Daily Briefing | IPCC climate impacts report launched

  • 31 Mar 2014, 10:00
  • Carbon Brief staff

Climate and energy news    

IPCC report: 'Climate change is happening and no one in the world is immune' 
The negative effects of climate change are already beginning to be felt in every part of the world and yet countries are ill-prepared for the potentially immense impacts on food security, water supplies and human health, according to today's IPCC report into the impacts of climate change. The  Times, in contrast, focuses on the economics. It says the report has been "rewritten to suggest that the economic damage from global warming could be far greater than previously estimated." The  BBC says the impacts will be "overwhelming". Steve Connor, Independent    

Britain faces food price rises, floods and deadly heatwaves as a result of climate change 
The Telegraph focuses on the local effects of climate change for the UK - from heatwaves to food price rises - according to today's IPCC report. It also features comments by US Secretary of State,  John Kerry warning that "denial of [the UN's] science is malpractice". Meanwhile, it  quotes IPCC lead author Chris Field calling on decisionmakers to get more excited about the opportunities available to adapt to the impacts of climate change. In an editorial, the paper says the report makes for sobering reading, but that "Perhaps instead of continued doom-mongering [...] greater thought needs to be given to how mankind might adapt to the climatic realities". Daily Telegraph, Emily Gosden 

IPCC report: Climate change a threat to security, food and humankind 
The Guardian focuses on the human risks identified in the latest report from the IPCC, released today. Warming is leading to more volatile weather patterns and already reducing crop yields, the report finds, increasing the risk of conflict. The paper's front page story focuses  further on food. The Guardian also  liveblogged the release of the report last night and  summarises five key points from the report. Suzanne Goldenberg, Guardian

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Arctic sea ice melt: a story of winners and losers, IPCC scientist says

  • 28 Mar 2014, 15:45
  • Ros Donald

Arctic sea ice is expected to have melted enough to open up shipping lanes for four months of the year by the middle of the century, a new UN climate report is expected to say. The new conditions could open up opportunities for some,  but scientists tell us many are also likely to suffer as the region morphs into a busier, warmer place.

The new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Working Group 2, tackles the impacts of climate change on the world, and how it may be possible to adapt to them. It's expected to say the Arctic, which has warmed at about twice the global rate in the past three decades, will be a lightning rod for change.

The IPCC last year released the first of three bumper reports collecting and assessing five years' worth of climate science data. Working Group 1 (WG1), which tackles the physical science of climate change, concluded that warming in the atmosphere and ocean is causing ice in the Arctic to shrink and thin. The loss of Arctic sea ice over the past three decades - at a rate of around 3.5 to 4.1 per cent - is unprecedented, it says.

Arctic impacts

Professor David Vaughan, Director of Science at the British Antarctic Survey was one of the lead UK authors on WG1. That instalment, called Working Group 1, addressed the physical science of climate change. He tells Carbon Brief:

"There are undoubtedly human activities that will benefit from warmer temperatures and reduced sea ice."

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Daily Briefing | Big six energy companies investigated

  • 28 Mar 2014, 09:15
  • Carbon Brief staff

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Why Ofgem referred the 'Big Six' for investigation in graphs 
Energy regulator Ofgem referred the sector to the Competition Commission yesterday. The Telegraph takes a look at different factors behind mean the decision including the companies' earnings, market share and trust in suppliers. The blog Carbon Commentary takes a more detailed look, using Ofgem's 120 page report. 
Daily Telegraph 

Climate and energy news:

Ed Miliband to propose fresh energy price controls as he targets 'big six' 
In a speech today, Labour leader Ed Miliband will propose fresh controls over energy prices, according to a front page story in the Guardian. He plans to keep up the pressure by calling a Commons vote next week demanding an immediate price freeze for business and domestic customers. The front page of i newspaper says that the big six did "gang up to set energy prices". 
The Guardian 

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Stormy weather leads to record levels of renewable electricity

  • 27 Mar 2014, 11:30
  • Mat Hope

Vincent van Zeijst

Stormy weather pushed the UK's renewable electricity generation to to record levels at the end of 2013, according to official statistics. However, fossil fuels still made up the largest proportion of the UK's energy mix.

Renewables generated almost 18 per cent of the UK's electricity in the last three months of 2013, with high wind speeds ramping up wind generation.

The figure comes from Department of Energy and Climate Change's monthly energy statistics, which track energy production and consumption between November 2013  and January this year.

Electricity mix by fuel

Electricity generation fell by 3.4 per cent on a year before, the statistics show.

Renewables' share of the overall mix increased to around 18 per cent. Meanwhile the proportion of fossil fuels used to generate electricity decreased slightly, to 61 per cent. Coal power continued to have the highest share: to 36 per cent.

UK electricity mix nov to jan14


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Daily Briefing | SSE freezes prices, goes cold on windfarms

  • 27 Mar 2014, 09:15
  • Carbon Brief staff

Credit:  Richard Humphrey

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Spain's oil deposits and fracking sites trigger energy gold rush 
The discovery of two significant offshore deposits off the coast of Spain, and prospects for fracking in many areas, have triggered a black-gold rush, with demand for exploration permits up 35% since 2012. A report published this week by Deloitte says the oil industry could constitute 4.3 per cent of GDP by 2065 and make Spain a net gas exporter by 2031. 

