Energy around the world

Vamos al futuro Spain. The South of Europe shows us what a coal exit without generous palliative measures on the part of the state looks like: in Spain, the end of climate-damaging energy production is taking place much more quietly, but above all much more quickly. Seven of Spain's 15 coal-fired power stations were taken off the grid at the end of last month.  All but two of operators of the remaining plants have already applied for decommissioning. Greenpeace Spain assumes that no coal-fired power plants will be on the grid by 2025 at the latest. This would mean that the Iberians would be much quicker than Germany, which does not want to shut down its last coal-fired power station until 2038.

To achieve this, the Spanish government – unlike most Western European countries – did not even have to give the operators an ultimatum for the phase-out. The operation simply no longer pays off for the companies. There are several reasons for this development, which are the progress and spread of renewable energies, the fall in the price of gas, the increase in the price of emission rights and EU limits on exhaust emissions from power plants. Market developments discourage operators from investing in measures to comply with the new rules and many filed for decommission instead.

Vive la démocratie!

France. Imagine: The construction of new airports will not be pursued any further. The purchase of truly sustainable cars is being promoted and advertising for particularly harmful combustion engines is being banned. By 2040, all buildings will be renovated to become energy efficient. No more impervious surfaces will be created. Companies will draw up transparent CO2 balances. „Ecocide“ is introduced into criminal law as a crime and the fight against climate change is incorporated into the constitution as a state goal. 

French President Emmanuel Macron wants to put these and other measures to a referendum. The decisions are the result of a three-day conference of the French Citizens‘ Council on the „Convention Citoyenne pour le Climat“. The report contains 149 recommendations, which primarily focus on the sustainable restructuring of transport, buildings, industry and agriculture and propose constitutional amendments. The 150 participants in the Citizens‘ Council were previously drawn at random from all regions of France. The members represented the overall population in terms of age, gender, place of residence, education and migration background. 

We are curious to see what happens next…

Fast coal exit

Sweden. Following the announcement of the closure of the coal-fired combined heat and power plant KVV6 in Stockholm, Sweden became the third European country to stop using coal to generate electricity. The decision was announced just one day before the closure of Austria’s last coal-fired power plant. According to the announcement, the Swedish plants were shut down two years earlier than planned. After one of the boiler rooms of the last power plant was closed at the end of 2019 and there was no need for the other one due to the mild winter, the plant could be shut down early. Sweden has therefore come a step closer to its goal of becoming a climate-neutral nation with zero emissions and, by moving quickly, is also setting a clear trend for Europe towards climate protection and a complete supply of renewable energies.

Promising energy system transformation

Global. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) – which was initiated by EUROSOLAR founder Hermann Scheer – recently published a new „Global Renewables Outlook”. According to the report, decarbonizing the energy system would accelerate the economic recovery while at the same time creating more resilient economies and societies. The number of jobs in the renewable energy sector could almost quadruple to 42 million and cumulative global GDP gains could be increased by USD 98 trillion above business-as-usual levels by 2050. This enormous potential needs to be leveraged and it needs our support now!

Climate Plan Concretization

Ireland. On the Emerald Isle, the Supreme Court has called the government to reason: The climate plan is too vague. The measures announced do not show how the country’s climate goals are to be achieved. Now a new climate plan must be developed. The organization Friends of the Irish Environment had complained.

Ireland had already committed to a target in 2015 of reducing its CO2 emissions by 80 percent by 2050 compared to 1990. In this case it is a question of the plan adopted in 2017, which was intended to underpin the climate goal with measures. The verdict states that the plan remains too vague. „I have come to the conclusion that the climate plan is far from being concrete enough,“ said Frank Clarke, President of the Supreme Court. In the opinion of the court, the government is thus not fulfilling its legal mandate. It must now develop a new strategy.

Gas dispute

Greece/ Turkey. The conflict over the exploration of natural gas deposits in the Mediterranean is coming to a head: Despite calls from the EU for de-escalation, Turkey has strengthened its presence in the eastern Mediterranean in the gas dispute with Greece. Numerous ships of the Turkish navy have been patrolling the Aegean Sea and the eastern Mediterranean south of the Greek islands of Rhodes and Crete since July. The Greek state television also reports that several ships of the Greek navy are on the move in the region. The country’s armed forces have been put into a state of readiness.

In recent months Greece had warned the government in Ankara not to send ships to the region to search for natural gas. Turkey is already drilling off Cyprus – without the permission of the Republic of Cyprus. The EU has classified the gas drilling off the coast of Cyprus as illegal and has created a legal framework for sanctions against Turkey. Only recently, the German Foreign Minister Maas called on Turkey to stop gas and oil drilling in the eastern Mediterranean.

This once again shows very clearly that decentralized generation of renewable energies is not only a central instrument for putting a stop to the climate crisis. It also means independence from fossil resources and thus removes the basis for conflicts like this.