Bill Maher Talks Climate Crisis Economics
A congressperson from Ohio explains an economic approach to the climate crisis: “You better align the environmental incentives with the financial incentives.” From Real Time With Bill Maher via YouTube
Gleanings from the web and the world, condensed for convenience, illustrated for enlightenment, arranged for impact...
WEEKEND VIDEOS, May 25-26:
A congressperson from Ohio explains an economic approach to the climate crisis: “You better align the environmental incentives with the financial incentives.” From Real Time With Bill Maher via YouTube
Why a Republican climate crisis denier saw the light.From Niskanen Center via YouTube
Should next-gen nuclear power be part of the Green New Deal? Nuclear comes with catastrophic risk and can’t be built any faster than New Energy and next-gen battery energy storage. From YaleClimateConnections via YouTube
Global Climate Strike: Record number of students walk out
Isabelle Gerretsen, May 24, 2019 (CNN)
"Hundreds of thousands of school students around the world walked out of class on Friday to urge their governments to take greater action in slashing greenhouse gas emissions…Climate protests are planned in more than 1600 towns in over 125 countries and organizers say the number of strikers is expected to surpass the 1.6 million people who took part in the first Global Climate Strike in March…Inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg's weekly protests, the global youth climate movement has swept the globe in recent months…The protests on Friday started in New Zealand and Australia, which recently experienced its hottest summer on record…[and] are planned in countries across every continent, from Nepal to Nigeria…
Despite increased awareness about the climate crisis, activists say governments have been too slow to implement policies to curb global warming…Ahead of the Global Climate Strike in March, youth activists told CNN about their personal experiences of climate change -- ranging from wildfires in California to rising sea levels in Mauritius…Last year, global carbon emissions reached a record high and a UN report warned that unprecedented global action is needed to limit global temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels…Scientists warned earlier this month that one million species are threatened with extinction due in part to climate change and pollution caused by humans.” click here for more
Global electricity access grows—but we're not on track for 2030 sustainable energy goals; International report points to progress on electricity access, but finds clean cooking solutions and renewable energy in transportation and heating need to be bolstered.
Brian Bienkowski, May 22, 2019 (Environmental Health News)
“More people on the planet have access to electricity than ever before, however, the world is on pace to fall short on the goal of affordable and sustainable energy for all by 2030…[Meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for electricity access] will require innovative solutions— such as solar lighting and full-home systems, as well as mini-grids—to serve the poorest and hardest to reach people…[The Energy Progress Report found about 840 million people (about 11 percent of the people on the planet) now live without electricity, which is down from 1 billion in 2016, and 1.2 billion in 2010. Most of the progress over the past few years in connecting people was made in India, Bangladesh and Kenya…
…[T]here is still a rural-urban divide: with the rural access rate at 79 percent, compared to 97 percent in urban areas…A bulk of those without electricity—573 million—are in Sub-Saharan Africa, which is home to the 20 countries with the lowest rates of electricity…Each year between 2015 and 2017 about 153 million people gained access to electricity. If this rate continued, the 2030 UN goal of universal electricity would be reached…[But] the latest projection places the access rate in 2030 at 92 percent, leaving 650 million people around the world without access to electricity…[A]bout 17.5 percent of global energy consumed in 2016 was from renewable sources, which was up from 16.6 percent in 2010. The number of renewables used in electricity grew at its fastest rate in nearly 30 years—largely driven by Latin America hydropower, China's ‘record-level’ wind capacity added in 2015; and solar growth in China and the U.S…” click here for more
Policy Initiatives To Trigger Massive Growth Of Renewable Energy In China
Gaurav Sharma, May 21, 2019 (Forbes)
“New policy initiatives in China will trigger an increase in the consumption of renewable energy and lower curtailment rates, while at the same time also create challenges for the country's coal-fired power producers, who will see utilization declines…[The final China National Energy Administration renewable portfolio standard (RPS)] will become effective in 2020 for five years…[It sets the 2030 foundational share of non-fossil fuels at] 20% of primary energy consumption…[It was 14.3% in 2018, which was almost the] 15% set in [China’s] 13th five-year plan for 2016-2020…
China is already the world's largest wind power producer, with 211,392MW of installed capacity, more than all of the European Union combined…[C]urtailment rates for wind and solar power dropped to 7% and 3% in 2018 on supportive government policies, and should in all likelihood fall further as consistency increases across Chinese provinces in their dispatch of renewable energy…The other side of China's evolving energy mix is that as renewables thrive, the new policy creates challenges for coal-fired power producers, as intensifying competition from renewable energy companies will result in declining utilization, and ultimately lower average tariffs.” click here for more
Sea levels may rise much faster than previously predicted, swamping coastal cities such as Shanghai, study finds
Sareena Dayaram, May 21, 2019 (CNN)
“Global sea levels could rise more than two meters (6.6 feet) by the end of this century if emissions continue unchecked, swamping major cities such as New York and Shanghai and displacing up to 187 million people, a new study warns…[S]ea levels may rise much faster than previously estimated due to the accelerating melting of ice sheets in both Greenland and Antarctica…[I]n the worst case scenario under which global temperatures increase by 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100, sea levels could rise by more than two meters (6.6 feet) in the same period…The researchers found that under the extreme-case scenario, about 1.79 million square kilometers (691,120 sq miles) -- an area more than three times the size of California -- would be lost to the sea…[placing] up to 187 million people at risk, which is about 2.5% of the world's total population…
[The chance of a worst-case scenario is about 5%, but] should not be discounted…[H]umankind had quite a narrow window of opportunity to avoid some of the worst consequences, such as very high sea level rise…The United Nations climate panel's last major report in 2013 predicted that sea levels would rise between 52 and 98 cm (20.4 inches and 38.5 inches) by 2100 at the current trajectory. But many experts saw those findings as conservative…Scientists are worried that the current models used to predict the influence of massive melting ice sheets have flaws, and fail to capture all of the uncertainties…Scientists say there is still time to avoid the worst if global greenhouse gas emissions are cut sharply in the coming decades…” click here for more
Amid climate crisis, renewable energy poised for rapid growth
Lynn Jurich, May 22, 2019 (The Hill)
“…[There are only have about 12 years to act before [climate crisis] damage is irrevocable. The good news is that we have the technology and solutions…and the public is overwhelmingly supportive…Thanks to federal clean energy tax incentives and supportive state policies…[New Energy} already accounts for 18 percent of our electricity production, up from 9 percent just a decade ago…Solar capacity has almost tripled since 2015, from 19,000 megawatts to 48,000 megawatts in 2018…Wind production has also almost tripled since 2009, from 35,000 megawatts to more than 90,000 megawatts in 2018…In combination, total solar and wind potential is more than 14 million megawatts – or 14 times current electric power capacity…Companies are deploying battery storage today, and prices are dropping quickly, falling by 76 percent between 2012 and 2018…
…[S]tate policymakers should continue their leadership enacting policies that maintain our country’s clean energy momentum…We will still need to have a transmission grid, and large-scale centralized renewable power, but we also need to increasingly deploy local energy resources if we are to achieve a fully decarbonized grid…Ten years ago, few Americans could have imagined a nation powered by renewable energy. But, renewable energy now provides nearly 20 percent of our electricity and we have more than enough capacity to produce all of our energy from wind and solar, according to the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory…We simply have to choose the policies that accelerate the transition…” click here for more
California utilities prep nation's biggest time-of-use rate roll out; Over 300 time-varying rates in 62 pilots have shown consumers can "understand and respond," but California’s three IOUs are dealing with more than 20 million people.
