In blow to climate, coal plants emitted more than ever in 2018

In blow to climate, coal plants emitted more than ever in 2018

SOURCE: Washington Post DATE: March 25, 2019 SNIP: Global energy experts released grim findings Monday, saying that not only are planet-warming carbon-dioxide emissions still increasing, but the world’s growing thirst for energy has led to higher emissions from coal-fired power plants than ever before. Energy demand around the world grew by 2.3 percent over the past year, marking the most rapid increase in a decade, according to the report from the International Energy Agency. To meet that demand, largely fueled by a booming economy, countries turned to an array of sources, including renewables. But nothing filled the void quite like fossil fuels, which satisfied nearly 70 percent of the skyrocketing electricity demand, according to the agency, which analyzes energy trends on behalf of 30 member countries, including the United States. In particular, a fleet of relatively young coal plants located in Asia, with decades to go on their lifetimes, led the way toward a record for emissions from coal fired power plants — exceeding 10 billion tons of carbon dioxide “for the first time,” the agency said. In Asia, “average plants are only 12 years old, decades younger than their average economic lifetime of around 40 years,” the agency found. Monday’s report underscores an unnerving truth about the world’s collective efforts to combat climate change: Even as renewable energy rapidly expands, many countries — including the United States and China — are nevertheless still turning to fossil fuels to satisfy ever-growing energy demand. “We are in deep trouble,” Rob Jackson, a professor of Earth system science at Stanford University, said of Monday’s findings. “The climate consequences are catastrophic. I...
Australia’s annual carbon emissions reach record high

Australia’s annual carbon emissions reach record high

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: March 14, 2019 SNIP: Australia’s annual carbon emissions have reached a new high and drops in emissions from the electricity sector have been wiped out by increases from other industries, according to new data. Ndevr Environmental, an emissions-tracking organisation that releases quarterly greenhouse gas emissions data, said on Thursday that annual emissions for the year up to December 2018 increased to 558.4m tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. It was the highest level on record when excluding unreliable land use...
Climate study warns of vanishing safety window

Climate study warns of vanishing safety window

SOURCE: National Geographic and Nature Climate Change DATE: March 12, 2019 SNIP: A new scientific analysis of millions of possible climate futures found only a narrow window to keeping global warming to levels the international community has deemed safe. Out of 5.2 million possible climate futures, carbon emissions must reach zero by 2030 in every country in the world if we are to stay at less than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) by 2100 of warming, the target set by the United Nations to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, from rising seas to deadly heat waves. And unlike last fall’s “Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C” from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—which held out the possibility of a 2.7 degree Fahrenheit (1.5 degree Celsius) climate future—the new paper published March 11 in the journal Nature Climate Change employed three practical constraints: spending to cut carbon emissions would be no more than three percent of global GDP per year; no use of geoengineering or technologies to remove carbon; and the climate’s response to doubling carbon in the atmosphere would be at the median level or higher. The latter is called climate sensitivity—how much warming happens when carbon is added to the atmosphere. “We show that our generation has an important responsibility to ensure that coming generations have a tolerable future,” the paper concluded. Global emissions are currently over 40 billion tons a year and increased the last two years. Meanwhile the International Energy Agency announced on March 11 that oil consumption will continue to grow over the next five years, driven by increased demand...
Airlines Were Supposed to Fix Their Pollution Problem. It’s Just Getting Worse

Airlines Were Supposed to Fix Their Pollution Problem. It’s Just Getting Worse

SOURCE: Bloomberg DATE: March 10, 2019 SNIP: Environmental activists recoil for a reason when the super-rich fly private jets to forums that preach carbon neutrality. Airplane pollution levels really are going through the stratosphere and nobody seems to have a viable plan to rein them in. While energy generation and agriculture currently dwarf aviation’s 1.3 percent share of all human-caused greenhouse gases, emissions from air travel are accelerating many times faster. Airplane pollution, which has risen by about two-thirds since 2005, is forecast to jump as much as sevenfold by 2050 as incomes in developing economies advance, making flying more affordable for hundreds of millions if not billions of people, according to the Montreal-based ICAO. The International Air Transport Association, or IATA, the industry’s biggest trade group, expects the number of airline passengers to double by 2037, to more than 8 billion a year. The surge in demand is swelling the global fleet of commercial passenger craft, which Boeing Co. sees doubling to 40,000 in the same period. The pool of private jets is increasing at a similar pace, with JetCraft, a market-intelligence firm, predicting a 50 percent gain within a decade, to 30,000 from 20,000. Add cargo and military craft into the mix and total air traffic will probably grow 4.4 percent a year on average over the next two decades, requiring the overall addition of 37,000 new planes with a combined value of $5.8 trillion, according to Airbus SE, Boeing’s main competitor. All of these forecasts are terrifying climate scientists and activists who say increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases are leading to rising temperatures, more extreme weather...
How Much Would Trump’s Climate Rule Rollbacks Worsen Health and Emissions?

How Much Would Trump’s Climate Rule Rollbacks Worsen Health and Emissions?

SOURCE: Inside Climate News DATE: March 6, 2019 SNIP: The Trump administration’s efforts to undo rules aimed at reducing greenhouse gases would lead to a rise in annual emissions of more than 200 million metric tons by 2025 and thousands more American deaths, according to a report from New York University Law School. The added pollution would be equivalent to 44 million more cars driven every year or the burning of enough coal to fill more than 1 million railcars, the authors wrote in “Climate and Health Showdown in the Courts.” The report, released Tuesday, homes in on six rules the administration has either tried to suspend or has announced plans to roll back, then calculates the possible damage based on data from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department. The regulations include: The Clean Power Plan, clean car standards, glider truck pollution rules, methane standards, methane reductions on federal lands, and landfill methane rules. The increased sickness and mortality would be the products of climate change as well as increased pollution, such as smog and particulate matter, the report said. The Trump administration’s decision to reverse course on a broad range of climate initiatives threatens to waste taxpayer dollars, too, the Government Accountability Office writes in a separate report issued Wednesday. “It’s dangerous and reckless to say, ‘What we need is hair of the dog. We need more of this. We need more pollution. We need to burn more fossil fuels,'” Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said at the press conference. “The president tries to cast this as an ideological war between liberals and conservatives and it’s...