Renewable energy will be world’s main power source by 2040, says BP

Renewable energy sources will be the world’s main source of power within two decades and are establishing a foothold in the global energy system faster than any fuel in history, according to BP.

The UK-based oil company said wind, solar and other renewables will account for about 30% of the world’s electricity supplies by 2040, up from 25% in BP’s 2040 estimates last year, and about 10% today.

In regions such as Europe, the figure will be as high as 50% by 2040. The speed of growth was without parallel, the company said in its annual energy outlook.

While oil took almost 45 years to go from 1% of global energy to 10%, and gas took more than 50 years, renewables are expected to do so within 25 years in the report’s central scenario.

In the event of a faster switch to a low carbon economy, that period comes down to just 15 years, which BP said would be “literally off the charts” relative to historical shifts. Continue reading “Renewable energy will be world’s main power source by 2040, says BP”

The 11 EU states that have already met their 2020 renewable energy targets

Almost half of the European Union’s (EU) 28 member states have already hit, or are close to hitting, their 2020 renewable energy targets.

But despite this, there has been a gradual slow-down in the rate of renewable energy use across the EU, and some member states have a lot of ground to make up this year.

Those that are already top of the class are: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Italy, Hungary, Lithuania, Romania and Sweden. Hot on their heels are Austria, Greece and Latvia, who look certain to hit their targets. Continue reading “The 11 EU states that have already met their 2020 renewable energy targets”

Chicago sets goal for 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2035

Chicago recently became one of the nation’s biggest cities to make a public commitment to achieving 100 percent renewable energy. The city aims to hit its target by 2035.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the city’s goals last week as part of Resilient Chicago, an all-encompassing roadmap for urban resilience.

With the announcement, Chicago joins the list of 100 Resilient Cities, an organization dedicated to helping cities become “more resilient” to “physical, social, and economic challenges.” Cities all over the world have joined the group. Continue reading “Chicago sets goal for 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2035”

Deforestation explained : National Geographic

As the world seeks to slow the pace of climate change, preserve wildlife, and support billions of people, trees inevitably hold a major part of the answer. Yet the mass destruction of trees—deforestation—continues, sacrificing the long-term benefits of standing trees for short-term gain.

Forests still cover about 30 percent of the world’s land area, but they are disappearing at an alarming rate. Between 1990 and 2016, the world lost 502,000 square miles (1.3 million square kilometers) of forest, according to the World Bank—an area larger than South Africa. Since humans started cutting down forests, 46 percent of trees have been felled, according to a 2015 study in the journal Nature. About 17 percent of the Amazonian rainforest has been destroyed over the past 50 years, and losses recently have been on the rise.

We need trees for a variety of reasons, not least of which is that they absorb not only the carbon dioxide that we exhale, but also the heat-trapping greenhouse gases that human activities emit. As those gases enter the atmosphere, global warming increases, a trend scientists now prefer to call climate change. Tropical tree cover alone can provide 23 percent of the climate mitigation needed over the next decade to meet goals set in the Paris Agreement in 2015, according to one estimate. Continue reading “Deforestation explained : National Geographic”

The Netherlands still trailing behind on EU renewable energy targets

Offshore

The Netherlands is trailing the rest of Europe when it comes to reaching sustainable energy targets, according to new figures from the European statistics agency Eurostat. In 2017, just 6.6% of the energy used in the Netherlands came from sustainable sources, but the target is 14% by 2020, Eurostat says.

Luxembourg, where 6.4% of energy consumption derived from biofuels, hydro or wind power, solar or geothermal energy in 2017, has a 2020 target of 11%. The Eurostat statistics show 11 EU countries had already reached their targets two years ago. Continue reading “The Netherlands still trailing behind on EU renewable energy targets”

Renewable energy: UK consults on paying homes and businesses for excess generation

The ‘Smart Export Guarantee’ would replace the export tariff and apply to small-scale renewable sources such as solar panels

The government is seeking views on introducing a new scheme that would pay households and businesses for surplus electricity produced by small-scale renewables such as solar panels.

Under the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) proposal, which would replace the export tariff under the Feed-in Tariff scheme, larger energy suppliers – with more than 250,000 domestic electricity customers – would have to pay consumers for the excess power generated and exported to the grid.

