Research

A Data-Driven Approach to Evaluation of Sustainability Reporting Practices in Extractive Industries 8/4/2021

A Data-Driven Approach to Evaluation of Sustainability Reporting Practices in Extractive Industries

Cansu Perdeli Demirkan, Payne Institute Faculty Fellows Nicole Smith and Sebnem Duzgun, and Aurora Waclawski write about how sustainability reporting is one of the tools that contribute to incorporating sustainable development in the design of extractive operations (i.e., “Design for Sustainability”), and the demand for sustainability reports is increasing due to the increased focus on sustainable development and sustainable financing efforts. The extractive industries are believed to have unique strengths to
contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. August 4, 2021.  

Orbital Sustainment and Space Mobility Logistics 7/21/2021

Orbital Sustainment and Space Mobility Logistics

Mines Student Alexander Jehle and Payne Institute Faculty Fellow George Sowers write about how water is the “oil” of space. Water, H2O – two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen, can be used as a steam or plasma propellant for spacecraft and space tugs and be split into hydrogen and oxygen as a chemical rocket propellant. Water is ubiquitous in the inner solar system and exists as ice on the Moon. Recent research indicates lunar water can be economically mined, processed, and exported into cislunar space. Refueling space vehicles using space-sourced propellant breaks the tyranny of the rocket equation, lowering the cost of missions beyond low Earth orbit. This paper describes cislunar propellant distribution architecture anchored by a logistics node at the first Earth-Moon Lagrange point.  July 21, 2021.  

Enhancing Military and Commercial Spacepower through Nuclear

Enhancing Military and Commercial Spacepower through Nuclear

Payne Institute Fellow Alex Gilbert writes about how the strategic competition among great powers is increasing the importance of maintaining and increasing U.S. national power in outer space. The United States, Russia, and China are all pursuing space reactors and nuclear rockets but spacepower and associated theories have yet to fully consider how space nuclear technologies enable national space capabilities. Similarly, the role of space nuclear energy in the Department of Defense (DOD) – namely, the U.S. Space Force planning remains unclear. This article examines space nuclear energy’s contribution to U.S. national power. July 20, 2021.

BOOTLEG FIRE – LARGEST ACTIVE FIRE IN US 7/16/2021

BOOTLEG FIRE – LARGEST ACTIVE FIRE IN US

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group student worker Elijah Mt. Castle writes about the Bootleg fire in Oregon, the largest active fire in the United States. The fire started on July 6th and has burned 232,763 acres since it started. The fire has destroyed 21 homes and 54 other structures and is threatening 1,900 others. Drought, high temperatures, and high winds have severely hampered fire suppression efforts.  July 16, 2021.

Critically exploring the future of gaseous energy carriers 7/14/2021

Critically exploring the future of gaseous energy carriers

Payne Institute Fellow Dolf Gielen and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how opinions are divided if natural gas is a boon or bane in the context of climate change mitigation. This article explores the arguments around what role this fuel, and so called “green gas” will play in a future energy mix. The analysis splits the natural gas resource from the associated infrastructure, and argues that the pipeline infrastructure may have an important role to play in the transition. Green gas has emerged as a solution that may play an important role in the future, provided costs can be reduced further. Both “green” and “blue” hydrogen, as well as biomethane are explored in this context. July 14, 2021.  

STATE OF COLORADO EXPERIENCES WORST WILDFIRE SEASON IN 2020 6/14/2021

STATE OF COLORADO EXPERIENCES WORST WILDFIRE SEASON IN 2020

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group has the capability to look at the devastation created by fires with their VIIRS Nightfire systems.    2020 was the worst fire season on record for the State of Colorado. The Cameron Peak Fire, rated as the state’s largest, broke records by consuming 208,663 acres, forced evacuation of over 20,000 residents, and burnt a sizeable portion of Rocky Mountain National Park. Not far behind was the Pine Gulch fire, which burnt 139,007 acres. In total, 625,356 acres burnt in 2020 across Colorado.  June 14, 2021.  

