergency? Will he use his immense economic power to help, or not? Please tell @Amazon and @JeffBezos: Our world is on fire and desperately needs climate leadership. Stop silencing employees who are sounding the alarm." -- Amazon Employees For Climate Justice KOMONews, 4 Jan, 2019

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  Jeff Bazos,  


    Goldman Sachs Sacks Fossil Fuel Financing (Ind. Report)
    Goldman Sachs
    Date: 2020-01-03
    In the Big Apple, international banking firm Goldman Sachs reports it is the first major U.S.-based bank to publicly declare it will not finance new oil fossil fuel projects in the Arctic and other projects that "significantly convert or degrade a natural habitat". The banking giant also acknowledged the scientific consensus on climate change as "one of the most significant environmental challenges of the 21st century", according to its website.

    Goldman Sachs also noted its commitment to invest $750 billion over the next 10 years in areas that focus on climate transition. As of the end of 2018, Goldman Sachs had financed $80 billion in clean-energy projects toward its goal of financing or investing $150 billion in clean energy by 2025, according to its 2019 annual report and website. (Source: Goldman Sachs, Petroleum Planet, Alaska Journal of Commerce, 31 Dec., 2019) Contact: Goldman Sachs , John Goldstein, Sustainable Finance Group, 212-902-1000, www.goldmansachs.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Fissil Fuel,  Goldman Sachs,  Climate Change,  Fossil Fuel,  


    EU Considering Carbon Tariffs on Import Goods (Int'l. Report)
    EU,COP25
    Date: 2019-12-30
    Politico is reporting European countries are considering the imposition of carbon tariffs on import products from the U.S. and other countries with lack luster commitments to dealing with carbon emissions and climate change.

    According to Politico, potential carbon tariffs were discussed at the United Nations COP25 climate conference in Madrid where it was thought inevitable that governments will turn to trade barriers in the effort to fight climate change.

    The European Union currently imposes a €25 per metric ton carbon tax on oil refineries, steelmakers and paper producers and other major carbon emitters. (Source: Vestnik, Politico, 15 Dec., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News COP25,  EU,  EU ETS,  Carbon Emissions,  Carbon Tax,  


    Credit Agricole CIB Offering Green Securities (Int'l Report)
    Credit Agricole,Daiwa Securities
    Date: 2019-12-30
    Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank (Credit Agricole CIB) and Daiwa Securities Group have jointly announced the issuance and sales of Green Securities. This is the first time that Credit Agricole CIB will issue index-linked structured uridashi as green bonds denominated in Japanese yens and distributed by Daiwa Securities Co Ltd to Japanese individuals and institutional investors.

    An amount equal or equivalent to the net proceeds of the Green Securities will be used to finance and/or refinance one or more of the new or existing loans and investments including renewable energy -- wind and solar projects, bioenergy, energy efficiency, waste and water management, building sustainability, clean transportation and other "green" projects.

    Credit Agricole Group, sometimes called "la banque verte" due to its historical ties to farming, is the world's largest cooperative financial institution. It consists of a network of Credit Agricole local banks, the 39 Credit Agricole regional banks, and a central institute, the Credit Agricole S.A.. Credit Agricole supports environmentally engaged companies and projects which implement best practices in terms of energy transition and climate change strategies in line with the COP25 Paris Agreement. (Source: Daiwa Securities, Credit Agricole, PR, 23 Dec 2019) Contact: Daiwa Securities , www.daiwa-grp.jp › english; Credit Agricole, www.credit-agricole.fr

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Credit Agricole,  Green Bond,  Green Securities,  Daiwa Securities ,  


    Irving Cuts Climate Change, Emissions Commitment (Ind. Report)
    Irving Oil
    Date: 2019-12-23
    St.John New Brunswick-based Irving Oil, Canada's largest carbon emitter has reportedly abandoned a previous pledge to cut carbon output by 17 pct from 2005 levels by 2020, in favor of a "keeping up with the Jones" approach of keeping its emissions and environmental performance competitive with its rivals.

    In 2017, the 320,000 bpd Irving family owned refinery in St. John emitted just over 3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), according to Environment Canada. In effect, the company is no longer targeting an outright reduction in carbon emissions but is maintaining the status quo as dictated by the top 25 pct of rival refineries in Canada through 2025.

    Founded in 1924, privately held Irving Oil operates Canada's largest refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick, more than 900 fueling locations and a network of distribution terminals spanning Eastern Canada and New England. It also operates Ireland's only refinery, located in the village of Whitegate, according to Wikepedia. (Source: Irving Oil, Reuters, Chronicle Herald, 20 Dec., 2019) Contact: Irving Oil, www.irvingoil.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Emissions,  Climate Change,  


    Netherlands Court Upholds Major CO2 Emissions Cuts (Int'l. Report)
    Netherlands,Climate Change
    Date: 2019-12-23
    At the Hague, the highest court in the Netherlands, the Supreme Court, is reported to have upheld a ruling requiring the government to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25 pct of 1990 levels by the end of 2020 -- a target that surpasses European Union emissions reduction targets. By the end of 2018, the country's emissions were down only 15 pct for a 10 pct shortfall on 1990 levels.

    In June this year, the government announced plans to trim the country's GHG emissions by 49 pct by 2030 and phasing out coal-fired power generation starting in 2020. (Source: EU News, Various Media, BBC, 20 Dec., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Netherlands,  Carbon Emissions,  Climate Change,  


    Canadian GHG Emissions in Slow Decline (Ind. Report)
    Canada Climate Change,Environment Canada
    Date: 2019-12-23
    In Ottawa, the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Environment Minister Hon. Jonathan Wilkinson is reporting the country's carbon emissions are expected to be 227 million tonnes below projected levels by the end of the next decade.

