Carbon capture and storage (CCS) was high on the agenda at New York Climate Week last week, where critics of the technology raised concerns it would be used to extend the life of the fossil fuel industry. For years, experts have pointed out that CCS has been primarily used to pump more oil out of the earth, using a process known as enhanced oil recovery (EOR). Burning that oil emits far more carbon dioxide (CO2) than what is captured, and therefore CCS doesn’t represent a viable solution to tackle climate change, critics argue. At a news conference after the one-day UN Climate Ambition Summit on September 20, Tzeporah Berman, chair of the Fossil Fuel Nonproliferation Treaty Initiative, said: “The oil companies acknowledged this year that they will not meet their bogus net zero commitments.
It is a well established fact that increasing oil production leads to increased emissions, and that major reductions in oil production and consumption are necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change. Despite the scientific consensus supporting this fact, a recent news release from a Canadian oil industry lobby group made the remarkable claim that Canadian oil production increased over the past decade while emissions decreased. The analysis note issued by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) was widely circulated in a Canadian Press wire story published on August 31 under the title “Oil and gas sector says new data shows it can both hike output and lower emissions.”
New Oil Change International research shows that only 20 countries, led overwhelmingly by the United States, are responsible for nearly 90 percent of the carbon-dioxide (CO2) pollution threatened by new oil and gas fields and fracking wells planned between 2023 and 2050. If this oil and gas expansion is allowed to proceed, it would lock in climate chaos and an unlivable future.
Savannah, Ga. — Two Genesee & Wyoming short lines in Georgia today asked the Federal Railroad Administration to allow them to conduct a pilot program that would test Parallel Systems’ zero-emission autonomous container cars. The 211-mile Georgia Central Railway and 233-mile Heart of Georgia Railroad would like to test the battery-electric cars – which can run alone or coupled together as an autonomous train – on portions of their lines beginning next year. “GC and HOG believe the development and anticipated adoption of this technology has the potential to capture new container business moving to and from the Port of Savannah, as well as reinvigorate traffic on rural rail lines and revive inland ports in Georgia – all while removing trucks from the region’s roads and reducing carbon emissions,” G&W said.
According to a new University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass Amherst) study, Americans whose income is in the top 10 percent are responsible for 40 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the country. It’s the first study to connect income with the emissions used to generate it. The researchers focused on earnings derived from financial investments and recommended taxes be adopted that hone in on investment incomes’ carbon intensity, a press release from UMass Amherst said. “Current policies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and increase adaptation and mitigation funding are insufficient to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C.
When the Alberta government announced in early August a six-month pause on new renewable energy projects, it caused immediate chaos within the sector, plunging into uncertainty 100 developments awaiting approval and investments worth $25 billion. Industry leaders say they weren’t warned or consulted. “It was a done deal before we had a chance to convince the minister that the industry doesn’t need a moratorium,” Vittoria Bellissimo, president and CEO of the Canadian Renewable Energy Association (CanREA), said in reaction. “I think it was a mistake,” she told CBC. It was a perplexing move for a United Conservative Party government whose Premier Danielle Smith has made attracting new workers to the province a top priority.
A new study by 50 leading scientists conducted to supplement the “information gap” between Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports said global greenhouse gas emissions have soared to a record high and are threatening to push our planet into “unprecedented” global heating. Earth’s carbon budget — the amount of carbon dioxide that can be emitted to have a greater than 50 percent likelihood of keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius — is quickly running out, the study warned. “Evidence-based decision-making needs to be informed by up-to-date and timely information on key indicators of the state of the climate system and of the human influence on the global climate system.
Beyond all the hype and all the anxiety about climate policymaking, the upbeat newsmaking about energy transitions and the growing dread of civilisational collapse, what have we learned about the climate system in the last year? Here are some key observations drawn from research and data published in 2022. Atmospheric levels of all three main greenhouse gases reached record highs in 2022. Carbon Monitor reported emissions data for full year 2022 as: “Global CO2 (carbon dioxide) increased by +1.6% in 2022 (+8.0% than 2020, and +2.1% than 2019)”, an all-time record.