VIIRS Boat Detection Data (VBD) 6/8/2021

VIIRS Boat Detection Data (VBD)

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group Director Christopher Elvidge and his researchers produce global fishing boat detection data in near-real time from low light imaging data collected by the NASA / NOAA Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). The detections are produced with a nominal four-hour temporal latency – with files typically ready by 06:00 local time. Most of the detections come from vessels deploying heavy lighting to attract catch. This is a common practice in Asia and several other areas. EOG send email alerts on vessel detections in marine protected areas to government agencies and NGO’s in Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand.  June 8, 2021. 

Comparative analysis of selected African natural gas markets and related policies 6/7/2021

Comparative analysis of selected African natural gas markets and related policies

John Ayaburi, Shashwat Sharma, and Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian write about how natural gas discoveries in emerging economies have changed the global gas map dramatically over the last 15 years.  Understanding these policy dynamics is not only critical to effective resource utilization but also critical as the world commits to ending energy poverty.  June 7, 2021.

Cascading risks: Understanding the 2021 winter blackout in Texas 6/2/2021

Cascading risks: Understanding the 2021 winter blackout in Texas

Payne Fellow Joshua W. Busby, Kyri Baker, Director Morgan D. Bazilian, Fellow Alex Q. Gilbert, Emily Grubert, Varun Rai, Joshua D. Rhodes, Sarang Shidore, Caitlin A. Smith, and Michael E. Webber write about the Texas freeze of February 2021 that left more than 4.5 million customers (more than 10 million people) without electricity at its peak, some for several days.  This piece offers a retrospective on what caused the blackouts and the knock-on effects on other services, the subsequent financial and political effects of the freeze, and the implications for Texas and the country going forward. June 2, 2021.

Talking Transition: Putting a stop to flaring 5/20/2021

Talking Transition: Putting a stop to flaring

The Payne Institute continues our partnership with the World Bank and OGCI to put a stop to global gas flaring.  Flaring is the most visible part of the decarbonization challenge in the oil and gas industry. It causes both carbon dioxide and methane emissions, it wastes valuable energy – and aside from unavoidable safety measures it can be stopped.  May 20, 2021.

MULTIPLE WILDFIRES IN MANITOBA CONTAINED 5/19/2021

MULTIPLE WILDFIRES IN MANITOBA CONTAINED

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group student worker Elijah Mt. Castle writes about how the Canadian province of Manitoba has been experiencing multiple wildfires over the last couple of weeks. Dry conditions are to blame for the fires. As of May 14th, all blazes have been contained. The most recent wildfire sparked the 13th and grew to around 80 hectares (198 acres). May 19, 2021.  

Arabian Night Lights 5/17/2021

Arabian Night Lights

The Payne Institute Earth Observation Group’s VIIRS nighttime light research is featured in this article about how Satellite views of Earth at night have proven useful for disaster response and recovery, for detection of population changes and urban development, for studies of energy consumption, and many other uses. Since the 2011 launch of the NOAA-NASA Suomi NPP satellite—as night light data have become freely available to scientists and the public within hours of acquisition—the applications have proliferated.  May 17, 2021.

Colorado oil and gas company aims to produce “cleanest molecules” anywhere 5/13/2021

Colorado oil and gas company aims to produce “cleanest molecules” anywhere

The Payne Institute Earth Observation Group continues our partnership with Project Canary with continuous monitoring of well sites, by collecting the data to provide an independent analysis of the information. Crestone Peak has teamed up with Project Canary to track emissions; however, environmentalists say regulations are still needed.  Amid escalating worries about climate change and pollution from oil and gas operations, Colorado’s largest electric utility is going to buy natural gas from a company that is continuously monitoring its emissions and working to certify its product as responsible. Xcel Energy said Wednesday that it will buy some of its gas for use in Colorado from Denver-based Crestone Peak Resources as part of a pilot project to show that it’s dedicated to delivering “a cleaner energy product.” Xcel was the first utility in the country to announce a goal of delivering carbon-free electricity.  May 13, 2021.

