COVID-19: Impacts and Insights from the Energy and Natural Resources Sector
The Payne Institute is hard at work providing actionable insights for decisionmakers on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting and changing energy and natural resources markets and supply chains. This page has links to our recent work on the topic.
The case for US cooperation with India on a just transition away from coal
Payne Institute Fellow Joshua W. Busby, Sarang Shidore, Fellow Johannes Urpelainen, and Director Morgan D. Bazilian write about how achieving the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement will be difficult without ultimately phasing out coal in India, among other countries. April 20, 2021.
Climate Change Adaptation Finance: Opportunity to Build a more Resilient Recovery
Payne Institute Fellow Jamal Saghir writes a commentary on the impacts of climate-change that are mounting, and the need to advance on adaptations. Finance is critical to accelerating climate adaptation, but flows remain far short of what is needed given escalating climate risks. April 20, 2021.
Governments have identified commodities essential to economic and military security
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Rod Eggert and Director Morgan Bazilian contribute to this article about obtaining critical minerals necessary to break the U.S. dependence on foreign production. The U.S. Defense department will help facilitate the building of facilities to process rare earths, part of an effort to secure supply independent from China. March 31, 2021.
The Covid-19 Pandemic: Energy Market Disruptions and Resilience
Payne Institute Fellow Alex Gilbert and Director Morgan Bazilian write about the direct risks and indirect effects from the COVID-19 pandemic that have impacted the operations and resilience of global energy markets. This article considers several aspects of the impacts and responses of these markets as well as energy sector resilience. March 30, 2021.
Climate Change Must Be Tackled as a Global Security Risk
Payne Institute Fellow Joshua Busby, Director Morgan Bazilian, and Florian Krampe write about how when the United Nations put out emergency appeals for modest amounts of money to help Syria with the drought that preceded its civil war, they were dramatically underfunded—member states only provided a quarter of the amount requested in 2008, and a third in 2009. The United States did not contribute. We live in an age of “actorless threats”—where challenges to peace and security come not only from agents intentionally trying to do us harm, but also from climate change and pandemics whose impacts are no less severe. March 10, 2021.
Payne Institute Fellow Andreas Goldthau, Franz Haniel Professor at the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy, and Research Group Leader at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies; and Kirsten Westphal, a Senior Analyst at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about our age of the “actorless threats”. As Bazilian and Hendrix argued in a recent essay, “Mitigating or adapting to slow-onset, actorless threats like climate change…requires a reimagining of our national security priorities and architecture.” Climate change gives rise to cascading risks of habitat destruction, infectious disease outbreaks or biodiversity loss. These threats have already started to cause loss of life at significant scales. They have added friction to various aspects of geopolitics and the relationship between states and people. February 26, 20201.
Why a trickle-down approach to vaccine access is not a viable strategy
Payne Institute Advisory Board member Mimi Alemayehou writes about how it’s probably understandable that many people missed the news earlier this month that the AU had secured 300-million doses of Covid-19 vaccine. That’s a reflection of much of the way in which the pandemic in Africa has been covered. While the pages of the world’s press has been gripped by the way in which the world’s richest and most powerful countries have grappled their way through the pandemic, the continent with some of the world’s poorest countries has largely been left to face the crisis alone. February 25, 2021.
Welcome to the Era of Competitive Climate Statecraft
Payne Institute Fellow Carolyn Kissane writes an opinion piece about how in trade, finance, development, and security, governments are racing to get closer to net-zero. The varying and shambolic responses illustrate the global system’s dysfunction when seeking to respond to a worldwide crisis. Will climate change be a different story? February 8, 2021.
A Big Year for Transformational Change
Payne Institute Fellow Dolf Gielen and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how despite the virus, 2020 was a great year for climate commitments. While COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference, was postponed to 2021, many large economies announced net-zero emissions goals for mid-century. 2021 will be the year that these ambitions need to be translated into action. January 25, 2021.
Rethinking Energy Solutions: Energy demand and decentralized solutions
Payne Institute Fellow Dolf Gielen, Advisory Board member David Victor, and Director Morgan Bazilian and others collaborated on this paper that identified three areas for rethinking energy solutions for immediate action. All three are designed to address the drivers of demand and consumption through measures like remote working, digitalization, and the reshaping of urban spaces and their use; maximizing sustainable energy independence at local and individual levels through, for instance, decentralized renewable energy solutions and efficiency enhancing measures; and influencing behavior towards responsible consumption such as encouraging new trends in mobility, less material consumption, and sharing vs. ownership models. January 22, 2021.
Why even a pandemic couldn’t stop the renewable energy boom
Payne Institute Advisory Board member Nawal Al-Hosany writes an opinion article on how investor interest in clean energy is soaring, and the world needs to seize the moment. Despite being generally accepted as one of the most difficult years on record for many industries, 2020 demonstrated the inherent resilience of renewable energy solutions. January 11, 2021.
Biden’s climate plan will not address gender and racial inequality
Payne Institute Senior Research Associates Greer Gosnell and Sara Hastings-Simon write an opinion piece on how women and minorities have suffered disproportionately from the pandemic recession and must be part of any comprehensive recovery program. The Biden administration’s quest to green the American economy promises to create millions of good jobs “filled by diverse, local and well-trained workers, including women and people of color.” But these jobs will exacerbate long-standing and worsening economic injustices due to their concentration in male-dominated fields. December 28, 2020.
Was 2020 Really So Bad for Oil?
