Category Archives: Climate change

China leads world’s biggest increase in wind power capacity

Developers built windfarms with a total capacity of almost 100GW in 2020, a rise of nearly 60% on previous year

China built more new windfarm capacity in 2020 than the whole world combined in the year before, leading to an annual record for windfarm installations despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

A study has revealed that China led the world’s biggest ever increase in wind power capacity as developers built almost 100GW worth of windfarms last year – enough to power almost three times the number of homes in the UK and a rise of nearly 60% on the previous year.

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Budget is vital test of UK government’s green credentials

Analysis: Ministers urged to show global leadership as Britain prepares to host UN Cop26 climate talks

The budget this week will be a vital test of Boris Johnson’s green credentials, with campaigners watching keenly to see whether plans match up to the government’s repeated claims to be creating a “green industrial revolution”.

After this week, there are no more formal budgets to come before the UK hosts the vital UN Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow later this year. Meanwhile several of the government’s flagship green policies are in difficulties.

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Denmark’s climate policies ‘insufficient’ to meet 2030 target

Report says country set to cut carbon emissions by 54% compared with 1990 levels, not 70% as planned

The Danish government’s efforts towards meeting the country’s ambitious target of reducing emissions by 70% by 2030 have been judged “insufficient” by the body tasked with monitoring its progress, with measures so far announced only likely to take it a third of the way.

In its first annual status report, the Danish Council on Climate Change said new laws, inter-party agreements and initiatives announced since the country’s climate law came into effect last June would reduce emissions by the equivalent of 7.2m tonnes of CO2 by 2030, which is only enough to reduce Denmark’s emissions by 54% compared with 1990 levels.

Related: The Danish climate minister closing down the oil industry for good

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Texas freeze casts renewable energy as next battle line in US culture wars

Conservatives have blamed the state’s power fiasco on solar and wind even though they account for a fraction of supply

The frigid winter storm and power failure that left millions of people in Texas shivering in darkness has been used to stoke what is becoming a growing front in America’s culture wars – renewable energy.

Related: Aggressive push to 100% renewable energy could save Americans billions – study

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Recent Australian emissions cuts likely to be reversed in recovery from Covid and drought

Scott Morrison says Coalition is ‘getting on with’ reductions, but analysis finds end of lockdowns and drought will reverse trend

Most of the reduction in Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions last year is likely to be wiped out as transport rebounds after Covid-19 lockdowns and farming recovers from the long-term-drought, according to an audit of national climate data.

Scott Morrison told the National Press Club earlier this month the government was “getting on with” reducing emissions, citing official data that found emissions were down 3% in the year to June to their lowest levels since 1998. He declared “these are the facts”.

Related: Spinning emissions: Australia’s climate projections are not what they seem

Related: By 2020 standards, Angus Taylor’s low-emissions technology statement is not really a climate policy | Adam Morton

Related: Soil carbon: what role can it play in reducing Australia’s emissions?

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Australian farmers call for renewable energy zones as Nationals push coal and nuclear

National Farmers’ Federation and business groups call for pandemic recovery regionalisation strategy

Renewable energy zones must be “at the centre of any regionalisation agenda”, the National Farmers’ Federation has said.

In a policy paper released on Tuesday, the NFF makes the call for renewable energy to be part of new investment to address the $3.8bn annual shortfall in infrastructure in regional Australia.

Related: Michael McCormack says agriculture could be excluded from 2050 net zero emissions target

Related: Soil carbon: what role can it play in reducing Australia’s emissions?

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Australia was the first casualty of the big blackout lie blaming wind power – the US could be next | Ketan Joshi

As climate impacts intensify, power grids stuffed with ageing fossil fuel infrastructure crumble

Climate change is full of surprises. We were warned about heatwaves, hurricanes and high-intensity firestorms. What we didn’t see coming was a cynical, cyclical economy of blackout bullshit. As climate impacts intensify, power grids stuffed with ageing fossil fuel infrastructure crumble. Those blackouts are usually blamed on wind and solar – and used to extend the lifespan of existing fossil fuel generators. Opportunity costs increase, climate impacts worsen and blackouts intensify. It’s an accelerating death spiral.

Last week Texas suffered an outage likely to be the worst on record in the US. Millions of people were without power for days, initially at a scale roughly equivalent to all of eastern Australia going dark at once. A burst of winter weather froze vital components at power stations, gas supplies were limited by frozen pipelines and, consequently, a third of the state’s thermal power stations were offline (mostly gas). An unspecified proportion of wind turbines were disabled due to icing and low-temperature shutoffs, but “gas and coal were actually the biggest culprits in the crisis”, Eric Fell, director of North America gas at Wood Mackenzie, told Bloomberg.

Related: Why the cold weather caused huge Texas blackouts – a visual explainer

Related: Green giants: the massive projects that could make Australia a clean energy superpower

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Losing our marbles over Stonehenge | Brief letters

Judiciary | Queen’s leases | Travel plans | Ancient showroom | Stonehenge

Donald Trump’s acquittal in the US Senate (Report, 14 February) surely provides the best possible evidence for never allowing politicians to get involved in judicial decision-making. Their priorities lie in other directions.
Les Baker
Fordingbridge, Hampshire

• The Queen gets £220m a year for seabed lease options for windfarms (Queen’s property chief delays sale of Scottish seabed windfarm plots, 12 February). Really? Perhaps she could give the country her cut given the future costs of the climate crisis, Covid and the expected hardships to come?
Stephen King
London

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Why oil giants are swapping oil rigs for offshore windfarms

The fossil fuel giants need to find new ways to reduce emissions, generate growth and maintain their share price

The world’s biggest oil companies are no stranger to UK waters, but by the end of the decade they will be running more offshore wind turbines than oil rigs.

BP has already made a splash with a record-breaking bid to build two giant windfarms in the Irish Sea. The company beat established renewable energy players by offering to pay the Crown Estate £900m a year to develop the sites, more than 15 times the price paid for similar deals in the past.

Related: Queen’s property manager and Treasury to get windfarm windfall of nearly £9bn

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