    Canada expects to its greenhouse gas emissions to 603 million tonnes by 2030 -- well above the 511 million tonne target Canada committed to under the COP15 Paris Climate Agreement. To that end, the government plans to plant two billion trees, cut energy waste and support zero-emissions clean tech companies, and various other initiatives and measures. Unfortunately, Canada is reportedly warming at twice the global average and and three times the global rate in its extreme northern regions. (Source: Environment Canada, Various Media, Canadian Press, Dec., 2019) Contact: Environment Canada, Environment Canada, www.canada.ca/en/government

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Canada Carbon Emissions,  Canada Climate Change,  Environment Canada,  


    Schlumberger Joins Science Based Targets to Cut GHGs (Int'l Report)
    Schlumberger, Science Based Targets
    Date: 2019-12-23
    In the City of Lights, Schlumberger the world's largest oilfield service company reports it plans redefine is climate change and carbon emissions targets as well as join Science Based Targets, an emission reduction program sponsored by the U.N. Global Compact program, the London-based Carbon Disclosure Project, Washington, D.C.-based World Resources Institute and Switzerland-based World Wildlife Fund by 2021.

    According to a company statement, "The energy industry has a key role to play in reducing the effects of climate change. Schlumberger seeks to lead positive, measurable changes in greenhouse gas emissions within the industry to help reduce climate change. The application of our industry-leading environmentally responsible technologies will help drive process efficiency and environmental footprint reduction."

    Science Based Targets claims participation from 754 companies around the world. Under the program, participating companies assess and make their emissions reduction goals that are in line with what climate scientists say is needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, a global treaty signed in April 2016 to fight climate change. (Source: Schlumberger, Oil & Gas, Houston Chronicle, 20 Dec., 2019) Contact: Schlumberger, www.slb.com; Science Based Targets initiative, info@sciencebasedtargets.org, www.sciencebasedtargets.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Schlumberger,  Science Based Targets,  GHG,  Greenhouse Gas Emissions,  


    Notable Climate Change Quote from Politico
    Climate Change
    Date: 2019-12-20
    "The big picture is this. Climate change is making it harder to grow food, and as we blow past the Earth's various climatic danger points with reckless abandon, the fear in agricultural circles is that (of) a crippled food supply." -- Politico

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  


    73 Countries Commit to Climate Ambition Alliance, Net-Zero CO2 Emissions by 2050 (Int'l. Report)
    COP25,Climate Ambition Alliance
    Date: 2019-12-20
    The Chilean Presidency of the COP25 Meeting in Madrid has announced a renewed Climate Ambition Alliance aimed at accelerating the transformation necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change and stabilize the global average temperature rise at 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels.

    Countries participating in the Alliance commit to accelerate action by 2020 and achieve net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050. To that end, 73 countries have 'signaled their intention to submit an enhanced climate action plan" to the UNFCCC. An additional 11 countries have initiated an internal process to enhance ambition and to reflect this enhanced ambition in their national plans by 2020. Schmidt further announced that 73 parties to the An additional 14 regions, 398 cities, 768 businesses and 16 investors are also on board to achieve net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050.

    The Alliance will also focus on implementing measures to strengthen the protection of forests and oceans,improve water management, resilient infrastructure and sustainable cities. (Source: Government of Chile Press Release, Dec., 2019)Contact: UNFCCC, www.unfccc.int

    More Low-Carbon Energy News COP25,  Climate Change,  UNFCCC,  


    Madrid Climate Talks failed! What Now? asks Amnesty International (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    COP25,Amnesty International
    Date: 2019-12-20
    " 'What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? NOW!!!' If you have been to just one climate march in your life, you will have certainly heard this slogan. It has become omnipresent whenever people are expressing concerns over the climate crisis. Behind this simple chant, there are deep demands rooted in human rights principles. There is the call for fast climate action by government and corporations, to avoid even more catastrophic human rights impacts than what we are seeing now. There is the appeal to wealthier industrialized states which have contributed the most to the climate crisis to step up and pay up in order to redress some of the injustices accentuated by climate change. There is the reminder that climate action needs to have people's participation and human rights, including Indigenous peoples' rights, at its centre. At all costs it needs to avoid human rights violations and contribute to making society a more equal, just and inclusive place for all.

    "Yet human rights considerations still play a marginal role in climate negotiations. The outcomes of the Madrid climate talks (COP25) are just another proof of it. Following a year of school climate strikes and mass mobilization in many countries of the world, states were expected to act in line with the urgency proved by scientists and increasingly felt by people. Instead, most wealthier countries and other high emitting countries remained stuck in selfish and short-sighted considerations which prevented real progress.

    "While the final COP25 decision recognized the urgency of enhancing climate action, it failed to set a clear obligation for states to come up with ambitious national climate plans in 2020 capable of keeping the global average temperature rise below 1.5 degrees C. This shows a complete disregard for the human rights of people who will be most affected by spiking climate impacts. For millions of people around the world, the formulation and, above all, the implementation of strong climate plans simply means a difference between life and death.

    "Wealthy countries are responsible for the bulk of greenhouse gas emissions and have for years profited from them, while people in poorest countries are suffering most of the damages inflicted by the climate crisis. In Madrid, they had the opportunity to recognize this historic imbalance and accept their duty to pay for the devastation already wreaked by climate impacts such as cyclones, droughts and sea-level rise. Instead, they opposed the mobilization of new and additional resources to support affected people. This in practice means turning their back to the almost 4 million people who have lost their homes, livelihoods or access to public services in the two cyclones in Mozambique earlier this year, or to residents of Pacific islands in urgent need of relocation due to sea-level rise.

    "Similarly, states were once again unable to reach an agreement on mechanisms allowing countries to trade emission reductions. Countries like Australia, Brazil and China continued to push for loopholes which would have ultimately resulted in weakening the effects of climate mitigation measures, in violation of the rights of those who stand most at risk from climate impacts.

