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Ten Steps Toward The Paris Agreement Warming Limit

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Ten Steps Toward The Paris Agreement Warming Limit

Ten important, short-term steps that key sectors need to take to help the world achieve the Paris Agreement’s 1.5degC limit have been highlighted by the Climate Action Tracker.

Full report here

All key sectors—energy generation, road transport, buildings, industry, forestry and land use, and commercial agriculture—have to begin major efforts to cut emissions by, latest, 2020. By 2025 they should have accelerated these efforts in order to reach globally aggregated zero carbon dioxide emissions by mid-century, and zero greenhouse gas emissions overall roughly in the 2060s.


The CAT scientists warned that in today’s carbon-constrained world, if one sector were to do less, particularly the energy, industry and transport sectors, they would leave a high-emissions legacy for several decades. Lack of action could also result in a failure to set in motion the system changes needed to achieve the required long-term transformation.

The CAT arrived at its list of steps by scanning all key sectors and the respective necessary transitions, and distilling the most important short-term actions for each.

“Achieving these ten steps would put the world on a pathway to limit global temperature increase to 1.5degC. For all of them, we show signs that a transition of this magnitude is possible: in many cases it’s already happening,” said Prof. Niklas Höhne of NewClimate Institute.

The first and most important sector identified by the CAT is the electricity sector, which makes up one quarter of global emissions. It needs to undertake the fastest transformation, and must be fully decarbonised by 2050.


Renewables are the lowest carbon option in the electricity sector, and show the most promise

“Renewables are the lowest carbon option in the electricity sector, and show the most promise,” said Yvonne Deng of Ecofys. “If renewables were to continue to grow at today’s rate through to 2025, it would set this sector on a path to full decarbonisation— and the power system and electricity markets need to get ready for this transformation.”

The analysis looks at coal power separately, concluding that no new coal-fired power plants can be built under a 1.5degC pathway, and that emissions from coal must come down by 30 percent by 2025—and 65 percent by 2030.

“Coal is on its way out—we simply cannot build any more plants, and we must also stop subsidising it—along with the rest of the fossil fuel industry, to keep the 1.5degC warming limit within reach,” said Bill Hare, CEO of Climate Analytics

The other sector with much promise is the transport sector, but not in aviation and shipping.

“In the transport sector, no fossil fuel-powered car can be sold after 2035 in a 1.5degC scenario,” said Niklas Hoehne. “We see huge possibilities in this sector, where the uptake of electric vehicles in several countries has skyrocketed in recent years, and is set to take off further. This is in stark contrast to the aviation and shipping sectors, where there is no overall global vision on how to achieve zero emissions.”

Industrial production is expected to grow significantly through to 2050, but emissions need to be reduced by well over 50% by then. From 2020 onwards, all new installations need to be built according to the best available low carbon technology standard, which, for the steelmaking sector, for example, excludes building conventional blast furnaces.

The last step in the CAT list focusses on negative emissions, where the scientists list a range of important steps that need to be taken in the next five to ten years to prepare for the sustainable and safe deployment of these technologies by mid-century.

“It’s clear that if one sector doesn’t undertake its share of action, others will have to take up that load. The less action everyone takes, the more we will have to rely on negative emissions, some level of which is, unfortunately, inevitable after 2050,” said Dr Bill Hare.

“Equally, the prospect of emissions technologies cannot be used as an excuse for inaction today,” he warned.

The full list of Climate Action Tracker’s ten short-term steps:

  1. Electricity: sustain the growth rate of renewables and other zero and low carbon power until 2025 to reach 100 percent by 2050
  2. Coal: no new coal power plants, reduce emissions from coal by at least 30 percent by 2025
  3. Road transport: last fossil fuel car sold before 2035
  4. Aviation and shipping: develop and get agreement on a 1.5degC compatible vision
  5. New buildings: all new buildings fossil-free and near zero energy by 2020
  6. Building renovation: increase rates from
  7. Industry: all new installations in emissions-intensive sectors are low-carbon after 2020; maximise material efficiency
  8. Reduce emissions from forestry and other land use to 95 percent below 2010 levels by 2030, stop net deforestation by the 2020s
  9. Commercial agriculture: keep emissions at or below current levels, establish and disseminate regional best practice, ramp up research
  10. CO2 removal: begin research and planning for negative emissions

Energy

Are the UK Governments Plans for the Energy Sector Smart?

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The revolution in the energy sector marches on, wind turbines and solar panels are harnessing more renewable energy than ever before – so where is it all leading?

The UK government have recently announced plans to modernise the way we produce, store and use electricity. And, if realised, the plans could be just the thing to bring the energy sector in line with 21st century technology and ideologies.


Central to the plans is an initiative that will see smart meters installed in homes and businesses the length and breadth of the country – and their aim? To create an environment where electricity can be managed more efficiently.

The news has prompted some speculation about how energy suppliers will react and many are predicting a price war. This could benefit consumers of electricity and investors, many of whom may be looking to make a profit by trading energy company shares online using platforms such as Oanda – but the potential for good news doesn’t end there.

