Is it possible to make steel without fossil fuels?

By Josh Owens

September 24, 2020

Steel production
Steel production is an incredibly energy intensive process.

Steel is arguably the single most important resource when it comes to constructing infrastructure.

From roads to railways and the skeleton of most buildings, it is at the very heart of nearly every city on earth. Within those cities, the cars on the road, the cutlery in our kitchens and the furniture in our offices all rely on steel production. Steel production, however, is an incredibly energy intensive process, and the vast majority of this energy comes from fossil fuels.

Globally, steel is responsible for 7-9 percent of all direct emissions from fossil fuels. Most of those emissions come from the burning of coal, which makes up 89 percent of the energy input for blast furnace-basic oxygen furnace (BF-BOF) and 11 percent of the energy input of electric arc furnaces (EAF). Of those two types of steel production, BF-BOF is far more common, making up 75 percent of steel that is produced compared to 25 percent from EAF. Globally, steel is responsible for 7-9% of all direct emissions from fossil fuels.

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Trẻ em Việt Nam có “nguy cơ cao” chịu tác động của khủng hoảng khí hậu – UNICEF

Children in Viet Nam at ‘high risk’ of the impacts of the climate crisis – UNICEF

Lần đầu tiên, UNICEF xếp hạng các quốc gia dựa trên nguy cơ rủi ro và mức độ dễ bị tổn thương của trẻ em trước các cú sốc về khí hậu và môi trường; trong đó, trẻ em Việt Nam xếp thứ 37 trên thế giới về mức độ dễ bị tổn thương

Trẻ em và thanh thiếu niên Việt Nam là một trong những nhóm đối tượng có nguy cơ cao nhất trước các tác động của biến đổi khí hậu; điều này đe dọa đến sức khỏe, giáo dục và sự an toàn của các em.
UNICEF Việt Nam\Trương Việt HùngTrẻ em và thanh thiếu niên Việt Nam là một trong những nhóm đối tượng có nguy cơ cao nhất trước các tác động của biến đổi khí hậu; điều này đe dọa đến sức khỏe, giáo dục và sự an toàn của các em.

NEW YORK, HÀ NỘI ngày 20/8/2021 – Theo báo cáo của UNICEF phát hành ngày hôm nay, thanh thiếu niên Việt Nam là một trong những nhóm đối tượng có nguy cơ cao nhất trước các tác động của biến đổi khí hậu; điều này đe dọa đến sức khỏe, giáo dục và sự an toàn của các em.

‘Khủng hoảng khí hậu là cuộc khủng hoảng về quyền trẻ em: Giới thiệu chỉ số rủi ro khí hậu liên quan tới trẻ em’ là phân tích toàn diện đầu tiên được thực hiện về rủi ro khí hậu từ góc độ của trẻ em. Trong phân tích này, các quốc gia được xếp hạng dựa trên nguy cơ rủi ro của trẻ em trước các cú sốc về khí hậu và môi trường, chẳng hạn như lốc xoáy và các đợt nắng nóng, cũng như mức độ dễ bị tổn thương của trẻ em trước các cú sốc, dựa trên khả năng tiếp cận các dịch vụ thiết yếu của trẻ em.

Báo cáo được thực hiện và phát hành với sự hợp tác của tổ chức Fridays for Future nhân dịp kỷ niệm ba năm phong trào biểu tình vì khí hậu toàn cầu do thanh niên lãnh đạo. Báo cáo cho thấy khoảng 1 tỷ trẻ em – gần một nửa trong số 2,2 tỷ trẻ em trên toàn thế giới – sống tại 33 quốc gia được phân loại là có “nguy cơ cực kỳ cao”. Các kết quả của báo cáo cho thấy số lượng trẻ em hiện đang bị ảnh hưởng; các con số có thể trở nên tồi tệ hơn khi tác động của biến đổi khí hậu tăng nhanh.

