There is so much to be angry about, if you are a clean energy guy. Every day, so many things that happen around the world make me angry when I look at them with lenses colored by the climate change chaos unfolding everywhere around us. And I am especially angry because I know we can solve the climate change crisis if we were only trying.Each week, I will share with you a few topics that struck me and that I was very angry about – and this will generally have to do with climate change, solar or wind power, plastic pollution, deforestation and reforestation, environmental degradation, wildlife, the oceans and other related topics.
With an estimated $30 trillion in assets under management, the insurance industry is a huge (but mostly invisible) force in influencing the direction of the global economy. Yet insurance companies are doing incredibly little to fight climate change - and get away with it: Out of the largest 30 insurers in the world, 29 pretty much do not take the Paris Climate Agreement at all into account and continue to back new oil, gas and coal as well as collect vast premiums from existing oil, gas and coal projects. Collectively, their Paris Climate Agreement-related policies, where these exist at all, amount to not much more than a giant pile of green-washing guff.
If you listen to banks and their explanations of they are doing about climate change, you might get the impression that most "get it" and are fighting it shoulder-to-shoulder with the rest of humanity. In fact, banks are funding enough carbon-intensive projects and companies to guarantee a 4°C rise or above in global warming, with their eyes wide open and in full cognizance of the facts. This episode on banks is the first in a series by The Angry Clean Energy Guy focused on the key actors in our global financial system - from banks to insurance companies, accountants, lawyers, rating agencies and institutional investors - and exposing who is really fighting climate change and who is pretending to while in reality putting short-term profit over people, health and planet.
"Fresh air" is a myth. In reality, 90% of us (worldwide) are breathing dirty air on a permanent basis. Because we can't see the pollution in our air, we don't tend to think about it enough. But our air is weakening all of us and killing 7 million a year, as well as placing an undue burden on health systems in every country. This has to stop and it can: No more petrol or diesel cars, trucks, buses, two- and three-wheelers, or trains - all of which can be replaced today by clean alternatives. Soon, no more petrol or diesel ships and planes too. Let's get going.
The latest, newest attacks against clean energy, namely “Oh my God, what are we going to do with all those solar panels and wind turbines and batteries at the end of their lives” and "Oh my God, what about the mining practices employed to get the materials necessary for clean energy ” are, in one word, bollocks. In Episode 42 of The Angry Clean Energy Guy, you will hear how the take-back and treatment of solar panels, inverters and batteries is already mandatory in the EU and is going global; how technologies to recycle solar panels are today everywhere around us and some reach an astonishing 96% recycling efficiency; how you can already recycle 85 to 90% of the total mass of wind turbines; and how 95% of lithium-ion battery components are being turned into new batteries or used in other industries. Most importantly perhaps, you can also see why the DNA of the clean energy industry is about building a circular economy around its products, in contrast to the DNA of Big Oil, which is about destroying, free of charge to them, our habitat.
October, 2020 marked the end of an era: The world’s largest solar and wind power generator, the US utility NextEra, surpassed ExxonMobil - literally the embodiment of Big Oil's recklessness and once the most valuable company on earth - in stock market worth: It took a pandemic to show the markets that the time for clean energy and clean air is right now, and here we are. Major announcements around new renewable energy plans were being made in the same period that NextEra was eclipsing ExxonMobil: Apparently, oil companies including Total, Shell and BP and oil traders including Vitol, Trafigura and Mercuria are intending to unleash hundreds of billions of dollars in new investments in renewable energy and battery storage. In this episode, The Angry Clean Energy Guy attempts to weigh the depth, breadth and sustainability of the wall of money about to pour into clean energy and to assess the implications on Big Oil's future and on renewable energy markets around the world.
Indonesia, population 270m and basking in abundant sunshine most of the year while stretched across the Equator, has less installed solar power capacity (198MW) than Finland (215MW), an Arctic country with just 5.5m people. That's one of the reasons South East Asia remains the global laggard on renewable energy while at the same time threatening to set the world on fire through the world's last great expansion in coal and gas infrastructure. But the resistance of powerful vested interests in ASEAN to renewable energy, transport sector electrification, fighting the plastic pandemic and investing less in fossil fuels can’t last: The clean energy revolution is poised to steamroll fossil fuels in South East Asia too, as the cost of renewables continues to plunge and the climate emergency accelerates.