As Trump Moves to 19th Century, World Jostles for Clean Energy Leadership
January 21, 2017
Republican’s Steam powered Time Trolley lurches into the past, giving an opening to our economic rivals to take over leadership of the new industrial revolution.
Scotland is seeking to dramatically cut its reliance on fossil fuels for cars, energy and homes after setting a radical target to cut total climate emissions by 66% within 15 years.
In one of the world’s most ambitious climate strategies, ministers in Edinburgh have unveiled far tougher targets to increase the use of ultra-low-carbon cars, green electricity and green home heating by 2032.
The Scottish government has set the far higher target after its original goal of cutting Scotland’s emissions by 42% by 2020 was met six years early – partly because climate change has seen winters which are warmer than normal, cutting emissions for home heating.
The new strategy, which is expected to cost up to £3bn a year to implement and is closely linked to a new renewable energy programme due to be published this month, will call for:
• 40% of all new cars and vans sold in Scotland to be ultra-low-emission by 2032, with 50% of Scotland’s buses to be low-carbon.
• A totally carbon-free electricity sector based entirely on renewable energy sources by 2032, when Scotland’s last nuclear power station will close.
• Four out of five of Scotland’s 2m homes to be heated using low-carbon technologies.
• The repairing of 250,000 hectares of degraded peatlands, which store a total of 1.7 gigatonnes of CO2 in Scotland.
• At least 30% of Scotland’s vital publicly owned ferry fleet to be low-carbon, powered by hybrid engines.
President-elect Donald Trump has called climate change a hoax created by the Chinese. The Chinese disagree—and are pumping billions of dollars’ worth of investments into green energy over the next three years.
The funds—$361 billion by 2020—are designed to create 13 million green jobs, according to the country’s National Energy Administration. New projects such as solar, wind, hydro and nuclear power will form half of all new electricity generation by 2020 and will create the energy equivalent to 580 million metric tons of coal.
The announcement matches China’s past pledges to kick its coal habit—the fuel that dominates its electricity production and creates heartburn for the country’s leaders, as the public’s angry reaction to foul air becomes a major political threat. Despite China’s so-called “war on pollution,” this week brought yet another toxic “airpolcalypse” to Beijing’s skies. Watch this incredible time-lapse video of the smog rolling into town:
Germany, seeking to reassert leadership on climate action and help build political momentum, spelled out its plan this week to effectively stop using fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by between 80 and 95 percent by mid-century.
As the world’s fourth-largest economy and a global leader in clean energy, Germany hoped to provide some optimism at the global climate talks in Marrakech, Morocco in the face of uncertainty over what the U.S. policies will be with Donald Trump as president.
“By 2050, the whole German economy will be fully renewable,” said Jochen Flasbarth, the state secretary for the Ministry of Environment.
The Klimaschutz 2050 plan envisions a carbon-neutral Germany by 2050, a longstanding target. But for the first time, it gets specific. The plan details how much each sector of the economy will reduce emissions to meet the intermediate goal of a 55 percent carbon reduction in the next 15 years. In previous climate plans, there were no goals for transportation and agriculture, but now all major polluters will have to pull their weight, German officials said.
The plan unveils a catalog of 97 measures, and while it does not explicitly say that burning of fossil fuels must end, its architects say the goals can’t be reached without phasing them out.
It’s “impossible to achieve 2050 neutrality if you still count on fossil fuel energy sources,” Flasbarth said.
Germany’s mid-century plan was the first to be announced at the talks in Marrakech, where 200 nations have convened with the goal to begin to make good on the promises of last year’s Paris climate treaty. The talks have been overshadowed by concerns about Trump’s promise to exit the Paris treaty and the impact that would have on the ambition of other nations. Scientists say the world must not only meet the Paris goals, but also exceed them to avert a worsening crisis.