The Standard Model may be physicists’ best shot at the structure of fundamental matter, but it leaves them wanting.
Many particle physicists think it is simply too ugly to be nature’s last word. The 25 particles of the Standard Model can be classified by three types of symmetries that correspond to three fundamental forces: The electromagnetic force, and the strong and weak nuclear forces.
Physicists, however, would rather there was only one unified force. They would also like to see an entirely new type of symmetry, the so-called “supersymmetry,” because that would be more appealing.
Oh, and additional dimensions of space would be pretty. And maybe also parallel universes. Their wish list is long.
It has become common practice among particle physicists to use arguments from beauty to select the theories they deem worthy of further study.
Source: When Beauty Gets in the Way of Science – Issue 71: Flow – Nautilus
As Germany is gradually phasing out nuclear and coal energy, Berlin is increasingly considering gas as key in bridging the gap between a fossil-fuels based and a low carbon economy.
“The energy transition is on its way in Germany with the implementation of new technologies and cooperation,” German minister for economy and energy, Peter Altmaier, said in his opening speech at the 5th edition of the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue (BETD).
He referred to renewables, hydrogen and gas technologies.
Source: Gas, a prominent guest at German energy transition event – EURACTIV.com
As EU leaders convene today to discuss the way forward for Britain’s departure from the European Union, they shouldn’t forget about the future ahead of them – including the all-important question of climate change objectives for 2050, writes Brook Riley.
If only EU leaders were taking the same tough line on climate change as they are on Brexit! But where the UK faces hard deadlines and European unity, climate action gets vague promises and open commitments.
Source: Forget Brexit. Why the next hundred days can be decisive for EU climate action – EURACTIV.com
Norway now has approximately 200,000 electric cars, which constitute around 7% of the passenger car fleet. The exemption of purchase tax and VAT are among the financial incentives that made this possible, writes Jon Georg Dale.
No other country in the world has more electric vehicles per capita than Norway. It has a simple explanation – political willingness and possibilities! Numerous benefits include less tax and user incentives, and abundant hydropower is important.
Source: Norway and electric vehicles – a successful combination – EURACTIV.com
Whilst the energy sector is key to the European economy, it also represents two thirds of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions. It therefore plays a central role in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
In order to help the EU achieve its ambitious climate change targets and deliver on its clean energy targets in a cost effective manner, significant investment is needed in the energy sector, especially as European electricity markets are currently undergoing structural challenges to ensure security of supply, due to lack of capacity and funding restraints.
The EU has increased the amount of public funds available for energy efficiency. However, to meet the objectives of the Energy Union and support the transition to a clean energy system, there is a need to further unlock private financing.
Source: Transforming the energy system: How to finance a just transition? – EURACTIV.com
The heads of political groups in the European Parliament have failed to reach a decision on whether to strip ExxonMobil lobbyists from their EU access badges, leaving some activists bitterly disappointed and others reflecting about future engagement with the oil and gas industry.
ExxonMobil lobbyists faced a European Parliament ban after the company failed to show up to a hearing on climate change denial, organized on 21 March.
Parliament rules allow the EU assembly to withdraw long-term access badges to company representatives in case the holder “has refused, without offering a sufficient justification, to comply with a formal summons to attend a hearing or committee meeting or to cooperate with a committee of inquiry.”
Source: Exxon lobbyists allowed to keep EU access badges – EURACTIV.com
Climate change requires urgent action and the ultimate challenge is to carry out the required transition towards a greener future at affordable cost for EU citizens and in line with EU energy security perspectives. The EU has set itself a long-term objective of becoming climate neutral in 2050, which is enshrined in its recently published Communication for a “Clean Planet for All”.
According to the European Commission, gas will be critical for the transformation of the energy system.
Along the journey to 2050, the role of gas and gas infrastructure will evolve.
As part of this evolution, gas infrastructure will transport decreasing quantities of natural gas, making way for increasing quantities of renewable and carbonized gases produced at the local level.
Source: Contributing to a CO2 neutral gas supply: On the road to 2050 – what role for renewable gases and gas infrastructure? – EURACTIV.com
The farming sector is often blasted for its contribution to climate change. But it also has unique potential to capture and store carbon, write Imke Lübbeke and Andreas Baumüller.
Some paint farmers as climate villains, digging up the land, herding methane-belching cows and sheep.
Others say farmers are climate victims, on the front line of climate change, which is disrupting weather patterns, crop cycles and harvests.
While agriculture does represent 15% of EU greenhouse gas emissions, and farmers are certainly feeling the impacts of changing weather patterns, what is crucial is how to make farmers climate champions.
Source: EU hits pause on helping farmers fight climate change – EURACTIV.com
The European Commission’s review of Britain’s capacity market for electricity will reveal whether the EU executive really believes the recast regulation on the internal electricity market is ever likely to be fully enforced, write Philip Baker and Michael Hogan.
Following the decision of the General Court of the European Union in November last year to annul the capacity market in Great Britain, the European Commission has now embarked on a detailed formal investigation of the market’s design.
The Court’s decision no doubt caused the Commission some embarrassment.
Source: Walking the walk on capacity mechanisms – EURACTIV.com
The Energy Transition Fund called for by the European Parliament is more than just a pot of money to support coal-dependent regions, says Claude Turmes, Luxembourg’s minister for energy and spatial planning.
On 5 November last year, the European Parliament’s budget committee signed off on a proposal that allocates €4.8 billion to an Energy Transition Fund (ETF) aimed at supporting coal-dependent regions green their economies.
Source: Claude Turmes: ‘We won the Energy Transition Fund’ – EURACTIV.com