Bangladesh to Expand Coal Capabilities to Meet Growing Energy Needs

by Aurora Brachman

Bangladesh has plans to dramatically expand its energy production through coal in the next few years with the assistance of China, Japan, and India. But has not indicated any plans to expand renewable energy development. Other Asian nations have been setting their sights on renewable forms of energy because of an increasingly worsening pollution crisis in the region. The government hopes to expand its use of coal from 2% to 50% of Bangladesh’s electricity supply by 2022. There have been vehement protests about this expansion, particularly against a specific plant currently under construction; several people have lost their lives amidst the protests. Continue reading

World Bank Accused of Incentivizing Fossil Fuel Industries Across the Developing World

by Lauren Bollinger

The World Bank has been incentivizing fossil fuel dependence across the developing world, despite commitments to cut funding in such sectors, charges a January 2017 report by the advocacy group Bank Information Center (BIC). The report, which examines the Bank’s support of coal, gas, and oil projects in Peru, Indonesia, Egypt, and Mozambique, points out a contradiction between its pronouncements on climate change and its lending activities. The Bank has notably promised to work towards reducing subsidies for fossil fuels while incentivising investments in renewable energy. Most notably, in 2013, the Bank vowed to end virtually all support for the creation of coal-burning power plants, supporting them only in “rare circumstances” where there are no viable alternatives. Nonetheless, the BIC argues the World Bank has knowingly funded national policies to subsidize such fossil fuel industries.

The BIC’s report comes after similar reports in October of last year by several US and Europe-based advocacy groups, on World Bank-backed coal projects throughout developing countries in Asia, from Bangladesh to the Philippines. In the Philippines, where the Bank has funded at least 20 new coal projects since 2013, such projects have drawn widespread criticism from human rights and indigenous advocacy groups, as the country’s coal industry has resulted in an estimated thousand premature deaths annually and the displacement of thousands of indigenous peoples.

International finance institutions like the World Bank, which facilitate the loaning of millions of dollars to developing nations annually, carry immense political and economic clout in the developing world.

 

“World Bank accused of incentivizing investments in fossil fuels through $5B policy loans portfolio.”

https://www.devex.com/news/world-bank-accused-of-incentivizing-investments-in-fossil-fuels-through-5b-policy-loans-portfolio-89528

“World Bank accused of funding Asia ‘coal power boom’”

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/10/world-bank-accused-funding-asia-coal-power-boom-161003045753947.html

 

 

 

 

 

China in Transition-Searching for Sustainability

by Dominique Curtis

Coal is 66% of China’s total energy consumption leading China to be one of the largest greenhouse gas emitters in the world. In a recent journal article, Xiaoxia Zhou explains how China’s growing economy, urbanization, and industrialization come at the steep cost of environmental pollution and the exhaustion of China’s natural resources. Researchers, policy makers, scientists, and politics in China are scrambling to find a solution to these problems. They are making progress. China’s energy development plan states that by 2020 their non-fossil energy will rise from it’s current 9.8% to 15% (Guo, 2016). The question up for debate now is how? Outsiders suggest they should just go green and follow in the footsteps of other countries, but I think China is worried about a different kind of green. Continue reading

Clean Power Plan Faces an Uncertain Future

by Emily Audet

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), an enforcement plan of the Clean Air Act, establishes caps to carbon dioxide emissions of current power plants [https://www.law360.com/articles/880858/epa-denies-bids-to-reconsider-or-stay-clean-power-plan]. The CPP has been controversial since its beginning. In December 2016, Texas and West Virginia led 24 states in urging President Trump to overturn the CPP [http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2017/01/05/fate-of-the-clean-power-plan-remains-uncertain/]. In response, many states and cities requested the preservation of the plan.

The implementation of the CPP is on hold as of January 2017 by order of the Supreme Court as the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals reviews the legality of the plan, which could take days to years [https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-could-replace-the-clean-power-plan/].

On January 13, 2017, the EPA denied the majority of petitions challenging the plan or asking for a suspension of the plan’s implementation. The EPA claims that many of the petitions rejected by the EPA on January 13th raised similar issues to petitions included in the comment period of the CPP’s proposal. Of the 38 petitions asking for revisions of the plan, the EPA retained only 7 for further review. All 22 of the petitions advocating for a suspension of the CPP were rejected by the EPA on the grounds that the Supreme Court’s stay of the plan already achieves this end.

