Category Archives: Energy

After COP27, all signs point to world blowing past the 1.5 degrees global warming limit – here’s what we can still do about it

 

Young activists have been pushing to keep a 1.5-Celsius limit, knowing their future is at stake.
AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty

 

Peter Schlosser, Arizona State University

The world could still, theoretically, meet its goal of keeping global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius, a level many scientists consider a dangerous threshold. Realistically, that’s unlikely to happen.

Part of the problem was evident at COP27, the United Nations climate conference in Egypt.

While nations’ climate negotiators were successfully fighting to “keep 1.5 alive” as the global goal in the official agreement, reached Nov. 20, 2022, some of their countries were negotiating new fossil fuel deals, driven in part by the global energy crisis. Any expansion of fossil fuels – the primary driver of climate change – makes keeping warming under 1.5 C (2.7 Fahrenheit) compared to pre-industrial times much harder. Continue reading

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‘Morally Deplorable’: Biden Admin Recommends Immunity for MBS in Khashoggi Case

“The Biden administration has not only shielded MBS from accountability in U.S. courts, but has effectively issued him a license to kill more detractors and declared that he will never be held accountable.”

By Jake Johnson  Published 11-18-2022 by Common Dreams

President Joe Biden and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz. Photo: Saudi Press Agency/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The Biden administration said in a U.S. federal court filing on Thursday that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman should be granted sovereign immunity in a civil case brought by the fiancée of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a stance that human rights advocates condemned as a betrayal of the president’s vow to hold the Saudi leader accountable.

Lawyers for the U.S. Department of Justice wrote in the new filing that the White House “has determined that Defendant bin Salman, as the sitting head of a foreign government, enjoys head-of-state immunity from the jurisdiction of U.S. courts as a result of that office and is entitled to immunity from the court’s jurisdiction of this suit while he holds that office.” Continue reading

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How the global energy crisis is pressuring countries at the UN climate summit – while some race to renewables, others plan more natural gas production

Europe’s natural gas prices have risen dramatically in 2022.
Privetik/iStock/Getty Images Plus

 

Robert Brecha, University of Dayton

Russia’s war on Ukraine has cast a shadow over this year’s United Nations climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, where officials from around the world are discussing the costs of climate change and how to cut emissions that remain near record highs.

The war has dramatically disrupted energy markets the world over, leaving many countries vulnerable to price spikes amid supply shortages. Continue reading

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GOP Threatens to Hold Economy Hostage to Slash Climate Investments

“If Republicans take over Congress, they plan to hold the government hostage and ransom our future,” said one climate advocate.

By Jake Johnson  Published 10-25-2022 by Common Dreams

Screenshot: CNN

In addition to threatening cuts to Social Security and Medicare, congressional Republicans are reportedly plotting to use the debt ceiling and an end-of-year clash over government funding to target popular climate investments approved in August as part of the Inflation Reduction Act.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that “while some Republicans do favor brinkmanship over Medicare and Social Security… some aides and analysts think the GOP may be more likely to demand changes to other Democratic priorities.” Continue reading

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PR firm accused of greenwashing big oil is helping organize COP27

The US agency has a “shameful track record of spreading disinformation” but has been hired by the Egyptian government

By Ben Webster  Published 10-21-2022 by openDemocracy

The 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference COP27, taking place next month in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, is being promoted by PR firm Hill+Knowlton, which has been accused of greenwashing | Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/Sipa USA

The US public relations firm helping Egypt organise COP27 also works for major oil companies and has been accused of greenwashing on their behalf, openDemocracy can reveal.

Hill+Knowlton Strategies, which has worked for ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron and Saudi Aramco, is managing communications for Egypt’s presidency of the UN climate conference, which will take place next month in Sharm El Sheikh. Continue reading

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Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant Relying on Diesel Generators After Shelling

If the generators run out of fuel, “they will stop, and after that there will be a disaster,” said a Ukrainian nuclear expert. “There will be a melting of the active core and a release of radioactivity from there.”

