2020 tied for warmest year on record, NASA analysis shows

Sciencedaily.com

Earth’s global average surface temperature in 2020 tied with 2016 as the warmest year on record, according to an analysis by NASA.

Continuing the planet’s long-term warming trend, the year’s globally averaged temperature was 1.84 degrees Fahrenheit (1.02 degrees Celsius) warmer than the baseline 1951-1980 mean, according to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. 2020 edged out 2016 by a very small amount, within the margin of error of the analysis, making the years effectively tied for the warmest year on record.
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Bans on Parler and Trump Show Big Tech’s Power Over Web Conversation

bloomberg.com

As Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. banished users and groups supporting the violent mobs at the U.S. Capitol last week — including President Donald Trump himself — downloads surged for a less restrictive social media app called Parler. But in an effort to prevent further riot organizing, Google Inc. and Apple Inc. booted Parler from their app stores, and Amazon.com Inc. shut off its web services.

“We will not cave to pressure from anti-competitive actors!” John Matze, Parler Inc.’s chief executive officer, said on his site Friday. “We WON’T cave to politically motivated companies and those authoritarians who hate free speech!”

In reality, Matze doesn’t have much choice. His free-speech-centric network, where some extremists turned to rally insurgents and organize future uprisings, was deemed an “ongoing and urgent public safety threat” by Google. Apple quickly rejected as insufficient a Parler plan to moderate its content. Amazon employees asked that the web giant “deny Parler services until it removes posts inciting violence, including at the Presidential inauguration.” Amazon plans to shut down the service at midnight Sunday, according to Matze.
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Why some researchers struggle to escape the ivory tower

theconversation.com

Academics are increasingly expected to share their research widely beyond academia. However, our recent study of academics in Australia and Japan suggests Australian universities are still very much focused on supporting the production of scholarly outputs. They offer relatively limited support for researchers’ efforts to engage with the many non-academics who can benefit from our research.

One reason engagement is expected is that government, industry and philanthropic sources fund research. And when academics share their research with the public, industry and policymakers, this engagement is good for the university’s reputation. It can also lead to other benefits such as research funding.


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How to transform systems: The World Resources Institute Q&A with Andrew Steer

Mongabay.com

  • Between the pandemic, rising food insecurity and poverty, and catastrophic disasters like wildfires, storms and droughts, 2020 was a year of challenges that prompted widespread calls for systemic change in how we interact with one another, with other species, and with the environment. Bringing about such changes will require transforming how we produce food and energy, how we move from one place to another, and how we define economic growth.
  • But it’s a lot easier to talk about transforming systems than to actually do it. Because real change is hard, we’re more likely to slip back into old habits and return to business as usual than embrace paradigm shifts.
  • Recognizing this limitation, World Resources Institute (WRI), a Washington, D.C.-based organization that operates in 60 countries, works across sectors by creating tools that increase transparency, create a common understanding, and provide data and analysis that enable action.
  • WRI’s development of these platforms and tools has grown by leaps and bounds since the early 2010s when Andrew Steer joined the organization as president and CEO from the World Bank. Steer spoke with Mongabay during a December 2020 interview.

Between the pandemic, rising food insecurity and poverty, and catastrophic disasters like wildfires, storms and droughts, 2020 was a year of challenges that prompted widespread calls for systemic change in how we interact with one another, with other species, and with the environment. Bringing about such changes will require transforming how we produce food and energy, how we move from one place to another, and how we define economic growth. But it’s a lot easier to talk about transforming systems than to actually do it. Because real change is hard, we’re more likely to slip back into old habits and return to business as usual than embrace paradigm shifts. Tiếp tục đọc “How to transform systems: The World Resources Institute Q&A with Andrew Steer”

Renewable Energy Lab. NREL’s Updated System Advisor Model

The latest version of NREL’s popular System Advisor Model (SAM) is now available, providing more robust data and seamless integration with other NREL models to help the renewable energy industry make informed project decisions.

SAM is free, publicly available modeling software for technical performance simulation and financial analysis of renewable energy projects and includes a desktop application, software development kit, and open-source code.

