Anders Lorenzen
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Danish born, London based environmentalist, founder of green blog www.agreenerlifeagreenerworld.net. Co-founder of the HUB Eco Series. Climate change activist. Member of the Labour party.

Entries by Anders Lorenzen

The Paris Agreement: Let's Get to Work

(0) Comments | Posted 18 December 2015 | (00:26)

Above: On Monday, I took part in this HuffPost Live discussion on the merits of the deal, alongside Bill Becker, Director of the Presidental Climate Action Project, Chris Williams, Author, Ecology and Socialism, and Eric Lyman, Special Correspondent, Bloomberg BNA.

During the years I have been following the climate debate since the failed Copenhagen COP15 talks in 2009, I have never been more optimistic than I am today, the week after all the 195 UN countries finally came together to secure a global deal on climate change.

We should not downplay what a huge an achievement this is. The deal has its critics, plenty of them. But it is worth noting that the supporters far outweigh the critics. And the supporters are as diverse as green groups and environmentalists, scientists, politicians, businesses and so on.

1.5 degrees, an ambitious goal
We should of course not be complacent about what is needed now. And there is no doubt it is going to be incredibly hard to achieve the goals that have laid out. But as many have also argued, it has set the world on a clear path that we should move towards a low carbon world. I was somewhat surprised that the 1.5 degree target made its way into the agreement, as this was a goal I no longer thought we had any chance of agreeing on.

But let us also not forget that we earlier this year passed the terrifying 1 degree of warming. This means that if we are to meet the 1.5 degree target we can only emit greenhouse gas emissions up to 0.5 degree of warming - with today's technologies. And while the deal that was just signed was a legal document, it was based on voluntary efforts such as the Intended National Determined Contributions (INDC), the target that each country had to submit. And they were so far off what is needed, that they would still put us on a trajectory of between 3-4 degrees of warming.

The complexity of the UN negotiation process
So moving forward, there are clear issues to confront, and our ambition must be raised. And this is why the fact that the Paris Agreement will be reviewed each five year is so crucially important.

But let's just take a minute to consider how complex the UN negotiation process is. The UN works on consensus, this means that before any deal can be signed each UN member state must agree to it. If just one country does not agree, no deal can be reached.

Some countries are heavily reliant on fossil fuels for their economy and development, are at one side of the spectrum. And other countries, such as small island states who are at the forefront of climate change, are at the other end of the spectrum. So compromises have to be made, and bridges have to be built.

We should also pay our respects to the negotiators, the UN climate chief Christiana Figueres, the French COP president Laurent Fabius, and many others for their sheer determination to strike a deal. This, I honestly believe, will go down in history as the moment when the world finally came together to deal with climate change.

The strength of the deal
I believe that the strength in the deal is the ideology rather than the policies. It is a clear signal of intent, and it is the first ever deal on climate change, covering almost every country in the world. This gives a clear signal to investors across the planet, that clean energy technologies are the future. As a result of the deal struck in Paris, we will see a surge in investment in clean energy.

We have already begun to see this in recent years, and this was even before there was an incentive. Now with an incentive in place we will see it accelerate. Another example of how the deal is significant is that the coal industry is not at all happy with it. And the share price of the world's largest coal company took a drastic fall of 10% earlier this week, while the share price rose for Vestas, the world's largest wind turbine manufacturer.

All technologies must be on the table
And it has also now become clear that we cannot afford to say no to any technology that will get us off fossil fuels and reduce our carbon emissions. This means that nuclear will play a role, so environmentalists protesting against nuclear power would also hold back progress on climate change. It is pleasing to have community-owned projects in solar and wind in order to get there fast enough. But the entry of large corporations, who can unlock large capital investments in large scale clean energy projects, is vital.

Some environmentalists with an anti-capitalist agenda shall just have to accept, that opposing such projects will also delay action on climate change. We should also come to realise that if we are to reach anywhere near the 1.5 degree target, that Capture and Storage (CCS) will have to play a role. Businesses and governments will have to play a large part in unlocking the level of investment needed.