Herman K. Trabish, Dec. 6, 2018 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: It is too soon for news on the California TOU rate rollout but the utility world is watching.
Many utility tests of time varying rates have led to billORIGINAL REPORTING: California utilities prep nation's biggest time-of-use rate roll out savings and lower peak loads, but California has begun the biggest test yet by putting over 20 million consumers on time-of-use (TOU) rates. Properly designed and deployed TOU rates can help customers save money by shifting their use away from high-priced time periods. The rates can help utilities reduce their expenditures by lowering the highest demand they must meet. And TOU rates often move customer use toward periods when low cost renewables are in greater supply on utility systems, which saves costs for customers and utilities. The challenge in designing TOU rates is aligning the high prices for customers with high system costs and low prices for customers with low system costs. The challenges with deploying TOU rates are in helping customers understand them and in using the price signals to get customers to pay attention to when they use electricity.
In 2015, in response to a number of successful pilot programs, including a landmark Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) 2012 to 2014 TOU rate pilot, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) ordered the state's three investor-owned utilities (IOUs) to transition to "default" rates by 2019, requiring customers pay TOU rates unless they opt out. San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) began moving its customers in March, and Southern California Edison (SCE) and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) were given until October 2020 in order to prepare their billing systems. SMUD began another system-wide rollout of default TOU rates in October 2018. A dozen or more states are working on TOU rates, which charge more for electricity when it costs more to deliver. If customers shift their usage to the lower cost times, they can lower their bills and utilities can see lower peak demand. A Brattle Group Principal Ahmad Faruqui. But Brattle's survey of customer responses to over 300 time-varying rates in 62 pilots shows sufficiently prepared customers "understand and respond" to TOU rates… click here for more
As PacifiCorp and other analyses point to more coal shutdowns, replacement questions rise; A recent PacifiCorp analysis points to a growing trend among utilities, and analysts are watching to see how modeling and reliability issues can best be addressed as retirements continue.
Herman K. Trabish, Dec. 13, 2018 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: Evidence continues to mount that buying new low-cost renewables and shuttering existing coal can save customers money.
The economics of coal took another hard hit in Oregon on Dec. 3. A report to the Oregon Public Utilities Commission (OPUC) from PacifiCorp confirmed that the bulk of its coal units cost more to run than to close and replace. The analysis joins a host of other analyses finding, among other things, that despite White House efforts to support coal, consumption is decreasing and the fuel is no longer a cost-effective option. But while closing coal plants early could save money, it would result in capacity shortfalls. Pacificorp sees addressing that challenge as a next step in the process and industry analysts have a number of ideas on how to do so, such as securitization.
PacifiCorp's analysis marks the first time the utility "has publicly revealed its data showing early coal plant retirements could bring hundreds of millions of dollars in net benefits to customers," Stanford University Precourt Energy Institute Research Scholar and Rocky Mountain Institute Principal Uday Varadarajan told Utility Dive. PacifiCorp's analysis not only provides critical economic justification for the growing transition away from coal, but also addresses legitimate questions of reliability costs and modeling that more utilities may be able to take example from as coal retirements continue. Over 133 GW of U.S. coal capacity has been shuttered or is scheduled to be shuttered since 2010. More retirement announcements expected in 2019 and 2020 will leave an estimated 150 GW of operating coal generation, according to the Sierra Club. Utilities like PacifiCorp are leading this transition and the key driver is economics… click here for more
NO QUICK NEWS
Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
May 2019 (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services)
Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history – and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely, warns a landmark new report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the summary of which was approved at the 7th session of the IPBES Plenary, meeting…(29 April – 4 May) in Paris…
…The IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services is the most comprehensive ever completed. It is the first intergovernmental Report of its kind and builds on the landmark Millennium Ecosystem Assessment of 2005, introducing innovative ways of evaluating evidence.
Compiled by 145 expert authors from 50 countries over the past three years, with inputs from another 310 contributing authors, the Report assesses changes over the past five decades, providing a comprehensive picture of the relationship between economic development pathways and their impacts on nature. It also offers a range of possible scenarios for the coming decades.
