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First Solar U.S. expansion likely to nudge other producers stateside

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First Solar, the world’s largest producer of thin-film material solar panels, announced it would invest up to $1.2 billion to build a new factory in the U.S. This follows the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which offers renewable energy incentives.

Fengqi You is a professor of energy systems engineering at Cornell University and an expert on the life cycle of solar panels and solar industry trends. You says First Solar’s plans to expand stateside will not fundamentally change the solar value chain, but will likely encourage other manufacturers to make similar expansions in the U.S.

You says:

“The expanded capacity of U.S.-made solar panels aligns well with the climate policy and the goal of securing and enhancing U.S. photovoltaic (PV) technology leadership and competitiveness and reducing the reliance on foreign supplies of solar products.

“First Solar is the world’s largest producer of CdTe thin-film PV modules, so this is an important first step toward the self-sufficiency of important energy products for the nation’s decarbonization efforts.

“While this plan will not fundamentally change the global PV value chain, it will likely motivate other manufacturers to consider reshoring their manufacturing capacities (and jobs) back in the U.S., leveraging the Inflation Reduction Act.”



Max Zhang is a sustainable energy systems expert at Cornell University and a faculty director at the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability. Zhang says solar panel reuse and recycling are critical challenges facing the industry and that the growth of solar manufacturing in the U.S. will open the door to solutions.

Zhang says:

“Building domestic solar manufacturing capability not only tackles the energy security and supply chain challenges that we are facing currently, but also opens up the opportunities to address the emerging solar panel reuse and recycling issues effectively in the next decades, which I think are critical to the long-term environmental sustainability for the solar industry.”

Source: Cornell University

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A new era in climate action: COP28 marks historic shift

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DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES /EINPresswire.com/ — In the dynamic city of Dubai, history has been made. The 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) has reached a groundbreaking agreement, an unprecedented call for transitioning away from fossil fuels, a decision that will steer the world towards a more sustainable future.



The UAE consensus
A pact for the planet under the leadership of the United Arab Emirates and the visionary leadership of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, along with Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, President of COP28, a powerful pact has been forged by 198 parties. This pact, known as the UAE Consensus, serves as a compass leading us to a bold climate agenda. From day one, the mission was clear: develop a science-led plan, an inclusive blueprint focusing on emissions, adaptation, global finances, and the commitment to minimize loss and damage.

Decisive moments and monumental commitments
COP28 stands as a decisive moment in history. With gracious negotiations, monumental commitments have been made: an unprecedented shift from fossil fuels, steering towards Net Zero by 2050, a call to triple renewable energy and double energy efficiency by 2030, and a leap forward in nationally determined contributions. Sultan Al Jaber, as President of COP28, has emerged as a mastermind behind this historic achievement, a conductor of the symphony of change.

The architecture of a historic transition
As the architect of this historic transition, the COP Presidency has not only reshaped the narrative but has also etched its name in the annals of climate diplomacy. Its foresight, dedication, and ability to bridge divides stand as a testament to leadership that exceeds expectations. Despite initial skepticism about the leadership qualities of Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, the actions taken during the conference have led to a historic breakthrough in climate policy.

A promise to future generations
As we close this chapter, COP28 signs a covenant with Brazil, the host of COP30, to deepen collaboration and elevate climate ambitions. It is a clear commitment: ensuring the promises resonate through COP29 and COP30. Today, we celebrate a COP destined for immortality, a turning point shaped by the UAE Consensus and the fearless leadership of the UAE President, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the COP Presidency of the United Arab Emirates.

A COP that will be remembered for generations
History has been made at COP28 in Dubai. The world has agreed to an unprecedented call for a transition away from fossil fuels. A historic breakthrough at COP28, sending a strong signal that the world will move toward a greener future. It is an enhanced, balanced, but make no mistake, historic package to accelerate climate action. It is the UAE consensus. In the grand tale of time, there emerges a moment that echoes through the ages, a moment of renewal and transformation. Today, we stand witness to such a moment, COP28, a chapter etched in the global fight against climate change. A COP that will be remembered for generations, a force that reshaped the very essence of our worldwide climate endeavors.

The dawn of consensus
Enter the UAE consensus, a powerful pact forged by 198 parties, a compass guiding us toward a bold climate agenda. At the helm stands the UAE, visionary leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, the president of COP28. Dr. Al Jaber pledged a different kind of COP, one that united diverse forces from private to public, civil society to youth, in a shared commitment. From day one throughout COP28, the mission was clear: to craft a plan led by science, an inclusive blueprint addressing emissions, adaptation, global finance, and the promise of mitigating loss and damage.

