Category: Commentary Series

The Dimming of Lights in Afghanistan 2022 versus 2021 6/24/2022

The Dimming of Lights in Afghanistan 2022 versus 2021

Payne Institute’s Earth Observation Group Senior Research Associate Christopher Elvidge and Research Associate’s Tilottama Ghosh and Mikhail Zhizhin write a Commentary “The Dimming Lights in Afghanistan 2022 versus 2021”.  Included is a color composite image to identify Afghanistan cities or towns where the lighting has dimmed during the first part of 2022 relative to a year ago using VIIRS day / night band cloud-free average radiances.   June 24, 2022. 

Challenges in Accurately Tracking Copper Trade Flows 6/9/2022

Challenges in Accurately Tracking Copper Trade Flows

Payne Institute Mineral Supply Chain Researcher Zach Krause writes about how copper is among the most heavily traded commodities world-wide. The trade volume of copper in combination with the environmental impact of the mining industry has drawn increased attention to the processing and trade of copper and other primary metals. Moreover, copper is a metal that is essential to the energy transition as a component of renewable technologies.  June 9, 2022.

Synergies Between Carbon Capture, Utilization and Sequestration and Geothermal Power in Sedimentary Basins 6/7/2022

Synergies Between Carbon Capture, Utilization and Sequestration and Geothermal Power in Sedimentary Basins

Payne Institute CCUS Program Manager Anna Littlefield and Eric Stautberg write about how to achieve a rapid and effective energy transition, society will need to widely deploy both existing and emerging technologies and tools. Mitigating the emissions of greenhouse gases while maintaining the world’s growing demands for energy will require these to deployed at great pace and scale. Natural synergies exist between two such technologies: carbon capture utilization and sequestration (CCUS) projects and geothermal power generation from hot sedimentary aquifers. The overlapping technical and operational components of these projects underline an opportunity for cost savings and accelerated deployment.  June 7, 2022.

Water Security Issues for Lithium Mining in Chile 5/17/2022

Water Security Issues for Lithium Mining in Chile

Payne Institute Communications Associate Eleanor Igwe writes about how due to lithium’s central role in electric vehicle batteries, its demand is predicted to continue a steep rise and likely reach the level of two to four million metric tons by 2030. In addition to the stresses this will put on mining production and the environment – issues of water security are likely to become a key challenge.  May 17, 2022.  

Corporate ESG Commitments are Gaining Popularity. Can They be Trusted?

Corporate ESG Commitments are Gaining Popularity. Can They be Trusted?

Payne Institute Communications Associate Elsa Barron, Payne Institute Program Manager Jordy Lee, and Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian write about the growing concerns about the long-term sustainability of many industries have led to big changes in approaches to corporate strategies and management. Pressure from financiers is adding to the momentum. Concerns about climate related financial risks and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) data, have helped create demand from bankers for companies to show that they are actively working towards global climate goals.  May 9, 2022. 

How Artificial Intelligence Can Accelerate Geothermal Investment 4/29/2022

How Artificial Intelligence Can Accelerate Geothermal Investment

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Sebnem Düzgün, Payne Institute Communications Associate Elsa Barron, and Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian write about how in the midst of the global energy transition, geothermal operations promise to provide stable, renewable energy, so why aren’t more investors taking the bait? One of the major roadblocks for geothermal investment is the high level of uncertainty that accompanies the subsurface resource.  April 29, 2022.

A Critical Minerals Policy Option for the U.S. 4/19/2022

A Critical Minerals Policy Option for the U.S.

Payne Institute Research Associate Baba Freeman writes about how the U.S.’s current policies may be insufficient to meet its strategic goal of supply chain resilience and unfettered access to critical minerals needed for its economic growth and military deterrence purposes. He proposes an additional policy approach to further enrich ongoing discussions about this very important and strategic sector.  April 19, 2022.  

Fireside Chats with Gaia 4/4/2022

Fireside Chats with Gaia

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow James Crompton wrote this book about how public health pandemics and Climate Change cannot be ignored. Economic recessions of very large magnitude can’t be ignored either. But the one I want to focus on in this article is the so-called Energy Transition. Environmentalist are talking about an energy transition to a new Green Energy world, net-neutral-carbon-zero world to mitigate against the impacts of Climate Change and predict that we don’t have much time to get there.  April 4, 2022.

The U.S. Can Help Heat Europe 3/10/2022

The U.S. Can Help Heat Europe

Payne Institute Program Manager Brad Handler and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to calls for the U.S. to make a war time expansion of its hydrocarbon production. The idea is to help ease prices and to support energy security and energy diversification for Europe. Certainly, some of these calls belie a narrow commercial self-interest, while others are directed at supporting our allies. Importantly, and despite some of the rhetoric, the U.S. government isn’t standing in the way of industry growth. Still, the government can and should help ease the industry’s path to higher LNG production to help support European energy—and in particular, heating.  March 10, 2022.

Lebanon Energy Crisis: Time to Reform 3/7/2022

Lebanon Energy Crisis: Time to Reform

Payne Institute Fellow Jamal Saghir, Communications Specialist Brooke Bowser, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how the attention of the world’s energy sector is clearly focused on Russia and Ukraine, but the ongoing crisis in Lebanon warrants our collective attention.  The situation is horrifying. Lebanon is being battered by a confluence of crises engulfing national security, politics and government, integrity in public office, the economy and banking sector, social unrest, energy instability and environmental degradation. Each is feeding off the others to create a storm rooted in Lebanon’s failed economic, social, environmental policies.  March 7, 2022.