The Daily Express cherrypicks new research on projections of warming

  • 31 May 2013, 15:10
  • Roz Pidcock

The Daily Express published an  article yesterday claiming new research "adds to a growing body of evidence against extreme global warming." But the authors tell us the newspaper obscured their main message, which is that it's now "very likely" we'll exceed the international target of two degrees of global warming.

The Express's story stems from a piece of research by Australian climate scientists published in Nature Climate Change  last week. The research looked at how uncertainty around temperature projections from climate models could be reduced.

The newspaper claims the "dramatic" new research shows "the effects of climate change may be less severe than had been feared". But Professor David Karoly from the University of Melbourne, one of the authors of the research, tells us this interpretation "misrepresented our study."

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Boring but brilliant: Four dull-yet-important energy solutions

  • 31 May 2013, 14:00
  • Ros Donald

Source: Radomil

Glamour: it's hard to define. Some low carbon technologies, like Tesla's electric supercar or geothermal energy from actual volcanoes, have it. Most are a little humbler, but these less-feted solutions have the potential to make big a big impact on our energy use and emissions. After all, you might never own a Tesla, but you can probably afford a thermostatic radiator valve. 

After a careful and (we hope) statistically rigorous Twitter poll and intensive discussion, we can announce our pick of the four most boring-yet-effective low carbon technologies.

1. Temperature control

First, how about stripping it back a level? Turning down the heating and putting on a woolly jumper - as suggested by @drsimevans_ENDS, and mums everywhere - isn't going to get anyone excited. But turning down the thermostat by one degree saves £65 and 260g of carbon dioxide a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust. 

At the slightly techier end of the spectrum,  temperature control gadgets like thermostatic radiator valves - TRVs to those in the know - could also help you control temperatures in each room and save energy (@EarthOrgUK has a whole  project  on smart heating and TRVs).

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    Newslinks - 31st May • Nuclear talks, carbon offsets & a cold spring

    • 31 May 2013, 09:15
    • Carbon Brief staff

    Sourced under creative commons

    EDF and government edge closer to nuclear plant contract deal
    Will they or won't they? "The contract for Britain's first new nuclear power plant in a generation will last up to 35 years, the government and EDF Energy have agreed, as the two sides edge closer to a historic deal on the venture." Government has agreed with the operator that EDF should receive a 10 per cent return on investment, according to a source "familiar with the negotiations".
    Financial Times 


    Forecasts for global warming 'too high'
    The Express covers an Australian paper that suggests a lower rate of surface temperature rise from climate change. "The research is adding to a growing body of evidence against extreme global warming" the piece argues.
    Daily Express

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    Reducing uncertainty should be priority in climate modelling, say scientists

    • 30 May 2013, 19:00
    • Roz Pidcock

    Despite modern scientific knowledge and computer power, building a perfect model of earth's climate is impossible. Climate modellers face a choice: whether to include as many different processes that affect global temperatures as possible - interactions between the land, atmosphere, oceans, plants and ice cover, for example - or focus their efforts on a few of the most important ones.

    Two European climate scientists have published a perspective article today in the journal Science, suggesting that when it comes to building climate models, scientists have their priorities wrong.

    The piece argues that producing accurate temperature forecasts will require focussing less on representing every possible influence on climate and more on getting key processes right - most importantly, how clouds affect the rate of warming.


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    Tim Yeo says his views on climate change "haven't changed one iota"

    • 30 May 2013, 11:00
    • Robin Webster

    Has the chair of Parliament's Energy and Climate Change Committee changed his mind on whether humans cause climate change? "My views haven't changed one iota" he tells us - it's highly probable that climate change is caused by humans, and he will keep pushing for action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

    Tory MP, Tim Yeo, leads the influential Energy and Climate Change Committee and is a forceful advocate for the green policy agenda - including a 2030 target for decarbonising the electricity sector. So a story in today's  Daily Telegraph that reports comments by Yeo suggesting humans "may not be responsible" for rising temperatures, and that "natural phases" could be to blame, has raised some eyebrows.