The moment of commitment
COP28 is a decisive moment. Gracious in the negotiated text, monumental commitments were etched: an unprecedented shift from fossil fuels, steering the world to Net Zero by 2050, a call to triple renewables and double energy efficiency by 2030, a leap forward in nationally determined contributions. ‘I will stay focused, laser-focused on delivery.’ In crafting this historic achievement, the COP presidency emerged as the mastermind, the maestro orchestrating the symphony of change. Sultan Al Jaber guided in this agreement, and what you didn’t see was how quickly it happened. COP president, akin to a successful achiever, meticulously prepared for this moment, orchestrating a harmonious collaboration in a feat of diplomatic finesse. He convinced global giants, the USA and China, to sit aside differences and work hand in hand. For the very first time in a COP, fossil fuels have been on the table.

A legacy of leadership
As the architect of this historic fossil fuel transition, the COP presidency has not only reshaped the narrative but has also etched his name into the annals of climate diplomacy. His foresight, dedication, and ability to bridge divides stand as a testament to leadership that transcends expectations. ‘The presidency has done a fantastic job preparing this COP. Dr. Sultan has set the bar high.’ Leading up to the conference, there was some skepticism regarding Dr. Sultan Al Jaber’s leadership. However, as the conference unfolded, the actions taken led to a historic climate breakthrough. ‘Today could be the single most impactful day of announcements from any COP in my 30 years at the Environmental Defense Fund.’ And most critics acknowledged Dr. Sultan’s achievements and integrity. Notably, one of the world’s leading nonprofit and independent climate-focused media publishers highlighted that those who were initially critical of Al Jaber before the conference now recognize that their concerns have proven unfounded.

United in purpose
‘Together we have surprised the doubters and inspired the optimists, and by working together, we can help sustain our planet.’ Also, in this symphony of efforts, the United Arab Emirates and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan stand as beacons of leadership. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan spared no effort to make COP28 a symbol of global unity and a testament to the UAE’s commitment to our planet. As we close this chapter, COP28 signs a covenant with Brazil, the host of COP30, deepening collaboration and elevating climate ambitions. The commitment is clear: to ensure promises made echo through COP29 and COP30.

A promise to future generations
Today, we celebrate a COP destined for immortality, a pivotal moment shaped by the UAE consensus and the indomitable leadership of the UAE president, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the COP presidency and the United Arab Emirates. ‘My country is rightly proud of its role in helping you to move this forward. It is not just a chapter in history; it is a promise to future generations that with unwavering resolve, we are architects of transformative change. An epic journey that began at COP28, a COP that sculpted the path to a better tomorrow for all. And together, we will secure the future of this beautiful planet for the many generations to come.’



COP28, held in Dubai, marked a significant milestone in the global effort to address climate change. Here are some of the positive outcomes highlighted from the summit:

Operationalizing the loss and damage fund
One of the most notable achievements of COP28 was the decision to inject money into the Loss and Damage Fund, making it functional. This fund is crucial for supporting vulnerable nations facing the worst impacts of climate change. Although the initial contributions of over US$700 million are seen as insufficient for current needs, the operationalization of this fund is a step forward in providing necessary financial support.

Agreement on fossil fuels transition
Nearly every country agreed to transition away from fossil fuels, the main driver of climate change. This consensus marks a significant commitment towards reducing reliance on non-renewable energy sources and promoting cleaner, sustainable alternatives.

Focus on key areas
COP28 outcomes also emphasized the need for progress in various critical areas including fossil fuels & clean energy, adaptation, climate finance, national climate plans (NDCs), carbon markets, food, and cities. This comprehensive approach ensures that all aspects of climate change and its mitigation are being addressed.

Landmark agreement for vulnerable nations
The summit saw a landmark agreement to support nations most vulnerable to climate change. This agreement is crucial for ensuring that countries facing the direst consequences of global warming receive the support and resources needed to cope with its impacts.

Global stock take
COP28 included the first-ever Global Stock Take, calling for a transition away from fossil fuels. This initiative is part of a larger effort to assess and accelerate global climate goals, ensuring that nations are on track to meet their commitments and adapt their strategies as needed.

These outcomes from COP28 represent a collective step forward in the global fight against climate change, emphasizing the need for financial support, strategic planning, and a unified commitment to a sustainable future.

