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Weekly Highlights | From the promising mines on the moon to Coldplay’s alledged Greenwashing

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By illuminem

· 5 min read

1. Global Energy Perspective 2022

By McKinsey & Company

  • The actual geopolitics tensions are playing a central role for the energy transition and the path toward decarbonization. Current decision are not only effecting  the long-term direction of the energy market, but also the GDP growth.
  • By 2050 electricity hydrogen and synfuels are planning to account for the 50% of the energy mix. Meanwhile, renewables are projected to account fo the 80-90% of the power generation globally.
  • Regrettably, staying below the 1.5°C seems to be improbable even if countries will stick with their net-zero commitments. In the current situation, country might need to accelerate their transformation while shifting away from fossil fuel, which required a inverse trend on the oil demand.

2. Insights from algae genes unlock mysteries of plant growth and health

By ScienceDaily

  • A new study led by UC Riverside, Princeton University, and Stanford University has discovered the functions of hundreds of genes in algae, some of which are also present in plants
  • They subjected the mutants to 121 different treatments, which resulted in a dataset of 16.8 million data points. Each mutant had a unique DNA barcode that the team could read to see how that mutant was doing in a specific environmental stress condition
  • "The data and knowledge generated in this study is already being leveraged to engineer algae to make more biofuels and to improve environmental stress tolerance in crops," said Robert Jinkerson, an assistant professor of chemical and environmental engineering at UC Riverside

3. Mining the moon to help save life on Earth


  • New technologies and approaches, now make decades-old speculations feasible by using new robotics, AI, autonomous systems, 3D printing and materials technologies to rapidly create and operate the infrastructure to bring abundant clean energy and mineral resources from the moon to Earth
  • Whether cheaply bringing autonomously constructed solar arrays from the moon's low gravity well to Earth orbit, or by beaming solar energy directly from the lunar nearside toward Earth, we have the means to supply clean energy from the moon
  • The moon is truly our geological twin, and it has abundances similar to Earth's of the metals that can supply catalysts for hydrogen fuel cells, as well as of the metals that are driving critically damaging mining operations on Earth's surface

4. Renewable Energy Market Update - May 2022


  • Annual renewable capacity additions broke a new record in 2021, increasing 6% to almost 295 GW, despite the continuation of pandemic-driven supply chain challenges
  • Renewable capacity is expected to further increase over 8% in 2022, reaching almost 320 GW
  • Biofuel demand recovered in 2021 from Covid-19 lows, to near 2019 levels, and we expect growth to expand year-on-year by 5% in 2022 and by 3% in 2023

5. World Energy Pulse 2022

By World Energy Council

  • Europe’s energy security crisis and the global climate crisis dominate the world’s energy leadership attention. Energy leaders recognise the importance of maintaining a balance among all three world energy trilemma dimensions
  • The global energy community agrees that governments must intervene to address energy price shocks and affordability, also indicating that very limited action has been taken to address energy security to date
  • Investing in diversification of the energy mix is seen as paramount to addressing energy security and affordability concerns globally, and almost all regions agree that a new electricity market design is needed

6. Are Electric Cars Better for the Environment?


  • Countries are increasingly betting on E-cars to reduce their emissions; to date, 17 pledged 100% e-cars targets by 2050. It is known that the current initial impact of production causes greater environmental impact than combustion engine cars
  • Current lithium-ion batteries use lithium and cobalt, two environmentally detrimental commodities to mine, (high water and CO2 intensity). Innovations will likely mitigate these effects, by using other/less materials and recycling
  • Over their lifetime, e-cars can significantly reduce emissions from road transport (10% of global emissions), if the electricity comes from a carbon-free power grid. Concerns over used batteries should also be addressed

7. Energy islands: Pie in the sky or key to net zero 

By Energy Monitor

  • Energy island could solve both the intermittency and “not in my backyard” problems renewables face. They entail building offshore wind turbines, and connect countries’ grids and can be coupled with electrolysers or batteries
  • Interconnected grids will be key to reach net-zero targets, and energy islands coupled with hybrid interconnectors, a tech that allows electricity to be sold wherever it’s needed, could be a key component
  • Challenges include the cost of these projects, in the $billions, and regulatory complexities, as the permitting phase is extremely long. Energy islands, while not a panacea, will be crucial to use alongside other renewable energy sources

8. To reduce fossil fuel dependence, sustainable buildings are key

By Sustainability Times

  • In the EU, households accounted for 26% of final energy consumption in 2019, with most of the energy used for heating
  • EU has recognized the CO2-reducing potential of the sector, having enshrined greater energy efficiency of buildings in various policies until 2030, such as the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive
  • A building in London’s Southwark district - the seven-story Southworks developed by Miroslav Vyboh’s investment and real estate company MiddleCap - has been voted the world’s “smartest building” during the 2021 Real Estate Future Proof Awards

9. Green thinking. How can workers take ownership of sustainability?

By Maddyness

  • A research commissioned by Deloitte and IEMA found that 56% of respondents had never heard of the term “green job”, 64% had no idea what “green skills” were and 65% said they did not have access to green skills training through their employer
  • In 2021, Deloitte announced a climate learning scheme, alongside WWF, aimed at improving climate literacy among its 330,000-strong workforce worldwide using videos and interactive data visualisations to immerse employees in learning environments about climate change
  • Accenture and Salesforce have also launched an ESG platform which specifically monitors sustainability metrics for c-suites to interact with

10. Dear Coldplay, listen to Massive Attack and save yourselves from greenwashing

By The Guardian

  • Coldplay announced a low-emission world tour driven by concerns for sustainability with some of the green interventions described as well-meaning and others as gimmicks.
  • The band’s partnership with Neste for “sustainable aviation fuels” and “renewable diesel” has raised eyebrows with critics calling these efforts “greenwash”
  • While decarbonising live music is necessary, and not all of Coldplay’s efforts are for show, the band should put more consideration into what they are indirectly promoting with their emissions reductions schemes.
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