Today's climate and energy headlines:
- 196 countries to Trump: UN must tackle climate change
- UK ratifies Paris climate agreement
- Three amigos launch beyond-Trump 2050 climate strategies
- In Canada, a direct link between fracking and earthquakes
- Report: UK should retain carbon price floor… for now
- The North Pole is an insane 36 degrees warmer than normal as winter descends
- Polluting the outlook
- Obama reckons with a Trump presidency
- Research priorities for negative emissions
Almost 200 countries gathered at the COP22 UN climate summit in Marrakech have reaffirmed their commitment to tackling climate change, in the face of the shock election result in the US, reports Climate Home. Their joint Marrakech Action Proclamation calls for the highest political commitment to fight global warming, says the BBC It declares climate action an “urgent duty”, says Reuters. DeSmog Canada and Business Green also have the story. The proclamation should send a “clear signal” of unity on climate change, says UK climate minister Nick Hurd, according to a second Business Green article. News of the US election result turned the mood at Marrakech from “cheery and celebratory to sombre and defiant”, says Yale Climate Connections. If president-elect Trump follows through with his threat to pull out of the Paris climate deal, he would place the US in a tiny club with just one other nation – Nicaragua – notes Reuters. Bill O’Reilly, conservative Fox News host and “no fan of climate action”, is calling for Trump to stick with Paris, reports Mother Jones. Another unlikely voice calling for Trump to stick with the Paris Agreement comes from mining firm BHP Billiton, the Telegraph reports. Trump would be “foolish” to leave what is an “incredible” deal for the US, says Joe Romm for Think Progress. Even if he does not pull the US out of the deal, a Trump move to slow climate action at home could deal a “fatal blow” to the Paris ambition of avoiding 1.5C of warming, reports Climate Home. For RealClimate, David Victor writes that “the future of the global climate would have been fracked even had the [US] election gone the other way, unless stronger action to cut CO2 emissions is taken, very soon”. If Trump does quit the Paris deal, California is exploring how it could be represented in the process, reports Climate Home. Traditionally, only states have been members of the UN climate body, it notes, though there are exceptions such as the EU and Holy See.
Foreign secretary Boris Johnson has officially committed the UK to the Paris Agreement on climate change, the Guardian reports, by signing the “instrument of ratification” and sending it to the UN in New York. The UK was the 11th country to ratify the deal, reports Business Green. Climate sceptic Conservative MP Peter Lilley would have tried to object, had he noticed it in parliament, he tells BBC News, though he adds “it probably would have been a rather ineffective gesture”. The Independent, Reuters and the Daily Express also have the story. Business Green rounds up reactions to the news. Carbon Brief has a recording of UK climate minister Nick Hurd from a press conference at COP22 in Marrakech, where he announced the move.
The US, Canada and Mexico have joined Germany in releasing strategies to radically cut emissions by mid century, reports Climate Home. The German plan “reasserts climate leadership”, says InsideClimate News. The US plan shows “what might have been”, says Ars Technica. ClimateWirelooks at the details of the US plan.
A spate of earthquakes in Alberta, Canada, has been attributed to fracking, reports the New York Times. Scientists at the University of Calgary say the quakes were induced by increases in pressure as fracking occurred, and by pressure changes as fracking fluid lingered. The findings of the research could help regulators take steps to avoid fracking earthquakes elsewhere, the Times reports. DeSmog Blog also has the story.
Chancellor Phillip Hammond should retain the UK’s carbon price floor at next week’s Autumn statement, according to a report from free-market thinktank Policy Exchange, says Business Green. The price should stay until coal has been forced off the system, the report suggests, whereas scrapping it now would undermine efforts to phase out coal. Policy Exchange says the carbon tax should ultimately be phased out, reports the Telegraph, in order to avoid importing more power from Europe, where the CO2 price is currently lower.
Temperatures in the Arctic are as much as 20C (36F) above average, reports the Washington Post. Partly as a result of this warmth, Arctic sea ice is covering a record-low area for this time of year. Antarctic sea ice is also at a record low for the time of year, report Grist and the Open Mind blog. That means global sea ice extent is some 4m square kilometres below average, an area larger than India. Mail Online also covers the record Arctic heat.
President-elect Trump “may slow but not derail America’s clean-energy transition”, says the Economist. Though no-one knows what his energy policies will be, he is “unlikely to seek to repeal tax credits for wind and solar energy”, it says. Low oil prices may make the Keystone pipeline favoured by Trump a “non-starter for commercial reasons”, the Economist adds.
New Yorker’s David Remnick. presents a long read on the view from “inside a stunned White House”, including president Obama’s views on climate change and the new media ecosystem. “[It] means everything is true and nothing is true”, Obama says. “An explanation from a Nobel Prize-winning physicist looks exactly the same on your Facebook page as the denial of climate change by somebody on the Koch brothers’ payroll…Ideally, in a democracy, everybody would agree that climate change is a consequence of man-made behaviour, because that’s what ninety-nine per cent of scientists tell use, and then we would have a debate about how to fix it.” Obama adds: “So you’d argue about means, but there was a baseline of facts that we could all work off of. And now we just don’t have that.”
Carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere, or ‘negative emissions’ technology, features prominently in most 2C scenarios, and 1.5C is “barely conceivable” without them, according to a new study. Despite the general criticisms from scientists, citizens, and policymakers that such technologies are insufficiently mature to rely on and that they might have unacceptable social and environmental costs, their close association with the climate targets laid out in the Paris Agreement warrants a more thorough consideration of their potential. The authors outline what they see as the research priorities needed to provide a more complete picture.
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