Based on the systematic review of about 15,000 scientific and government sources, the Report also draws (for the first time ever at this scale) on indigenous and local knowledge, particularly addressing issues relevant to Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities…
The Report finds that around 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades, more than ever before in human history. The average abundance of native species in most major land-based habitats has fallen by at least 20%, mostly since 1900. More than 40% of amphibian species, almost 33% of reef-forming corals and more than a third of all marine mammals are threatened. The picture is less clear for insect species, but available evidence supports a tentative estimate of 10% being threatened. At least 680 vertebrate species had been driven to extinction since the 16th century and more than 9% of all domesticated breeds of mammals used for food and agriculture had become extinct by 2016, with at least 1,000 more breeds still threatened.
To increase the policy-relevance of the Report, the assessment’s authors have ranked, for the first time at this scale and based on a thorough analysis of the available evidence, the five direct drivers of change in nature with the largest relative global impacts so far. These culprits are, in descending order: (1) changes in land and sea use; (2) direct exploitation of organisms; (3) climate change; (4) pollution and (5) invasive alien species.
The Report notes that, since 1980, greenhouse gas emissions have doubled, raising average global temperatures by at least 0.7 degrees Celsius – with climate change already impacting nature from the level of ecosystems to that of genetics – impacts expected to increase over the coming decades, in some cases surpassing the impact of land and sea use change and other drivers.
Despite progress to conserve nature and implement policies, the Report also finds that global goals for conserving and sustainably using nature and achieving sustainability cannot be met by current trajectories, and goals for 2030 and beyond may only be achieved through transformative changes across economic, social, political and technological factors. With good progress on components of only four of the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, it is likely that most will be missed by the 2020 deadline. Current negative trends in biodiversity and ecosystems will undermine progress towards 80% (35 out of 44) of the assessed targets of the Sustainable Development Goals, related to poverty, hunger, health, water, cities, climate, oceans and land (SDGs 1, 2, 3, 6, 11, 13, 14 and 15). Loss of biodiversity is therefore shown to be not only an environmental issue, but also a developmental, economic, security, social and moral issue as well…
Other notable findings of the Report include:
Three-quarters of the land-based environment and about 66% of the marine environment have been significantly altered by human actions. On average these trends have been less severe or avoided in areas held or managed by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities.
More than a third of the world’s land surface and nearly 75% of freshwater resources are now devoted to crop or livestock production.
The value of agricultural crop production has increased by about 300% since 1970, raw timber harvest has risen by 45% and approximately 60 billion tons of renewable and nonrenewable resources are now extracted globally every year – having nearly doubled since 1980.
Land degradation has reduced the productivity of 23% of the global land surface, up to US$577 billion in annual global crops are at risk from pollinator loss and 100-300 million people are at increased risk of floods and hurricanes because of loss of coastal habitats and protection.
In 2015, 33% of marine fish stocks were being harvested at unsustainable levels; 60% were maximally sustainably fished, with just 7% harvested at levels lower than what can be sustainably fished.
Urban areas have more than doubled since 1992.
Plastic pollution has increased tenfold since 1980, 300-400 million tons of heavy metals, solvents, toxic sludge and other wastes from industrial facilities are dumped annually into the world’s waters, and fertilizers entering coastal ecosystems have produced more than 400 ocean ‘dead zones’, totalling more than 245,000 km2 (591-595) – a combined area greater than that of the United Kingdom.
Negative trends in nature will continue to 2050 and beyond in all of the policy scenarios explored in the Report, except those that include transformative change – due to the projected impacts of increasing land-use change, exploitation of organisms and climate change, although with significant differences between regions.
The Report also presents a wide range of illustrative actions for sustainability and pathways for achieving them across and between sectors such as agriculture, forestry, marine systems, freshwater systems, urban areas, energy, finance and many others. It highlights the importance of, among others, adopting integrated management and cross-sectoral approaches that take into account the trade-offs of food and energy production, infrastructure, freshwater and coastal management, and biodiversity conservation.
Also identified as a key element of more sustainable future policies is the evolution of global financial and economic systems to build a global sustainable economy, steering away from the current limited paradigm of economic growth…
Further Information on Key Issues from the Report
Scale of Loss of Nature
Gains from societal and policy responses, while important, have not stopped massive losses.
Since 1970, trends in agricultural production, fish harvest, bioenergy production and harvest of materials have increased, in response to population growth, rising demand and technological development, this has come at a steep price, which has been unequally distributed within and across countries. Many other key indicators of nature’s contributions to people however, such as soil organic carbon and pollinator diversity, have declined, indicating that gains in material contributions are often not sustainable .
The pace of agricultural expansion into intact ecosystems has varied from country to country. Losses of intact ecosystems have occurred primarily in the tropics, home to the highest levels of biodiversity on the planet. For example, 100 million hectares of tropical forest were lost from 1980 to 2000, resulting mainly from cattle ranching in Latin America (about 42 million hectares) and plantations in South-East Asia (about 7.5 million hectares, of which 80% is for palm oil, used mostly in food, cosmetics, cleaning products and fuel) among others.
Since 1970 the global human population has more than doubled (from 3.7 to 7.6 billion), rising unevenly across countries and regions; and per capita gross domestic product is four times higher – with ever-more distant consumers shifting the environmental burden of consumption and production across regions.
The average abundance of native species in most major land-based habitats has fallen by at least 20%, mostly since 1900.
The numbers of invasive alien species per country have risen by about 70% since 1970, across the 21 countries with detailed records.
The distributions of almost half (47%) of land-based flightless mammals, for example, and almost a quarter of threatened birds, may already have been negatively affected by climate change.
Indigenous Peoples, Local Communities and Nature
At least a quarter of the global land area is traditionally owned, managed, used or occupied by Indigenous Peoples. These areas include approximately 35% of the area that is formally protected, and approximately 35% of all remaining terrestrial areas with very low human intervention.
Nature managed by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities is under increasing pressure but is generally declining less rapidly than in other lands – although 72% of local indicators developed and used by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities show the deterioration of nature that underpins local livelihoods.