Payne Institute Fellow Liam Denning writes about how If ever a year needed a shot of glass-half-full attitude, it’s 2020. In a discussion with an oil executive the conversation turned inevitably to the pandemic and 10 million barrels a day of oil consumption — one in ten — going *poof*. Against which they offered this: Despite epic disruption, we still used 90 million barrels a day of the stuff. How’s that for describing the worst drop in oil demand? December 28, 2020.
What’s next for Alberta’s oil sector? Reflecting on a year of layoffs, writedowns and consolidation 12/22/2020
What’s next for Alberta’s oil sector? Reflecting on a year of layoffs, writedowns and consolidation
Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Sara Hastings-Simon contributes to this article about how the industry faces new challenges from COVID-19, experts warn there’s no ‘silver bullet’ to replace jobs lost in the oilpatch. December 22, 2020.
Peru’s Environmental and Social Management in the Gold Mining Sector in the Midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic 12/9/2020
Peru’s Environmental and Social Management in the Gold Mining Sector in the Midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Nicole Smith, Kristi Disney Bruckner, Ashley Smith-Roberts, Verónica Morelli Bellido, Hugo Frías Ossandón, Meera Nyak, and Linda Jaramillo Urrego write a case study on how Peru is a leading source of gold in the world and is the top producer of gold in Latin America. The country’s legal framework for environmental and social management of the mining sector, including both the large-scale mining sector and the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector, is often presented as good practice. However, implementation of the legal framework has been challenging due to lack of resources, complexity of the framework, lack of alignment across national frameworks, lack of ongoing collaboration across ministries, remoteness of mining areas, and other factors. December 9, 2020.
The Carbontech Innovation System in Canada
Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Dr. Sara Hastings-Simon helped prepare this report that evaluates the Canada national carbon conversion technology development competitiveness. The challenge of climate change may not be at the forefront of many people’s minds, but it remains a looming threat. Although CO2 emissions have contracted sharply as economies shrink and energy demand drops, recovery will bring with it renewed growth and an associated rebound in GHG emissions. December 8, 2020.
How Biden and Kerry could rebuild America’s global climate leadership
Payne Institute Fellow Dolf Gielen and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how John Kerry helped bring the world into the Paris climate agreement and expanded America’s reputation as a climate leader. That reputation is now in tatters, and President-elect Joe Biden is asking Kerry to rebuild it again – this time as U.S. climate envoy. November 24, 2020.
Mr. President-elect, America needs a Civilian Climate Corps
Payne Institute Fellow Drs. Jay Lemery and Lewis Goldfrank write this opinion piece as emergency physicians practicing on the frontlines of the pandemic, witnessing firsthand the consequences of a public health response in disarray as COVID-19 continues to flare throughout the country. November 10, 2020.
Five ways Mines researchers and their students are making campus safer during the pandemic 11/9/2020
Five ways Mines researchers and their students are making campus safer during the pandemic
Payne Institute Fellows Paulo Cesar Tabares-Velasco is featured in the article about how Mines faculty and students are giving Mines an upper hand in responding to pandemic challenges. November 9, 2020.
7 ways the mining sector can prepare for the coming economic era
Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Jordy Lee writes about how the mining and metals industry is facing an unprecedented paradigm shift as it begins to implement new technologies while also managing climate and social challenges. Through raising awareness of these issues, and by focusing on new digital solutions, growing material demand, and investor pressures, the industry can strengthen its foundational role in a rapidly evolving global economy. November 9, 2020.
Pandemic disruptions in energy and the environment
Payne Institute Fellows Dustin Mulvaney, Joshua Busby, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how public health measures implemented during the coronavirus pandemic have had significant global impacts on energy systems. Some changes may be ephemeral: as industries go back to work and supply chains relink once production resumes, energy use and emissions have and will continue to rebound. November 2, 2020.
COVID exposes chink in US metal armor
Payne Director Morgan Bazilian is quoted in this article on how the COVID-19 pandemic has shined a spotlight on a chink in the United States’ economic and security armor – an overreliance on foreign countries for the minerals and metals that lie at the frontend of American supply chains. October 29, 2020.
An Age of Actorless Threats: Rethinking National Security in Light of COVID and Climate
Payne Institute Advisory Board member Cullen Hendrix and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how climate change and the COVID pandemic are highlighting key weaknesses in U.S. national security strategy and policy. Addressing these issues will not just require making traditional national security agencies more climate- and pandemic-aware, but a reimagining of the concept of national security itself. October 23, 2020.
Sociotechnical typologies for national energy transitions
Norbert Edomah, Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian, and Ben Sovacool write about the energy landscape and how it is changing dramatically. It is populated by many different and discrete energy transitions happening simultaneously in across different sectors, with dynamically different drivers, and across varying locations. This Perspective proposes a new three-part categorization to help better understand the myriad socio-technical changes being witnessed, which cut across user and market behaviour as well as institutions and technologies. We express energy transitions in three categories: Interim energy transitions, shaped by policies without necessarily public acceptance, mostly within non-democratic regimes. October 14, 2020.
The Dimming of Lights in India during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Payne Institute Earth Observation Group researchers Tilottama Ghosh, Christopher Elvidge, Feng-Chi Hsu, Mikhail Zhizhin, and Morgan Bazilian wrote how the monthly Suomi National Polar-orbiting (NPP) Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) Day–Night Band (DNB) composite reveals the dimming of lights as an effect of the lockdown enforced by the government of India in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The changes in lighting are examined by creating difference maps of a pre-pandemic pair and comparing it with two pandemic pairs. October 10, 2020.