Gas Flaring Declined in 2020, Study Finds 5/10/2021

The Payne Institute Earth Observation Group provided the satellite data research analysis for the recently released World Bank Global Gas Flaring Tracker Report in April 2021.  According to the GGFR, gas flaring worldwide decreased by 5 percent in the pandemic year, mostly because of lower demand for oil. May 10, 2021.

Of actors, cities and energy systems: advancing the transformative potential of urban electrification 5/6/2021

Of actors, cities and energy systems advancing the transformative potential of urban electrification

Patricia Romero-Lankao, Alana Wilson, Joshua Sperling, Clark Miller, Daniel Zimny-Schmitt, Benjamin Sovacool, Chris Gearhart, Matteo Muratori, Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian, and Daniel Zünd write about how the electrification of transportation and the integration of electric vehicles (EVs) with buildings connected to clean grids has been touted as one of the key solutions to the global decarbonization challenge. Cities are on the frontlines of current and future electrification, as they depend on and drive electricity generation, distribution, and use.  May 6, 2021.

Fostering Effective Energy Transition 2021 edition 4/20/2021

Fostering Effective Energy Transition 2021 edition

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributes to the World Economic Forum‘s Fostering Effective Energy Transition 2021 report on how as countries continue their progress in transitioning to clean energy, it is critical to root the transition in economic, political and social practices to ensure progress is irreversible. The Energy Transition Index, which benchmarks 115 countries on the performance of their energy systems, finds that while 92 of the countries increased their score over the past 10 years, only 10% of countries were able to make consistent gains, showing the need for renewed focus and resilience to meet the climate goals of the next decade. April 20, 2021.

Frozen Out in Texas: Blackouts and Inequity 4/14/2021

Frozen Out in Texas: Blackouts and Inequity

JP Carvallo, Payne Institute Earth Observation Group Researcher Feng Chi Hsu,  Zeal Shah, and Jay Taneja write about how in February, blackouts in the Texas power grid left over 4.5 million customers in the dark, many of them for several days. A substantial amount of these blackouts were transmission disconnections and emergency load shedding events triggered by ERCOT, the entity in charge of ensuring a reliable supply of electricity in Texas. In this analysis, we use satellite data on nighttime lights to track blackouts at the census block group (CBG) level and correlate it with demographic data to understand how equitable these blackouts were.  April 14, 2021.

Optimality versus reality: Closing the gap between renewable energy decision models and government deployment in the United States 4/12/2021

Optimality versus reality: Closing the gap between renewable energy decision models and government deployment in the United States

National Renewable Energy Laboratory Kate Anderson, Maggie Nevrly, Emma Elgqvist, and Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian write about the energy decision models that are widely used to evaluate the technical and economic feasibility of renewable energy, as well as to help inform the deployment of these technologies. However, a gap exists between the optimal model solutions and what is deployed. April 12, 2021.

Comparative Analysis of Selected African Natural Gas Markets and Related Policies

Comparative Analysis of Selected African Natural Gas Markets and Related Policies

John Ayaburi, Shashwat Sharma, Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Dr. Greer Gosnell, and Director Morgan D. Bazilian write about the discovery of natural gas resources across the African continent that have inspired debate on how such resources should be developed and best utilized. In several African countries, the discovery of commercial quantities of natural gas reserves has led governments to explore a number of strategies, investments, and policy directions. Two contrasting cases are that of Nigeria, which has pursued policies promoting domestic natural gas consumption and export, and Ghana, which has focused on encouraging sectoral-level domestic consumption.  April 5, 2021.

Black carbon emissions from flaring in Russia in the period 2012–2017 4/2/2021

Black carbon emissions from flaring in Russia in the period 2012–2017

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group Dr. Mikhail Zhizhin’s (and others) research shows how gas flaring in the oil and gas industry has been identified as an important source of anthropogenic black carbon (BC) affecting the climate, particularly in the Arctic. Our study provides spatially-explicit estimates of BC emissions from flaring in Russia utilising state-of-the-art methodology for determining the emission factors. We utilised satellite time series of the flared gas volume from Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) for the period 2012 to 2017, supplemented with information on the gas and oil field type.  April 2, 2021.