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China, India, other big coal users missing from COP26 phase-out deal

By Kate Abnett and Elizabeth Piper


  • Poland, Indonesia sign up to phase out coal
  • China, India, U.S., Australia not included
  • COP26 mini deals aim to add up to big climate win

GLASGOW, Nov 4 (Reuters) – Indonesia, Poland, Vietnam and other nations pledged on Thursday to phase out use of coal-fired power and stop building plants, but their deal at the COP26 climate summit failed to win support from China, India and other top coal consumers.

Britain has said one of its main aims for the United Nations summit is “consigning coal power to history”. The deal saw 23 nations making new commitments, a move the president of the COP26 summit, Alok Sharma, said put the end of coal “in sight”.

“Today I think we can say that the end of coal is in sight,” Sharma told the Glasgow meeting.

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More than 40 countries agree to phase out coal-fired power

Critics say pledge to end use of dirtiest fuel source in 2030s and 40s does not go far enough

Steam and smoke rise from Bełchatów power station in Poland.
Steam and smoke rise from Bełchatów power station in Poland, one of the countries that has agreed to phase out coal-fired power. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Fiona HarveyJillian Ambrose and Patrick Greenfield in GlasgowWed 3 Nov 2021 22.30 GMT

More than 40 countries have agreed to phase out their use of coal-fired power, the dirtiest fuel source, in a boost to UK hopes of a deal to “keep 1.5C alive”, from the Cop26 climate summit.

Major coal-using countries, including Canada, Poland, South Korea, Ukraine, Indonesia and Vietnam, will phase out their use of coal for electricity generation, with the bigger economies doing so in the 2030s, and smaller economies doing so in the 2040s.

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State of Climate Action 2021: Systems Transformations Required to Limit Global Warming to 1.5°C

Transformations must occur across every sector at far faster pace than recent trends to keep the window open to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goal to limit global warming to 1.5°C, according to this Systems Change Lab report authored by the UN High-Level Climate Champions, Climate Action Tracker, ClimateWorks Foundation, Bezos Earth Fund and World Resources Institute.

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C requires far-reaching transformations across power generation, buildings, industry, transport, land use, coastal zone management, and agriculture, as well as the immediate scale-up of technological carbon removal and climate finance. This report translates these transitions into 40 targets for 2030 and 2050, with measurable indicators.

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Climate Benefits of Iconic Protected Forests Are Under Threat

Last month, nine philanthropic organizations pledged $5 billion to protect 30% of the planet over the next decade — the largest commitment of private funding ever made for the conservation of nature. These organizations intend to address three interrelated global crises — the climate crisis, the biodiversity crisis and the public health crisis — while working with Indigenous Peoples and local communities. 

The pledges arrive not a moment too soon. A new report released on October 28, 2021 by WRI, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reveals that despite substantial carbon stored and absorbed by forests across UNESCO’s World Heritage network, the climate benefits of even some of the world’s most iconic and protected places are under pressure from land use and climate change. Continued reliance on these forests’ carbon sinks and storage depends upon stronger protection measures.

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Top Takeaways from the UN World Leaders Summit at COP26

Dawn over Glasgow COP26

CommentaryTopic Climate

The first two days of the UN Climate Conference (COP26) featured over 100 high-level announcements and speeches during the “World Leaders Summit,” helping set the tone for the two-week long conference. The gathering of world leaders was immediately preceded by the G20 Summit held in Rome.

While several important announcements were made that will help to move the needle on global climate action, negotiators will still have their work cut out for them as they try to pave the way for more progress in the coming days.

Here’s a look at the developments so far.

Limited Progress at G20 Summit in Rome

In a final communique, G20 nations recognized the importance of strengthening national climate action this decade, and committed to revisit and further enhance their 2030 emission reduction targets where necessary. This should pave the way for negotiators at COP26 to agree that major emitters will further strengthen their 2030 targets within the next couple of years to keep the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) temperature goal within reach.  

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COPs and robbers

Transparency International
05/11/2021: COPs and robbers
The world’s biggest annual climate conference, COP26, is underway in Glasgow. Despite the promise of “the most inclusive COP ever”, activists have had to follow negotiations from the sidelines. Representatives of major gas and oil companies, however, have continued to rub shoulders with decision-makers, just like in previous years.

