You are here

clean tech

How Much Will It Take For A Just Climate Transition In Spain?

By Carolyn Fortuna - Clean Technica, February 4, 2023

Spain will receive almost €869 million from the Just Transition Fund to kickstart its energy transformation in equitable ways.

It’s imperative that the climate transition in Spain work to phase out coal for energy production ahead of its 2030 initial energy scheme planning. If successful, the end result will be a region invested in energy efficiency, circular economy, and clean energy sources. It will foster economic resilience, renewables, and jobs.

And it looks like it just might happen. Spain will receive almost €869 million from the Just Transition Fund (JTF) following the adoption of the Just Transition Program, which includes its Territorial Just Transition Plan (TJTP).

The Just Transition Mechanism (JTM) is a key tool to ensure that the transition towards a climate-neutral economy happens in a fair way, leaving no one behind. The JTM addresses the social and economic effects of the transition, focusing on the regions, industries, and workers who will face the greatest challenges, through 3 pillars.

  • A new Just Transition Fund of €19.2 billion in current prices, is expected to mobilize around €25.4 billion in investments.
  • The InvestEU “Just Transition” scheme will provide a budgetary guarantee under the InvestEU program across the 4 policy windows and an InvestEU Advisory Hub that will act as a central entry point for advisory support requests. It is expected to deploy €10-15 billion in mostly private sector investments.
  • A new Public Sector Loan Facility will combine €1.5 billion of grants financed from the EU budget with €10 billion of loans from the European Investment Bank, to marshall €18.5 billion of public investment.

The JTF will invest in solar, offshore wind, renewable hydrogen, and the green transformation of the country’s industry in several concerning areas, according to the EU:

  • the province of A Coruña in Galicia
  • the provinces of Teruel in Aragón, León, and Palencia in Castilla y León
  • the provinces of Almería, Cádiz, and Córdoba in Andalusia
  • a group of municipalities around Alcúdia on the island of Mallorca

The region of Asturias will receive almost one third of the Spanish JTF funding, in part to support an innovation hub for artificial intelligence in a former mining site.

An EV in Every Driveway Is an Environmental Disaster

By Alissa Walker - Curbed, January 25, 2023

“There is always a huge climate benefit — and, I would argue, a safety benefit — to ensuring people have access to excellent public transit,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said earlier this month at the Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting. “Even if we weren’t aggressively working to decarbonize existing modes of transportation, that alone is one of the biggest and the best things we can do from a climate perspective.” This is the closest thing to a mic drop that exists at such an event, so the assembled transportation academics, urban planners, and civil engineers erupted into applause. Buttigieg had to pause, letting the hoots fade out before he could finish his remarks. He was onstage with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to announce the first blueprint to decarbonize U.S. transportation by 2050, an unprecedented collaboration between the Departments of Transportation, Energy, and Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency to move the country away from using fossil fuels when, well, moving around.

Despite its many strengths, the blueprint is largely built around two things that have very little to do with what got Buttigieg the most applause from transit professionals: It’s heavily reliant on developing technologies that don’t exist yet and the Biden administration’s goal to have half of the new vehicles sold in 2030 to be electric (a figure closely negotiated with automakers). The latter point is perhaps why the slow but steadily growing number of electric vehicles, or EVs, sold in this country each year has become its own kind of shorthand for the decarbonization revolution. (“Electric Vehicles Keep Defying Almost Everyone’s Predictions,” “Electric Vehicle Sales Hit a Tipping Point in 2022,” “Electric Vehicles = 10% Of New Vehicle Sales Globally!”) A green future, the story goes, looks a lot like today — it’s just that the cars on the road make pit stops at charging stations instead of gas stations. But a one-for-one swap like that — an EV to take the place of your gas guzzler — is a disaster of its own making: a resource-intensive, slow crawl toward a future of sustained high traffic deaths, fractured neighborhoods, and infrastructural choices that prioritize roads over virtually everything else. And considering what it would take to produce that many cars, the vision being sold by the Biden administration about an EV in every driveway is more than just a fantasy — it’s an environmental nightmare.

A zero emissions future without the mining boom: A new report finds that the U.S. can reduce lithium demand by up to 90 percent

By Blanca Begert and Lylla Younes - Grist, January 24, 2023

The effort to shift the U.S. economy off fossil fuels and avoid the most disastrous impacts of climate change hinges on the third element of the periodic table. Lithium, the soft, silvery-white metal used in electric car batteries, was endowed by nature with miraculous properties. At around half a gram per cubic centimeter, it’s the lightest metal on Earth and is extremely energy-dense, making it ideal for manufacturing batteries with a long life. 