Mobilizing Investment for Clean Energy in Emerging Economies 4/1/2021

Mobilizing Investment for Clean Energy in Emerging Economies

The Payne Institute is proud to be a partner organization with the World Economic Forum on their new initiative Mobilizing Investment for Clean Energy in Emerging Economies. Accelerating clean energy transitions is a global imperative for the world to address the climate emergency. The decarbonization of energy production and use will require trillions of dollars to be invested in the deployment of new clean energy capacity and energy efficiency, as well as to retire existing carbon-intensive energy infrastructure that would otherwise lock-in emissions for decades. April 1, 2021.

CARGO VESSELS WAITING TO PASS THE SUEZ CANAL DOUBLED IN 24 HOURS 3/26/2021

CARGO VESSELS WAITING TO PASS THE SUEZ CANAL DOUBLED IN 24 HOURS

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group Research Associate Feng Chi Hsu looks at the Ever Given, one of the largest cargo vessels in operation, that has been stuck in the Suez Canal for days, via satellite.  The vessel blocks the two-way traffic of the canal, which has caused the number of cargo vessels waiting to pass through the canal to double in 24 hours from March 25th to 26th, 2021.  March 26, 2021.

The rise of electric vehicles—2020 status and future expectations 3/25/2021

The rise of electric vehicles—2020 status and future expectations

Matteo Muratori, Marcus Alexander, Doug Arent, Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian, Ercan M. Dede, John Farrell, Chis Gearhart, David Greene, Alan Jenn, Matthew Keyser, Timothy Lipman, Sreekant Narumanchi, Ahmad Pesaran, Ramteen Sioshansi, Emilia Suomalainen, Gil Tal, Kevin Walkowicz, and Jacob Ward wrote this article about how electric vehicles (EVs) are experiencing a rise in popularity over the past few years as the technology has matured and costs have declined, and support for clean transportation has promoted awareness, increased charging opportunities, and facilitated EV adoption.  This detailed review paints a positive picture for the future of EVs for on-road transportation, and the authors remain hopeful that remaining technology, regulatory, societal, behavioral, and business-model barriers can be addressed over time to support a transition toward cleaner, more efficient, and affordable transportation solutions for all.  March 25, 2021.

The material foundations of a low-carbon economy 3/19/2021

The material foundations of a low-carbon economy

Payne Institute Program Manager Jordy Lee, Senior Research Associate Sara Hastings-Simon, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how the transition to a low-carbon environment is rapidly accelerating and with it the potential for severe environmental and social degradation. The extraction and processing of key materials have already begun to affect developing economies, and policy changes are essential to ensuring a just transition.  March 19, 2021.

Why don’t environmental bonds fully cover reclamation costs? 3/17/2021

Why don’t environmental bonds fully cover reclamation costs?

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Graham Davis and Peifang Yang write about how governments often require that extractive industry firms post environmental bonds as financial assurance to cover eventual reclamation liabilities. Such bond requirements frequently do not fully cover the reclamation cost. We show that a revenue-maximizing government may reasonably require a bond amount smaller than the full reclamation cost.  March 17, 2021.  

SPACE: THE FINAL FRONTIER—IN TECHNOLOGY 3/15/2021

SPACE: THE FINAL FRONTIER—IN TECHNOLOGY

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Angel Abbud-Madrid on the Mines Conveyor podcast discussing how space is the edge, is the frontier in technology. And space being infinite, that means you have an infinite amount of opportunities in which to get involved with the most advanced technology with discoveries and with possibilities that, in his own opinion, no other field can match.  March 15, 2021.

