News Press Review

Fossil Fuels to Peak Within 3 Years: This Week’s 10 Biggest Climate Stories

Collage: Daily Planet
Collage: Daily Planet

Welcome to the 7 February 2017 edition of the Daily Planet’s weekly State Of The Planet press review.

Catch up on the latest developments in the transition to the zero carbon economy with some of the biggest stories about climate change this week. Don’t hesitate to send your tips and comments to @peter_koekoek or peter.koekoek@climate-kic.org.

1. Watch Super Bowl 2017’s hilarious hybrid car commercial.

This weekend’s Super Bowl featured a hybrid car commercial with Ghostbusters star Melissa McCarthy, the Daily Planet reports. Lady Gaga may have performed some daring stunts during Sunday’s (5 February) halftime show in Houston, Texas. But in the third quarter, McCarthy put on a show of her own in a commercial for a hybrid car.

The UNFCCC, meanwhile, quote tweeted a climate change message from NASA. “The world needs you to stay on the ball,” the UNFCCC wrote, followed by the Super Bowl hashtag.


2. Electric cars and cheap solar ‘could halt fossil fuel growth by 2020’

The fossil fuel industry could lose 10 per cent of market share to solar power and clean cars within 10 years, according to the Guardian. A report by the Climate-KIC partner the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London and the Carbon Tracker Initiative confirmed that worldwide growth in demand for oil and coal could collapse by 2020, the Guardian reports.

“A 10 per cent loss of market share was enough to cause the collapse of the coal mining industry in the US, while Europe’s five major utilities lost €100 billion between 2008 and 2013 because they did not prepare for an 8 per cent increase in renewables,” the report says according to the Guardian.

Coal and oil demand to peak by 2020, according to new report by @Grantham_IC & @CarbonBubble https://t.co/aL3MHOptvi #energytransition pic.twitter.com/ExTOeNVO60


3. Beautiful satellite visualisation reveals rural India’s electrification.

As India expanded access to electricity over the last two decades, satellites were watching. A new interactive tool lets you explore the roll out according to the Daily Planet. The country of more than one billion has made a lot of progress with expanding access to electricity and a new visualisation named India Lights shows just how much India has changed.

4. New numbers: China more doubled its solar power capacity in 2016.

China’s installed solar capacity doubled last year according to Reuters. The country is now the world’s biggest producer of solar energy by capacity. China says it plans to add more than 110 gigawatts of solar power capacity between 2016 and 2020.

5. Uber has hired a veteran NASA engineer to develop flying cars.

The 30-year NASA veteran is taking up the position of director of engineering for aviation at the ride-hailing company according to Bloomberg, which says he will be working on a flying car initiative known as Uber Elevate.

A few months ago, TechCrunch reported that the European venture firm Atomico has invested €10 million in the electrical vertical take-off and landing plane company Lilium Aviation – a German start-up supported by Climate-KIC, the EU’s climate innovation initiative. The funding is intended to help develop the company into a manufacturer of a commuter alternative to helicopters and traditional planes, according to TechCrunch.

6. Actually, it’s ‘Energy Efficiency first’ the EU says.

While America is bolstering its fossil fuel industry, energy efficiency is spearheading the European Union’s efforts to reduce its reliance on it according to the Daily Planet. “Despite the current geopolitical uncertainties, Europe is forging ahead with the clean energy transition. There is no alternative,” EU climate commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete said.

A key aim of the EU’s Energy Union strategy is to better integrate Europe’s energy markets and make the continent less reliant on fossil fuel imports from countries like Russia. The principle of “Energy Efficiency First” is the heart of this strategy, according to the European Commission.

7. A wind turbine in Denmark has broken the world record for wind power generated in just one day.

The turbine produced 216,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity in just 24 hours according to YaleEnvironment360, which says that is enough to power 240 American homes for a month. Greenpeace tweeted it could power a US home for 20 years, which translates into 60 years for a house in the Netherlands a Dutch energy industry insider pointed out.

8. VR: Enter the Hyperloop tube for a test ride at 1200 km/h.

One of the teams to win Elon Musk’s Hyperloop competition has released a virtual reality app to give you a preview of the future of tube travel, the Daily Planet reports. The app is based on a real Hyperloop pod with electromagnetic propulsion designed by students from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.

A half-sized fully working prototype of the pod was one of the first Hyperloop units ever to complete a 1.25-kilometre test run in a vacuum tube in California this weekend (29 January).

9. Asia’s first hybrid electric ferry sets sail.

The Taiwanese harbour city of Kaohsiung has recently launched a new hybrid electric ferry according to iTS magazine. The new ferry is said to “revolutionise marine passenger transport across the region by curbing greenhouse and diesel emissions.” Built by a Finnish company, the “100-tonne, 23m-long vessel [was retrofitted] with an electric system to replace the original 300HP diesel engine,” according to iTS.

10. Pentagon: ‘The Arctic really is melting.’

Ignoring climate sceptics in Trump’s White House and the US Congress, American generals say the United States should update it’s strategy in the Arctic because.. science. “Falling sea ice levels due to climate change and spike in Russian activity require strategic response in US, says department of defense,” the Pentagon says according to Climate Home.

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