As of January 2017, the CPP’s future grows even more murky as it gets swept up in the uncertainty around environmental regulations in the new Trump administration. Throughout his campaign, Trump claimed that he would overturn the CPP, and an executive order from Trump could end the CPP, even before the courts release an official ruling on the plan. Scott Pruitt, the head of the EPA under the new Trump administration, has expressed his opinion that the EPA’s strategy to lower carbon emissions should focus on individual technology innovations in firms to decrease emissions, rather than encouraging firms to move from coal to other, cleaner forms of energy, which the CPP currently does. If the new administration tried to weaken the CPP, environmental non-profits would likely bring the plan to court. If the CPP is overturned, the EPA continues to hold the authority to implement the Clean Air Act through other vehicles. As of January 2017, the EPA offers resources and other forms of support for states to implement similar regulations on the state-level [https://www.epa.gov/cleanpowerplan/clean-power-plan-existing-power-plants].

 

Rodriguez, Juan Carlos. “EPA Denies Bids To Reconsider Or Stay Clean Power Plan.” Law 360. N.p., 13 Jan. 2017. Web. 24 Jan. 2017. https://www.law360.com/articles/880858/epa-denies-bids-to-reconsider-or-stay-clean-power-plan

Profeta, Tim. “Fate of the Clean Power Plan Remains Uncertain.” National Geographic. N.p., 5 Jan. 2017. Web. 24 Jan. 2017. http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2017/01/05/fate-of-the-clean-power-plan-remains-uncertain/

Holden, Emily. “What Could Replace the Clean Power Plan?” Scientific American. N.p., 23 Jan. 2017. Web. 24 Jan. 2017. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-could-replace-the-clean-power-plan/

US EPA. “Clean Power Plan for Existing Power Plants.” EPA. N.p., 12 Jan. 2017. Web. 24 Jan. 2017. https://www.epa.gov/cleanpowerplan/clean-power-plan-existing-power-plants

 

 

 

The Irreversible Momentum of Clean Energy?

by Emil Morhardt

Barack Obama has been busy during his last days in office writing well-documented policy articles for major publications. Barely a week before turning over the Presidential reigns to Donald Trump he has commented in some detail in Science about how, in his view, the clean energy horse has left the barn and is unlikely to be stopped even by it’s most fervent detractors (Obama, 2017). He cites four reasons for believing this. The first is that as the US economy has grown, emissions have fallen; since 2008, the amount of energy consumed per dollar of GDP has fallen by 11%, the amount of CO2 emitted per unit of energy has fallen by 8%, and the CO2 emitted per dollar of GDP has fallen by 18%. Furthermore, worldwide the amount of energy-related CO2 emissions in 2016 were essentially the same as 2014, despite economic growth. He also points out that carbon pollution is increasingly expensive. Given the rhetoric of the incoming administration, though, this reasoning alone doesn’t appear to assure continuing in the same direction. Continue reading

Last Ditch Effort to Block Clean Power Plan

by Katy Schaefer

In August of 2015, the Obama Administration finalized what has come to be known as the Clean Power Plan. This controversial plan aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 32% from 2005 levels by 2030. Each site would have different requirements of how, and how much it needs to reduce, but plans for how to meet this goal must be submitted in 2016. If everything goes well, implementation is expected to begin by 2022. However, 27 states, led by West Virginia have a problem with this plan, and are doing everything they can to stop it in its tracks. Continue reading

Indiana Coal Power Company Makes Deal With Environmental Groups

by Kevin Tidmarsh

A long and protracted battle between environmentalists and the owners of a coal plant in southern Indiana may finally be coming to a close. The settlement, which was reached among Duke Energy Indiana, the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, and various environmental groups in the state, will offer ratepayers refunds totaling $87.5 million for charges incurred during the startup and testing phases of the power plant of the coal plant located in Edwardsport, Indiana, as well as include $1 million for low-income assistance and community solar power grants. Continue reading