    Climate skeptic pundits like James Delingpole are predictably  delighted with Yeo "recanting". But Yeo says he is "mystified" by the story. He counters that he hasn't changed his views, and believes the scientific consensus is stronger than ever before. 

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    Newslinks - 30th May • Warming causes, 'cheap' coal & new ways of using nuclear

    • 30 May 2013, 09:15
    • Carbon Brief staff

    Tim Yeo: humans may not be to blame for global warming
    The Telegraph and Independent quote energy and climate change committee chair Tim Yeo as saying both humans and natural variability are responsible for climate change. The Telegraph has the audio of his speech.


    Cheap coal 'threatens UK pollution targets'
    The chair of the Environment Agency says the coal price is so low it threatens government efforts to tackle climate change. The Daily Mail is concerned consumers are being hit by the accompanying emissions rise, rather than companies which are responsible.
    BBC News

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    Are renewables subsidies on their way out?

    • 29 May 2013, 15:00
    • Ros Donald

    M J Richardson

    Declining government support and price competition are forcing the renewables industry off subsidies, according to a new report. 

    Ernst & Young's  Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index, out today, ranks the attractiveness of countries around the world to investors in renewable energy.  

    In the 10 years since the firm first started its country-by-country analysis, it says the investment and deployment landscape for the renewables industry looks "almost unrecognisable". While financial incentives were one of the top measures of attractiveness a few years ago, more mainstream factors like countries' wider economic stability and renewables' cost competitiveness alongside other energy sources in the market are now more influential factors in deciding the ranking. 

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    UK emissions rise while most of Europe's fall

    • 29 May 2013, 15:00
    • Mat Hope

    UK energy sector emissions rose in 2012 in contrast with the majority of other EU countries, new data shows. The news comes as MPs in the UK get ready for the latest round of debates over the forthcoming energy bill, with key questions still looming over how the government will secure a low carbon future.

    Bucking the trend

    New  European Commission data shows emissions fell by two per cent across the EU, with 23 countries reducing their emissions. But of the five largest economies, two - Germany and the UK - saw emissions increase.

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    Strong call for emissions reductions in Mail on Sunday

    • 29 May 2013, 12:00
    • Robin Webster

    Dramatic regulatory intervention is needed to bring down emissions of carbon dioxide and prevent dangerous climate change, argues a prominent climate scientist in the Mail on Sunday. It's perhaps not the message you'd expect to be featured in the newspaper. So what does the piece mean?

    Professor Myles Allen, head of climate dynamics at Oxford University, is part of the team behind a  recent study that suggests rising levels of carbon dioxide could lead to slower atmospheric warming than previously thought. But he still thinks that the world needs to take action to tackle climate change. In an article in the  Mail on Sunday, he writes: 

    "[Slower atmospheric warming] may mean we can afford to reduce carbon dioxide emissions slightly slower than everyone feared - but as almost everyone agrees, they still have to come down".

    With global emissions still rising, Allen argues that radical action is required. But instead of setting targets for emissions reduction, energy efficiency and renewables, governments should make it compulsory for companies burning fossil fuels to capture and bury the associated carbon emissions.  

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    Newslinks - 29th May • Temperature rise, the carbon price & wind power potential

    • 29 May 2013, 09:15
    • Carbon Brief staff

    Scientists narrow global warming range
    A new paper published in Nature Climate Change finds that temperature rise of more than 6 degrees warming by 2100 is now unlikely but it is very likely that temperature rise will exceeed 2 degrees for business-as-usual emissions.


    EU seeks 2014 deadline for nations' greenhouse gas plans
    The European Union has said all countries should sketch out national commitments for limiting rising world greenhouse gases beyond 2020 by the end of 2014 in order to revitalise the international climate negotiations.

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