The Carbon Brief Interview: Dr Hoesung Lee

  • 15 Sep 2015, 17:15
  • Roz Pidcock
Dr Hoesung Lee World Energy Congress in South Korea.

Dr Hoesung Lee | Corbis

Dr Hoesung Lee is a professor in the economics of climate change, energy and sustainable development at Korea University in Seoul, South Korea. He has been the vice chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change since 2008 and is running as a candidate to succeed Rajendra Pachauri as the new chair of the IPCC in October.

On the burden on IPCC scientists: "I think the burden is quite high. However, at the same time...many of them take great pride in sharing this experience with fellow scientists."

On how adaptation and mitigation complement each other: "The community would benefit more by recognising the complementing nature of the two approaches."

On opening plenary sessions to the media: "One can improve the transparency of the process without opening the whole details of the deliberations process, I believe."

On the limitations of economic modelling: "Right now the major stumbling block in the study of climate change economics is to have some reasonable understanding and estimates of climate damages."

On a carbon tax: "If you ask me to choose the most important work in climate change issues, then I'll choose carbon price. That's because it is the driver to put us into the right track." 

On the "hiatus": "I think that trying to read too much from 10-year temperature changes is more or less like trying to extract too much information from, should I say, daily fluctuations of stock prices."

On a carbon budget for 2C: "Ideally, it should be very effective, but in reality I do not see carbon budgets having much impact on action."

On the feasibility of 2C: "The IPCC report indicated that negative emissions are required to achieve a 2C goal and the technology to achieve that goal is not yet available."

On the future of the IPCC: "Perhaps we may have reached a point where we have done enough of identifying problems and we may have time now to see the solutions."

On climate skeptics: "The IPCC is certainly open to those who are skeptical of climate change and global warming to come into our arena and present their views."


CB: The IPCC has confirmed there will be an AR6 [sixth assessment report], how do you think its scope or function might be different from AR5? Do you think there will be differences?

HL: Oh, I think there was a great deal of discussion about the future of the IPCC at the end of the last cycle of the IPCC and, overall, the consensus was that we would follow more or less a similar structure as we have adopted for the last reports. In terms of reports and the frequency of those outputs, we don't generally expect much change from the previous cycle. I hope that there has to be some meaningful improvements in the way the IPCC outputs in the future.

CB: You mentioned the timing of the reports there, it has been decided to continue the big assessment reports every five or seven years or so. Would you have prefered to see smaller, maybe more frequent report on specific regions or topics?

HS: I think specific reports on specific regions will be very much in demand, but the constraint is whether the climate science community will be able to share that burden of many specific reports, in addition to the reports for the major assessments. So, the constraint is really on the potential contributors to the IPCC assessment cycle.

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Daily Briefing | Speculation mounts over future of Australian climate strategy as Tony Abbott ousted by Malcolm Turnbull

  • 15 Sep 2015, 09:00
  • Carbon Brief Staff
Tony Abbott

Tony Abbott | Shutterstock

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Update: What do the Labour leadership candidates think on climate and energy? 
We have updated our grid of candidate's views to include the news that yesterday, Lisa Nandy, MP for Wigan, was appointed as shadow secretary of state for energy and climate change by Jeremy Corbyn.   Carbon Brief

Climate and energy news

Speculation mounts over future of Australian climate strategy as Tony Abbott ousted by Malcolm Turnbull 
In a shock political development in Australia, Malcolm Turnbull beat Abbott by 54 votes to 44 in the hastily arranged ballot for the leadership of the governing Liberal party. "The coup follows months of poor opinion polls as Abbott's reputation has been damaged by unpopular budget cuts and a series of policy U-turns," said BusinessGreen. "The former prime minister has also been a bete noire for green businesses and environmental campaigners, voicing scepticism about climate change science and rolling back a host of policies designed to deliver emissions cuts across the Australian economy...In contrast, Turnbull has been outspoken about his desire to address climate change, describing Abbott's climate change policy as 'bullshit' in an opinion article written in 2009. In the article, Turnbull advocated for an emissions trading scheme to raise the money needed to fund the development of renewable energy, nuclear, and carbon capture and storage technology."  RTCC,  DeSmog,  CarbonPulse,  Guardian Australia,  Business Spectator and the  Conversation also all examined the prospects of Australia's climate policies under Turnbull.  BusinessGreen 

