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Tag: climate change (Page 1 of 2)

Blockchain and the Environment

Unless you have been living under a rock the past few years, you have probably heard of bitcoin, a type of cryptocurrency that has generated headlines for its price rises (and falls) over the past five years. So, what has cryptocurrency, and the blockchain in general, got to do with climate action? First, let’s start with the basics.

What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a digital currency which allows two people to transfer money to each other without it going through a central authority (such as a bank). It is secured by cryptography (hence the name), which makes it almost impossible to counterfeit. Where once cryptocurrency was a niche subject, it has exploded into the mainstream in recent years. This mirrors the price of the most famous cryptocurrency, bitcoin, which cost less than $100 in 2013, but is now selling for more than $50,000 each.

So, what is the blockchain?

The blockchain is essentially a digital ledger of transactions that is distributed across the entire network of computer systems that make up that blockchain. The ‘block’ refers to the individual record of each transaction, while the ‘chain’ refers to the fact that those records are linked in one chain. Each time a transaction occurs, a record of that transaction is added to every participants’ ledger. This allows for transparency, efficiency and security.

Are there any climate action benefits to the blockchain?

Great question. There are multiple ways the blockchain can help with climate action, mainly due to the fact it is decentralised and so fosters greater transparency. As Alexandre Gellert Paris, Associate Programme Officer at UNFCCC says: “As countries, regions, cities and businesses work to rapidly implement the Paris Climate Change Agreement, they need to make use of all innovative and cutting-edge technologies available. Blockchain could contribute to greater stakeholder involvement, transparency and engagement and help bring trust and further innovative solutions in the fight against climate change, leading to enhanced climate actions.” These include:

Improved carbon emission trading

The blockchain can be used to improve the carbon asset transactions system. Energy Blockchain Lab and IBM created a blockchain platform to trade carbon assets in China, which “allows high-emission organisations to monitor their carbon footprints and meet quotas by buying carbon credits from low emitters.”

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MIT: Carbon removal hype is becoming a dangerous distraction

conceptual image showing a smoke stack blowing smoke into a large butterfly netSELMAN DESIGN
July 8, 2021

In February, oil giant Shell trumpeted a scenario in which the world pulls global warming back to 1.5 ˚C by 2100, even as natural gas, oil, and coal continue to generate huge shares of the world’s energy.

Among other things, Shell’s pathway involves rapidly installing carbon capture systems on power plants, scaling up nascent machines that can suck carbon dioxide directly out of the air, and planting enough trees to cover land nearly the size of Brazil in the hopes of absorbing billions of tons of the greenhouse gas.

This plan might be transparently self-serving, but Shell’s outsize ambitions for carbon removal are far from anomalous. A growing number of companies are setting up programs to create or trade carbon offsets, using tree planting, soil management, and other means to purportedly balance out emissions elsewhere. Meanwhile, numerous corporations and nations are announcing “net zero” emissions plans that rely upon these programs, and rapidly proliferating carbon-removal startups are highlighting what some consider overly rosy projections in their investor pitch decks.

The noise, news and hype are feeding a perception that carbon removal will be cheap, simple, scalable, and reliable—none of which we can count on.

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Forbes: Moscow Discovers Climate Change Can Be Good Business

Dec 4, 2020

Kenneth Rapoza

Kenneth Rapoza

Snowy weather in MoscowRussians play in the snow on November 21, 2020.  MIKHAIL JAPARIDZE/TASS

“Green is good” has replaced that old 1980s Wall Street mantra: “Greed is good.”

Even the oil rich Russians have discovered it. They’re not alone.

City planners, start-up entrepreneurs and big business are all discovering that concern over climate change is leading to entire new industries. Or fresh demand for old ones – like solar panels that became a thing in the 1970s; new battery powered car companies like Lordstown Motors, and really old school stuff like bicycles and electric powered scooters that are part of the so-called Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) movement.

Moscow is home to some of Russia’s biggest ESG investors. Who knew?

