Clean energy investment is extending its lead over fossil fuels, boosted by energy security strengths

Global investment in clean energy is on course to rise to USD 1.7 trillion in 2023, with solar set to eclipse oil production for the first time

Investment in clean energy technologies is significantly outpacing spending on fossil fuels as affordability and security concerns triggered by the global energy crisis strengthen the momentum behind more sustainable options, according to a new IEA report.

About USD 2.8 trillion is set to be invested globally in energy in 2023, of which more than USD 1.7 trillion is expected to go to clean technologies – including renewables, electric vehicles, nuclear power, grids, storage, low-emissions fuels, efficiency improvements and heat pumps – according to the IEA’s latest World Energy Investment report. The remainder, slightly more than USD 1 trillion, is going to coal, gas and oil.

Annual clean energy investment is expected to rise by 24% between 2021 and 2023, driven by renewables and electric vehicles, compared with a 15% rise in fossil fuel investment over the same period. But more than 90% of this increase comes from advanced economies and China, presenting a serious risk of new dividing lines in global energy if clean energy transitions don’t pick up elsewhere.

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Investor-State Dispute Settlement: Obstructing a Just Energy Transition

FAQ: What is Investor-State Dispute Settlement and What Does it Mean for Climate Action?

Boston University Global Development Policy Center

Photo by Zachary Theodore via Unsplash.

A controversial legal process known as investor-state dispute settlements (ISDS) is making it difficult for governments to mobilize finance for ambitious climate action.

When assets are protected by international investment treaties, like the Energy Charter Treaty, legal claims can be brought against countries by investors who feel they are negatively impacted by government policies. For example, Italy was recently ordered to pay UK-based oil/gas company Rockhopper more than €190 million for the Italian government’s refusal to grant an offshore oil concession. A May 2022 study in Science found potential ISDS claims globally could total as much as $340 billion.

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Energy charter treaty makes climate action nearly illegal in 52 countries – so how can we leave it?

Published: July 6, 2022 6.28pm BST

Five young people whose resolve was hardened by floods and wildfires recently took their governments to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Their claim concerns each country’s membership of an obscure treaty they argue makes climate action impossible by protecting fossil fuel investors.

The energy charter treaty has 52 signatory countries which are mostly EU states but include the UK and Japan. The claimants are suing 12 of them including France, Germany and the UK – all countries in which energy companies are using the treaty to sue governments over policies that interfere with fossil fuel extraction. For example, the German company RWE is suing the Netherlands for €1.4 billion (£1.2 billion) because it plans to phase out coal.

The claimants aim to force their countries to exit the treaty and are supported by the Global Legal Action Network, a campaign group with an ongoing case against 33 European countries they accuse of delaying action on climate change. The prospects for the current application going to a hearing at the ECHR look good. But how simple is it to prise countries from the influence of this treaty?

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Emissions from Oil and Gas Operations in Net Zero Transitions

A World Energy Outlook Special Report on the Oil and Gas Industry and COP28

Today, oil and gas operations account for around 15% of total energy-related emissions globally, the equivalent of 5.1 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. In the International Energy Agency’s Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario, the emissions intensity of these activities falls by 50% by the end of the decade. Combined with the reductions in oil and gas consumption in this scenario, this results in a 60% reduction in emissions from oil and gas operations to 2030.

Fortunately, oil and gas producers have a clear opportunity to address the problem of emissions from their activities through a series of ready-to-implement and costeffective measures. These include tackling methane emissions, eliminating all non-emergency flaring, electrifying upstream facilities with low-emissions electricity, equipping oil and gas processes with carbon capture, utilisation and storage technologies, and expanding the use of hydrogen from low-emissions electrolysis in refineries.

Upfront investments totalling USD 600 billion would be required to halve the emissions intensity of oil and gas operations globally by 2030. This is only a fraction of the record windfall income that oil and gas producers accrued in 2022 – a year of soaring energy prices amid a global energy crisis. This report aims to inform discussions on these issues in the run-up to the COP28 Climate Change Conference in Dubai in November and is part of a broader World Energy Outlook special report to be released later in 2023 focusing on the role of the oil and gas industry in net zero transitions.

