Just under a year after deciding to not do so, the University of California has quietly sold off their investments associated with coal and oil sands, as of September 9th. The UC’s divestment from these first two forms of fossil fuels is incredibly important – but we must realize how much longer the road to climate justice really is.
A hidden way the United States federal government subsidizes fossil fuels, particularly coal, is by allowing extraction to continue unabated on federal land. These account for 40% of the nation’s coal supply and 24% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, but according to top scientists, 92% of U.S. coal reserves must be left in the ground to keep the climate from warming by more than 2°C.
For the first time in history, renewable energy installations are outpacing new installations of fossil fuel based energy systems, even when accounting for the combined capacity of coal, oil and natural gas. Even though solar energy currently makes up less than 1% of the world’s global energy supply, the tides are changing in the favor of renewable energy technology.
Originally published on the National Geographic Energy Blog by Professor Dan Kammen: In Kosovo a proposed coal-fired power plant has been under discussion for over a decade. The prime funders, ironically, are the World Bank and the U. S. government. Their decision to fund this project or not will set a critical precedent for the future of coal financing, making Kosovo the global gatekeeper for new coal projects.
Out of concerns regarding climate change, the world’s major public financial institutions have pledged to stop funding new coal projects overseas, except in rare cases. But the real test of that commitment is still an open question in Kosovo. Will these projects pass their own test?
The vast network of coal power plants in Northern China were largely blamed for the severe air pollution in the region. Gao Li, the vice director of State Grid Construction Department, has promoted the Ultra High Voltage (UHV) transmission system as a mid-term solution to China’s current air pollution.
Impactful innovations in the energy and resource sectors often result from a collaboration of multiple disciplines. UC Berkeley has recognized the importance of a holistic approach to energy and resource efforts.
Ronald J. Binz, President Obama’s pick to head the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), has run up against stiff opposition from pro-coal members of Congress and various conservative groups.