NewEnergyNews: 10/01/2019 - 11/01/2019

NewEnergyNews

Gleanings from the web and the world, condensed for convenience, illustrated for enlightenment, arranged for impact...

The challenge now: To make every day Earth Day.

While the OFFICE of President remains in highest regard at NewEnergyNews, the administration's position on the climate crisis makes it impossible to regard THIS president with respect. Therefore, until November 2020, the NewEnergyNews theme song:

YESTERDAY

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Nearing The Tipping Point
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Informing Cities To Drive Action
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Images From The New Energy Transition
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • Weekend Video: New Energy 10 Years Ago And Today
  • Weekend Video: Why New Energy Matters
  • Weekend Video: The Formula Has Changed
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY,:

  • TTTA Thursday-Six Keys To The Energy Transition
  • TTTA Thursday-New Energy Bill Would Drive Energy Transition
  • TTTA Thursday-New Energy Nears National Dominance
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Seeking the new utility business model
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • TODAY’S STUDY: China 2050: A Fully Developed Rich Zero-Carbon Economy
  • QUICK NEWS, December 3: A Climate Crisis Refugee Every 2 Seconds; New Energy Crossing Over
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    Founding Editor Herman K. Trabish

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    Some details about NewEnergyNews and the man behind the curtain: Herman K. Trabish, Agua Dulce, CA., Doctor with my hands, Writer with my head, Student of New Energy and Human Experience with my heart

    email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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      A tip of the NewEnergyNews cap to Phillip Garcia for crucial assistance in the design implementation of this site. Thanks, Phillip.

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    Pay a visit to the HARRY BOYKOFF page at Basketball Reference, sponsored by NewEnergyNews and Oil In Their Blood.

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  • TODAY AT NewEnergyNews, December 9:

  • TODAY’S STUDY: Grid Mod Best Practices Emerging
  • QUICK NEWS, December 9: When Action Slowed Climate Change (And Can Again); Ocean Wind Pioneer To Test ‘Green’ Hydrogen

    Tuesday, October 29, 2019

    TODAY’S STUDY: Making Green Investing Greener

    ESG 2.0 – How to Improve ESG Scoring to Better Reflect Renewable Energy Use and Investment

    September 2019 (American Council on Renewable Energy)

    Executive Summary

    The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is working with investors and other stakeholders to better reflect renewable energy use and investment in environmental, social and governance (ESG) rating methodologies. This white paper offers our views on the current state of ESG investing and provides recommendations for how ESG methodologies can be improved to better drive growth in renewable energy investment and deployment.

    To help mitigate long-term climate change risks, utilities, investors and corporations are adopting aggressive sustainability targets and considering ESG criteria to better evaluate the impact of their investments. The potential allocation of ESG funds to renewable energy investment presents an immense opportunity to enhance renewable sector growth.

    However, despite demand for climate-resilient funds, new “sustainability” investments often do not directly result in greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions. This is because ESG scoring for measuring climate impact is impeded by a few key issues:

    • The Marketplace is Too Fragmented. The growing network of ESG stakeholders has not adopted a standard framework for scoring, making it difficult for rated companies and investors to make “apples-to-apples” comparisons among ESG rating methodologies.

    • Rating Methodologies Are Not Transparent. ESG rating agencies often do not disclose their methodologies, using “black-box” proprietary information to calculate scores, a practice which limits both corporations attempting to improve their scores as well as investors seeking transparent information.

    • ESG Information Is Often Not Material. While investors look to ESG ratings for data that may affect companies’ financial and operational performance, many ESG methodologies contain inputs that are not material, hindering capital from flowing to the companies that most deserve it.

    To better reflect renewable energy use and investment in ESG methodologies, ACORE recommends:

    1. Enhancing Renewable Energy Disclosure in Scope 1-3 Emissions. The extent to which companies drive additionality through their methods of renewable energy procurement, i.e., whether they add new renewable generation to the grid, should be more accurately captured in companies’ Scope 1-3 emissions reporting for their ESG scores. (See pages 14-15 for definition of Scope 1-3 emissions.)

    2. Providing Credit for Avoided Emissions. Capital providers should receive credit for avoided GHG emissions attributable to their investment decisions.

    3. Implementing Standardized, Material and Forward-Looking Data Reporting. To provide meaningful comparisons, ESG scoring should increasingly rely on widely agreed upon data inputs. In order to be impactful, ESG scoring based on that widely agreed upon data should include forward-looking analysis capable of holding rated companies accountable for progress over time.

    4. Adopting a Universal Climate Benchmark. ESG scoring should help accelerate the transition to a decarbonized economy. International initiatives like the Paris Climate Agreement and U.N. Sustainable Development Goals can provide a common global benchmark against which companies’ ESG performance can be judged.

    If utilities, corporations, investors and states intend to achieve the dramatic declines in GHG emissions scientists say are needed by 2050, the business community must move to adopt a standardized, transparent and forwardlooking approach that more accurately measures the climate impact of ESG investments.

    Background

    Renewable energy stands at the heart of efforts to address climate change, as scientists suggest that renewables will need to supply more than 70 percent of global electricity to li*mit planetary warming to 1.5oC by 2050.1 Investment levels are an important consideration as trillions of dollars in new electricity sector investment will be needed to meet the global targets in the Paris Climate Agreement.2

    While these are aggressive targets, they pale when contrasted with the magnitude of climate change effects which are already taking a toll throughout the U.S. economy. In 2017, Goldman Sachs downgraded its GDP forecast by 0.8 percent due to three Category 4 hurricanes which exceeded $265 billion in damages.3As of April 2019, the grain belt had experienced its wettest 12 months ever, with repeated flooding and 200 more tornadoes than average, suppressing agricultural output.4

    Meanwhile, U.S. sustainable investing has grown from $8.7 trillion in 2016 to over $12 trillion today, representing approximately one in four dollars in total U.S. assets under management.5 ESG investing, a sub-category of sustainable investing, evaluates companies’ environmental, social and governance practices along with financial factors. ESG has tremendous potential for climate change mitigation because it links companies’ climate impact with long-term financial performance.

    Unfortunately, the subjective nature of ESG scoring does not always acknowledge companies who are leading the transition to a low-carbon economy. Absent recognition of a company’s downstream business activities, all else equal, there is a risk that a company that invests in or develops coal power plants could be rated the same as, or higher than, a peer company that invests in renewable energy or other technologies that mitigate climate change. This represents a fundamental shortcoming in the current rating system.

    Key Recommendations

    Enhance Renewable Energy Disclosure in Scope 1-3 Emissions…

    Provide Credit for Avoided Emissions…

    Implement Standardized, Material and Forward-Looking Data Reporting…

    Adopt a Universal Climate Benchmark…

    Conclusion

    The analysis and recommendations in this paper aim to drive ESG investment toward the companies doing the most to mitigate the long-term damages of climate change. A full accounting of renewable energy use and investment in ESG scoring will go a long way toward achieving this objective. ACORE applauds the efforts of the ESG community and, with our vast network of investors and renewable energy companies, stands ready to collaborate with stakeholders across all relevant sectors to help implement these recommendations with the goal of realizing the full potential of ESG investing.

