After an intense night of negotiations in Dubai (United Arab Emirates), the countries participating in COP28 reached a historic agreement by mentioning for the first time "moving away from fossil fuels" in the Global Stocktake document - the assessment of progress made towards achieving the climate goals set out in the Paris Agreement. The agreement comes after the first draft presented by the presidency did not make this mention - it referred only to "reducing consumption and production" of these fuels - which was described as "unacceptable" by countries such as Spain.
Capping the consumption of European households who consume most energy - those with the highest incomes and education levels - could achieve "considerable emissions reductions", according to a UK research team. This benefit could also be achieved by simultaneously increasing the consumption of the poorest and most vulnerable users. The analysis, published in Nature Energy, estimates that limiting the energy use of the top 20 % of consumers in 27 countries in Europe would reduce emissions from domestic energy consumption by 11.4 %, 16.8 % from transport, and 9.7 % from total energy consumption. The article states that the association between high income and high energy consumption is particularly strong in countries such as Spain, where income inequality is relatively high.
Reactions to study estimating the economic impact of the energy crisis on households around the world
A study estimates that household energy expenditure has increased by 62.6 to 112.9 % in 2022, following the Russia-Ukraine conflict. This represents an increase of 2.7 to 4.8 % of overall household expenditure. The analysis, published in Nature Energy, warns that this increase could push between 78 and 141 million people worldwide into extreme poverty.
Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California have announced the success of an experiment at their National Ignition Facility. With analysis of the results still underway, it would be the first net energy gain from a nuclear fusion. The news was revealed on Sunday by the Financial Times newspaper with information provided by sources with knowledge of the experiment.
Reactions to the announcement of the creation of a "green energy corridor" linking the Iberian Peninsula to Europe
On Thursday, president Pedro Sánchez announced an agreement with France and Portugal to create the "green energy corridor", which will connect Spain, Portugal and France to the European Union's energy network. According to the government, the corridor envisages the creation of a maritime gas pipeline connecting Barcelona with Marseille, which will be used to transport natural gas, hydrogen and other gases.
A return to coal in Spain is not feasible in the short term, as many of the old thermal power plants have been dismantled. In the long term, the future of electricity production lies in renewable technologies, not only because of their environmental implications, but also because of energy independence with respect to third countries. In the short term, it is essential to continue using conventional technologies.
Reaction to the study that calculates how much emissions would be reduced if people cycled like in the Netherlands
A study published in the journal Communications Earth & Environment (from Nature Research) estimates that a reduction of 686 million tonnes of carbon emissions could be achieved each year if the world followed a cycling pattern similar to that of the Netherlands (2.6 kilometres per day). This is about 20 % of the carbon emissions produced by the global passenger car fleet in 2015.
The Council of Ministers on Monday approved a package of urgent energy efficiency and energy saving measures, including limiting the thermostat on air conditioning and heating in transport, workplaces and shops.
Last week, the European Parliament approved a ban on the sale of vehicles with emissions of more than 0 grams of CO2 per kilometre from 2035 in Europe. In addition, they also voted against an amendment that would allow car manufacturers to buy credits for so-called synthetic fuels. Is this the right measure to accelerate the decarbonisation of the transport sector?
The current climate crisis is not only leaving us with a historically warm winter and a decade of record temperatures, but is overlapping with an almost unprecedented energy crisis. Securing energy supplies in a sustainable way is now a challenge where the war in Ukraine adds to the complexity.