Collaborating Authors

Wind and Solar Power Advance, but Carbon Refuses to Retreat

NYT > Economy

Two decades have passed since diplomats from around the world emerged from a conference hall in Kyoto, Japan, with what was billed as the first deal ever to limit emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases that are relentlessly warming the earth's atmosphere. Climate diplomacy has made a lot of progress since then. All but one of the world's nations -- the United States -- have enlisted in the cause, making concrete commitments to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. Leaving aside President Trump's past declarations that climate change is a hoax, there are heartening signs that the strategy may work: Global carbon-dioxide emissions have stopped rising. Coal use in China may have peaked.

Google says it offset all of the emissions it has ever generated


As of today, Google has eliminated its entire "carbon legacy." By that, the company means it has purchased high-quality carbon offsets to match all of the emissions ever produced by its data centers and campuses. That includes the emissions generated before Google became carbon neutral in 2007. The company says it's the first in the world to eliminate its carbon legacy. Carbon offsets are credits for renewable energy that are meant to compensate for emissions made elsewhere.

Apple says its products will be carbon-neutral by 2030


Since April, Apple's corporate operations have been 100 percent carbon neutral. Now, the company says it's ready to go even further. Today, Apple pledged to make its supply chain and all of its products carbon neutral by 2030. Apple made the announcement as part of its 2020 environmental progress report and shared a video of a man whispering to a baby and promising that the company will do better by the child's tenth birthday. To achieve carbon neutral status, Apple will reduce its emissions by 75 percent and invest in carbon removal solutions to eliminate the remaining 25 percent of its carbon footprint. This will require the use of low-carbon and recycled materials, product recycling and energy efficient design.

Rightsizing carbon dioxide removal


Proven approaches for limiting climate change include enhancing energy efficiency, capturing wind and solar energy, decreasing deforestation, and reducing industrial and agricultural emissions. These approaches are increasingly cost-competitive, consistent with large-scale use, and largely supported by public sentiment. Yet, the current pace of their deployment is far from sufficient for holding warming well below 2 C above preindustrial levels with high probability, the goal of the Paris Agreement. Two approaches for bridging this gap are widely discussed. First, the rate of decarbonization could be accelerated based on the above approaches.

Coal-free spells are good, but the UK is falling short of carbon goals

New Scientist

The UK now frequently goes for several days at a time without generating electricity from coal, leading to headlines celebrating record-breaking coal-free spells. But the truth is we are still heavily reliant on fossil fuels – and much more needs to be done to clean up our energy supply. This #Coal-free run ended at 90 Hours 45 Minutes. Generation during this time was met by: Gas 42%, Nuclear 23%, Wind 12%, Solar 11%, Imports 7%, Biomass 4%, Large Hydro 1%, Storage 0% Coal contributed 5 per cent of the UK's energy generation in 2018, and is set to be phased out by 2025.