Commentary Series

GEOLOGICAL STORAGE: RISKS AND OPERATIONAL RISK MITIGATION 7/8/2024

GEOLOGICAL STORAGE: RISKS AND OPERATIONAL RISK MITIGATION

Payne Institute Sustainable Finance Lab Program Manager Brad Handler, Payne Institute CCS Program Manager Anna Littlefield, and student researcher Felix Ayaburi write the first in a series of papers on the use of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) as a climate mitigation tool envisions the permanent underground storage of CO2. The prospects for large scale adoption of geological storage has raised concerns regarding the risks — of property damage, environmental degradation, and to human health— if stored CO2 were to leak to the surface or into shallow water resources.  July 8, 2024.

INTRODUCTION: RISK MITIGATION IN GEOLOGICAL STORAGE OF CO2 7/8/2024

INTRODUCTION: RISK MITIGATION IN GEOLOGICAL STORAGE OF CO2

The Payne Institute Sustainable Finance Lab writes the introduction to a series of papers that looks at Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).  CCS is an integral activity in the effort to limit global warming and its harmful effects.  That contribution requires a significant scaling of CCS operations, and initiatives for new CCS projects are indeed proliferating.  July 8, 2024.

SATELLITE DATA CAPTURES POWER OUTAGES IN SUDAN’S CIVIL WAR 5/19/2024

SATELLITE DATA CAPTURES POWER OUTAGES IN SUDAN’S CIVIL WAR

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group Research Associate Mikhail Zhizhin, Communications Associate Kristin Ziv, Senior Research Associate Christopher Elvidge, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how a horrible full-scale civil war in Sudan is creating chaos, anarchy, mass starvation, and the world’s largest population of internal refugees – approximately nine million.  The researchers have created a temporal profile of nighttime lights for Khartoum where seasonal variations in lights within a year can be seen, but the interannual radiance was stable until the conflict started in April 2023.  May 19, 2024.

NAVIGATING COMMERCIAL ADVISORY IN THE VCM 5/16/2024

NAVIGATING COMMERCIAL ADVISORY IN THE VCM

School of Mines Mineral and Energy Economics Masters candidate Jared Andreatta and Sustainable Finance Lab Program Manager Brad Handler write an explainer of the various types of Commercial Advisory services firms that participate in the Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM). These advisory firms primarily help buyers find, evaluate and transact carbon offset credits, but offer distinct approaches. May 16, 2024.

SATELLITE DATA REVEALS THE START OF CANADA’S WILDFIRE SEASON 5/16/2024

SATELLITE DATA REVEALS THE START OF CANADA’S WILDFIRE SEASON

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group Research Associate Mikhail Zhizhin, Communications Associate Kristin Ziv, Senior Research Associate Christopher Elvidge, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how as of May 14, 2024, there are 143 active wildfires in Canada, and 39 are out of control, according to Canadian experts and officials. The Earth Observation Group has calculated the temperatures and spatial extent of active burning across Canada with their Nightfire algorithm applied to data collected by NOAA’s Visible infrared Imaging Spectrometer Suite (VIIRS).   May 16, 2024.

LEEDING POWER BACK TO COMMUNITIES THROUGH GREEN BUILDING CODES 5/10/2024

LEEDING POWER BACK TO COMMUNITIES THROUGH GREEN BUILDING CODES – ADVICE FOR POLICYMAKERS CONSIDERING LEED CERTIFICATION

Payne Institute Student Researcher Nathan Li compares goals of original, local green building codes and their potential for projects to use LEED certification as a path of compliance. By using his professional experience in LEED certification to analyze these codes’ language and priorities, he provide guidance on the applicability of LEED to achieve energy efficiency and renewable energy goals set by jurisdictions.  Nathan then makes suggestions to policymakers not to rely on the widespread acceptance of LEED to communicate a sustainability commitment, but instead use locally specific codes that require needed changes in their communities.  May 10, 2024.

