Sunday, October 17News That Matters

Tag: Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Democrats Weigh Carbon Tax After Manchin Rejects Key Climate Provision

Democrats Weigh Carbon Tax After Manchin Rejects Key Climate Provision

Technology, World
WASHINGTON — Some House and Senate Democrats, smarting from a move by Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, to kill a major element of President Biden’s climate plan, are switching to Plan B: a tax on carbon dioxide pollution.A carbon tax, in which polluting industries would pay a fee for every ton of carbon dioxide they emit, is seen by economists as the most effective way to cut the fossil fuel emissions that are heating the planet.The almost certain demise of the clean electricity program at the heart of Mr. Biden’s agenda — which comes as scientists say forceful policies are needed to avert climate change’s most devastating impacts — has prompted outrage among many Democrats and has led several to say now is the moment for a carbon tax.“I’ve had a carbon pricing bill in m...
Can Fortescue’s Andrew Forrest, a Carbon-Emitting Iron Ore Tycoon, Save the Planet?

Can Fortescue’s Andrew Forrest, a Carbon-Emitting Iron Ore Tycoon, Save the Planet?

Technology, World
The group’s design, secret until now, recently received provisional patents.That burst of innovation — and the pace of improvement at Fortescue and elsewhere — is one of many factors bolstering Dr. Forrest’s optimism. He believes Fortescue can take advantage of technologies that have come down in price (around solar and batteries, for example) while pushing green development further, faster, by building equipment that the company can test and use in its own operations.“Andrew has three things going for him,” said Malcolm Turnbull, a former Australian prime minister, who has known Dr. Forrest for 25 years and recently teamed up with him to support green hydrogen. “One, he’s passionately committed to the energy transformation. Two, he’s got enormous financial resources. More than a few peopl...
Plant-Based Food Companies Face Critics: Environmental Advocates

Plant-Based Food Companies Face Critics: Environmental Advocates

Business
Consumers and investors alike have gobbled up Beyond Meat’s burgers, sausage and chicken in recent years, thanks at least in part to the company’s message that its plant-based products are good for the environment.But some aren’t so sure.One investor tracking firm gives Beyond Meat a zero when it comes to sustainability measures. Another rates it a “severe risk,” putting it on a par with the beef and chicken processing giants JBS and Tyson.“We don’t feel we have sufficient information to say Beyond Meat is fundamentally different from JBS,” said Roxana Dobre, a manager of consumer goods research at Sustainalytics, a firm that rates the sustainability of companies based on their environmental, social and corporate governance impact.At first glance, it seems logical that plant-based food com...

As Western Oil Giants Cut Production, State-Owned Companies Step Up

Business
Kuwait announced last month that it planned to invest more than $6 billion in exploration over the next five years to increase production to four million barrels a day, from 2.4 million now.This month, the United Arab Emirates, a major OPEC member that produces four million barrels of oil a day, became the first Persian Gulf state to pledge to a net zero carbon emissions target by 2050. But just last year ADNOC, the U.A.E.’s national oil company, announced it was investing $122 billion in new oil and gas projects.Iraq, OPEC’s second-largest producer after Saudi Arabia, has invested heavily in recent years to boost oil output, aiming to raise production to eight million barrels a day by 2027, from five million now. The country is suffering from political turmoil, power shortages and inadequ...
Why the U.N.’s Biodiversity Conference Is So Important

Why the U.N.’s Biodiversity Conference Is So Important

Technology, World
As 20,000 government leaders, journalists, activists and celebrities from around the world prepare to descend on Glasgow for a crucial climate summit starting late this month, another high-level international environmental meeting got started this week. The problem it seeks to tackle: A rapid collapse of species and systems that collectively sustain life on earth.The stakes at the two meetings are equally high, many leading scientists say, but the biodiversity crisis has received far less attention.“If the global community continues to see it as a side event, and they continue thinking that climate change is now the thing to really listen to, by the time they wake up on biodiversity it might be too late,” said Francis Ogwal, one of the leaders of the working group charged with shaping an a...
Biden Administration Plans Wind Farms Along Nearly the Entire U.S. Coastline

