'Alternative' energy and less energy

Marty Hart-Landsberg
STOP -  heat danger

July 21, 2024

We are in real trouble. Global carbon dioxide emissions (the main cause of global warming) continue to rise, hitting a new high in 2023. Last year was also the hottest in recorded history and, year by year, more Americans are feeling the consequences. Yet, we have seen only modest attempts to bring emissions down.

David Gelles
A data center in San Jose, Calif. A.I. is having a profound impact on energy demand around the world.Credit...Jim Wilson/The New York Times

July 11, 2024

The soaring electricity demands of data centers and A.I. are straining the grid in some areas, pushing up emissions and slowing the energy transition.

A few weeks ago, I joined a small group of reporters for a wide-ranging conversation with Bill Gates about climate change, its causes and potential solutions. When the topic turned to the issue of just how much energy artificial intelligence was using, Gates was surprisingly sanguine.

Jeremy Appel
Rio Tinto - Kennecott open pit copper mine. Salt Lake County, Utah. How do we balance the needs of an energy transition with the harsh realities of mining critical minerals like copper? Photo by arbyreed/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Jul. 11, 2024

As the world inevitably transitions away from fossil fuel extraction, there’s a growing international consensus that mining critical minerals — including copper, nickel, cobalt, zinc and more — will have to ramp up in order to power clean energy sources.

John Woodside
Illustration by Ata Ojani/Canada's National Observer

July 3, 2024

Natural Resources Canada tapped a fossil fuel lobby group to help provide recommendations on expanding the nascent hydrogen sector, documents obtained by Canada’s National Observer reveal.

Marc Lee
How BC’s oil and gas industry sidestepped carbon pricing - illustration

Jun. 27, 2024

When BC first introduced a carbon tax in 2008 the point was to apply it to all emissions causing climate change, but start at a low rate and increase it over time. Yet, as the carbon tax has increased for households at the gas pump and to heat homes, large industrial players—including the oil and gas industry that is causing climate change—have steadily evaded their carbon tax.

Nick Gottlieb
American fighter planes in formation at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany. It serves as the headquarters for the United States Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA) and NATO Allied Air Command (AIRCOM). Photo by Roland Balik/US Air Force/Flickr.

Jun. 27, 2024

There is no path to a renewable future which leaves American hegemony in place

The United States has a material, vested interest in obstructing progress on climate change. This argument, laid out by Amitav Ghosh in his 2021 book The Nutmeg’s Curse, is crucial for understanding the politics not just of climate change, but of the world: everything from the American trade war against Chinese renewable technologies to the ongoing genocide in Gaza can be linked to it.

Evan Halper and Caroline O'Donovan
Microsoft hopes to generate power from atomic fusion and is partnering with Helion, which is testing prototypes at its headquarters in Everett, Wash. (Chona Kasinger for The Washington Post)

Jun. 21, 2024

As power needs of AI push emissions up and put big tech in a bind, companies put their faith in elusive — some say improbable — technologies.

The mighty Columbia River has helped power the American West with hydroelectricity since the days of FDR’s New Deal. But the artificial intelligence revolution will demand more. Much more.

Adam Mahoney , CAPITALB
Miners carry bags of ore in the copper-cobalt Shabara artisanal mine near the town of Kolwezi, Lualaba, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, on June 20, 2023. ARLETTE BASHIZI / FOR THE WASHINGTON POST VIA GETTY IMAGES

May 27, 2024

Black transit activists in the US are calling attention to the plunder of the Congo for cobalt mining.

he story of “John Doe 1” of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is tucked in a lawsuit filed five years ago against several U.S. tech companies, including Tesla, the world’s largest electric vehicle producer.

John Woodside
Though there has been a slight decline in the number of fossil fuel-connected directors on the boards of Canada's Big Five banks in recent years, critics still raise concerns about the industry's influence. Art by Ata Ojani/Canada’s National Observer

May 21, 2024

Canada’s largest banks are deeply entrenched in fossil fuels, having pumped at least $1.2 trillion into the sector since the Paris Agreement was signed in late 2015. But it’s not just their investments and lending that are increasingly under scrutiny –– it’s their leadership, too.


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