December 3 Energy News

December 3, 2015

COP21:

¶ With COP21 underway in Paris, a conference in Rome on Thursday reflected on Pope Francis’s social encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care For Our Common Home. Hosted by the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, the meeting examined what role free markets can play in helping to protect the environment. [Vatican Radio]

A power-generating wind turbine is seen on the Champs Elysees avenue with the Arc de Triomphe in background as part of COP21. - AP

A power-generating wind turbine is seen on the Champs Elysees avenue with the Arc de Triomphe in background as part of COP21. – AP

¶ The total contributions of national carbon reduction plans at COP21 now reaches approximately 90% of what is needed prevent dangerous climate change. This is cause for some cautious optimism. However, the reality of how these reductions will be implemented will probably be a significant challenge over the next two weeks. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The International Chamber of Shipping said that, as a representative of the international shipping industry at COP21, it “fully supports” a global climate change deal, adding that the ambitious CO2 reductions aimed for by the industry will be best achieved if regulation is led by the International Maritime Organization. [Ship & Bunker]

¶ Addressing students at the Sorbonne University on the sidelines of the Paris climate summit, Elon Musk, the renowned Tesla innovator, believes the widespread introduction of a carbon price could halve the time it takes the world to transition to clean energy and make a huge difference to the impact of climate change. [The Guardian]

Tesla Motors chief executive Elon Musk. Photograph: Francois Mori/AP

Tesla Motors chief executive Elon Musk. Photograph: Francois Mori/AP

¶ France has offered provide $2 billion to help develop renewable energy in Africa. French President Francois Hollande disclosed at COP21 that the country has earmarked about $6.4 billion, over the next four years to help with electrification in Africa. Of that, one third is to help develop renewable energy. [Leadership Newspapers]

¶ In the wake of yet another bout of devastating smog, China announced today that it plans cut its power sector emissions 60% by 2020, a promise that puts the US Clean Power Plan to shame. If fulfilled, the pledge would make a major dent in global carbon pollution. China’s cabinet made the announcement at COP21. [Gizmodo India]

World:

¶ Nineteen French cities and the French Parliament announced a commitment to divest from fossil fuels, joining more than 500 institutions holding $3.4 trillion in assets. The number has jumped from 181 institutions representing $50 billion who agreed to divest oil, gas or coal companies from their portfolios in 2014. [eco-business.com]

Protestors campaigning against the further use of fossil fuels hold a demonstration at COP21. Image: IISD Reporting Services

Protestors campaigning against the further use of fossil fuels hold a demonstration at COP21. Image: IISD Reporting Services

¶ Silicor Materials, which makes silicon for solar PVs, announced its plans to be carbon-neutral at its facility in Iceland. Silicor will fund planting over 26,000 trees to offset the yearly production of 2,800 tons of CO2. As it is, Silicor’s current process uses no toxic chemicals, and produces no waste that winds up in landfills. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Bahamas’ Prime Minister says urgent actions are needed to reverse climate change, or The Bahamas might be no more: “With 80 percent of our land within one metre or five feet of mean sea level, business as usual with regard to climate change threatens the very existence of the Bahamas as we know it.” [St. Lucia Times Online News]

¶ In Ottawa, on Parliament Hill, on November 29, a festive crowd of 25,000 held up white bristol boards spelling out “100% possible,” as in a 100% renewable energy economy by 2050. For planet lovers it was heart-warming sight. Canada’s environmental movement was brimming with an optimism it hadn’t felt in a decade. [NOW Magazine]

Demonstration in Ottawa

Demonstration in Ottawa

¶ While countries consider their climate change options at COP21, forest fires and the ensuing pollution have been growing problems in Indonesia. The scorched forest issue was largely isolated in the western Indonesian islands. However, this year, the issue has plagued both Papua and West Papua, raising concerns among activists. [Scoop.co.nz]

US:

¶ 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News Channel, is first on the list of 73 major companies that have just signed on to President Obama’s “American Business Act on Climate Pledge.” A total of 154 major US and global companies have signed in support of a strong outcome for this week’s COP21 Paris climate talks. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory announced success with a new method for fabricating “virtually perfect” single layers of so-called white graphene for use in next-generation solar cells, fuel cells, and other clean tech devices. White graphene is a form of boron nitride, which has a distinctive hexagonal lattice structure. [CleanTechnica]

3-D structure of hexagonal boron nitride sheets and boron nitride nanotubes, courtesy of the Shahsavari Group via Rice University.

3-D structure of hexagonal boron nitride sheets and boron nitride nanotubes, courtesy of the Shahsavari Group via Rice University.

¶ New York Governor Cuomo sent a letter to the state’s Department of Public Service create a program for 50% renewable energy by 2030. Significantly, the letter includes a timeline: DPS must create this policy by July 2016. The governor also says he believes upstate nuclear facilities must continue operating. [pv magazine]

¶ World leaders are gathering this week in Paris at the COP21 talks in an effort to hammer out a global agreement to combat climate change. But in Ohio, a bill crafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council and backed by the fossil fuel industry is preemptively trying to dismantle the work underway. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

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