Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Climate Central: most interesting climate findings of the year

Climate Central reviewed last year's climate research and studies that are crucial to shaping both what we know about the world we currently live in and what we can expect in the future depending on how we respond to climate change. The list of most interesting and fascinating findings includes:

Monday, December 28, 2015

Liquid air energy storage demonstration plant in the UK

The pre-commercial scale 5MW liquid air energy storage (LAES) plant has received delivery of its main components and will be built in Manchester (UK).The project is expected to have a 15MWh storage capacity and should be completed by the end of this year. LAES operates by using excess electrical energy to drive an air liquefier. The liquid air is stored in an insulated tank at low pressure, which functions as the energy store.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

New Alberta climate change strategy includes carbon tax and cap on oilsands emissions

Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan accelerates the transition from coal to renewable electricity sources, puts a price on carbon pollution for everyone, and sets emissions limits for the oil sands. Other measures include broad programs to improve energy efficiency, support green technological innovations, reduce methane, and provide supports to ensure that families and small businesses are protected.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Scientists in Germany have developed a revolutionary nuclear fusion machine

The Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics completed the world’s largest nuclear fusion machine called a stellarator - 16-metre wide machine, which costs US$1.1 billion. The key to a successful nuclear reactor of any kind is to generate, confine, and control a plasma — a gas that has reached temperatures of more than 100 million degrees Celsius.  

Friday, December 18, 2015

Solar PV system prices are declining fast

Average U.S. PV system prices over time. - NREL, 2015
Photovoltaic system pricing trends were analysed in the presentation of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (see above). In 2007 - 2014, prices for residential and commercial PV systems came down by 55 - 65%.
The report from the Solar Electric Power Association states that in U.S. average residential solar prices in 2014-2015 clustered around $3-$4 per watt, while prices for nonresidential and utility-scale projects came in lower at $2-$3 per watt.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Key provisions of the Paris Agreement to combat climate change

Paris Agreement to combat climate change and unleash actions and investment towards a low carbon, resilient and sustainable future was agreed by 195 nations in Paris on December 12, 2015. The agreement’s main aim is to keep a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The crucial areas identified as essential for a landmark conclusion:

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

How Paris Agreement's "ratchet mechanism" could limit warming below 2°C

According to analysis by Climate Interactive and MIT Sloan, the commitment to review national pledges every five years, starting in 2018, and willingness of nations to offer deeper, earlier emissions cuts at that time and continue progress, projected warming could be limited to 2°C.  Analysis is made with the C-ROADS (Climate Rapid Overview and Decision Support) computer simulation, which is calibrated to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report results.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

U.S. negotiators ensured Paris climate agreement is Republican-proof

As a result of U.S. insistence, the 31-page agreement was explicitly crafted to exclude emissions reductions targets and finance from the legally binding parts of the deal. Other areas of the deal, including five-year review cycles, do carry legal force. That would free Obama from having to submit the deal to Congress. Also, any clauses in the agreement that would expose the U.S. to liability and compensation claims for causing climate change were avoided.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The former NASA scientist about Paris climate agreement: “It’s a fraud really, a fake”

James Hansen, considered the father and respected voice of global awareness about climate change, criticizes the talks, intended to reach a new global deal on cutting carbon emissions beyond 2020, as ‘no action, just promises'.  According to Hansen, the international celebration is pointless unless greenhouse gas emissions aren’t taxed across the globe, because only this will force down emissions quickly enough to avoid the worst devastating effect of climate change.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Main takeaways on the Paris climate deal

The Paris deal doesn’t make national emissions reduction targets legally binding, so its success will largely depend on the effectiveness of a new system to revisit each country’s progress and raise targets every five years. The Paris agreement attempts to lay down new rules to make sure all countries calculate and publicly report their emissions reductions in the same way after 2020, making it possible to keep track of global progress. However, even if all the greenhouse gas cut pledges made by countries ahead of Paris are carried out, the result would be a world that warms by about 3 degrees.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Paris climate deal have signalled an end to the fossil fuel era

It took almost two decades to come to an ambitious agreement to hold states to emissions targets. Negotiators from nearly 200 countries signed on to a legal agreement in Paris to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to avoid the most dangerous effects of climate change.

Christiana Figueres: adopted Paris Agreement at COP21 unites the world for the better future

Friday, December 11, 2015

More than 38,000 delegates had registered in Paris for the COP21 climate talks

A provisional list of participants at the UNFCCC COP21 includes delegates who represent countries, UN agencies, charities, campaign groups, universities, companies and media organisations. According to this list, there are around 15,000 participants here on behalf of a particular country/party, 638 participants from 36 UN bodies, 453 people from 20 “specialised agencies”, and 1,226 participants from 71 intergovernmental organisations. Over 7,000 participants represent non-governmental organisations and 3,704 - medias.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

UNDP Administrator on aggregating financing for low-carbon energy

More than 1.1 billion people around the world currently lack basic access to electricity. Huge investments will be required to meet these needs and to enable developing countries to meet rapidly growing electricity demand  - and to do so in sustainable ways. UNDP, in partnership with the GEF, is already supporting innovative solutions for transformation of the energy sector so that the proportion of renewable provision in the mix can rise. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

IEA: energy efficiency is a key solution to climate change

According to IEA's Energy Technology Perspectives (ETP 2015), which examines innovation in the energy technology sector, energy efficiency can deliver 38 percent of what is needed to keep our planet within the two degree scenario of global warming by 2050. The technologies and solutions to make it happen already exist, and make good business sense.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

700 cities from around the world agreed to cover all their energy needs from renewables by 2050

The contributions submitted by national governments ahead of the COP21 will limit the average global temperature rise to around +3°C; far from the objective of +2°C. Seven hundred city mayors from around the world met in the margins of the COP21 at the Paris town hall on Friday to pursue a more ambitious agenda than that supported by their national governments.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Major cooperative initiatives launched at COP21 under the Lima-Paris Action Agenda Focus on Energy

Recognizing that transformation of the global energy system forms the backbone of climate action, hundreds of governments, businesses, and cities are making strong commitments to accelerate the energy transition. With the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goal 7 on energy, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and energy access, the international community set itself a clear roadmap towards a clean energy, sustainable future.

Friday, December 4, 2015

India’s climate adaptation gap is over $1 trillion by 2030

Estimation of the adaptation gap, between what needs to be spent and what is spent, was made by independent study conducted in India. According to the study, as many as 800 million people living across nearly 450 districts in India are currently experiencing significant increases in annual mean temperature going beyond the 2°C warming pathway.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

New UNFCCC report reveals huge policy potential for greenhouse gas emission reduction

A new report, published by The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate,  presents best practice climate policies from across the world and describes existing opportunities to immediately scale up reductions in greenhouse gas emissions while powering up ambition to keep the global average temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Water and climate change adaptation pact launched in Paris

A broad coalition of nations, river basin organizations, business and civil society announced US $1 billion to support the agreement which goal is to make water systems more resilient to climate impacts. Almost 290 water basin organisations are engaged under the Paris Pact to protect most climate change vulnerable water basins, including Niger Basin (9 African countries involved), Mediterranean Water Platform (7 countries), Mexico Valley, Hai river basin in China, Ecocuencas program (4 countries), and others.