Edition for 09 May 2020

Top Stories

Sea levels could rise more than a metre by 2100, experts say (Guardian)

  • Oceans rising faster than previously thought, according to survey of 100 specialists Sea-level rise is faster than previously believed and could exceed 1 metre by the end of the century unless global emissions are reduced, according to a survey of more than 100 specialists.
  • In the worst-case scenario – with rising emissions and global heating of 4.5C above pre-industrial levels – the study estimates the surface of the world’s oceans in 2100 will be between 0.6 and 1.3 metres higher than today, which would potentially engulf areas home to hundreds of millions of people.
  • The study was led by scientists at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore with support from seven research institutions across the world, including Durham University in the UK, Tufts University in the US and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany.

European lawmakers to consider tougher climate law: draft (Reuters)

  • Centred around a legally binding goal to cut EU net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, the law must be agreed with lawmakers and member states to take effect.
  • Under a draft proposal for the parliament’s position on the law, each individual EU country would need to reduce its national emissions to net zero by 2050 and achieve net “removals” of greenhouse gases after that date.
  • The draft also calls for the EU’s 2030 climate target to be tightened to a 65% cut in emissions from 1990 levels, rather than the 50% or 55% cut being considered by the Commission.

May 2020 Updates to the Climate Case Charts (Climate Law Blog)

  • As a threshold matter, the court found that Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and one of the state petitioners (New York) each had standing based on potential injuries from climate change which were caused in part by HFC emissions and which would be redressed by restrictions on such emissions.
  • The court said BLM should have catalogued past, present, and reasonably foreseeable actions and analyzed their combined environmental impact but that in this case the four environmental assessments for each of the planning areas did not discuss the other areas even though the EAs covered land sold in the same lease sale.

In a potential big win for renewable energy, Form Energy gets its first grid-scale battery installation (TechCrunch)

  • “Long duration energy storage solutions will play an entirely different role in a clean electricity system than the conventional battery storage systems being deployed at scale today,” said Jesse Jenkins, an assistant professor at Princeton University who studies low-carbon energy systems engineering, in a statement.
  • A technology like that could make a reliable, affordable 100% renewable electricity system a real possibility,” Backed with over $49 million in venture financing from investors including MIT’s The Engine investment vehicle; Eni Next, the corporate venture capital arm of the Italian energy firm Eni Spa, and the Bill Gates-backed sustainability focused investment firm, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Form Energy has developed a new storage technology called an “aqueous air” battery system.
  • That software, was built to model high penetration renewables at a system level to figure out how storage can be combined with renewable energy to create a low-cost energy source that can deliver better returns to energy providers.

China pollution returns as people return to work after lockdown (Channel News Asia)

  • "What is interesting is how rapidly the emissions have rebounded after the sharp fall seen in the first three months of the year," Li Shuo, a climate and energy expert at Greenpeace China, told AFP.
  • Local governments were also turning a blind eye towards factories flouting emissions standards as they rushed to increase production.
  • The environment ministry said Friday that local officials in the coastal province of Fujian - a textile and electronics equipment manufacturing hub - have failed to take "strict and correct" measures to curb illegal emissions and even accepted bribes from companies.

'Major blow' looms for top Sydney solar research unit as funds wither (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • UNSW's Professor Martin Green, a solar energy pioneer, holds the world's first 23 per cent efficient solar module developed back in 1999.
  • It developed so-called passivated emitter and rear designs that alone have reportedly notched module sales of $50 billion and avoided about 1 per cent of annual global emissions.
  • Mark Butler, Labor's climate spokesman, said "letting ARENA’s resourcing lapse is a devastating self-inflicted wound for Australia’s clean energy future that exposes the Liberals anti-renewable and anti-climate action ideology".

Green hydrogen's time has come, say advocates eying post-pandemic world (Reuters)

  • Most hydrogen used today is extracted from natural gas in a process that produces carbon emissions, which defeats the object for many policymakers.
  • But there is potential to extract “green” hydrogen from water with electrolysis, an energy-intensive but carbon-free process if powered by renewable electricity.
  • EU officials, one of whom described green hydrogen as the “holy grail”, said it could replace fossil fuels in sectors that lack alternatives to align operations with the EU’s Green Deal plan to reduce net emissions to zero by 2050.

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