The problem is, lithium comes with its own set of troubles: Mining the metal is often devastating for the environment and the people who live nearby, since it’s water intensive and risks permanently damaging the land. The industry also has an outsized impact on Native Americans, with three-quarters of all known U.S. deposits located near tribal land. 

Demand for lithium is expected to skyrocket in the coming decades (up to 4,000 percent according to one estimate), which will require many new mines to meet it (more than 70 by 2025). These estimates assume the number of cars on the road will remain constant, so lithium demand will rise as gas guzzlers get replaced by electric vehicles. But what if the United States could design a policy that eliminates carbon emissions from the transportation sector without as much mining? 

A new report from the Climate and Community Project, a progressive climate policy think tank, offers a fix. In a paper out on Tuesday, the researchers estimated that the U.S. could decrease lithium demand up to 90 percent by 2050 by expanding public transportation infrastructure, shrinking the size of electric vehicle batteries and maximizing lithium recycling. They claim that this report is the first to consider multiple pathways for getting the country’s cars and buses running on electricity and suppressing U.S. lithium demand at the same time. 

Achieving Zero Emissions with More Mobility and Less Mining

By Thea Riofrancos, Alissa Kendall, Kristi K. Dayemo, Matthew Haugen, Kira McDonald, Batul Hassan, and Margaret Slattery in partnership with the University of California, Davis - Climate and Community Project, January 2023

Transportation is the number one source of carbon emissions in the United States– making the sector crucial to decarbonize quickly to limit the climate crisis. States like New York and California banned the sale of gas cars by 2035 and the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act made major federal investments in electrifying transportation. As a result, US consumers are embracing electric vehicles (EVs), with over half of the nation’s car sales predicted to be electric by 2030. This is a critical juncture. Decisions made now will affect the speed of decarbonization and the mobility of millions. Zero emissions transportation will also see the transformation of global supply chains, with implications for climate, environmental, and Indigenous justice beyond US borders.

A crucial aspect of electrified transportation is new demand for metals, and specifically the most non-replaceable metal for EV batteries– lithium. If today's demand for EVs is projected to 2050, the lithium requirements of the US EV market alone in 2050 would require triple the amount of lithium currently produced for the entire global market. This boom in demand would be met by the expansion of mining. 

Large-scale mining entails social and environmental harm, in many cases irreversibly damaging landscapes without the consent of affected communities. As societies undertake the urgent and transformative task of building new, zero-emissions energy systems, some level of mining is necessary. But the volume of extraction is not a given. Neither is where mining takes place, who bears the social and environmental burdens, or how mining is governed. 

This report finds that the United States can achieve zero emissions transportation while limiting the amount of lithium mining necessary by reducing the car dependence of the transportation system, decreasing the size of electric vehicle batteries, and maximizing lithium recycling. Reordering the US transportation system through policy and spending shifts to prioritize public and active transit while reducing car dependency can also ensure transit equity, protect ecosystems, respect Indigenous rights, and meet the demands of global justice. 

Read the rest of the summary here.

Read the report (Link).

What Is Needed For A Just Transition To Renewables?

By Carolyn Fortuna - Clean Technica, November 2, 2022

Big Oil is trying to get climate liability lawsuits moved from state to federal courts, where they believe they’d be more likely to prevail against efforts to make them pay for damaging the environment. Key communities are laying out explicit steps to help move their economies away from coal. Debates are taking place in the tech sector that analyze the social and political changes inevitable to implement renewable energy at scale. These are all dilemmas within what’s called a just transition, and it’s at the core of renewable energy activism.

In its original incarnation, a just transition pointed to workers’ rights, but, over the past few years, the concept expanded into relevance for fields beyond the labor market. A just transition is a future-oriented concept, guided by principles of sustainability and climate justice.

Unfortunately, these concepts don’t always work in concert.

What is a Just Transition, Anyway?

The transition to a clean energy economy is escalating, yet it takes thoughtful planning and robust resources. There are several dimensions to a just transition to move economies and regions away from fossil fuels and towards creating sustainable value and solving issues of climate injustice.

An opposition point of view claims that the shift to clean energy will spur gaps in well paying jobs with good benefits, loss of health insurance, reduced property values, gaps in local tax revenues, unfunded liabilities for environmental cleanup, and uncertainty around future community economic development.

Include social and political participation of affected groups: A just transition is about focusing on support for communities that bear a disproportionate burden of industrial and fossil fuel pollution. These citizens suffer tremendous health effects and are denied commensurate economic benefits. Locations where deep pockets of industrial fossil fuel pollution occur are known as “sacrifice zones,” where toxic air inflicts health problems such as asthma and high rates of cancer. They’re also typically where low income communities of color live and where institutional barriers have afflicted generations of citizens.

