Weekend reads - Smart Energy Decisions

GHG Emissions, Regulation, Solar  -  October 31, 2020

Weekend reads: How we could re-enter the Paris Agreement; Covid-19 saves 2.5 years of emissions

It's the weekend! Kick back and catch up with these must-read articles from around the web.

Election 2020: Climate policy faces a tough road through Congress regardless of electoral outcomes (Utility Dive) Ever since the 2009 Waxman-Markey bill — an attempt to create a national cap-and-trade emissions plan — passed in the House but hit a wall in the Senate, the prospects of both houses of Congress being able to pass legislation that meaningfully cuts CO2 emissions have been slim. Citing an urgent need to address climate change, major electric utilities, large corporations and state governments are pledging to hit net-zero emissions over the next several decades. Renewable energy and battery storage have become competitive to such a degree that the idea of a 100% carbon-free grid is a serious proposal in the scientific and policy world rather than a far-off dream.

US Energy Dept. Aims For Affordable Solar Power, With A Little Help From Friends (CleanTechnica) Follow. The. Money. For all the talk about saving coal jobs over the past four years or so, the US Department of Energy has been pushing dollar after dollar onto the renewable energy plate. In the latest twist, the Energy Department is ramping up its efforts to bring affordable solar power to the nation’s vast population of low- and middle-income households, with a focus on new financial instruments.

Next week, the US leaves the Paris Agreement. How do we get back in? (Grist) When Americans wake up on November 4, they may not know who the next president of the United States will be — unless Democratic nominee Joe Biden or President Donald Trump wins in a landslide, the country could be in a state of uncertainty for weeks. But there’s at least one thing Americans can count on to happen next Wednesday: The U.S. will complete the years-long process, started by President Trump in 2017, to drop out of the Paris climate agreement.

Emissions and Coal Have Peaked as Covid-19 Saves 2.5 Years of Emissions, Accelerates Energy Transition (BloombergNEF) The stark drop in energy demand due to the coronavirus pandemic will remove some 2.5 years’ worth of energy sector emissions between now and 2050, according to research company BloombergNEF’s (BNEF) latest New Energy Outlook 2020 (NEO 2020). BNEF’s latest projection of the evolution of the global energy system over the next 30 years, using its proprietary Economic Transition Scenario, shows that emissions from fuel combustion peaked in 2019. Down approximately 8% in 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, energy emissions rise again with economic recovery, but never again reach 2019 levels. From 2027 on, they fall at a rate of 0.7% per year to 2050.

How Formula E Racing Is Driving the Electric Vehicle Revolution (Observer) Early in October, shockwaves rocked the auto and racing communities when yet another large auto company—this time, Honda—announced it was leaving Formula One, the 800-pound gorilla of the international racing world. Why? As Honda explained, the auto industry is now facing a “once-in-one-hundred-years period of great transformation,” and it was joining the exodus, moving to ZEV. Zero Emission Vehicles Racing is to the auto business as NASA’s Space Race was to electronics: a place to test innovations under the most competitive, challenging, and unpredictable conditions. This super-charged movement to ZEVs—and especially, electric vehicles (EVs)—goes hand in hand with the meteoric rise of upstart Formula E, an international racing series featuring only all-electric cars. After just four seasons, the series now boasts 12 teams, two more than the Formula One series, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary.

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