Category: Opinion & Perspective

Why we need global cooperation on decarbonizing cities and real estate

In an increasingly challenging and volatile world, the urgent need to decarbonize real estate remains a constant. There are no quick fixes that will suddenly transform today’s energy inefficient buildings into models of sustainable construction in the coming decades. It will take time, investment and expertise to retrofit the majority of buildings across urban areas. Yet given that more than 60% of carbon emissions within cities typically come from buildings, a concerted effort is needed sooner rather than later.

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Clean Energy Is Key to National Security for European Union and United States

Later this month, the E.U. will roll out plans to phase out Russian gas and coal as well, completely severing ties with Russian energy sources over the coming years. The United States must help. Immediately, that means assisting E.U. nations in finding emergency alternatives to Russian energy supplies, to reduce the hardship the shift imposes on families and businesses across Europe. Longer term, E.U. nations are committed to slashing demand for fossil fuels altogether, from Russia and elsewhere.

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Energy Efficiency Measures to Decarbonise Brunei’s Building Environment

Ever since the re-establishment of Brunei Darussalam National Council on Climate Change (BNCCC) and Brunei Climate Change Secretariat (BCCS) in July 2018, the country’s commitment and objectives in alleviating climate change impact have been emphasised through the release of Brunei Darussalam National Climate Change Policy (BNCCP). Two of the ten key strategies under the BNCCP are to improve power management and climate resilience and adaptation. Energy efficiency falls under both categories to a certain extent. 

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Europe’s energy diplomacy in times of crises

Europe needs to rebuild its international credibility, to help foster a global green recovery and net zero development trajectories. This largely depends on whether, and how quickly, the EU demonstrates solidarity with countries hit hardest by multiple crises. Europe’s energy response and its approach to energy diplomacy, to be redefined in this month’s International Energy Strategy, will be read by its partners as a key test of solidarity.

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Beyond Highways: Funding Clean Transportation through the US Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

U.S. President Biden has touted the potential climate benefits of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which makes historic investments in transportation, the country’s largest and fastest-growing source of greenhouse gas emissions. But while the bill’s investments could significantly lower transportation emissions, those reductions are not guaranteed. States and cities will face choices in the coming months and years on how they want to spend the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s transportation-related funding.

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These US cities are producing the most solar energy

Many cities in the US enjoy an abundance of sunshine all year round, and according to a new report they are taking advantage of that. The eighth Shining Cities survey from Environment California’s Research & Policy Center shows that much of America is investing in solar energy. The amount of solar power installed in just nine US cities now exceeds the level in the whole of the country a decade ago, the report says.

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Powering Electric Two- and Three-Wheelers with Rural Minigrids in Nigeria and India

A new report from RMI, Factor[e], and UK-charity Shell Foundation shows that a growing renewable minigrid industry and a booming market for two- and three-wheeled electric vehicles opens the door for minigrid-powered EVs to become the option of first resort for families and businesses with the ability to invest in motorized transport. The study concludes that small-format EVs available today can compete with fossil-fueled alternatives at a wide range of energy prices.

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Energy Crisis: Renewable Energy Delivers Electricity Price Relief in Europe

This is the responsibility of governments to develop energy policy frameworks which will facilitate the accelerated deployment of renewable energy and other enabling technologies to realize an affordable, carbon neutral and energy secure future as soon as possible. European governments are at the forefront of this energy crisis, which strengthens the sense of urgency and pushes policymakers to make critical decision such as that of Germany to pursue 100% renewable energy electricity by 2035. 

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NY Solar Milestone Proves Policies Work

New York has become the top community solar market in the U.S., with more than one gigawatt (GW) of community solar installed and operational—enough to provide clean energy to more than 200,000 homes across the state. And much more is on the way: New York also has the largest pipeline in the nation with over 700 projects totaling 2.3 GW, enough to power an additional 400,000 homes.

