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Will the EU support real climate action in Ukraine?

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Ukraine’s dependence on imported coal has dramatically increased since last year. It results from a steep decline in coal production in the Ukrainian city of Donbass, which followed extensive damage to its mining and transport infrastructure caused by the armed conflict and, eventually, the loss of control over mines to separatists. According to a new report issued today by Heinrich Boell Foundation (Kyiv office), this crisis can be turned into an opportunity for shifting the energy system away from coal.

In the last two years coal mining in Ukraine has decreased almost twofold, resulting in a downturn of the country’s carbon emissions. Unfortunately, it happened by disaster, not by design – says author of the study Oleg Savitsky, Ukrainian energy policy expert. To recover its economy and reform its dysfunctional energy sector, Ukraine needs to jump on the EU’s energy transition train and develop a long-term exit strategy from coal.

This year the government of Germany has contributed financial support to help Ukraine develop its pledge for the Paris climate agreement. Environmental groups argue that the result of this process demonstrates a clear failure to facilitate energy transition of Ukraine among the EU decision makers, as the announced target to reduce emissions by 40% from 1990 levels is completely inadequate. Considering the fact that by now emissions have fallen by 60% from 1990 levels, Ukrainian pledge actually means 40% emissions growth by 2030.

The EU should provide adequate support for the energy transition in Ukraine – says Dragana Mileusnic of Climate Action Network Europe. It should help improving transparency in the energy sector and facilitate re-structuring of disrupted coal mining and power generation. This can be achieved only through proper implementation of the Energy Community Treaty, where the European Commission plays a crucial role.

Some of the highly polluting Ukrainian coal power plants are connected to the European grid and export electricity to Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Poland. This provides additional weight to an argument that the EU should use its influence to pave the way for deployment of new sustainable energy infrastructure in Ukraine.

Download the report “Towards the end of the coal age in Ukraine?! A review of the Ukrainian coal sector in the context of the Donbass crisis”.

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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