In April this year, the Supreme Court asked for power transmission lines in a large swath of grassland between Rajasthan and Gujarat to go underground. The ruling was an effort to save the almost extinct bird species, the great Indian Bustard, which often finds itself in fatal collisions with these transmission lines. Green energy firms, including Adani Green, Tata Power Renewables and Renew Power, however, are set to seek a revision to this order.
They want the earlier order to be restricted to a smaller area. The companies said it will cost an additional $4 billion and put at least 20GW of solar and wind energy in jeopardy. Industry experts said there was a larger environmental issue to look at as the order is likely to create a setback for India’s green energy goals. This is because renewable energy projects rely on grasslands like the ones where bustards reside for installing wind turbines and solar panels and restricting access could create long-term hurdles, they argued.
G7 recommits to $100 bn a year in climate finance to help poorer nations cut emissions
At the G7 summit held this past fortnight, developed nations reaffirmed their 2009 pledge to contribute $100 billion a year to help poorer countries cut emissions and fight climate change. They also vowed to help developing nations move away from coal. Climate experts, however, expressed their disappointment and said these announcements lacked any concrete details. The nations also endorsed a ‘Nature Compact’ that seeks to reduce and stop biodiversity loss by 2030. As part of the agreement, the nations vowed to protect 30% of land and 30% of ocean globally by the end of this decade.
EU gives final nod to flagship green transition fund
The EU approved a flagship green transition fund that will help the region move away from fossil fuels and help affected communities. The €17.5 billion Just Transition Fund includes money from the EU budget and the COVID-19 recovery fund. The approval was the final hurdle before the fund came into force. Countries seeking funding will have to submit plans to the European Commission that show how they intend to use the money for a green transition.
Keystone XL pipeline project officially cancelled
The $9 billion Keystone XL pipeline, which was first proposed in 2008, was officially cancelled this past fortnight. The project aimed to transport Western tar sands in Canada to US refiners. The project was cancelled by developer TC Energy Corp a few months after US President Joe Biden revoked a permit needed for the US stretch of the project. Environmentalists had previously argued the project would hinder US’ efforts towards a clean energy transition.
Meanwhile, Biden’s plans to fight climate change may take a serious hit after talks between his administration and Senate Republicans over an infrastructure bill collapsed. The proposal earmarked billions of dollars to help the US end fossil fuel use through measures such as a clean electricity standard, tax incentives for renewable energy projects and a nationwide network of EV charging stations.
In separate but related news, the Biden administration received its first setback in its efforts to push through environmental regulation as a matter of priority. A district judge in New Orleans blocked an executive order by Biden to suspend all new oil and gas leases on federal lands.