In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):
- Natural gas drives record emissions in 2019, and gas trade association supports a carbon tax.
- EPA works to weaken coal regulations — and doesn’t think about health.
- What will Germany do with its nuclear waste when it closes all of its nuclear power plants?
- Performance artists Nate & Hila made a video that lists 20 solutions to global warming.
The Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB): A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news
Natural gas is a fossil fuel
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Natural gas may not be as toxic as coal, but it is still very much a fossil fuel. And it’s natural gas that’s driving up carbon emissions this year.
Authors of the Global Carbon Project attributed this year’s rise in emissions to natural gas and oil growth, which offsets the falls in coal use.
“We see clearly that global changes come from fluctuations in coal use,” said Corrine Le Quéré, from the University of East Anglia, an author on the Carbon [Project] report.
“In contrast the use of oil and particularly natural gas is going up unabated. Natural gas is now the biggest contributor to the growth in emissions.”
“Compared to coal, natural gas is a cleaner fossil fuel, but unabated natural gas use merely cooks the planet more slowly than coal,” said Glen Peters, research director at the CICERO Center for International Climate Research.
Yesterday, the Natural Gas Supply Association, a trade association that represents Exxon Mobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Cabot, and Southwestern Energy, unanimously announced that they are in favor of a carbon tax.
The Houston Chronicle says the association “broadly supports putting a price on carbon while also eliminating existing regulations on carbon and delivering revenues not to government but directly to American consumers.”
If you want an overview of how natural gas is extracted and used, watch this video from Student Energy:
Coal’s enormous cost on health
The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed to weaken regulations on mercury emissions and fine particulates from coal-fired plants.
Six economists said that the EPA’s proposed rollback ignores healthcare costs. Weakening regulations could save coal plants a few billion dollars total, while costing the public tens of billions in healthcare costs.
“Instead of weighing all the costs against all the benefits, the EPA is cherry picking,” said Yale University’s Matthew Kotchen, who released a report on the agency’s proposal with the other economists. “They pulled the biggest public health benefit off the scale.”
Several of the authors of the report, including Kotchen, were on the EPA’s Environmental Economics Advisory Committee that was part of the agency’s independent science advisory board for 25 years.
The authors are now on the External Environmental Economics Advisory Committee, an independent group that says it provides nonpartisan advice on EPA programs.
Where’s the nuclear waste go?
Germany will close all seven of its nuclear power plants by 2022. But where will the waste go? Or more specifically, where does one store 28,000 cubic meters of radioactive waste for 1 million years?
France supports nuclear energy as green energy, but Germany opposes it. This very real quandary might have something to do with that stance. As we previously wrote in Electrek, “Nuclear has no scientific evidence for waste treatment, and that’s why it was not initially included.”
Germany decided to close all of its plants after Japan’s Fukushima disaster in 2011.
Spent fuel rods from nuclear power plants are currently being stored in containers in temporary storage sites across the country, where they can cool down, which will take decades because they’re so hot.
Germany wants to locate a permanent nuclear cemetery that would be at least 1 km underground. The location must be extremely stable geologically — no earthquakes or water flow.
Once the storage location is chosen, it will be sealed sometime between 2130 and 2170.
Here’s the mind-blower from CNN:
Communications experts are already working on how to tell future generations thousands of years from now — when language will be completely different — not to disturb the site.
Nate & Hila are, in their words, “a duo of emcees/writers/performers who create ecological, sociological, and philosophical songs, videos, and live shows.” Nate Oglesby’s day job is teaching Latin language and Greek civilization at City College of New York. Hila Perry is a performance artist from New York and Tel Aviv.
They made this fun 4.5-minute-long video with a serious message and 20 ideas about how to transition into green energy. (Oh, and nice shower cap, Nate.) Spoiler: No. 1 is to stop using fossil fuels.
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