Does the world need hydrogen to solve climate change?

carbonbrief.org

Hydrogen gas has long been recognised as an alternative to fossil fuels and a potentially valuable tool for tackling climate change.

Now, as nations come forward with net-zero strategies to align with their international climate targets, hydrogen has once again risen up the agenda from Australia and the UK through to Germany and Japan.

In the most optimistic outlooks, hydrogen could soon power trucks, planes and ships. It could heat homes, balance electricity grids and help heavy industry to make everything from steel to cement.

But doing all these things with hydrogen would require staggering quantities of the fuel, which is only as clean as the methods used to produce it. Moreover, for every potentially transformative application of hydrogen, there are unique challenges that must be overcome.

In this in-depth Q&A – which includes a range of infographics, maps and interactive charts, as well as the views of dozens of experts – Carbon Brief examines the big questions around the “hydrogen economy” and looks at the extent to which it could help the world avoid dangerous climate change.

What is hydrogen and how could it help tackle climate change?

Hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant element in the universe. It is also an explosive and clean-burning gas that contains more energy per unit of weight than fossil fuels.

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We need to get serious about the renewable energy revolution—by including nuclear power

thebulletin.org

By Michael Edesess | May 5, 2022

One of my favorite quotes is from Sherlock Holmes: “Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however implausible, must be the truth.”[1] This motto implicitly guides the ambitious plan to decarbonize all energy envisioned by most renewable energy enthusiasts. The only problem is that, not only is the alternative they dismiss not impossible, it could be much less implausible than the one they advocate.

The renewables army. A huge number of extremely earnest and bright people are working on trying to make the renewable energy future come true. They work at, or have passed through, the most elite institutions of our time, the top universities, the top financial firms, the most innovative corporations and startups. At the center of much of their effort is the Rocky Mountain Institute, the nonprofit research think-tank whose board I chaired more than 20 years ago. (They call it a “think-and-do” tank, which is more fitting.) RMI coordinates meetings (recently mostly Zoom meetings) with very smart participants from some of the foremost companies working on decarbonizing their businesses, companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft. It’s a pleasure to watch them think, discuss, and work out problems. It was an enormous pleasure to be on RMI’s board, especially to interact intellectually with the most brilliant individual I have ever met, RMI’s co-founder Amory Lovins.

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Great Barrier Reef suffers sixth mass bleaching event with 91% of reefs surveyed affected

By Hilary WhitemanHannah Ritchie and Helen Regan, CNN

Updated 0445 GMT (1245 HKT) May 11, 2022

Coral at Stanley Reef, about 83 miles (133 kilometers) off Townsville in Queensland, shows signs of bleaching caused by rising sea temperatures.

Coral at Stanley Reef, about 83 miles (133 kilometers) off Townsville in Queensland, shows signs of bleaching caused by rising sea temperatures.

(CNN)Warming waters from escalating climate change have caused coral bleaching in 91% of reefs surveyed along the Great Barrier Reef this year, according to new findings from an Australian government agency.

Scientists from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) confirmed in March this was the sixth mass bleaching event of the reef on record and the fourth since 2016.

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Russia’s War Is Turbocharging the World’s Addiction to Coal

bloomberg.com

The first phase of the global energy crunch was driven by the natural gas shortage, now comes the coal crisis.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine set off a chain reaction in the global energy markets that further thrusts coal into the spotlight. 
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine set off a chain reaction in the global energy markets that further thrusts coal into the spotlight. Photographer: Bartek Sadowski/Bloomberg

By Will Wade and Stephen Stapczynski

25 April 2022, 11:01 GMT+7

In Germany and Italy, coal-fired power plants that were once decommissioned are now being considered for a second life. In South Africa, more coal-laden ships are embarking on what’s typically a quiet route around the Cape of Good Hope toward Europe. Coal burning in the U.S. is in the midst of its biggest revival in a decade, while China is reopening shuttered mines and planning new ones

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Climate change will force new animal encounters — and boost viral outbreaks

nature.com

Modelling study is first to project how global warming will increase virus swapping between species.

A bat flying over trees against a blue sky.
Bats will have a large contribution to virus transmission between species in the future, a modelling study finds.Credit: Pratik Chorge/Hindustan Times via Getty

Over the next 50 years, climate change could drive more than 15,000 new cases of mammals transmitting viruses to other mammals, according to a study published in Nature1. It’s one of the first to predict how global warming will shift wildlife habitats and increase encounters between species capable of swapping pathogens, and to quantify how many times viruses are expected to jump between species.

Many researchers say that the COVID-19 pandemic probably started when a previously unknown coronavirus passed from a wild animal to a human: a process called zoonotic transmission. A predicted rise in viruses jumping between species could trigger more outbreaks, posing a serious threat to human and animal health alike, the study warns — providing all the more reason for governments and health organizations to invest in pathogen surveillance and to improve health-care infrastructure.

Why deforestation and extinctions make pandemics more likely

The study is “a critical first step in understanding the future risk of climate and land-use change on the next pandemic”, says Kate Jones, who models interactions between ecosystems and human health at University College London.