    "Also, worryingly, there was insufficient willingness from states to include explicit reference to human rights safeguards in carbon trading rules. Such guarantees are necessary to ensure that negative human rights impacts can be assessed and addressed prior to adopting climate mitigation projects and that people directly impacted by carbon market projects have a say in shaping such measures. This is a very strong demand from Indigenous peoples, as they too often have paid the price of ill-conceived climate projects, such as hydroelectric dams or biogas initiatives initiated without their free, prior and informed consent and resulting in forced evictions, water contamination, or permanent damage to their cultural rights.

    "What came out of this last round of climate negotiations paints a grim picture. It was certainly a source of frustration at COP25, prompting civil society observers to take a massive direct action inside the negotiation venue on 11 December. This move was met with an unprecedented decision by UN security officers to expel more than 300 observers for the day.

    "In 2020 we need to step up our game. We need to forge strong coalitions at national level to demand ambitious and human rights-compliant climate action that achieves a just transition away from fossil fuels. We need to mobilize like never before. The world's most important struggle needs the world's most powerful, diverse and united people's mass movement ever assembled. As the year ends, we can all start 2020 by making our new or renewed commitment to climate justice our New Year's resolution." (Source: Amnesty International, 17 Dec., 2019) Contact: Amnesty International, www.amnesty.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News COP25,  Climate Change,  Carbon Emissions,  CO2,  


    AI Enabled Device Captures CO2, Fights Climate Change (Ind. Report, New Prod & Tech)
    Hypergiant
    Date: 2019-12-18
    Business Insider India is reporting researchers at Austin-Texas-based artificial intelligence (AI) specialist Hypergiant is touting its new EOS Bioreactor technology with Artificial Intelligence (AI).

    EOS uses algae-based chemical process technology to capture greenhouse gases. EOS Bioreactor optimizes the growing environment for algae and captures carbon dioxide equivalent to an acre of trees.

    "Hypergiant Industries is the AI industrial complex for leading global enterprises and governments. We help major institutions innovate with breakthrough machine intelligence-driven technology. The solutions, products, and companies we create support our customers on their mission to speed beyond norms and realize an exploded potential of the future we were promised through AI," according to the company website. (Source: Hypergiant, Mashable India, 17 Dec., 2019) Contact: Hypergiant, Daniel Haab, R&D Dir., (737) 808-4055, info@hypergiant.com, www.hypergiant.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News COs,  Algae,  Carbon Dioxide,  


    Green Climate Fund Supports Caribbean Climate Readiness (Int'l.)
    Caribbean Natural Resources Institute
    Date: 2019-12-18
    Efforts to enhance civil society's access and capacity to deliver climate finance and build resilience in the Caribbean have been bolstered by a $1.29 million grant from the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

    The GCF grant will be implemented by the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) in collaboration with national designated authorities and leading civil society organizations in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States from 2020-2022. It aims to build the capacity of civil society organizations, including their knowledge, skills and organizational structures, to access climate finance and deliver climate change adaptation and mitigation projects. It also seeks to strengthen institutional mechanisms to enable civil society voice and participation in climate change decision-making nationally and regionally.

    CARICOM members include Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Suriname.

    The GCF is a funding mechanism under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that supports climate change adaptation and mitigation in developing countries. The GCF's Readiness Support and Preparatory Grant Facility, which supports capacity building to enhance design and delivery of adaptation and mitigation projects, provided the $1.29 million grant. (Source: Caribbean Natural Resources Institute, St.Lucia News, 16 Dec., 2019) Contact: Green Climate Fund, +82.32.458.6059, info@greenclimate.fund, www.greenclimate.fund

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Green Climate Fund,  Climate Change,  Carbon Emissions,  


    The European Green Deal -- Full Document Attached (Int'l.)
    The European Green Deal
    Date: 2019-12-16
    The European Union's The European Green Deal resets the European Commission's (EC) commitment to tackling the challenges of a warming atmosphere and global climate change.

    The European Green Deal is a new growth strategy that aims to transform the EU into a fair and prosperous society, with a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy where there are no net emissions of greenhouse gases in 2050 and where economic growth is decoupled from resource use.

    It also aims to protect, conserve and enhance the EU's natural capital, and protect the health and well-being of citizens from environment-related risks and impacts. At the same time, this transition must be just and inclusive. It must put people first, and pay attention to the regions, industries and workers who will face the greatest challenges. Since it will bring substantial change, active public participation and confidence in the transition is paramount if policies are to work and be accepted. A new pact is needed to bring together citizens in all their diversity, with national, regional, local authorities, civil society and industry working closely with the EU's institutions and consultative bodies.

    This Communication presents an initial roadmap of the key policies and measures needed to achieve the European Green Deal.

    Download the full The European Green Deal HERE. (Source: The European Commission, 11 Dec., 2019) Contact: European Commission, www.ec.europa.eu

    More Low-Carbon Energy News The European Green Deal,  Climate Change,  COP25,  


    Golden State Missing Emissions, Climate Change Goals (Ind. Report)
    California Green Innovation Index
    Date: 2019-12-16
    According to the California Green Innovation Index, the Golden State may miss its climate targets by more than 100 years -- despite the country's strictest vehicle fuel efficiency and emissions standards, broad climate change policies, and being the first state to adopt an economy-wide cap-and-trade program.

    In 2018, California legislated 100 pct of the state's electricity come from carbon-free sources by the end of 2045. Additionally, the state's emission standards dictate that greenhouse gas emissions be cut 40 pct below 1990 levels by 2030 and to 80 pct below 1990 levels by 2050. But considering that the state's climate pollution only declined by 1.15 pct in 2017, California would only hit its 2030 targets by 2061 and its 2050 targets by 2157, the Index notes.