The areas of the world projected to experience significant negative effects from global changes in climate, biodiversity, ecosystem functions and nature’s contributions to people are also areas in which large concentrations of Indigenous Peoples and many of the world’s poorest communities reside.
Regional and global scenarios currently lack and would benefit from an explicit consideration of the views, perspectives and rights of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities, their knowledge and understanding of large regions and ecosystems, and their desired future development pathways. Recognition of the knowledge, innovations and practices, institutions and values of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities and their inclusion and participation in environmental governance often enhances their quality of life, as well as nature conservation, restoration and sustainable use. Their positive contributions to sustainability can be facilitated through national recognition of land tenure, access and resource rights in accordance with national legislation, the application of free, prior and informed consent, and improved collaboration, fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use, and co-management arrangements with local communities.
Global Targets and Policy Scenarios
Past and ongoing rapid declines in biodiversity, ecosystem functions and many of nature’s contributions to people mean that most international societal and environmental goals, such as those embodied in the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will not be achieved based on current trajectories.
The authors of the Report examined six policy scenarios – very different ‘baskets’ of clustered policy options and approaches, including ‘Regional Competition’, ‘Business as Usual’ and ‘Global Sustainability’ – projecting the likely impacts on biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people of these pathways by 2050. They concluded that, except in scenarios that include transformative change, the negative trends in nature, ecosystem functions and in many of nature’s contributions to people will continue to 2050 and beyond due to the projected impacts of increasing land and sea use change, exploitation of organisms and climate change.
Policy Tools, Options and Exemplary Practices
Policy actions and societal initiatives are helping to raise awareness about the impact of consumption on nature, protecting local environments, promoting sustainable local economies and restoring degraded areas. Together with initiatives at various levels these have contributed to expanding and strengthening the current network of ecologically representative and well-connected protected area networks and other effective area-based conservation measures, the protection of watersheds and incentives and sanctions to reduce pollution .
The Report presents an illustrative list of possible actions and pathways for achieving them across locations, systems and scales, which will be most likely to support sustainability. Taking an integrated approach:
In agriculture, the Report emphasizes, among others: promoting good agricultural and agroecological practices; multifunctional landscape planning (which simultaneously provides food security, livelihood opportunities, maintenance of species and ecological functions) and cross-sectoral integrated management. It also points to the importance of deeper engagement of all actors throughout the food system (including producers, the public sector, civil society and consumers) and more integrated landscape and watershed management; conservation of the diversity of genes, varieties, cultivars, breeds, landraces and species; as well as approaches that empower consumers and producers through market transparency, improved distribution and localization (that revitalizes local economies), reformed supply chains and reduced food waste.
In marine systems, the Report highlights, among others: ecosystem-based approaches to fisheries management; spatial planning; effective quotas; marine protected areas; protecting and managing key marine biodiversity areas; reducing run- off pollution into oceans and working closely with producers and consumers.
In freshwater systems, policy options and actions include, among others: more inclusive water governance for collaborative water management and greater equity; better integration of water resource management and landscape planning across scales; promoting practices to reduce soil erosion, sedimentation and pollution run-off; increasing water storage; promoting investment in water projects with clear sustainability criteria; as well as addressing the fragmentation of many freshwater policies.
In urban areas, the Report highlights, among others: promotion of nature-based solutions; increasing access to urban services and a healthy urban environment for low-income communities; improving access to green spaces; sustainable production and consumption and ecological connectivity within urban spaces, particularly with native species.
Across all examples, the Report recognises the importance of including different value systems and diverse interests and worldviews in formulating policies and actions. This includes the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities in governance, the reform and development of incentive structures and ensuring that biodiversity considerations are prioritised across all key sector planning…
By the Numbers – Key Statistics and Facts from the Report
75%: terrestrial environment “severely altered” to date by human actions (marine environments 66%)
47%: reduction in global indicators of ecosystem extent and condition against their estimated natural baselines, with many continuing to decline by at least 4% per decade
28%: global land area held and/or managed by Indigenous Peoples , including >40% of formally protected areas and 37% of all remaining terrestrial areas with very low human intervention
+/-60 billion: tons of renewable and non-renewable resources extracted globally each year, up nearly 100% since 1980
15%: increase in global per capita consumption of materials since 1980
>85%: of wetlands present in 1700 had been lost by 2000 – loss of wetlands is currently three times faster, in percentage terms, than forest loss.