Annual Time Series of Global VIIRS Nighttime Lights Derived from Monthly Averages: 2012 to 2019 3.2.2021

Annual Time Series of Global VIIRS Nighttime Lights Derived from Monthly Averages 2012 to 2019

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group researchers Director Christopher Elvidge, Mikhail Zhizhin, Tilottama Ghosh, Feng-Chi Hsu, and Jay Taneja have released their new research – a consistently processed annual global nighttime lights time series (2012–2019) that was produced using monthly cloud-free radiance averages made from low light imaging day/night band (DNB) data collected by the NASA/NOAA Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). The processing steps are modified from the original methods developed to produce annual nighttime lights products from nightly data. Only two years of VIIRS nighttime lights (VNL) were produced with the V.1 methods: 2015 and 2016. Here they report on methods used to produce a V.2 VNL time series from the monthly averages with filtering to remove extraneous features such as biomass burning, aurora, and background.  March 2, 2021.

Mt. Etna Erupts 4 Times in Four Days 2/26/2021

Mt. Etna Erupts 4 Times in Four Days

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group student worker Elijah Mt. Castle writes about how Mt. Etna, in the Sicilian province of Catania, has been intermediately erupting for four days now. The eruptions began on February 16th 2021. At this time the volcano is no danger to any of the surrounding villages and the lava is flowing into the uninhabited valley below the summit.  February 26, 2021.

Understanding and Disrupting Key Convergence Nodes of the Illicit Gold and Mercury Supply Chains in Latin America and Africa 2/18/2021

Understanding and Disrupting Key Convergence Nodes of the Illicit Gold and Mercury Supply Chains in Latin America and Africa

Payne Institute Faculty Fellows Nicole Smith, Sebnem Duzgun, Strategy and Operations Manager Greg Clough, William Soud, and Katy Seguin have received an NSF award for their research on “Disrupting Operations of Illicit Supply Networks (D-ISN)” that will enhance national health, prosperity and welfare by contributing to a better understanding of illicit supply chains and the ability to detect, disrupt, and disable them. The project involves an examination and comparison of key convergence nodes in the global supply chains for illicit gold and mercury in Latin America and Africa. It specifically focuses on Peru and Kenya because of the similar characteristics they share on their respective continents as important trading hubs to other regional markets via both air and maritime transport, as well as acting as trading hubs for other illicit commodities and goods.  February 18, 2021.

Climate change and industrial F-gases: A critical and systematic review of developments, sociotechnical systems and policy options for reducing synthetic greenhouse gas emissions 2/13/2021

Climate change and industrial F-gases: A critical and systematic review of developments, sociotechnical systems and policy options for reducing synthetic greenhouse gas emissions

Benjamin K. Sovacool, Payne Institute Fellow Steve Griffiths, Jinsoo Kim, and Morgan Bazilian write about how humanity has come to depend on synthetic, factory made gases that have extremely significant global warming potential. Fluorinated greenhouse gases, or F-gases, such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) have been termed “super pollutants” and “super greenhouse gases” given their severe and powerful impact on the climate.   February 13, 2021.

Gravity Wave over United States 2/7/2021

Gravity Wave over United States

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group student worker Elijah Mt. Castle has detected a propagation of a gravity wave in cloud cover over the Eastern United States. A gravity wave is a wave generated in a fluid by the force of gravity or buoyancy attempting to restore equilibrium in the medium, i.e. the waves are caused by the fluid attempting to return to its resting place.   February 7, 2021.

HAWAIIAN VOLCANO BECOMES ACTIVE ONCE MORE 2/3/2021

HAWAIIAN VOLCANO BECOMES ACTIVE ONCE MORE

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group student worker Elijah Mt. Castle looks at the Hawaiian volcano Kīlauea that has become active. Kīlauea has been erupting since December 30th 2020. All lava flows are currently in the uninhabited lava lake and pose no threat. Kīlauea last erupted in 2018, when it erupted for 3 months straight. It was believed that a volcano the size of Kīlauea would only stop erupting when it was out of magma. February 3, 2021.

