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This week in the green economy

By Ben Martin GEC · 17th November, 2017
Cop23 Flickr Bund Bundesverband
Environmental activists outside COP23 in Bonn. Image: Bundesverband / Flickr

All around the world, the movement to build fair, sustainable economies is gaining momentum. Every week we round up the most insightful stories from the front lines of the green economy transition - covering development, energy, technology and politics. If you've got a story you think we need to know about, do get in touch!

  • Wonks, rejoice: the IEA released its annual World Energy Outlook this week! It’s a mammoth 800-page analysis of the state of the global energy industry – and the big theme this year is “transformation”. Headline findings:
    • China’s coal use peaked in 2013 and is now in long-term structural decline; oil use is going the same way
    • Renewables are becoming the cheapest form of new energy generation; expected to match coal generation by 2040
    • Emissions and energy demand are set to keep rising, however.
    • Something new for this year: the introduction of a “Sustainable Development Scenario” which charts a possible path forward to a clean energy future
    • The usual suspects chipped in with analysis: CarbonBrief did a detailed overview; David Roberts at Vox noted the IEA’s new holistic approach to climate, energy and pollution; and Bloomberg dug the business impacts. 
  • The other big story this week was the COP23 climate talks in Bonn, Germany. We won't know the final outcomes until the end of the weekend, but for now:
    • Indigenous groups and “first peoples” won greater recognition of the leadership role they must play in climate and biodiversity conservation at COP
    • As expected, finance was a key theme - with slow progress being made on crucial issues of loss and damage payments to countries most affected by climate change
    • French President Macron Macron himself announced at COP that EU must take up the mantle of US leadership on climate, and that France will meet the IPCC funding gap left by Trump’s reversal 
  • Norway’s sovereign wealth fund made noises that it wants to dump all of its fossil fuel stocks, in addition to its existing divestment from coal. That’d be worth about $40 billion.
  • Tesla finally revealed its big shiny electric truck
  • A new study found that the richest 1% own fully half of the planet’s wealth
  • Another study argued organic farming can radically cut carbon emissions without affecting food yields
  • And finally, Microsoft pledged to cut emissions 75% by 2030.

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