Edition for 11 June 2020

Top Stories

Is a Four-Day Work Week the Secret to Saving the Planet? (The Walrus)

  • Schneider told the crowd that the solution to our planetary problem was obvious: we need to embrace living with less.
  • A shorter work week, Victor explains, could translate to fewer resources extracted and fewer emissions caused by the production, transportation, and consumption of goods. 
  • In the years since World3 and François Schneider’s mule-supported march across France, there have been modest signs that degrowth might be gaining traction.

Falling Clean Energy Costs Can Provide Opportunity to Boost Climate Action in COVID-19 Recovery Packages (BloombergNEF)

  • As COVID-19 hits the fossil fuel industry, a new report shows that renewable energy is more cost-effective than ever – providing an opportunity to prioritize clean energy in economic recovery packages and bring the world closer to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement.
  • The planned investments also fall far below the USD 2.7 trillion committed to renewables during the last decade.
  • However, the report shows that the cost of installing renewable energy has hit new lows, meaning future investments will deliver far more capacity.
  • The 2019 investment brought the share of renewables, excluding large hydro, in global generation to 13.4 per cent, up from 12.4 per cent in 2018 and 5.9 per cent in 2009. 

Carmakers must overhaul production plans to hit climate goals: report (Reuters)

  • The world’s 14 biggest carmakers are on course to miss globally agreed climate targets, a leading sustainable finance think tank said on Wednesday, urging investors to do more to pressure boards to change their production plans.
  • The report by the 2° Investing Initiative and the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change looked at the firms’ plans for electric vehicles, hybrid and internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and modelled vehicle emissions and climate scenarios from the International Energy Agency.
  • If the companies were to align production up to 2025 with Paris, they would produce 43 million fewer ICE vehicles and emit 1.5 billion fewer tonnes of CO2 over their lifetime.

Vietnam could become a future global leader in offshore wind energy generation (Vietnam Insider)

  • Vietnam could become a future global leader in offshore wind energy generation, after recent analysis showed the country has vast potential along its 3,000 kilometre coastline.
  • “Vietnam is blessed with a very long coastline and good wind speeds. The technical potential for offshore wind in Vietnam is therefore huge and the technology could make a very significant contribution to decarbonization of the Vietnamese electricity supply, given the right targets and policy framework,” said Erik Kjær, a DEA senior advisor.
  • While it is unlikely that so much power would ever be needed in a diversified national energy system, the enormous scale will give the Vietnamese government and investors reason to push ahead with the technology, according to Liming Qiao, the Asia Director of the Global Wind Energy Council.

Ethiopia will plant 5 billion trees this year to tackle climate change, but it comes at a steep price (Quartz)

  • Ethiopia is working on planting five billion trees this year, part of an ambitious plan to plant 20 billion seedlings by 2024 to help build a green climate resistant economy.
  • But it comes as Ethiopia faces a ballooning budget deficit and a growing government expenditure with dwindling foreign investment in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The initiative has been getting support from nations including Norway, Sweden and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) as a way to help Ethiopia embrace a green agenda and help create sustainable local jobs. 

The pandemic has everyone ditching coal quicker — except Asia (Japan Times)

  • While the coronavirus pandemic is accelerating the death of coal in developed nations, the dirtiest fossil fuel is alive and kicking in Asia.
  • “Coal has really taken it on the chin,” said Benjamin Nelson, an analyst with Moody’s Investors Service. He’s not expecting a rebound next year, and instead expects to see a slow recovery that prompts utilities to shift further away from the fuel.
  • Asia’s share in total global coal demand will expand from about 77 percent now to around 81 percent by 2030, according to IHS Markit.

How the US electricity grid could go on a 90% carbon-free diet (Grist)

  • But it could soon get a green makeover: According to a new report, America’s electricity could be cheaper and 90 percent carbon-free by 2035 — if Congress adopts one simple policy.
  • Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and the San Francisco-based energy and climate policy firm Energy Innovation say that plummeting prices for wind and solar energy have opened the door for U.S. power to be derived almost entirely from zero-carbon sources in just 15 years.
  • According to the researchers’ modeling, slashing the grid’s carbon emissions wouldn’t just be good for the climate, but would also lead to lower energy bills for most Americans.

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