Critical Mineral Mining and Sustainable Development in Africa 4/10/23

Critical Mineral Mining and Sustainable Development in Africa

Payne Institute student researcher Mama Nissi Abanga Abugnaba writes about how as a continent with abundant natural resources, such as large reserves of vital minerals, Africa could play a critical role in facilitating the energy transition. This will be possible through a just energy transition that supports the retention of jobs, social aid for affected workers, upskilling of current employees, environmental restoration, and the development of local businesses.  April 10, 2023.

New Method for Tracking Down Methane Emissions on Oil and Gas Sites 3/27/2024

New Method for Tracking Down Methane Emissions on Oil and Gas Sites

Payne Institute Student Researcher William Daniels, Faculty Fellow Dorit Hammerling, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how reducing methane emissions is a key component of short-term climate action.  Empirical data and transparent models are key pillars of emission reduction efforts.  Payne Institute researchers William Daniels, Meng Jia, and Dorit Hammerling have developed a completely open-source analytical framework for detecting single-source methane emissions, determining the source location, and estimating an emission rate using data from continuous monitoring systems (CMS).  March 27, 2024.

Exploring policy choices for addressing forever chemicals 3/25/2024

Exploring policy choices for addressing forever chemicals

Payne Institute Communications Associate Kristin Ziv, Student Researcher Isabel Guajardo Retamales and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how on March 20, the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) convened a pivotal hearing titled “Examining PFAS as Hazardous Substances.  The session focused on the risks associated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of synthetic chemicals found in various industrial and consumer products. March 25, 2024.

STEEL RISING: HARNESSING NIGERIA’S POTENTIAL FOR GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS IN THE STEEL INDUSTRY 2/29/24

STEEL RISING: HARNESSING NIGERIA’S POTENTIAL FOR GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS IN THE STEEL INDUSTRY

Payne Institute student researcher Edikan Udofia writes about Nigeria is endowed with more than 2 billion metric tons of iron ore reserves and is striving to position itself as a key player in the worldwide steel sector. Despite encountering challenges in the past regarding enhancing its steel manufacturing capabilities, Nigeria is currently well-placed to harness its abundant mineral wealth and enhance its steel production capacity. February 29, 2024. 

VIIRS SENSORS SHOW BREADTH OF TEXAS WILDFIRES 2/29/2024

VIIRS SENSORS SHOW BREADTH OF TEXAS WILDFIRES

Payne Institute Research Associate Mikhail Zhizhin, Senior Research Associate Christopher Elvidge, Communications Associate Kristin Ziv, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how using the VIIRS Nightfire satellites, the Earth Observation Group at the Payne Institute for Public Policy has calculated the temperatures and spatial extent of active burning in the Texas Panhandle with their Nightfire algorithm applied to data collected by NOAA’s Visible Infrared Imaging Spectrometer Suite (VIIRS). February 29, 2024.

EOG’S VIIRS SATELLITES CONFIRM DRONE ATTACKS ON RUSSIAN OIL INFRASTRUCTURE 2/16/2024

EOG’S VIIRS SATELLITES CONFIRM DRONE ATTACKS ON RUSSIAN OIL INFRASTRUCTURE

Payne Institute Research Associate Mikhail Zhizhin, Communications Associate Kristin Ziv, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how using the VIIRS Nightfire satellites, the Earth Observation Group at the Payne Institute for Public Policy was able to confirm several of the recent Ukrainian drone attacks on oil and gas infrastructure in Russia that have occurred over the past several weeks.  February 16, 2024.

SOLAR SURGE PUTS PRESSURE ON SILVER SUPPLY (BUT LOOK FOR THE SILVER LINING) 2/14/24

SOLAR SURGE PUTS PRESSURE ON SILVER SUPPLY (BUT LOOK FOR THE SILVER LINING)

Payne Institute Communications Associate Kristin Ziv and Director Morgan Bazilian write about the global demand for solar panels and as it soars, so does the demand for silver – a key component in the manufacturing of photovoltaic (PV) panels. Solar installations are breaking records worldwide in both volume and low price, according to BloombergNEF. February 14, 2024.