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How the EU response to the Russia-Ukraine war can still accelerate low-carbon transition

A European Parliament resolution stated that the EU should immediately cease imports of Russian oil and gas in the event of an invasion. Yet Member States currently disagree on a prompt and complete ban. Germany is among those blocking it. This division is no surprise. The EU imports 90% of its gas. Yet given this context, could the current crisis still be a game changer for the EU and Member States instead of throwing us back to high fossil fuel reliance and jeopardizing climate targets and the Green Deal?

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Federal Support on Capacity Can Boost Regional Wind Goals in US

In December 2019, FERC expanded the Minimum Offer Price Rule (MOPR), effectively prohibiting offshore wind and other state-supported resources from participating in capacity-market auctions. The rule made it difficult for offshore wind providers to participate in capacity market auctions. Now, to advance the buildout of renewable energy, FERC should “enhance” the expanded MOPR and set a process and timeframe for adopting a new market structure.

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Four Paths to a Climate-Friendly Energy Transition for Asia and the Pacific

In the transition to renewables, there is an inherent tradeoff that needs to be managed.  Economic growth requires a stable base load power, which is currently serviced by fossil fuels. This must be carefully balanced against the longer term need to switch to renewable sources. For a successful energy transition, developing countries in the region need to work with their partners to address geopolitical issues, technological limitations, and financial constraints.

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Industry must play its role in getting the EU off fossil gas

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has once more exposed the EU’s vulnerability in relying on fossil fuels to heat our homes, power our cars and fuel our industries. While heavy industry is a major consumer of fossil gas, it has been notably absent in the emerging EU strategy to rapidly get off Russian gas. The EU needs to act now, maximising short-term gas savings in industry and ensuring the Fit for 55 package sends the right policy signals to substantially reduce gas dependency in the next 10 years.

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The rise of ESG investing and sustainability reporting in India

ESG was already gaining traction among the biggest investors in the world. The United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing (UNPRI) was founded in 2006 and now has more than 3,500 signatories including the biggest institutional investors with US$120 trillion in assets under management. These signatories have committed to integrating ESG factors into investment decision-making.

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Wave energy: can ocean power solve the global energy crisis?

Could the waves in our oceans and seas help tackle the global energy crisis? In theory, yes. Wave energy globally could meet the world’s annual electricity needs, if it was fully harnessed, scientists have estimated. Indeed, the waves around the United States coasts could provide 66% of the country’s electricity, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

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When European Green Deal rhetoric must meet reality

March is a stress test for the European Green Deal. European and national leaders can endorse it as part of the solution to the current crisis, and send a clear political signal of increased ambitions for the Fit for 55 Package. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia raises the importance of understanding and managing the deep entanglement between energy, security and geopolitics. EU and national leaders will have to show strong leadership to actively shape Europe’s course of destiny, not just respond to incredibly tragic events.

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China’s efforts to decarbonize road transport: Decent, but not sufficient

The decarbonization of road transport is an essential component of realizing broader climate targets, and globally, approximately 21% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions come from road transport. Over the past decade, China continuously rolled out regulations and policies to reduce fuel consumption from new cars and trucks and to shift to electric vehicles. During this time, the country experienced a spectacular flourishing of its electric vehicle market.

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Combining crops and solar panels is allowing Kenya to ‘harvest the sun twice’

In a region where energy security poses real challenges, but sunlight is not in short supply, solar electricity seems an obvious solution for much of Africa. But the answer isn’t as simple as that. Installing vast arrays of photovoltaic (PV) panels often means clearing swathes of land to bare soil. And there is often competition for land, which is also needed for food production. But a new trial planting crops beneath the panels has shown some promising results in Eastern Africa.

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Charging Ahead: How to Make Electric Mobility Work for All

EV adoption is accelerating, which, in addition to driving less, is critical to reduce carbon emissions (and local air pollution) to meet global climate goals, as transportation contributes the lion’s share of US greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to subsidizing the cost of personal EVs to make them more accessible to low-income communities, we can also create specific electric mobility programs for these communities, leveraging improved transportation technologies and innovative business models.

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