    NO QUICK NEWS October 29

    Saturday, October 26, 2019

    Wind Fits

    Repeatedly, real world experience is that properly sited wind turbines are no threat to the landscape. From greenmanbucket via YouTube

    The History And Power Of Electric Motors

    The time of the electric vehicle has come. From NRDCflix via YouTube

    Hurricanes Changing

    The Climate Crisis is changing everything, even hurricanes. From YaleClimateConnections via YouTube

    Friday, October 25, 2019

    Why Climate Crisis Action Matters

    From Antarctica to the Oceans, Climate Change Damage Is About to Get a Lot Worse, IPCC Warns; Dangerous shifts are already underway. If fossil fuel use continues at this -- pace, the world will see sweeping consequences for nature and humans, report authors say.

    Sabrina Shankman, September 25, 2019 (Inside Climate News)

    “…[The earth’s] cryosphere—areas of the planet that are frozen—is shrinking as glaciers and sea ice melt, snowpack declines and permafrost thaws. At the same time, oceans have absorbed 90 percent of the excess heat and about a quarter of the carbon dioxide from human activities, leading to greater acidification that harms shellfish and corals and lowers oxygen levels in the water…[The severity of the impacts] – whether sea level rise stops at 1 to 2 feet by 2100 or continues to rise as high as 3.5 feet; whether the planet sees 20 times more marine heat waves or 50 times more – depends on how, and how quickly, humanity responds…[The difference between modeled impacts] presents a strong argument in favor of climate action…

    Even if greenhouse gas emissions were stopped tomorrow, the warming impacts of what has already been emitted will continue. That means that a best-case, low-emissions scenario for the future will still see some significant impacts, especially for coastal communities…Under a high-emissions scenario, the outlook [for food and water security] darkens even more…[Five actions could [contribute as much as 21 percent of the emission reduction required in 2050 to] mitigate climate change: scaling up renewable energy; decarbonizing shipping and transport; protecting and restoring coastal and marine ecosystems; changes to fisheries, aquaculture and diets; and using the seabed for carbon storage…” click here for more

    A Global New Energy Progress Report

    More Renewables Than Fossil Fuels: As the U.K. Reaches an Energy Milestone, Here’s How Far Others Have Gotten

    David Meyer, October 15, 2019 (Fortune)

    “…The third quarter of this year was the first where more electricity was generated in the UK from renewable sources than from fossil fuels…Q3 saw 40% of power come from renewables such as wind, biomass and solar…[while fossil fuels accounted for 39% and 21%] came from nuclear…[Some countries including Iceland, Norway and Costa Rica] run entirely (or almost entirely) on renewable energy…[thanks largely to abundant hydro power or] geothermal…Sweden is the top performer in the European Union, and met its 50% by 2020 goal] seven years ago…[Germany’s renewable energy production crossed] the 40%-share threshold last year...[though] fossil fuels still accounted for around 45% of German energy generation…

    Spain took two fifths of its electricity from renewable sources last year…[L]ast month, 43% of Portugal‘s energy also came from renewable sources, versus 42% from non-renewables…China’s share of renewables in its power-generation mix is, at almost 27% last year, relatively low…[and it] remains the world’s biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions…[but it] was also responsible for nearly a third of the world’s renewables investment last year…India, another major carbon-emitter, is at just over 19% New Energy and Japan was] at 17.4% last year…[The U.S.] saw renewables take a 18% share of power generation…” click here for more

    New Report Forecasts Global Solar Boom

    Distributed solar to drive global renewable growth 50% by 2024: IEA

    Robert Walton, October 22, 2019 (Utility Dive)

    “…Renewable energy's share of global power generation will rise from 26% today to 30% in 2024…[with solar] generation making up almost 60% of renewables growth…[and] onshore wind representing 25%...[Offshore wind will] contribute 4%, but its capacity is forecast to triple by 2024 [according to the newest IEA report]…Total solar capacity is expected to grow 250%...with distributed solar projected to make up almost half of that growth…[Aided by falling prices and clean energy policy, renewables] are the world's second largest source of electricity…[But deployment needs to accelerate] to achieve long-term climate, air quality and energy access goals…

    IEA's analysis concludes there are three main challenges to the deployment of green power: policy and regulatory uncertainty, high investment risks, and challenges to integrating intermittent resources onto the power grid. A major catalyst, on the other hand, is the continued decline in price…[T]he cost of generating electricity from distributed solar systems is already below retail electricity prices in most countries…[and] will decline another 15% to 35% by 2024…Wind energy is also expected to see significant growth…Offshore capacity is expected to increase almost 300%, adding 43 GW to reach 65 GW in 2024…Hydropower is currently the largest renewable energy source and will hold that title through 2024…” click here for more

    Thursday, October 24, 2019

    Big Oil’s Climate Crisis Denial Goes On

    The Climate Crisis: Ignored By Trump, Greenwashed by Big Oil

    Frederick Hewett, October 22, 2019 (WBUR/NPR Massachusetts)

    “…[Climate change will not be on the agenda of next June’s] 2020 meeting of the G7 nations…[This announcement from the White House] was just the latest in a series of disheartening developments related to the climate and the world's energy future…In the Democratic presidential contenders' most recent debate — moderated by CNN and the New York Times — the panel did not deign to pose a single question on the climate crisis…[This failure implicitly attenuated] the public's perception of the issue's urgency and importance…[More bad news came when Shell Oil CEO Ben van Beurden recently] voiced his commitment to the corporation's shareholders to grow its core business in fossil fuels in the coming decades…

    By 2025, Shell expects to develop 35 new oil and gas fields…[Shell sees itself] heroically fulfilling the needs of a world starved for energy…[instead of like] the tobacco industry, which profits from the sale of addictive carcinogens because there's a market for them…[Leaders of multinational oil and gas companies, including Chevron, BP, Total and Suncor] acknowledge the need to reduce carbon emissions…[and the need for] more investment in renewable energy…[but] are doing all they can to sustain their high-profit status quo, and protecting the climate is an afterthought, at best…” click here for more

    The Fight For Solar Now

    The 50 States of Solar: Net Metering Reforms Dominate State Policy Activity in Q3 2019

    October 23, 2019 (North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center)