REFRESHING GLOBAL ENERGY SECURITY POLICY AND INFRASTRUCTURE FOR THE ENERGY TRANSITION
Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian was a collaborator on the T20 Saudi Arabia 2020 THINK policy briefing Refreshing Global Energy Security Policy and the Infrastructure for the Energy Transition for the G20. The Group of 20 (G20) members have discussed energy security for many years, and now have an opportunity to modernize and redefine global, regional, and national energy security frameworks to align with the transition to a lower-carbon energy system. Member countries should take steps to ensure that emerging vulnerabilities stemming from the rapid growth of new energy forms can be understood and managed both collectively and within their specific contexts. As all energy sectors transition, collective efforts toward energy security can progress by (i) developing a timely, transparent, and objective approach to data gathering and dissemination for the production, consumption, and trade of new energy forms and key mineral inputs; (ii) establishing an expert international advisory panel to the G20 on the topic of energy security in the context of energy transitions; and (iii) launching an effort on forward-looking energy security policy. October 6, 2020.
A lot of Jason Kenney’s claims about the oil and gas industry are cherry-picked, misleading or wrong 10.5.2020
A lot of Jason Kenney’s claims about the oil and gas industry are cherry-picked, misleading or wrong
Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Sara Hastings-Simon contributes to this article on the Alberta Premier’s, Jason Kennedy, claims about the oil and gas industry. The Alberta premier may veer into hyperbole, but his general point still stands: oil, of course, is a major driver of Alberta’s economy. Despite tens of thousands of layoffs in recent years, the industry remains a massive employer. October 5, 2020.
Indicators of Electric Power Instability from Satellite Observed Nighttime Lights
Payne Institute Earth Observation Group writes about how electric power services are fundamental to prosperity and economic development. Disruptions in the electricity power service can range from minutes to days. Such events are common in many developing economies, where the power generation and delivery infrastructure is often insufficient to meet demand and operational challenges. Yet, despite the large impacts, poor data availability has meant that relatively little is known about the spatial and temporal patterns of electric power reliability. Here, we explore the expressions of electric power instability recorded in temporal profiles of satellite observed surface lighting collected by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) low light imaging day/night band (DNB). September 30, 2020.
Strategic Intelligence – Mining and Metals
Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Jordy Lee has documented the paradigm shift in the mining and metals industry, as it incorporates greater sustainability, absorbs technical innovation from other sectors, and seeks a way forward in the midst of a pandemic. By focussing on modernization, digitalization, and transparency, the industry can strengthen its foundational role in a rapidly evolving global economy. However, effectively managing related changes will require greater adaptability, transformative thinking, and building stronger relationships in a global context. September 23, 2020.
It’s time for states that grew rich from oil, gas and coal to figure out what’s next
Payne Institute Fellow Brad Handler, Matt Henry, and Morgan Bazilian write about the very challenging times for U.S. fossil fuel-producing states, such as Wyoming, Alaska and North Dakota. The COVID-19 economic downturn has reduced energy demand, with uncertain prospects for the extent of its recovery. Meanwhile, rising concern about climate change and the declining cost of renewable energy are precipitating a sharp decline in demand for coal in particular. September 23, 2020.
11 WAYS TO MEASURE CLEAN GROWTH
Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Sara Hastings-Simon contributes to this report from the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices that highlights the multiple facets of clean growth by unpacking the connections between economic growth, climate change, and human well-being. We identify 11 data-driven indicators that, together, can guide efforts by governments, businesses, and communities to not only tackle climate change but to do so in a way that achieves sustained growth and the best overall outcomes for people and society as a whole. September 22, 2020.
Innovation to Drive Water Security in the Arab Region
Payne Institute Fellow Jamal Saghir writes about how the Arab world is now the world’s driest region, with several countries being among the world’s most water scarce, where per capita renewable water availability is already less than 500 cubic meters per year. This is the level set by the World Health Organization for severe scarcity at which water becomes a hurdle to economic growth and beyond which water scarcity becomes a key concern in people’s lives and begins to affect the development process. September 11, 2020.
The Dimming of Lights in China during the COVID-19 Pandemic
The Payne Institute Earth Observation Group research on satellite surveys of the cumulative radiant emissions from electric lighting across China reveals a large radiance decline in lighting from December 2019 to February 2020—the peak of the lockdown established to suppress the spread of COVID-19 infections. To illustrate the changes, an analysis was also conducted on a reference set from a year prior to the pandemic. September 7, 2020.
Bouncing Forward Sustainably: Pathways to a post-COVID World Sustainable Energy
Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian was a co-author on the Second Consultative Science Platform of the IIASA-ISC “Bouncing Forward Sustainably: Pathways to a post-COVID-19 World” that aims to harness the transformative power of crisis to imagine a more sustainable world. The authors gathered with a focus on science -to deliberate on the following overarching questions: How should COVID-19 and related stimulus and/or recovery packages be directed to build back better to create the maximum impact on the transition to sustainable development; and how can a decarbonized, decentralized, and digitalized energy system make our society more resilient? How can the ability of science, policy and governance systems be enhanced to rapidly respond to unforeseen shocks? August 31, 2020.
Crisis Breeds Change: COVID and Heatwaves Spur Citizens to Environmental Action
Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Greer Gosnell writes about the brutal heatwaves in California and the rolling blackouts. Crisis—along with a stark break in routine—appeared to refocus people’s attention on their everyday actions, and a bigger picture. August 21, 2020.
Can Distributed Nuclear Power Address Energy Resilience and Energy Poverty?