Clean energy since Copenhagen
Since the Copenhagen COP15 we have seen a revolution in clean energy technologies. The cost of solar and wind has dropped rapidly, while the potential of energy storage technology looks more and more promising . And I honestly believe that these breakthroughs have provided the catalyst to securing the Paris Agreement.

I have huge faith in human innovation. Technology has got to get us out of the problem of climate change. When the next review of the Paris Agreement begins I have complete confidence that the economic viability of our known clean energy technologies will have improved vastly. And also the emerging technologies of today such as wave, tidal, energy storage, algae biofuels, energy storage, and hydrogen fuel cells are starting to be employed on a mass scale. So we have many more technologies to choose from. And who knows, perhaps we may even have developed a mechanism to draw CO2 out of the atmosphere?

With the Paris Agreement, negotiators, ministers etc have taken an importantly huge first step, now we must take the...

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UK Solar Subsidy Cuts: How to Kill an Industry

(0) Comments | Posted 28 October 2015 | (00:14)

Due to proposed subsidy cuts, the future for the UK's solar industry looks extremely dire.

In other countries, the economics of solar energy is rapidly improving. In Europe, installation figures in France, Italy and Germany are increasing rapidly; in the US, Obama boasts that every two minutes a new solar...

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New Political Party Offers a New Climate Economy in Denmark

(1) Comments | Posted 15 June 2015 | (22:58)

2015-06-15-1434399996-4499201-IMAG0039.jpg Picture: Uffe Elbaek at the Change: How? festival. Photo credit: Anders Lorenzen

In an almost unseasonably warm Sunday noon in February, nearly half a year ago, I made my way to an old London night club, which for the...

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Why Labour Can Deliver on Climate Change

(2) Comments | Posted 29 April 2015 | (23:57)

As I previously attacked the main UK political leaders on their failure to discuss climate change in the run up to the election, you might be surprised about what I am about to say. In my opinion, on the 7th of May, the best thing environmentalists and green-minded...

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Why Aren't Any of the UK's Main Political Party Leaders Willing to Talk About Climate Change?

(0) Comments | Posted 14 April 2015 | (15:23)

They all believe climate change is real, they all believe it poses a critical risk to humanity, and they have all unveiled and supported climate change policies. They also earlier this year signed a joint climate change pledge. But despite this, the leaders of UK's three main political parties; David...

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Seven Year Old Boy Reflects on Where Water Comes From

(0) Comments | Posted 16 March 2015 | (15:07)

In the Western world we tend to take water completely for granted; but can and should we?

By 2050 there will be in the region of nine billion of us and water will become an increasingly scarce resource.

We're already seeing the impacts of climate change, through prolonged...

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The Biggest Climate Movement the World Has Ever Seen Is Underway in America

(0) Comments | Posted 8 October 2014 | (13:51)

Something quite remarkable happened in New York City last month, more precisely on the 21st September 2014 as an estimated 400,000 took to the streets to demand action on climate change. This not only dwarfed any other climate protests that were taking place around the world in a global weekend...

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An Independent Scotland Would Be a Setback for Tackling Climate Change

(0) Comments | Posted 16 September 2014 | (13:31)

In the UK, much has been argued for and against Scotland gaining independence. In fact not only within the British isles, the issue has been discussed as far as down under, when Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, following intense lobbying by his UK counterpart David Cameron, said indepence would be...

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A Year On: Reflections on 12 Months of Grieving for My Father

(0) Comments | Posted 28 August 2014 | (01:51)

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It's hard to imagine that a year has passed since my father passed away to cancer. It still feels like yesterday. I can still hear his voice and I can feel his warmth. But the reality is that it is now...

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If You Needed More Proof That a Fossil Fuel Economy Fuels Conflict...

