Carbon capture is the way of the future
The U.S. government is betting on carbon capture technology to help reduce planet-warming emissions
The U.S. government may soon require natural gas-fired power plants to install technology to capture planet-warming carbon emissions.
That’s according to sources who spoke to Reuters, ahead of an announcement that could come this week as part of President Joe Biden push to decarbonize the power sector in the next 12 years.
The sources said the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA is expected to unveil standards for new and existing power plants, which belch roughly a quarter of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
Utility companies may need to decide whether they want to build new natural gas plants with what’s known as carbon capture and storage or CSS technology, or zero-emission renewable energy.
Biden has pledged that the power business will decarbonize by 2035. According to the Clean Air Act, the standards must be based on “best system of emission reduction,” technologies deemed affordable and technically feasible.
And the rules will likely be written expecting a major legal battle. Republican-led states and the energy industry will almost certainly push back.
But two recent developments could bolster the EPA’s expected regulations. The Supreme Court ruled last July that while the EPA could not force a system-wide shift in electric power generation, it could issue plant-specific rules.
And the Inflation Reduction Act, which Biden signed into law last summer, created tax credits making carbon capture more affordable, including more than $100 billion in clean electricity tax incentives.
A narrowly-written requirement for new plant technology paired with credits to make the upgrades could blunt arguments that the new rules are onerous or represent federal overreach.
Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration show fossil fuels accounted for more than 60 per cent of U.S. electricity generation in 2022, with 60 per cent of that coming from gas and 40 per cent from coal.
Renewables accounted for a bit over 20 per cent, with nuclear energy making up the rest. #trending #featured
When will airfares begin to fall?
As the global aviation market rebounds, airlines are changing their service offerings
Over 46 million workers in the global aviation sector lost their jobs as global aviation came to a grinding halt at the onset of the pandemic.
However, Geoffrey Thomas from AirlineRatings.com said passengers have returned to airport terminals and boarded flights in droves.
“When travelled returned, many of us wondered what sort of low airfares will we have to be charged to entice people back onto airplanes.”
In February 2023, total traffic (measured in revenue passenger kilometres) rose 55.5 per cent when compared to February 2022.
Globally, traffic is at 84.9 per cent of February 2019 levels.
“It was a stampede, the likes of which we have never seen before,” Mr Thomas said.
The worst of inflation could be behind us
The unprecedented nature of the pandemic continue to shape international fiscal policy
As reserve banks and federal reserves continue to battle the impacts of Covid-19, inflation has become a dominate issue.
In some parts of the world, rising household costs have slowed consumer spending by more than expected.
It means the end of aggressive rate hikes could come to an end in a matter of months.
In Australia, recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics confirmed inflation has passed its peak and is beginning to moderate.
The numbers show annual inflation peaked in December 2022 but will still remain higher for longer than anticipated.
Matt Grudnoff is a Senior Economist at The Australia Institute, who said these are uncharted waters.
“I don’t think they should be fully blamed.
“The pandemic was an entirely different kind of recession, one that we have never seen before.
“The world went into recession because the world shut down for very good health reasons.
“But the economy rebounded extremely quickly, simply because there was no underlying problem with the economy,” he said.
“I think there is a great risk”: will AI steal our jobs?
Artificial Intelligence has become an increasingly powerful and pervasive force in our modern world.
Artificial intelligence is not a new concept. However, the growing advancements have the potential to revolutionise industries, improve efficiency, and enhance the quality of life.
Along with its promising advancements, artificial intelligence also brings certain risks and challenges that must be acknowledged and addressed.
It has become the focus of lawmakers, who are working towards greater regulation of the sector.
U.S. and European Union officials recently met in Sweden to weigh up the benefits and challenges of artificial intelligence, and other emerging technologies.
“The AI process is creeping up on us,” said Dr Keith Suter, who is a global futurist.
“You’ve got competition between companies.”
It’s almost like some of us can see this raft that’s heading towards the rapids and a disappearance towards the waterfall, and we’re giving a warning but it’s not being heeded because everybody’s in this race to get down to the river,” Dr Suter said.
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