Big Oil’s Net-Zero Plans Show the Hard Limits of Carbon Offsets

By Kate Mackenzie, Bloomberg Green

A tracking project from American University lists dozens of large companies that, as of December 21, cited carbon dioxide-removal (CDR) in their pledges for climate neutrality. They include Apple Inc., Walmart Inc., British Airways Plc, and many of their peers. It’s not just companies. The European Union’s promise to cut emissions 55% by 2030 has been criticized for relying in part on land-based “carbon sinks” to soak up some of the pollution.

As more companies follow suit, the total volume of offsets they rely on will quickly exceed the ability of the planet to provide them. Without more concrete near-term actions, “net zero” risks becoming a fairytale providing cover for the heavy emitting industries, particularly those in the fossil fuel sector who have aggressively blocked climate action. Read more here.

Kate Mackenzie writes the Stranded Assets column for Bloomberg Green. She advises organizations working to limit climate change to the Paris Agreement goals.

NATIONAL ACADEMIES REPORT

National Academies report sees $300 bil cost by 2030 for a zero-carbon economy, American Public Power Association

The reportAccelerating Decarbonization of the U.S. Energy System, the first of two, said that achieving the 2050 goal is feasible and presented a technical blueprint and policy road map for the next 10 years. The report also found that immediate action would be required to achieve the greenhouse gas emission reduction goals and that most near-term reductions would come from the electricity sector, electrification of vehicles, and home heating. 

BLACK & VEATCH REPORT

Green Hydrogen: A Rising Star, T&D World
According to Black & Veatch’s latest Strategic Directions: Electric Report, based on a survey of more than 600 industry stakeholders, utilities over the next decade expect solar (79%) and wind (67%) power to help them meet their clean energy goals or cut their emissions and carbon output. That’s presumably because those renewables are readily deployable with established, matured technology and competitive costs. But looking past 2030, those numbers drop into the 40th percentiles, segueing to more deployments of hydrogen (58%) — an energy-dense alternative fuel that emits only water — and battery energy storage (48%) as the leading, more favored options as they evolve.

FROM THE WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING ROOM

LINCOLN-BASED BUSINESS IN THE NEWS

Directions 2021: Nelnet’s Alyssa Martin enjoys balance of work and life in hometown, by Victoria Ayotte Brown, Lincoln Journal Star. Requires digital subscription.

“Nelnet is becoming a leader in the tax equity space and is really paving the way for a carbon-free future by facilitating the development of solar projects all over the country. I think there’ve been 86-plus solar projects Nelnet has had a role in helping along. It’s really amazing. It’s going to continue to grow, and I’m excited to be part of it.” – Alyssa Martin, legal counsel for tax and renewable energy for Nelnet

Previously Posted: Nelnet announces new division focused on solar, Lincoln Journal Star

GREEN TRANSPORTATION

FEATURED WEBSITE FOR KIDS

Launched in 2010, NASA’s Climate Kids website tells the story of our changing planet through the eyes of the NASA missions studying Earth. Targeting upper-elementary-aged children, the site is full of games, activities and articles that make climate science accessible and engaging.

NASA is a world leader in climate studies and Earth science. While its role is not to set climate policy or prescribe particular responses or solutions to climate change, its purview does include providing the robust scientific data needed to understand climate change. NASA then makes this information available to the global community – the public, policy- and decision-makers and scientific and planning agencies around the world.