Weekend reads: Coronavirus slows world emissions growth; The world's most sustainable companies - Smart Energy Decisions

Energy Efficiency, GHG Emissions, Finance, Solar  -  March 14, 2020

Weekend reads: Coronavirus slows global emissions growth; The world's most sustainable companies

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

Coronavirus could halt the world’s emissions growth. Not that we should feel good about that. (Washington Post) Humans have seemed unable to get a handle on climate change, with global emissions of greenhouse gases continuing to grow every year. But a microscopic pathogen, so structurally simple that it does not even have a single cell and is arguably not even alive, may be capable of accomplishing what our political leaders thus far cannot. Experts say that greenhouse gas emissions in China, the world’s largest current contributor to climate change, are down 25 percent in recent weeks as the country conducted a massive societal intervention to stop the spread of the virus. Air pollution is also down, due to decreased driving and less coal burning.

Mapped: Where Are the World’s Most Sustainable Companies? (Visual Capitalist) Everywhere you look, sustainability is permeating social, political, and business agendas. In recent years, an impressive number of companies have stepped up to take a more active role in shaping a more sustainable future—not just in the environmental sense, but also by taking social and governance factors into consideration. Today’s chart draws from the Corporate Knights Global 100, an annual ranking of the 100 most sustainable companies, to visualize exactly how many are located in each corner of the world.

Volvo heralds “flawless launch” of 24-hour electric vehicle battery factory (The Driven) Volvo has promised a “flawless launch” of its Belgium electric car factory at an inauguration event for the facility on Thursday, saying there are no issues for supply of cells for the factory which opens on Monday (Europe time). The carmaker revealed plans at the event to attending media that it will produce EV batteries 24 hours a day in three shifts for the XC40 Recharge, which the Chinese-Swedish carmaker Volvo intends to start production of in late September.

Solar Power Breakthroughs Are Coming So Fast We've Stopped Paying Attention (IFL Science) Two new records were announced for perovskite-silicon solar cell efficiency last Thursday. The news didn't get much attention, perhaps because solar power records are being broken so fast no one sticks out. The sheer speed with which advances are being made in the solar sector hides the rate of change from anyone not paying close attention, leading to a lack of recognition of how fast energy generation could be about to change. Silicon cells dominate the solar industry, but the high temperatures required to produce them mean their stunning fall in price can't go on forever. Perovskite cells have almost unlimited potential but with some challenges still to address. Tandem cells, where a perovskite layer captures blue light and silicon the longer wavelengths, could be a bridge.

Virginia church’s efficiency retrofit poised to be state’s first PACE project (Energy News Network) If all the pieces click into place, a Fairfax County church would be the first Virginia property statewide to tap into an initiative designed to quicken affordable upgrades to greener energy. Handfuls of Virginia cities and counties have initiated C-PACE programs — short for commercial property-assessed clean energy — but no on-the-ground projects have yet materialized. The idea is to match businesses and nonprofits with private lenders. The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax is eyeing what amounts to a long-term loan to replace the bulk of the sprawling, 1960s-era HVAC system on its northern Virginia campus.

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