Payne Institute Fellow Alex Gilbert and Morgan Bazilian write about the three major energy challenges that are driving national and international energy decision making. First, the need to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Second, despite recent progress, many communities in both developed and developing countries remain in energy poverty or lack reliable, low-cost energy services. Finally, due to climate-amplified natural disasters and other threats, the reliability and resilience of energy systems is an increasing public concern. Existing distributed energy resources (DERs), especially solar photovoltaics and battery storage, are attempting to address each of these issues. However, more and faster progress is needed. Recent innovations in advanced nuclear designs could make nuclear power a distributed energy solution for the first time. As a dispatchable and resilient energy source, distributed nuclear could complement and accelerate the ongoing distributed energy revolution. August 19, 2020.
California power outages underscore challenge of maintaining reliability during climate change, the energy transition 8/19/2020
California power outages underscore challenge of maintaining reliability during climate change, the energy transition
Payne Fellow Alex Gilbert and Director Morgan Bazilian write an opinion piece about a severe heat wave that brought high electric prices and rolling electricity outages to California last week, with as many as two million customers suffering a loss of power. Already, some are trying to politicize the blackouts, blaming renewables and California’s aggressive energy transition. However, the situation is considerably more complex than this simplistic narrative. August 19, 2020.
FALL IN US GAS FLARING GIVES CAUSE FOR OPTIMISM
Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Jordy Lee, Director Morgan Bazilian, and Jamie Webster write about how in the past 12 months, gas flaring in the US has actually declined by 70 per cent, according to numbers provided by the Earth Observation Group.This decline was not driven by policy, Covid-19, or suddenly improved operations, but rather as the result of investors demanding greater capital discipline from a sector that had earned a reputation for prioritising growth over all other concerns. These demands have reduced activity, particularly from smaller operators that have often found it financially difficult to spend capital to improve environmental outcomes. August 11, 2020.
Published on End Poverty in South Asia India’s electricity consumption data shows economic impact of COVID-19 8/11/2020
INDIA’S ELECTRICITY CONSUMPTION DATA SHOWS ECONOMIC IMPACT OF COVID-19
The Payne Institute Earth Observation Group research provides the data for this piece on how COVID-19 has disrupted economic activity. Quantifying this disruption is challenging. Traditional national account estimates, the official government measure for economic activity, are not very helpful for that. To monitor economic activity in times like these, one needs instead measures that are available at higher frequency and higher spatial granularity- for example at the district level. In India, the amount of electricity used (measured as total consumption) and the intensity of lights in the evening (measured as lights per area) are useful proxy indicators. Electricity consumption is measured daily at the state-level and changes reveal information about the economy. August 11, 2020.
GLOBAL GAS FLARING JUMPS TO LEVELS LAST SEEN IN 2009
The Payne Institute Earth Observation Group’s research on gas flaring is providing the data for the annual World Bank Global Gas Flaring Report. Estimates from satellite data show global gas flaring increased, by 3%, to levels not seen in more than a decade, to 150 billion cubic meters (bcm), equivalent to the total annual gas consumption of Sub-Saharan Africa. July 21, 2020.
Three Ways Policymakers in Emerging Economies can Encourage Low-Carbon Road Transport Decisions – that Aren’t Subsidies 7/20/2020
THREE WAYS POLICYMAKERS IN EMERGING ECONOMIES CAN ENCOURAGE LOW-CARBON ROAD TRANSPORT DECISIONS – THAT AREN’T SUBSIDIES
Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Greer Gosnell argues that policymakers must pay more attention to car buyers’ considerations of social status if they wish to address climate change. Given targets for halting global temperature rise to 1.5oC, the forces underlying the decisions of current and prospective car buyers in these nascent markets will be incredibly consequential. COVID-19 may present a rare opportunity for policymakers in emerging economies—where citizens now more clearly value the benefits of a future characterized by clean air and blue skies—to set themselves on a different path from that of the U.S. and other industrialized economies. July 20, 2020.
PEMBINA INSTITUTE WELCOMES NEW DIRECTORS TO BOARD
Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Sara Hastings-Simon has appointed to the Pembina Institute board as a director. The Pembina Institute is pleased to welcome six new directors with leadership experience on clean technology and innovation, climate policy, sustainable resource development, and youth empowerment. New members bring expertise in energy innovation, sustainable finance and clean electrification. July 17, 2020.
ARTIFICIAL LIGHTS TELL THE STORY OF THE PANDEMIC
The Payne Institute Earth Observation Group research on nighttime lights (VIIRS) provides confirmation for this article on satellite views of Earth that reveal the distinct imprint of humankind’s response to a fast-spreading virus. As entire populations and industries curtailed their usual movements, pixels of light on satellite images rearranged themselves accordingly—a new bright cluster here, a fresh spot of darkness there. July 8, 2020.
IEA ISSUES WARNING ABOUT LOW-CO2 TECHNOLOGY
Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Sara Hastings-Simon contributes to an article on the technological capacity to cut global CO2 emissions, and the costs associated. July 6, 2020.
SO, YOU WANT TO MAKE BATTERIES BETTER TOO?
Payne Institute Fellow Emily Hersh, Alex Grant, and Chris Berry write a framework for developing lithium-ion battery supply chain industrial strategy. The 2020s will see a boom in demand for lithium, manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries, and electric vehicle deployment on a massive scale as a part of our energy transition away from fossil fuels. Politicians around the world are wondering how their jurisdictions can participate in the lithium ion battery supply chain. Simultaneously, there is concern about the concentration of lithium-ion battery industrial activity in China. June 9, 2020.
English Version – So, You Want to Make Batteries Better Too?
