NewEnergyNews: Global New Energy And International Relations


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  • Monday Study – The Policy Debates Over Solar Go On

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  • Monday Study: Getting All The Way To New Energy
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  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Reaching California’s Zero Emissions Goals
  • The Transportation Policy Battleground Right Now

    Friday, February 12, 2021

    Global New Energy And International Relations

    How the race for renewable energy is reshaping global politics; As the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy gathers speed, what does it mean for the balance of power?

    Leslie Hook and Henry Sanderson, February 3, 2021 (Financial Times)

    “…Dozens of the world’s biggest economies have adopted targets for net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050. And 189 countries have joined the 2015 Paris climate accord, which aims to limit global warming to well below 2C…[A]s the energy system changes, so will energy politics. For most of the past century, geopolitical power was intimately connected to fossil fuels. The fear of an oil embargo or a gas shortage was enough to forge alliances or start wars, and access to oil deposits conferred great wealth. In the world of clean energy, [a new type of politics and] a new set of winners and losers will emerge…Countries or regions that master clean technology, export green energy or import less fossil fuel stand to gain from the new system, while those that rely on exporting… [18 months ago,] only 25 per cent of the world had a decarbonisation horizon. Today, 75 per cent of the world economy has a decarbonisation horizon…

    The pace and scale of the transition to renewables have already shot past the most optimistic projections…[R]enewables will soon pass coal as the biggest source of power generation…[The transition will be painful for countries and] energy companies that produce oil and gas…For places such as Morocco, which imports more than 80 per cent of its energy but also has abundant solar resources, the transition could be an economic gift…[There are] three ways for countries to exert influence in the new system. One is by exporting electricity or green fuels. Another is by controlling the raw materials used in clean energy, such as lithium and cobalt. The third is by gaining an edge in technology, such as electric vehicle batteries…[With renewable resources so readily available, many expect] technology to be] the biggest differentiating factor… [And China is] racing far ahead of the rest…Chinese groups [are] ahead in almost every area of clean tech. China produces more than 70 per cent of all solar photovoltaic panels, half of the world’s electric vehicles and a third of its wind power. It is also the biggest battery producer and controls many of the raw materials crucial for clean-tech supply chains, such as cobalt, rare earth minerals and polysilicon…

    Beijing embraced renewable energy manufacturing relatively early, focusing particularly on solar panels and LEDs. All this was supercharged in September 2020, when President Xi Jinping announced at the UN General Assembly that China would reach carbon neutrality by 2060… China is still the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases and is heavily dependent on coal, which supplies 58 per cent of its electricity. But its companies are poised to benefit greatly, not only from the domestic energy transition, but from growing demand for clean-tech products around the world. As major economies work to reach their net-zero goals, they will have to buy more [of China’s] solar panels, batteries and critical minerals… The main supplier? China…[T]he US — which could see as much as $2tn invested in climate initiatives proposed by President Joe Biden — still has an edge in innovation… [Many other] countries are taking their own steps toward a clean energy future…

    As the EU prepares for its target of net-zero emissions by 2050, some countries [like the UK and Norway, Portugal and the Netherlands, Germany and Morocco] are planning to trade more green fuels… [C]lean energy will involve a lot less geopolitics and might help reduce conflict…by ending the dependence on oil-producing countries… Levers of control in the clean energy system will still exist, but will never be as powerful as in the fossil-fuel world… [This could] lead to a more peaceful world, where international geopolitics in energy is less of a zero-sum game…During the next few years, as the energy transition gathers pace, the biggest resistance is likely to come from countries that produce fossil fuels. Even in the rosiest scenario, it will be decades before oil and gas are removed from the energy system… [But] what once looked impossible now seems inevitable…The energy transition will not only cut emissions: it will redistribute power.” click here for more


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