Updates to the model include:

  • The addition of the latest solar resource data from NREL’s National Solar Radiation Database, including yearly and sub-hourly data and covering Europe, Africa, and Asia for the first time
  • Improved battery dispatch for both front-of-meter and behind-the-meter battery storage applications
  • Improved electricity bill calculations for distributed behind-the-meter financial models
  • Implementation of NREL’s Solar Position Algorithm for sun angle calculations of solar performance models
  • Integration of NREL’s Land-Based Balance-of-System Systems Engineering Model for improved wind power plant system cost estimation and design.

“With the recent improvements, we’re excited to continue to ensure that complex energy analysis questions can be answered quickly and easily,” said Janine Freeman, NREL lead for the SAM model.

A tale of 2020 in 20 McKinsey charts

Mckinsey.cim

See the story of this unique year through data visualizations from our Charting the Path to the Next Normal series.
This year, we launched a new series to highlight our best charts and data visualizations—the ones that deserved lives of their own outside the articles they were originally created for. Every weekday, we post a selection from one of our highly skilled data-visualization editors to our collection page, Charting the Path to the Next Normal. As we look back at the year that was, these daily charts tell a story about our changing world, from the early days of lockdowns and a tumultuous summer to ending the year on a hopeful note. While uncertainty remains, and each chart in isolation offers but one lens on the landscape, the themes emerging from the collection as a whole provide unique insight into the many disruptions 2020 visited on us.

How Vietnam came to embrace a new vision of the Mekong Delta’s future

Fashion brand Nike and H&M to Vietnam: More renewables, please

Asia.nikkei.com

29 global fashion brands say green energy will boost No. 3 textile exporter

A wind park in Vietnam’s Bac Lieu Province.   © Reuters

HO CHI MINH CITY — Fashion brands including H&M and Nike are pressing Vietnam to move ahead with a renewable energy purchase program as companies come under increasing pressure to meet their sustainability goals, Nikkei Asia has learned.

A consortium of 29 brands sent a letter to Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc this month urging the country to introduce direct power purchase agreements (DPPA) between private buyers and sellers of renewable energy. Currently, energy users can only buy electricity through the national utility or through small-scale projects such as rooftop solar panels.

International clothing brands, which rely heavily on Asian garment factories, are under pressure from shareholders and consumers to reduce emissions in their supply chains. Renewable energy in Vietnam — the world’s third-largest textile exporter — is key to those companies hitting their emission targets.

“Without the DPPA we believe renewable energy development will plateau and fall short of meeting the growing energy needs of Vietnam’s industries,” the consortium warned in the Dec. 15 letter, seen by Nikkei.
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First Solar’s Photovoltaic Technology Completes 25 Years of Testing at NREL

NREL.gov

Dec. 14, 2020

Photo of an outdoor array of solar panels
First Solar’s 0.6 kilowatt cadmium telluride PV solar test array has been tested at NREL’s Outdoor Test Facility for 25 years. Photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL

 

Determining how many years a solar panel will last can take, well, years. Intended to function for 25 years or more, solar panels must be made to withstand the elements. In some cases, panels continue working well after their planned operational lifetime. Nowhere is this more evident than on the sunny hillside in Golden, Colorado, where the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) operates the Outdoor Test Facility (OTF). Tiếp tục đọc “First Solar’s Photovoltaic Technology Completes 25 Years of Testing at NREL”

Southeast Asia braces for trash dump as China enacts waste import ban

SCMP
  • On January 1, China will no longer be accepting waste from other countries, with Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia likely to feel the brunt of the new policy
  • Although the three countries have taken steps to deal with mounting trash, corruption and weak policies could doom them to remain buried in refuse
A river canal in Ho Chi Minh City choked by mostly plastic waste. Photo: Sen Nguyen
A river canal in Ho Chi Minh City choked by mostly plastic waste. Photo: Sen Nguyen

China, which used to be the world’s salvage king, is shutting its door to all waste imports starting the first day of the new year. The recent announcement triggered the same kind of anxiety among waste-exporting countries as in 2018, when China enacted its “Operation National Sword” policy, which banned the import of 24 types of solid waste, including plastic waste.

The 2018 policy switch caused the world’s major waste-exporting countries – Europe, Britain, the US and Australia – to scramble for alternative destinations, including

Southeast Asian

nations like Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia, which quickly became overwhelmed by the volume of refuse they received. Soon after, these countries began to impose their own bans and restrictions on waste imports.

With China’s latest announcement about a blanket waste ban, concerns have been raised about the effects this might have on Southeast Asian countries, where limited waste-management capacities are common.

