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Daily Briefing

20.02.2018
Today's climate and energy headlines
Carbon Brief Staff

Carbon Brief Staff

20.02.2018 | 10:06am
DAILY BRIEFING 24 smart meters needed every minute to hit ministers’ target
24 smart meters needed every minute to hit ministers’ target

News.

24 smart meters needed every minute to hit ministers’ target

Energy companies would need to install 24 smart meters a minute for the next three years to meet a deadline of installing one in every home by 2020, the Times reports. Analysis by Which? shows suppliers are falling far short of the rate needed for the £11bn scheme to be completed on time. Official figures showed that just under nine million gas and electricity meters had been installed, out of about 50 million needed. UK energy minister Claire Perry told parliament this month that smart meters were being installed at a rate of 400,000 a month, about nine a minute, the Times adds. The findings were also covered by Energy Live News, the Scotsman, and the Daily Mail. Meanwhile the Telegraph reports bill payers are “set to save hundreds of pounds” under an automatic switching revolution being planned by price comparison websites.

The Times Read Article
'Much work needed' to make digital economy environmentally sustainable

There is uncertainty over whether efficiency gains can continue to stave off increased power demand from the internet and computing, according to a new report from thinktank Policy Connect, advised by the all-party parliamentary climate change group of MPs. Internet and computing now accounts for about 6% of global electricity use, but more efficient smartphones, networking gear and data centres have so far largely staved off increased power demand. The authors said there was “much work” to be done to ensure the digital economy was environmentally sustainable, and urged the government to map the amount of energy consumed by computing and the internet.

The Guardian Read Article
Climate Rulebook Likely Done This Year, With or Without U.S.

The climate rulebook being drafted to keep a lid on Earth’s rising temperatures should be finished by the end of the year, with or without the US government’s help, reports Bloomberg News. Countries who ratified the Paris Agreement are set to meet in Poland this December to complete transparency and verification measures to ensure that industries and economies abide by emission rules. Speaking to Bloomberg News, Patricia Espinosa, the UN’s top climate official, said the high expectations around the process are putting strong pressure on the parties to “really find ways of coming to compromises”. “It would be very difficult for any party to bear the responsibility of having obstructed an agreement,” she said. Espinosa added that she hopes “we can engage with the US administration, that we can address their concerns, their doubts about the commitments to the Paris Agreement.” Espinosa spoke to Carbon Brief last year on several topics including Trump, Brexit, and the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C goal. Carbon Brief also covered last year’s UN climate talks in Bonn in depth, including the progress made on the Paris ‘rulebook’.

Bloomberg News Read Article

Comment.

Claire Perry: 13 years since Kyoto and the UK is still leading the charge to a low carbon future

In 2005, the world was a very different place, writes Claire Perry, UK minister for energy and clean growth, in a comment piece for the Times Red Box. “The phrase ‘climate change’ was not exactly a buzzword and yet an extraordinary moment occurred. A groundswell of momentum across the globe brought the Kyoto Protocol into force, a pivotal agreement committing more countries than ever to internationally binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” Now momentum on climate action is accelerating with the UK in the driving seat, writes Perry, and climate change is “no longer just a phrase used by environmentalists and scientists” but “forms part of our everyday narrative”. Perry goes on to say that “this is the moment not only for global efforts to reduce our CO2 output, but also for the growth of green industries and for international climate collaboration”. She also says “the UK was instrumental in securing the Paris Agreement” and should be proud for its climate action overseas as well as at home. Perry also references the UK’s investment in renewables and coal-phase out commitment, and argues the UK is “on track to meet or over-deliver against our first three carbon budgets”. She also says ambitious climate action “must continue”. “We have come a long way in the last thirteen years, but we cannot step off the pedal now.”

Claire Perry, The Times Read Article
How climate change is altering air travel around the world

Aviation has a “precarious future” in a changing climate, writes Fred Pearce in Ensia. Last June, temperatures at Phoenix airport reached 118 °F (48 °C), exceeding the maximum operating temperature for several aircraft ready for take-off, leading more than 50 flights to be canceled or rerouted. “Thanks to climate change, soon 118 °F may not seem so unusual…As the world warms and weather becomes more extreme, aircraft designers, airport planners and pilots must all respond, both in the air and on the ground.” He goes on to explain how some of these challenges are being tackled. With around 100,000 flights worldwide per day carrying some 8 million passengers day, “this is a big deal”, adds Pearce.

Fred Pearce, Ensia Read Article
The Dirty Little Deals That Would Foul the Environment

Following its approval of the big budget deal earlier this month, the US Congress began writing the dozen appropriations bills that direct federal dollars to specific agencies, notes an editorial in the New York Times, which calls these a “legislative minefield… pocked with destructive amendments of Republican origin hostile to clean air, clean water, endangered species and fragile landscapes.” Public interest groups have counted nearly 90 of these riders, the editorial says, listing several of the worst, including rules to minimise emissions of methane approved by the Obama administration. However, by holding his party together, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer can “deny the Republicans the 60 votes they need to overcome a filibuster – ensuring a clean bill, and a cleaner environment,” the editorial says.

Editorial, The New York Times Read Article

Science.

National contributions to climate change mitigation from agriculture: allocating a global target

Globally, agriculture and related land use change contribute around 17% of the world’s human-caused greenhouse gas emissions each year. A new study assesses five different ways to mitigate these emissions by allocating country-level targets. Basing targets on responsibility for total historical emissions results in significant limits for North America, Europe and China, the researchers say. But basing them specifically on historical agricultural emissions resulted in a relatively even distribution of targets among countries and regions.

Climate Policy Read Article
Increasing importance of precipitation variability on global livestock grazing lands

A new study investigates the potential impacts of climate change on global pastures and rangelands, which underpin global meat and milk production. The researchers focus on a measure of rainfall variability from one year to the next. Globally, pastures experience about 25% more year-to-year rainfall variation than the average global land surface area, the researchers say. And over the past century, this variability has generally increased in around 50% of pasture areas and decreased in around 30%.

Nature Climate Change Read Article

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