Young people display placards as ministers prepare COP26. Milan, 1 October 2021. Image: Mauro Ujetto / Shutterstock

Earlier this week, news broke that government leaders achieved a new deal to end and even reverse deforestation by 2030. This is the first COP pledge to recognise protection of the rights of Indigenous Peoples as a climate solution. Indigenous communities play a crucial role in protecting their lands from illegal deforestation but – as Transparency International recently documented – often face discriminatory corruption, so this high-level recognition is both welcome and long overdue.But don’t hold your breath just yet.

The Glasgow declaration fails to mention the need for accountability and good governance measures when delivering on these promises. In this regard, things aren’t much different from 2014, when the New York Declaration on Forests was adopted. Despite ambitious targets set back then, the Declaration has so far failed to achieve its objective, as corruption has continued to fuel deforestation.

Take Nicaragua, for example, whose signature is missing from the Glasgow deforestation deal even though the country is losing its forests at the fastest rate in the world. Deforestation rates have almost doubled since 2014, when Nicaragua’s national forestry agency came under President Daniel Ortega’s direct control.And now, an investigation from the Organized Crime and Corruption Project has found that Nicaragua’s Vice President – and Ortega’s wife – Rosario Murillo and other public officials handed out forestry permits to politically connected companies. What’s more, Nicaragua’s reforestation programmes – which are co-financed by international donors – have allegedly benefitted the private interests of a certain supreme court judge.

In 2018 alone, climate finance totalled US$546 billion globally, and corruption finds fertile ground in such vast sums of money. Cases documented by Transparency International show corruption remains a major barrier to the success of climate adaptation and mitigation measures.  

  Corruption, like climate change, is a threat multiplier with many dangerous tipping points. It not only diminishes the chance of curbing climate change, but unfairly denies the most vulnerable members of society from participating or benefitting from climate funds. Rueben Lifuka, Vice Chair of Transparency International Over the next years, as wealthy nations – many of which are the biggest polluters – scale up the delivery of climate finance, they must also do more to ensure that these funds do not end up in private pockets.Transparency International is working tirelessly around the world to build a range of integrity measures – from advocating on behalf of affected communities to proposing better mechanisms to disburse much-needed climate finance. The aim is, ultimately, to protect our people and our planet.

© Transparency InternationalClimate & Corruption Atlas

From fossil fuel lobbying to the illegal rosewood trade, Transparency International’s Climate & Corruption Atlas documents cases of corruption in climate finance and projects. These stories underscore the importance of protecting these multi-billion-dollar flows of money from corruption. 
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Security Challenges of Climate Change in Southeast Asia

Photo: REZAS/AFP/Getty Images
by Murray Hiebert (Senior Associate, Southeast Asia Program) and Danielle Fallin (Program Coordinator and Research Assistant, Southeast Asia Program)

A 1.5-degree Celsius increase in global warming poses an immediate threat to Southeast Asia’s economic, political, and health security. Mitigating the effects of climate change is key to the United States’ goal to secure a free, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific.

Southeast Asia will be one of the world’s most vulnerable regions to climate change unless countries make dramatic cuts in greenhouse gas pollution. According to a 2018 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a global warming increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.4 degrees Fahrenheit) will cause rising seas, dangerous flooding, and changing rain patterns leading to violent typhoons and drought. Global warming poses a threat to food security, hobbles economic growth, prompts political instability, and catalyzes pandemics. In extreme cases, it can create an environment conducive to terrorist activities.

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China’s Commitment to Stop Overseas Financing of New Coal Plants in Perspective

September 24, 2021

On September 21, 2021, Chinese president Xi Jinping announced at the United Nations General Assembly debate that China would not build any new coal-fired power plants abroad and would step up its support for developing green and low-carbon energy in developing countries. He also reiterated the country’s goal to become carbon neutral by 2060 and peak carbon emissions by 2030, targets which he had first announced last year. This new announcement sets the tone for the upcoming UN climate change conference, COP26, which will be held in Glasgow in early November.