Spanish Version – Serie de comentarios de Payne – Entonces tú También Quieres Hacer Baterías
PODCAST: A JUST ENERGY TRANSITION IN BOTH THE OLD AND NEW ENERGY SECTORS
Dustin Mulvaney, Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian, Joshua Busby, and host David Spence discuss the clean energy transition in a two-part podcast; Part I: The Transition in Fossil-Fuel Dependent Communities, and Part II: Global Supply Chains and Clean Energy Justice. The energy transition is likely to have dislocative effects on certain sectors. These changes could have consequences for communities and sectors that rely on fossil fuels for employment and taxes. Advocates of a clean transition, for ethical reasons and for political strategic reasons, need to be attendant to their needs. May 30, 2020.
HOW PLUMMETING FUEL PRICES AND REDUCED OPERATIONS COULD FREE UP BILLIONS OF DEFENSE DOLLARS 5/26/2020
HOW PLUMMETING FUEL PRICES AND REDUCED OPERATIONS COULD FREE UP BILLIONS OF DEFENSE DOLLARS
Payne Institute Fellow Michael Baskin writes about how the U.S. Department of Defense is one of the world’s largest consumers of petroleum, yet it relies on an industrial-era system to plan for volatility in global oil markets. Prioritizing stability over efficiency, the system is not designed to respond nimbly to shocks in the oil market like the one happening right now due to COVID-19. May 26, 2020.
ECONOMIC IMPACTS OF THE 2020 OIL MARKET CRASH
Payne Fellow Brad Handler and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how the upstream oil and gas industry risks losing more than 200,000 jobs over the next six to 12 months—comparable to the 2015–2016 oil market downturn—and appears poised to shrink over the longer term, as well. This may challenge states and local communities that have significant upstream exposure and suggests they focus on making their economies more resilient. May 21, 2020.
THE CORONAVIRUS REAFFIRMS THE IMPORTANCE OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN MINING
Payne Research Associate Jordy Lee and Morgan Bazilian explain why disruptions from COVID-19 can have larger implications for developing nations that are dependent on the mining industry. Without an overt focus on sustainable development, many counties will continue to suffer from market fluctuations and price volatility. May 13, 2020.
COVID-19 has tested governments around the world – here’s what that means for the energy transition 5/13/2020
COVID-19 HAS TESTED GOVERNMENTS AROUND THE WORLD – HERE’S WHAT THAT MEANS FOR THE ENERGY TRANSITION
Payne Institute Advisory Board member David Victor and Payne Director Morgan Bazilian write about how the world is ensconced in a global public health crisis due to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus, and the related economic crisis and oil market crash, the path to a low-carbon future has become more uncertain. It is more critical than ever to look at countries’ readiness for the energy transition. May 13, 2020.
FOSTERING EFFECTIVE ENERGY TRANSITION – 2020 EDITION
The Payne Institute contributed to the World Economic Forum Platform for Shaping the Future of Energy and Materials. The annual benchmarking of energy systems across countries has enabled tracking the speed and direction of their energy transition and identifying opportunities for improvement. The transformation of the energy system over the past decade, although slower than required to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement to combat climate change, has been significant. But this hard‑earned momentum now risks being lost, as the ongoing COVID‑19 pandemic continues to cause economic and social damage. May 13, 2020.
NIGHT LIGHTS: Suomi NPP Detects Changes In Nighttime Lights Around NYC…
Payne Institute Dr. Christopher Elvidge and the Earth Observation Group contributed to the article tapping into data from the NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite’s Day/Night Band (DNB), NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) colleagues at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA), Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS), and the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) that examined the difference in illumination of urban and suburban lights between February 2020 and March 2020. By doing so, the scientists were able to detect areas of dimming (blue), and in some cases brightening (red), of nighttime lights from the Mid-Atlantic to New England. May 12, 2020.
HOW U.S. SHALE CAN SURVIVE THE OIL CRASH
Payne Institute Fellow Brad Handler and Morgan Bazilian look at the question regarding whether we have reached peak oil demand is a pressing concern for U.S. upstream activity. U.S. tight oil’s current cost structure, which generally requires ~$50/barrel WTI to make it economically viable, suggests that oil demand needs to return to pre-COVID levels for U.S. shale to recover. This article considers the industry’s ability to lower its cost structure further in order for it to maintain competitiveness. May 11, 2020.
DEMAND DOUBTS DAMPEN INVESTOR SENTIMENT
Payne Institute Fellow Brad Handler and Morgan Bazilian write about concerns over the long-term future of oil exercise US investors’ thinking. The European financial community has harboured growing concern over the longer-term prospects for oil demand for a few years. But the collapse in US oil and gas (O&G) share prices is testament to a shift there too, with investors no longer bullish on robust long-term demand—particularly given the increasing prominence of the transition to lower carbon energy. This change in sentiment implies relatively less US oil development activity and threatens to shrink the industry permanently. May 11, 2020.
MINES ENERGY FUTURE PODCAST – WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON WITH OIL AND GAS: INSIGHTS FROM A PETROLEUM ENGINEER 5/8/2020
MINES ENERGY FUTURE PODCAST – WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON WITH OIL AND GAS: INSIGHTS FROM A PETROLEUM ENGINEER
Mines Energy Future podcast featuring Dr. Jennifer L. Miskimins, Interim Department Head and Professor, Petroleum Engineering, Director, Fracturing, Acidizing, Stimulation Technology (FAST), Co-Director, Center for Earth Materials, Mechanics and Characterization at Colorado School of Mines discussing the future of oil and gas in these unpredictable times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. May 8, 2020.