    “…42 states, plus the District of Columbia took some type of distributed solar policy action during Q3 2019, [according to the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) Q3 2019 50 States of Solar update,] with the greatest number of actions continuing to address net metering policies, residential fixed charge or minimum bill increases, and community solar policies…A total of 150 distributed solar policy actions were taken during Q3 2019, with the greatest number of actions taken in California, New York, Arizona, Arkansas, New Hampshire, and Louisiana…The report identifies three trends in solar policy activity… (1) utilities proposing more modest residential fixed charge increases, (2) states considering credit adders for community solar projects serving low-income customers, and (3) stakeholders reaching agreements on net metering reform in some states but not others…

    ...[T]he top five policy developments of Q3 2019 were: The Louisiana Public Service Commission approving major net metering reforms; Connecticut regulators filing proposed shared solar program rules; Xcel Energy requesting changes to the value of solar methodology in Minnesota; The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission opening a new proceeding on DERs; and Massachusetts regulators rejecting National Grid’s proposed minimum monthly reliability contribution for net metering customers…” click here for more

    The Big Moves In U.S. Ocean Wind

    The future of US offshore wind: the top ten biggest projects; Nascent sector will grow from 30MW to several gigawatts over the coming years…

    Richard A Kessler, 22 October 2019 (ReCharge)

    In four short years, US offshore wind has transitioned from a 30MW five-turbine pilot project operating off Rhode Island to a potential major new source of clean, cost-competitive energy for the nation’s most populous coastal states…Industry forecasts suggest US offshore wind capacity could grow to as much as 16GW by 2030, although this will be influenced by multiple factors such as how fast projects can navigate through the regulatory process, supply-chain development, pricing and technology trends…Market interest is being driven by a surge in policy commitments [totaling 22 GW by 2035] by states along the eastern seaboard…[Competition at offshore acreage lease auctions] next year in New York and California are expected to generate record-high revenues for the federal government…

    …[The top ten U.S. offshore wind projects now in the works are (10) Icebreaker Wind, 20.7MW, in shallow Ohio-owned waters in Lake Erie facing the city of Cleveland…(9) Skipjack, 120MW, off the coast of Delaware…(8) South Fork, 130MW, off the coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts…(7) Marwind, 248MW, off Ocean City, Maryland…(6) Revolution Wind, 700MW, also off the coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts…(5) Vineyard Wind, 800MW, off Massachusetts’ Martha’s Vineyard…(4) Empire Wind, 816MW, off New York’s Long Island coast…(3) Sunrise Wind, 880MW, also off Long Island…(2) Ocean Wind, 1.1GW, off New Jersey’s coast…and (1) Dominion, 2.64GW, off the coast of Virginia, which] would be among the world’s largest…” click here for more

    Wednesday, October 23, 2019

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: The Fight To Grow Transmission With Competition

    With new transmission urgently needed, FERC Chair hints at a new Order 1000 proceeding; Brattle Group data shows the landmark Order has failed to grow competitive transmission

    Herman K. Trabish, May 31, 2019 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: The need for new and renewed transmission continues to grow but the debate to open building up to competition goes on unresolved.

    The U.S. power system is considered one of the greatest engineering achievement of the 20th century, but it urgently needs a 21st century upgrade. But electricity consumers pay billions due to congestion and outages, according to the U.S. Energy Department. System operators report that new wires significantly reduce those costs. But transmission and distribution developers are at such odds with one another over who should do the upgrades and how they should be selected that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) may step in.

    "New development should be through competitively-bid projects," Brattle Group Principal Judy Chang, co-author of a new study on recent transmission expansions, told Utility Dive. "We documented that competitive solicitations lower customer costs."

    Brattle's study was commissioned and endorsed by LSP Transmission Holdings, a major U.S. transmission owner-developer. Other major U.S. transmission owner-developers object to the study's conclusions. “FERC's adoption of Order 1000 laid the framework for competition," and American Electric Power (AEP) "was the first utility to create a successful competitive transmission company," AEP spokesperson Tammy Ridout emailed Utility Dive. But Brattle "significantly overstates the cost saving opportunity" from competitive bidding that would go to customers.

    "Everyone seems to agree that Order 1000 is not working as intended," but "that's about the only thing stakeholders can agree on," FERC Chair Neil Chatterjee emailed Utility Dive. "We owe it to consumers to put our best effort forward on making competition work," and stakeholders must "come together to address these big issues." This suggests a new Order 1000 proceeding could be coming. "It is time to open up Order 1000 again," former FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff, who oversaw the Order's 2011 passage, told Utility Dive.

    The need for transmission Order 1000, issued in July 2011, was intended to expand transmission to help meet the growing demand for renewable generation. It revised rules on transmission planning, on allocating transmission costs and on competitive bidding. New transmission has come online, but 70% of the system is over 25 years old.

    Order 1000 was a "well-intentioned attempt" to address "obstacles holding back transmission investment," but it has suffered from "unintended consequences and lackluster implementation," a May study from Grid Strategies Vice President Michael Goggin, who has testified to FERC on Order 1000 issues, reported… click here for more

    NO QUICK NEWS

    Tuesday, October 22, 2019

    TODAY’S STUDY: California’s Climate Crisis Fight Right Now

    2019 California Green Innovation Index

    October 8, 2019 (Beacon Economics for Next 10)

    California’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    • Total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions fell by 1.15 percent, or 4.94 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) between 2016 and 2017—to a total of 424.1 MMTCO2e in 2017.

    • Among the key sectors of the California economy, only the electricity generation sector has seen continuous and significant improvements in terms of reducing GHG emissions. The Industrial (-4.4%), Residential (-4.2%) and Transportation (-4.9%) sectors have seen only marginal decreases compared to 2000, while emissions from Commercial increased 64.7 percent from 2000—driven largely by an increase in GHGs from high global warming potential gases. Looking deeper, on-road passenger vehicles accounted for 28 percent of the state’s total GHG emissions, up 0.5 percent from 2016, while the Transportation sector as a whole represented 41.1 percent of the state’s total emissions.

    • If the current trajectory continues, the state will take significantly more time to reach its 2030 and 2050 goals than it did to reach the 2020 goal. Assuming the same rate of reduction from 2016 to 2017, California will reach its 2030 and 2050 goals in 2061 and 2157, respectively— representing a 31-year and a 107-year delay. Even using the average rate of decline from the three most recent years (-1.57%), the respective goals would be met in 2050 and 2121.

    • California’s fossil fuel energy-related carbon dioxide emissions per capita were 9.2 MMTCO2e per person in 2016—the second-lowest among the 50 states, behind New York—and have remained relatively constant since 2011. The U.S. average in 2016 was 16 MMTCO2e per person.

    • From 2016 to 2017, California’s inflationadjusted GDP per capita grew 3.1 percent while economy-wide per capita GHG emissions decreased 1.8 percent. Compared to 1990, California’s per capita GDP grew 41.3 percent while reducing per capita GHG emissions by 25.4 percent.