    The California Green Innovation Index (CA GII) tracks the state's progress in reducing GHG emissions, generating technological and business innovation, and growing businesses and jobs that enable the transition to a more resource-efficient economy as California adopts innovative energy and emissions policies, according to its website. (Source: California Green Innovation Index, Epoch Times, 13 Dec., 2019) Contact: California Green Innovation Index, 650.235.8323, www.coecon.com/ca-gii.html

    More Low-Carbon Energy News California Green Innovation Index,  Carbon Emissions,  California Emissions,  Climate Change ,  


    Disappointed COP25 Participant Quotes (Opinions and Asides)
    COP25
    Date: 2019-12-16
    "Never have I seen such a disconnect between what the science requires and what the climate negotiations are delivering in terms of meaningful action. Most of the world's biggest emitting countries are missing in action and resisting calls to raise their ambition." -- Alden Meyer, Union of Concerned Scientists, Director of Strategy and Policy

    "The US has not come here in good faith. They continue to block the world's efforts to help people whose lives have been turned upside down by climate change."

    "Developing countries came to this climate conference with the expectation that the people who have lost their crops to drought, or who have lost their homes to cyclones, will finally get help from the UN system. Instead, they have faced bullying, arm-twisting and blackmail. Rich countries most responsible for the crisis have refused to provide a single penny of new money to support communities to recover from the devastation caused by increasingly frequent and severe climate disasters." -- Harjeet Singh, ActionAid Climate Lead

    "Major players who needed to deliver in Madrid did not live up to expectations. But thanks to a progressive alliance of small island states, European, African and Latin American countries, we obtained the best possible outcome, against the will of big polluters." -- Laurence Tubiana, European Climate Foundation, CEO, France's Top Climate Negotiator and Architect of the Paris Agreement.

    "The only thing more disastrous than the state of UN climate negotiations at COP 25 is the state of the global climate. This is nothing less than a breakdown in the Paris Agreement. This is not climate leadership, this is a betrayal of humanity and future generations," -- Eric Holthaus, Meteorologist

    "What's happening today at COP 25 is a clear and present threat to civilization itself. The Trump administration and its fossil fuel allies around the world have sabotaged the Paris Agreement -- the only global treaty we have to fight climate change. This is a betrayal of humanity.

    "For so many people gripped by devastating floods, fires, and storms, time is up. And instead of helping them, rich countries hold on to your dollars and hold up loss and damage. Public mobilizations are swamping the streets. The status quo you are working so stubbornly to protect is not working for people or the planet." -- Catherine Abreu, Climate Action Network Canada

    (Source: COP25 Wrap-Up, Various Media, 15 Dec. 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News COP25,  Climate Change,  


    UNDP, SIDA Partner on Environmental, Climate Change Effort (Int'l)
    United Nations Development Programme
    Date: 2019-12-13
    The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) are reporting a 4-year, $40 million partnership to advance environmental and climate change efforts efforts and accelerate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

    SIDA's contribution to UNDP will build national capacities and help to advance integrated policies to better manage ecosystems and biodiversity, improve water and ocean governance, and scale up climate action.

    With support from Sida and other partners, UNDP is helping countries restore degraded lands, mitigate and adapt to the impact of the changing climate, and help communities gain access to cleaner, modern forms of energy and managed sustainably. (Source: UNDP, SIDA, ReleifWeb, Dec., 2019) Contact: UNDP , Sangita Khadka, Communications, 212 906 5043, sangita.khadka@undp.org, www.undp.org; SIDA, Elsa Helin, +46 (0)8 698 53 43, elsa.helin@sida.se, www.sida.se

    More Low-Carbon Energy News United Nations Development Programme ,  Climate Change,  


    Eversource Utility Aims for 2030 Carbon-Neutrality (Ind. Report)
    Eversource
    Date: 2019-12-13
    New England's largest investor-owned utility, Eversource Energy reports it plans to reduce carbon emission and become carbon-neutral across all departments and operations by 2030.

    To that end, Eversource will reduceenergy use by improving the efficiency of its 69 facilities and reducing fleet emissions of its 5,200 vehicles, continue to enhance the electric transmission and distribution system to reduce line losses, reduce sulfur hexafluoride (a potent ghg) in gas-insulated electric switchgear, and replace remaining bare steel and cast-iron natural-gas distribution main lines to improve safety and help prevent methane leaks.

    Eversource previously reduced its carbon emissions through a 2018 divestiture of all its remaining fossil-generation facilities. (Source: Eversource: BusinessWest, 11 Dec., 2019) Contact: Eversource, Jim Judge, CEO, Lee Olivier, EVP of Strategy and Business, www.eversource.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Eversource,  Carbon Neutral,  Carbon Emissions,  Climate Change,  


    Sutdy Examines Farming as CO2 Absorber (Ind. Report)
    University of Virginia
    Date: 2019-12-11
    A recently released study from the University of Virginia notes that farming, agriculture and other land practices presently contribute around 11 gigatons to CO2 emissions per year -- roughly one quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. However, the study argues that the land could actually be converted into an absorber of carbon, given the right conditions.

    Among the measures recommended by the study were richer countries transitioning to plant-based diets and reducing food waste, while aiding poorer nations to curb deforestation and restore degraded land. If a concerted global effort was made, land could be absorbing three gigatons of carbon by 2050, turning one of our biggest liabilities into a helping hand in the fight against climate change. The study also recommends:

  • 95 pct reduction in deforestation and land degradation by 2050. This would include more robust conservation policies in developing tropical countries, as well as the conversion of coastal wetlands into protected areas and the prohibition of peatland burning.

  • 25 pct reduction in agricultural emissions by 2050. This would include introducing synthetic or organic fertilizers, enhancing the water-agriculture interface in places where rice cultivation is a primary industry and managing emissions from fermentation and manure.