NIGHTTIME LIGHTS ARE REVOLUTIONIZING THE WAY WE UNDERSTAND COVID-19 AND OUR WORLD
The Payne Institute Earth Observation Group research on light pollution was featured in this article about images of Earth taken at night are revolutionizing our ability to measure and understand nearly every dimension of human activity on Earth and allow us to get a glimpse into human-Earth interactions in close to real time. The need to track and predict outbreaks, as well as understand the impacts of COVID-19 on economies, has led to the utilization of unique sources of data that could help track the spread of the pandemic in close to real time. Satellite observations – including those taken at night – are becoming a primary source of data for tracking the progress of the pandemic and its impacts on energy consumption, transportation, social interactions, the functionality of critical infrastructure, tourism, trade emissions, etc. May 4, 2020.
JUST TRANSITIONS: HISTORIES AND FUTURES IN A POST-COVID WORLD
Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian collaborated on a piece about how the energy landscape is changing dramatically. Communities are being impacted in different ways. Positive impacts include reductions in air pollution and new tax revenues from renewables. Negative impacts include lost jobs and foregone tax revenues after closure of large fossil fuels generation facilities and coal mines. The contours of this transition have been further altered by recent events such as the global oil market crash and the COVID-19 pandemic. While economic and social issues can be addressed through thoughtful policy design, the pace of change, and the extent to which communities have a say in what comes next, matter. Though the technical issues of transitions are well-researched, the socio-economic aspects of the energy transition remain both emergent and essential to an equitable transition to a low-carbon energy system. This article provides an overview of the history and current status of just transitions. May 2, 2020.
Will COVID-19 and Cheap Oil Green Our Energy Future?
Payne Fellow William Nuttall writes how last month, Shell joined BP in embracing a serious low carbon strategy, this makes environmental sense, but in a world of enduring cheap oil it could also make good long-term business sense. In recent days, we have seen US oil futures dropping to a price of -$35 a barrel! Negative prices have never been seen before. Perhaps, this event will be remembered as the moment that the oil industry finally changed, but the seeds of change have been around for some time. May 2020.
WHY LOW OIL PRICES SPELL TROUBLE FOR COLORADO’S OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY
Our Director, Morgan D. Bazilian, was featured in this recent article in Boulder Weekly on what does the bottoming out of oil prices mean for Colorado’s oil and gas producers and the communities that live near wells? And what for the people who live near operations and are concerned about the long-term environmental impacts? April 30, 2020.
ALL THOSE PARKED 747S HERALD PEAK OIL DEMAND
Payne Fellow Liam Denning writes how jet-fuel demand has declined more in percentage terms than any other petroleum product, according to the International Energy Agency’s initial assessment of the impact of Covid-19, released Thursday. That’s both for the first quarter and, under current estimates, 2020 as a whole. April 30, 2020.
THE DEFENSE PRODUCTION ACT, COVID-19 AND CRITICAL MATERIALS
As the Coronavirus continues to demonstrate the fragility of commodity supply-chains, further use of the Defense Production Act (DPA) could allow for the United States to develop its domestic critical mineral sources. Mining and processing locations across the world are being disrupted and highlight the United States’ heavy reliance on imported critical minerals. April 30, 2020.
HERE’S WHAT AN OIL BAILOUT COULD MEAN FOR EMISSIONS
Payne Institute Fellow Alex Gilbert, was featured in this recent article in E&E News. A federal bailout of struggling oil firms is unlikely to alter the trajectory of carbon dioxide emissions, according to analysts, who say market factors dictate the pace of oil production over stimulus programs related to the coronavirus. April 27, 2020.
COVID-19: A WAKE-UP CALL TO INCREASE ACCESS TO ELECTRICITY IN AFRICA
Payne Fellow Jamal Saghir and Adrian Tylim write an commentary on how the world is at a turning point. COVID-19 is putting enormous pressure on each segment of a country’s society and economy. For developing countries that were already facing major social, health and economic challenges before COVID-19, this pressure is particularly excruciating. April 24, 2020.
ENERGY TRANSITION: COAL AS THE CANARY
The Covid-19 pandemic has presented a range of pressing economic challenges including unemployment, lost wages and volatile stock markets. Stalled economic activity has also temporarily reduced energy demand and pollution levels around the world. While the coronavirus creates acute, emergency needs for many households and communities, the kinds of social safety net measures that can cushion the impact in this current crisis have similarities to those needed for longer-term clean energy transitions. Recovery from this pandemic may offer opportunities to recover with a lower-carbon and more equitable economy. April 23, 2020.
WORLD TOUR OF COVID-19 IMPACTS ON NIGHTTIME LIGHTS
The Payne Institute’s Earth Observation Group has been watching the nighttime lights dim, and recently recover, across the world since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a good proxy for both electricity demand and economic activity. The disruption patterns of the Coronavirus shutdowns have been recorded by the NASA / NOAA Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) day /night band (DNB). To examine this is detail, the EOG calculated changes in the brightness between monthly cloud‐free average radiance composites. The results are detailed in this paper. April 21, 2020.
OIL PRICES ARE NEGATIVE: WHAT DOES IT MEAN AND WHAT COMES NEXT
Payne Fellow Alex Gilbert writes that for the first time in history, the primary U.S. oil contract closed at a negative price, an astonishing -$37.63/barrel. This shocking price is a result of the collapse in oil demand due to response measures to the coronavirus pandemic in both the United States and globally. This specific time, negative prices were driven by an unusual circumstance due to an expiring futures contract. However, unless the oil demand situation changes quickly, the U.S. could face single digit or even negative oil prices throughout the summer. April 21, 2020.
