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Klaus Esterluß | Ideas

The President calls to act – Obama’s climate speech

US-President Barack Obama gave a speech on climate change yesterday. His words could lead to a milestone-process for US climate politics. He made clear that the United States have to play a leading role in the world’s ambitions to tackle global warming.
The plans the president rolled out are foreseeable wide-ranging, including a limit on carbon pollution for the first time in US history.

Emissions need to fall by 17 percent until 2020, the President said. This will “put an end to the limitless dumping of carbon pollution.”

The emissons already dropped last in 2012 on the lowest amount in 20 years. But not for climate security reasons. The moderate economic developement of the United States and the growing use of natural gas (which has an lower amount of carbon dioxide) rather were responsible for the decreasing numbers.

The exact plans

According to the speech he held in Washington, the United States would boost the production of renewable energy, increase efficiency standards and prepare communities to deal with higher temperatures.

So what exactly the president wants to happen?

The energy that is harnessed from sun and wind should be doubled, according to Obama. That makes a power supply for more than six million househoulds in the US. The president also spoke about the highly debated Keystone Pipeline-project, that is planed to transport tar sand-oil from Canada to refineries at the Gulf of Mexico. This pipeline will only be build if it „does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.“

Another point was the building of a new nuclear power plant, the first one in 30 years. In opposition to Germany for example US still count on nuclear power as a green and save source of energy.

Impacts for the private sector

Obamas plans also reach for the private sector as well. Besides a fuel consumption that is now enlarged from cars to trucks the President wants to fight the waste of energy in private homes, public buildings or companies by supporting building insulation or energy saving light sources.

So, the speech offers a lot of plans. But what can be done? Nothing can be established immediatly, there’s always a long process about a few years. And Obamas presidency lasts for three more years. But at least the plans would be put in place through an executive order, bypassing the Congress, which has stalemated over climate legislation in recent years.

During his presentation the audience could literally see what all this is about: The oppressive heat of June often forced beads of sweat on the presidents forehead.


June 26, 2013



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Klaus Esterluß | Ideas

Renewables, it’s time to lead. By 2030.

Fossil fuel enthusiasts need to wrap up warmly by 2030. Because major investments in new power supply will be handed over from coal and gas to renewables, worldwide. They will account for up to 70 percent, according to calculations by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Where do these numbers come from? Well, Bloomberg analysts reviewed gas prices, carbon prices, counted in the dwindling price of green energy technology, and overall energy demand. The result is that solar and wind are going to beat fossil fuels like coal and natural gas by 2030.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance

Annual installations of new power sources, in gigawatts; over time.
Picture credit: Bloomberg New Energy Finance

„The likeliest scenario implies a jump of 230 percent,“ they say, compared to 2012. In total numbers: $630bn will be invested per year. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance wind and solar will take up the largest shares of new power capacity, accounting for 30% and 24% respectively.

But, of course, the good news comes with a flipside: Fossil fuels historically are mounted to the power markets that even this projected massive growth is not enough to change completely towards sustainability. By 2030, non-renewable sources will still account for half of the world’s total power supply, according to the analysis.


April 25, 2013



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