Q1: Why does this new climate commitment matter?

A1: Xi Jinping’s speech at last year’s UN General Assembly was noteworthy because it set a timeline for China’s decarbonization. However, in addition to not specifying a peak level of emissions, it also left unanswered the question of whether the country would shoulder the responsibility for climate action outside its borders. China’s role as the largest public financier of coal projects globally has come into particular focus this past year as other governments, such as the G7 members, have pledged to slash their public financing of such projects. There were multiple calls from the international community, including U.S. special envoy for climate John Kerry, for China to end its support for coal projects globally.

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Geopolitical standoff in South China Sea leads to environmental fallout

by Leilani Chavez on 12 August 2021

  • Satellite images show significant growth in the occurrence of algal blooms in contested areas in the South China Sea.
  • Images suggest that these algal blooms or phytoplankton overgrowth are linked to the presence of vessels anchored in the area and to island-building activities in the region.
  • While satellite images help give a preview of the ecological state of the South China Sea, on-site observations are necessary to validate the findings, experts say.
  • Decades of territorial and maritime disputes, however, have limited the conduct of studies and dissuaded the establishment of conservation zones in the South China Sea.

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If your coffee’s going downhill, blame climate change

by Reuters

Monday, 16 August 2021 10:00 GMT

Brazil is turning to stronger and more bitter robusta coffee beans, which are hardier in the heat than the delicate arabica, in a sign of how climate change is affecting global markets

* Robusta coffee more heat tolerant than arabica

* It can be grown at lower altitudes than rival variety

* Top roasters ramping up use of Brazilian robusta

* Yields in Brazil now match top robusta grower Vietnam

By Maytaal Angel, Marcelo Teixeira and Roberto Samora

LONDON/NEW YORK/SAO PAULO, Aug 16 (Reuters) – Coffee leader Brazil is turning to stronger and more bitter robusta beans, which are hardier in the heat than the delicate arabica, in a sign of how climate change is affecting global markets – and shaping our favourite flavours.

Brazil is the world’s biggest producer of arabica, yet its production has stayed largely flat over the last five years. Meanwhile its output of cheaper robusta – generally grown at lower altitudes and viewed as of inferior quality – has leapt and is attracting more and more international buyers, new data shows.

The expansion is challenging Vietnam’s longstanding robusta dominance, while squeezing smaller players, increasingly leaving output concentrated in fewer regions and more vulnerable to price spikes if extreme weather occurs.

It also promises to gradually alter the flavour of the world’s coffee over the coming years as more of the harsher and more caffeine-charged robusta variety, widely used to make instant coffee, makes its way into the pricier ground blends currently dominated by arabica.

Whatever your taste, Enrique Alves, a scientist specialising in coffee seed cultivation at Brazilian state agritech research centre Embrapa, said that it might ultimately be thanks to robusta that “our daily coffee will never be missing” as the globe warms.

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The latest UN report is clear: Climate change is here, it’s a crisis, and it’s caused by fossil fuels.


By Robinson Meyer

People board a ferry prior to an evacuation as a wildfire approaches the seaside village of Limni, on the island of Evia, Greece, on August 6, 2021.
NurPhoto / Getty


A new United Nations–led report from hundreds of climate scientists around the world makes it clear: The human-driven climate crisis is now well under way. Earth is likely hotter now than it has been at any moment since the beginning of the last Ice Age, 125,000 years ago, and the world has warmed 1.1 degrees Celsius, or nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit, since the Industrial Revolution began—an “unprecedented” and “rapid” change with no parallel in the Common Era. What’s more, the recent spate of horrific heat waves, fire-fueling droughts, and flood-inducing storms that have imperiled the inhabited world are not only typical of global warming, but directly caused by it.

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South Korea and Japan Will End Overseas Coal Financing. Will China Catch Up?

Since 2013, public finance from China, Japan and South Korea accounted for more than 95% of total foreign financing toward coal-fired power plants. This financing enabled the construction and operation of coal power plants in developing countries, where investment in power supply does not match demand. These investments also came at a time when the global carbon budget was already overstretched.

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