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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Energy, the European Union and Russia

Russian demonstrators. Photo NY TimesThe ongoing tensions between Ukraine and Russia is an excellent occasion for the European Union to assess its dependence from foreign fossil fuels, especially oil and natural gas from the Russian Federation.

As Kees van der Leun noted on his Twitter last week, the EU buys to Russia over half a billion euros of oil and natural gas each day.  The amounts total over 200 billion euros ( $277 billion ) a year.

Here is more data : the European Union currently buys over six million barrels of oil per day to Russia, for an amount of over $600 million (430 million euros).

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Climate change probably disrupted popular events

I wasn’t planning to write anything about it last week, but the football game opposing France and Ukraine during the Euro was interrupted by torrential rain. This was the first according to commentators.

Now, many events related to the Fête de la Musique have been canceled in the North and East of France – including Valenciennes, to my despair. This never had taken place for over thirty years the event has existed.

In less than a week, French people have witnessed weirder climate canceling or postponing two of their favorite events. What was the probability ?

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Countries with more than 30 percent of nuclear

Further to the catastrophe in Fukushima, Japan, the Christian Science Monitor wrote an interesting article on the ten countries relying for more than 30 percent on nuclear for their electricity. As they put it :

” As dependent as Japan is on nuclear power, 12 nations are even more reliant it, according to the World Nuclear Association. Using 2007 data, here are the Top 10 most nuclear-dependent nations. ”

As you may perhaps remember I believe this energy source could provide 40 percent of the electricity of the United States and the European Union. This would enable both to cut their emissions.

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Another anniversary : 25 years after Chernobyl

It seems that April is a bad month for the environment. Last week I was writing about the BP oil spill and now I am writing about what took place in Ukraine. The worst nuclear accident ever indeed took place on April 26th, 1986.

This was the occasion for Ban Ki Moon – the secretary general of the United Nations – to visit Chernobyl. He also published an interesting opinion article in today’s edition of the New York Times.

In this article, Mr Moon outlines a five point strategy to improve nuclear safety and reliability. Only this way will we be able to keep using this low carbon energy source.

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Italy to build four nuclear reactors by 2020

There is something I totally overlooked while writing earlier this week my article on how Europe goes forward on energy. Indeed, last month Italy announced its intention to build nuclear reactors this decade.

Italian electricity is both heavily reliant on foreign fossil sources (70 percent) and on imports (ten percent comes from France’s own reactors). Building four nuclear reactors will decrease both.

A total of ten reactors might be built by the next 20 years to enable the country to get 25 percent of its electricity from this low carbon source.

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