The recycling of carbon dioxide as a carbon source for both fuels and high-value chemicals offers considerable potential for both the aviation and petrochemical industries.

Researchers at the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge in the UK
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A climate success story: How Alberta got off coal power

In 2015, roughly half of Alberta’s electricity came from burning coal. Mostly thanks to coal, greenhouse gas emissions from power generation were nearly 50 megatonnes a year.

That number is equivalent to two-thirds of the emissions from the entire oil sands. It’s equal to the emissions from every single car and truck in Ontario and Quebec. Yet no Hollywood star ever showed up to protest at one of the coal plants in Parkland County, west of Edmonton.

And now, here’s the good news: By 2023, Alberta will stop burning coal for power. It will accomplish this seven years ahead of schedule.

It’s a significant milestone, and no random miracle. It’s the market in action, and the direct result of carefully drawn public policies – namely, the carbon tax.

The story stretches back to 2007, when Alberta instituted North America’s first carbon tax on industry. It was, however, only a small levy, whose extra costs on coal power didn’t make much difference.

The turning point came in 2015. A newly elected New Democratic Party government announced an ambitious climate strategy. Getting off coal by 2030 was a central pillar.

Emissions from power generation were down to 44 megatonnes in 2017. The following year, the NDP’s tougher rules kicked in, and emissions immediately fell. The rules set a pollution target for all power plants to hit, and the dirtier an operation, the more it would pay. Burning coal suddenly became a lot more costly and power companies responded, mostly by turning to natural gas. In 2018, the use of coal plummeted – and emissions fell by a quarter in a single year, to 33 megatonnes.

The transition has not been free or painless. The end of coal reverberates in communities that were built on the industry, and government programs have invested money in hard-hit places like Parkland County.

Alberta is also paying $1.4-billion in compensation to three power companies, money coming out of the province’s carbon tax revenue. Power rates, meanwhile, have remained reasonable.

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India has an (official) climate change of heart

India’s new approach seems to show a climate change of heart by one of the world’s most populous countries.

The question taxing the brains of India’s climate campaigners is challenging. What’s going on in Delhi? Has the government really had a climate change of heart?

After all, it’s only a decade ago that United Nations climate conferences were routinely hearing from Indian delegates that their priority was development. Global warming was a problem for the industrialised countries, the Indians would insist, because they had caused the problem in the first place.

Now, after dozens of scientific reports showing how millions of Indians will suffer, many of India’s leading companies and civil society organisations  − and even the government itself − are making strenuous efforts to reach the targets of the Paris Agreement on climate change, which binds every signatory to reach an agreed level for cutting its greenhouse gas emissions.

The Indian government has set up a high-level group, the Apex Committee for the Implementation of the Paris Agreement (AIPA), to ensure that the country does in fact meet its Paris targets.

AIPA will monitor both government and private sector contributions towards climate change and see to it that India is on track to meet its obligations under the Agreement, including what are known in the jargon of climate negotiations as its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

“If government fails to work with people and include their suggestions in implementation, that will be reflected in its progress to combat climate change’’

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