  • 50 pct adoption of plant-based diets by 2050. This would involve encouraging a healthier diet through consumer campaigns and governmental policies, as well as the development of new foodstuffs to entice unconvinced consumers.

  • 50 pct reduction of current level of food waste by 2050. This would involve tightening up gaps in the supply chain, improving consumer awareness through advertising campaigns and enhancing refrigeration and distribution capabilities in the developing world.

  • Restoration of forests, coastal wetlands and drained peatlands. This would involve financing ecosystem services, improving in local and national conservation policies and investing in restoration practices.

  • Improving forestry and agroforestry management. This would include optimising current forestation conservation process and integrating agroforestry into lands currently used for agriculture and grazing.

  • Enhancing soil carbon sequestration capabilities. This would include controlling soil erosion, reducing tillage of the land and restoring degraded soils, as well as the application of biochar where appropriate.

  • Deploying bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) in developed countries. This would involve investing into the research and development of BECCS technologies and deploying them in relevant sites. (Source: University of Virginia, Environmental Technology, 1 Dec., 2019) Contact: University of Virginia, Stephanie Roe, Environmental Researcher, Report Lead Author, 434-924-7761, www.evsc.as.virginia.edu

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon,  Carbon Storage,  


  • FOA Helps Countries Meet COP15 Forest, Climate Commitments (Int'l)
    Food and Agriculture Organization
    Date: 2019-12-11
    The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has announced a new $7.1 million forestry management initiative to help 26 Asian, African and Latin American nations provide improved data on forest health and management as well as land use -- a key pledge of all State signatories to the COP15 Paris Climate Agreement.

    The Paris Agreement calls on countries to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low-carbon future. This includes regular reports every five years on emissions levels and emission reduction initiatives, forest and soil health data and an assessment of progress in addressing these issues.

    The FAO program will be widely available to universities, the private sector and intergovernmental organizations. (Source: UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Guardian Blog, Dec., 2019) Contact: Food and Agriculture Organization, www.fao.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  Forestry,  CO2,  Carbon Emissions,  


    "Ending Coal Industry Will Not Lower Carbon Emissions", says Aussie Opposition Leader (Int'l. Report)
    Australia, Coal
    Date: 2019-12-11
    In the Land Down Under, Australian opposition labour party leader Anthony Albanese, has announced his support for the Australian coal industry and declared that "putting an end to the (coal) industry will not lower carbon emissions." The labour leader noted "We've got to consider what the actual outcome is from any proposal, and the proposal that we immediately stop exporting coal would damage our economy and would not have any environmental benefit."

    Australia is the world's second largest coal exporter shipping 208 million tonnes of thermal coal in 2018, acording to Australian government data. (Source: Xinhua, 9 Dec., 2019) Contact: Hon Anthony Albanese MP – Parliament of Australia, +61 2 9564 3588, www.aph.gov.au › A_Albanese_M

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Australia,  Coal,  Carbon Emissions,  Climate Change,  


    Packard Foundation Warns Put a Brake on Bioenergy by 2050 to Avoid Negative Climate Impacts (Ind. Report)
    Packard Foundation
    Date: 2019-12-09
    According to the newly released Global Change Biology study from the Los Altos, California-based David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the burgeoning bioenergy sector must peak and decline in the next 30 years to alleviate extreme pressure on land. The study researchers assert that projections envisioning the use of biomass from crops, trees or grasses for fuel through 2100 overlook the technology's high carbon footprint and excessive land use.

    An Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released last year found that many scenarios capable of reducing the threat of climate change relied heavily on bioenergy, predicting that energy from biomass could make up 26 pct of primary energy in 2050 -- up from 10 pct in 2020 -- and predicting that solar and wind combined would likely only account for 22 pct. Those scenarios often relied on significant use of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), which involves growing trees across a large area of land to produce wood pellets burned for energy, then capturing and sequestering the carbon emissions. In its analysis, though, the IPCC found significant challenges associated with a high reliance on bioenergy, noting in particular that the vast areas of land required to produce biomass for energy would compete with food production and other human needs.

    The Global Change Biology assessment examine a flurry of recent reports that suggest even more problems with large-scale bioenergy projects reliant on large tracts of land, and also show that more cost-effective alternatives will be available in the coming decades. Pulling from these recent studies, the authors establish three reasons why large-scale bioenergy must and can peak and decline in the next 30 years:

  • Large-scale bioenergy emits carbon. Carbon emissions from bioenergy can be greater in the near-term than emissions from the fossil fuels it is replacing, undermining the assumption that bioenergy is always a relatively low-emission and low-cost form of energy. Burning wood pellets, for example, creates a "double climate problem." Manufacturing and shipping wood pellets entails substantial emissions of fossil CO2, and it can take decades or centuries for harvested areas to return to pre-harvest carbon stocks.

  • Large-scale bioenergy puts a squeeze on land. Land is already a scarce resource, and it will become even scarcer with time due to an increase in the human population and a rise in the appreciation of the conservation value of natural and mostly-natural ecosystems--even if agricultural yields continue to increase. Because land is so limited, we should use it as efficiently as possible for energy production. In contrast to land-intensive bioenergy, the amount of electricity that can be produced from a hectare of land using photovoltaics is at least 50-100 times that from biomass.

  • Large-scale bioenergy is inferior to other solutions. And, by mid-century, land-intensive bioenergy will face fierce competition from superior technologies such as wind and solar energy, the development of efficient storage and other flexibility solutions, and the advent of more effective carbon removal technologies such as direct air capture with carbon storage.

    The assessment comes at a time when the bioenergy industry is ramping up worldwide, with the EU in the lead. Bioenergy currently accounts for 10 pct of the world's energy, and 50 pct of our renewable energy. In the EU, bioenergy accounts for two-thirds of all renewable energy (nearly half from wood). Two-thirds of the EU's "20 pct Renewable Energy by 2020" target depends on bioenergy. And the bloc is also about to greenlight the conversion of five large coal plants to bioenergy plants that burn imported wood pellets from overseas forests.