Full report here

Cop28 will be the first to dedicate a day to health and climate

By Fiona Harvey | May 4, 2023

masked women working at a food stall Photo by Jérémy Stenuit on Unsplash

Editor’s note: This story was originally published by The Guardian. It appears here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

The next UN climate summit will be the first to consider health issues in depth, with a meeting of global health ministers to highlight the consequences of the climate crisis for wellbeing.

Sultan Al Jaber, the president of Cop28, which will take place in Dubai this November, said on Tuesday: “We will be the first Cop to dedicate a day to health and the first to host a health and climate ministerial. And we need to broaden our definition of adaptation to enable global climate resilience, transform food systems and enhance forestry land use and water management.”

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Andrew Steer: We must de-risk the energy transition for developing nations

In 2020, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos committed $10bn to create the Bezos Earth Fund, to help address the pressing issues of climate change. And, since then, the fund’s chief executive, Andrew Steer — who joined from the World Resources Institute, following a stint as the World Bank’s special envoy for climate change — has focused its efforts on funding energy transition.

At the COP 27 conference in Egypt, last November, Steer, alongside John Kerry, the US special presidential envoy for climate, and the philanthropic Rockefeller Foundation, announced plans for an Energy Transition Accelerator (ETA) programme, to bring private capital to clean energy transition projects in emerging and developing economies. It’s aim was to do this by verifying the greenhouse gas emission reductions from transition projects, which participating jurisdictions would be able to issue as marketable carbon credits. Under the still to be developed proposal, these credits might then be purchased by companies to achieve their net zero emission targets, creating a predictable finance stream to de-risk costly transition investment.

In March, Steer joined the FT’s climate editor, Emiliya Mychasuk, at the FT Climate Capital Live event, to give an update on the ETA’s progress.

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Global shipping is under pressure to stop its heavy fuel oil use fast – that’s not simple, but changes are coming

Published: April 24, 2023 1.26pm BST

Most of the clothing and gadgets you buy in stores today were once in shipping containers, sailing across the ocean. Ships carry over 80% of the world’s traded goods. But they have a problem – the majority of them burn heavy sulfur fuel oil, which is a driver of climate change.

While cargo ships’ engines have become more efficient over time, the industry is under growing pressure to eliminate its carbon footprint.

European Union legislators reached an agreement to require an 80% drop in shipping fuels’ greenhouse gas intensity by 2050 and to require shipping lines to pay for the greenhouse gases their ships release. The International Maritime Organization, the United Nations agency that regulates international shipping, also plans to strengthen its climate strategy this summer. The IMO’s current goal is to cut shipping emissions 50% by 2050. President Joe Biden said on April 20, 2023, that the U.S. would push for a new international goal of zero emissions by 2050 instead.

We asked maritime industry researcher Don Maier if the industry can meet those tougher targets.

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Why is it so hard for shipping to transition away from fossil fuels?

Economics and the lifespan of ships are two primary reasons.

Most of the big shippers’ fleets are less than 20 years old, but even the newer builds don’t necessarily have the most advanced technology. It takes roughly a year and a half to come out with a new build of a ship, and it will still be based on technology from a few years ago. So, most of the engines still run on fossil fuel oil.

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Death threats, trolling and sexist abuse: climate scientists report online attacks

Survey highlights experiences of dozens of climate researchers who have endured online harassment related to their work.

Close-up of the hands of a woman typing on a laptop at night
Among 468 survey respondents, 39% said they have experienced online harassment or abuse related to their climate research.Credit: Oscar Wong/Getty

In 2013, Richard Betts called the police because someone online threatened to string him up with piano wire. The threat happened after Betts, a climate scientist at the University of Exeter, UK, tweeted about the rising temperatures the world would experience the following year. This wasn’t the first time someone had responded negatively to his comments about climate change; nor would it be the last. And Betts isn’t alone.

survey by the international non-governmental organization Global Witness hints at the extent of online abuse faced by scientists working on climate topics worldwide, some of which takes a toll on their work or well-being.

