A Climate Change Wake-Up Call From Germany

A Climate Change Wake-Up Call From Germany

SOURCE: Bloomberg DATE: August 14, 2018 SNIP: It’s sinking in that Germany’s 500 billion-euro ($580 billion) push to promote renewable energy isn’t enough to meet its ambitious climate goals. A look at key targets Germany wants to reach by 2020 by William Wilkes, Hayley Warren and Brian Parkin suggests shortfalls on all fronts, including reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions. That’s also a setback for Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose government developed a subsidy system for wind and solar farms that sparked a global boom in renewable technology. The upshot: to keep the lights on, Germany may have to extend the life of the most polluting fossil-fuel plants and scale back future climate pledges. Merkel’s political bet on renewables and her still-controversial decision to phase out German nuclear plants put her on the hook, particularly after President Donald Trump took the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord. Rising global temperatures, including this summer’s heat and drought in Germany, are adding to the pressure. If Europe’s biggest economy, and a pioneer in the field, can’t make it, it’s a warning sign for heavy-industry countries such as China — and the world. “Germany’s miss has bigger implications,” said Myles Allen, a climate change expert at Imperial College London. “The only thing that matters now is what we’re going to do on carbon capture. Without it, we won’t meet climate...
Trump Administration Unveils Its Plan to Relax Car Pollution Rules

Trump Administration Unveils Its Plan to Relax Car Pollution Rules

SOURCE: Inside Climate News and New York Times and New York Times and The New Republic and many others DATE: August 2, 2018 SNIP: Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in America, and the majority of it comes from cars and small trucks. That’s a major reason why President Barack Obama, in 2012, introduced a rule requiring automobile manufacturers to make their vehicles more fuel efficient—from 37 miles per gallon to more than 51 miles by the year 2025. As a side benefit, drivers would save money on gas and America’s oil reserves would last longer, reducing the incentive for energy companies to extract more of it. But now President Donald Trump wants to “Make Cars Great Again”—by letting them remain as dirty as they are now. The Trump administration’s plan to halt the drive for more efficient U.S. passenger vehicles will downshift the nation’s ambitions on climate change at the same time that it triggers an epic battle with California, the leader on clean cars. The administration is casting its proposal, issued on Aug. 2, as neutral on climate and even beneficial from a safety standpoint. But the costs will be enormous, according to those who favor stricter regulations. It’s not just that consumers will have to pay the price at the pump, they say—everyone will have to pay for the health and ecological costs of air pollution and global warming. Every new gas-guzzler sold will lock in some of those costs for years to come. The rule would freeze emissions and efficiency standards at 2020 levels, or the equivalent of 43.7 miles per gallon...
Old, ill-maintained and often malfunctioning vehicles become energy guzzlers and emit high levels of heat-trapping gases

Old, ill-maintained and often malfunctioning vehicles become energy guzzlers and emit high levels of heat-trapping gases

SOURCE: Reuters DATE: July 24, 2018 SNIP: African and South Asian nations could miss national targets to curb greenhouse gas emissions unless rich countries stop using them as dumping grounds for millions of polluting old cars, a study has warned. The report by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said the United States, Japan and European Union countries had for years been exporting old, used cars – or clunkers – to nations such as Nigeria and Bangladesh. The second-hand vehicles, which should have been scrapped under domestic regulations, are instead being used by poorer nations where they are contributing to carbon emissions, said CSE, a New Delhi-based think-tank. There are around two billion vehicles globally, of which 2 percent – or 40 million – are deemed unworthy for road use in developed nations annually, according to the report. Many of them end up in countries such as Kenya, Nigeria and Ethiopia. Ninety percent of Nigeria’s 3.5 million cars are imported second-hand vehicles, according to data from the management consultancy firm Deloitte. These old, ill-maintained and often malfunctioning vehicles become energy guzzlers and emit high levels of heat-trapping gases, said the CSE. Even though the level of emissions in less developed nations is lower than the world average, clunkers are a rapidly rising source of pollution, added the report. If left uncontrolled, clunkers could jeopardise climate goals set by poorer nations on reducing greenhouse gas emissions as part of an international pact to slow down global warming. The cars are also contributing to high levels of air pollution in cities like Dhaka and Lagos, increasing the risk of lung...
Stunning new research finds fracking a major source of carbon pollution in Pennsylvania

Stunning new research finds fracking a major source of carbon pollution in Pennsylvania

SOURCE: Think Progress DATE: February 21, 2018 SNIP: The evidence is now overwhelming that natural gas is not part of the climate solution, it is part of the problem. A new study finds that the methane escaping from Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry “causes the same near-term climate pollution as 11 coal-fired power plants.” And that is “five times higher than what oil and gas companies report” to the state, according to analysis from the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) based on 16 peer-reviewed studies. Natural gas is mostly methane, a super-potent greenhouse gas, which traps 86 times as much heat as CO2 over a 20-year period. So even a small leakage rate from the natural gas supply chain (production to delivery to combustion) can have a large climate impact  —  enough to gut the entire benefit of switching from coal-fired power to gas for a long, long...
Far More Methane Leaking at Oil, Gas Sites in Pennsylvania than Reported

Far More Methane Leaking at Oil, Gas Sites in Pennsylvania than Reported

SOURCE: Inside Climate News DATE: February 16, 2018 SNIP: Leaks of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, from oil and gas sites in Pennsylvania could be five times greater than industry reports to state regulators, according to a new analysis by the Environmental Defense Fund. Drawing from peer-reviewed research based on measurements collected downwind of oil and gas sites, along with government data, the EDF analysis estimates that the state’s oil and gas wells and infrastructure leak more than 520,000 tons of methane annually, largely due to faulty equipment. “This wasted gas causes the same near-term climate pollution as 11 coal-fired power plants and results in nearly $68 million worth of wasted energy resources,” the group said in its report, released Thursday. Methane, the primary constituent of natural gas, is a greenhouse gas about 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a century. The Trump administration has been working to roll back several policies and initiatives that were designed to rein in methane emissions, most recently to end requirements to limit leaks at oil and gas sites on federal...