£500m plan to remove pylons from beauty spots 
The Times reports that "scores of electricity pylons will be removed from beauty spots at a cost of almost £11m each despite plans being drawn up for more than 120 new ones in and around the Lake District". The four areas where pylons will be taken away are within the New Forest national park, the Peak District, Snowdonia and the Dorset area of outstanding natural beauty near Winterbourne Abbas. The Telegraph says that a total of 45 pylons will be removed, which "have blighted the landscapes for decades". It adds: "The work will be funded through levies on household electricity bills for the next 40 years, costing an average household 22 pence every year." The  Guardian also carries the story. TheScotsman has a separate story, headlined: "National Trust joins protest over new giant pylons."  The Times 

Lisa Nandy confirmed as Labour's Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary 
BusinessGreen reports on the announcement that Lisa Nandy is the new shadow energy and climate secretary in Jeremy Corbyn's cabinet. "Nandy was elected as MP for Wigan in 2010 at the age of 30 and previously served as shadow minister for civil society in Ed Miliband's team...She is likely to face allegations from the Conservative Party that Corbyn's energy and climate policies would push up consumer bills, as well as concerns amongst environmental campaigners that the new Labour leader has previously voiced plans to revive the UK coal mining industry."  BusinessGreen 

California's Sierra Nevada snowpack estimated at 500-year low 
The snowpack in California's Sierra Nevada mountains probably shrank to the lowest in 500 years this year and climate change may cause further declines, worsening water shortages in the drought-stricken state, according to a study published in Nature Climate Change. The snowpack in the mountain range this spring was just 5% of the average in the second half of the 20th century. The low was based on records of snowfall and temperatures inferred from annual growth rings of blue oaks and other trees, meaning some uncertainties about extremes in past centuries. The  Washington Post,InsideClimateNews, the  Guardian and the  New York Times all carried the story.  Reuters 

Scottish wind farm projects 'put at risk by Government subsidy cuts' 
An "investment hiatus" is putting at risk wind energy projects in Scotland following a cut in subsidies by the UK Government: "Research carried out for trade body Scottish Renewables has confirmed the fears of green campaigners after it found that investors who fund wind farms are less likely to lend capital for new projects, after the Government move had a 'significant impact on investor confidence'." The  Daily Record,  BusinessGreen and the  Herald also carry the story.  The Independent 

Opec has victory in its sights in oil price war with US shale 
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) has "given the clearest signal yet", according to Telegraph's commodities editor, that it believes it is winning its oil price war with the US shale industry. He says: "The group of 12 mainly Middle Eastern producers has said that output from outside the cartel in 2016 will be over 100,000 barrels per day lower than it had previously predicted, as lower prices shut down more production. In its closely-watched monthly market report, Opec said: 'There are signs that US production has started to respond to reduced investment and activity. Indeed, all eyes are on how quickly US production falls.'" Meanwhile,  BBC News reports that the "International Energy Agency has predicted US oil output next year will see the steepest fall since 1992 thanks to low oil prices".  Daily Telegraph 

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Update: What do the Labour leadership candidates think on climate and energy?

  • 14 Sep 2015, 14:05
  • Sophie Yeo & Simon Evans
Labour party logo

Labour logo | Shutterstock

Update - 14 September 2015

On Saturday, Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour party, winning 59.5% of the vote.

Today, he appointed Lisa Nandy, MP for Wigan, as shadow secretary of state for energy and climate change.  She has previously served as shadow charities minister, and has been tipped to be a possible future leader of the Labour party. 

In the past, Nandy has campaigned against profiteering by the Big Six energy companies and said that shale gas is "not the magic bullet the Coalition claims".

Corbyn has also appointed Kerry McCarthy as shadow secretary of state for environment. McCarthy is MP for Bristol East.

She has written a Fabian essay on climate change campaigning, in which she says: "Securing a global climate deal in Paris in December 2015 will be one of the most pressing and immediate challenges facing the next government." She has also regularly brought up the subject of climate change in Parliament.

Carbon Brief's Labour leadership election grid summarises the views of Jeremy Corbyn, and the other candidates, on climate and energy issues.

Corbyn's views, taken mainly from his detailed "Protecting our Planet" election manifesto, are likely to inform opposition policies over the coming years.


The UK's Labour party will soon choose a new leader, following the resignation of Ed Miliband after May's election.

As former climate and energy secretary, Miliband had long been engaged on issues of emissions reductions, energy efficiency and the UN climate negotiations.

