In the spring issue of The Ethical Corporation magazine we assess how the conflict will impact efforts to curb methane emissions, and the development of technologies like nuclear, green hydrogen, offshore wind, and carbon capture and storage
With energy security concerns now front of mind with the war raging in Ukraine, last November’s COP26 meeting in Glasgow can seem like a distant memory.
Over the course of the past month, the entire energy landscape seems to have been transformed, most dramatically in the European Union, where countries are scrambling to fill the energy void left as they are forced to wean themselves off Russian supplies of oil and gas.
As economist Dieter Helm, professor of energy policy at Oxford University, told the Financial Times recently: “The energy transition was already in trouble — 80% of the world’s energy is still from fossil fuels,” he says. “I expect that in the short term, the U.S. will increase oil and gas output, and the North Sea may see some further investments.”
In the spring issue of The Ethical Corporation magazine, we take the pulse of the energy transition at this time of great upheaval.
One of the biggest agreements to come out of COP26 was a pledge by more than 100 countries to curb methane emissions by 30% by 2030. If the target is achieved, the International Energy Agency says, it would have the same effect on reducing emissions as shifting the entire transport sector to net zero.
I report that while the Biden Administration is looking to clean up the U.S. oil and gas industry’s poor record on methane, a surge in new liquified natural gas projects to help meet Europe’s energy needs could undermine progress.
We also look at how the resolution of conflicts over land rights with indigenous communities will be critical to ensuring that the electric vehicle revolution doesn’t run out of road. Sarah LaBrecque reports on how a proposed mining development in Canada is becoming a test case for whether affected communities have the rights to say no.
Meanwhile, Mark Hillsdon reports on how some high-profile climate change litigation cases have spawned copy-cat cases around the world, while Mike Scott looks at how activist investors are vowing to keep climate issues in their sights, despite the war in Ukraine.
Angeli Mehta reports on green hydrogen development in Australia, where companies like Fortescue Future Industries will be looking to help the EU fulfil its plans to quadruple investment in low-carbon hydrogen as it turns off the tap on Russian energy supplies.
She also looks at how corporate demand and government incentives are injecting new life into the ambition of capturing CO2 directly from the air.
Mark Hillsdon asks whether the Ukraine crisis will help bring nuclear energy in from the cold, with the advent of a new generation of modular reactors.
And Mike Scott assesses the prospects for offshore wind in the United States, and whether it will be able to fulfil the Biden administration’s plans for it to contribute substantially to America’s decarbonisation efforts.
Meanwhile, Catherine Early looks at the latest developments in carbon capture and storage. Projects using the technology reached record levels last year, with public acceptance growing on the basis of it being used to decarbonise tricky sectors such as cement.
But with European countries restarting coal plants, the focus may revert to using CCS to address fossil fuel lock-in.
We end the issue with a focus on how Asia’s building sector is addressing climate risk. Oliver Balch meets Esther An of Singapore’s City Developments Limited, who has won plaudits for pushing for greener building methods for the past two decades.
In the summer issue of Ethical Corporation we’ll be turning our attention to sustainability in the travel and tourism industry.
climate change EU energy security LNG green hydrogen coal