Two items posted to LinkedIn relating to the environment and the climate crisis – specifically our understanding of responsibility for the crisis, and what a news story about energy sources really means.
Repost of post by Shane Ward of article entitled “The big polluters’ masterstroke was to blame the climate crisis on you and me“ (The Guardian, 9 October 2019) October 2019 (posted October 2019)
Important article, and very on-point comments.
“Zero-carbon electricity outstrips fossil fuels in Britain across 2019: Rise in renewables and decline in coal-fired power leads to cleanest year on record for electrical energy,” by Julia Kollewe, The Guardian, 1 January 2020 (posted January 2020)
This item from the Guardian is making the rounds, with some predictable plaudits re Britain & “zero-carbon” energy (fault is partly the headline). The picture is more nuanced. Here’s what I see:
* “43% generated by fossil fuels – coal, gas, and other carbon sources such as oil and diesel” (accepted categorization)
* “8.5% was generated by biomass, such as wood pellets” (classifying this as carbon-neutral is contested, to say the least, partly because it’s burned like fossil fuels; kudos to author Julia Kollewe for separating it out in the text & graphic)
* 48.5% from hydro, “wind farms, solar and nuclear energy, alongside energy imported by subsea cables (somewhat of a catch-all, including wind, water & solar (WWS), nuclear & imported energy from unknown forms of generation)
So a plurality of the energy, if you will, is from the “catch-all” sources including WWS, generally agreed to be cleanest, & nuclear, which while non-carbon, has issues at the extraction & waste disposal ends. The rise of WWS since 1990 is the big story here.
The emergence of biomass is another big story, altho more problematic.
The article actually has the nuclear figure as 17%. Within the fossil fuel category, the big shift is from coal to gas (itself at 38%). Some coal plants, notably Drax, have shifted at least some capacity to burning wood.