The world is entering a more difficult stage of the climate and ecological crisis where its symptoms are drawing attention away from efforts to tackle its root causes, according to a new report published by the IPPR and Chatham House think tanks. Huge resources are being deployed to respond to the growing number of climate disasters and complex crises linked to environmental destruction. But such demands could come at the cost of diverting effort away from the rapid switch now needed to decarbonise the global economy. The report argues that this risks creating a vicious circle, or ‘doom loop’: the impacts of the climate and nature crises draw focus and resources away from tackling their underlying causes and the urgent steps needed to address them.
A new report by the Green Alliance published under the banner Sharing the load: the potential of e-cargo bikes has found that it is lack of suitable infrastructure deterring drivers of vans from making a consideration for cargo bikes in their next fleet vehicle choice. To bring about a change in how businesses move goods the report writes that “All road infrastructure changes should consider e-cargo bikes, as some existing cycling provision is still inaccessible to them. Concerns around accessibility and safety were highlighted by our focus groups. Improvements needed include cycle lane widening and junction upgrades. Suitable parking will also reduce these concerns, so councils should delineate specific cargo bike parking spaces.”
The world faces a “rapidly closing window” to meet the Paris Agreement’s goals, warns the latest “emissions gap” report from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). The report, which explores the impact of new pledges and the “gap” toward meeting the Paris targets, finds that while progress has been made in recent years to mitigate emissions and deploy more clean energy, it is insufficient to put the world on a path to limit warming to well-below 2C or to 1.5C this century. Despite ambitious pledges, there has been “limited progress” in the year since COP26, it says. In a stark warning, the new UNEP report says that incremental change is “no longer an option” and that avoiding dangerous levels of warming will require a “wide-ranging, large-scale, rapid and systemic transformation”.
Green groups in Oregon celebrated on Wednesday after NW Natural withdrew its application for approval to build a green hydrogen pilot program in Eugene, citing local uproar. "This should be a lesson, not just for NW Natural but for all toxic polluters—the West Eugene community is not a sacrifice zone," said Lisa Arkin, executive director of Beyond Toxics, in a statement. "Eugene residents will not be forced to be guinea pigs for experimental and dangerous technology that perpetrates fossil fuel infrastructure, environmental injustices, and more air toxics," Arkin added. "This project was absolutely unacceptable, and its withdrawal is a testament to the power of community opposition."
A new study has highlighted the inequality underriding the climate crisis. The paper, published in Nature Sustainability Thursday, looked at the difference in per-capita emissions across the global economic spectrum between 1990 and 2019. During this time, the top one percent of emitters were responsible for nearly a quarter of all emissions contributing to the climate crisis and the top 10 percent are now responsible for nearly half of the total. “In my benchmark estimates, I find that the bottom 50% of the world population emitted 12% of global emissions in 2019, whereas the top 10% emitted 48% of the total,” the study’s sole author Lucas Chancel of the Paris School of Economics’ World Inequality Lab wrote. “Since 1990, the bottom 50% of the world population has been responsible for only 16% of all emissions, whereas the top 1% has been responsible for 23% of the total.”
New data published today shows that producing and combusting the world’s reserves would yield over 3.5 trillion tons of greenhouse gas emissions, over seven times the remaining carbon budget for 1.5C and more than all emissions produced since the industrial revolution. The finding comes from the Global Registry of Fossil Fuels, launched today by Carbon Tracker and Global Energy Monitor. To date, climate change policy efforts have focussed on reducing demand and consumption of oil, gas and coal, but ignored the supply of those fuels. The Paris Agreement, for example, does not even mention fossil fuels, despite the fact that such fuels account for over 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
During their American stopover, the crew of the Nomade des Mers went to the rolling plains of Virginia to meet the Living Energy Farm. An intentional community of a dozen people who have achieved an impressive level of energy and food autonomy thanks to low-tech! When we arrived in the United States, the presentation of our project often resulted in a smile accompanied by the following question: “Are you sure you’re in the right country? We have to admit, this is not the first image that comes to mind when talking about the “States”. However, even in the country of the triumphant consumerism, some people have chosen a sober and happy life.