The leadership contest is between four candidates: Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Jeremy Corbyn and Liz Kendall - none of whom have held a climate-related position in government to date.

Carbon Brief has created a grid, distilling the candidates' thoughts on key climate policy issues.

Frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn has released a detailed  manifesto of his climate and energy policies. Andy Burnham has also released a formal  manifesto, which briefly touches on the environment.

We have also collected climate- and energy-related statements from the candidates' speeches, blogs, newspaper articles, interviews and essays.

Labour -leadership -grid

The Labour Leadership Grid. Visit our Google doc for the full, interactive version.

What do they think?

Each candidate has acknowledged that climate change is a key threat that must be tackled.

That is not to say they always agree on how the problem should be approached.

Perhaps the most widely reported climate angle of the leadership campaign has been left-winger Jeremy Corbyn's suggestion that he could reopen coal mines in South Wales. Both Liz Kendall and Yvette Cooper have explicitly rejected this, preferring instead to focus on creating jobs in the technology sector - in Cooper's case, this could include clean coal technology.

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Daily Briefing | 2015 and 2016 set to break global heat records, says Met Office

  • 14 Sep 2015, 09:00
  • Carbon Brief Staff
Thermometer on a beach shows high temperatures

Thermometer on a beach | Shutterstock

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Keep coal, gas and oil in the ground to save Antarctic ice sheet, study warns
There are enough fossil fuels buried in the ground to melt the whole of the Antarctic ice sheet - should we choose to burn them, according to new research. This "mind boggling" finding shows that our actions now have the power to change the face of the planet for tens of thousands of years to come, lead author Dr Ricarda Winkelmann tells Carbon Brief: "To put it bluntly: if we burn it all, we melt it all."  Carbon Brief

From the archive: What do the Labour leadership candidates think on climate and energy?
Catch-up on the climate and energy policies of Jeremy Corbyn, the new Labour party leader. Last month, Carbon Brief produced a grid of the policy positions of all the leadership candidates.  Carbon Brief

Climate and energy news

2015 and 2016 set to break global heat records, says Met Office
Scientists expect global temperatures in 2015 and 2016 to reach record highs, largely down to the strong El Niño underway in the Pacific Ocean, according to a new report from the Met Office. Natural cycles in the Pacific are reversing, which is likely to see the speed of warming pick up pace. But changes also afoot in the Atlantic could favour cooler, drier summers in the northern Europe, says The Telegraph. Met Office scientists were cautious about stating unequivocally that the "slowdown" in global surface warming was at an end, says The Times but said signs look favourable for a return to the rapid warming seen in the 1990s within two years. The report puts further pressure on world leaders to agree strong action to curb carbon emissions, says The IndependentReutersThe Financial Times andThe BBC have more on the new report.  The Guardian

Scientists confirm there's enough fossil fuel on Earth to entirely melt Antarctica
A new "blockbuster" study finds that burning all the world's fossil fuel resources would raise global temperatures enough to eliminate the Antarctic ice sheet. The process would likely take up to 10,000 years but we would be committing ourselves to more than 50 metres of sea-level rise, enough to submerge major cities from Shanghai to New York, says RTCC. Most of the scientific focus has been on west Antarctica and this is the first research to look at the impact of fossil fuel burning on the entire sheet, says The Independent. The New York Times's Andy Revkin has a video chat with the authors over at his Dot Earthblog. The GuardianReuters and TIME all have more on the new study. You can also readCarbon Brief's write up.  The Washington Post

Ministers veto wind farm off Dorset's Jurassic Coast
In a fresh blow to the renewable energy industry, the UK government has rejected a proposal to build a wind farm off the coast of Dorset, after complaints that it would "industrialise and irrevocably damage" the views from the coastline. This is despite evidence to suggest tourism was unlikely to be affected and an offer from the project's developers, EDF and ENECO, for a £15m fund to offset any losses. The decision that the project would harm views from Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and England's only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site comes after an unusual recommendation from the independent Planning Inspectorate three months ago to refuse the application, says the FT. The Guardian and The Telegraph have more on the story.  The Financial Times

Fast pace of power plant closures threatens UK electricity grid
Energy experts are warning that Britain's creaking electricity system could be pushed close to breaking point within months with new gas-fired power stations not being built fast enough to plug supply gaps, reports the FT's energy editor. Adams cites figures from the investment bank Jeffries, which suggest that for 2016-17 just 53 gigawatts of capacity will be available to meet forecast peak demand of 56 gigawatts.  The Financial Times

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Keep coal, gas and oil in the ground to save Antarctic ice sheet, study warns

  • 11 Sep 2015, 19:00
  • Robert McSweeney and Roz Pidcock

There are enough fossil fuels buried in the ground to melt the whole of the Antarctic ice sheet - should we choose to burn them, according to new research.

