Sam Morgan The Jolt - 03/November/2023

The Jolt: Time to bring net-zero forward?

In Friday’s edition of The Jolt, the new series from FORESIGHT Climate & Energy, Sam looks at whether the European Union could bring forward its 2050 net-zero date, plus wind energy stays stuck in the doldrums


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Welcome to today’s episode of The Jolt by FORESIGHT Climate & Energy. In a world underpinned by climate and energy stories, it is sometimes hard to cut through the cacophony of noise and get to the news you need to hear.

This is where The Jolt comes in. Tune in on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for bite-sized updates, expert analysis and a global view.

We kick off with a look at the major global climate and energy news stories.


What you need to know

Here are some of the main climate and energy stories making the news around the world:

  • Danish energy company Ørsted has cancelled two US offshore projects, citing tax credit and supply chain issues. Its share price tumbled 26% and credit raters are considering a downgrade.
  • US energy firm Duke Energy is breaking ground on a new project that will include the production, storage and combustion of green hydrogen all within one facility. It is due online next year.
  • Portugal powered its electricity grid with 100% renewables this past weekend. Wind and hydropower allowed the Iberian country to meet all of its demand with enough left over to export to Spain.
  • German finance minister Christian Lindner says a planned 2030 coal phaseout date should be pushed back if there is not enough affordable energy available. He has also called for more renewables and domestic gas production.
  • Denmark and Vietnam signed up to a green energy partnership, which will include knowledge-sharing, potential technology transfers and financial support. Danish wind energy know-how will be among the most valuable assets.
  • Kazakhstan signed up to Japan’s joint crediting mechanism (JCM), which will see the Japanese government support decarbonisation efforts in the Central Asian nation. In return, Japan will receive emissions credits to count towards its own green targets.
  • China’s pledge to scale back its funding of overseas coal power projects is starting to come good, according to a report by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air. Up to 4.1 billion tonnes of CO2 has been avoided thanks to measures implemented since 2021.
  • Singapore completed a nearly-two-year-long sustainable aviation fuel trial and will now develop a plan on how to commercialise it. Check out this episode of The Jolt, which looks a little deeper into aviation.
  • And in Australia, the world’s first battery-powered heavy-haul locomotive will be put to work transporting iron ore. With a seven megawatt-hour capacity and regenerative braking, the engine will be used in tandem with diesel trains and is due to enter service in late 2024.


Today’s big story

Time to bring net-zero forward?

Image MidJourney / Prompts FORESIGHT.

  • The EU’s 2050 net-zero target has dictated the rest of its climate and energy policies since it was first proposed in 2018. As the world changes, geopolitics rewrites maps and clean energy technology bucks all expectations, is it time to bring the target date forward?
  • On Monday, we asked you whether you think it is feasible for the European Union to bring forward its 2050 net-zero climate target. Across two separate polls, over half of you voted “no”.
  • Brook Riley, head of EU affairs at Rockwool, says it is a debate worth having and although there is a lack of political appetite right now for more ambition, upcoming talks about what a 2040 target should look like could prove to be crucial.


“We’re in the doldrums when it comes to climate action and ambition”


  • He adds that before the 2050 target was agreed, the idea of net-zero policymaking within the EU also seemed unfeasible. But in just five years, that has changed dramatically.
  • The European Environmental Bureau’s Luke Haywood explains that modelling shows the target can be brought forward to 2040, by ramping up energy efficiency, reducing demand and building out renewables at a quicker pace.


Check out the latest episode of the Policy Dispatch, which focuses on Brazil, as well as our new deep-dive article on why the case for baseload power is being undermined by solar PV.


Audio clip credits:

European Commission audiovisual service


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