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Weekly Highlights | From the ocean economy to the death of american coal plants

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By illuminem

· 6 min read

1. COP26 The Glasgow Climate Impact

By UN Climate Change

  • The Glasgow Climate Pact focuses on 4 main areas: mitigation, adaptation, finance and collaboration
  • Mitigation: secured near-global net zero, NDCs from 153 countries and future strengthening of mitigation measures; Adaptation: The Glasgow - Sharm el-Sheikh Work Programme on the Global Goal on Adaptation was agreed, which will drive adaptation action
  • Finance: Developed countries have made progress towards delivering the $100 billion climate finance goal and will reach it by 2023 at the latest; Collaboration: the Paris Rulebook was achieved - agreeing the ‘enhanced transparency framework’ (common reporting of emissions and support), a new mechanism and standards for international carbon markets, and common timeframes for emissions reductions targets

2. How Space-Based Solar Power Can Save the Planet

By Financial Times

  • The idea of building massive solar panels in space has been widely criticized in the previous decades, ever since NASA had announced the first projects in the late ‘70s
  • Elon Musk, very involved in the space travel business, stated that space solar power will never be as cost effective as ground solar panels. The billionaire has referred to it as “The stupidest idea ever
  • There is ongoing activity in China. The country is heavily investing in this technology, being considered as complementary and more reliable than ground solar panels

3. Ocean Economy: The Next Wave of Sustainable Innovation

By VisualCapitalist

  • The ocean economy is described as the sustainable use of the ocean and its resources for economic development and ocean ecosystem health
  • With the seafood sector being the fastest growing sector by 2030 the ocean could provide six times more food than it does today, producing a smaller carbon footprint compared to conventional agriculture
  • Investing between $2 trillion and $3.7 trillion globally across 4 crucial areas could generate between $8.2 and $22.8 trillion in returns by 2050, according to a World Resources Institute Report

4. How Europe Triggered An Energy Crisis, And Now Is Paying Dearly For It

By Forbes

  • With gas prices being the highest in history and the beginning of winter, Europe is in a dire situation. L. King argues it is the result of bad bets taken by the EU and unforeseen geopolitical developments; a lot has gone wrong
  • First, the EU’s gas supplies relies too much on Russia; there was always a risk that the latter could use this position against the EU, a risk that was not mitigated. As a result, Russian gas flow to Europe was halted, and prices went up substantially
  • On top of that, wind levels in Europe were the lowest in 60 years, American restrictions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline reduced gas flow and Chinese growing demand for gas is putting pressure on markets

5. Renewables 2021: Analysis and Forecast to 2026

By the International Energy Agency

  • Additions of renewable power capacity are on track to set yet another annual record in 2021 (290 GW), driven by solar PV (60%).  Globally, renewable electricity capacity is forecast to increase by over 60% between 2020 and 2026, reaching more than 4 800 GW (equivalent to the current global power capacity of fossil fuels and nuclear combined)
  • Overall, China remains the leader over the next five years, accounting for 43% of global renewable capacity growth, followed by Europe, the United States and India. These four markets alone account for 80% of renewable capacity expansion worldwide
  • Rising commodity, energy and shipping prices have increased the cost of producing and transporting solar PV modules, wind turbines and biofuels worldwide. However, higher natural gas and coal prices have improved the competitiveness of wind and solar PV

6. Green Hydrogen Cheaper to Produce than both Blue and Grey in Europe

By Energy Monitor

  • According to London-based firm ICIS, green hydrogen is cheaper to produce than blue and grey hydrogen
  • While green hydrogen’s price remained constant at £3.39/kg, the price of grey hydrogen increased by £1.43/kg since April to £6/kg. Blue hydrogen is even more expensive, as it also includes the cost of Carbon Capture and Storage (CSS).
  • This is mostly due to recent surges in the price of gas in Europe, further highlighting the risks of depending on fossil fuel imports

7. What Happens When America’s Coal Plants Die?

By The Guardian

  • Increasingly outpaced by cheaper alternatives, including renewables, and under pressure from climate concerns, at least two dozen US coal power plants are expected to close in the next 10 years
  • Coal ash can often be the most dangerous legacy of a closed plant. In 2014, 39,000 tons of ash and 27m gallons of contaminated water from a plant owned by Duke Energy
  • Utilities across the country have discussed replacing coal plants with gas-powered plants, which has been criticized by activists who urge an end to fossil fuel use, while other plants have become college athletic facilities or restaurants

8. Tesla Forced to Turn Down €1.1bn in EU Support for German Battery Plant

By the Financial Times

  • Tesla is no longer seeking the €1.1bn European subsidies for its planned battery plant in Germany, due to legal challenges to the construction of the plant
  • On Friday, a company filing in China revealed that Tesla will spend roughly $188m to increase capacity at the Shanghai facility, in China, taking the maximum number of workers at the plant from 15,000 to 19,000
  • Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk told Tesla’s investors last month that the Shanghai site already produced more vehicles than its flagship facility in Fremont, California

9. Community Energy Toolkit: Best Practices for Broadening the Ownership of Renewables

By the International Renewable Energy Agency

  • Energy communities are the economic and operational participation and ownership by citizens or members of a defined community in a renewable energy project
  • Renewable energy communities are a powerful transition accelerator. To ensure a social, just and equitable energy transition, governments, financial institutions and other partners have a key role to play in facilitating community energy projects
  • Communities should invest time in building capacity through technical training in renewables, developing an understanding of regulatory requirements and government policies, and acquiring the necessary financial know-how to develop business plans for their community energy initiatives.

10. Why the Energy Transition Will Be So Complicated

By The Atlantic

  • Is the recent energy shock a one-off resulting from a unique conjunction of circumstances? Or is it the first of what will be several crises resulting from straining too hard to bring 2050 carbon-reduction goals rapidly forward
  • The degree to which the world depends on oil and gas is often not understood. It’s not just a matter of shifting from gasoline-powered cars to electric ones. It’s about shifting away from all the other ways we use plastics and other oil and gas derivatives
  • Moreover, for the developed world, as Glasgow demonstrated, climate is an overwhelming imperative. While also deeply concerned about climate, developing countries face other existential questions as well. In addition to climate, they struggle with recovering from COVID-19, reducing poverty, promoting economic growth, improving health, and maintaining social stability
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