It’s a fake news story that has long circulated in the energy space: Solar and wind often have a higher overall carbon footprint than the conventional sources they are supposed to replace. But a quick look at widely available evidence is more than enough to debunk this, writes Rocky Mountain Institute’s Paolo Natali. Whichever study you turn to, the results are in the few dozen grams per kWh at most, compared to 400g/kWh to 500g/kWh for natural gas, and 1kg/kWh for coal. Information on carbon footprints that can be compared between industries is hard to come by, but it is increasingly important to investors. Universal standards could provide a first step toward the creation of truly green commodity markets.
Steel production provides one example of a material where a ‘green market’ could help to reduce environmental impacts in production, by prioritizing manufacturers that use higher proportions of recycled materials and less energy-intensive processing.
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