By Kenny Stancil  Published 10-8-2022 by Common Dreams

A worker at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in August 2022. Photo: Just Click’s With A Camera/flickr/CC

The Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in southeastern Ukraine has been forced to switch to emergency diesel generators after overnight shelling disconnected the facility from the electric grid, Ukraine’s state-run nuclear operator and the United Nation’s atomic watchdog said Saturday.

If the generators run out of fuel, “they will stop, and after that there will be a disaster,” Petro Kotin, the head of Ukraine’s public nuclear enterprise Energoatom, told BBC World News. “There will be a melting of the active core and a release of radioactivity from there. Continue reading

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Fury Over Privatized Grid Grows as Tens of Thousands Still Without Power in Puerto Rico

Until the U.S. island’s colonial status “is rectified,” wrote one observer, “it’s a safe bet that Puerto Rico will never fully recover.”

By Kenny Stancil  Published 10-6-2022 by Common Dreams

Hurricane Fiona caused an island-wide power outage as it brought dangerous winds and pounding rain to Puerto Rico. Screenshot: WFAA

Frustration with Puerto Rico’s privatized electric grid is mounting, as roughly 82,000 people on the island of 3.2 million still lacked power on Thursday, more than two weeks after Hurricane Fiona plunged the whole U.S. territory into the dark.

Fiona rammed into Puerto Rico on September 18, five years after the much stronger Hurricane Maria triggered an islandwide blackout. In the wake of the 2017 disaster, the island’s grid was completely privatized by LUMA Energy, a joint venture owned by Canadian firm ATCO Ltd. and U.S. contractor Quanta Services Inc. Continue reading

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US Should Respond to OPEC by Reinstating Oil Export Ban, Says Green Group

“It is no surprise that the international oil cartel is seeking to maintain high prices,” said a campaigner with Food & Water Watch. “Political leaders here at home must understand that the solution is not to increase drilling.”

By Jake Johnson  Published 10-5-2022 by Common Dreams

Rafael Mariano Grossi, IAEA Director General met with HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Minister of Energy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, during a bilateral meeting at the IAEA 65th General Conference held at the Agency headquarters in Vienna, Austria. 20 September 2021. Photo: IAEA Imagebank/flickr/CC

The Biden administration and Congress faced new pressure Wednesday to reinstate a ban on U.S. gasoline exports after the Saudi-led Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to slash oil production by two million barrels a day to boost prices, a move that drew outrage from the White House and some congressional Democrats.

U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and National Economic Council Director Brian Deese said in a statement that President Joe Biden is “disappointed” by OPEC’s decision and will consider “tools and authorities to reduce OPEC’s control over energy prices.” Continue reading

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Supreme Court Gives Biden DOJ a Chance to Prove Its Commitment to Climate Justice

“Doubling down on the department’s Trump-era support of Big Oil would constitute a betrayal,” said one climate organization.

By Jake Johnson  Published 10=3-2022 by Common Dreams

Attorney General Merrick Garland. Screenshot: CNBC

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday invited the Biden Justice Department to offer its position on a hugely consequential case in which oil giants are attempting to move climate liability lawsuits from state to federal courts, where they believe they would be more likely to prevail against efforts to make them pay for damaging the environment.

In Suncor Energy Inc. v. Board of County Commissioners of Boulder County, Suncor and ExxonMobil are urging the conservative-dominated Supreme Court to intervene after the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the fossil fuel companies’ argument that such climate liability cases belong in federal court. Continue reading

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US Gas Flaring Releases Five Times More Methane Than Previously Thought

“This study adds to the growing body of research that tells us that the oil and gas industry has a flaring problem,” said Jon Goldstein of EDF, which conducted related research on the practice.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 9-29-2022 by Common Dreams

Natural Gas flaring in West Texas oil field. Photo: Jonathan Cutrer/flickr/CC

Flaring, the process of burning natural gas escaping from fossil fuel wells, releases five times more methane than previously believed, according to an analysis of most U.S. operations, published Thursday in the journal Science.

The study, led by researchers at the University of Michigan, is based on data collected during 13 flights over three years at the Bakken oil and gas field in North Dakota as well as the Eagle Ford and Permian fields in Texas—which collectively have over 80% of all U.S. flaring operations. Continue reading

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