Introducing New Technology

The plan, titled Smart Systems and Flexibility is being rolled out in the hope that it will have a positive impact in three core areas.

  • To offer consumers greater control by making smart meters available for all homes and businesses by 2020. Energy users will be able to monitor, control and record the amount of energy they use.
  • Incentivise energy suppliers to change the manner in which they buy electricity, to offer more smart tariffs and more off-peak periods for energy consumption.
  • Introduce new standards for electrical appliances – it is hoped that the new wave of appliances will recognise when electricity is at its cheapest and at its most expensive and respond accordingly.

How the Plans Will Affect Solar Energy

Around 7 million houses in the UK have solar panels and the government say that their plan will benefit them as they will be able to store electricity on batteries. The stored energy can then be used by the household and excess energy can be exported to the national grid – in this instance lower tariffs or even payment for the excess energy will bring down annual costs significantly.


The rate of return on energy exported to the national grid is currently between 6% and 10%, but there are many variables to take into account, such as, the cost of battery storage and light levels. Still, those with state-of-the-art solar electricity systems could end up with an annual profit after selling their excess energy.

The Internet of Things

Much of what the plans set out to achieve are linked to the now ubiquitous “internet of things” – where, for example, appliances and heating systems are connected to the internet in order to make them function more smartly.

Companies like Hive have already made great inroads into this type of technology, but the road that the government plans are heading down, will, potentially, go much further -blockchain technology looms and has already proved to be a game changer in the world of currency.

Blockchain Technology

It has already been suggested that the peer to peer selling of energy and exporting it to the national grid may eventually be done using blockchain technology.

“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”

Don and Alex Tapscott, Blockchain Revolution (2016)

The upshot of the government’s plans for the revolution of the energy sector, is that technology will play an indelible role in making it more efficient, more flexible and ultimately more sustainable.

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Energy

4 Case Studies on the Benefits of Solar Energy

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Demand for solar energy is growing at a surprising rate. New figures from SolarPower Europe show that solar energy production has risen 50% since the summer of 2016.

However, many people are still skeptical of the benefits of solar energy.Does it actually make a significant reduction in our carbon footprint? Is it actually cost-effective for the company over the long-run?


A number of case studies have been conducted, which indicate solar energy can be enormously beneficial. Here are some of the most compelling studies on the subject.

1.     Boulder Nissan

When you think of companies that leverage solar power, car dealerships probably aren’t the first ones that come to mind. However, Boulder Nissan is highly committed to promoting green energy. They worked with Independent Power Systems to setup a number of solar cells. Here were the results:

  • Boulder Nissan has reduced coal generated electricity by 65%.
  • They are on track to run on 100% renewable energy within the next 13 years.
  • Boulder Nissan reduced CO2 emissions by 416,000 lbs. within the first year after installing their solar panels.

This is one of the most impressive solar energy case studies a small business has published in recent years. It shows that even small companies in rural communities can make a major difference by adapting solar energy.

2.     Valley Electric Association

In 2015, the Valley Electric Association (VEA) created an 80-acre solar garden. Before retiring from the legislature, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid praised the new project as a way to make the state more energy dependent and reduce our carbon footprint.


“This facility will provide its customers with the opportunity to purchase 100 percent of their electricity from clean energy produced in Nevada,” Reid told reporters with the Pahrump Valley Times. “That’s a step forward for the Silver State, but it also proves that utilities can work with customers to provide clean renewable energy that they demand.”

The solar energy that VEA produced was drastically higher than anyone would have predicted. SolarWorld estimates that the solar garden created 32,680,000 kwh every year, which was enough to power nearly 4,000 homes.

This was a major undertaking for a purple state, which may inspire their peers throughout the Midwest to develop solar gardens of their own. It will reduce dependency on the electric grid, which is a problem for many remote states in the central part of the country.

3.     Las Vegas Casinos

A number of Las Vegas casinos have started investing in solar panels over the last couple of years. The Guardian reports that many of these casinos have cut costs considerably. Some of them are even selling the energy back to the grid.

“It’s no accident that we put the array on top of a conference center. This is good business for us,” Cindy Ortega, chief sustainability officer at MGM Resorts told Guardian reporters. “We are looking at leaving the power system, and one of the reasons for that is we can procure more renewable energy on the open market.”

There have been many benefits for casinos using solar energy. They are some of the most energy-intensive institutions in the world, so this has helped them become much more cost-effective. It also helps minimize disruptions to their customers learning online keno strategies in the event of any problems with the electric grid.

4.     Boston College

Boston College has been committed to many green initiatives over the years. A group of researchers experimented with solar cells on different parts of the campus to see where they could produce the most electricity. They discovered that the best locationwas at St. Clement’sHall. The solar cells there dramatically. It would also reduce CO2 emissions by 521,702 lbs. a year and be enough to save 10,869 trees.

Boston College is exploring new ways to expand their usage of solar cells. They may be able to invest in more effective solar panels that can generate far more solar energy.

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