Carbon Brief weekly update 8 November 2012

  • 08 Nov 2012, 14:00
  • Carbon Brief Staff

Obama's back. So, is climate change?

Media outlets and commenters got excited about an early, albeit brief, mention of climate change in President Barack Obama's victory speech this week. Obama said:

"We want our children to live in an America that isn't [...] threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet".

This was heady stuff compared to almost complete silence on the climate from both presidential candidates during the election. It prompted speculation that Obama, freed from concern about re-election, might be able to put climate change back on the agenda - or even push for a carbon tax - in the US.

Talk about possible links between hurricane Sandy and climate change - and its impact on US climate politics - also rumbles on in the US media and the blogosphere.

Wind power: highs, lows and media blows

The Financial Times highlights a report by ratings agency Moody's showing that increased supply of cheap power from wind and solar plants is having a "profound negative impact" on Europe's gas and coal generators.

It also reports that orders for offshore wind turbines in the UK have come to an " abrupt halt" as a result of uncertainty about government policy. The heads of trade industry bodies RenewableUK, the Carbon Capture & Storage Association and the Nuclear Industry Association have written a joint letter calling on the government to agree a legally binding decarbonisation target for electricity generation to help incentivise investment in renewables.

And hostility to wind power in parts of the media continues apace. The Telegraph reported new research on the impact of wind turbines on the landscape and health. Carbon Brief discussed the current state of research on this a couple of weeks ago - and it's worth noting we talked about one of the new study's authors and one of the reviewers in our piece. Meanwhile, the Scottish versions of the Sunday Times and the Express reported on claims that that wind energy would add £400 to Scottish consumer energy bills by 2020 - a figure Carbon Brief looked at.

Also on our blog:

Hurricane Sandy coverage: Do Fraser Nelson's arguments for dropping carbon cutting policies stack up?
The editor of the Spectator Fraser Nelson argues in the Telegraph that New York's response to the Hurricane Sandy shows that humans are already adapting successfully to the effects of higher temperatures. But how accurate are Nelson's comments about projections of future climate change and the ability of different countries to adapt to its impact?

Melting Arctic ice triggered the "Big Freeze"
New research suggests that Arctic meltwater triggered an abrupt return to glacial conditions in Europe thousands of years ago. Can the study tell us anything about the role of Arctic meltwater in future climate change?

PwC report: current government ambitions won't stop temperature rise
We take a look at a new report from consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers which says global carbon intensity must fall five per cent each year, every year, to 2050 in order to limit global temperature rise to two degrees.

How well have the media covered hurricane Sandy? Scientists have their say
As millions of people on the US east coast remain without power in the wake of hurricane Sandy, the media are still speculating over how far the storm can be linked to climate change. We asked climate scientists how satisfied they are that the media got it right this time.

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