Though it may take thousands of years, that future would see sea level rise by more than 50 metres - inundating cities from London to Barcelona and Tokyo to Washington D.C.

This "mind boggling" finding shows that our actions now have the power to change the face of the planet for tens of thousands of years to come, lead author Dr Ricarda Winkelmann, from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, tells Carbon Brief. She says:

"To put it bluntly: if we burn it all, we melt it all."

58 metres

The Antarctic ice sheet is the largest mass of ice on our planet, a white blanket spreading out over 14m square kilometers of the continent.

Global temperature rise, driven by global greenhouse gas emissions, is causing parts of the ice sheet to  melt and  become unstable. According to NASA, Antarctica has lost an average of  118bn tonnes of ice per year since 2004.

As the majority of the ice sheet sits on land, melting ice adds to global sea levels. At the moment, melting of Antarctic ice contributes  0.4mm to global sea levels each year, but such is the size of Antarctica, there's enough ice on it to raise sea levels by 58 metres.

The new study, published in Science Advances, warns that burning all our remaining fossil fuel resources now could commit us to enough warming to melt the entire ice sheet.

This is a stark illustration that what happens thousands of years from now is intimately tied to the actions we take now, the authors explain.


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Daily Briefing | More than 100,000 flee floods in Japan after 'once-in-50-years' rain

  • 11 Sep 2015, 09:00
  • Carbon Brief Staff

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Southern Ocean carbon sink bounces back with renewed vigour, study says 
In recent decades, the Southern Ocean has slowed down the rate it absorbs carbon from the atmosphere. But the vast ocean surrounding Antarctica is staging a recovery, says a new study, with a resurgence in carbon absorption that more than makes up for the earlier sluggish period.   Carbon Brief 

The rise, fall and future of the cleantech industry 
The development of clean technology - spanning Elon Musk's Tesla cars to more mundane waste heat recovery boilers - is touted as one of the most effective ways to tackle climate change. Carbon Brief reports back from the Global CleanTech Summit taking place in Helsinki this week.   Carbon Brief

Climate and energy news

More than 100,000 flee floods in Japan after 'once-in-50-years' rain 
Northeast Japan has been hit by "unprecedented" rain as tropical cyclone Etau swept through the country's main island of Honshu. Some areas received double the usual rainfall for the month of September in just 48 hours and a further 8 inches is expected in parts of eastern Japan in the coming days. While aid to the flood-stricken has been swift, authorities are concerned about the level of preparation needed in future as such storms get stronger, says BBC News. The storm is particularly violent because of something known as "back building", in which thunderclouds typically pile up in a narrow band about 10 km wide, causing intense rainfall in a very small area, explains The Japan Times. Kunihiro Naito, a Japanese weather forecaster, told the newspaper, "Ocean temperatures around Japan have been rising in recent years, producing vapour and making air conditions unstable. That makes 'back building' of sorts easier to happen." The New York Times has a video taken from the air of some the devastation as the Kinugawa River burst its banks. The flooding is just the latest in a recent run of weather and seismic disasters to affect Japan, says BBC News.   Reuters 

Southern Ocean showing 'remarkable' revival in carbon absorption ability 
The huge Southern Ocean that encircles Antarctica has began taking up large amount of carbon from the atmosphere, after slowing down during the 1980s and 1990s. Scientists are saying changing wind patterns have restored the ocean's critical role as a "carbon sink" back to its previous strength, absorbing the equivalent of the European Union's annual carbon output. That the ocean is helping slow the pace of global warming is good news for now, lead author of the new research, Prof Nicholas Gruber, told Reuters, but scientists can't guarantee it will last. More carbon dioxide in the water could also spell bad news for marine life, as it makes the water more acidic. Carbon Brief has more on the story.   The Guardian 