Assist workers in unsustainable sectors whose jobs will get lost in the economic reorganization: For many advocates, a just transition encompasses not only support for displaced fossil fuel workers and front-line communities but also a tectonic shift in the design of the economy. For example, workers who engage with toxic materials face the likelihood of illness and death, yet these provide the world with the energy and the materials it needs to recreate energy systems.

Recognize where benefits are accumulated by only a small part of relevant stakeholders: A just transition considers less wealthy countries that depend on fossil fuels for a major part of their GNI. Many advocates are calling upon wealthier nations to help countries with less total domestic and foreign input to switch to clean energy.

Create reskilling and new opportunities for workers whose jobs are lost due to restructuring: A just transition means taking an extractive economy — one that exploits workers and resources — and transforming it into a regenerative economy — one that relies on renewable resources and puts people’s well-being before profit. Just transition initiatives shift the economy from climate polluting fossil fuels to energy democracy. No longer do highways receive mass federal funding; instead, an emphasis on public transit takes place. Costs for discarding waste in landfills skyrockets as do incentives to compost and purchase compostable packaging. Ecosystem destruction halts and ecosystem restoration becomes a huge focus. All of these will create new job opportunities.

GreenReads: IEA World Energy Employment Report - Energy transition or energy descent?

By staff - European Trade Union Institute, September 15, 2022

On 8 September, the International Energy Agency published its first comprehensive report on jobs in the global energy sectors. The World Energy Employment Report provides data on energy jobs ‘by sector, region, and value chain segment’ and will be published annually.

The global energy sector (including energy end uses) employed over 65 million people in 2019, equivalent to around 2% of global employment.

The main messages of the report are:

  • Employment is growing in the global energy sector, especially in clean energy;
  • Around a third of workers are in energy fuel supply (coal, oil, gas and bioenergy), a third in the power sector (generation, transmission, distribution and storage), and a third in key energy end uses (vehicle manufacturing and energy efficiency);
  • More than half of energy jobs are in the Asia-Pacific region;
  • Women are strongly under-represented in the energy sector. Despite making up 39% of global employment, women account for only 16% in traditional energy sectors. They are even more under-represented in management functions.

New modelling finds Canada’s battery supply chain could be a boon for jobs and the economy, assuming Canada takes action

By staff - Clean Energy Canada, September 14, 2022

With the U.S.’s new electric vehicle tax credit requiring that EVs and their batteries be made in North America, Canada’s EV battery supply chain is in the spotlight. 

That spotlight is well warranted. If Canada plays its cards right, a domestic EV battery supply chain could support up to 250,000 jobs by 2030 and add $48 billion to the Canadian economy annually.

That’s according to modelling from Clean Energy Canada and the Trillium Network for Advanced Manufacturing, whose new report, Canada’s New Economic Engine, explores how Canada can successfully build an EV battery supply chain in order to become a North American battery powerhouse.

Recent months have seen a stream of new battery investments, from the $5 billion Stellantis and LG Energy Solution are investing in a Windsor battery factory to the $500 million General Motors and Posco are investing to bring battery material production to Bécancour, Quebec. 

But despite these encouraging investments, the success of Canada’s EV battery supply chain—and the hundreds of thousands of future jobs it could support—is still largely dependent on swift government action.

In a scenario where no additional government action is taken, Canada’s battery supply chain would create just 60,000 jobs and contribute only $12 billion in GDP—fulfilling only about a quarter of both its jobs and GDP potential.

Accordingly, the report identifies six ways in which Canada should focus its efforts to fulfill its battery-building potential. While Canada could do it all, a more effective strategy would double down on a few key stages, such as EV assembly, battery cell manufacturing, clean battery materials production.

In short, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a battery supply chain that will be the economic engine of tomorrow’s economy. 

Decarbonized Electrification Would Generate Significant Job Gains

By Jim Stanford. - Center for Future Work, May 26, 2022

A new report from the David Suzuki Foundation takes a deep dive into the employment gains that could be achieved through the rapid electrification of Canada’s economy, driven by the expansion of sustainable power generation and infrastructure. The new report, “Shifting Power: Zero-Emissions Electricity Across Canada by 2035”, estimates that 75,000 net new jobs would be created by the expansion of clean electricity generation and use over a 15-year period. This would contribute substantially to the attainment of Canada’s net-zero objectives, as well as to strengthening employment outcomes for Canadian workers as the economy shifts toward sustainable energy sources.