Species, Populations and Varieties of Plants and Animals
8 million: total estimated number of animal and plant species on Earth (including 5.5 million insect species)
Tens to hundreds of times: the extent to which the current rate of global species extinction is higher compared to average over the last 10 million years, and the rate is accelerating
Up to 1 million: species threatened with extinction, many within decades
>500,000 (+/-9%): share of the world’s estimated 5.9 million terrestrial species with insufficient habitat for long term survival without habitat restoration
>40%: amphibian species threatened with extinction
Almost 33%: reef forming corals, sharks and shark relatives, and >33% marine mammals threatened with extinction
25%: average proportion of species threatened with extinction across terrestrial, freshwater and marine vertebrate, invertebrate and plant groups that have been studied in sufficient detail
At least 680: vertebrate species driven to extinction by human actions since the 16th century
+/-10%: tentative estimate of proportion of insect species threatened with extinction
>20%: decline in average abundance of native species in most major terrestrial biomes, mostly since 1900
+/-560 (+/-10%): domesticated breeds of mammals were extinct by 2016, with at least 1,000 more threatened
3.5%: domesticated breed of birds extinct by 2016
70%: increase since 1970 in numbers of invasive alien species across 21 countries with detailed records
30%: reduction in global terrestrial habitat integrity caused by habitat loss and deterioration
47%: proportion of terrestrial flightless mammals and 23% of threatened birds whose distributions may have been negatively impacted by climate change already
>6: species of ungulate (hoofed mammals) would likely be extinct or surviving only in captivity today without conservation measures
Food and Agriculture
300%: increase in food crop production since 1970
23%: land areas that have seen a reduction in productivity due to land degradation
>75%: global food crop types that rely on animal pollination
US$235 to US$577 billion: annual value of global crop output at risk due to pollinator loss
5.6 gigatons: annual CO2 emissions sequestered in marine and terrestrial ecosystems – equivalent to 60% of global fossil fuel emission
+/-11%: world population that is undernourished
100 million: hectares of agricultural expansion in the tropics from 1980 to 2000, mainly cattle ranching in Latin America (+/-42 million ha), and plantations in Southeast Asia (+/-7.5 million ha, of which 80% is oil palm), half of it at the expense of intact forests 3%: increase in land transformation to agriculture between 1992 and 2015, mostly at the expense of forests
>33%: world’s land surface (and +/-75% of freshwater resources) devoted to crop or livestock production
12%: world’s ice-free land used for crop production
25%: world’s ice-free land used for grazing (+/-70% of drylands)
+/-25%: greenhouse gas emissions caused by land clearing, crop production and fertilization, with animal-based food contributing 75% to that figure
+/-30%: global crop production and global food supply provided by small land holdings (<2 ha), using +/-25% of agricultural land, usually maintaining rich agrobiodiversity
$100 billion: estimated level of financial support in OECD countries (2015) to agriculture that is potentially harmful to the environment
Oceans and Fishing
33%: marine fish stocks in 2015 being harvested at unsustainable levels; 60% are maximally sustainably fished; 7% are underfished
>55%: ocean area covered by industrial fishing
3-10%: projected decrease in ocean net primary production due to climate change alone by the end of the century
3-25%: projected decrease in fish biomass by the end of the century in low and high climate warming scenarios, respectively
>90%: proportion of the global commercial fishers accounted for by small scale fisheries (over 30 million people) – representing nearly 50% of global fish catch
Up to 33%: estimated share in 2011 of world’s reported fish catch that is illegal, unreported or unregulated
>10%: decrease per decade in the extent of seagrass meadows from 1970-2000
+/-50%: live coral cover of reefs lost since 1870s
100-300 million: people in coastal areas at increased risk due to loss of coastal habitat protection
400: low oxygen (hypoxic) coastal ecosystem ‘dead zones’ caused by fertilizers, affecting >245,000 km2
29%: average reduction in the extinction risk for mammals and birds in 109 countries thanks to conservation investments from 1996 to 2008; the extinction risk of birds, mammals and amphibians would have been at least 20% greater without conservation action in recent decade
>107: highly threatened birds, mammals and reptiles estimated to have benefitted from the eradication of invasive mammals on islands
45%: increase in raw timber production since 1970 (4 billion cubic meters in 2017)
+/-13 million: forestry industry jobs
50%: agricultural expansion that occurred at the expense of forests
50%: decrease in net rate of forest loss since the 1990s (excluding those managed for timber or agricultural extraction)
68%: global forest area today compared with the estimated pre-industrial level
7%: reduction of intact forests (>500 sq. km with no human pressure) from 2000-2013 in developed and developing countries
290 million ha (+/-6%): native forest cover lost from 1990-2015 due to clearing and wood harvesting
110 million ha: rise in the area of planted forests from 1990-2015
10-15%: global timber supplies provided by illegal forestry (up to 50% in some areas) >2 billion: people who rely on wood fuel to meet their primary energy needs
Mining and Energy
<1%: total land used for mining, but the industry has significant negative impacts on biodiversity, emissions, water quality and human health
+/-17,000: large-scale mining sites (in 171 countries), mostly managed by 616 international corporations
+/-6,500: offshore oil and gas ocean mining installations ((in 53 countries)
US$345 billion: global subsidies for fossil fuels resulting in US$5 trillion in overall costs, including nature deterioration externalities; coal accounts for 52% of post-tax subsidies, petroleum for +/-33% and natural gas for +/-10%
Urbanization, Development and Socioeconomic Issues
>100%: growth of urban areas since 1992
25 million km: length of new paved roads foreseen by 2050, with 90% of construction in least developed and developing countries
+/-50,000: number of large dams (>15m height) ; +/-17 million reservoirs (>0.01 ha)
105%: increase in global human population (from 3.7 to 7.6 billion) since 1970 unevenly across countries and regions
50 times higher: per capita GDP in developed vs. least developed countries
>2,500: conflicts over fossil fuels, water, food and land currently occurring worldwide
>1,000: environmental activists and journalists killed between 2002 and 2013
70%: proportion of cancer drugs that are natural or synthetic products inspired by nature
+/-4 billion: people who rely primarily on natural medicines
17%: infectious diseases spread by animal vectors, causing >700,000 annual deaths
+/-821 million: people face food insecurity in Asia and Africa
40%: of the global population lacks access to clean and safe drinking water
>80%: global wastewater discharged untreated into the environment
300-400 million tons: heavy metals, solvents, toxic sludge, and other wastes from industrial facilities dumped annually into the world’s waters
10 times: increase in plastic pollution since 1980
1 degree Celsius: average global temperature difference in 2017 compared to pre-industrial levels, rising +/-0.2 (+/-0.1) degrees Celsius per decade
>3 mm: annual average global sea level rise over the past two decades
16-21 cm: rise in global average sea level since 1900
100% increase since 1980 in greenhouse gas emissions, raising average global temperature by at least 0.7 degree
40%: rise in carbon footprint of tourism (to 4.5Gt of carbon dioxide) from 2009 to 2013 8%: of total greenhouse gas emissions are from transport and food consumption related to tourism
5%: estimated fraction of species at risk of extinction from 2°C warming alone, rising to 16% at 4.3°C warming
Even for global warming of 1.5 to 2 degrees, the majority of terrestrial species ranges are projected to shrink profoundly.