The research predicts that much of the new virus transmission will happen when species meet for the first time as they move to cooler locales because of rising temperatures. And it projects that this will occur most often in species-rich ecosystems at high elevations, particularly areas of Africa and Asia, and in areas that are densely populated by humans, including Africa’s Sahel region, India and Indonesia. Assuming that the planet warms by no more than 2 °C above pre-industrial temperatures this century — a future predicted by some climate analyses — the number of first-time meetings between species will double by 2070, creating virus-transmission hotspots, the study says.

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Climate change expert report warns that ISDS can block climate action

Photo: StopISDS / Twitter

AFTINET | 6 April 2022

Climate change expert report warns that ISDS can block climate action

April 6, 2022: For the first time, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned that climate action is being jeopardised by trade agreements which give global corporations the right to sue governments through clauses known as ‘Investor State Dispute Settlement’ mechanisms, or ISDS.

In its Sixth Assessment Report on the impacts of climate change, the IPCC warned that ISDS can “be used by fossil-fuel companies to block national legislation aimed at phasing out the use of their assets.”

The report indicates that the problem is not isolated to one specific agreement or institution, but that a network of bilateral trade and investment treaties function to protect fossil fuel interests:

“A large number of bilateral and multilateral agreements, including the 1994 Energy Charter Treaty, include provisions for using a system of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) designed to protect the interests of investors in energy projects from national policies that could lead their assets to be stranded.”

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Miền Tây cạn kiệt

Trương Chí Hùng

Trương Chí Hùng

Nhà văn

Tôi gặp vũng nước đọng bên rìa đám ruộng, rộng chừng chiếc đệm, khi đi ngang cánh đồng lúa chín ở miệt Láng Linh (huyện Châu Phú, An Giang) vài hôm trước.

Trước đây, vũng nước trên ruộng lúa sắp thu hoạch sẽ nhung nhúc cá – những con cá đã sống mấy tháng trời trên mảnh ruộng, lúc người ta xả nước để chuẩn bị thu hoạch lúa, chúng sẽ bị lùa lại trong các vũng nước đọng. Đa phần là cá rô đồng, cá sặc, cá lóc; móc sâu xuống bùn một chút là có cá chạch, lươn.

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Floods and Migrants of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta: 25 Lessons from the Data

mekongeye.com

By Le Thu MachHoang Long Cao and Vu The Cuong

11 February 2022 at 10:10 (Updated on 25 April 2022 at 14:37)

Data on agricultural, hydropower, saltwater intrusion and rainfall patterns in Vietnam Mekong Delta explains where the country’s food comes from, why it’s disappearing and what can be done about it.

The fertile Mekong Delta is a crucial region for Vietnam’s continued food and economic security but a variety of factors have wreaked havoc on how Vietnam grows food, catches fish and ultimately survives a radically changing environment. Here, reporters analyze 20 years of data on agricultural, hydropower, saltwater intrusion and rainfall patterns in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta (VMD) to explain where the country’s food comes from, why it’s disappearing and what can be done about it.

1. Disappearing waters

Vietnam’s flood plains are disappearing, and fish, rice and people along with it. The flood peak in Tan Chau and Chau Doc in 2020 is only about 60% of that in 2002. From now on, VMD will have to wait from 50 to 100 years to have a big flood season. Within 15 years, the amount of fish caught in An Giang has plummeted by two-thirds.

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Những trò chơi vui nhộn để học nói một ngoại ngữ

English: 12 Fun Speaking Games for Language Learners

Những hoạt động này nhằm giúp người học tiếng Anh và học ngoại ngữ nói tốt hơn.

Khi ở trong những lớp học ngoại ngữ, hoặc cụ thể lớp học tiếng Anh, có bao giờ bạn đưa ra câu hỏi và câu trả lời chỉ là một sự im lặng hoàn toàn và những ánh mắt trống rỗng. Đó là một vấn đề phổ biến – hầu như mọi giáo viên đều có khó khăn khi khuyến khích học sinh nói trong lớp học ngoại ngữ.

Học sinh có thể có một nỗi lo sợ rất sâu nếu mắc lỗi hoặc có thể chỉ là sự ngại ngùng kể cả khi nói bằng tiếng mẹ đẻ. Cho dù lý do là gì, dưới đây là danh sách  của một vài hoạt động thú vị giúp cho học sinh nói khi học ngoại ngữ. Danh sách này phù hợp hơn cho những học sinh có trình độ khá trở lên.

12 cách để người học ngoại ngữ trò chuyện.

  1. Ai đang nói sự thật?

Để cho mỗi học sinh viết vào một mẩu giấy 3 điều thực tế về bản thân mà không ai trong lớp biết. Nhớ rằng mỗi học sinh đều ghi tên của mình ở trong giấy. Tập hợp lại các tờ giấy và mời 3 học sinh lên phía trước phòng học. Đọc to một điều đúng với một trong 3 học sinh này.