THE EFFECTS OF CORONAVIRUS MEASURES ON ELECTRICITY MARKETS
Payne Fellow Alex Gilbert writes about how global economic activity has rapidly ground to a halt, energy markets have witnessed a rapid, unprecedented drop in demand. While economic impacts on electricity markets and investment so far have been limited compared to oil and gas markets, substantial short-term uncertainty could complicate long-term investment decisions. Nevertheless, the operational and demand effects are wide-ranging. April 20, 2020.
WHAT COULD A “JUST TRANSITION” LOOK LIKE FOR FOSSIL FUEL DEPENDENT REGIONS?
Payne Institute Fellow Hisham Zerriffi, and collaborators write about how climate action presents special challenges for communities, and countries, that produce fossil fuels consumed elsewhere. As an exporter of relatively emissions-intensive and high-cost oil, Canada is especially vulnerable to price declines that will result from climate action. The challenge of climate change mitigation for fossil fuel producing regions has been brought to the fore by the COVID-19 crisis, which has depressed global demand and driven already-low global oil prices still lower. Although economic recovery will follow, the prospect of delayed recovery and national economic stimulus packages tied to clean energy transition may hasten a moment of reckoning. In that context, it is especially timely to consider the call for “just transition” plans, which seek to ensure fossil fuel-dependent communities and workers are not left behind. April 17, 2020.
SUSCEPTIBILITIES OF SOLAR ENERGY SUPPLY CHAINS
Payne student Anna Evans explains why the novel coronavirus outbreak in China disrupted the global solar panel supply chain, and how the virus’ increasing impacts will affect supply and demand. Without thoughtful policy design and implementation at the sub-national, national, and international level, these disruptions could continue to plague the solar industry. April 16, 2020.
CBC NEWS POLL: WHY THE ECONOMIC CRISIS COULD SPEED UP TRANSITION TO RENEWABLE ENERGY
Our Director, Morgan D. Bazilian, was featured in this recent article in CABC on the energy transition and its impacts in Alberta. A CBC News poll, taken just before the economic implications of the coronavirus were becoming clear, suggests 79 per cent of Albertans already thought that the province should transition toward renewable energy. More than nine in 10 Albertans also think the province should do more to encourage the development of the technology sector. And 51 per cent think that the province should transition away from oil and gas. April 16, 2020.
CARBON CAPTURE, UTILIZATION, AND STORAGE UNDER THE PARIS AGREEMENT
Payne Fellow Kipp Coddington writes that almost every international climate change scenario under the 2015 Paris Agreement shows the need for an enormous ramp-up of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies to meet global goals. Timing matters, not just scale. CCUS technology must be deployed at scale sooner rather than later if the agreement’s objective of holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels is to be achieved. Additionally, CCUS uniquely holds promise as a “negative” emissions technology — removing carbon dioxide from the air. April 15, 2020.
A SHORT HISTORY OF ENERGY DISRUPTIONS AND RECOVERY
Payne Fellow Paul Deane writes about how modern economies need significant amounts of energy to function with overall energy demand driven by economic activity, population, and technology. Because of the link between economic activity and energy, a shock in one system will reverberate in the other leaving fingerprints of the disruption in both historic data sets.The COVID19 impact on our energy system situation is different as it is predominantly demand-side in nature as a consequence of people using less energy for transport/flying etc but the remedial action required is dependent on a mixture of policy interventions, public confidence and likely technology and medical development. April 15, 2020.
PODCAST: THE MINERALS MANHATTAN PROJECT
Payne Fellow Emily Hersch has started a new podcast titled The Minerals Manhattan Project. Morgan Bazilian contributed to the conversation with a discussion about the Mineral Foundations of the Energy Future. They get into topics such as what lessons oil and gas has for minerals and mining in the United States, and an understanding of how power and spheres of influence determine countries’ approaches to energy security. Since China isn’t an oil and gas producing nation, their approach to dominating those supply chains is different than for minerals and mining. April 13, 2020.
POST COVID-19 NEW WORLD CONFIGURATION AND CLIMATE CHANGE ACTIONS: TWO URGENT PRIORITIES April 10, 2020
POST COVID-19 NEW WORLD CONFIGURATION AND CLIMATE CHANGE ACTIONS: TWO URGENT PRIORITIES
In few weeks or months, the world will have to reconvene to forge a new chapter in humanity, I would call it the Post COVID-19 New World Configuration. It will be an historic moment: the ultimate test of global survival, globalization, and cooperation. Yet the building blocks toward this new World are proceeding so slowly that humanity is in grave danger. If we miss the opportunity to protect ourselves and our planet, there will be no second chance; no way to go back and undo the catastrophic health, economic and social damage of COVID-19. April 10, 2020.
POST COVID-19 NEW WORLD CONFIGURATION AND CLIMATE CHANGE ACTIONS: TWO URGENT PRIORITIES April 10, 2020
SAUDI ARABIA’S WORLD IS COMING UNDONE
Payne Fellow Liam Denning, Bloomberg Opinion, writes how bulls are banking on the kingdom this week, but its future role could be far more disruptive. Saudi Arabia is having a regular week: Facing off against Russia, taking phone calls from the U.S. president and supposedly cobbling together a plan to save the (oil) world. On Thursday, it will preside over an emergency meeting of OPEC+; the next day, a virtual gathering of G20 energy ministers. As opportunities to strut the global stage go, this one comes at a big cost: Like most oil exporters, the country faces a cataclysmic drop in demand. But this isn’t just about the money. April 8, 2020.