PAYNE INSTITUTE’S EOG MEASURES CHILEAN WILDFIRES

PAYNE INSTITUTE’S EOG MEASURES CHILEAN WILDFIRES

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group Mikhail Zhizhin, Christopher Elvidge, Communications Associate Kristin Ziv, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about the Chilean wildfires which could be the deadliest on record, according to the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction. With its VIIRS Nightfire satellites, the Earth Observation Group can detect wildfires all over the world within two hours after the satellite overpass. With this algorithm, EOG can not only detect, but characterize wildfires in size and temperature. February 9, 2024.

TRANSPARENCY THROUGH TECHNOLOGY: THE VITAL LINK BETWEEN MONITORING AND PUBLIC PERCEPTION IN CCS INITIATIVES 2/9/24

TRANSPARENCY THROUGH TECHNOLOGY: THE VITAL LINK BETWEEN MONITORING AND PUBLIC PERCEPTION IN CCS INITIATIVES

Payne Institute CCUS Program Manager Anna Littlefield and Project Canary’s Charlie Losche write about how the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 has catalyzed significant growth in CCS, with projections indicating a substantial increase in capture capacity by 2035.  With this expansion comes challenges, notably in securing Class VI permits for CO2 injection, and most pressingly in maintaining public trust. February 9, 2024.

STACKING 45Q WITH VOLUNTARY CARBON MARKETS 12/11/2023

STACKING 45Q WITH VOLUNTARY CARBON MARKETS

Payne Institute CCUS Program Manager Anna Littlefield and Fellows Siew Chiang and Mike Matson write about how CCS has been at the forefront of decarbonization commitments in public and private sectors, with the development of CCS projects rapidly accelerating in the U.S. following the signing of federal incentives of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).  They explore the economic pathways for carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects, beginning with “credit stacking” voluntary carbon market credits and Section 45Q tax credits, with additional pieces on both the California-based Low Carbon Fuel Standard and Section 45Z tax credit.  December 11, 2023.

PROLONGED DIMMING OF UKRAINIAN URBAN ILLUMINATION: A MEASURE OF CONFLICT’S IMPACT 11/15/2023

Prolonged Dimming of Ukrainian Urban Illumination: A Measure of Conflict’s Impact

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group Researcher Mikhail Zhizhin writes about how natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes or pandemics trigger a short-term dimming of city lights, followed by a rapid recovery. The war in Ukraine, however, has induced a novel pattern of city lights changes: an abrupt and sustained decline in illumination from the outset of the conflict, persisting for two years with partial recovery observed in some cities. November 15, 2023.

EMPOWERING OR REPRESSIVE: NAVIGATING THE COMPLEXITIES OF RENEWABLE PORTFOLIO STANDARDS IN THE US 11/13/2023

Empowering or Repressive: Navigating the Complexities of Renewable Portfolio Standards in the US

Payne Institute Student Researcher Siddhant Kulkarni and Program Manager Anna Littlefield write about how Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) represent a strategic push by governments to usher in an era of clean, renewable energy. While RPS are not the only policy-mechanisms that incentivize renewable energy, they have been in place for decades across the world. Data from the International Renewable Energy Association (IRENA) shows that worldwide installed renewable energy capacity has almost doubled in the last decade, thanks in part to the RPS policies implemented. In the US these regulations are particular to individual states and aim to combat increasing greenhouse gas emissions and by extension, climate change.  November 13, 2023.

GOVERNMENTS’ RECENT STEPS TO ADVANCE CLIMATE IMPACT; SELECT WORLD INVESTMENT FORUM HIGHLIGHTS 10/25/2023

GOVERNMENTS’ RECENT STEPS TO ADVANCE CLIMATE IMPACT; SELECT WORLD INVESTMENT FORUM HIGHLIGHTS

Payne Institute Sustainable Finance Lab Program Manager Brad Handler writes about the 8th World Investment Forum focused on spurring sustainable development across low and middle income economies. The challenges loomed large, as speakers noted that not only were absolute spending levels far short of what was needed to be “on track” to meet energy transition and SDG targets, but that recent spending in the developing world was far too concentrated in select economies.  October 25, 2023.

