The subsidy programme introduced by EU Member States to finance Renewable Energy Sources (RES) will be remembered as a textbook case of a poorly conceived public policy.  However, it produced a significant side benefit: it contributed to RES competitivity in developing countries, where the battle against climate change will be fought over the next few decades.

The power industry has developed sophisticated tools for managing peak demand. But unexpected effects are emerging, notably because of information asymmetry. Analysis by our electricity experts. 

Burning fossil fuels for heating, generating electricity or for transport does not simply produce carbon-dioxide emissions, but also other greenhouse gases (GHG), such as particulate matter (PM), sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC).

What will a 5°C warmer planet be like? Economists recommend putting a price on pollutant emissions to coordinate human activities, but this solution has been met with widespread opposition. This post explores why.

In today’s new world, an aspect of the energy transition is the intention to decarbonise energy production. It follows that tomorrow’s energy sources will be predominantly electric. There are nevertheless major differences of opinion as to the qualities of electricity production methods, whether they be nuclear, wind, photovoltaic, hydraulic or the burning of fossil fuels. By contrast, consensus seems to reign when it comes to the quality of electricity at the point of consumption. 

In December talks in Paris involving more than 200 countries may result in a new agreement aimed at reducing carbon emissions. In the months leading up to the conference, The Economist will be publishing guest columns by experts on the economic issues involved.

In December talks in Paris involving more than 200 countries may result in a new agreement aimed at reducing carbon emissions. In the months leading up to the conference, The Economist is publishing guest columns by experts on the economic issues involved.

Decarbonising electricity production is an essential step in reducing our society's greenhouse gas emissions and limiting global warming.  Many countries have therefore engaged in the transition towards a new world in which the majority of megawatt hours are produced using renewable energy sources, mainly wind or solar energy.  To that end, they have distributed massive subsidies over the past decade: 101 billion dollars in 2012 alone, 57 billion of that in the European Union.[1]  A recent academic study using British data provides a clearer understanding of this "new world". This post presents two of the study's key findings: first, the difficult coexistence of renewable and traditional technologies, and second the need to maintain renewable energy subsidies.

As Francisco, the Argentine born Pope concludes a Latin American visit that took him to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay, many observers have put emphasis on the social agenda that has been obvious in his many acts and words.

Numerous Europeans view Europe as a one-way street: they appreciate its advantages but are little inclined to accept common rules.

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