The Chinese government have correctly been praised from people around the world for its rapid expansion of renewable energy capacity, especially in regards to solar power. However increasing the amount of electricity generated from sustainable sources is not enough to slow down the impacts of climate change and reduce pollution. One of the other aspects of this issue is afforestation as this reduces the aggregate amount of carbon dioxide filtered out of the atmosphere. Thankfully it appears that China will act on this issue as well because the government has announced that it will plant enough trees to cover an area around the size of the Republic of Ireland.
The Adani Group is an Indian-based coal company that is seeking to expand their operations in the Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland. However, Adani have claimed that they do not have the capital to expand but this has been not been a cause of concern for the company as the Australian federal government has said that they would provide a A$1 billion taxpayer-funded loan to help finance the project. Unsurprisingly environmentalists in Queensland have been agitating against the expansion for some time now but the government in Canberra has take no notice. It appears, though, that Canberra will now take notice because of the Queensland state elections.
Something that has been troubling me in recent weeks has the emerging trend among people in the Democratic Party who, in their pursuit to demonise Trump, have decided to extricate him from the GOP. In there eyes Trump is an unprecedented and unholy aberration and that the US would be in much better shape if a different Republican was in office rather than Donald Trump. I don’t necessarily disagree with this premise as a President Jeb Bush wouldn’t be exactly good but I don’t suspect that he would openly muse about using nuclear weapons. However what has now taken over the Democratic Party is that Trump has now been separated from the Republicans to such an extent that many Democrats have rehabilitated the historical record of George W. Bush.
Despite finishing second in the recent general election Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party will lead the next government of New Zealand after reaching an agreement with the centre-left Green Party and the conservative populists of New Zealand First. The move will result in New Zealand’s first government not led by the National Party since 2008 and as a result much attention has been paid to what the priorities of the next administration will be. In recent days Ardern has been more explicit in what her government will do and on the whole the Left should welcome the announcements, although there are some caveats that need to be added.
The European Union prides itself on emission reduction, combating pollution and generally protecting the environment. There have been countless EU directives and regulations that require member states to monitor their levels of emissions and reduce these levels by certain threshold dates. This is some of the good work of the EU and should be commended by all who want to see climate change combated. However it appears that some of the agencies backed by the EU are not on the same page as the European Bank of Reconstruction Development (EBRD) has just announced that it will loan $500 million to SOCAR, the state-run oil company of Azerbaijan.
When the protests around the Keystone XL pipeline made headlines a year ago much was made of how the continued construction of these pipelines was a short-term business decision as renewable energies were becoming increasingly affordable. Further, as a report from the International Energy Agency said this week, renewable energy technologies are the source of most added electrical capacity in the last year. It appears that TransCanada, the company behind the Keystone XL pipeline, have accepted this premise as they have announced that the Energy East pipeline will be abandoned. This is an important decision and will hopefully snowball into a wider trend among fossil fuel companies.
Countries around the world have remained steadfast in their commitment to reducing carbon emissions and the two most populated countries are leading by example. India and China have long been some of the highest polluting states however they are now using the wealth that they have created in recent years to invest in sustainable growth. Specifically these countries have decided to become world leaders in renewable energy generation and new statistics out in the last few weeks indicate how seriously India and China are taking the transition to clean electricity.