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EGEB: The UN to G20 nations — decarbonize and electrify now, or we’re all in big trouble

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • The UN’s 10th annual Emissions Gap Report 2019 was released today.
  • Energy efficiency jobs in the US Midwest have soared in the last 20 years.
  • An anonymous Microsoft engineer writes an eye-opener about the link between Big Oil and Big Tech.
  • Gainesville becomes the first Florida city to recognize the Green New Deal.

The Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB): A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

UN to G20: Cutting emissions is urgent

The United Nations (UN) released its 10th annual Emissions Gap Report 2019 today. The report presents the latest data on the expected gap in 2030 for the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C and 2C temperature targets.

For the first time, it looks at how large annual cuts need to be from 2020 to 2030 in order to meet the Paris goals. And that includes the electrification of transport.

The G20 nations are responsible for 78% of emissions, so these countries determine to what extent the gap can be closed. But only five G20 members (the EU and four other countries) have committed to long-term net zero targets.

China (pictured), the US, the EU, and India are the top four emitters and contribute to more than 55% of the total emissions over the last decade.

Fossil fuels are responsible for the largest share of emissions, followed by industry, forestry, transport, agriculture, and buildings.

So what do we need to do? A full decarbonization of the energy sector. Further, “electrification of transport could reduce the sector’s CO2 emissions by a huge 72% by 2050.”

Green energy jobs boom in the US Midwest

The Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) reports that “13 states will collectively invest $1.85 billion in energy efficiency (both electric and natural gas*).” It also states that it has identified almost 600 manufacturing locations for energy-efficient products in the Midwest.

As of 2017, there were 538,274 energy efficiency jobs in the Midwest, according to MEEA. The jobs “represent blue- and white-collar workers, multinational corporations, and small mom and pop shops. What is an EE job? People who install, finance, evaluate, manufacture, market, advocate for, and engineer energy-efficiency goods and services.”

The MEEA consists of a 13-state region that is “a collaborative network advancing energy efficiency in the Midwest to support sustainable economic development and environmental preservation.”

MEEA’s executive director Stacey Paradis says:

Those are the people that are starting small businesses that are in their community, and they’re doing retrofits. They’re doing weatherization. They’re doing insulation work or windows work and all that. So they’re in those local communities, and they are a lot of growing new small businesses.

There are corporations all across Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota. These are blue collar jobs that are continuing to grow in the 21st century, and those are important parts of the economy that can’t be under appreciated.

*Electrek does not recognize natural gas as green energy; it’s a fossil fuel.

Big Oil and Big Tech

Logic, a paper magazine about technology that publishes three times a year, is about to print an anonymous account by “Zero Cool,” a Microsoft software engineer, titled “Oil Is the New Data on November 30.” This person writes from firsthand experience in Atyrau, Kazakhstan.

The piece is quite the eye-opener. Here’s an excerpt:

The city is home to Kazakhstan’s biggest and most important oil extraction project. In 1993, shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union, the newly independent nation opened its borders to foreign investment. Kazakhstan’s state-owned energy company agreed to partner with Chevron in a joint venture to extract oil.

The project was named Tengizchevroil, or TCO for short, and it was granted an exclusive 40-year right to the Tengiz oil field near Atyrau. Tengiz carries roughly 26 billion barrels of oil, making it one of the largest fields in the world. Chevron has poured money into the joint venture with the goal of using new technology to increase oil production at the site. And I, a Microsoft engineer, was sent there to help.

Gainesville is first to recognize Green New Deal in FL

The Alligator, an independent, student-owned newspaper that serves the University of Florida, reports that Gainesville city commissioners unanimously passed two climate change motions late last week, and recognized the Green New Deal.

The Green New Deal states that “the United States must take a leading role in reducing [greenhouse gas] emissions through economic transformation.”

The [Gainesville] commission first unanimously passed a motion to work with city staff in creating a proclamation and resolution declaring a climate emergency with a focus on Gainesville’s racial disparity and equity policies. The motion also called for the creation of an online dashboard on the city’s website showing its carbon footprint in real-time.

District 3 commissioner David Arreola said of the Green New Deal, “We will actually be the first city in Florida to voice our support for this legislation.”

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.