Nick Butler: We need a world institution for climate and energy. It’s time to move the debate on and put in place the detailed steps necessary to get to net zero. An international organisation is needed to combine both analysis of the challenge and the development of practical solutions. The first task would be to give substance to the worthy but rather empty 2050 commitments.
FT 24th Feb 2020 read more »
Dave Elliott: UK FIRES, a £5m government-backed project bringing together academics from six universities in conjunction with businesses across the supply-chain, have written a report, ‘Absolute Zero’, looking to an ‘absolute zero’ emission 100% all-electric non fossil 2050 UK future. It assumes that renewables ramp up rapidly and a bit of nuclear stays with us, but CCS does not happen in time, so that there will still be a gap- and the ‘absolute zero’ idea seems to imply that this can’t be filled with carbon offsets or illusions to ‘net zero carbon’ balances. The gap is actually one between the electricity supplied and the total energy needed, but that’s arguably a bit misleading. Evidently keen to get away from inefficient and dirty fossil fuel combustion, the study insist that everything has to be done with electricity, with that ‘delivering all the transport, heat and goods we use in the UK’, which it says ‘would require 3x more electricity than we use today.’ No doubt- and it says it can’t be done: so we need big cuts in energy use: ‘If we expand renewables as fast as we can, we could deliver about 60% of this requirement with zero emissions in 2050. Therefore, in 2050 we must plan to use 40% less energy than we use today.’ Hence the need for big cuts – including for flying and shipping. Meat eating too. Tough stuff. Is it right? Well first off, it’s not clear why a 3 times renewables expansion cannot not be done by 2050. CAT’s ‘Zero Carbon Britain’ did that and beyond, with more favouable assumptions about renewable growth. Secondly, what happens if we don’t try to do it all via electricity? In the FIRE study, biomass is seen as a no go area (due to land-use conflicts), solar heat doesn’t even get a mention. But what about solar heat inputs and biogas-fired CHP linked to district heating networks and community heat stores? And biogas for some heavy vehicles – using waste-derived biomethane?
Renew Extra 22nd Feb 2020 read more »
British companies are lagging far behind their European neighbours in low-carbon investment after contributing only 3% of the continent’s €124bn (£104.2bn) green spending last year. A report has revealed that German-listed companies invested 11 times more in low-carbon investments such as electric vehicles, renewable energy and smart energy grids than UK firms. London-listed companies spent €4bn on green research and technologies compared with €44.4bn from German groups, including the carmaker Volkswagen, which invested more than a third of Europe’s total low-carbon spending in 2019. The report, from the climate disclosure organisation CDP, said Germany, Spain and Italy topped the company league table for low-carbon investment last year while the UK finished sixth, below France and Denmark.
Guardian 25th Feb 2020 read more »