Climate and energy news:

European leaders ask Obama to allow increased exports of US shale gas 
European leaders on Wednesday asked Barack Obama to share the US's shale gas bonanza with Europe by facilitating gas exports to help counter the stranglehold Russia has on the continent's energy needs. At an EU-US summit in Brussels, Barack Obama's first visit to the city in office, the impact of Vladimir Putin's seizure of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula loomed large, affecting transatlantic relations in various ways - from defence spending to energy policies and trade talks. 

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Carbon briefing: changing views on biofuels reflected in forthcoming climate report

  • 26 Mar 2014, 11:15
  • Robin Webster

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)'s new report, due to be launched next week, is likely to give a new and updated perspective on biofuels - reflecting a flood of research on their impact on natural systems in past years. 

The UN-created body launched its last major report back in 2007. At that time, the idea of using plant based crops as a replacement for fossil fuels was largely viewed as an effective way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector. 

But soon afterstudies began emerging in the scientific literature that challenged this idea. They suggested biofuels could damage the environment, drive up  food prices, or even increase  greenhouse gas emissions

Biofuels in the the IPCC's Fourth Assessment

Back in 2007, the IPCC  identified transport biofuels as a "key mitigation strategy". They "might" play an important role in addressing greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector, it said. 

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Daily Briefing | A pick-and-mix of climate reports

  • 26 Mar 2014, 09:30
  • Carbon Brief Staff

UK's future climate to be all sorts
British summers are likely to be hotter and drier, but washouts are still on the cards, the Met Office says. The Met Office's new report suggests climate change is and will be partially responsible for more weather extremes, though more research is needed to understand the links. The study was released to coincide with the start of final negotiations of the IPCC's latest instalment of their big climate report, due to be released next week. The  Guardian and  Times  also have the story. David Shukman, BBC News 

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Daily Briefing | Scientists take 2013's temperature

  • 25 Mar 2014, 09:15
  • Carbon Brief staff

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13 of 14 warmest years on record occurred in 21st century - UN 
A report from the World Meteorological Organisation has confirmed that 2013 was the sixth-hottest year on record, and stated that "many of the extreme events of 2013 were consistent with what we would expect as a result of human-induced climate change." Reuters discusses the report here, under the headline "Global warming not stopped, will go on for centuries". The FT has a more thorough discussion of the report, and some of its findings, here
The Guardian 

Climate and energy news:

Dissent among scientists over key climate impact report 
The BBC preview the forthcoming IPCC report, with some useful information on what the report will contain. The report will provide more detail on the impacts of climate change, have more emphasis on adaptation and managing the risks of climate change. The BBC article suggests there is "dissent" about the report from researchers involved, although this appears to be based on the views of only one person, economics researcher Richard Tol, who as well as being an IPCC author is associated with a climate skeptic thinktank. 
BBC News 

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A big UN report on climate change impacts is coming: how is it being reported?

  • 24 Mar 2014, 17:00
  • Roz Pidcock

Hundreds of governments will convene in Japan tomorrow to discuss a new major UN climate change report. From slowing economic growth to species extinctions to food insecurity, the report reviews climate change's wide-ranging impacts on humans and the environment.

Last September, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the  first part of the report. It covered the physical science, from extreme rainfall to Arctic ice melt.

Ahead of its official launch on Monday, parts of the media have been previewing the second part of the report on climate change impacts, after it was leaked online a few months ago.

Here's our rundown of which of what's been making the pages of our newspapers;

"Immediate and very human" risks

Seth Borenstein for Associated Press gives a succinct rundown of the "immediate and very human' nature of climate change impacts. On the report's key messages, Borenstein says:

"The big risks and overall effects of global warming are far more immediate and local than scientists once thought. It's not just about melting ice, threatened animals and plants. It's about the human problems of hunger, disease, drought, flooding, refugees and war, becoming worse."

Alister Doyle for  Reuters describes how climate change impacts are already being felt across the world, putting pressure on governments to act. Growing risks include food and water security, violence and conflict, health risks, species losses, extreme weather and slowed economic growth.  

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Daily Briefing | Big climate report anticipates grim future

  • 24 Mar 2014, 09:20
  • Carbon Brief staff

Guilhem Vellut

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UN scientists see grim future if no climate action 
An overview of next week's report from the IPCC, laying out the greater risks of flooding, drought, rising seas, hunger, poverty and threats to security with each extra degree of temperature rise. The new report estimates 2.5 degrees of temperature rise above preindustrial levels could cost up to 2 per cent of global GDP but this is likely to be an underestimate as the way scientists assess this at the moment is very limited, says Jacob Schewe of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany. Reposted in The Australian
Agence France-Press 

Climate and energy news:

Big climate report: Warming is big risk for people 
Seth Borenstein outlines the major and immediate risks for humans laid out in the new IPCC report. It's not just about melting ice, threatened animals and plants - it's about the human problems of hunger, disease, drought, flooding, refugees and war becoming worse, Borenstein explains. Past panel reports have been ignored because the problem seemed too far in the future but it's us and it's now, says Pennsylvania State University's Michael Mann. 
Associated Press 

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