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Weekly Highlights | From the lack of EVs charging stations to ocean plastic trash

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By illuminem

· 6 min read

1. Europe’s Energy Crisis: What Next?

By Energy Monitor

  • Fuel prices have soared across eastern Europe in recent months. Supply constraints coupled with unexpected surges in demand have produced rising prices for energy across the continent
  • European gas operators have accumulated far less in reserves than in any year, with EU’s gas reserves standing at 69% full, compared with an average of 84% for the prior decade
  • In Latvia, the average cost of a tank of petrol has risen by €420 since 2020 - equivalent to 13% of the average Latvian’s weekly earnings

2. China’s Carbon Neutral Goal: Could Small Steps Prove Smarter than Great Leaps?

By SouthChina Morning Post

  • China current climate goals are: reaching peak carbon emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060
  • Local governments are under pressure to meet Beijing’s ambitious emissions targets, but their efforts have inadvertently contributed to power outages
  • Some are calling for a more sophisticated approach, warning that campaign-style governance that dates back to Mao Zedong (one-size-fits-all approach) is too simplistic

3. A Lack of Chargers Could Stall the Electric-Vehicle Revolution

By The Economist

  • The 6 million pioneers who decided to buy EVs this year will still represent only 8% of all car purchasers. That !gure must rise to two-thirds by 2030 and to 100% by 2050
  • The current number of public chargers (1,3 millions) cannot begin to satisfy the demands of the world’s rapidly expanding electric #eet. According to an estimate by the IEA, by the end of this decade 40 million public charging points will be needed, requiring an annual investment of $90bn a year as 2030 approaches. If net-zero goals are to be met, by 2050 the world will need 5 times as many
  • Given the current status of technology and investments, BCG forecasts that America, Europe and China, home to most of the world’s EVs, will have only 6,5 million public chargers between them by 2030 (vs 40 need estimation by the IEA)

4. Global Coal Hypocrisy

By Project Syndicate

  • When last-minute changes were made to the COP26 final agreement, from phasing out to phasing down coal, fingers were pointed on India. In this piece, Shashi Taroor claims this reaction is highly hypocritical for several reasons
  • For instance, only coal is targeted, leaving out oil and gas; coal is not so used in Western economies, while the latter two are major components of their energy mixes. Furthermore, climate finance pledges by the West have never been met
  • India currently has not many alternatives, as it needs to lift millions out of poverty and and a rapid switch to renewables is not feasible; it will need to increase its emissions before they can be reduced

5. Net-Zero Trucks? Yes, It’s Possible.


  • It’s not easy to displace diesel in transportation and logistics or in other industries requiring heavy equipment, but it is possible, through two broad options that companies can apply individually or together.
  • Speed and Ease—but at a Cost. Companies that want to make a change today can implement a straightforward switch to sustainable biodiesel using the same vehicle fleets and infrastructure, provided they are willing to pay higher fuel costs.
  • Lower Cost but Greater Complexity and Time Requirements. Companies that want to keep costs low can eliminate diesel, but the process will take longer, be more complex, and rely on new technology for alternatve fuels, infrastructure, and vehicles

6. Nuclear-Fusion Startup Lands $1.8 Billion as Investors Chase Star Power

By The Wall Street Journal

  • Commonwealth Fusion Systems LLC said it has raised more than $1.8 billion in the largest private investment for nuclear fusion yet as startups race to be the first to generate carbon-free energy like the sun
  • Big-name investors backing the latest funding round for the Massachusetts-based company include Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates and George Soros via his Soros Fund Management LLC. Some of Commonwealth Fusion’s competitors, including Helion Energy Inc
  • Nuclear fusion has long been the holy grail of the energy world. Fusion is the process of generating energy by melding atoms. Current nuclear power plants create energy through nuclear fission, or splitting atoms. Fusion has the potential to create nearly limitless energy using common elements such as hydrogen, and has the added benefit of generating little to no long-lived nuclear waste

7. The Unique Challenges of Hydropower Dams

By PowerTechnology

  • Hydropower made the biggest contribution to the world’s energy mix of any renewable source in 2019, with 10,455TWh, behind only coal, oil, natural gas, and biomass
  • Unique to hydropower dams, however, is a challenge of geopolitics: the flow of rivers across and beyond national borders means that the decision to build a dam is often not merely a local one influenced by energy policy, but an international one, directed by national interest and political will
  • From the discourse surrounding downstream impacts in north-east Africa to the rush for cheap power in Europe that has threatened local wildlife, the world’s hydropower dams exist at a unique intersection of political policy and environmental idealism

8. 4 things We Learned from our First Electric Vehicle Charging Study

By Roland Berger

  • The Center for Smart Mobility of Roland Berger conducted the “EV Charging Index” to support OEM decision-makers, charging stations operators and companies in the EV industry
  • In the survey, more than 50% of respondents across the world stated that insufficient charging infrastructure and long charging time are the major causes for concern
  • Investments in charging station startups increased by over 150% in 2020, and this year is in line to experience similar growth with companies such as Volta, Freewire Technologies and others

9. Plastic Trash in the Ocean Is a Global Problem, and the US Is the Top Source

By The Conversation

  • On a per capita basis, the U.S. produces an order of magnitude more plastic waste than China
  • Researchers started documenting marine plastic pollution in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Public and scientific interest in the issue exploded in the early 2000s after oceanographer Charles Moore drew attention to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (a region in the central north Pacific where ocean currents concentrate floating plastic trash into spinning collections thousands of miles across)
  • To tackle this problem, the federal government should create a coalition of relevant agencies (e.g., NOAA, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institutes of Health)

10. CO2 Tax at Europe's Border: Revolution or Protectionism?

By Deutsche Welle

  • With ambitious emission reduction targets, the EU’s most polluting sectors (such as steel and cement) will be asked to pay higher carbon prices; to keep competitive, the EU created the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, which sets a price on carbon for imported goods. It however creates several questions and issues
  • If accepted by the WTO, the CBAM could spark conflicts with the EU’s trade partners. Pressure is already mounting on some countries heavily reliant on trade with the EU, such as Turkey, which increased its climate ambitions and Australia
  • The mechanism could also hurt developing countries, with the risk of shattering whole industries. The CBAM could be adjusted according to a country’s historical CO2 emissions but rules remain unclear

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