RAISING GLOBAL ENERGY AMBITIONS: THE 1,000 KWH MODERN ENERGY MINIMUM 1/26/2021

RAISING GLOBAL ENERGY AMBITIONS: THE 1,000 KWH MODERN ENERGY MINIMUM

Payne Institute Fellows Todd Moss, Johannes Urpelainen, Director Morgan Bazilian, and others write about how energy is fundamental to modern living and any competitive prosperous economy. The SDG7 calls for modern energy for all, but the indicator for tracking progress against this goal is meeting a very low level of residential electricity consumption.  They propose a new Modern Energy Minimum of 1,000 kWh per person per year, inclusive of both household and non-household electricity consumption.  January 26, 2021.

A Big Year for Transformational Change 1/25/2021

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 1/22/2021

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.  

Changing behaviour is the key to solving the climate challenge 1/21/2021

Changing behaviour is the key to solving the climate challenge

Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Greer Gosnell and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how American citizens in their everyday lives are driving 40–50% of US emissions. How can policymakers encourage choices—from household energy efficiency investments to vehicle purchases—that are consistent with climate goals?  January 21, 2021.  

Initial Findings from Continuous Monitoring of Oil and Gas Operations 1/13/2021

Initial Findings from Continuous Monitoring of Oil and Gas Operations

Payne Institute Researcher William Daniels, Faculty Fellows James Crompton and Dorit Hammerling, and Director Morgan Bazilian look at the wide deployment of air quality monitoring technology, we can better address greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas industry. There is considerable public pressure, industry engagement, and government regulation surrounding the push for more sophisticated and transparent monitoring. While much focus has been given to the technological development of monitoring devices and the use of airplane and LDAR resources, less focus has been given to the data acquisition, management, and analysis from these monitoring technologies. This paper presents an exploratory analysis of continuous monitoring data from two oil and gas sites in Colorado.  January 13, 2021.

COUNTRY WIDE POWER OUTAGE IN PAKISTAN 1/11/2021

COUNTRY WIDE POWER OUTAGE IN PAKISTAN

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group’s Feng Chi Hsu and Elijah Mt. Castle satellite research showed that Pakistan’s national power grid experienced a blackout lasting 18 hours in most areas. The power failure was caused by “an engineering fault” in southern Pakistan. The fault engaged safety systems across the grid and shut down the power plants across the country. The blackout left millions of people in the dark.  January 11, 2021.  

Progress towards a circular economy in materials to decarbonize electricity and mobility 12/11/2020

Progress towards a circular economy in materials to decarbonize electricity and mobility

Payne Institute Fellows Dustin Mulvaney, Sridhar Seetharaman, Director Morgan D.Bazilian, Strategy and Operations Manager Greg Clough, Ryan M.Richards, and Erin Hensley write about how over 90% of the global economy continues to use natural resources unsustainably. The linear “take-make-toss” approach to materials use still prevails over circular economy and industrial ecology ideas in practice. The shift to renewable energy is one step towards building an economy on more circular material flows. But the materials needed to decarbonize electricity and mobility are supplied by mining and extractives industries, places where impacts from natural resource extraction can be most severe. Manufacturers of wind turbines, photovoltaics, batteries and vehicles—critical technologies to the clean energy transition—still primarily rely on feedstocks and inputs from natural resources as opposed to waste for processing and production. December 11, 2020.  

5 years after Paris: How countries’ climate policies match up to their promises, and who’s aiming for net zero emissions 12/10/2020

5 years after Paris: How countries’ climate policies match up to their promises, and who’s aiming for net zero emissions

Payne Institute Fellow Dolf Gielen and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how bold visions for slowing global warming have emerged from all over the world. Less clear is how countries will meet them, as this month marks the fifth anniversary of the Paris climate agreement – the commitment by almost every country to try to keep global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius.  December 10, 2020.

THE ROAD TO NET-ZERO FINANCE 12/9/2020

The road to Net-Zero Finance

Payne Institute Fellow Ben Caldecott was part of the Advisory Group on Finance for the UK’s Climate Change Committee that prepared this report The Road to Net-Zero that critically assesses the UK financial system’s ability to deliver a Net Zero target. The report comprises independent advice of a panel of experts from world-leading financial institutions to the Climate Change Committee to accompany its Sixth Carbon Budget.  December 9, 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.
Spanish Version

Energy and environment If you build it, they will electrify? 12/7/2020

Energy and environment – If you build it, they will electrify?

Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Dr. Sara Hastings-Simon writes about how electric vehicle (EV) sales are rising sharply around the world but the impact on total stock of vehicles to date remains modest. An examination of the growing number of EV model types available suggests this is likely to change soon as the availability of EV models is both a reflection of the degree of commitment of auto manufacturers, as well as a driver of overall sales. December 7, 2020. 

Sustainable Energy Transitions: Socio-Ecological Dimensions of Decarbonization 12/3/2020

Sustainable Energy Transitions: Socio-Ecological Dimensions of Decarbonization

Payne Institute Fellow Dustin Mulvaney has published a new book titled Sustainable Energy Transitions: Socio-Ecological Dimensions of Decarbonization.  This textbook introduces the key concepts that underpin sustainable energy transitions. Starting with the basic biophysical principles, current sources and environmental consequences of existing energy resource use, the book takes readers through the key questions and topics needed to understand, prescribe, and advocate just and sustainable energy solutions.  December 3, 2020.

Foreword to the Special Issue on Advances in Remote Sensing of Nighttime Lights: Progresses, Challenges, and Perspectives 12/3/2020

Foreword to the Special Issue on Advances in Remote Sensing of Nighttime Lights: Progresses, Challenges, and Perspectives

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group Director Dr. Christopher Elvidge, Bailang Yu, Yuyu Zhou, Christopher Small, and Zuoqi Chen are editors for the special issue that focus’ on the technology of nighttime sensor lighting. Nighttime light (NTL) data provides unique observations of our Earth and receives increasing attentions from a variety of fields such as remote sensing, GIS, and urban planning. Since 1990s, the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program— Operational Linescan System (DMSP-OLS) NTL data have been explored to monitor human activities. Recently, new NTL satellites such as NPP-VIIRS, International Space Station (ISS), EROS-B, Jilin 1-3B, and Luojia 1-01, with better spatial and temporal resolutions, and even multispectral information, have been launched. December 3, 2020.

A MILLION HECTARES BURNED IN BOLIVIA 11/24/2020

A MILLION HECTARES BURNED IN BOLIVIA

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group student worker Elijah Mt. Castle writes about the fire season that has been devastating across the world. Bolivia has reported that 1.4 million hectares of land have been burned from forest fires this year. As of October 8th there are 57 active wildfires in the country. Bolivian officials have opened over 450 cases against individuals accused of starting various fires. 20 of these cases are criminal charges. November 24, 2020.

Satellite Imagery Used for Electricity Consumption Forecasting in Africa For the First Time in New Service 11/24/2020

Satellite Imagery Used for Electricity Consumption Forecasting in Africa For the First Time in New Service

The Payne Institute is a proud partner with the Rockefeller Foundation in providing satellite imagery from our Earth Observation Group for the Electricity Consumption Prediction service for Africa that has been launched today by the e-GUIDE Initiative. The service, which will be freely available, provides estimates of future electricity consumption at high spatial resolution, and combines satellite imagery with historic and big data sources. The service improves the planning and provision of electricity towards ending energy poverty, helping to direct investments and scale projects that support the economic recovery of communities devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The e-GUIDE Initiative is a collaboration between The Rockefeller Foundation, UMass Amherst, Columbia University, Carnegie Mellon University, the Rochester Institute of Technology, and Colorado School of Mines.  November 24, 2020.  

Local-content rules for renewables projects don’t always work 11/16/2020

Local-content rules for renewables projects don’t always work

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian, Victoria Cuming, and Thomas Kenyon write about some countries with large renewables markets have sought to create domestic supply chains and jobs by implementing local-content requirements. The focus is on three key renewables markets with local-content requirements – Brazil, India and South Africa – and analyze whether these rules have helped create local manufacturing capacity or benefited local companies.  November 16, 2020.

 

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.