Climate news #1

Publisert 3. desember 2021

The world in brief: our weekly update on sustainability worldwide.

climate news

Central government and emissions: mainly a military matter

In most countries, the military accounts for around half of central-government emissions. Cutting these army, navy and airforce emissions will be hard: when it comes to defence, there is no room for compromise.

But work is already underway to show that it is possible to maintain high levels of military performance and reliability while also drastically reducing pollution. Think alternative fuels, innovations in design to enable on-going upgrades, redundancy in electrical and hybrid systems, and advances in materials.

If governments can decarbonise their militaries, the benefits could also be huge for general  industry and society.

Read more here.

The law is getting better at forcing action on climate change

It started with rights-based action: constitutional and human-rights law guarantees basic rights for all. Such cases in the Netherlands have forced revision of government emissions targets, and those of multinationals (Shell). 

Now there are also cases tackling investors: a new coal mine in Poland never happened, and it looks unlikely that the Cambo oilfield in the North Sea will be allowed to go ahead. 

Next is EU treaty violation, such as one against the Belgian Central Bank. The challenge says that it covid bailouts of fossil-fuel producers were illegal. 

Compensation claims will also come soon. Fossil-fuel companies contribute to climate change. They will be held liable for monetary damages in the same way that, in 1998, tobacco companies were forced to settle for damages of more than $200bn.

Read more here.

Can trains can replace planes in Europe?

Trains average about one-fifth the greenhouse-gas emissions per passenger-kilometre of aeroplanes and less than half that of buses, says the European Environment Agency. They can out-compete flights on routes of up to 800km, provided they run at 200kph or more.

But connections between national networks very poor, and Europe’s electric railways use four different voltage levels. And high-speed track can cost more than €40m per kilometre.

Read more here.

Battery minerals are replacing fossil fuels in geopolitics

Countries rich in cobalt, lithium and other raw materials needed for batteries are now playing the role of oil giants.

Uranium, cobalt, copper and other ores from Congo are prized for their extraordinary purity. They are of such high grade that waste from old mines often contain more cobalt and copper than most active mines elsewhere in the world.

The lack of a formal industrial policy for minerals and metals has come at a cost to the United States – and many other powers besides. China, meanwhile, is marching forth.

Read more here.

Les også: Dette må du vite om EUs taksonomi

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