    Land-intensive electrical power projects in particular are picking up steam as governments and industry leaders seek to transform disused coal factories into new profit centers. Between 2006 and 2015, the production of wood pellets for biomass energy use quadrupled to 26 million tons. Worldwide, demand for globally traded wood pellets destined for use in phased-out coal plants or new dedicated bioenergy plants is expected to rise 250 pct by 2027.

    The study lays out a bioenergy trajectory that policymakers can use to encourage sustainable bioenergy while also opening the door for new technologies to replace land-intensive bioenergy in the very near future. These recommendations include improved accounting of the actual carbon emissions associated with the use of biomass, favoring biomass from waste, residues or land management practices that enhance carbon storage, and providing incentives for energy storage, direct air capture technologies, and low-carbon alternatives to fossil fuels. Above all, the authors argue that bioenergy projects should be avoided if they involve natural forests, such as converting natural forests to bioenergy plantations, or use land best suited for food crops. And the authors caution that claims that bioenergy projects are a zero-carbon form of energy should be met with skepticism.

    The Packard Foundation through 2020, will have awarded nearly $1 billion in grants to reduce carbon emissions, one of the its greatest program commitments in its 55-year history. (Source: David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Dec., 2019) Contact: David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Walt Reid, Director Conservation and Science Program, Report Author, 650-948-7658, www.packard.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Bioenergy,  CO2,  CCS,  Biofuels,  Carbon Emissions,  


  • ExxonMobil Contributes $1Mn to Promote Carbon Tax (Ind. Report)
    EXXON, Climate Leadership Council
    Date: 2019-12-09
    The Americans for Carbon Dividends (ACD) political action group is reporting Houston-headquartered oil industry giant ExxonMobil Corp. has made a $1 million donation to ADC's lobbying campaign to promote a U.S. tax on CO2 emissions, a central factor in global warming. The contribution came less than a month after the oil giant agreed to contribute $100 million to oil companies' efforts to develop technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    The ADC aims to spend $5 million on an initial lobbying campaign to win support for the tax, said , senior vice president at the group. PAC is looking to build legislative support for its carbon tax. It proposes an initial $40 a ton tax on carbon dioxide that would increase over time, with the money raised to be returned to consumers. The PAC has raised $1 million each from Exelon Corp, First Solar Inc and the American Wind Energy Association and expects to reach its goal of a $5 million in coming months. (Source: Exxon, Denton Daily, Reuters, 8 Dec., 2019) Contact: Climate Leadership Council, Greg Bertelsen, www.clcouncil.org; Americans for Carbon Dividends, www.afcd.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Leadership Council,  Exxon,  Climate Change,  Carbon Emissions,  


    U.S. Energy-Related CO2 Emissions, 2018 Report (Ind. Report)
    US Energy Information Administration
    Date: 2019-12-09
    The recently released U.S. Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions, 2018 Report examines economic trends and changes in fuel mix that influence energy-related CO2 emissions in the U.S. As a result, most of the CO2 emissions being discussed are the result of fossil fuel combustion or their use in the petrochemical and related industries, the report states.

    In the short term, energy-related CO2 emissions are influenced by the weather, fuel prices and disruptions in electricity generation. In the long term, CO2 emissions are influenced by public policy, reduced costs and improved efficiencies of new technology, demand-side efficiency gains and economic trends, according to the report.

    A major factor in recent reductions in the carbon intensity of electric generation in the U.S. is the reduced generation of electricity using coal while increasingly using natural gas. Natural gas emits less CO2 for the same amount of electricity generated, and non-carbon generation (including renewables), which do not emit the gas.

    Between 2005 and 2018, EIA has calculated that cumulative U.S. C02 emissions reductions attributable specifically to shifts from coal to natural gas and to non-carbon generation totaled 4,621 million metric tons (MMmt). Of this total, 2,823 MMmt resulted from decreased use of coal and increased use of natural gas; 1,799 MMmt resulted from decreased use of coal and increased use of non-carbon generation sources.

    Between 2005 and 2017, total U.S. electricity generation increased by almost 4 pct while related C02 emissions fell by 27 pct. During the same period, fossil fuel electricity generation declined by roughly 9 pct, and non-carbon electricity generation increased by 35 pct.

    Download the U.S. Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions, 2018 Report HERE. (Source: US Energy Information Administration, 14 Nov., 2019) Contact: US EIA, www.eia.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News CO2,  CO2 Emissions,  Natural Gas Emissions,  Climate Change,  


    IBM Climate Change Policy Supports Early Climate Action and Carbon Tax (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    IBM
    Date: 2019-12-06
    "IBM has stated for more than a decade that climate change is a serious concern that warrants meaningful action on a global basis. Notwithstanding many important efforts, this remains the case today. The Earth's climate is warmer now than it was before the onset of the modern industrial era, and the increased temperature presents significant adverse risks which cannot be ignored. Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide fuel this warming. According to scientists, the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere is now greater than it has been for the last several hundred thousand years. Compounding this circumstance is the fact that carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for quite a long time after having been emitted.

    "Some may debate how this happened, but that doesn't change the need to address it. Although our collective use of fossil fuels for energy has enabled remarkable economic development, the use of fossil fuels has also resulted in substantial emissions of carbon dioxide, and the cost of these emissions has not been reflected in the price of energy. As a matter of policy, this should change.

    "IBM is no newcomer to the realm of climate change. In 2017, we reaffirmed our support for the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global warming to below 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels. Our commitment to the Paris Agreement builds on a long history of leadership in this space. In 1992 IBM helped the U.S. EPA launch the ENERGY STAR program. In 1994 we began to voluntarily disclose carbon dioxide emissions associated with IBM's consumption of energy and have done so annually now for 26 years. And in 2015, IBM was one of the first signatories to the American Business Act on Climate Pledge to demonstrate our support for the Paris Agreement.

