Oil giants are waking up to carbon bubble risks

March 15, 2017 by  
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Statoil releases a “climate roadmap” as Shell warns that public faith in fossil fuel industry is disappearing.

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Oil giants are waking up to carbon bubble risks

Why coal country must be part of the clean economy

March 8, 2017 by  
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One of the most remarkable developments in recent years has been the relatively drama-free embrace in many corners of the private sector of the concept of environmental externalities. Arguments over the indirect costs of fossil fuel combustion — climate change, mercury contamination, ground level ozone and the like — have been a form of hand-to-hand combat in utility rate cases and other regulatory actions for years.

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Why coal country must be part of the clean economy

Why coal country must be part of the clean economy

March 8, 2017 by  
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One of the most remarkable developments in recent years has been the relatively drama-free embrace in many corners of the private sector of the concept of environmental externalities. Arguments over the indirect costs of fossil fuel combustion — climate change, mercury contamination, ground level ozone and the like — have been a form of hand-to-hand combat in utility rate cases and other regulatory actions for years.

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Why coal country must be part of the clean economy

Groundbreaking technology affordably captures CO2 from fossil fuel plants

February 22, 2017 by  
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What if fossil fuels could be burned without pouring emissions into the air? Many people consider that idea to be wishful thinking, but chemical engineer Rodney Allam doesn’t. He’s been working on carbon capture technology on and off since the 1970’s, and with the help of venture capital incubator 8 Rivers , recently put the finishing touches on the Allam Cycle , an electric-generation system that captures all the carbon dioxide (CO2) made from burning fossil fuels. Allam investigated bolt-on methods during his decades of searching for a way to capture CO2 from fossil fuel plants, but found those methods too expensive. He aimed to make carbon capture affordable, but gave up in the 1990’s. Then 8 Rivers came along in 2009 with a plan to make use of Recovery Act money from the federal government. When Allam returned to the issue, he was at last able to develop the Allam Cycle. Related: Breakthrough technology turns coal plant CO2 into baking powder The Allam Cycle doesn’t utilize steam to create electricity . Instead, CO2 under pressure and in a supercritical state spins the turbines powering the generators. Combustion adds CO2 to keep the process going, and any excess is sent into a pipeline. NetPower , 8 Rivers’ portfolio company constructing the first Allam Cycle plant, describes the technology as truly clean, saying plants that utilize the Allam Cycle are able to “inherently eliminate all air emissions.” That means no particulate matter, mercury, nitrogen oxides, or sulfur oxides either. Plus, Allam’s technology can generate electricity at the same six cents per kilowatt-hour as other gas-fired turbines. NetPower is working with Exelon and Toshiba on the first plant. According to Forbes, such a full-size plant costs around $300 million to construct and can generate 300 megawatts yearly. Once the plant is built, it will take a few months before NetPower can show the cycle is stable. Allam told Forbes they might know for sure in a year. The first plant will run on natural gas ; 8 Rivers says on their website they are also developing a coal -based system. Via Forbes Images via Wikimedia Commons and eutrophication&hypoxia on Flickr

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COP22 kicks off in Morocco with controversial presence of fossil fuel industry representatives

November 7, 2016 by  
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Days after the historic Paris climate deal went into effect, world leaders have again convened to discuss tactics for fighting climate change , this time in Marrakech, Morocco. The COP22 climate talks will offer an opportunity for government leaders from nations around the globe to cooperate in devising goals to reduce the effects of climate change. As Morocco takes advantage of the summit’s timing to launch new nationwide food security programs, controversy ensues following the inclusion of coal and oil interests in the international discussions. Morocco—which relies heavily on local agriculture—has been uniquely impacted by climate change, experiencing highs and lows in the same year as a result of shifting weather patterns. While this year’s regular El Niño season drenched croplands, producing above-average yields, it was followed by an intense dry period during which there was no rain for more than two months. The uncertainty of agricultural yields prompted Moroccan leadership to develop programs to address food security issues, and the nation is launching its Adaptation of African Agriculture (AAA) initiative, timed with the kickoff of the COP22 conference. Related: UN warns of 3C global temperature increase without swift and aggressive global leadership Morocco’s AAA plan involves improving soil management, as well as water and irrigation management, combined with better weather forecasting and insurance for drought-impacted farmers. Each of these efforts is designed to help support continued agriculture while maximizing its output with efficient methods that can, hopefully, endure some of the unstable weather conditions the nation will see in years to come. Taking swift action to address food security seems like a bold and positive move, but it’s not quite so simple. In addition to world leaders, Morocco’s climate summit also involves representatives of corporate interests —namely coal and oil giants like ExxonMobil, Chevron, Peabody, BP, Shell and RioTinto. Critics claim their presence equates to a conflict of interest, while others interpret their involvement as a brave step forward in attempting to partner with fossil fuel industries for cooperative change. It remains to be seen what influence these companies will have on delegates working to construct international climate change plans, as they will have “observer status” to nearly every official conversation as part of the global summit. Via The Guardian Images via Richard Allaway/Flickr and Pixabay

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COP22 kicks off in Morocco with controversial presence of fossil fuel industry representatives