    • California's carbon intensity continues to improve. From 2012 to 2017, its carbon intensity relative to economic output declined at a rate of 4.53 percent per year—faster than the 10-year average of 3.18 percent from 2007 to 2017.

    • In 2016, California’s carbon intensity relative to GDP was 54.3 percent lower than that of the rest of the U.S. Compared to the other populous states, California’s carbon intensity was 44.2 percent lower than Florida’s, 46.1 percent lower than Illinois’, 54.1 percent lower than Pennsylvania’s, 58.2 percent lower than Ohio’s, and 66.2 percent lower than Texas’ in 2016.

    • California’s carbon intensity relative to energy supply declined only 1.6 percent from 2000 to 2016, the smallest decrease among the most populous states. By comparison, energy supply carbon intensity declined 10.4 percent in the rest of U.S. over the same period.

    California’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    HIGHLIGHT:

    After meeting the AB 32 goal in 2016, total included greenhouse gas emissions2 fell 4.94 MMTCO2e to 424.1 MMTCO2e (-1.15%) in 2017, remaining below the 1990 level of 431 MMTCO2e.

    CHALLENGE:

    Once again, electricity generation (both in-state and imports) provided the lion’s share of emissions decreases between 2016 and 2017, with each falling 8.9 percent. Because other sectors are not seeing significant declines and—in some cases—are contributing increased emissions, California would not be on track to meet its Senate Bill 32 (SB 32) goal of reducing total emissions to 259 MMTCO2e in 2030 if these trends continue.

    HIGHLIGHTS:

    1 The transportation sector remains the largest-emitting sector in California by far at 41.1 percent of the total in 2017, up from 40.4 percent in 2016. On-road passenger vehicles alone accounted for 28 percent of the state’s total emissions, up 0.5 percent from 2016. Comparatively, emissions from the entire power sector make up less than 15 percent of the state’s total emissions.

    2 The electric power sector’s share fell from 16 percent in 2016 to 14.8 percent, about equal the combined shares of Agriculture & Forestry (7.6%) and Residential (7.2%). As the state continues to decarbonize its grid, the electric power sector’s share of total emissions is on track to become even smaller.

    CHALLENGES:

    1 By top-level economic sector, only the electricity generation sectors have seen continuous and significant improvements in terms of reducing GHG emissions. GHG emissions from electricity imports and from in-state generation are down 47.9 percent and 35.0 percent, respectively, relative to 2000.

    2 Industrial (-4.4%), Residential (-4.2%) and Transportation (-4.9%) have seen only marginal decreases compared to 2000; in fact, the Transportation sector has been trending in the wrong direction since 2013. Unfortunately, GHG emissions in the Commercial sector keep increasing (+64.7% relative to 2000), due primarily to an increase in high global warming potential gases stemming from the use of substitutes for ozone depleting substances (ODS substitutes). These substitutes are primarily used for refrigerants and air conditioning.

    3 Clean electricity will be foundational to a decarbonized economy. However, relying solely on the electric power sector to score overall GHG emission reductions is not sustainable in the long-term. So far, the electric power sectors have seen dramatic reductions because the state has a great degree of control over its power mix, while GHG emissions from all other sectors are fundamentally functions of end-users’ consumption behaviors. Addressing emissions from some of these harder-to-reach sectors will be critical to meeting the state’s future climate goals.

    CHALLENGES:

    1 Based on the current pace of year-over-year percentage reductions, the state will need to work increasingly harder in order to meet the SB 32 goal by 2030. Previously, the state needed to reduce its GHG emissions by an average of 3.92 percent annually between 2016 to 2030 in order to attain the goal. However, since the state only achieved a 1.15 percent reduction between 2016 and 2017, the state will now need to reduce its GHG emissions by an average of 4.51 percent annually from 2017 to 2030 in order to attain the goal—a three-fold increase.

    2 At the current trajectory, the state will take significantly more time to reach its SB 32 and 2050 goals than it did to reach the 2020 goal. Assuming the same rate of reduction from 2016 to 2017, California would reach its SB 32 and 2050 goals in 2061 and 2157, respectively—representing a 31-year and a 107-year delay. Using the average rate of decline from the three most recent years (-1.57%), the respective goals would be met in 2050 and 2121 instead.

    HIGHLIGHT:

    California continues to demonstrate that economic growth need not to be compromised in order to reduce GHG emissions. From 2016 to 2017, the state’s inflationadjusted GDP per capita grew 3.1 percent while per capita GHG emissions decreased 1.8 percent. Compared to 1990, California’s per capita GDP grew 41.3 percent while per capita GHG emissions decreased by 25.4 percent.

    HIGHLIGHTS:

    1 The carbon intensity of the California economy continues to decline, with emissions of 0.154 MTCO2e per $1,000 of GDP (inflation-adjusted to 2017 dollars) generated in 2017, a 4.7 percent improvement compared to 2016 and a 27.6 percent improvement compared to ten years prior. California’s carbon intensity has declined consistently since 2007— the most recent year when carbon intensity was higher than during the previous year.

    2 From 1990 to 2017, California's carbon intensity declined at a rate of 2.34 percent per year. From 2007 to 2017, its carbon intensity declined at a rate of 3.18 percent per year, and from 2012 to 2017, its carbon intensity declined at a rate of 4.53 percent per year. This means that the rate of decline is increasing and has gotten faster within the last five years.

    HIGHLIGHT:

    In 2016 (the latest year for which nationally comparable data are available), $1,000 of economic activity3 in California resulted in 0.139 MTCO2e produced. In comparison, the same $1,000 of economic activity in the U.S. (excluding California) resulted in 0.304 MTCO2e produced in 2016—more than double that of California. In addition to performing well in terms of carbon intensity, California also has one of the lowest energyrelated GHG emissions per capita levels at 9.2 MTCO2e per person in 2016. The Golden State maintained its position in 2016 as the state with the second-lowest energy-related carbon dioxide emissions per capita, behind only New York.

    HIGHLIGHTS:

    1 In 2016, California’s carbon intensity was 54.3 percent lower than that of the rest of the U.S. Compared to years past, the difference between California’s carbon intensity and that of the rest of the U.S. has gradually widened. Relative to the rest of the U.S., California’s carbon intensity was 51.7 percent lower in 1990, 53.2 percent lower in 1996, 53.9 percent lower in 2006, and 54.0 percent lower in 2015.

    2 California maintained its high rank as the fourthmost carbon-efficient compared to other U.S. states in 2016. Compared to 2015, the state’s carbon intensity decreased 2.8 percent, surpassing the nationwide average decline of 2.3 percent. However, New York (-2.9%), Connecticut (-5.8%), and Massachusetts (-3.4%)—the three states with lower carbon intensities than California—all recorded greater year-over-year decreases in carbon intensity between 2015 to 2016.