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How using tree rings to look into the past can teach us about the climate changes we face in the future

“The longer you can look back, the farther you can look forward,” Winston Churchill proclaimed to the Royal College of Physicians in 1944, invoking a much older idea known as “uniformitarianism”.

Coined by geologists James Hutton and Charles Lyell, this is the idea that past processes (like erosion or climate change) that have altered the Earth over time remain similar, so we can analyse them to understand the consequences of future processes – such as how climate change might shape our planet in the years to come.

This principle of looking to the past to see the future still guides the science of palaeoclimatology, or the study of past climates.

For example, the geological record tells us there were palm trees in Antarctica many millions of years ago, when CO₂ was at 1,000 parts per million in our planet’s atmosphere.

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Looking back to this period, when our planet was experiencing naturally high CO₂ levels, helps us study what life on Earth might look like if our attempts to reach net zero emissions fail and greenhouse gas emission rates continue to rise.

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Muốn bán tín chỉ carbon, trước tiên phải có uy tín về bảo vệ rừng

Quảng Nam vừa được Chính phủ đồng ý thí điểm kinh doanh tín chỉ carbon (CO2). Đây là tín hiệu vui cả cho sự phát triển kinh tế lẫn công tác bảo vệ môi trường, bảo vệ rừng.

Muốn bán tín chỉ carbon, trước tiên phải có uy tín về bảo vệ rừng
Một vụ đốt rừng để trồng rừng vừa xảy ra giữa tháng 5.2021 tại huyện Phước Sơn, Quảng Nam. Ảnh: Huy Kha

UBND Quảng Nam cho biết, Văn phòng Chính phủ vừa có Công văn gửi cho Bộ NN&PTNT và chính quyền tỉnh này về việc đồng ý cho phép Quảng Nam lập đề án thí điểm kinh doanh tín chỉ carbon.

Theo Bộ NN&PTNT, mỗi năm Việt Nam có thể bán ra thị trường thế giới 57 triệu tín chỉ carbon. Nếu được giá bán 5 USD/tín chỉ, thì mỗi năm Việt Nam có thể thu về hàng trăm triệu USD.

Trong đó, Quảng Nam với 628.000 ha rừng tự nhiên, mỗi năm có khả năng bán được 1 triệu tín chỉ carbon ra thị trường thế giới. Nếu thành công với đề án này thì bình quân mỗi năm tỉnh này sẽ thu được từ 5 triệu đến 10 triệu USD.

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‘It can be done. It must be done’: IPCC delivers definitive report on climate change, and where to now

The world is in deep trouble on climate change, but if we really put our shoulder to the wheel we can turn things around. Loosely, that’s the essence of today’s report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The IPCC is the world’s official body for assessment of climate change. The panel has just released its Synthesis Report, capping off seven years of in-depth assessments on various topics.

The report draws out the key insights from six previous reports, written by hundreds of expert authors. They spanned many thousands of pages and were informed by hundreds of thousands of comments by governments and the scientific community.

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Mapped: Asia’s Biggest Sources of Electricity by Country

Mapped: Asia’s Biggest Sources of Electricity by Country

Mapped: Asia’s Biggest Sources of Electricity by Country

The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that Asia will account for half of the world’s electricity consumption by 2025, with one-third of global electricity being consumed in China.

To explore how this growing electricity demand is currently being met, the above graphic maps out Asia’s main sources of electricity by country, using data from the BP Statistical Review of World Energy and the IEA.

A Coal-Heavy Electricity Mix

Although clean energy has been picking up pace in Asia, coal currently makes up more than half of the continent’s electricity generation.

No Asian countries rely on wind, solar, or nuclear energy as their primary source of electricity, despite the combined share of these sources doubling over the last decade.