Opec weighs call by Venezuela for emergency oil meeting 
"Disgruntled" Venezuela is urging the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) to hold an emergency meeting to halt the fall in oil prices amid a global oversupply, says The Telegraph. The group agreed this summer not to slow production but at less than $50 per barrel, the price is far below that which some members can sustain. But top oil exporter Saudi Arabia remains cool on the idea of a summit, reports  Reuters, with an anonymous source reportedly saying the country "believes it is best not to interfere in the market at present."  The Times says the emergency plans to discuss the collapse in oil prices "have been torpedoed by Saudi Arabia".    The Telegraph 

Coal burning costs UK between £2.5bn and £7bn from premature deaths 
New figures estimate that deaths related to emissions cost the UK economy somewhere between £2.47 and £7.15bn in 2013, pinning the blame largely on the 395 kilotonnes of pollutants emitted by UK coal plants. Churning out 87 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions from coal burning last year - 16% of the country's total greenhouse gas output - the UK is the third largest emitter of carbon dioxide from coal after Germany and Poland, says the study by NGO group Climate Action Network. Greenpeace Energydesk have more on a map produced as part of the study, showing "everything you need to know about European continent's coal conundrum."    The Guardian 

Eon scraps plans to spin off its nuclear business 
Germany's biggest utility company has announced it will cancel plans to put its nuclear assets into a new entity, after the German government proposed legislation last week to make companies permanently liable for the costs of dismantling reactors. The company will continue spinning off conventional power sources to focus on renewables. Accepting liability for decommissioning costs put at €16.6 billion, the company is warning it will post substantial losses in 2015 and shares in E.ON tumbled to a 20-year low, reports The Times.  The Financial Times 

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Southern Ocean carbon sink bounces back with renewed vigour, study says

  • 10 Sep 2015, 19:00
  • Robert McSweeney
View of Souther Ocean in Antarctica from the Hut Point Loop Hike

Antarctica | Eli Duke/Flickr

The Southern Ocean takes up more carbon dioxide than any other body of water on our planet. Though in recent decades, this uptake has shown signs of slowing.

But the vast ocean surrounding Antarctica is staging a recovery, says a new study, with a resurgence in carbon absorption that more than makes up for the earlier sluggish period.

Although this seems like good news, it's not guaranteed to last. If carbon uptake slows again in future, this could lead to an acceleration of global temperature rise, the researchers say.

Carbon sink

The oceans absorb and store around  a quarter of the emissions from human activities. This makes our oceans a hugely important "carbon sink", and without them, carbon dioxide would accumulate more quickly in the atmosphere, raising temperatures more quickly.

The Southern Ocean is the most prolific of the oceans for carbon storage - accounting for around 40% of total ocean carbon uptake.

Scientists expect that as carbon dioxide levels increase in the atmosphere, the oceans will take up some of this extra burden. Prof. Nicolas Gruber from ETH Zürich, a senior author on the new study in the journal  Science, explains to Carbon Brief:

"We are putting a lot of carbon into the atmosphere - much more than the ocean is able to absorb on an annual basis. So we have this huge disequilibrium of carbon between the atmosphere and the ocean. As this disequilibrium - this imbalance - grows and grows, it drives a stronger and stronger flux of carbon into the ocean."

But research published in 2007 showed that carbon uptake of the Southern Ocean fell between 1981 and 2004. You can see this weakening in the graph below. The blue line shows the transfer, or flux, of carbon dioxide between the ocean surface and the atmosphere. When the line goes up, it means the oceans are absorbing less carbon dioxide from the air above it. In the pale orange panel, you can see that carbon dioxide uptake decreases are largest in the 1990s.

Air -sea -flux -anomaly

Flux of carbon dioxide between the atmosphere and the surface of the Southern Ocean. Graph shows the main results from the statistical model used in the study (blue line), the results from an alternative method (orange line), and results based on observations from the atmosphere only (thin grey line). The thick black line shows an approximation of how scientists expected the carbon sink to increase. Negative values mean the ocean taking up more carbon dioxide. Source: Landschützer, et al. (  2015)

Wind patterns

In the original study that identified the carbon sink decline, the authors attributed the drop to a shift in wind patterns around Antarctica, which affected ocean currents and brought carbon-rich water to the surface. With a smaller imbalance between the amount of carbon dioxide in the ocean and the atmosphere, this meant less of the gas was absorbed by the ocean.

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The rise, fall and future of the cleantech industry

  • 10 Sep 2015, 14:00
  • Sophie Yeo

In the climate change toolbox, "clean technology" is the component that spans high excitement (think Elon Musk's Tesla cars) and the deeply mundane (think frequency converters, waste heat recovery boilers, and more).