It suggests smaller suppliers may also opt to voluntarily provide a SEG tariff. Continue reading “Renewable energy: UK consults on paying homes and businesses for excess generation”

Taking care with timber – Exploring why it is so important to source and use the very best, sustainable timber

Södra Wood Långasjö

Jeremy English, Great Britain and Ireland sales director at Södra Wood, Sweden’s largest cooperative of forest owners, explores why, more than ever, it is so important to source and use the very best, sustainable timber

WITH Brexit just around the corner and timber becoming an increasingly popular and necessary building material, it is crucial to be sure of the provenance and quality of the timber you are using. No more so than in Scotland, where timber is vital to the Scottish housebuilding industry.

Timber frame housebuilding in Scotland already makes up around 83% of new build homes, compared with just 23% in England. It’s therefore no exaggeration to say that Scotland is leading the way in regard to timber frame housebuilding knowledge and expertise. And Scottish timber frame manufacturers are spreading the word, plying their trade south of the border and beginning to build strong alliances with major housing manufacturers. The relationships that Stewart Milne Timber Systems has built with Barratt Homes and Taylor Wimpey Homes, for example, speaks directly to this. Continue reading “Taking care with timber – Exploring why it is so important to source and use the very best, sustainable timber”

South Dakota Could Be The Next Solar Power Powerhouse

Regardless of President* Trump’s affection for fossil fuels, the fact is that state-level action is the key to accelerating clean power in the US. A case in point is South Dakota, where a huge battle is brewing over the state’s renewable energy industry.

South Dakota also illustrates how the red-blue political divide is giving way — slowly — to market based policies. Everybody wants wind and solar now that costs have come down. States that fail to encourage the trend risk missing out on important economic development opportunities.

South Dakota doesn’t tend to make a lot of headlines in the renewable energy department, though the state is a pretty decent performer in the wind industry.

The American Wind Energy Association put South Dakota at 19th in installed wind capacity among US states for 2017, with 16 functioning wind farms totaling 601 turbines and 1.019 megawatts in capacity. Another 408 megawatts was in the pipeline as of 2017. Continue reading “South Dakota Could Be The Next Solar Power Powerhouse”

High-tech approaches advance sustainable forestry

The quest to reduce the effects of climate change is driving a new era of technological advances. On the cutting edge of this wave of innovation are new uses for a material with a long tradition: natural, carbon-friendly wood. The modern uses for wood and wood-based compounds are changing how we build and design in ways that our grandparents could not have imagined even just one generation ago.

Cross-laminated timber: ‘Plywood on steroids.’

Cross-laminated timber, or CLT, is a wood product developed in the 1990s. Made from gluing three to nine layers of solid-sawn lumber, each layer of wood in a CLT board is laid at right angles to its adjacent layer, then compressed and bonded together. The result is a building product that is remarkably strong, resilient and versatile. CLT also allows for the use of less-than-perfect boards to make better use of every piece of cut timber.

The environmental perks of CLT have captured the imagination of city planners and architects alike. In addition to lowered carbon dioxide emission during manufacturing, CLT also stores carbon for longer periods. Overall, buildings made with CLT result in a 25 percent to 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to traditional building materials. Continue reading “High-tech approaches advance sustainable forestry”

‘Momentum is growing’: reasons to be hopeful about the environment in 2019

Extreme weather hit the headlines throughout 2018, from the heatwave across much of the northern hemisphere, which saw unprecedented wildfires in Sweden, drought in the UK and devastating wildfires in the US, to floods in India and typhoons in south-east Asia.

According to the World Meteorological Organisation, last year was the fourth hottest on record and confirms a trend of rising temperatures that is a clear signal that we are having an effect on the climate. Droughts, floods, fiercer storms and heatwaves, as well as sea level rises, are all expected to increase markedly as a result.

Late in the year there was also the starkest warning yet from scientists of what our future will be if we allow climate change to take hold. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the global body of the world’s leading climate scientists, which has been producing regular reports on the state of climate science since 1988, produced its latest comprehensive overview examining what the future will look like if we undergo 1.5C (2.7F) of warming.

That does not sound like a lot – most people would be hard put to notice a temperature difference of 1.5C – but in climate terms, 1.5C above pre-industrial levels is enough to take us into the danger zone. It would see the mass die-off of coral reefs, the extinction of some species, rising sea levels, wet areas of the world becoming wetter and dry areas drier, and the decline of agricultural productivity across swaths of the globe. Continue reading “‘Momentum is growing’: reasons to be hopeful about the environment in 2019”