Climate News of the Week Roundup: New Study on Cloud Formation Says Earth Likely to Warm by 4°C by 2100

This week’s roundup features more bad news from climate science, a portrait of John Kerry as a man on a mission, optimistic projections for renewables and e-mobility, dropping German power prices, a ranking of renewables installations per capita, decreasing electricity consumption in Australia, a call for a bottom-up energy transition, and more.

Planet likely to warm by 4C by 2100, scientists warn. Damian Carrington from the Guardian reports on a new study that says fewer clouds form as the planet warms. Which means that less sunlight is reflected back into space, which drives temperatures up further still. So they conclude that global warming will be at the high end of the existing projections unless emissions are cut substantially.

Kerry Quietly Makes Priority of Climate Pact. Carol Davenport from the New York Times reports that John Kerry is mainstreaming climate change into operations of the State Department. “His goal is to become the lead broker of a global climate treaty in 2015 that will commit the United States and other nations to historic reductions in fossil fuel pollution.” Whether he will actually be able to deliver, given the domestic US situation, remains to be seen.

‘At the floodgates’ of a solar energy boom. Deutsche Welle interviewed Eicke Weber, director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Germany. He predicts a global solar boom triggered the ongoing drop of equipment costs. But it will nonetheless not be plain sailing, as “the transition to a new energy system has of course winners, but it has losers as well. And the losers are reluctant to have their privileges taken from them.”

Trina Solar to develop 1GW plant and module factory in China. PVTech reports that Chinese tier one PV manufacturer Trina Solar will develop a 1GW ground-mounted solar power plant in Xinjiang, western China. 1GW is the size of a nuclear power plant.

China Solar PV Forecast for 2014 Upgraded to 12 GW. Steven Han from Solarbuzz reports on the plans of the Chinese Bureau of Energy for this year. Overall, Solarbuzz projects 45-55GW of world-wide solar installations for 2014, with China as the main driver.

Credit Suisse Projects ~85% Of US Energy Demand Growth Coming From Renewables Through 2025. Zachary Shahan from CleanTechnica reports on Credit Suisse projections which foresee an additional 100GW of renewables and a doubling of market share in US by 2025.

Europe’s Fossil Fuel Exit — 30% Of Fossil Fuel Power Capacity To Close By 2017, UBS Analysts Project. Zachary Shahan also reports on projections by UBS and others which forecast substantial closures of fossil fuel plants over the next years. They are getting pushed off the grid by renewables. Unfortunately, at the moment the victim is mostly natural gas.

German Power Costs Seen Dropping for Fourth Year: Energy. In a similar vein, Rachel Morison and Julia Mengewein from Bloomberg report that power prices in Germany probably will weaken for a record fourth year in a row as utilities add the most coal-fired capacity in more than a decade.  Germany faces a situation of oversupply as renewables expand and coal projects planned half a decade ago are now coming online, displacing gas under current low coal and CO2 prices. The result is the paradox situation of lower wholesale prices for power, rising power exports, and rising GHG emissions.

Why the E-Mobility industry has reached the tipping point. Hans Streng from ABB notes that battery prices are dropping by 20-30% each year and thinks that batteries will do to the automotive industry what flat panels did to TV and PV-panels to the solar business, that is, induce a massive transformation.

Watts per person. And the winners are…. Craig Morris reports on an interesting per capita country comparison of installed wind & solar up to 2013. While the usual rankings of total installed capacity favour large countries, most of them are rather low on this list.

Why is electricity consumption decreasing in Australia? Hugh Saddler discusses electricity consumption developments down under. He concludes that the ongoing decrease of Australian power consumption is driven by efficiency regulations, structural change in the economy and power prices.

Don’t Wait for the Politicians. Bernward Janzing from German daily die tageszeitung calls for a bottom-up energy transition (article in German). In his view, the transition is continuing forward irrespective of the current political inertia and will be unstoppable as long as a majority of citizens want it and get engaged.

 

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