    HIGHLIGHT:

    Relative to GDP, California’s economy-wide carbon intensity has seen consistent declines over the years. However, this is not true relative to energy supply, specifically. Relative to 2000, California’s carbon intensity in energy supply (MTCO2e relative to British thermal unit) declined only 1.6 percent in 2016—the smallest among the most populous states. By comparison, carbon intensity of energy supply declined 10.4 percent in the rest of U.S. Even New York, which always has had lower energy supply carbon intensity than California, managed to see a 13.8 percent decline over the same period.

    CHALLENGE:

    Generally, the states with lower energy intensity also tend to be more densely populated. However, California is an exception to this rule. Over time, as California has moved away from natural gas and toward more renewables, the state’s remaining fossil fuel consumption mix (which includes coal and natural gas predominantly in power plants, and petroleum predominantly in the transportation sector) shifted slightly toward more petroleum and less natural gas. Indeed, compared to 2009, when petroleum accounted for 65.0 percent of emissions, in 2016 petroleum use (which was primarily from vehicles) accounted for 66.2 percent of the emissions. Meanwhile, the share of emissions from natural gas declined from 33.7 percent to 33.0 percent over the same time period. Outside of California, the consumption mix of other states has also become cleaner, with either a shift from coal to petroleum and natural gas (e.g., Illinois and the U.S.), or from coal and petroleum to natural gas (e.g., New York). As a result of these shifting energy source trends, while energy supply carbon intensity is decreasing in the rest of the U.S., it has remained at a relatively stagnant level in California since 2000.

    OPPORTUNITY:

    That petroleum is the main source of emissions from fuel underscores California’s need to reduce emissions from transportation. As zero-emission vehicles become more commonplace and the transportation sector becomes increasingly electrified, the state should move away from fossil fuels as a significant source of emissions…

    QUICK NEWS, October 22: The Crisis From A Different Angle; Three New Energy Growth Buys

    The Crisis From A Different Angle Climate scientist: We must change the way we approach the climate crisis

    Wolfgang Knorr, October 22, 2019 (The Conversation via PhysOrg)

    “…[As the emergency becomes ever more acute, scientists] need to alter the way we approach it—or face being part of the problem…[Work to date has been good but has] not had any impact on the carbon course of humanity…[Despite the best work of science,] CO₂ emissions from human activities have been growing exponentially, on average by 1.65% per year since 1850…If we continue this exponential rise for just five more years, we will have already exhausted the carbon allowance that gives us a two-thirds chance of limiting warming to 1.5°C…In the face of a genuine existential threat to our civilization, we scientists need to shift our focus from long-term models that give a false sense of control over the climate crisis’…

    …[W]e should focus on vulnerability in the here and now…[C]ompared to the vast amount of research focused on the uncertain impacts of global heating on humanity by 2050 and 2100, we know worryingly little about just how fragile our supply chains—or other parts of our highly efficient clockwork global economy—are in the near-term. Refocusing resources on such dramatically under-researched short-term vulnerabilities is vital, not least because it will make the climate and ecological crisis feel more close to home than abstract carbon budgets and temperature rises…By reframing our research and changing accepted levels of risk and uncertainty, perhaps climate scientists can finally help humanity change its carbon course.” click here for more

    Three New Energy Growth Buys Investors Rejoice: U.S. Renewables Could Top Coal by 2022; A surge in wind power can blow coal down the rankings in the near future. These renewable energy stocks could benefit.

    Maxx Chatsko, October 19, 2019 (The Motley Fool)

    “…The United States is expected to add 22,000 megawatts of wind power capacity in the 18-month period ending December 2020. Based on the average output of new wind turbines, upgrades to existing wind farms, the steady rise of solar power, and the epic collapse of coal-fired power plants, the country could generate more electricity from renewable power sources than it does from coal as soon as 2022…[C]oal-fired power plants will account for just 25% of total American electricity production in 2019 and 22% in 2020. That's down from 28% in 2018 and nearly 50% in the early 2000s…[A]ll renewable power sources -- primarily hydropower, wind, and solar -- will provide up to 19% of American electricity in 2020…[and] near-term estimates for renewable energy have historically underestimated the real-world growth of wind and solar…

    The United States counted 97,000 megawatts of installed wind power capacity at the end of June 2019 and is expected to have roughly 120,000 megawatts spinning by the end of 2020…[T]he United States could lean on wind power for 10% of its total electricity in 2021. Add in expected contributions from hydropower (7%), solar (4% to 5%), and other renewables (1% to 2%), and the nation could generate at least 22% of its electricity from renewables…[C]oal-fired power plant retirements could help renewables top coal in 2021 or 2022 for the first time since the American Civil War…[American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP), NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE)] and Xcel Energy (NASDAQ:XEL) are building big shares] of the nation's wind and solar power capacity…[T]he near-term surge in wind power will likely be surpassed by a surge in solar power investments beginning in the mid-2020s…[These may be] significant growth opportunities.” click here for more

    Monday, October 21, 2019

    TODAY’S STUDY: How To Meet The Challenge Of Industrial Emissions

    Low-Carbon Heat Solutions for Heavy Industry: Sources, Options, and Costs Today

    Julio Friedmann, Zhiyuan Fan, Ke Tang, October 7, 2019 (Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy)

    Executive Summary

    Recent studies indicate there is an urgent need to dramatically reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from heavy industrial applications (including cement, steel, petrochemicals, glass and ceramics, and refining). Heavy industry produces roughly 22 percent of global CO₂ emissions. Of these, roughly 40 percent (about 10 percent of total emissions) is the direct consequence of combustion to produce high-quality heat, almost entirely from the combustion of fossil fuels. This is chiefly because these fuels are relatively cheap, are widely available in large volumes, and produce high-temperature heat in great amounts.

    Many industrial processes require very large amounts of thermal energy at very high temperatures (more than 300°C and often more than 800°C). For example, conventional steel blast furnaces operate at about 1,100°C, and conventional cement kilns operate at about 1,400°C. In addition, many commercial industrial facilities require continuous operation or operation on demand. The nature of industrial markets creates challenges to the decarbonization of industrial heat. In some cases (e.g., steel, petrochemicals), global commodity markets govern product trade and price. Individual national action on the decarbonization of heavy industry can lead to trade disadvantage, which can be made acute for foundational domestic industries (in some cases, with national security implications). This can also lead to offshoring of production and assets, leading to carbon “leakage” as well as local job and revenue loss (with political consequences). In many cases, lack of options could lead to dramatic price increases for essential products (e.g., cement for concrete, an essential building material). Risk of carbon leakage, price escalation, and trade complexity limits the range of policy applications available to address this decarbonization need.

