Category: energy

E-cars could go mass-market by 2030, IEA says

2 million e-cars on the road in 2016

E-car charging station, Vienna. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

Electric cars are likely to reach mass market adoption within the next decade, according to the International Energy Agency’s latest report on e-mobility. In 2016, the number of electric cars on the road globally reached 2 million, with China accounting for 40 percent of that total.

China has also deployed more than 200 million electric two-wheelers, as well as 300,000 elecric buses and leads the globe in electrification of the transport sector. China, the US and Europe made up the three main markets, totalling over 90 percent of all electric vehicles sold around the world.

Outside China, Norway is also moving ahead swiftly on electrification, with e-cars holding a 29 percent market share, the highest globally by far. The Netherlands is next, at 6.4 percent, followed by Sweden, at 3.4 percent. Continue reading “E-cars could go mass-market by 2030, IEA says”

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Nevada restores solar net metering

New law provides more certainty for energy markets

Net metering returns to Nevada. Photo via U.S. DOE.

Staff Report

Nevada’s shifting energy policy may be a microcosm of wider U.S. policy, as Gov. Bill Sandoval this week signed a bill that reinstates net metering for photovoltaic solar power systems.

The Nevada Public Utilities Commission eliminated net metering in late 2015, which created uncertainty in the renewable energy market. The new law reinstates a framework for owners of solar panels in the state to get reimbursed for excess energy they generate. Continue reading “Nevada restores solar net metering”

Seismic blasting once again threatens East Coast environment

Defying local communities, Trump seeks to open area for oil drilling

dolphins Deepwater Horizon spill
Dolphins, whales and other ocean critters along the East Coast may face an onslaught of potentially deadly noise pollution as the Trump administration seeks to open the area for seismic blasting to search for oil. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

In the bizarro alt-reality universe of Trumpistan, there’s nothing like celebrating the world’s oceans by opening them up for oil drilling — and that’s just what the oil-stained kleptocrat wants to do by authorizing five companies to search for oil off the Atlantic Coast — from Florida to Delaware — using loud seismic airgun blasts that hurt whales, dolphins and other animals. The exploration activities are the first step to opening the Atlantic to new oil drilling.

The move comes even as communities up and down the Atlantic Seaboard have said loud and clear they are not interested. Nearly 100 municipalities from New Jersey to Florida have adopted resolutions rejecting seismic blasting off the East Coast. And more than 40,000 local businesses and business associations have publicly opposed it, citing threats to marine life and local economies. Continue reading “Seismic blasting once again threatens East Coast environment”

Adding insult to injury, U.S. taxpayers subsidize climate-disrupting fossil fuel industry with $7 billion per year

New report breaks down public cost of supporting oil and coal

fracking rig in Colorado
Oil, gas and coal development on public lands is a bad deal for U.S. taxpayers. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

The as-yet barely checked use of fossil fuels is rapidly disrupting the global climate and to add insult to injury, taxpayers around the world are supporting the damage with huge subsidies, as well as tax breaks and loopholes.

A new report from watchdog groups last week helps detail exactly how that plays out in the U.S., where the subsidies may total as much as $7 billion per year. Additionally, the U.S. government is holding about $35 billion in public liabilities for drilling in public waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Continue reading “Adding insult to injury, U.S. taxpayers subsidize climate-disrupting fossil fuel industry with $7 billion per year”

Bonn climate talks end on a hopeful note

We’ll always have Paris … @bberwyn photo.

Despite Trump, world moves toward renewable energy

By Bob Berwyn

The world committed to taking action on climate change in Paris, and now, all the countries that signed on to the agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius are figuring exactly how that will happen, and how they will hold each other accountable.

U.S. climate policy is in question now, and the political changes definitely featured in the Bonn discussions, but didn’t dominate the proceedings. Some of the international climate negotiators recognized that the world is a dynamic place and that some national policies will come and go. But that won’t stop the world from moving ahead with ambitious climate plans. other experts discussed how the U.S. could hamper the global effort, while others said the U.S. should remain in the agreement, but not at any cost. For the sake of the rest of the world, the agreement should not be weakened. Read more in this report from Bonn.

Some of the most hopeful news from Bonn was that China and India are quickly shifting to a renewable energy economy. That will not only help those countries reduce their significant emissions, but will also drive a global shift by reducing the price for renewable energy to the point where it will quickly become the cheapest option. Even the U.S. reported a drop in greenhouse gas emissions the past few years, primarily because of the switch from coal to natural gas. American envoy Trigg Talley faced polite but insistent and pointed questioning during a disclosure session. Read the details in this story.

It all matters because for the less-developed countries in the global south, climate change is an existential question. There was concern about the Trump administration’s climate stance, but also optimism. Nobody wanted to make a final judgment on U.S. policy, which seems to still be in question, but nevertheless, some of the negotiators from the world’s most vulnerable countries seemed to be responding to Trump’s statements on the Paris climate agreement and on climate policies in general:

“Without increased climate action, no country can ever be great again. We fought hard for the Paris Agreement and the 1.5-degree threshold, the threshold for our survival…. Greatness is most apparent with climate action. Failure is not an option.”

Read more in this Pacific Standard story.

Federal court pauses Clean Power Plan case

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan page is now an anti-science propaganda page of the Trump administration.

U.S. policy in turmoil as Bonn climate summit approaches

Staff Report

The future of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan is still up in the air, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has put a hold on legal proceeding pending the new administration’s review. The Clean Power Plan developed under the Obama administration would require modest cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from power plants with the goal of meeting global targets to cap global warming.

“This decision is disappointing but still leaves key issues about the future of the Clean Power Plan to be resolved,” said  David Doniger, director of the Climate and Clean Air Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “We will continue to fight in the D.C. Circuit and in the court of public opinion to ensure that the government fulfills its legal obligation to protect the public from climate change.  Continue reading “Federal court pauses Clean Power Plan case”

Trump administration starts push for more offshore drilling

A brown pelican outlined against the sun setting over Lemon Bay in Englewood Florida. The Trump administration wants to open parts of the eastern Gulf of Mexico for drilling, which would threaten ecosystems and tourism. @bberwyn photo.

Prospects for new executive order are unclear and legal challenges await

Staff Report

Donald Trump’s retro administration is taking another step backward by attempting to re-open parts of the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific oceans, as well as the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, for offshore oil drilling. The executive order announced by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke requires the the department to conduct a five-year review of the existing program for  oil and gas development on the Outer Continental Shelf.

That could potentially reverse actions taken under President Obama to restrict some offshore drilling, although the feds will have to show scientifically that new offshore drilling is justified economically and can be done without harm to the environment. Legal challenges would also raised to any new proposals to lease areas off the coasts of the U.S. More drilling would also add more heat-trapping greenhouse gas pollution to the atmosphere. Continue reading “Trump administration starts push for more offshore drilling”