The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track planetary extreme, or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉
Main Topic: Putin’s War Should Harden Europe’s Resolve for Renewables
Dear Diary. Yesterday’s diary entry was quite negative, suggesting that there would not be much hope for our climate because of Putin’s war on Ukraine and its worldwide consequences. Perhaps I overlooked some silver lining items, if there are any to be had, from this awful burgeoning time in human history.
For one, with higher gas prices worldwide, people will want to drive smaller vehicles with greater fuel economy. Also, the demand for all electric vehicles should go up. A third item is that European nations will be spurred onto generating power from renewables now that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project has been axed. Indeed, climate mitigation may get a boost from the war.
Here is much more on the prospect for greater European use of renewables from a newsletter I received in my Gmail inbox this morning:
February 25, 2022
Welcome to The Independent Climate Newsletter, your weekly update from our team of correspondents around the world.
Smoke rises from an air base in the aftermath of an apparent Russian strike in Mariupol, Ukraine on February 24, 2022 (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)
Peace in Europe is no longer after Russian President Vladimir Putin unleashed war on Ukraine in the early hours of Thursday. Hundreds have been killed and citizens are fleeing en masse after Russia attacked on multiple fronts with airstrikes and shelling.
Among the sanctions on Russia, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz halted final approvals for its state-owned gas pipeline Nord Stream 2. The US also imposed sanctions on the company building the pipeline. The completed underseas project was set to pump Russian gas to Europe via Germany, doubling capacity to the bloc. Burning this gas would produce an estimated 106 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions of the Czech Republic.
The United States and some European countries have long opposed Nord Stream 2, saying it made Europe more reliant on Russia and raised the specter of gas to be used as a geopolitical weapon. Europe gets roughly 40 per cent of its gas supply from Russia, where sales go to the government budget.
Nord Stream 2 was never expected to get final approval in time to ease the ongoing winter gas shortage in Europe which has hit consumers hard. The chief of the International Energy Agency had previously accused Russia of worsening the situation by intentionally choking sales. (The crisis in Ukraine has already led European governments to ship in liquified natural gas (LNG) from the US and Algeria.) But clean energy experts and climate advocates say Russia’s invasion of Ukraine underlines the need for more rapid rollout of renewables across Europe.
Campaign group Carbon-Free Europe told my colleague Sam Webb this week that putting the breaks on Nord Stream 2 could spark greater investment in clean energy. “It’s no longer business as usual. We’ll see a move towards renewable, nuclear, and zero-carbon fuels that gives Europe the autonomy it needs,” said executive director Suzana Carp.
Dr Jeff Hardy, an expert on energy policy at Imperial College London’s Grantham Institute, told environment correspondent Harry Cockburn that the attack on Ukraine had put “zero-carbon rocket boosters” on the case for a rapid transition away from fossil fuels.
However Dr Ella Gilbert, a climate scientist at University of Reading, sounded a note of caution that failure to shift to renewables might see more use of dirtier fossil fuels like coal or shale gas. “I hope there’s this diversification of energy supply and we invest in renewable technologies because if we don’t we’re moving backwards,” she said. “It’s really a no-brainer for any government with any form of foresight.”
Following Germany’s pipeline decision, a spokesman for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that Europe has to wean itself off Russian hydrocarbons. “It’s a point we’ve made consistently with regards to Nord Stream 2,” he said. “As the Prime Minister said, it’s right that we snip the feed of Nord Stream from our bloodstream.” European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen also said that Europe is doing “everything possible to get rid of this dependency”.
After Putin annexed Crimea in 2014, the EU made moves to turn off the Russian gas tap with its 2015 energy union plan. Partly this meant more gas pipelines and terminals to import LNG – but following the European Green Deal in 2019, the tide is slowly turning.
Renewables inched ahead as the number one power source in the EU for the first time in 2020, generating 38 per cent of electricity compared to 37 per cent for fossil fuels. European officials acknowledged while these are encouraging trends, more needs to be done to reach the 2030 goal of cutting net emissions by at least 55 per cent and achieving climate neutrality by 2050.
EU climate chief Frans Timmermans last month called renewables the answer to providing people with stable and affordable energy. “If we really want to stop long-term making Putin very rich, we have to invest in renewables and we need to do it quickly,” he said.
Quote of the week:
“He’s very controversial, I understand that. But his audience is too large, and it was too good of an opportunity to try to get the message out about climate change.”
What you might have missed:
- Global wildfires could rise by 50 per cent this century ‘turning landscapes into tinderboxes’, the UN reports
- Historic offshore wind sale along New York and New Jersey coastline
- Exclusive: US meat industry is using one-quarter billion pounds of pesticides a year
- National Portrait Gallery and Scottish Ballet end sponsorship deal with BP
- ICYMI: Is it a good idea for the International Olympic Committee to be planting 300,000 new trees in Africa?
More related notes:
Here are some “ET” reports from Friday:
Here is more climate and weather news from Friday:
(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)
Now here are some of today’s articles and notes on the horrid COVID-19 pandemic:
(If you like these posts and my work please contribute via the PayPal widget, which has recently been added to this site. Thanks in advance for any support.)
Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”