Sources: UNOCHA, World Resources Institute, Carbon Brief, Forbes, World Economic Forum
Here are the full link addresses for the sources detailing the outcomes of COP28 held in Dubai:

UNFCCC – Outcomes of the Dubai Climate Change Conference: The advance unedited versions of the decisions taken at the Dubai Climate Change Conference are listed.
Full Link: https://unfccc.int/cop28/outcomes

Carbon Brief – COP28: Key outcomes agreed at the UN climate talks in Dubai: Discusses the key outcomes agreed upon at the UN climate talks in Dubai, including various international pledges.
Full Link: https://www.carbonbrief.org/cop28-key-outcomes-agreed-at-the-un-climate-talks-in-dubai

UNFCCC – Summary of Global Climate Action at COP 28: Provides an overview of the key outcomes of global climate action across the four pillars set by the COP 28 Presidency.
Full Link: https://unfccc.int/sites/default/files/resource/Summary_GCA_COP28.pdf

Forbes – Your Quick Guide To The Outcomes Of COP28: Offers a quick overview of the outcomes of COP28, including discussions on national response plans and climate information.
Full Link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidcarlin/2023/12/13/your-quick-guide-to-the-outcomes-of-cop-28/

World Resources Institute – COP28: Outcomes and Next Steps: Explores COP28’s outcomes in greater depth and explains where the world needs to go on key issues.
Full Link: https://www.wri.org/insights/cop28-outcomes-next-steps

Unprecedented outcomes: the groundbreaking achievements of COP28

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NASA, Partners Launch US Greenhouse Gas Center to Share Climate Data

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Visualization of total carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere in 2021
NASA

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan, and other United States government leaders unveiled the U.S. Greenhouse Gas Center Monday during the 28th annual United Nations Climate Conference (COP28).

“NASA data is essential to making the changes needed on the ground to protect our climate. The U.S. Greenhouse Gas Center is another way the Biden-Harris Administration is working to make critical data available to more people – from scientists running data analyses, to government officials making decisions on climate policy, to members of the public who want to understand how climate change will affect them,” said Nelson. “We’re bringing space to Earth to benefit communities across the country.”

The U.S. Greenhouse Gas Center will serve as a hub for collaboration between agencies across the U.S. government as well as non-profit and private sector partners. Data, information, and computer models from observations from the International Space Station, various satellite and airborne missions, and ground stations are available online.  

As the lead implementing agency of the center, NASA partnered with the EPA, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Science experts from each of these U.S. federal agencies curated this catalog of greenhouse gas datasets and analysis tools.  

“A goal of the U.S. Greenhouse Gas Center is to accelerate the collaborative use of Earth science data,” said Argyro Kavvada, center program manager at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “We’re working to get the right data into the hands of people who can use it to manage and track greenhouse gas emissions.”

The center’s data catalog includes a curated collection of data sets that provide insights into greenhouse gas sources, sinks, emissions, and fluxes. Initial information in the center website is focused on three areas: 

  • Estimates of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities 
  • Naturally occurring greenhouse gas sources and sinks on land and in the ocean. 
  • Large methane emission event identification and quantification, leveraging aircraft and space-based data   

An example of a dataset is the methane gas information detected by NASA’s EMIT (Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation) mission. Located on the International Space Station, EMIT is an imaging spectrometer that measures light in visible and infrared wavelengths and thus can measure release of methane on Earth. 

Built on open-source principles, the U.S. Greenhouse Gas Center’s datasets, related algorithms, and supporting code are fully open sourced. This allows anyone to test the data, algorithms, and results. The center also includes user support and an analysis hub for users to perform advanced data analysis with computational resources and an interactive, visual interface for storytelling. NASA encourages feedback and ideas on the center’s evolution. The center is part of a broader administration effort to enhance greenhouse gas information, outlined in the recently released National Strategy to Advance an Integrated U.S. Greenhouse Gas Measurement, Monitoring, and Information System.

For more information on NASA, visit: 

https://www.nasa.gov

Source: NASA

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Automotive

Green NCAP proves all powertrains need greener objectives

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Green NCAP releases the assessment results of seven vehicles with a range of powertrains: three electric vehicles from Tesla, Renault, and MG, three hybrid cars from Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Alfa Romeo, and one purely petrol-powered car from BMW, all recently introduced onto the European market. The results of these vehicles may answer some of the questions that consumers ask themselves when buying a new car: for example, do hybrids fulfil the greener expectations of their technologies? Green NCAP reveals that unless manufacturers make a strong commitment to sustainability by lowering emissions, and fuel consumption, and increasing efficiency, then cars may not be as green as they claim to be, independent of the powertrain.

Green NCAP encourages consumers who are interested in lessening environmental impact to pay attention to the finer details of their future car’s performance. It is critical that new buyers consider independent consumer information to achieve a greener choice aligned with their driving preferences. The label of ‘hybrid’ does not automatically mean it outperforms a well-managed combustion-engine vehicle. Manufacturers offer various levels of hybridisation to cater to different objectives. At the same time, in some cases, more power does not necessarily result in more impact on the environment.

