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Counting carbon from the source

24 Apr 2015   by   Comments (0)

We need to leave carbon in the ground. Yet, carbon emissions are counted at the source of consumption, not the source of extraction. Craig Morris says the different approach would put countries like Scotland, Norway, and Denmark in a much different light.

norwegian oil platform

Out of sight, out of mind? The extraction of oil and gas does not count into Norway’s carbon emissions. (Photo by tjodolv, CC BY 2.0)

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Suppressed French report says 100% renewables is possible

23 Apr 2015   by   Comments (3)

Over the Easter break, French daily Le Monde reported that an official study for a conference to be held last week was being held back. The energy experts investigated a 100 percent renewable supply of electricity by 2050. Craig Morris got hold of a copy, which still lacks an executive summary. So he wrote one.


France has the potential for 100% renewable electricity – but the subject is too touchy for the country’s political leaders.

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Climate showdown: Has the US, UK or Germany done more to cut emissions?

22 Apr 2015   by editor   Comments (0)

The UK and Germany like to think of themselves as climate leaders. But how does their progress in cutting carbon stack up against the US, which has famously failed to pass climate laws? The Carbon Brief’s Simon Evans reports.

Run to cut carbon emissions

How far have countries come in achieving their emission reduction goals? Depends on where you put the baseline – and the biggest challenges are still ahead. (Photo by Ed Webster, CC BY 2.0)

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Bavaria and natural gas – not the best combination

20 Apr 2015   by   Comments (1)

The southeastern German state of Bavaria is arguably not much of a team player in the Energiewende. The state government does not want wind turbines, and opposition to new power lines ostensibly to bring in wind power from the north is fiercest among Bavarians. One proposal to fill the power gap is gas turbines. Craig Morris points out a few reasons why the strategy seems unrealistic.

Windturbine in Munich

Single wind turbine in Munich – the Bavarian government blocks further wind power and power lines development. (Photo by Thomas Wojcik, CC BY-SA 2.0)

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Energiewende shuts down most efficient gas turbine

16 Apr 2015   by   Comments (1)

Siemens spent half a billion euros developing the most efficient gas turbine in the world. Last year, it sold no electricity at all, but was only used to stabilize the grid. Now, the unit is to be taken off the market and put into standby reserve next year. Craig Morris says the story shows how important it is not to confuse engineers with policymakers.


Even the most efficient turbine in the world needs to shut down if it doesn’t produce what the energy market needs. (Photo by

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German fracking law takes shape

14 Apr 2015   by   Comments (0)

Two weeks ago, the German government sent its bill for shale gas production to Parliament for approval. And once again, we read both that Germany has banned and approved fracking. Craig Morris explains what is really going on.

Fracking Well in Lower Saxony

Germany has some conventional gas wells already – but fracking regulations remain politically controversial. (Photo by Battenbrook, CC BY-SA 3.0)

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The Energiewende – made in the USA

13 Apr 2015   by   Comments (3)

To many people, both inside and outside Germany, the Energiewende seems special. Questions therefore often focus on where the Germans got the idea. Craig Morris says they stole it from an American.

Soft Path

Germany’s Energiewende owes its intellectual roots to Americans like Amory Lovins who conceptualized a soft energy path based on decentral renewables and efficiency.

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World Energy Council (WEC) survey finds Energiewende not model for the world

10 Apr 2015   by   Comments (0)

The results of the survey published in German in February were made available in English (PDF) last month. They show overwhelming international skepticism towards the German Energiewende. Craig Morris says the findings are in line with the WEC’s tradition of skepticism towards renewables. And a comparison of previous WEC surveys on the Energiewende is illustrative.

Wind Power in Brazil

If Germany managed to start an energy transition despite its mediocre natural conditions, so can countries like Brazil or China at lower cost today. (Photo by Carla Wosniak, CC BY 2.0)

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The magic of efficiency revealed

09 Apr 2015   by   Comments (2)

Germany aims to reduce its energy consumption by 50 percent by 2050 relative to 2005. It sounds like a fanciful target, especially if the country continues to grow economically. But in reality, Craig Morris says, there are two simple steps to this goal, which do not seem so magical once you know them.

Passive House

Technical solutions like passive house designs are available, but there is a lack of political courage to tackle untapped efficiency potential in the heating and transport sector. (Photo by Green Energy Futures, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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What energy democracy looks like

07 Apr 2015   by   Comments (0)

One of Germany’s political foundations, the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, has produced a video in English explaining the term “energy democracy” to North Americans. It was made in cooperation with labor unions and thus focuses on job creation. Craig Morris likes the presentation but fears some main points might not be highlighted enough.

(Screenshot of the Video under Fair Use)

The future of energy could be democratic. (Screenshot of the video under fair use)

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