Cutting-edge Science Center in Lithuania is topped with solar panels

November 7, 2016 by  
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The design treats public spaces as singular open-space volumes. The main entrance hall is arched with a spherical planetarium suspended overhead, while the south hall is a double-height open space for large-scale exhibition . A long-span cantilevering volume is built using structural steel fabricated into box and beam sections that make it appear to float in mid-air. Related: “Eyesore” garage transformed into a stunning waterfall illusion in Lithuania Prefab modular steel elements that make up the structural backbone of the project are efficient and quick to construct and require less labor. The project, which aims for a LEED certification , uses advanced ventilation systems and the adjacent river to cool the building. Solar panels embedded into the facade provide clean energy . + Architects of Invention

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Cutting-edge Science Center in Lithuania is topped with solar panels

Herzog & de Meurons Elbphilharmonie Plaza is the highest public square in northern Germany

November 7, 2016 by  
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The Elbphilharmonie Plaza opening ceremony on November 4, 2016 marks the first of many ceremonies to come counting down to the official opening on January 11, 2016. The plaza features an exterior walkway that wraps around the building and overlooks spectacular views of the city and harbor. The interior of the Plaza comprises stairs to the concert halls , the lobby of The Westin Hamburg hotel, the Deck & Deli cafe, and Elbphilharmonie shop. Related: Herzog & De Meuron’s stunning Elbphilharmonie to finally open in January “Right now, we are standing in the Port of Hamburg, 37 metres above sea level at the highest public square in northern Germany —and there is a skyscraper above our heads,” said Hamburg’s Mayor Olaf Scholz at the opening ceremony. “The Elbphilharmonie is a place for everyone. Hamburg is a city of music, and you could call this its parliament. It is a concert hall that will wow the world.” The Elbphilharmonie will host multiple musical events in the run-up to its official January opening. + Elbphilharmonie + Herzog & de Meuron Images via Elbphilharmonie , by Skynamic GmbH, Michael Zapf, Iwan Baan

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Herzog & de Meurons Elbphilharmonie Plaza is the highest public square in northern Germany

Magnetic levitating Glow lamp takes interior design back to the future

November 7, 2016 by  
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Glow is made from a synthetic material that gives it an ethereal glow. Inside are diode emitting low energy lights powered by lithium batteries . Two strength modes allow it to function as a task of mood light. After a full charge, Glow can last up to 80 hours and is easily converted into a wireless lamp that can be attached to any metallic surface thanks to a high-strength neodymium magnet. Related: Mesmerizing levitating plants blend technology and nature The design of the lamp pushes the envelope when it comes to lighting technology and brings us one step closer to a future filled with maglev vehicles and jet packs. The cost of this amazing lamp will be unveiled when its Kickstarter campaign launches on November 7, 2016. + Glow + Glow Design

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G7 leaders agree to stop subsidizing fossil fuels by 2025

May 30, 2016 by  
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The G7 hammered one more nail in the fossil fuel industry’s coffin. As many countries pursue clean energy technology and progress towards renewable energy , G7 leaders wrote in a joint declaration of their determination to “accelerate our work towards the transition to an energy system that enables a decarbonization of the global economy .” To that end, they agreed to stop subsidies for fossil fuels by 2025 . At a Japan summit, the world leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States discussed issues such as global economic growth, refugees, climate, and energy. They said they’d take action to get the Paris Agreement ratified or accepted as quickly as possible. According to them, it is vital to pursue clean energy if Paris’ climate goals are to be met. Related: G7 leaders pledge to phase out fossil fuels this century In their declaration, the G7 leaders said, “Given the fact that energy production and use account for around two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions, we recognize the crucial role that the energy sector has to play in combating climate change.” According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), fossil fuel subsidies in its member states could total $160 to $200 billion every year . However, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) calculated subsidies including the cost of the effects of harmful climate change, and estimated that factoring in climate change and pollution could escalate estimated subsidy numbers up to $5.3 trillion every year . According to the Guardian, that’s $10 million spent every minute. Subsidies have been decreasing generally, but not in every G7 country The UK recently offered tax breaks for some oil producers, Canada continued some natural gas subsidies, and Japan financed some new coal-fired power plants, the Guardian reports. Overseas Development Institute research fellow Shelagh Whitley seemed cautiously optimistic about the declaration, even as she told the paper that G7 leaders should have committed to a deadline of 2020 if they were truly serious about the Paris Agreement. She said, “We already see [some in] the G7 going in the wrong direction since Paris. Just because they are saying this [about fossil fuel subsidies], it’s not a fait accompli .” Via The Guardian Images via CGP Grey on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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G7 leaders agree to stop subsidizing fossil fuels by 2025

Carbon Tracker CEO Anthony Hobley on what financial markets don’t see

January 7, 2016 by  
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Anthony Hobley, CEO of Carbon Tracker, a financial think tank, told GreenBiz in an interview during COP21 in Paris that the financial markets are only now waking up to the risk premium in fossil fuel investments. Consequently, they are providing capital far too cheaply to this sector.That risk, of course, is that fossil fuel companies could be saddled with trillions in stranded assets of oil and gas fields they cannot develop, coal mines that go quiet and drilling equipment that becomes excess.

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Carbon Tracker CEO Anthony Hobley on what financial markets don’t see

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