Sustainable Development Goals
Most: Aichi Biodiversity Targets for 2020 likely to be missed
22 of 44: assessed targets under the Sustainable Development Goals related to poverty, hunger, health, water, cities, climate, ocean and land are being undermined by substantial negative trends in nature and its contributions to people
72%: of local indicators in nature developed and used by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities that show negative trends
4: number of Aichi Targets where good progress has been made on certain components, with moderate progress on some components of another 7 targets, poor progress on all components of 6 targets, and insufficient information to assess progress on some or all components of the remaining 3 targets
Extinction And The Climate Crisis Humanity Faces a Biodiversity Crisis. Climate Change Makes It Worse. People are destroying the world’s natural wealth so fast that society must change radically to meet development goals, the UN says in a landmark scientific report.
Sabrina Shankman, Georgina Gustin, John H. Cushman Jr, May 6, 2019 (Inside Climate News)
“…[A million species are on the brink of extinction and the climate crisis role] in exacerbating the losses is accelerating…[A new report] warns of potentially irreversible economic, social and environmental calamities if the whole world doesn't [make urgent and concerted efforts to] change tracks by mid-century…The impacts would fall especially hard on the poor and in several frail regions, but no part of the planet would escape them…Because climate plays such a significant role, avoiding the collapse of ecosystems entails rapidly cutting net emissions of carbon dioxide to zero in the next few decades…This goes even beyond the complete and rapid shift from uncontrolled use of fossil fuels to clean energy that scientists say is needed to avoid unacceptable climate risks.
…The rising seas and increased extreme weather events of climate change—fires, floods, pestilence and drought—have already caused widespread harm to biodiversity…Even at 1.5°C to 2°C of warming—the goals of the Paris climate agreement—the report warns that the ranges of most of the world's species on land will shrink significantly. At 2°C of warming, the report warns that 5 percent of species will be at risk of extinction. At 4.3°C—our current track of warming—that rises to 16 percent of species…To make the changes required to save biodiversity and the climate, the report…urges a global revolution—a shift in the way humans consume material goods, how we value the natural world, and how we account for nature in the way we develop our businesses and economies…” click here for more
Tomorrow’s Solar Today Energy Department Selects Five Winning Teams for Solar in Your Community Challenge Prizes
May 15, 2019 (U.S. Dept of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy)
“…The five winners of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar in Your Community Challenge demonstrate innovative business and financial models to expand solar access for nonprofits, faith-based organizations, state and local governments, and low- and moderate-income communities, all of which face unique barriers to adopting solar…[The winners developed] replicable, innovative, and sustainable models for profitably expanding the use of solar power…In total, the winning teams proposed 25.7 megawatts of solar energy projects across the country by 2020, benefitting more than 1,200 households and 18 nonprofit organizations. On average, winners were able to save customers between 15% and 25% of their electricity bills…
…[The Grand Prize of $500,000 went to The CARE Project from Denver, Colorado and] was led by the Housing Authority of the City and County of Denver. Partners included GRID Alternatives, Ensight Energy, Xcel Energy, and SolarTAC…The $200,000 Runner-Up prize went to] The Community Solar for Community Action team from Backus, Minnesota…[It was] led by the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance. Partners included the American Indian Community Housing Organization, Leech Lake Energy Assistance Program, and Southeast Vermont Community Action…[Prizes of $100,000 went to the] Kerrville Area Solar Partners…[and the] Fellowship Energy team…More than 170 teams from 40 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico participated…” click here for more
Global Wind Report 2018
April 2019 (Global Wind Energy Council)
2018 was a good year for the global wind industry with 51.3 GW of new wind energy installed, a slight decrease of 4.0 per cent compared to 2017, but a strong year, nonetheless. Since 2014, annual installations have topped 50 GW each year, despite ups and downs in some markets.
Market status and outlook
The 51.3 GW of new installations brings total cumulative installations up to 591 GW. In the onshore market, 46.8 GW was installed, a decrease of 4.3 per cent compared to 2017. China and USA remained the largest onshore markets with 21.2 GW and 7.6 GW new capacity respectively. The European onshore market installed 9 GW, a 32 per cent decrease compared to 2017. Growing developing markets in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and South-East Asia installed a combined 4.8 GW during 2018 (nearly 10 per cent of all new installations), up from eight per cent in 2017 when these markets installed 3.8 GW…
Current and future market drivers…Increased focus on value…Corporate sourcing driving growth…Shifting business models…
Market Status 2018
2018 was a solid year with 51.3 GW installed – a decrease of 4.0 per cent compared to last year, and with total installed capacity of 591 GW (a growth of nine per cent compared to 2017). New installations in the onshore wind market reached 46.8 GW, and the global offshore market installed 4.5 GW, bringing the share in the global market to now eight per cent.
The onshore market
The Chinese onshore market installed 21.2 GW in 2018 and has been the leading market since 2008. China with 206 GW total installations at the end of 2018 is the first market to surpass 200 GW of total installed capacity – reaching its target of 200 GW two years early (based on the FiveYear-Plan 2016-2020). As part of the ongoing reform of the energy market, the Chinese government announced the introduction of auctions in 2018. These auctions focus on competitive pricing, technology and low curtailment risks, while volume is still determined through the central planning process. GWEC expects further progress on market mechanisms for the integration of renewables and wind energy and moving away from direct subsidies. The full implementation of the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) with quotas for grid companies, local utilities, large corporates and others is one element of the market mechanisms and providing opportunities for wind energy.
The second largest market in 2018 was the US with 7.6 GW of new onshore installations and total onshore installations of 96 GW. Until 2020/ 21, the Production Tax Credit (PTC) will remain the main driver for new installations. Future demand will be linked to RPS and the increasing competitiveness of onshore wind energy. New business models and new financial models are being developed in the US market and will, most likely, further drive volume for new installations.
In addition to China and USA, the top five wind markets in 2018 are completed by Germany (2.4 GW), India (2.2 GW) and Brazil (1.9 GW).