Centre for Future Work Director Jim Stanford provided a supplementary analysis for the report, addressing the economic and employment opportunities associated with decarbonized electrification. He notes those benefits would occur through several complementary channels:

  • Jobs in developing and operating renewable generation systems (including solar, wind, geothermal and hydroelectric power). Construction of these projects will create hundreds of thousands of person-years, with thousands more ongoing jobs in operation and maintenance.
  • New work in expanding and upgrading the electric grid. Major investments will be required to upgrade transmission facilities, install modern control and regulating equipment and prepare the grid for the more complex and variable power distribution requirements associated with dispersed renewable generation.
  • Manufacturing of capital equipment and other material inputs to renewable generation projects. With appropriate value-added industrial strategies to enhance Canada’s industrial footprint in these growing industries, thousands of permanent jobs would be created manufacturing wind turbines, solar power equipment, transmission equipment and materials, and other capital inputs to electrification.
  • Installation and maintenance of new equipment that uses electricity in various industrial and consumer applications — everything from residential heating systems to electric vehicles to large industrial power systems.
  • Jobs in new industries attracted to Canada by the availability of clean, reliable and competitive electricity. Canada’s abundance of primary renewable electricity resources would position us at the forefront of the global transition to sustainable electric energy. That will stimulate interest and investment by industrial firms and financial investors from around the world.

Overstated and misleading warnings that shifting away from fossil fuel use will inevitably cause major job losses and dislocation have already been disproved by the progress in decarbonizing electricity that has already been made. Stanford notes that reliance on fossil fuels in electricity generation in Canada has already fallen by one-third since the turn of the century – yet the electricity generation and distribution industry has created 10,000 net new jobs over that same period. And since renewable energy sources, in general, are more labour-intensive than fossil fuels, this continuing shift can be expected to produce more net job gains in the years ahead.

Jim Stanford’s full commentary for the Shifting Power report is posted here. For more details, please see the Suzuki Foundation’s full report, “Shifting Power: Zero-Emissions Electricity Across Canada by 2035

Renewable Energy Materials: Supply Chain Justice

By staff - The Climate and Community Project, April 6, 2022

Sourcing materials for renewable energy, such as lithium for lithium-ion batteries, can create its own environmental justice problems. Check out this brief report from the Climate and Community Project.

The report addresses President Biden’s recent order invoking the Defense Production Act to ramp up domestic mining for “clean energy technologies,” particularly for lithium-ion batteries used to power electric vehicles and other renewable technologies.

The report points out that “mining is one of the most environmentally harmful industries, with multinational mining companies and their governmental allies subjecting communities to rights violations and outright violence.”

It outlines four policies needed to make sure the new push for renewable energy materials is just and sustainable:

  1. Reform the 1872 General Mining Law to recognize Free,
    Prior, and Informed Consent of Indigenous peoples. . . and amend to include environmental protections,
  2. Rapidly build out critical mineral recycling infrastructure.
  3. Invest in Independent and Publicly Funded Research and Development (R&D).
  4. Fund a Green New Deal for Transportation,

Download a copy of this publication here (PDF).

Fossil Fuel Industry is No Friend to Workers

By David Suzuki - Rabble, February 23, 2022

The fossil fuel industry has gone to great lengths to paint itself as an environmental champion working hard to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It can’t be trusted.

It has fuelled a rapidly accelerating crisis that puts the health and survival of humans and many other living beings at risk—all for the sake of enormous profits.

Industry leaders have been knowingly misleading people for decades about the consequences of wastefully burning their products. About 45 years ago, oil giant Exxon’s own scientists warned that excessive fossil fuel use would bring about climate disruption.

“In the first place, there is general scientific agreement that the most likely manner in which mankind is influencing the global climate is through carbon dioxide release from the burning of fossil fuels,” Exxon senior scientist James Black told the company’s management committee in 1977. The next year, he said doubling CO2 emissions would increase average global temperatures by 2 to 3 degrees Celcius, which lines up with today’s scientific consensus. He added that “present thinking holds that man has a time window of five to 10 years before the need for hard decisions regarding changes in energy strategies might become critical.”

Exxon did nothing about the looming crisis it was contributing to, but company executives put enormous amounts of effort and money into downplaying the science and sowing public doubt and confusion. They even worked to undermine international climate agreements such as the 1998 Kyoto Protocol.

Pages

The Fine Print I:

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) unless otherwise indicated and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s, nor should it be assumed that any of these authors automatically support the IWW or endorse any of its positions.

Further: the inclusion of a link on our site (other than the link to the main IWW site) does not imply endorsement by or an alliance with the IWW. These sites have been chosen by our members due to their perceived relevance to the IWW EUC and are included here for informational purposes only. If you have any suggestions or comments on any of the links included (or not included) above, please contact us.

The Fine Print II:

Fair Use Notice: The material on this site is provided for educational and informational purposes. It may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It is being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of scientific, environmental, economic, social justice and human rights issues etc.

It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have an interest in using the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. The information on this site does not constitute legal or technical advice.