To continue reading

Create a free account or sign in to unlock more free articles.

By continuing, you agree to the Terms of Service and acknowledge our Privacy Policy

Sparks

Dubai Is a Crappy Place to Have a Climate Protest

Demonstrators at COP28 have found their options severely limited.

Protesters at COP28.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Political protests are a staple of COP summits. Thousands of climate activists descend on the event each year to call for stronger global commitments to building renewables and quitting fossil fuels.

But at COP28, United Arab Emirates laws restricting speech and banning most forms of public protest have constrained where and how people can speak out. Demonstrations are only permitted in areas managed by the UN, known as the “blue zone,” and have to be approved before they can take place.

“We have to say how loud we’re going to be, what’s going to be written on the banners. We’re not allowed to name countries and corporations. So it’s really a very sanitized space,” Lise Masson, an organizer at Friends of the Earth International, told the Associated Press last week.

Pre-approved rallies went on throughout last week. But as negotiations intensified over the weekend, the demonstrations did, too. Activists declared Saturday a day of protest, the AP said. A group of about 25 people called for the release of pro-democracy prisoners staged what Reuters called a “very rare” UAE protest, while 500 people urged a ceasefire in Gaza. That’s not to say those demonstrations were unrestrained, however. Pro-democracy protesters were not allowed to display detainees’ names, and ceasefire demonstrators were barred from naming Israel or Hamas.

Also on Saturday, a small number of climate activists staged a brief sit-in at OPEC’s pavilion after the oil cartel allegedly directed its members to reject any agreement involving phasing out fossil fuels, The New York Times reported. And as anger simmered over Monday’s watered-down global stocktake draft — which does not mention a fossil fuel phase-out — climate activists continued to chafe against the restrictions on their ability to protest during the summit’s final hours.

Ahead of the draft release, a line of silent activists held signs pushing countries to “hold the line” on the phaseout. One protester, however, refused to follow the pre-approved plan. Licypriya Kangujam, a 12-year-old climate activist from India, ran onto the stage after the “hold the line” protest on Monday, shouting and brandishing a sign that read, “End fossil fuel. Save our planet and our future.” Kangujam was detained and eventually removed from the summit, according to posts from her account on X.

Yellow

Nicole Pollack

Nicole Pollack is a freelance environmental journalist who writes about energy, agriculture, and climate change. She is based in Northeast Ohio. Read More

Read More

To continue reading

Create a free account or sign in to unlock more free articles.

By continuing, you agree to the Terms of Service and acknowledge our Privacy Policy

Sparks

Coal’s Slowdown Is Slowing Down

Rising electricity demand puts reliability back on the table.

Pollution.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

The United States has been able to drive its greenhouse gas emissions to their lowest level since the early 1990s largely by reducing the amount of energy on the grid generated by coal to a vast extent. In 2005, by far the predominant source of U.S. electricity, making up some 2.2 million gigawatt-hours of the country’s 4.3 million GWh total energy consumption, according to the International Energy Agency. In 2022, by contrast, coal generation was down to 900,000 GWh out of 4.5 million GWh generated. As a result, “U.S. emissions are 15.8% lower than 2005 levels, while power emissions are 40% lower than 2005 levels,” according to BloombergNEF and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy.

But the steady retirement of coal plants may be slowing down. Only 2.3 GW of coal generating capacity are set to be shut down so far in 2024, according to the Energy Information Administration. While in 2025, that number is expect to jump up to 10.9 GW, the combined 13.2 GW of retired capacity pales in comparison of the more than 22 GW retired in the past two years, according to EIA figures. Over the past decade, coal retirements have averaged about 10 GW a year, with actual retirements often outpacing forecasts.

Keep reading...Show less
Blue
Sparks

Trump Thinks EV Charging Will Cost $3 Trillion — Which Is Incorrect

Nor will charging infrastructure ”bankrupt” the U.S.

Electric car charging.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Shortly after being fined $350 million (more than $450 million, including interest) over fraudulent business practices and then booed at Sneaker Con, former President Donald Trump traveled to Waterford, Michigan, where he said some incorrect things about electric vehicles.

Even by Trump’s recent standards, Saturday’s Waterford rally was a bit kooky. During his nearly hour-and-a-half-long speech, the former president claimed that his opponents are calling him a whale (“I don’t know if they meant a whale from the standpoint of being a little heavy, or a whale because I got a lot of money”) and, improbably, claimed not to have known what the word “indictment” meant.

Keep reading...Show less
Blue
Sparks

This Chicken Named Potato Will Teach Your Kids About Climate Change

A chicken from the future, to be clear.

Future Chicken.
Heatmap Illustration/CBC, Getty Images

If I told you there was a chicken named Potato who was going to teach our kids about climate change, would you think I was kidding? Either way, I’m here to inform you that Future Chicken, an “ECOtainment platform” co-created by Catherine Winder and Annabel Slaight, launched last year, including original content like a TV show that airs on CBC and YouTube, games, and a podcast, all aimed at warding off climate doom and instead highlighting climate solutions.

Winder and Slaight have, to put it mildly, impressive resumes, with Slaight having been an executive producer of The Big Comfy Couch and Winder a force behind multiple Angry Birds movies. The show’s premise is fun, and was actually thought up by kids. The main character is a chicken (named Potato) from the year 2050, a time when climate change has seemingly been solved. She travels back and forth between the future and the present, sometimes talking about the solutions of her time.

Keep reading...Show less
Yellow
HMN Banner
Get today’s top climate story delivered right to your inbox.

Sign up for our free Heatmap Daily newsletter.