Aleksander Damyanov, Green NCAP Technical Manager


The Tesla Model S impresses not only for its innovative technology features but also for its attention to energy efficiency, performance, and driving range. The version tested is the AWD Dual Motor version, with 100 kWh of battery capacity and impressive power and torque output (504 kW, 842 Nm). The flagship Model S sets an example for the segment of pure electric luxury cars by displaying a high and consistent driving range of up to 630 km (about 391.46 mi) in real-world On-Road Drive, smart heat management, and high efficiency. With an uncompromised focus on efficiency and thermal comfort despite an abundance of power, the vehicle easily earns all 5 Green Stars and reaches an Average Score of 97%, just 1% less than the Model 3 tested last year.

Similarly focused on power and torque, the Mazda CX-60 is a large and luxurious SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) and is claimed to be Mazda’s most powerful production car to date. The car is a plug-in hybrid and uses its electric powertrain to satisfy consumers’ desire for greater power which consequently has an impact on fuel and energy consumption. Its control of pollutant emissions fails to impress. In the Clean Air Index, it received a modest score of just 5.4/10. As a result, the vehicle’s average score drops below the threshold for the added robustness rating and the car is rated based only on the standard tests. The CX-60 Plug-In Hybrid receives an Average Score of 48% and gathers 2½ Green Stars.

Two mild hybrids are underwhelming in this release. The Japanese Mitsubishi ASX, a compact SUV with a 1.3 l turbocharged petrol engine is supported by a weak mild-hybrid system. Tested consumption values are around 6 l/100 km, with the demand increasing to 8.1 l/100 km in the Highway Test with full-power accelerations. Pollutants are, on average, managed well, although ammonia (NH3) and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions could be better handled. The Mitsubishi ASX earns an Average Score of 41% and 2½ Green Stars.

The Alfa Romeo Tonale is a sleek SUV with a 1.5 l turbocharged petrol engine that is supported by a 48V mild-hybrid system. Like the Mitsubishi, pollutants are averagely managed, but increased ammonia output and carbon monoxide handling are challenging for this Italian car. The consumption values depend on the situation – from around 5 l/100 km in the standard On-road Drive to 8.3 l/100 km in the Highway Test. The Alfa Romeo Tonale 1.5 VGT 48V-Hybrid obtains an Average Score of 42% and receives 2½ Green Stars.

Some mild hybrids may not be living up to their greener expectations, but electric vehicles are still delivering on their promises. In this release, the historic English brand MG celebrated a 5-star rating with its MG 5. This fully electric station wagon reaches a maximum power of 115 kW and a declared installed battery capacity of 61 kWh. As expected, the Cold Ambient Test at -7°C revealed a significant increase in energy demand but this can be attributed to a quick cabin heat-up and provision of adequate thermal comfort in cold, winter conditions. During the battery capacity test, the vehicle was charged with 11 kW charging power and the determined grid-to-battery-output efficiency impressed with 92%. The MG 5 finishes with an Average Score of 95% and 5 Green stars. Last month, Green NCAP announced its new Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Award and Green NCAP calculations indicate that the MG 5 has a relatively low estimated LCA based on the European average and meets the criteria for this LCA award.

For some time, Euro NCAP has set to task in raising the level of safety equipment within vans & Multi-Purpose Vehicles (MPVs), however long-term sustainability should also be an important driving factor for manufacturers. In this release, Green NCAP introduces its first-ever electric MPV tested under its tough protocols: the Renault Kangoo E-Tech. This is a pure electric vehicle that offers enhanced transport capabilities for goods and is targeting small and medium businesses (SMBs). With its relatively small battery (45 kWh), the car is primarily useful for shorter distances. The vehicle lets itself down, however, with its lower grid-to-battery-output efficiency of 84% which is poorer than the usual value of today’s electric cars. With an Average Score of 90%, the Kangoo E-Tech just manages to receive all 5 Green Stars.

The only purely petrol-powered vehicle in this release, the BMW X1 sDrive18i, is a small SUV that supplies 100 kW peak power, which is the lowest among all currently offered X1 versions. Like most other fossil-fuelled petrol cars, it scores the least in the Green house Gas Index due to the CO2 emissions measured at the tailpipe. The strongest suit of the X1, however, is its exhaust aftertreatment. In the Clean Air Index, BMW shows high and robust performance and earned a very well-deserved 7.7 points out of 10. The BMW X1 attains an Average Score of 45% and collects 2½ Green Stars.

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About Green NCAP

Green NCAP is an independent initiative that promotes the development of cars that are clean, energy-efficient, and cause as little harm to the environment as possible.

Green NCAP uses a broad range of tests to address the flaws in approval tests and, through consumer information, rewards those manufacturers whose vehicles go beyond the minimum requirements and offer excellent, robust, real-world performance.

We believe that consumers need to be adequately informed about the energy consumption and related greenhouse gas emissions of the vehicle of their choice.

Source: Green NCAP 

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