(0) Comments | Posted 23 June 2014 | (02:17)

In the last half a year we have seen further evidence mount against fossil fuels and the role they play in creating conflicts. But you would not know that because this is not how it's being framed by our politicians and mainstream media.

At the two big conflicts these past...

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EU Is Our Single Most Important Tool to Tackle Climate Change

(0) Comments | Posted 28 May 2014 | (16:16)

When the EU election results were coming in on Sunday evening, one thing was very clear early on; extreme right wing parties gained huge ground across the union and in France, Denmark and the UK anti EU parties won the election outright.

Unfortunately climate change is viewed as a lefty...

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For My Dad: In Awe of Spring

(0) Comments | Posted 28 April 2014 | (13:24)

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As I write, I'm sitting in stunning natural surroundings in the New Forest in the south of England; above me is blue sky, around me are trees and all I can hear is the singing of thousands of birds and the distant...

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We Need More Onshore Wind Turbines, Not Less

(0) Comments | Posted 10 April 2014 | (23:41)

Travelling through the countryside of Germany and Denmark, there is hardly at any point you can't see any wind turbines spinning in the background. Even in deeply conservative Texas, in the US, wind turbines are becoming a more dominant factor in the landscape and here is the thing - people...

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The Time Is Now to Move Away From Russian Gas

(0) Comments | Posted 16 March 2014 | (16:31)

When countries set out their cases for energy independence, the main reason is generally cited as the need to ease reliance on oil and gas from unfriendly places. President Barack Obama's 'All of the Above' energy strategy for example, a plan that has seen this US administration extract more fossil...

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Cameron and Salmond: It's Time to Wave Goodbye to the UK"s North Sea Oil and Gas Reserves

(0) Comments | Posted 27 February 2014 | (02:25)

Scotland's independence debate this week turned it's attention to the UK's oil and gas reserves in the North Sea - reserves that for years have been dwindling.

Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, is basing the economics in these fossil fuels as the economic cornerstone of Scottish independence, while UK Prime...

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We Should See the Economic Potential of Dealing With UK Floods

(0) Comments | Posted 13 February 2014 | (13:32)

The UK Chancellor, George Osborne, said in the Conservative Party Conference in 2011 that we would deal with climate change and reduce emissions, but not faster or slower than other EU countries, saying that we will not save the world by putting our country out of business. In rhetoric, what...

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From Storebrand to Virgin, Are Businesses Finally Starting to See the Case in Tackling Climate Change?

(0) Comments | Posted 29 January 2014 | (16:34)

As I wrote last week, the Norwegian investor Storebrand, which are also among the largest in the Nordic region, announced that they have excluded ten coal companies from their investor portfolio. This follows on from last year, when they excluded 13 coal companies and six tar sands companies....

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Recent Extreme Weather Events Must Give a Clear Signal to Governments

(4) Comments | Posted 6 January 2014 | (00:00)

On Friday 3rd January 2014, Britain prepared for severe flooding caused by strong winds. It's the third extreme storm that the UK has faced in less than a month. Last year at this time, the UK was battling freezing temperatures. Both weather events are extreme and abnormal.

...
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New Approach Needed as a Global Deal on Climate Change Looks More Distant Than Ever Before

(0) Comments | Posted 26 November 2013 | (15:19)

As delegates were preparing to depart to Warsaw in Poland, where the latest installments of the UN climate talks Cop 19 concluded last week, the worst tropical storm to have ever made landfall hit the Philippines and caused massive devastation.

At the 2011 summit in Durban, South Africa...

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Fossil Fuel Free Europe Tour Lights Up the Way to a Divested Future

(0) Comments | Posted 30 October 2013 | (01:01)

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Sunday night in Berlin saw the launch of the European Fossil Fuel Free, championing a European wide divestment campaign similar to the one which has seen several US universities divest from fossil fuel stocks from the top 200 fossil fuel companies.

...
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