Modular Carbon Capture and The Inflation Reduction Act 10/12/2023

Modular Carbon Capture and The Inflation Reduction Act

Payne Institute Program Manager Anna Littlefield writes about how as the field of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) continues to evolve, the importance of modular carbon capture technologies has become increasingly apparent. August of 2023 marked the one-year anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) being signed into law, and its potential to incentivize smaller-scale capture systems is manifesting in modular capture innovation. October 12, 2023.

STRATEGY AND PLANNING TO REDOUBLE CLIMATE ADAPTATION IN AFRICA 10/1/2023

STRATEGY AND PLANNING TO REDOUBLE CLIMATE ADAPTATION IN AFRICA

Payne Institute Fellow Jamal Saghir, Julia Eichhorn, Daniel Flores, and Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez write about how mounting evidence continues to show that Africa is the most vulnerable continent to the adverse impacts of climate change. Ramping up climate finance flows for adaptation is critical to addressing the irreversible impacts of climate change, but financing alone will not be enough to protect the continent. Having a clear set of priorities, with institutions that have the capacity to plan properly and take adaptation actions at scale, is equally important.  October 1, 2023.

The African Climate Summit – Averting the Climate Crisis 9/5/2023

The African Climate Summit – Averting the Climate Crisis

Payne Institute Research Associate Juliet Akamboe and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how climate change poses a significant threat to Africa, a continent already grappling with challenges including poverty and a lack of access to basic human needs like clean water, healthcare, education, jobs and electricity. Africa is already witnessing severe environmental consequences with changing rainfall patterns, severe droughts and extreme weather conditions, which are stalling socio-economic development.  The inaugural Africa Climate Summit (ACS) taking place in Nairobi, this week is a great forum to discuss the role Africa can play in bridging the gap between the Global North and South in addressing the climate crisis.  September 5, 2023.

NIGER, URANIUM, AND THE COUP D’ETAT 9/1/2023

NIGER, URANIUM, AND THE COUP D’ETAT

Payne Institute ESG Researcher Baba Freeman writes about how the recent coup d’etat in Niger, a key supplier of uranium, has created some level of anxiety in the market and brought forward new questions for stakeholders across the industry and the West African sub-region. The event calls for a fresh look at the potential market impact and the way forward to resolving the current disputation in a manner that preserves Niger’s development agenda, minimizes political risk to investors, and aids the emergence of a more resilient global critical minerals supply chain.  September 1, 2023.

Proposed West Africa-Europe Gas Pipelines Will Fail Without a Radical Shift in Thinking

PROPOSED WEST AFRICA-EUROPE GAS PIPELINES WILL FAIL WITHOUT A RADICAL SHIFT IN THINKING

Payne Institute ESG Researcher Baba Freeman writes about how the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 injected a renewed urgency into Western European countries’ energy security concerns and led to an increase in demand for non-Russian sources of oil and gas. Consequently, Europe is expected to take a larger share of future LNG supplies even as greenfield pipeline projects are being conceived to supply West African gas to Western Europe. These projects include the Trans-Sahara Gas Pipeline (TSGP) and the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline (NMGP) but may not be able to adequately meet these projects’ future obligations.  August 29, 2023. 

 

The Payne Institute experts are regional, national, and international leaders in applied research in natural resources, energy, and the environment. Our team is involved in a wide variety of research projects in these fields, and are committed to sharing these results with academic and professional audiences.

 

DISCLAIMER: The opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints expressed are those of the author alone and do not reflect the opinions, beliefs, viewpoints, or official policies of the Payne Institute or Colorado School of Mines.