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Weekly Highlights | From the resurrection of coal to the crypto carbon marketplace

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By illuminem

· 5 min read

1. Electricity Market Report

By the International Energy Agency

  • According to the latest IEA report, after a small drop in 2020, global electricity demand grew by 6% in 2021, being the largest ever annual increase in absolute terms
  • Coal met more than half of the increase in global demand, and coal-fired electricity generation reached an all-time peak, growing by 9%
  • In total, CO2 emissions from electricity rose by close to 7%, taking them to a record high, and suggesting that todays’ policy settings are insufficient to cut emissions

2. Hydrogen Economy Hints at New Global Power Dynamics

By the International Renewable Energy Agency

  • Driven by the climate urgency and countries’ commitment to net zero, IRENA estimates hydrogen to cover up to 12% of global energy use by 2050
  • Cross-border hydrogen trade is set to grow considerably with over 30 countries and regions planning for active commerce already today
  • Realizing the renewable potential of regions like Africa, the Americas, the Middle East, and Oceania could limit the risk of export concentration, but many countries will need technology transfers

3. 10 ESG Questions Companies Need to Answer

By Harvard Business Review

  • 1. Is ESG undermining your company’s competitiveness? If a company places too much energy into ESG objectives, it risks losing its focus on growth, market share, and profits
  • 2. Does driving the ESG agenda mean sacrificing company returns? ESG advocates suggest that returns from ESG investment funds are not lower than those of traditional equity funds
  • 3. How are you navigating ESG trade-offs? For example, energy company boards have to weigh urgently tackling climate change against meeting the needs of the over 1 billion people who do not have access to reliable and affordable energy

4. Coal Was Dying. Then 2021 Happened

By Grist

  • In 2005, coal plants generated 2 trillion kWh of American power; by 2020, that number had been cut by more than half
  • In 2020, U.S. emissions fell by 10.3%, the largest drop since World War II, while in 2021 they climbed 6.2% - not returning to 2019 emission levels, but perilously close
  • To meet the 2030 goal, the U.S. will have to cut CO2 emissions by approximately 5% every year for the next 9 years - that is about equivalent to 9 times the emissions of the entire state of Florida

5. The Green Deal Could Make—or Break—the European Project

By Foreign Affairs

  • The Green New Deal adds a new layer of tension between EU members. New legally binding targets and large investments dedicated to the GND have large popular support but if the plans fail, nationalistic parties will oppose any new measures
  • The GND gives Eurosceptics an unexpected opportunity: it can bolster opposition to both the energy transition – which will be costly for lower income countries and individuals – and the EU itself – which is the pusher for the transition
  • Making the transition socially and politically acceptable is a top priority for the EU; current transition funds, while substantial, are not enough. The EU should create a stronger narrative explaining the GND, including temporary trade-offs

6. Going Green: How India Can Gradually Shift to Renewable Energy

By Economic Times 

  • While India’s target is to install non-fossil fuel electricity of 500 GW capacity by 2030, its second goal is to source 50% energy requirement from renewables by the same time.
  • A further target is to reduce 1 billion tonne (1 Gt) of projected emissions from the current CO2 levels (2.9 Gt), given that projection indicates that in a BAU scenario, it will be 4.5 Gt in 2030
  • A strong network of storage battery is required to ensure full utilization of captured solar energy, and a key enabler for 500 GW target is upgradation and expansion of grid capacity

7. Solar Power and Battery Storage Will Be the Real Test for Tesla

By Bloomberg LP

  • Lots of customers already have the trifecta of key Tesla products: an electric car in the driveway, solar panels or a Tesla Solar Roof up above, and a home battery called the Powerwall in the garage
  • In the San Francisco Bay Area, PG&E Corp. and Tesla have built the 182.5 MW Elkhorn Battery Energy Storage System, capable of powering an estimated 136,500 homes for several hours
  • At the nexus of home and grid is a Tesla pilot program for a so-called Virtual Power Plant, which allows customers of California’s 3 largest utilities to dispatch their electricity back to the grid when demand is high

8. Can Crypto Create the World’s First Authentic Global Carbon Marketplace?

By GreenBiz

  • Outside public scrutiny, a special agreement between Chia and the World Bank formalized during the COP26; a few days later, Chia signed an agreement with the Government of Costa-Rica to develop a national climate change metrics
  • Chia is a blockchain company developing a technology on track to become the first climate-friendly blockchain, with far-reaching consequences: it could revolutionize global carbon markets, a prospect on which the World Bank was ready to bet
  • However, the promises of Chia’s technology remain to be proven, as some trials highlighted poor environmental performances. In short, Chia’s story will be a make or break moment for blockchain and for the World Bank


9. 22 Ways You Can Make a Difference on Climate Change

By Straits Times

  • Be aware: understand climate changes causes, switch off unused electronic appliances, avoid food leftovers, be more accepting towards wildlife, recognize that planting new tree is not effective as old ones,
  • Forgo convenience: use reusable bags and cutlery, use bikes or public transports, eat less meat, shop second-hand, help biodiversity to foster, eat local, switch to energy efficient appliances
  • Put your money: switch to green electricity provider, buy an EV, check if a product you buy is sustainable, buy carbon credits when travelling
  • Speak up: speak against corporate greenwashing, spread awareness, push for better policies, participate in government consultations and activist groups, believe that you are a solution to the problems

10. Bill Gates’ Climate Fund Looks to Funnel Billions into Carbon Removal, Green Hydrogen, and More

The Verge

  • This week, Bill Gates’ climate investment fund Breakthrough Energy, put out a Request for Proposals for projects in Europe through Breakthrough Energy’s Catalyst Program
  • Altogether, Breakthrough Energy hopes that the public-private partnership can mobilize $1 billion for European projects between 2022 and 2027
  • The Catalyst program says it has fundraised $1.5 billion over the past 6 months, and plans to use that money to boost different kinds of technologies, among which green hydrogen fuels
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