    To explore the topic of industrial heat decarbonization, the authors undertook an initial review of all options to supply high temperature, high flux, and high volume heat for a subset of major industrial applications: cement manufacturing, primary iron and steel production, methanol and ammonia synthesis, and glassmaking. From the initial comprehensive set of potential heat supply options, the authors selected a subset of high relevance and common consideration:

    Biomass and biofuel combustion

    Hydrogen combustion (including hydrogen produced from natural gas with 89 percent carbon capture (blue hydrogen) and hydrogen produced from electrolysis of water using renewable power (green hydrogen)

    Electrical heating (including electrical resistance heating and radiative heating (e.g., microwaves)

    Nuclear heat production (including conventional and advanced systems)

    ’ The application of post-combustion carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS) to industrial heat supply and to the entire facility, as a basis for comparison

    The authors focus on substitutions and retrofits to existing facilities and on four primary concerns: cost, availability, viability of retrofit/substitution, and life-cycle footprint. In short, the paper finds:

    All approaches have substantial limitations or challenges to commercial deployment. Some processes (e.g., steelmaking) will likely have difficulty accepting options for substitution. All options would substantially increase the production cost and wholesale price of industrial products. For many options (e.g., biomass or electrification), the life-cycle carbon footprint or efficiency of heat deposition are highly uncertain and cannot be resolved simply. This complicates crafting sound policy and assessing technical options and viability.

    Most substitute supply options for low-carbon heat appear more technically challenging and expensive than retrofits for CCUS. Even given the uncertainties around costs and documented complexities in applying CO₂ capture to industrial systems, it may prove simpler and cheaper to capture and store CO₂. CCUS would have the added benefit of capturing emissions from by-product industrial chemistry, which can represent 20–50 percent of facility emissions and would not be captured through heat substitution alone. Critically, CCUS is actionable today, providing additional GHG mitigation to industrial heat and process emissions as other options mature and become economically viable.

    Hydrogen combustion provided the readiest source of heat of all the options assessed, was the simplest to apply (including retrofit), and was the most tractable life-cycle basis. Today, hydrogen produced from reforming natural gas and decarbonized with CCUS (blue hydrogen) has the best cost profile for most applications and the most mature supply chain, and it would commonly add 10–50 percent to wholesale production costs. It also could provide a pathway to increase substitution with hydrogen produced by electrolysis of water from carbon-free electricity (green hydrogen), which today would increase costs 200–800 percent but would drop as low-carbon power supplies grow and electrolyzer costs drop. Hydrogen-based industrial heat provides an actionable pathway to start industrial decarbonization at once, particularly in the petrochemical, refining, and glass sectors, while over time reducing cost and contribution of fossil sources. However, substitution of hydrogen will prove more difficult or infeasible for steel and cement, which might require more comprehensive redesign and investment.

    Most of the other options appear to add substantially to final production costs—commonly twice that of blue hydrogen substitution or CCUS—and are more difficult to implement. However, all options show the potential for substantial cost reductions. An innovation agenda remains a central important undertaking and likely would yield near-term benefits in cost reduction, ease of implementation, and a lower life-cycle carbon footprint. Prior lack of focus on industrial heat supplies as a topic leave open many possibilities for improvement, and dedicated research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) programs could make substantial near-term progress. To avoid commercial and technical failure, government innovation programs should work closely with industry leaders at all levels of investigation.

    New policies specific to heavy industry heat and decarbonization are required to stimulate market adoption. Policies must address concerns about leakage and global commodity trade effects as well as the environmental consequences. These policies could include sets of incentives (e.g., government procurement mandates, tax credits, feed-in tariffs) large enough to overcome the trade and cost concerns. Alternatively, policies like border adjustment tariffs would help protect against leakage or trade impacts. Because all options suffer from multiple challenges or deficiencies, innovation policy (including programs that both create additional options and improve existing options) is essential to deliver rapid progress in industrial heat decarbonization and requires new programs and funding. As a complement to innovation policy and governance, more work is needed to gather and share fundamental technical and economic data around industrial heat sources, efficiency, use, and footprint…

    Findings And Conclusions

    Finding 1: Significant GHG emissions result from a generation of heat for heavy industry. These emissions represent roughly 10 percent of global emissions, and it is unlikely that climate stabilization can be achieved without managing heat-related industrial emissions. They represent an underexplored contributor to climate change risks and an underexplored opportunity to profoundly reduce emissions.

    Finding 2: Few options exist today to reasonably substitute low-carbon heat sources. Unlike the power sector and light-duty vehicles, the operational requirements of temperature, quality, flux, and high capacity place stringent constraints on viable options. These are further narrowed by geographic limits of natural resources and infrastructure. The true viability, cost, and carbon footprint of options remain poorly understood.

    Finding 3: Data on low-carbon heat alternatives is scarce. International scholarship and analysis on decarbonization have focused on other sectors, and within the industrial sector, have focused on novel pathways for material production that could serve as a substitute. As such, primary and derivative data is limited and hard to assemble, which contributes to the lack of understanding of options and risks. The overall understanding of likely carbon footprint, viability, costs, and tradeoffs is poor.

    Conclusion 1: National and regional governments with substantial industrial emissions should begin programs to understand their heat-related emissions. This should include data gathering and dissemination, analytical programs to assess the nation’s potential vulnerabilities and opportunities, and potential supply chain and infrastructure limits to substitute options for low-carbon heat.

    Finding 4: All options for low-carbon heat face substantial technical, operation, and economic challenges. These challenges might include lack of viable engineering pathways to substitutions, limited supplies of key options or feedstocks, lack of enabling natural resources (e.g., CO2 storage or biomass), and fully realized costs. It is possible that these options carry additional hidden risks such as leakage.

    Finding 5: Today, most alternatives to generate low-carbon heat cost significantly more than current heating fuels and systems. Compared to fossil fuel costs (mostly coal and gas), all options show a significant price increase of 2–20 times. These costs are sensitive to price of feedstocks (electric power, natural gas, biomass) and almost certainly carry additional hidden costs associated with poor conversion efficiency, poor heat deposition in real facilities, and system related costs (e.g., infrastructure build-out).

    5

    Finding 6: Providing low-carbon heat would likely increase the wholesale cost of production substantially. Because high-quality heat is vital to industrial operations, increased cost of low-carbon heat would yield higher unit production costs. Increases would range from 10–200 percent, depending on heat supply, industrial sector, and specific application.

    Conclusion 2: More options and better options are needed. Given the urgency for deep decarbonization globally, options for substitution are essential. Given the paucity of good industrial heat-related emissions options, the current set is hard to deploy even with substantial subsidies. Researchers, governments, industrial leaders, and investors must add greatly to existing efforts to develop new and better solutions or to improve existing ones dramatically.

    Finding 7: Many options for low-carbon heat do not appear competitive with CCUS retrofits on heat production systems or full plants. Based on current data, CCUS retrofits appear to have better costs than many options (including biofuels, electrification, and green hydrogen). CCUS retrofits on the entire facility, including byproduct emissions from key processes like coking and calcining, appear to be lower in cost than many options that don’t deal with process emissions. While these estimates have large uncertainties, including estimates for CCUS retrofits, this finding may prove robust under additional assessment.

