Airline climate goals slammed; electric ferries, and California revisits carbon market

By David Callaway, Callaway Climate Insights

Latest News and Insights:

  • Airlines carbon goals branded “critically insufficient”
  • California reconsiders landmark carbon trading platform
  • Minnesota sues energy companies for lying about climate impact
  • Deutsche Bank bans most domestic flights for business trips

. . . . Count me among those who will lament the passing next month of the Segway, which featured in a number of fond holiday memories tooling around European capitals with my daughter over the years.

The battery-powered personal transporter, one of the original climate change innovations, designed by Dean Kamen to change how the world moved around cities, will cease production on July 15, the company said this week.

The device was introduced with great fanfare 20 years ago, hailed by the likes of Bill Gates as a game changer for humanity. But restrictions on how and where it could be used on city streets held it back from ever getting past a novelty for tourists or a better golf cart for local police.

Archeologists will someday look at Segways as an early attempt by artificial intelligence to kill off the human race, with fleets of marauding robots tossing us over their handlebars to the video delight of their social media masters. Either that, or early pretenders to the Tesla. . . .

ZEUS: Covid sports ban may just be a warmup for climate change

. . . . It’s been 100 days without sports in the U.S. OK, a couple golf tournaments, some Nascar, and a few horse races. But for many of us, it’s been Bundesliga or bust. Now comes a study that says climate change may alter the future and structure of sports in ways that will make the Covid shutdown seem like warmup, writes David Callaway.

Floods, fires, and rising seas and temperatures have already impacted major tournaments and games in the past year. A report by David Goldblatt for the Rapid Transition Alliance predicts one in three British golf courses will be underwater by the end of the century, including St. Andrews. Flooding will wipe out many soccer venues and storms and fires will threaten the very fabric of outdoor viewing that so many millions of us enjoy.

But sports has an upper hand on other industries. It’s tremendously popular, and sports stars and leaders can command change, as they have in these times of Black Lives Matter. Starting by cleaning up their own substantial emissions — which include crowd waste, aviation emissions, and a willingness to take sponsorships from fossil fuel companies — sports bodies from the NFL to the IOC have a chance to lead by example. So in the future we won’t all be reduced to perpetual reruns of Tom Brady Super Bowl wins. . . .

Read the full ZEUS column

European notebook: Holland deal on renewables avoids EU fines

. . . . Holland’s green woes this week were Denmark’s gains, after Holland was forced to sign a €100 million ($112 million) deal with its neighbor to offset a big miss in its renewable energy production targets. Stephen Rae writes in his European notebook that the deal allows the Dutch government to avoid EU fines and gives Denmark a windfall to invest in a new hydrogen project.

Denmark also celebrated this week the debut of what it called the world’s largest and most powerful electric ferry, which covered as much as seven times the distance as previous electric ferries had achieved.

That, and the latest from Greta Thunberg on how Covid-19 has changed society’s view of the role of science . . . .

Read the full European notesbook

. . . . Global airlines emission-reduction goals were branded “critically insufficient” in new data by Climate Action Tracker on Thursday. For the most part, because the attempt by the United Nations CORSIA aviation group to regulate emissions with fines doesn’t cover countries such as China, Russia, Brazil or India.

The plan won’t cover even 50% of emissions and might even lead to some airlines being compensated for progress without real emission reductions elsewhere, according to Silke Mooldijk of the New Climate Institute. . . .

. . . . California is re-evaluating its landmark carbon market, the first in the nation, amid concern it won’t meet its goals to help the state cut its emissions by 50% by 2030, according to CalMatters. Covid-19 and the collapsing oil markets are both hurting the cap-and-trade market’s potential and might have to lead to changes to the program, including tougher environmental measures. . . .

. . . . Minnesota sued ExxonMobilKoch Industries and the American Petroleum Institute this week for deceptive practices and false advertising, essentially accusing the energy companies and industry group of lying for decades about the impacts of their business models on the environment. The state joins a list of more than a dozen others who have sued in the past, but was the first to add the API industry group to the list of defendants. . . .

. . . . Deutsche Bank (DB), which has been cutting costs aggressively during the Covid-19 crisis and demanding travel concessions from its staff, added this week a rule banning plane travel on many domestic routes in Germany, according to Sueddeutsche ZeitungBased on last year’s travel, switching to the train could save the company 1400 tons of carbon emissions a year. . . .

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