While there is no single accepted definition, the phrase spans technologies that cut emissions, improve the environment, and reduce the consumption of natural resources.

The development of clean technology is touted as one of the most effective ways to tackle climate change and other environmental issues.

And it is already a multibillion-dollar business. According to figures from consultancy firm Frost & Sullivan presented at the Global Cleantech Summit in Helsinki this week, the market for clean technology was worth $601bn in 2014. By 2020, the firm predicts this will expand to $1.3tn.

With the world likely to sign an emissions-cutting deal in Paris in December this year, and large economies such as India and China eager for ways to clean up their air pollution, rivers and land, it is easy to paint the future of the clean technology in a rosy light.

Speaking in Helsinki on Tuesday, Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said:

"Clean technology is succeeding today not only in Europe but all over the world. China is one of the largest producers of renewable energy today. India has just announced a 100,000MW solar programme. Saudi Arabia is on the forefront. Kenya, the country in which we operate, because of its green energy policy put in place eight years ago, is today producing the vast majority of its electricity with renewables...The story repeats itself, in the United States, in South America."


However, the story is not an entirely happy one. In 2012 and 2013, investments in clean technology slumped.

Figures released in January 2014 by  Bloomberg New Energy Finance showed that, after a record $318bn in global investment in clean energy in 2011, this dropped to $286bn in 2012 and again to $254bn in 2013.

This, too, was a story that repeated itself across the globe. In 2013, China saw its investments in clean energy slip by 3.8% from 2012 levels, down to $61bn. In the US, investments dropped by 8.4% to $48bn.

Europe saw one of the biggest declines, with investment falling by 41% down to $58bn in 2013. Bloomberg attributed this to big economies, such as Germany, Italy and France, restricting subsidy payments for new projects and failing to dispel uncertainty over future support.

Wind, solar and biomass all saw investments drop during this period - although for other clean technologies, including smart grids, storage, electric vehicles and efficiency, investments continued to rise slightly.

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Daily Briefing | UK backs bid by fossil fuel firms to kill new EU fracking controls, letters reveal

  • 10 Sep 2015, 09:00
  • Carbon Brief Staff
Operating oil and gas well profiled on sunset sky

Oil & gas well | Shutterstock

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From the archives: What do the Labour leadership candidates think on climate and energy? 
With voting in Labour's leadership contest set to close at midday today, why not take another look at what the candidates have said about climate change and energy? Last month, we created a grid, distilling the candidates' thoughts on all the key climate policy issues.   Carbon Brief

Climate and energy news

UK backs bid by fossil fuel firms to kill new EU fracking controls, letters reveal 
Oil and gas firms including BP, Chevron, Shell and ExxonMobil have been lobbying EU leaders to scrap a series of environmental safety measures for fracking - and the UK government is in support, says the Guardian. In letters seen by the paper, the companies caution that the measures would "seriously exacerbate an already ailing investment climate for producing oil and gas within Europe". According to the paper, UK government sources say that any new form of industry controls would be "an unnecessary restriction on the UK oil and gas industry". Elsewhere, former Friends of the Earth's climate campaigner, now Labour shadow energy minister, Bryony Worthington, tells the BBC that environmentalists should keep cool heads over fracking. Worthington says fracking will create less carbon dioxide than compressing gas in Qatar and shipping it to Britain, but that it should only be developed if its emissions are captured and stored underground. In response, Worthington's former colleague, Friends of the Earth director Craig Bennett, said: "Fracking won't help us tackle climate change", adding that shale gas wouldn't come on line until the mid-to-late 2020s, which "is exactly when the UK needs to start getting out of gas, wherever it comes from." You can listen to Worthington and Bennett discuss the topic on this morning's  Radio 4 Today programme.  The Guardian 

Europe will have 'climate refugees tomorrow' without ambitious Paris deal, warns Juncker 
European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, has called for an ambitious climate deal in Paris in December, and warned rising temperatures could worsen the migrant crisis Europe is currently facing. In his State of the Union speech, Juncker said Europe's priority is to adopt a robust and binding global deal, reports Carbon Pulse: "Let me be very clear to our international partners: the EU will not sign just any deal." Juncker also warned that the future refugees would come to Europe to escape the worst impacts of climate change: "We are tackling the root causes of the next migration wave in the coming decades," he said. Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Bangladesh is going ahead with an ambitious plan to reclaim land from the sea to help relocate people who have lost their homes to sea level rise, erosion and extreme weather.  BusinessGreen 

