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EGEB: Big Oil still investing in Big Oil, CO2-emitting countries — some surprises, calcium batteries, more

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • Oil and gas companies investing $50 billion in projects that won’t help fight climate change.
  • The countries that produce a greater proportion of CO2 emissions than their proportion of the global population.
  • Calcium could be safer and cheaper than lithium-ion in batteries that store solar and wind power.
  • 5 of the best solar-powered portable chargers.

The Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB): A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

EGEB reported on September 5 that Big Oil “has already made nearly 70 deals involving renewables and biofuels, compared to 80 such agreements for the entire 2018” [via BloombergNEF]. We also reported that there has been a wave of investor pressure on Big Oil to align with the Paris Agreement goals.

But according to the Independent:

While some companies including Shell, BP, Total, and Equinor have increased spending on renewable energy and introduced carbon-reduction targets, the sector says it needs to continue investing in oil and gas projects to meet future demand as Asian economies expand.

London-based nonprofit Carbon Tracker reports that “since the start of 2018, all major oil and gas companies have approved projects that are not consistent with the Paris goals. Carbon Tracker highlights $50 billion of investment in 18 major projects that are not even consistent with a 1.7-1.8-degree C pathway.”

What role will big oil and utility companies play in the transition to a low-carbon economy? Goldman Sachs Research explains in the video below that Big Oil can play a leading role in “power supply, biofuels, electric mobility, carbon capture, and coal substitution.” Goldman Sachs optimistically expects Big Oil “to be at the forefront of decarbonizing the global economy.” Let’s hope they’re right.

The worst CO2 offenders?

In June, the World Economic Forum reported that China and the US are responsible for “more than 40% of the world’s CO2 emissions.” So, the top 5 producers of metric tons of carbon dioxide (MTCO2) are:

  1. China = 9,839 (27.2%)
  2. United States = 5,269 (14.6%)
  3. India = 2,467 (6.8%)
  4. Russia = 1,693 (4.7%)
  5. Japan = 1,205 (3.3%)

China creates almost double the emissions of second-placed US, which is in turn responsible for more than twice the level of third-placed India.

But it also depends on how you crunch the data. A chart that draws from Fossil CO2 Emissions of All World Countries — 2018 Report, published on Reddit today, frames CO2 emissions measurements in a different way.

Called “More Than Their Fair Share,” the chart identifies the “countries that produce a greater proportion of global CO2 emissions than their proportion of the global population.” Population size alters the rankings, and this puts countries like the United States, Canada, and Australia (3x) above China (2x) and India (<1x).

This seems to confirm Oxfam’s December 2015 report (via the Guardian) that “the richest 10% of people produce half of Earth’s climate-harming fossil-fuel emissions, while the poorest half contribute a mere 10%”:

Many rich nations, led by the United States… point to the risk of carbon emissions — as measured by volume, rather than per capita — from emerging giants such as China and India.

[OC] Which countries produce a greater proportion of global CO2 emissions than their proportion of the global population? from dataisbeautiful

Better than lithium-ion batteries

Lithium-ion batteries sometimes catch fire, and lithium and cobalt are toxic and increasingly scarce.

Nature reports that there’s a hopeful new lithium-ion substitute possibility, which is calcium:

Zhirong Zhao-Karger at the Helmholtz Institute Ulm in Germany and her colleagues reacted a calcium compound with a fluorine-containing compound to create a new type of calcium salt. The resulting material conducted electricity more effectively than any calcium-based electrolyte yet reported. It also efficiently conducted ions at a higher voltage than other calcium-based electrolytes.

Calcium is cheaper and more plentiful and could be used to store wind and solar energy on an industrial scale.

5 great solar-powered portable chargers

Anthony Karcz at Forbes rounded up 5 of the best solar-powered portable chargers for your gadgets. These are great for camping and fun outdoor activities, but also great for weather emergencies, too. (Like, ahem, hurricanes, when the power goes out.)

Goal Zero Sherpa 100 AC: This charger has 25,600 mAh capacity and a max 60W output. It also has one USB-A port, two USB-C ports, and an AC port. It can power phones, tablets, cameras, and laptops. It also has Qi wireless charging — plus cables! Buy it here.

Goal Zero Sherpa 100 PD: The 100 PD has one USB-C port, two USB-A ports, and a 5W Qi charger, and it’s lightweight. It also has the 25,600 mAh capacity and a max 60W output, like its sibling. Both Sherpas can be hooked up to Goal Zero’s Nomad solar panels. Buy it here.

Revel Gear Day Tripper Solar Pack: This pack’s 8,000 mAh capacity charges two to three smartphones, lights, GPS devices, speakers, and other small USB devices. It also has a flashlight and an emergency beacon, so it’s great for camping. Buy it here.

Powertraveller Extreme Solar Charger: This portable solar panel doesn’t have a battery. Point it at the sun, plug your phone in, and charge away. Or you can just attach it to your backpack while it’s charging, and then power up your small devices when it’s ready. Buy it here.

Goal Zero Torch 250: This little guy has a solar panel, USB cable, and a hand crank for light. It’s a flashlight, emergency beacon, and a long-lasting 4,400 mAh battery. Buy it here.

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.