Quantcast

Britain Just Went Nearly Three Weeks Without Coal, a New Record

Renewable Energy
The Scout Moor Wind Farm in England. Stephen Gidley / CC BY 2.0

Britain just went a record 18 days without coal in the nation's bid to eventually nix the fossil fuel, the BBC reports. It beats the previous record of one week without coal set between May 1 and May 8 in what officials told the publication would be the "new normal."


"Great Britain has now gone over 18 days (432 hours) without coal!" tweeted the country's electricity system operator, National Grid ESO (NGESO), on the same day. "Due to plant availability and system requirements, our current coal run has come to an end at 9:20 p.m. this evening. 18 days and 60 hours."

When the coal sector is put out, the renewable energy sources like solar, wind, nuclear, gas, and some hydro-generated power pick up in its wake, the ESO told the BBC.

"As more and more renewables come on to the system, we're seeing things progress at an astonishing rate," NGESO Fintan Slye said. "2018 was our greenest year to date, and so far, 2019 looks like it has the potential to beat it."

The United Kingdom became the first country in the world to announce a coal phase-out policy in an ambitious move to limit emissions on coal power stations from October 2025 following the 2015 Paris climate meeting. In an update posted earlier this year, Beyond Coal reports that the nation's "coal fleet is already halved from around 30 gigawatts in 2010 and by 2016 the coal share had fallen to 9 percent of the electricity mix, down from 40 percent just four years previously."

"By 2025, ESO will have transformed the operation of Great Britain's electricity system and put in place the innovative systems, products and services to ensure that the network is ready to handle 100% zero carbon," said Slye earlier this year, adding that a zero carbon operation in just six years requires a shift in operations and an integration of newer technologies, "from large-scale off-shore wind to domestic solar panels."

The move looks promising. The UK currently has installed more offshore wind power than any other nation, halving the cost of offshore wind in the last four years, reports Wired. Altogether, it's a dramatic shift from the coal-powered nation that made up Britain just a century ago during the Industrial Revolution.

"Coal was the backbone of the last industrial revolution — but this old technology is being beaten by wind energy, the powerhouse of our 21st century economy. Renewables are providing well over a third of our electricity today, and this is just the beginning. We need to move from fossil fuels right across the economy to avoid the enormous risks of climate disruption and to benefit from modern, clean, technologies," said RenewableUK Deputy Chief Executive Emma Pinchbeck.

Currently, about one-fifth of Europe's operational coal fleet are located in other countries which have joined ranks and similarly announced that they will phase out coal, putting the coal plants located in these nations "on a pathway to closure."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Aerial view of Ruropolis, Para state, northen Brazil, on Sept. 6, 2019. Tthe world's biggest rainforest is under threat from wildfires and rampant deforestation. JOHANNES MYBURGH / AFP via Getty Images

By Kate Martyr

Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rainforest last month jumped to the highest level since records began in 2015, according to government data.

A total of 563 square kilometers (217.38 square miles) of the world's largest rainforest was destroyed in November, 103% more than in the same month last year, according to Brazil's space research agency.

From January to November this year an area almost the size of the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico was destroyed — an 83% overall increase in destruction when compared with the same period last year.

The figures were released on Friday by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), and collected through the DETER database, which uses satellite images to monitor forest fires, forest destruction and other developments affecting the rainforest.

What's Behind the Rise?

Overall, deforestation in 2019 has jumped 30% compared to last year — 9,762 square kilometers (approximately 3769 square miles) have been destroyed, despite deforestation usually slowing during November and December.

Environmental groups, researchers and activists blamed the policies of Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro for the increase.

They say that Bolosonaro's calls for the Amazon to be developed and his weakening support for Ibama, the government's environmental agency, have led to loggers and ranchers feeling safer and braver in destroying the expansive rainforest.

His government hit back at these claims, pointing out that previous governments also cut budgets to environment agencies such as Ibama.

The report comes as Brazil came to loggerheads with the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) over climate goals during the UN climate conference in Madrid.

AOSIS blasted Brazil, among other nations, for "a lack of ambition that also undermines ours."

Last month, a group of Brazilian lawyers called for Bolsonaro to be investigated by the International Criminal Court over his environmental policies.

Reposted with permission from DW.

The Carolina parakeet went extinct in 1918. James St. John / CC BY 2.0

The Carolina parakeet, the only parrot species native to the U.S., went extinct in 1918 when the last bird died at the Cincinnati Zoo. Now, a little more than 100 years later, researchers have determined that humans were entirely to blame.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
An elephant in Botswana. Mario Micklisch / CC BY 2.0

Two hunters who shot and killed a research elephant in Botswana and then destroyed its collar to hide the evidence have been banned from further hunting in the country.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Brianna Elliott, RD

Vitamin C is a very important nutrient that's abundant in many fruits and vegetables.

Read More Show Less
BLM drill seeders work to restore native grasses after wildfire on the Bowden Hills Wilderness Study Area in southeast Oregon, Dec. 14, 2018. Marcus Johnson / BLM / CC BY 2.0

By Tara Lohan

In 2017 the Thomas fire raged through 281,893 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, California, leaving in its wake a blackened expanse of land, burned vegetation, and more than 1,000 destroyed buildings.

Read More Show Less