Alexander Hellemans, IEEE Spectrum: As soon as the new Dutch government took office in October, it announced an aggressive target—to reduce carbon emissions by 49 percent by 2030. This will ultimately require the Netherlands to sequester 20 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year—equivalent to the annual emissions produced by 4.5 coal-fired power plants. Sequestering that much CO2 underground will be difficult, whether it’s captured directly from the flues of power stations and steel mills or extracted from the air. Currently, the Netherlands sequesters less than 10,000 metric tons of CO2 annually.
IEEE SPECTRUM, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.: IEEE Spectrum’s editors and writers investigate a dozen of the world’s most promising projects to cut greenhouse gases. We soaked up some of the best thinking on the use of tech to cut carbon emissions. But what did it all suggest collectively? Could these projects, and others like them, make a real difference? Let’s just say that they don’t call them “miracles” for nothing.
Fritz Vahrenholt, PhD Chemistry, Chairman, German Wildlife Foundations: The foundation of the Paris Climate Change Agreement has collapsed. By 2100, whatever we do, we will not exceed the 2 degree limit. What happens to the worldwide use of coal? There is no departure from coal except in Europe and Canada. China and India, according to the Paris Agreement, like all developing countries, massively expand coal-fired power stations. In China, 280,000 MW will be added, in India 174,000 MW. By comparison, the entire brown coal fleet in Germany has a capacity of 22,700 MW. 1600 coal-fired power plants are built in 62 countries worldwide, most of them by Chinese power plant builders and with the help of Chinese loans
James Hansen former NASA scientist, considered the father of catastrophic man-made global warming awareness: In his testimony on a proposed coal-fired power plant in Iowa, Hansen used a very provocative metaphor about the trains that deliver coal: If we cannot stop the building of more coal-fired power plants, those coal trains will be death trains — no less gruesome than if they were boxcars headed to crematoria. The President of the National Mining Association wrote Hansen complaining: The suggestion that coal utilization for electricity generation can be equated with the systematic extermination of European Jewry is both repellent and preposterous. In 2017, Europe, Asia and South Africa are planning to build 1,600 new coal-fired plants.
Erin Mundahl, writer for INSIDESOURCES: Divestment has become a common goal for environmental protesters who have tried to get cities, universities, and other groups to stop investing in fossil fuel production. Surprising is that nonprofits who loudly support these causes also invest in conventional energy, even as they encourage others to divest. According to leaked documents, environmental groups, including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the American Museum of Natural History, and several other funds had investments in private equity firms specializing in oil and gas even as their public messaging hyped concerns about the role of fossil fuel use in climate change.
Virginia Lopez, correspondent for AL JAZEERA: Oil is Venezuela's lifeline. Ever since it was first pumped in 1914, oil has found a way of permeating every aspect of Venezuelan life. Initially it helped the backward, malaria-infested Caribbean nation out of poverty, and decades later nurtured a culture of easy wealth. And now - because Venezuela relies on oil for 95 percent of its revenue, and imports almost everything it consumes - the drop in the price of oil is challenging the government of the late Chavez's chosen successor, President Nicolas Maduro.
Dennis Normile, writer for www.sciencemag.org, website for AAAS, American association for the Advancement of Science: Most of the world is turning its back on burning coal to produce electricity, but not Japan. The nation has fired up at least eight new coal power plants in the past 2 years and has plans for an additional 36 over the next decade—the biggest planned coal power expansion in any developed nation (not including China and India).
Clinton Crackel, Co-Founder, Nuclear Fuels Reprocessing Coalition: The Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) coal to liquid (CTL) synthetic fuel process is a viable alternative to refined crude oil. Even though burning fossil fuels releases pollutants to the environment, there have been dramatic improvements in technologies that can significantly restrict the release of pollutants to the environment. It is recommended to use small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) for providing the heat needed in the F-T CTL synthetic fuel process. Converting coal to liquid synthetic fuel is better for the environment than burning it directly and eliminates refining imported crude oil in vulnerable hurricane prone coastal areas. Energy is the world's only true currency. Other currencies are just paper, metal coins or electronic "bitcoins." We shouldn't waste energy, import it unnecessarily or "leave it in the ground."
John Shanahan, civil engineer, President of Environmentalists for Nuclear - USA: Despite all who claim that they know what is best for the entire world and want/demand that everyone follow their ideas for a "perfect" environment, despite their claims that they can control Earth's climate, people in the real world will most likely use energy sources that are readily available, steady, controllable, lower cost and don’t pollute the environment excessively. That means hydro-electric where available, as clean as economically feasible fossil fuels and well managed nuclear power. Countries that choose to go with very low energy density, variable, unpredictable "renewables" will either come back to energy reality sometime or face fading economic strength and global irrelevance.
Seamus McGraw, Popular Mechanics: Members of Congress, gas companies, news organization, drilling opponents: They've all made bold claims about hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and the U.S. supply of natural gas. We take on 10 controversial quotes about natural gas and set the record straight.