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Weekly Highlights | From the war implications on climate change to the oil price surge

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By illuminem

· 6 min read

1. The link between Putin and climate change

By Politico

  • On Monday, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the second part of a major report  that paints a stark picture of the impact climate change is already having on the world
  • Amid the urgency and desperation of the war in Ukraine, the report is unlikely to get the attention it warrants
  • The war in Ukraine is tied to the climate crisis in multiple ways: Russia’s long-term economic future depends on slow action to cut emissions, Europe’s dependence on Russian oil and gas is driving rival conversations about accelerating clean energy, Ukraine is a major grain and corn producing country, and the invasion may create a food shock that exacerbates climate-driven hunger in parts of Africa

2. Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability

By the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

  • The latest IPCC report focused on the consequences of climate change on society and ecosystems. ​​For the first time, the impacts of climate change on mental health was scientifically acknowledged in an intergovernmental report.
  • It found that 3.3 to 3.6 billion people (half of the global population!) live in places highly vulnerable to climate change. Furthermore, temperature rise must be limited to 1.5°C to avoid irreversible consequences (already +1.1°C)
  • Global sea levels have already risen by 23cm (9 inches). Moreover, ecosystem collapses are increasingly likely with temperature rise of 2°C+. Adaptation and mitigation must be pursued now with equal force and urgency.

3. Implications of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on global energy markets

By the International Energy Agency

  • The IEA is discussing the possibility of holding an extraordinary IEA Governing Board meeting at the Ministerial level
  • Last week, IEA’s 31 Member Countries met to share perspectives on Russia's invasion of Ukraine
  • During the meeting, the situation in natural gas markets and how any disruption to Russian supplies via Ukraine would put further pressure on Europe has been discussed

4. Before Invasion, Ukraine’s Lithium Wealth Was Drawing Global Attention

By The New York Times

  • Ukrainian researchers have speculated that the country’s eastern region holds close to 500,000 tons of lithium oxide. That preliminary assessment, if it holds, would make Ukraine’s lithium reserves one of the largest in the world
  • Ukraine’s potential for lithium production had started to attract global attention. In November, European Lithium, an Australian firm, said it was in the process of securing rights to two promising lithium deposits in the Donetsk region
  • While lithium isn’t a particularly rare resource, it’s currently virtually irreplaceable in batteries, and demand is expected to skyrocket as electric vehicles take off, sending automakers scrambling to secure enough supply

5. The New Frontier In Electric Vehicles: Trains With Batteries Big Enough To Power Small Towns

By Forbes

  • Union Pacific recently said it would spend more than $100 million to buy 20 battery-powered locomotives and charging systems from Wabtec and Caterpillar’s Progress Rail, the world’s biggest such purchase to date
  • The second-largest U.S. railroad by revenue intends to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 26% by 2030, and thinks electric trains can help do that
  • According to the EPA, about 40% of U.S. freight was carried by railroads in 2019, and accounted for less than 2% of transportation-related GHGs emissions, while trucks generated 24%

6. Europe’s response to Ukraine crisis: More gas, but from elsewhere

By Energy Monitor 

  • As Russian gas is not an option anymore, the EU needs to figure out how to replace its supply; LNG seems like the preferred option, with assurances from Norway, Japan, Qatar and the US for increases in LNG shipments
  • Critics have said replacing gas with gas is a blatant example of short-termism; focus should be put on increasing renewables in the EU. Furthermore, the switch to LNG will not be easy, as LNG infrastructure is not developed enough
  • Gas still plays a major role in countries’ plans to reach net-zero, especially for Germany. Some EU countries are also expected to ask suspensions of climate legislation to alleviate pressure on citizens’ energy bills

7. 21 solutions to make our economy more circular

By GreenBiz

  • According to the new Circularity Gap Report, presented by the think tank Circle Economy, only 8.6% of the world economy is circular
  • "The circular economy thus becomes the tool to meet the needs of global society without exceeding the planetary boundaries," explained Laxmi Adrianna Haigh, co-author of the report with Marc de Wit, at a press conference
  • “Instead of producing more things, we must maximize the use of existing ones. The economy must find strategies to earn with less products”, these are the words of Walter Stahel, the founding father of Circular Economy

8. A shift to clean energy would halt Russia's petro-thuggery and more

By The Hill

  • The Russian invasion is driving oil and gas prices and inflation even higher, and Big Oil is leveraging this crisis to call for new policies to expand oil and gas production
  • Europe collaborated with Russia to build massive gas pipelines as a “bridge” to their clean energy future, but now Russia has made the choice clear: strong support for Ukraine will jeopardize natural gas imports from Russia
  • Avoiding future wars and petro-thuggery is reason enough to move beyond the era of fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy, storage and the electrification of almost everything

9. The truth about hydrogen

By DW News

  • Hydrogen, a very simple element, could actually solve a very complicated problem: it can help cut emissions in some of our most polluting sectors, if produced by zero emitting pathways, like the case of blue and green hydrogen
  • Though, according to Rober Howart, Earth system scientist at Cornell University:  “the greenhouse gas footprint of blue hydrogen is worse than if you simply burned the natural gas directly for fuel instead”
  • “I think blue hydrogen is a mistake that will cost us a lot in the future, but I believe that the way we resolve it is by building better technologies, and that is what we want to do with green hydrogen”, affirmed Chris Jackson, founder of UK based green hydrogen company Protium

10. Brent touches nine-year high, supply issues roil oil markets

By Reuters

  • Brent price soared to $119.84 reaching its highest since May 2012, and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) hit $116.57, hitting its highest since September 2008
  • “We expect that Russian oil exports will plunge by 1 million bpd from the indirect impact of sanctions and voluntary actions by companies” said Rystad Energy Chief Executive Jarand Rystad
  • The United States and Iran have nearly completed negotiations on reviving a nuclear accord that could bring more than a million bpd of oil - about 1% of global supply - back to ths market

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