    "Performance is a key measure of commitment. IBM has reduced the carbon dioxide emissions associated with our consumption of energy by 32 pct since 2005. We are on track to achieve our goal of a 40 pct reduction by 2025, a rate consistent with what scientists say is needed to limit warming to between 1.5 and 2.0 degrees C. Energy conservation has been -- and remains -- a key ingredient for this. IBM continues to rigorously conserve energy equal to at least 3 pct of its annual consumption, something we have done for decades. Reducing consumption, when possible, is preferable to purchasing offsets.

    "Responsible companies should also make transparent commitments regarding their consumption of renewable energy. Today, 38 pct of the global electricity IBM consumes comes from renewable sources, and we aim to increase this to 55 pct by 2025. Importantly, IBM does not rely upon the purchase of unbundled Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to offset its consumption of electricity from fossil fuels and thereby claim the company is a certain 'percent renewable.' Transparency matters in the transition away from carbon-based fuels, which is why our reporting about the use of renewables reflects our actual physical and matched consumption of renewable electricity.

    "Climate change is real, and that is why IBM supports a responsible plan to tax carbon emissions. It is also why IBM supports the Paris Agreement and is on track as a company to reduce emissions associated with our consumption of energy consistent with what scientists say is needed. And it is why we are making transparent our own use of renewable energy and aiming to increase that use substantially.

    "The enormity of the challenge requires more than business as usual. Putting a price on carbon emissions requires a plan in which economies will keep growing, but in a way that addresses the risks of a changing climate. We believe the Climate Leadership Council plan is the best way to secure agreement for action, and IBM will work to build support for it with elected officials, corporate colleagues, and our fellow citizens." (Source: IBM-The Weather Company (an IBM company), 2 Dec., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News IBM,  Carbon Tax,  Climate Change,  


    Kingspan Commits to 45 pct Cut in Emissions by 2030 (Int'l Report)
    Kingspan
    Date: 2019-12-06
    In the UK, global insulation and building envelopes specialist Kingspan is reporting the launch of its 10-year strategy to address the impact of the company's business operations and manufacturing with commitments to cut its carbon emissions by 45 pct by 2030, as determined in the Paris Agreement, and to contribute to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Kingspan's strategy includes:
  • Energy -- powering 60 pct of all Kingspan operations directly from renewable energy with a minimum of 20 pct of this energy generated on manufacturing sites (up from 5.9 pct today)

  • Carbon -- achieving net zero carbon manufacturing and a 50 pct reduction in product C02 intensity from primary supply partners;

  • Circularity -- upcycling of 1 billion PET bottles per annum into insulation products plus zero company waste to landfill across all sites;

  • Water: -- harvesting 100 million liters of Kingspan’s water usage from rainwater.

    In 2011, Kingspan announced a Net Zero Energy program with a 2020 target to match 100 pct of its operational energy use with renewable energy. The company is on track to achieve this goal. As part of this program, Kingspan also joined the Science Based Targets initiative, setting a target of 10 pct reduction in Scope 1, 2 and 3 greenhouse gas emissions. (Source: Kingspan, PR, Dec., 2019) Contact: Kingspan, +44 (0)1352 716100, info@kingspanpanels.com, www.kingspan.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  Carbon Emissions,  


  • Helsinki Pledges Improved Building Energy Efficiency (Int'l.)
    Helsinki
    Date: 2019-12-06
    The Finnish capital city of Helsinki (pop. 632,000) reports it has joined the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment developed by the World Green Building Council.

    The commitment, which has been adopted by both private companies and public authorities, pledges participants to ensure that the portfolios of buildings for which they are responsible produce net zero carbon emissions by 2030. And, since buildings generate more than half of Helsinki's carbon emissions, reducing heating consumption and increasing energy efficiency is central the city's effort. Accordingly, the city has set a range of targets and initiatives aimed increasing building energy efficiency.

    Helsinki has also introduced Climate Watch, an online tool for assessing the city's progress on each of the 147 measures outlined in its Carbon Neutral Helsinki 2035 Action Plan. (Source: City of Helsinki, Government Europa, 6 Dec., 2019) Contact: World Green Building Council, www.worldgbc.org; City of Helsinki, Esa Nikunen, Director Environmental Services, https://fi.linkedin.com/in/esa-nikunen-560b9a78

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Building Energy Efficiency,  Energy Efficiency,  Climate Change,  


    Cargill Expands, Confirms Climate Change Commitments (Ind. Report)
    Cargill
    Date: 2019-12-04
    Minneapolis-headquartered agriculture industry giant Cargill reports it has adopted a Scope 3 target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in its global supply chains by 30 pct per ton of product by 2030.

    To that end, Cargill is focused on targeted supply chain interventions, programming and policy solutions benefiting farmers, customers and the broader food system including: accelerating sustainable progress in beef, advancing soil health, reducing carbon for sustainable shipping and Protecting forests in partnership with farmers . Cargill has also reinforced its intent to prioritize climate change concerns through pledging to the CEO Climate Statement, signing on to the We Are Still In coalition to continue supporting the Paris Climate Accord and convening at this week's UN Climate Change Conference COP25 in Madrid.

    The commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from its global supply chain by 30 pct per ton of product by 2030, in combination with the previously announced operational goal to reduce absolute emissions by 10 pct , has been approved by the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi), a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). (Source: Cargill, PR, 3 Dec., 2019) Contact: Cargill, David MacLennan, CEO, Frank van Lierde, Exec. VP, www.cargill.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News COP25,  Cargill,  Carbon Emissions,  Climate Change,  


    Wa. Post Comments on China, COP25 (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    COP25
    Date: 2019-12-04
    "China is already the world's carbon-emitting leader, emitting nearly twice the levels of America in second place, and it is building up its lead. And in 2019, China's only significant climate change accomplishment was its slaughter of 100 million methane-producing pigs. But of course, that wasn't about climate change; it was about restraining a swine flu outbreak.