Excluding the two largest markets, China and USA, market-based mechanisms, such as auctions, tenders, and Green Certificates, were the main drivers behind new installations in 2018: For the onshore market, 16 GW of new installations or 35 per cent of new installations originate from marketbased mechanisms. This level can be expected in the future, as 15 GW of onshore wind capacity was auctioned during 2018. The dramatic decreases of bid levels and equipment prices, as seen in 2016 and 2017, have slowed down in 2018, and bid levels will continue to stabilise in 2019. Continuing efforts to increase efficiency and lower cost means that the wind industry will be able to respond to changing market conditions in the future.
With China expecting to implement auctions during 2019, the share of installations originating from market-based mechanisms will rise after 2020, when the first auction-based volume will be installed in China.
Without doubt, auctions and tenders are an important element for capacity allocation. However, how governments select the support and allocation mechanisms for renewables and wind energy depends on market conditions and the design of the energy market (e.g. integration, pricing mechanism, etc.).
The offshore market – China installed 1.8 GW in 2018, taking the lead for the first time, followed by the United Kingdom (1.3 GW). Globally, the share of offshore installations continues to increase and reached eight per cent for new installations and four per cent of the total installations in 2018…
China and USA increased new installations, Europe and India saw decreases
The mature and leading markets in China and North America continued to grow in 2018. Positive developments came from Mexico growing by 500 MW compared to 2017 and reaching 0.9 GW of new installations. Africa/Middle East also grew to 0.9 GW with Egypt and Kenya as leading markets (380 MW and 310 MW of new installations respectively). The decrease in the European onshore market is attributed to lower volumes in Germany and the United Kingdom. In India, new installations slowed compared to 2017 (4 GW in 2017) as execution challenges need to be solved.
Markets to watch 38 Asia – Vietnam - Thailand - Philippines - Indonesia 39 Latin America – Argentina, Colombia, Peru
Market Outlook 2019 to 2023
Global wind energy market to grow on average by 2.7 per cent each year
The market outlook for the global wind industry is positive. Over the next five years, GWEC Market Intelligence expects that over 300 GW of new capacity will be added. That is more than 55 GW of new installations each year until 2023.
Near-term, governmental support (auction/ tender programmes and renewable targets) are still a main driver for installations. The opportunities for wind energy to operate on a commercial basis are increasing though as wind is proving its cost-competitiveness and bilateral agreements (e.g., in the form of corporate PPAs) will grow.
It is difficult to predict the installations driven by commercial opportunities rather than government support. However, several markets like USA, Mexico, Brazil and others already get considerable volumes through these drivers.
The investment climate for wind energy and renewable energy has stayed positive during 2018, and despite, certain outlooks on the global economy, the activity level in the wind market will remain high.
Many markets are reassessing their energy demand and their market design. Wind energy as a flexible and easily-scalable capacity will be part of the solutions for the reassessment. The pressure decreasing prices pushed the wind energy industry over the past years to accelerate technical developments and efficiency improvements. For the near-term, the price pressure will not be as severe, but will continue to exist as a key element to mature the wind industry
Developing markets and offshore to take larger share in global market
The offshore market will become a truly global market over the next five years. Capacity will grow, especially in Asia. The first largescale offshore installations installations are expected in North America towards 2022 or 2023. Currently, eight per cent of the new installations are offshore, by 2023, this share is expected to increase to 22 per cent by 2023.
Africa/ Middle East
Steady volume is expected from Africa/Middle East based on the expectation that African governments stay true to their ambitions for wind and renewable energy – and project execution progresses. For South Africa, the largest market in Africa so far, the next auction/ procurement round is expected in H1 2019 and will re-install confidence in the market.
Asia excl. China
India will drive the volume of new installations with the execution of the scheduled auctions. In SouthEast Asia, unless governments stop prioritizing coal, wind energy will remain at a moderate level – despite better economics.
Australia and New Zealand challenge wind energy to drive down cost and, at the same time, to provide opportunities for new and advanced business models like hybrid and co-located models.
As a mature market, the European onshore market is expected to remain stable as governments execute their auctions and tenders. For 2019, installations increase as auctioned volume in Spain will be installed and a large project pipeline in Sweden will be executed.
In Latin America, governments’ commitment to large-scale auction is driving the volume. Maintaining the commitment is crucial for positive development in Latin America. For the next two years, the PTC will drive the US market, good economics and state-level RPS will ensure future market activity.
Installations for the next two years are linked to the already existing pipeline of approved projects by the NEA. Installations as of 2021/22 will be linked to the newly introduced auctions. Currently, it is expected that the market will remain at the level of 20 GW new installations per year…
Designers On The Climate Crisis How the world's leading designers are thinking about the climate crisis
Aileen Kwun, May 15, 2019 (CNN via the Philadelphia Tribune)
“Transgenic silk garments that emit a neon glow, sartorial burial suits embedded with flesh-eating microbes, and a bouquet of perfume notes derived from the DNA of extinct flora are just a few of the mind-bending works of design presented in ‘Nature,’ this year’s Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial program…[It] looks at how designers are responding to human-induced climate change and the impending environmental crisis…Last year was the world’s fourth hottest since records started in 1880, according to NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)…[More than 60 projects from scientists, to engineers, farmers, programmers, artists, philosophers, and others from 22 countries] are placed into one of seven categories based on strategy, rather than medium — Understand, Simulate, Remediate, Salvage, Facilitate, Augment, and Nurture…
Clothing has been cited as among the top contributors of pollution and waste globally. In 2018, Quantis found that the footwear and apparel industries account for more than 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, while, according to a 2016 McKinsey study, nearly 60% of all clothing ends up in landfills or incinerators within a year of its production…The selected works — all contemporary, and in several instances, prototypes of ideas yet to be realized — display an ingenuity of material innovation, suggesting products that drastically reduce environmental harm, or novel ways of responsibly tapping into overlooked resources…” click here for more
The Secret To More New Energy This one weird trick can help any state or city pass clean energy policy; A political strategy that actually works.