COVID-19 – THE GLOBAL SOUTH MUST NOT BE FORGOTTEN
While the media focuses on countries hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic — China, United States, Italy and South Korea — relatively less news emerges from the bulk of the world’s population living in developing countries. The United Nations is doing its best to highlight the grim prospects of those 70 million people who are displaced and now live in refugee camps or urban slums. April 5, 2020.
THE KURDISTAN REGION OF IRAQ TOUGHENS UP ON OIL SMUGGLING
Payne Fellow Peri-Khan Aqrawi-Whitcomb comments on how the COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc without regard to geographic boundaries, attacking almost every sphere of our public and private lives, and unveiling some of the world’s major shortcomings. Those shortcomings include institutional capacity and good governance. As a result, there is a rapid global spread of the virus due to, inter alia, a lack of adequate coordination, transparency, cooperation, preparedness, and inadequate mitigation policies—all exacerbated by economic greed and short-sightedness. This Comment considers the analogies between global diseases and illicit trade (with a focus on oil in Iraqi Kurdistan). Both have penetrated the world in a way that no region is immune, and the best cure is good governance and cooperation on a global and local scale. April 2, 2020.
MINING THE ENERGY TRANSITION
Jordy Lee and Morgan Bazilian explain why supply chain disruptions from COVID-19 are indicative of larger problems withing the mining industry. Without holding mining Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reports to a higher standard, the developmental changes and supply chain transparency required for a low-carbon future are unnecessarily constrained. April 2, 2020.
THE UNITED STATES MINERAL SUPPLY INSECURITY AND DEPENDENCE ON RARE EARTH ELEMENTS
Despite the trade war with China and the outbreak of the Coronavirus, the United States of America (U.S) faces the continuous problem of resource dependence and resource insecurity of its processed Rare Earth mineral supply chain. The latter problem arises for three reasons: First, is the import reliance on Chinese processed Rare Earth supply to the United States. Second, is the negligence of the U.S in developing its own mining sector. Third, is the disconnect between mineral strategy and policy. The aim of this brief to shed an understanding on the current U.S capacity to refine Rare Earths, and to provide recommendations to achieve a sustainable industry. April 1, 2020.
THE SHRINKING PATH FORWARD FOR U.S. OILFIELD SERVICES
The recent oil price collapse is setting the stage for yet another steep decline in revenue and profit for the U.S. Oilfield Services (OFS) sector. As challenging as it will be for U.S. OFS companies to weather this storm, it represents just another blow to a sector already beleaguered by its and its customers’ inability to deliver adequate financial returns and longer-term demand uncertainty given climate change (decarbonization) concerns. All of these threaten to shrink and transform OFS in the years to come. March 31, 2020.
COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND THE GLOBAL ECONOMY
Payne Institute Fellow Jamal Saghir writes a timely commentary. When some experts described the COVID-19 pandemic as the most dangerous global challenge since World War II, potentially overshadowing the 2008-2009 financial crisis- they were correct. Although disasters diverge in their causes and scope of impact, they are connected by the necessity for coordinated international, regional, national, and local responses. The world is on the verge of major economic recession and the impact on every country, rich or poor, will be tremendous unless early actions are implemented quickly. March 30, 2020.
THE OIL PRICE COLLAPSE COULD RESHAPE GLOBAL NATURAL GAS MARKETS
The inability of Russia and Saudi Arabia to agree on production quotas for countries that are not part of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (referred to as OPEC+ countries), and the subsequent price collapse in oil markets, promises to reshape global energy markets. The timing is not good. The demand shock from the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic (commonly known as COVID-19) has led the International Energy Agency to estimate that 2020 will see the first contraction in oil demand since the Great Recession. The causes and consequences of the oil price drop have been well discussed. However, the impact on other energy markets, particularly global liquefied natural gas (LNG) markets, is relatively under covered and more nuanced. March 27, 2020.
THESE IMAGES SHOW THE IMPACT OF CORONAVIRUS ON ELECTRICITY DEMAND IN CHINESE CITIES
The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and the disease it causes (COVID-19) have caused significant disruptions to markets around the world since the virus was first identified in Wuhan City in China in late 2019. In the energy sector, the impact has been most apparent in the dramatic fall in oil demand in China. The Payne Institute’s Earth Observation Group is using satellite images to view the decrease in electricity usage in key Chinese cities due to COVID-19. March 25, 2020.
HOW TO MAKE THE ECONOMIC STIMULUS GREAT
The current COVID-19 pandemic has both public health and economic dimensions and the two are deeply interconnected. Some consensus on various key policy stages are emerging from initial lock-downs, from ensuring massive testing and mobilization of manufacturing for items like ventilators and personal protection equipment, to emergency stabilization, and economic stimulus. March 24, 2020.
COVID-19 IS A REMINDER THAT INTERCONNECTIVITY IS UNAVOIDABLE
The spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been a disaster for the economy, shown weaknesses in public health systems, and killed several thousand people worldwide. It has also made clear how interconnected the modern world has become. Walls are futile for preventing the rapid movement of the virus around the globe. March 12, 2020.
OIL PRICE COLLAPSE COULD CUT DEEPLY INTO WELD COUNTY JOBS, TAX REVENUE
As Occidental Petroleum, county’s largest oil producer, loses half its stock price Monday; a series of oil announcements halfway around the world has cratered global oil prices, and they could reverberate through Weld County’s economy and tax coffers over the next several years. March 9, 2020.
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