 % of total electricity mix, 2011% of total electricity mix, 2021 
Natural Gas19%17%
Total Electricity Generated9,780 terawatt-hours15,370 terawatt-hours

The above comparison shows that the slight drops in the continent’s reliance on coal, natural gas, and oil in the last decade have been absorbed by wind, solar, and hydropower. The vast growth in total electricity generated, however, means that a lot more fossil fuels are being burned now (in absolute terms) than at the start of the last decade, despite their shares dropping.

Following coal, natural gas comes in second place as Asia’s most used electricity source, with most of this demand coming from the Middle East and Russia.

Zooming in: China’s Big Electricity Demand

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What is just energy transition? And why is it important?


November 3, 2022

Students from India eat lunch cooked with the steam generated from a solar energy-based steam generator

Photo: Prashanth Vishwanathan/UNDP India

Since the industrial revolution, fossil fuels have powered extraordinary growth and development, albeit with huge costs to our climate. As a direct result, we are today in a climate emergency.

To avert catastrophe, we must now radically switch to a sustainable, net-zero future. This transition needs to happen fast, but it also has to happen in a fair and inclusive way.

If done right, the transition offers immense opportunities: a systems change in which all communities, workers, and countries are lifted up.

Promisingly, momentum around “just transition” is gathering pace. We are seeing it emerge in the global dialogue around decarbonization and net zero. More countries are referencing it in their short and long-term climate plans. Partners are coming together, and coalitions are forming.

So what’s it all about?

What is “just transition”?

The concept of “just transition” has been around since the 1980s, when it was used in a movement by US trade unions to protect workers affected by new water and air pollution regulations. 

In recent years, the concept has gained traction with reference to meeting climate goals by ensuring the whole of society – all communities, all workers, all social groups – are brought along in the pivot to a net-zero future.

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Tình trạng di cư, sự chênh lệch về mức sống là thách thức lớn cho ĐBSCL

HƯƠNG MAI  –  Thứ ba, 02/08/2022 17:54 (GMT+7)

Sự khác nhau về mức sống và cơ hội việc làm dẫn đến việc người dân từ ĐBSCL di cư lên các đô thị và khu công nghiệp ở TP.Hồ Chí Minh, Đông Nam Bộ.

Tình trạng di cư, sự chênh lệch về mức sống là thách thức lớn cho ĐBSCL

Trong công bố báo cáo kinh tế thường niên năm 2022 về tình hình kinh tế ĐBSCL và những vấn đề quan trọng của vùng, ở phương diện xã hội, thách thức đầu tiên của ĐBSCL là thiếu việc làm ở nông thôn.

Tỉ lệ thiếu việc làm trong độ tuổi lao động của ĐBSCL năm 2020 là 3,47%, cao thứ 2 toàn quốc, chỉ sau Tây Nguyên; tỉ lệ thiếu việc làm ở khu vực nông thôn ĐBSCL cao gấp đôi so với khu vực thành thị (3,97% so với 1,87%).

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Country Climate and Development Report for Vietnam

Vietnam CCDR Report

Vietnam is increasingly seeing its development affected by climate change and now faces critical questions about how to respond. The Vietnam Country Climate and Development Report proposes that Vietnam shift its development paradigm by incorporating two critical pathways – resilient pathway and decarbonizing pathway – that will help the country balance its development goals with increasing climate risks.

After more than two decades of steady growth, Vietnam has set an ambitious goal of reaching high-income status by 2045. It has been recognized in the 2021-2030 Socioeconomic Development Strategy that the country’s economic transformation will greatly depend on better management of natural capital – the extensive stocks of agricultural, forest, and mineral resources that have helped drive development.

Yet Vietnam, with over 3,200 km of coastline and many low-lying cities and river delta regions, is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change. Climate change impacts  – mainly higher and more variable temperatures and sea level rise  – are already disrupting economic activity and undermining growth. Initial calculations suggest that Vietnam lost $10 billion in 2020, or 3.2 percent of GDP, to climate change impacts.

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