David Roberts, May 15, 2019 (VOX)
“…[T] he past few years have seen a remarkable flourishing of climate and clean energy policy at the subnational level, in states and cities across the country…[They all] used the same simple trick to achieve policy success…[New Energy policy was passed in Washington state by] Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, working for the first time with solid Democratic majorities in both houses of the state legislature…[in Nevada] by newly elected Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak, working with Democratic majorities in both houses…[in Colorado by] newly elected Democratic Gov. Jared Polis, working with Democratic majorities in both houses…[in New Mexico by newly elected Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, working with Democratic majorities in both houses…[in California by] Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, working with Democratic majorities in both houses…
[It was also passed in New Jersey by] newly elected Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, working with Democratic majorities in both houses…[in Los Angeles by] Democratic Mayor Eric Garcetti, working with a Democratic city council…[in New York City by]Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio, working with a Democratic city council…[in Chicago by] Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel, working with a Democratic city council…[in Boise, Idaho, by] Democratic Mayor David Bieter, working with a purportedly nonpartisan but in reality Democratic city council…in Missoula, Montana, by Democratic Mayor John Engen, working with a Democratic city council…[in Cincinnati, Ohio, by] Democratic Mayor John Cranley, working with a Democratic city council…[in Washington, DC, by Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser, working with a Democratic city council…The trick is: elect Democrats…[That it is this partisan an issue is] not ideal. But it is what it is.” click here for more
The solutions are available. Only the political will is lacking.From Real Time with Bill Maher via YouTube
The light of the stars is only visible in the dark. Time to shine. From Climate Reality via YouTube
The EV industry has eliminated a lot of objections to going electric. The change is coming. From Audi USA via YouTube
From making it to managing it, plastic is a major contributor to climate change; New report finds plastic production and use could have the equivalent impact of nearly 300 new coal power plants on Earth's climate over the next decade.
Brian Bienkowski, May 15, 2019 (Environmental Health News)
“…Scientists, policymakers and consumers are increasingly aware of the threat plastic pollution poses to oceans and water, wildlife, food and people. However, often lost in calculating plastics' environmental harm is its contributions to climate change…Each step in the life of a piece of plastic — production, transportation and managing waste — uses fossil fuels and emits greenhouse gases and, as petrochemical and plastic production continues to ramp up, these impacts must be considered, according to [a new] report…In 2019, producing and incinerating plastic will emit an estimated 850 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, the equivalent of 189 coal-fired power plants…If production continues on the same trajectory, by 2030 plastic-related greenhouse gas emissions will reach 1.34 gigatons per year, which is roughly the emissions released by 295 coal plants…
By 2050, the annual greenhouse gas emissions from plastics will reach an estimated 2.8 gigatons per year – the equivalent of about 615 coal plants…Despite growing awareness of plastic pollution, there is an ongoing expansion of petrochemical and plastic production happening in the United States, as well as in China, the Middle East, Europe and South America…[The roadmap to reduce plastic's climate impact begins with a stop in] making and using single-use plastics; stopping the buildout of new oil, gas and petrochemical infrastructure; moving communities to zero-waste; forcing producers of plastic goods to accept responsibility for the environmental impacts; and putting in place more ambitious [and plastics-aware] greenhouse gas reduction goals…” click here for more
Floating Wind Pushes France Up Renewables Attractiveness Ladder
Adnan Durakovic, May 16, 2019 (OffshoreWindBiz)
“France has moved up two positions and is now the third most attractive destination globally for investment in renewable energy due in part to a new focus on floating offshore wind…Globally, mainland China and the US remain at first and second positions respectively on the [53rd EY Renewable energy country attractiveness index] top 40 ranking…The UK has retained its position as the eighth most attractive destination globally for investment in renewable energy…The UK has unveiled plans for offshore wind to [grow from today’s 8.2 GW to 30 GW and] supply 30% of its electricity by 2030, up from just 6.2% in 2017…
France intends to issue offshore wind tenders with a combined capacity of up to 6GW by 2028, up to 3GW of which could potentially be floating wind capacity. The country has also approved several pilot floating wind projects… The global renewable energy industry is entering a new phase of subsidy-free growth, EY said…[Projects are now grappling with new-found exposure to wholesale power prices and market imbalance – known as merchant risk – and the growing role of corporate energy buyers in underwriting clean energy projects…” click here for more
Stalling Renewables Growth Raises Concern About Global Decarbonization Efforts
Brian Murray, May 17, 2019 (Forbes)
“…The 2018 leveling off global New Energy growth] counters a long and steady trend of increased new renewable capacity…[which made capacity added in 2018] ten times higher than it was in 2001…[Plans to address the climate crisis call] for massive mobilization of renewable energy investment…The International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that new renewable energy capacity additions in 2018 were about 180 gigawatts (GW), the same as in 2017…[New Energy accounted] for two-thirds of annual global capacity additions last year…[and] one-third of all power generating capacity is now from renewables…[Because of capacity factors, New Energy] only supplied 40 percent of the growth in total global electricity demand. Consequently, global CO2 emissions from the energy sector rose by 1.7 percent…[G]lobal solar PV’s exponential growth had been compensating for slower increases in wind and hydropower since 2015…[but solar] PV’s growth flattened in 2018…as China suddenly changed its solar PV incentives to address cost and grid integration challenges…Other factors behind last year’s slowdown in renewable capacity are a drop off in wind investment in the EU and India…
It is tempting to conclude that in due time renewables will outcompete fossil generation everywhere without reliance on targeted policies…But that is not guaranteed…First, energy storage technologies and grid improvements must catch up to integrate the higher levels of renewables. Both movements are underway. Second, although the average unit cost of renewables has been declining through technical improvements and scale economies, the marginal cost of generation rises as you move from the choicest spots with the least expensive land and the most productive resources to those that are more expensive and less productive…Policies will continue to play an important role for renewables for the foreseeable future…” click here for more