    Finding 8: Today, low-carbon hydrogen appears the most versatile and lowest cost. The lowest cost, most universal option across sectors appears to be hydrogen from natural gas partially or fully decarbonized through application of CCUS on the production facility (blue hydrogen). Blue hydrogen appears to provide the easiest pathway to substitute in many facilities, especially those using natural gas today, and is straightforward to scale. Finally, blue hydrogen creates an on-ramp for green hydrogen, which may become more cost competitive as renewable power for electrolysis drops in price.

    Conclusion 3: CCUS is likely to prove important. In the near term, CCUS appears to be both an important enabler of low-carbon heat options (including biofuels) and may prove to be cheaper and simpler than substitution of many heat options. Given that, governments and industrial leaders should accelerate assessment of CCUS as an option for their enterprises and consider investing in both infrastructure and deployment.

    Finding 9: Special policy options may be needed to decarbonize industrial heat. The high cost and low technical maturity of most low-carbon heat options in most applications limit policy approaches substantially. The complexities of trade, labor, and security are acute in heavy industry energy policy and politics, and the risk of backlash to poorly designed policy appears substantial. Many industrial sectors are excepted today from carbon control policies.

    Conclusion 4: Several policy options appear both effective and actionable. Of the policy options explored, government “buy clean” procurement policies appear to have low political risk and could stimulate private investment in low-carbon heat options by creating a new customer for low-carbon products—substantial volumes of industrial product are purchased directly by governments. An innovation policy also appears to carry low political risk while accelerating creation of new options and deployment of existing options by accelerating cost reduction and discovery.

    Finding 10: Much more work is needed. This report and the analysis within it should serve as a departure point for further analysis and research. It is likely to require many researchers working over many years to provide definitive progress on viable options for low-carbon heat for industry…

    QUICK NEWS, October 21: Don’t Insure A Climate Crisis; New Energy And The Circular Economy

    Don’t Insure A Climate Crisis How the Insurance Industry Bears Responsibility for the Climate Crisis; In this op-ed, an Insure our Future activist argues that the insurance industry could help address the climate crisis by refusing to back environmentally-destructive projects.

    Schuyler Holder, October 21, 2019 (Teen Vogue)

    “…[C]hanging how the insurance industry operates could be critical to addressing the climate crisis…[C]oal plants can't operate without insurance. The Trans Mountain Pipeline can't be built without insurance. Offshore oil rigs can't drill without insurance…[Insurance companies are] expected to have 400,000 job openings by next year and it’s counting on an influx of young talent…[N]ew graduates want to work with companies that care about and contribute to sustainability…[We want] something so much bigger than a desk job after graduation. We want climate change policies that will bring an end to the use of coal and other fossil fuels; we want investments in sustainable sources of energy…

    …[S]tudents considering careers in insurance can tell the industry to phase out underwriting of and investing in fossil fuels…[A new petition is not intended] to steer students away from the industry, but to bring young and matured talent together in an effort to reform current business practices that are driving climate change. Business and risk management students can join [use it to push] the insurance industry to take real action against the climate crisis…[by asking] prospective employers if they are pursuing sustainable practices and investments, and [by choosing to work for companies that are fighting for our future…” click here for more

    New Energy And The Circular Economy Breathing new life into renewable energy; Green technology has come a long way. The next challenge for the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory is to develop ways to recycle the recycling infrastructure.

    October 9, 2019 (Scientific American)

    “…Scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are working on ways to minimize waste from New Energy like replaced wind turbine blades and batteries and move] towards a circular economy, a world where waste is eliminated and materials are used again and again…[They are working on cutting-edge materials that can be] recaptured for use in the next (usually better) iteration…One promising idea is to fashion [wind turbine] blades from thermoplastics, which can be molded when heated but harden when cooled. Thermoplastic blades could be created on-site and could be melted down and repurposed at the end of their usable lives…

    …[Chemists are] working on processes to make recycled plastic as strong, or stronger, than the original…Moving to a circular economy can take a long time. Pairing government scientists with large corporations offers a way to speed up the process…[The scientists say the next five to ten years will be crucial to the emergence of new business models that can use the] huge potential to do more…” click here for more

    Saturday, October 19, 2019

    McDonalds Takes A Step Away From Beef

    Beef agriculture is one of the biggest drivers of the climate crisis. McDonalds is trying to do something right. Will their customers respond? From Sauce Stache via YouTube

    New Energy Is National Defense

    Wind installations are much harder targets than fossil and nuclear plants and they are spread out, which makes the grid more resilient. From greenmanbucket via YouTube

    Cars Can Be Safer, More Affordable AND Cleaner

    All it takes is “continuous improvement.” Innovate to compete. From The YEARS project via YouTube

    Friday, October 18, 2019

    Climate Crisis Has No Better Name

    'It's a crisis, not a change': the six Guardian language changes on climate matters; A short glossary of the changes we’ve made to the Guardian’s style guide, for use by our journalists and editors when writing about the environment

    Sophie Zeldin-O’Neill, 16 October 2019 (UK Guardian)

    “…[Changes to our style guide] more accurately describe the environmental crises facing the world…Climate change is no longer considered to accurately reflect the seriousness of the overall situation; use climate emergency or climate crisis instead to describe the broader impact of climate change. However, use climate breakdown or climate change or global heating when describing it specifically in a scientific or geophysical sense…“climate science denier” or “climate denier” to be used instead of “climate sceptic”…[A sceptic is] “a seeker of the truth; an inquirer who has not yet arrived at definite conclusions”…

    Most “climate sceptics”, in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence, deny climate change is happening, or is caused by human activity…“global warming” is more scientifically accurate [than “global warming”]… “greenhouse gas emissions” is preferred to “carbon emissions” or “carbon dioxide emissions”…[because it] recognises all of the climate-damaging gases, including methane… ‘wildlife’ is a much more accessible word [than “biodiversity” and is] less clinical…[“fish populations” instead of “fish stocks”] emphasises that fish do not exist solely to be harvested by humans…” click here for more

    Argentina Could Spur Global New Energy Spike

    Argentina May Be the Hottest Renewable Energy Market You Haven’t Heard Of. Can It Spur a Global Boom?