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Cost of not acting on climate change $44 trillion: Citi

Up to $44 trillion could be going up in smoke if the world does not act on climate change, according to the latest piece of research from U.S. banking giant Citigroup.

The report – Energy Darwinism II: Why a Low Carbon Future Doesn’t Have to Cost the Earth — has forecast that spending on energy will hit around $200 trillion in the next 25 years.

The study then examines two scenarios: one that Citi describe as an “‘inaction’ on climate change scenario”, and another that looks at what could happen if a low carbon, “different energy mix” is pursued.

Luiz Filipe Castro | Moment | Getty Images

“What we’re trying to do is to take an objective view at the economics of this situation and actually look at what the costs of not acting are, if the scientists are right,” Jason Channell, Global Head of Alternative Energy and Cleantech Research at Citi, told CNBC Tuesday.

“And those are rather alarming numbers in themselves,” he added. “I mean, the central case we have in the report is that the costs in terms of lost (gross domestic product) GDP from not acting on climate change can be $44 trillion dollars by the time we get to 2060.”

“So it’s not a sort of a zero sum game, there is a cost to not doing this, and although there is a cost to acting, what we’re trying to do is to actually weigh up the different costs here.”

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Fossil Fuels Just Lost the Race Against Renewables

The race for renewable energy has passed a turning point. The world is now adding more capacity for renewable power each year than coal, natural gas, and oil combined. And there’s no going back.

The shift occurred in 2013, when the world added 143 gigawatts of renewable electricity capacity, compared with 141 gigawatts in new plants that burn fossil fuels, according to an analysis presented Tuesday at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance annual summit in New York. The shift will continue to accelerate, and by 2030 more than four times as much renewable capacity will be added.

“The electricity system is shifting to clean,” Michael Liebreich, founder of BNEF, said in his keynote address. “Despite the change in oil and gas prices there is going to be a substantial buildout of renewable energy that is likely to be an order of magnitude larger than the buildout of coal and gas.”

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The U.S. wind energy boom couldn’t be coming at a better time

Wind energy provides roughly 5 percent of U.S. demand.
Photo by: Ron Antonelli/Bloomberg

The Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, released last week, requires the country to use a lot more renewable energy by the year 2030 — and a lot less coal. And right on time, two new reports published Monday by the Department of Energy find that one key renewable sector — wind — is booming, a development that can only help matters when it comes to reducing carbon emissions.

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Buffett Scores Cheapest Electricity Rate With Nevada Solar Farms

Warren Buffett’s Nevada utility has lined up what may be the cheapest electricity in the U.S., and it’s from a solar farm.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s NV Energy agreed to pay 3.87 cents a kilowatt-hour for power from a 100-megawatt project that First Solar Inc. is developing, according to a filing with regulators.

That’s a bargain. Last year the utility was paying 13.77 cents a kilowatt-hour for renewable energy. The rapid decline is a sign that solar energy is becoming a mainstream technology with fewer perceived risks.

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The global addiction to energy subsidies

ENERGY prices have been falling for a year. Over the last month that trend has accelerated. On July 24th, the price of a barrel of oil in Americareached a low of $48. In spite of this, governments are still splurging on subsidies to prop up production. Fossil fuels are reaping support of $550 billion annually, according the International Energy Agency (IEA), an organisation that represents oil- and gas-consuming countries, more than four times those given for renewable energy. The International Monetary Fund’s estimates are substantially higher. It said in May that countries will spend $5.3 trillion subsiding oil, gas and coal in 2015, versus $2 trillion in 2011. That is equivalent to 6.5% of global GDP, and is more than what governments across the world spend on healthcare. At a time of low energy prices, high government debt and rising concern over emissions there is scant justification for such spending. So why is the world addicted to energy subsidies?

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“Emerging markets can deploy solar, wind  and other renewable technologies without costly grid infrastructure, making it possible for developing countries to leapfrog the 20th-century model of energy service provision and employ the 21st-century solution of distributed service delivery, as they have done successfully in the telecommunications sector,” notes the report.

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