Biden Administration Plans Wind Farms Along Nearly the Entire U.S. Coastline

Technology, World
“This is very big, big deal. This is a signal like we’ve never had before in the United States about where we can go with offshore wind,” said Dan Reicher, who served as assistant secretary at the Department of Energy in the Clinton administration and now advises Magellan Wind, which develops projects with offshore floating turbines.“I’ve been in the wind industry for a long time,” Mr. Reicher said. “This is a repeat of what we did a couple of decades ago when we stepped up onshore wind, when it went from being a small niche source of energy to being a mainstream, affordable source of power.”Still, there is no guarantee that companies will lease space in the federal waters and build wind farms. Once the offshore areas are identified, they will be subject to lengthy federal, state and local...

Private Equity Funds Have Invested Billions In Fossil Fuels Since 2010

Technology, World
As the oil and gas industry faces upheaval amid global price gyrations and catastrophic climate change, private equity firms — a class of investors with a hyper focus on maximizing profits — have stepped into the fray.Since 2010, the private equity industry has invested at least $1.1 trillion into the energy sector — double the combined market value of three of the world’s largest energy companies, Exxon, Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell — according to new research. The overwhelming majority of those investments was in fossil fuels, according to data from Pitchbook, a company that tracks investment, and a new analysis by the Private Equity Stakeholder Project, a nonprofit that pushes for more disclosure about private equity deals.Only about 12 percent of investment in the energy sector by pri...
China’s Power Problems Expose a Strategic Weakness

China’s Power Problems Expose a Strategic Weakness

Business
BEIJING — A bread company can’t get all the power it needs for its bakeries. A chemicals supplier for some of the world’s biggest paint producers announced production cuts. A port city changed electricity rationing rules for manufacturers four times in a single day.China’s electricity shortage is rippling across factories and industries, testing the nation’s status as the world’s capital for reliable manufacturing. The shortage prompted the authorities to announce on Wednesday a national rush to mine and burn more coal, despite their previous pledges to curb emissions that cause climate change.Mines that were closed without authorization have been ordered to reopen. Coal mines and coal-fired power plants that were shut for repairs are also to be reopened. Tax incentives are being drafted f...
Transition Away From Fossil Fuels Not Moving Fast Enough, New Report Finds

Transition Away From Fossil Fuels Not Moving Fast Enough, New Report Finds

Technology, World
WASHINGTON — Clean energy technologies such as wind turbines, solar panels and electric vehicles are advancing so rapidly that the global use of fossil fuels is now expected to peak by the mid-2020s and then start declining, the world’s leading energy agency said Tuesday.But there’s a catch: The transition away from coal, oil and natural gas still isn’t happening fast enough to avoid dangerous levels of global warming, the agency said, at least not unless governments take much stronger action to reduce their planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions over the next few years.The International Energy Agency’s annual World Energy Outlook, a 386-page report that forecasts global energy trends to 2050, comes just weeks before world leaders gather for a major United Nations climate summit in Glasgo...

Can Crypto Go Green?

Technology, World
Bitcoin as a batteryGreen energy goes to waste if it’s not used when generated. Batteries that can store renewable power for when the sun isn’t shining or wind isn’t blowing are the holy grail of the energy industry. For now, these don’t exist at the necessary scale. But some see a way that Bitcoin could function as another sort of “battery.” It could store the value of renewable energy by converting intermittently available local solar and wind power into a globally traded digital asset with unlimited shelf life.Another way Bitcoin mining can be made more sustainable, some argue, is to use “stranded” or wasted energy, for example capturing the power of flare gas at oil patches to mint digital money.Can crypto mining be made sustainable?Prager: When you have an electrical grid, you want th...