Plastic pollution plagues Southeast Asia amid Covid-19 lockdowns
10 Aug 2020
Vietnam

, which borders China and was one of the countries most affected by Beijing’s 2018 waste policy, might not be ready for more imported waste. According to a national report released last month, various types of solid waste imported for manufacturing do not only not meet the national technical standard in regards to

environmental protection

but also put more pressure on waste-management services in the country.

Meanwhile, most of the domestically made solid waste processing equipment is unsynchronized, incomplete and not yet common in the country – going by the National Environmental Status Report in 2019 issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. No specific national guidelines exist on what technology to use to treat municipal solid waste.

Since 2018, the Vietnamese government has kept a tight rein of its scrap imports through various policies, including amending the country’s technical standard to ensure only quality scrap is allowed in and cracking down on illegal shipments of thousands of containers of paper, plastic and metal scrap. Vietnam imported 9.2 million tons of scrap in the same year, a 14 per cent year-on-year increase, according to Vietnam customs statistics.

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Databases Related to Marine and Wind Energy and the Environment

tethys.pnnl.gov

The list below compiles and provides access to external databases. While the respective scopes of each of the databases are varied, all convey information relevant to wind and marine renewable energy and the environment. The list of databases is not exhaustive and will be updated as needed. If you have comments on incorrect or missing material, please email tethys@pnnl.gov.

Database for emerging PV technologies

emerging-pv.org 

Aiming to complement NREL’s Best Research-Cell Efficiency Chart and the Solar cells efficiency tables by Martin Green et al., which list the absolute best performing certified efficiencies for each major photovoltaic (PV) technology, emerging PV reports provides an alternative reference. We summarize the best results in the PV research, as published in academic journals (certified and uncertified) and with respect to the Shockley-Queisser efficiency limit, encouraging the reproducibility of the results. Unlike the established overviews, our new approach also deals with the best flexible, transparent/semitransparent and long-term photostable PV devices. In all cases, we also suggest protocols for best practices in characterization and reporting of emerging PV device performance.

Proposed Feed-in-Tariff reduction could “seriously damage” growth of wind power in Vietnam

Global Wind Energy Council

  • New proposed Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) extension by Vietnamese government would reduce tariffs for onshore and intertidal wind power by 17.4 per cent and 13.6 per cent respectively, one of the most dramatic reductions seen for wind power globally.
  • According to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), this FIT reduction threatens to deter investment and derail the long-term growth of wind power in Vietnam.
  • GWEC welcomes a FIT extension to compensate for permitting and COVID-19-related delays, which collectively will cause Vietnam to miss its 800 MW of wind power capacity target by 41 per cent.
  • GWEC, representing the global wind industry, recommends a minimum 6-month extension to the current FIT, followed by milder reductions to the FIT from May 2022 onwards.

 

3 December 2020, Singapore – The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) welcomes the recent decision by the Vietnamese government to approve an extension of the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme for wind power in the country. However, the proposed dramatic reduction to the FIT risks seriously damaging the growth of Vietnam’s promising wind power sector, slowing down investment and the creation of new jobs and making it harder for Vietnam to meet growing energy demand. Tiếp tục đọc “Proposed Feed-in-Tariff reduction could “seriously damage” growth of wind power in Vietnam”

Geopolitics plays out on the Mekong with doubts on dams and promises of cooperation

 

aseantoday.com

The geopolitics of the Mekong river continue to evolve, with key announcements from China, Thailand and the Mekong River Commission.

Editorial

Recent weeks have seen new developments in the ongoing tension over the Mekong river and its waters, as the river basin faces ecological crises and its waters play an ever-larger role in geopolitics.

Thailand has announced that it is reconsidering its decision to purchase power from the planned Sanakham Dam, a large hydropower project on the mainstream of the Mekong in Laos. Tiếp tục đọc “Geopolitics plays out on the Mekong with doubts on dams and promises of cooperation”

Clean Energy Can Help Southeast Asia Recover After COVID-19

WRI.org

Prior to the devastating impacts of COVID-19, Southeast Asia was becoming an economic powerhouse. Manufacturing, industry and services expanded across the region in recent decades. Energy demand also grew an average of 6% per year, one of the fastest growth rates in the world. But despite the global decline in renewable energy prices, Southeast Asian countries have largely embraced fossil fuels to meet their growing energy needs.
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