Cả 3 học sinh đều xác nhận điều đó là đúng với mình, và sau đó cả lớp sẽ tiến hành chất vấn để xác định xem ai nói thật và ai nói xạo. Mỗi học sinh được cho phép hỏi một câu hỏi cho một trong 3 học sinh. Sau một vòng hỏi, mọi người sẽ đoán ai là người nói thật.

  • Các kiểu trò chơi “Cấm kị – Taboo”:

Cách 1, tạo một Powerpoint trình bày một danh từ trên mỗi slide. Để cho một học sinh lên trước lớp và ngồi quay lưng lại với PowerPoint. Những học sinh còn lại giải thích về từ ở trên slides và học sinh ở phía trước sẽ đoán ra từ đó.

Phiên bản khác:

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Climate change triggering global collapse in insect numbers: stressed farmland shows 63% decline

theconversation.com

Speed read

  • The world may be facing a devastating “hidden” collapse in insect species due to the twin threats of climate change and habitat loss.
  • UCL’s Centre for Biodiversity & Environment Research has carried out one of the largest-ever assessments of insect declines around the world – assessing three-quarters of a million samples from around 6,000 sites.
  • The new study, published in Nature, finds that climate-stressed farmland possesses only half the number of insects, on average, and 25% fewer insect species than areas of natural habitat.
  • Insect declines are greatest in high-intensity farmland areas within tropical countries – where the combined effects of climate change and habitat loss are experienced most profoundly.
  • The majority of the world’s estimated 5.5 million species are thought to live in these regions – meaning the planet’s greatest abundances of insect life may be suffering collapses without us even realising.
  • Lowering the intensity of farming by using fewer chemicals, having a greater diversity of crops and preserving some natural habitat can mitigate the negative effects of habitat loss and climate change on insects.
  • Considering the choices we make as consumers – such as buying shade-grown coffee or cocoa – could also help protect insects and other creatures in the world’s most climate-vulnerable regions.

Long read

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UN Women helps ease climate risks for ethnic minority farmers in mountains of Viet Nam

UNwomenDate: Friday, 21 May 2021

Author: Thao Hoang

Quang Kim, Viet Nam — The villagers of the Giay ethnic minority are often at the mercy of the weather, so UN Women is helping them avert losses in their main livelihoods of farming and raising chickens and fish.

Quang Kim, a commune in Ta Trang village near the capital of Lao Cai province in northern Viet Nam, is often hit by flash floods and landslides during the storm season.

Quang Kim, shown here on 6 April 6, 2021 is always at high risk of flooding. Photo: UN Women/Thao Hoang

Quang Kim, shown here on 6 April 6, 2021 is always at high risk of flooding. Photo: UN Women/Thao Hoang

“The income of my family depends much on planting rice and selling chicken and fish, but all were buried by the flood in October last year,” said Ho Thi Nhung, 38, who lives here with her husband and two sons. “In recent years the weather has become more unpredictable and extreme, and more rains make the chickens easily get sick and die. … Every six months I raised around 100 chickens, but more than half of them could not survive.”

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Why are Tropical Forests Being Lost, and How to Protect Them

WRI.org

By Frances Seymour

There’s good news and bad news for forests. Over the last 10 years, satellite imagery and other remote sensing technologies have revolutionized our ability to monitor and understand the causes of forest loss.

The bad news is that deforestation data spanning the last two decades reveals a persistent hemorrhaging of the world’s most valuable terrestrial ecosystems — and we’re not doing enough to stop the bleeding.

What do trends in forest loss tell us?

Global tree cover loss trends show that in the 21st century, by far the most deforestation — meaning when forests are permanently converted to other land uses — is occurring in the tropics. We now have two decades of data on the loss of primary tropical forests, and it paints a sobering picture: stubbornly persistent annual losses hovering between 3 and 4 million hectares each year, punctuated by spikes associated with major fires.

The main direct cause of tropical forest loss is expansion of commercial agriculture, augmented in different regions to varying degree by clearing for small-scale agriculture, extractive activities, and roads and other infrastructure, with complex linkages among them. Even lockdowns associated with the coronavirus pandemic didn’t appear to disrupt those patterns in any consistent way; in fact, losses ticked up in 2020 compared to the previous year.

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The Impacts of US Wholesale Electricity Market Rules and Policies on Clean Energy Goals: A Primer for Local Governments

WRI.org

This paper discusses the evolving rules and policies of wholesale markets that can create barriers to local governments’ achievement of an effective and rapid clean energy transition. The report reviews the current barriers associated with transmission, market rules, and stakeholder processes across these markets while considering how these barriers affect local government clean energy and decarbonization goals, and the role of effective engagement in addressing these barriers.

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Cover image

DOI https://doi.org/10.46830/wriwp.21.00097

 ENERGY

RegionNorth AmericaMarch 30, 2022

This Working Paper is part of Electricity Market Design within our Energy Program. Reach out to Zach Greene for more information.

Authors

Elise Caplan, Zach GreeneJoseph WombleKatrina McLaughlin and Lori Bird

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