by Lydia Cole
During the ‘Energy Debate’ panel hosted on Friday 13 November as part of Energy Ethics 2020, it became clear that the challenges of powering the world on renewable technologies were as palpable as the need to overcome them in order to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels; and reducing this reliance is imperative if we are to limit the impacts of ongoing climate change.
Supporters and opponents of fossil fuel infrastructures offer different visions of an energy transition – and different insights into what they consider meaningful and desirable work. In this post, I reflect on such concerns around work and employment in the context of resistance to the shale gas industry in the north of England.
The Comeback of the Plastic Straw: Are we sacrificing sustainability in the face of COVID-19 safety?
by Anna Rauter
Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic initially led to a drop in global CO2 emissions, post-lockdown emissions are reported to be back in line with their previous trajectories. Along with this resurgence of carbon emissions, I am observing an increasing use of single-use plastics and other environmentally unsustainable practises. How do coronavirus measures, whether we agree with them or not, affect our sustainability efforts?
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, demand for crude oil fell suddenly. The pandemic exposed the logistics and storage constraints of the US landlocked oil infrastructure that was oversupplied by domestic and imported crude. But it also raised fundamental questions about the role and importance of financial trading on the futures market.
by James Crooks
The production of energy through the burning of biological materials has been considered a renewable, reliable and even relatively clean alternative to the use of fossil fuels. However, as the industry has grown these claims have faced increased scrutiny; critics have claimed that biomass on a large scale has negative long- and short-term environmental impacts not only on pollution but on biodiversity generally. So we have to ask: is biomass an energy source of the future?
Across the world, energy systems are making the transition from fossil fuels to renewables. This energy transition, unlikely as it may sound, is influenced in a small but meaningful way, by whaling. This post considers how findings from environmental research conducted in collaboration with a small whaling community in the Caribbean provide key evidence for the healthy and sustainable benefits of renewable energy systems, especially in the context of small island developing states.
When half the world struggles with inadequate electricity supply, what happens when we have too much energy? In this post, I look at situations in which overcapacity leads to a “renewable overkill”, creating landscapes of abandonment where wind turbines and other renewable energy projects lie as stalled, prevented or temporarily stranded assets.
When WTI crashed on 20 April 2020, the COVID-19 crisis with its associated drop in energy demand exposed the serious limitations to the oil infrastructure in the US. How are financial valuations of oil tied to the specifics of place? And how do the material dimensions of moving and storing oil inform the dynamics of its trade?