Oct 14, 2018

Tale of four countries: The world’s evolving energy mixes

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Data: IEA; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A United Nations scientific body just released a seminal report on how the world’s energy systems would have to be transformed to adequately address climate change.

The big picture: The world is still heavily dependent upon fossil fuels. It accounts for 81% of the world's energy consumption, a figure that hasn’t changed in 30 years. Evolving electricity mixes is one clear gauge of how countries are doing cutting their greenhouse gas emissions and using cleaner energy technologies.

The details: Four countries — United States, Japan, China and Denmark — illustrate the challenges different parts of the world have in greening their electricity mixes. You can hover over the Denmark graphic to pull up the same info for any other country.

  1. The United States' greenhouse gas emissions are at lows not seen in decades, thanks largely to cleaner-burning natural gas displacing the far dirtier coal, along with an increase in renewables. While the U.S. is a leader in cutting its emissions, President Trump wants to withdraw America from the Paris climate deal and bring back coal, which would increase domestic emissions.
  2. Japan is a case study of what is likely to happen today when a lot of carbon-free electricity goes away. After the country shut down its nuclear power plants in response to the 2011 Fukushima disaster, its dependence on fossil fuels — and natural gas in particular — increased.
  3. China is ground zero for all things energy and climate change given its population size and energy appetite. Its dependence on coal is huge, yet it’s also leading in developing renewable energy. Its second-largest source of electricity is actually hydropower, a renewable energy that doesn’t get as much attention today as wind and solar.
  4. Denmark is a prime example of the potential for wind energy, particularly offshore. The renewable energy provides nearly 50% of the country’s electricity, a huge growth just over the last couple of decades.

Go deeper: UN details massive changes needed to slow global warming

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 5,375,648 — Total deaths: 343,721 — Total recoveries — 2,149,412Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 1,639,872 — Total deaths: 97,599 — Total recoveries: 361,239 — Total tested: 13,784,786Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

White House announces new coronavirus travel restrictions on Brazil

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro with Trump, March 19, 2019. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool via Getty Images

The White House announced that beginning at 11:59 pm ET on Thursday, President Trump would suspend entry of non-U.S. citizens who have been in Brazil in the past 14 days in an effort to stop the imported spread of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Brazil has reported nearly 350,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus — the second-most in the world behind the U.S. — and has emerged as a Southern Hemisphere hotspot as other heavily affected countries in Asia and Europe have managed to get their outbreaks under control.

Trumpworld's plan to brand Biden

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, Mandel Ngan/AFP

Trump's advisers relish the contrast between his public appearances and Joe Biden's lack thereof. The former vice president, following the guidance of public experts, has eschewed public events and stayed home for months now. Trump, meanwhile, is out and about — masks be damned.

What we're hearing: Watch for plenty more mask-free outings from Trump, hyping the reopening of the economy and avoiding discussions of social distancing and death counts.