    Silvio Marcacci, October 15, 2019 (Forbes)

    “…From 2016 through 2019, Argentina’s government awarded contracts for 6.5 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy capacity, helping make wind and solar the country’s cheapest unsubsidized sources of energy. Roughly 5 GW of this capacity is already either in operation or under construction, attracting nearly $7.5 billion in new investment and creating more than 11,000 new jobs…When fully operational, these projects will push renewables to 18% of Argentina’s total power supply – a breakthrough considering they were at just 1.8% before 2016…The key to this growth was overcoming political and financial barriers to create market stability and connect foreign investors with abundant renewable energy resources. Now, that innovative power sector transformation approach is being taken abroad – and it could add 75 GW of new renewables along with $110 billion in new investment to developing nations in the next 20 years…

    …[R]enewable energy’s outlook in Argentina changed with the 2015 election. President Mauricio Macri’s Ministry of Energy and Mining aimed to diversify the country’s energy supply by attracting international private investment to the power sector and de-risking renewable energy projects…[A 20% by 2025 renewable portfolio standard (RPS) was] passed in September 2015…Argentina’s renewable energy sector truly reached investment grade when RenovAr secured $730 million in partial project guarantees from the World Bank over two funding rounds. This protected investors against contract defaults, spurred several other international financial institutions to invest in the market, and made Argentina’s renewable energy market ‘the most interesting in the world’…[Three additional auctions between 2016 and 2019 awarded] more than 4.8 GW of new renewable energy contracts across 190 projects…[They] are expected to attract $7.5 billion in financing…” click here for more

    Aussies Driving World’s New Energy Build

    Australia is the runaway global leader in building new renewable energy

    Matthew Stocks, Andrew Blakers, Ken Baldwin, September 24, 2019 (The Conversation)

    “In Australia, renewable energy is growing at a per capita rate ten times faster than the world average. Between 2018 and 2020, Australia will install more than 16 gigawatts of wind and solar, an average rate of 220 watts per person per year…This is nearly three times faster than the next fastest country, Germany…[T]he record-high installation rates of 2018 will continue through 2019 and 2020…[Investment dollars in renewable energy fell in 2019, but] actual generation capacity has risen…[because] less investment will buy you more capacity… 5.1 gigawatts (GW) accredited in 2018, far exceeding the previous record of 2.2GW in 2017…

    [It] was driven by the dramatic rise of large-scale solar farms, which comprised half of the new-build capacity accredited in 2018. There was a tenfold increase in solar farm construction from 2017…[Largely from large wind projects due to come online, this] year is on track to be another record year, with 6.5GW projected to be complete by the end of 2019…[With less than A$1,000 per kilowatt now considered routine and payback periods of the order of two to seven years, rooftop] solar has also increased, with current installation rates putting Australia on track for 1.9GW in 2019, also a new record…[In 2020,] almost 6GW of large-scale projects are expected to be completed, comprising 2.5GW of solar farms and 3.5GW of wind…” click here for more

    Thursday, October 17, 2019

    The Climate Crisis And Wasted Time

    Half a century of dither and denial – a climate crisis timeline; Fossil fuel companies have been aware of their impact on the planet since at least the 1950s

    Jonathan Watts, Garry Blight, Lydia Smears and Pablo Gutiérrez, 9 October 2019 (UK Guardian)

    “For more than 50 years, the petroleum industry and politicians have been warned about the climate risks of burning fossil fuels. Yet the top 20 fossil fuel firms have continued to expand and have been behind a third of all carbon emissions since 1965. This timeline shows who knew what and when, and how they communicated or obscured the threat to the public.

    1959: The physicist Edward Teller tells the American Petroleum Institute (API) a 10% increase in CO2 will be sufficient to melt the icecap and submerge New York. “I think that this chemical contamination is more serious than most people tend to believe.”

    1965: Lyndon Johnson’s President’s Science Advisory Committee states that “pollutants have altered on a global scale the carbon dioxide content of the air”, with effects that “could be deleterious from the point of view of human beings”. Summarising the findings, the head of the API warned the industry: “Time is running out.”

    1970: Shell and BP begin funding scientific research in Britain this decade to examine climate impacts from greenhouse gases.

    1977: A recently filed lawsuit claims Exxon scientists told management in 1977 there was an “overwhelming” consensus that fossil fuels were responsible for atmospheric carbon dioxide increases.

    1981: An internal Exxon memo warns “it is distinctly possible” that CO2 emissions from the company’s 50-year plan “will later produce effects which will indeed be catastrophic (at least for a substantial fraction of the Earth’s population)”.

    1988: The Nasa scientist James Hansen testifies to the US Senate that “the greenhouse effect has been detected, and it is changing our climate now”. In the US presidential campaign, George Bush Sr says: “Those who think we are powerless to do anything about the greenhouse effect forget about the White House effect … As president, I intend to do something about it.”

    1988: A confidential report prepared for Shell’s environmental conservation committee finds CO2 could raise temperatures by 1C to 2C over the next 40 years with changes that may be “the greatest in recorded history”. It urges rapid action by the energy industry. “By the time the global warming becomes detectable it could be too late to take effective countermeasures to reduce the effects or even stabilise the situation,” it states.

    1989: US industry groups establish the Global Climate Coalition (GCC), a lobbying group that challenges the science on global warming and delays action to reduce emissions. Exxon, Shell and BP join between 1993-94.

    1990: Exxon funds two researchers, Dr Fred Seitz and Dr Fred Singer, who dispute the mainstream consensus on climate science. Seitz and Singer were previously paid by the tobacco industry and questioned the hazards of smoking. Singer, who has denied being on the payroll of the tobacco or energy industry, has said his financial relationships do not influence his research.

    1991: Shell’s public information film Climate of Concern acknowledges there is a “possibility of change faster than at any time since the end of the ice age, change too fast, perhaps, for life to adapt without severe dislocation”.

    1992: At the Rio Earth summit, countries sign up to the world’s first international agreement to stabilise greenhouse gases and prevent dangerous manmade interference with the climate system. This establishes the UN framework convention on climate change. Bush Sr says: “The US fully intends to be the pre-eminent world leader in protecting the global environment.”

    1997: Two month’s before the Kyoto climate conference, Mobil (later merged with Exxon) takes out an ad in The New York Times titled Reset the Alarm, which says: “Let’s face it: the science of climate change is too uncertain to mandate a plan of action that could plunge economies into turmoil.”

    1998: The US refuses to ratify the Kyoto protocol after intense opposition from oil companies and the GCC.

    2009: The US senator Jim Inhofe, whose main donors are in the oil and gas industry, leads the “Climategate” misinformation attack on scientists on the opening day of the crucial UN climate conference in Copenhagen, which ends in disarray.

    2013: A study by Richard Heede, published in the journal Climatic Change, reveals 90 companies are responsible for producing two-thirds of the carbon that has entered the atmosphere since the start of the industrial age in the mid-18th century.

    2016: The API removes a claim on its website that the human contribution to climate change is “uncertain”, after an outcry.

    2017: Exxon, Chevron and BP each donate at least $500,000 for the inauguration of Donald Trump as president.

    2019:Mohammed Barkindo, secretary general of Opec, which represents Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Algeria, Iran and several other oil states, says climate campaigners are the biggest threat to the industry and claims they are misleading the public with unscientific warnings about global warming.” click here for more