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Category: Environment (Page 1 of 5)

UK to put nuclear power at heart of net zero emissions strategy

Jim Pickard and Nathalie Thomas, FT 🔒 »

UK ministers will put nuclear power at the heart of Britain’s strategy to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 in government documents expected as early as next week, alongside fresh details of its funding model.

Kwasi Kwarteng, business secretary, is to unveil an overarching “Net Zero Strategy” paper as soon as Monday, along with a “Heat and Building Strategy” and a Treasury assessment of the cost of reaching the 2050 goal.

The creation of a “regulated asset base” (RAB) model will be key to delivering a future fleet of large atomic power stations. The RAB funding model is already used for other infrastructure projects, such as London’s Thames Tideway super sewer.

Under the scheme, households will be charged for the cost of the plant via an energy levy long before it begins generating electricity, which could take a decade or more from when the final investment decision is taken.

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International Energy Agency forecasts decline in Canadian oil demand

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press »

The International Energy Agency projected in a report this week that under existing climate policies oil production in Canada will grow by about 700,000 barrels a day by 2030 before it starts to recede.

If Canada implements the new policies the Liberals have promised — including mandating more electric car sales and capping emissions from oil and gas production — available Canadian oil will fall by 100,000 barrels a day by 2030.

And in a net zero policy push — where any greenhouse gases still emitted are captured by 2050 — oil supply will fall even faster.

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Eco-friendly, lab-grown coffee is on the way

Nadra Nittle, The Guardian »

The coffee industry is both a contributor to the climate crisis and very vulnerable to its effects. Rising demand for coffee has been linked to deforestation in developing nations, damaging biodiversity and releasing carbon emissions. At the same time, coffee producers are struggling with the impacts of more extreme weather, from frosts to droughts. It’s estimated that half of the land used to grow coffee could be unproductive by 2050 due to the climate crisis.

In response to the industry’s challenges, companies and scientists are trying to develop and commercialize coffee made without coffee beans.

VTT’s coffee is grown by floating cell cultures in bioreactors filled with a nutrient. The process requires no pesticides and has a much lower water footprint, said Rischer, and because the coffee can be produced in local markets, it cuts transport emissions. The company is working on a life cycle analysis of the process. “Once we have those figures, we will be able to show that the environmental impact will be much lower than what we have with conventional cultivation,” Rischer said.

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Big Oil PR Machine » Science historian Benjamin Franta on the role economists played in the fossil fuel industry’s decades-long disinformation campaign

María Paula Rubiano A., Grist »

He recently published his findings in the journal Environmental Politics: Since the late 1980s, economists at private consulting firms, funded by the fossil fuel industry, have played a key role in shaping public discourse about climate policy in the U.S., hawking flawed research and spreading disinformation everywhere from newspapers to congressional testimonies. In an interview with Grist, Franta discusses economists’ role in the fossil fuel industry’s PR campaign, and why these relationships flew under the radar for such a long time.

“For decades, [these] economists have been inflating the cost of action,” Franta said, “and downplaying the cost of inaction.”

Q. Who were these people, and what were their strategies?

A. I tried to track all the activities that I could from the economic consulting firm Charles Rivers Associates. Every time a major climate policy was proposed, these economists would be there, writing newspaper articles and giving testimony in front of Congress. From carbon tax conversations in the Clinton administration to [opposing] international treaties, like the Kyoto Protocol and the COP meetings. They also worked to defeat the cap and trade bills that were proposed throughout the 2000s in the U.S. When that was basically defeated, and climate policy became an issue for the states, like in California, they would go to address the California climate policies too.

There is one advertorial in the New York Times, an advertisement presented as a news article, from March 6, 1997. This was around when the Kyoto Protocol was being negotiated. The piece iss called “Stop, Look and Listen before we leap,” and it starts off: “International efforts to deal with climate change are lurching from speculation towards actions that could wreak havoc on nations, even as the underlying science and economics continue to signal caution.” It represents this two-prong strategy that the industry used again and again, where it would cast doubt on the science and say, “Well, actually, we don’t know if climate change is happening, or if it’s from fossil fuels.” And then they would go, “And even if it does, it’s too expensive to act.”

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The Biden administration is planning to aggressively expand offshore wind energy capacity

Ella Nilsen, CNN »

As part of that initiative, which spans multiple government agencies, the Departments of the Interior, Energy and Commerce committed to a shared goal of generating 30 gigawatts of offshore wind in the US by 2030. The Interior Department estimates that reaching that goal would create nearly 80,000 jobs.

Agence France Press »

Only one offshore wind farm is currently fully operational in the United States: the Block Island Wind Farm, completed at the end of 2016 off the state of Rhode Island and capable of producing 30 megawatts.

Elsewhere » The Guardian / NY Times / Reuters

Counterpoint » Reuters » French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said on Thursday she would end all subsidies for renewable energy and take down France’s wind turbines if she is elected next year.

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