Energy groups face UK bill for pollution 
Oil and gas companies could be forced to pay millions of pounds to help combat climate change under a "polluter pays" plan debated in Britain's Parliament, reports the FT. Under an amendment put forward to an energy bill before the House of Lords, companies that import or extract oil and gas in the UK would have to pay for a portion of their fuels' carbon dioxide content to be stored underground. Peers backing the measure say it would revive faltering efforts to develop a carbon capture and storage (CCS) industry in the North Sea, but the industry trade group Oil & Gas UK says it could harm North Sea operators. The amendment was debated on Wednesday but the energy bill will not go to a vote until October. Meanwhile, the BBC reports on a study that says a new CCS technique could help to unlock the North Sea's "vast" carbon dioxide storage potential. The study estimates that one area, more than a mile beneath the Moray Firth, could securely store at least 360m tonnes of carbon dioxide in just one sixth of its area - equivalent to the emissions from generating Scotland's energy supply for 23 years. Project partners behind the study include the Scottish government, the Crown Estate, and Shell.  The Financial Times 

Clock ticking for North Sea oil as low prices threaten closure of 140 fields 
Falling oil prices could lead to 140 fields in the North Sea being decommissioned over the next five years, a leading energy consultancy has warned. Wood MacKenzie said that field closures could go ahead even if oil prices return to $85 per barrel, from their current price of around $49. But even a partial recovery to around $70 a barrel would leave 50 oil fields facing the chop. Meanwhile The Guardian reports comments from Oil & Gas UK's chief executive that more jobs would go and cuts in the sector would continue until the industry was lean enough to weather the crisis.  The Telegraph 

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Daily Briefing | North Sea faces £12bn investment collapse from oil price slump

  • 09 Sep 2015, 09:00
  • Carbon Brief Staff
Offshore oil rig

Oil rig | Shutterstock

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A detailed summary of the latest Bonn climate talks 
If you haven't yet caught up with the latest round of climate talks, held in Bonn last week, Carbon Brief has a detailed summary of what happened -- and how it was reported. The process now looks to the first week in October, when the co-chairs of the talks will publish a draft agreement to be negotiated line-by-line when diplomats return to Bonn later that month.   Carbon Brief 

From the archive: Scientists discuss the role of climate change in the Syrian civil war 
Back in March as the war in Syria reached its fourth year, Carbon Brief looked at the complex mix of factors behind the conflict, as new research showed climate change -- with a severe drought from 2006 -- could also have had an influence. A guest post reflected on climate-conflict research, finding "more confusion than knowledge". A Guardian Eco Audit also looks at the evidence on Syria and climate.   Carbon Brief

Climate and energy news

North Sea faces £12bn investment collapse from oil price slump 
Oil company investment in the North Sea could fall by £2-4bn a year for the next three years, reports the Telegraph, as the industry adjusts to low oil prices. Some 15,000 jobs have already been lost in the industry, it adds. The forecast from industry group Oil and Gas UK is also covered by the Financial Times, which says capital investment could halve within two years. Reuters takes a different angle on the report, saying UK oil and gas output is set to rise for the first time in 15 years.  The Telegraph 

UK experiences three earthquakes a year due to human activity, study says 
Work to establish a pre-fracking baseline of man-made earthquakes in the UK found roughly three per year reports the Guardian, down 95% since the nation's deep coalmines largely closed, it says. Experts believe shale-related quakes are unlikely to cause any damage, it adds. Business Green also has the story. In a comment for RTCC, John Ashton says fracking will only happen in England if it is imposed by government.  The Guardian 

Countries edge towards loss and damage deal at climate talks 
Major countries "once light years apart" on dealing with the damage caused by global warming are converging on a deal, says RTCC. It looks at two proposals for text on loss and damage, to form part of this year's package of climate agreements in Paris. One is from the G77 plus China group, the other from the US, Canada, Japan and others.  RTCC 

Environmentalists warn over dangers of carbon tax breaks 
Coal firm Hargreaves Services is lobbying for exemptions from the UK's carbon floor price so as to make mining more profitable. It says it will use some profits to restore derelict opencast mines in Scotland, where there is a £200m hole in the restoration fund for 32 sites, after two coal firms went bust in 2013. Opponents say tax breaks would encourage mining at marginal sites.  The National

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