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    Page Updated:
    February 20, 2020


     

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    Mexico: Once a Climate Leader
    – Now it's Betting Big on Coal
    -The Guardian
    February 15, 2021
    The men on the midnight shift smoked cigarettes and cracked jokes in the glow of their helmet lights as they prepared to go underground. They were loading safety equipment and coils of pipe on to wheelbarrows, in readiness for a second shift due to start working later that week.
    “We’re reactivating the industry,” said Arturo Rivera Wong, who had just taken on 40 more workers at the mine he owns in the scrublands of the border state of Coahuila.
    “Four furnaces at the big thermoelectric plant are going to be reactivated,” he explained. “This is going to kickstart coal sales.”
    As the climate crisis worsens and clean energy prices plunge, governments around the world have been weaning their economies of coal and other fossil fuels.
    Mexico is moving in the opposite direction.
    President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, popularly known as Amlo, has unveiled plans to buy nearly 2m tons of thermal coal from small producers like Rivera. He also plans to reactivate a pair of coal-fired plants on the Texas border, which were being wound down as natural gas and renewables took a more prominent role in Mexico’s energy mix.
    Not only is López Obradorbetting big on fossil fuels, he is also curtailing clean energy.
    Rooftop Ssolar Booms in Hawaii as Utility Launches ‘Quick Connect’
    --Renewable Energy World
     
    February 1, 2021
    Hawaiian Electric announced that rooftop solar installations increased by 55% in 2020 despite the global pandemic. In 2020, 5,965 new rooftop solar systems were installed across O?ahu, Hawai?i Island and Maui County, up from the 3,840 systems in 2019. Of the new systems, 4,624, or 78%, include battery storage, it said.
    Hawai‘i leads the nation in per capita use of rooftop solar, with over 20 percent of customers, including 36 percent of single-family homes on O‘ahu, with solar systems connected to island grids. Going forward, some utility customers in Hawaii may benefit from a quicker installation and approval process, which was just instituted by Hawaiian Electric.
    Quick Connect is a new Hawaiian Electric program that will accelerate the process for turning on new systems. The program aims to support customers and Hawaii’s solar industry during the COVID-19 economic downturn. For the next 12 months, customers on O‘ahu, Maui and Hawai‘i islands installing new systems on circuits where the new program is available will not need the standard approvals before activating their systems.
    An approval process that typically takes several weeks or months for each step to be completed can now be handled after the system is built and turned on, substantially reducing the wait for many new solar customers. If successful, Quick Connect may be extended beyond one year.
    EU Countries Mull Call for
    Global CoalPpower Phaseout
    --Reuters
    Climate Change
    January 22, 2021
    European Union countries could call on Monday for a global phasing out of polluting coal power and an end to fossil fuel subsidies as the bloc makes climate change a central part of its foreign policy, according to a draft document seen by Reuters.
    The statement, which EU ministers aim to finalise on Monday, would commit to an aggressive line on climate diplomacy - by discouraging other countries from investing in fossil fuels and forging “high-ambition” alliances with large economies to spur faster emissions cuts.
    Countries including China, Japan and South Africa have pledged to eventually cut their net carbon emissions to zero - a commitment U.S. President Joe Biden also made in his election campaign.
    But the EU is one of few major economies to translate its long-term climate goal into urgent action this decade. Globally, countries’ current plans would not cut emissions fast enough to avert catastrophic climate change.
    “The EU calls for a global phase-out of environmentally harmful fossil-fuel subsidies along a clear timeline,” the draft document said. “Including a phasing out of unabated coal in energy production and – as a first step – an immediate end to all financing of new coal infrastructure.”
    There Have Been Strong Additions
    to Our Atmospheric CO2 Levels
    ---ZMESciences
     
    January 8, 2020
    Our climate is changing, and the cause is our own emissions. To put those into perspective, new research estimates that atmospheric CO2 levels in 2021 will be 50% higher than the average value in the 18th century (the onset of the Industrial Revolution).
    The Met Office, Britain’s national weather service, estimates in a new report that average annual CO2 levels this year (as measured at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii), will rise by roughly 2.29 ppm (parts per million) compared to 2020. That is around 150% of the concentration this gas registered in the 18th century, before industrial emissions started to output in significant quantities.
    “Since CO2 stays in the atmosphere for a very long time, each year’s emissions add to those from previous years and cause the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere to keep increasing,” said Richard Betts, lead producer of the Met Office’s annual CO2 forecast.
    The most worrying observation is that CO2 levels are still expected to rise in 2021 despite a significant drop in total emission levels due to the pandemic.
    Mauna Loa is used as a gold-standard for the measurement of CO2 levels in the atmosphere. The site has been in operation monitoring this gas since 1958. These show seasonal variation , but they’re also influenced by local factors and geography, so having a single monitoring point in operation for so long makes the readings more reliable, as they can be easily compared to past readings.

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