21 countries decouple economic growth from emissions

21 countries from Austria to the United States have cut their greenhouse gases emissions while growing their economies in the past 15 years. This proves that decoupling economic growth and greenhouse gases emissions is feasible. 

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The European Union already cut its emissions by 23 percent

While the European Union officials – not ” leaders ” – keep on clinging to 20 % emissions reductions by 2020, the Union has already slashed its emissions by 23 percent. This is taking place ahead of the Paris Climate Conference later this year.

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The fortune at the bottom of the pyramid

Fortune at the bottom of the pyramid Book coverWhile reading Richard Branson’s latest book, Screw Business As Usual, I came across an interesting concept : the fortune at the bottom of the pyramid. The term refers to the basic goods and services to sell to the poorest people.

To a report from the World Resources Institute quoted in Branson’s book,  the Bottom of the Pyramid in Asia and the Middle East represent no less than 2.8 Billion people, with a total income of  $3.47 Trillion.

Counting in Africa, South America and Eastern Europe, this amounts to a $5 Trillion market which can be addressed ethycally by companies.

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Poland could halve coal consumption by 2030

Here comes another article for Cleantechies, this time focusing on a problem plaguing many nations, coal. This fossil fuels does indeed provides a large part of the electricity there. Here is the introduction : ” Poland – as many East European nations – relies very heavily on coal as 90 percent of its electricity comes … Read more

The beginning of the end for coal

Emissions from a coal-fired plantCarl Pope, the former executive director and chairman of the Sierra Club published an article on the very topic last week as the World Bank and the US government announced they wouldn’t fund coal anymore.

But this week, there was another third blow on financing coal. As The Guardian reported : ” The European Investment Bank (EIB), the main lending arm of the European Union, has decided to stop financing most coal-fired power plants.

The EIB mostly lends money to European nations. I guess this will make it difficult for Eastern European nations to finance new coal-fired plants.

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Could the European Union ban coal ? When ?

a plant spewing carbon dioxideYesterday Alice Stollmeyer asked on Twitter What should the European Commission do to improve air quality ? ” as she is participating today to a EU chat session dedicated to green topics. My answer was quite simple:

Ban new coal projects and phase out the existing capacity. Replace by efficiency and renewables. This would create hundred of thousands of jobs, help avoid catastrophic climate change and clean the air.

If we have seen that the United States could be coal-free by 2030, there have been to my humble knowledge no study of such a fact for the European Union.

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Coal consumption increases in Germany

The toll from coalWhen Germany announced after the Fukushima disaster that it was willing to stop all its nuclear reactors, I published a piece on Cleantechies on how this was premature and dangerous for climate.

I guess I was quite right as this week the same Cleantechies published an article stating that coal consumption of the first European economy had increased by almost five percent in 2011.

The country’s main utilities have also built coal-fired plants. This takes place in 2012 in a country where the Greens are supposedly strong.

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The Czech Republic bets heavily on nuclear

To the Huffington Post : ” Defying growing global skepticism over the use of atomic energy, (the Czech Republic) is planning to dramatically increase the country’s nuclear power production.

” (…) Other former Soviet bloc nations, now in the European Union, are following the Czechs’ lead on nuclear power – reflecting diverging economic needs between east and west. ”

” Slovakia is currently building more nuclear facilities. And Poland has engaged in talks with firms about know-how and technology for its first nuclear installation to be completed by 2030.

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Poland and Lithuania are thinking about nuclear

While the decisions of both Germany and Switzerland to stop using nuclear made headlines, little has been written about Poland ‘s thinking about building two nuclear reactors, which would be build by GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy.

The reactors could go online in 2020 if an agreement was signed in 2014. The capacity would reach 3,000 MW. The country relies on highly polluting coal for 94 percent of its electricity to date. (source)

As its electricity consumption is due to increase over the next decades significantly, and as something has to be done on climate change, it is willing to diversify its energy sources.

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Russia to invest $300 billion in energy efficiency

Energy efficiency is the very basis of a more sustainable society and Russia seems to have understood that. This is a great news as the country is one of the largest coal consumers. As I note in my latest article for CleanTechies : “Some interesting news recently went unnoticed. Indeed, last month, Russia unveiled a … Read more

Vietnam, Bulgaria and Kuwait to build nuclear reactors

According to the Wall Street Journal ” Vietnam plans to have 13 nuclear reactors online by 2030, with a combined capacity of 15 gigawatts, the government said Wednesday. “

” Nuclear power will account for 10% of the country’s total generation capacity, the government said on its website, citing a nuclear-power development plan recently approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. “

Similarly, Bulgaria and Kuwait are interested in either expanding or starting nuclear programs. This shows that more than ever, nuclear is seen as a trustworthy low carbon solution.

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Romania builds largest onshore wind farm in EU

wind-turbinesThis just broke in : Romania will have in 2011 the largest onshore wind farm in the European Union with 240 wind turbines accounting for no less than 600 MW of installed capacity.

This 1.1 billion Euro ($1.6 billion) project is done in order to offset the emissions of the dirty coal fired plants of the Czech power group CEZ behind this project. Please refer to the Reuters’ article for  more details on the deal.

To the data provided by CARMA, the country’s electricity needs are met with 51 percent of fossil fuels, 32 percent of hydro while the remaining comes from nuclear.

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