    "And things are set to get worse as China opens dozens of new coal-fired power plants. China's carbon output is heading even higher in 2020, even as America's is projected to decline. This speaks to something: Chinese President Xi Jinping is lying when he says he takes climate change seriously. His dirty coal plants and opposition to European carbon tariffs, evidence Xi's global economic and political ambitions come first.

    "The COP25 community doesn't seem to care. Instead, this week's summit has opened with a range of thinly veiled jabs at the United States. This, even though America is leading the world in reducing its carbon emissions.

    "Why the choice to attack America and ignore China? Because most nations prefer pomp to practicality on this issue. They know they can attack America but keep trading with America. But it's not so simple when it comes to China. These nations know that China views trade through the distinct prism of Xi's mercantilist worldview. And led by President Emmanuel Macron of France, the European Union is keen to keep Beijing happy in order to maintain Chinese investment and trade deals. The contrast here between European leaders' rhetoric and activists' demands is striking.

    "But it doesn't change the exigent truth. Until COP25 puts China front and center in its carbon reduction sights, these summits will continue to produce nothing but hot air." (Source: Washington Post, 3 Dec., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News COP25,  Climate Change,  


    CO2 Emissions Down Slightly in the Land Down Under (Int'l. Report)
    Auistralia,Climate Change
    Date: 2019-12-02
    According to the Australian Department of the Environment and Energy, year to June, Australia emitted 532 million tons of CO2 and equivalent greenhouse gases (Mt CO2 -e), a .01 pct drop from the previous 12-month period.

    Agricultural emissions exerted the strongest downward pressure, falling 5.9 pct on the previous year to 67.4 Mt CO2-e, driven by decimated livestock numbers as a result of both drought and this year's floods in northern Queensland. Electric power generation contributed 179.9 Mt CO2 -e, down 1.2 pct for the year and 1.8 pect for the quarter, although it remained by far the biggest single source of greenhouse gas emissions.

    The Department credited increased use of renewable energy and decreases in coal and natural gas power generation for falling emissions levels. Transport sector emissions also fell by 0.5 pct while emissions in all other sectors increased. Fugitive emissions rose 4.4 pct as a result of escaped methane during the natural gas extraction process. Emissions from fossil fuels burned directly by industry increased 3.6 pct.

    Australia's Paris Climate Accord targeted of 26 to 28 pct below 2005 levels by 2030. Currently, Australia's emissions are 12.5 per cent below 2005 levels. (Source: Australian Department of the Environment and EnergyFinancial Review, 29 Nov., 2019) Contact: Australian Department of the Environment and Energy, 1800 057 590, www.environment.gov.au

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Emissions,  Australia Emissions,  Climate Change,  


    COP25 UN Climate Conference Underway in Madrid (Int'l. Report)
    COP25,World Meteorological Organization
    Date: 2019-12-02
    With today's opening, some 25,000 delegates and heads of state will meet for the next two weeks in the Spanish capital city of Madrid for COP25, the annual UN international conference on the global climate challenge and to address related concerns best illustrated by last week's World Meteorological Organization (WMO) report that "world greenhouse gas concentrations rose again in 2018, with carbon dioxide levels hitting 407.8 parts per million, a new record in human history."

    COP25 was originally scheduled for Brazil but moved to Chile after Brazil's right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, widely criticized by environmentalists for his policies on the Amazon region, took office last January. However, following lengthy spells of civil unrest in Chile, the Sebastian Pinera government there announced in early November that the country was ceding the hosting of COP25 to Spain, four weeks before it was set to start.

    Despite having given formal notice on withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, the U.S. will attendant the Madrid meeting. (Source: UN COP25, Various Media, 30 Nov., 20190 Contact: COP25, www.ifema.es/en/cop25; World Meteorological Organization, Petteri Taalas, Secretary General, +41 (0) 22 73 0811, www.wmo.int

    More Low-Carbon Energy News COP25,  Climate Change,  World Meteorological Organization ,  


    On the Way to Green Fuels? Israelis Grow CO2 Consuming Bacteria (Int'l Report, R&D)
    Weizmann Institute of Science
    Date: 2019-12-02
    In Israel, researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have developed bacteria that survives solely on carbon dioxide (CO2) from their surroundings, instead of their regular food. The findings point to the possible future development of carbon-neutral alternative fuels.

    The study , which was reported in the scientific journal Cell identified crucial genes for the process of carbon fixation, through which plants take carbon from CO2 to turn it into biomass. The research team added and rewired the needed genes to the bacteria. They also inserted a gene that allowed the bacteria to get energy from a readily available substance called formate, which can be produced directly from electricity and air.

    The bacteria were gradually weaned off the sugar they were used to consuming and developed a taste for CO2. The researchers believe that the bacteria's new diet could ultimately be healthy for the planet.

    biotech companies use corn syrup for cell cultures to produce commodity chemicals. Such cells could be induced to live on a diet of CO2 and electricity and spare the large amounts of corn syrup they live on today.

    According to the study, bacteria could be further adapted to use renewable electricity, rather than taking their energy from a substance such as formate, and then store energy for later use. Such bio-fuel would be carbon-neutral, a crucial green development in the battle against climate change. (Source: Weizmann Institute of Science,The Jewish Press, 1 Dec., 2019) Contact: Weizmann Institute of Science, Professor Ron Milo, +972-8-934-9106 www.weizmann.ac.il

    More Low-Carbon Energy News CO2,  Biofuel,  

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