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Daily Briefing

25.06.2019
Today's climate and energy headlines
DAILY BRIEFING Bank of England to get climate change powers under Labour
Bank of England to get climate change powers under Labour

News.

Bank of England to get climate change powers under Labour

Many UK news outlets feature continuing coverage of John McDonnell’s speech to City leaders, in which he outlined his plans to deal with climate change. According to the Times, the shadow chancellor said a Labour government would grant the Bank of England climate change “powers” and delist companies from the London Stock Exchange if they failed to hit environmental targets. “We need to make sure all of the finance sector is pulling together…This means mobilising private sector resources for green investment. But it also means preventing financial institutions from contributing to planetary heating or exposing our economy to financial instability,“ McDonnell said yesterday. The GuardianMailOnline and the Daily Telegraph also carry the story. City AM reports on the “shockwaves” the shadow chancellor’s comments had sent through the Square Mile and carries comments describing his ideas as “financial totalitarianism”.

Meanwhile, the Evening Standard and the Independent focus on comments from McDonnell that the disruption caused by the Extinction Rebellion protests in London had “definitely been worth it” to raise awareness of global warming.

The Times Read Article
G20 plays down commitment to climate change action

A document being prepared for the G20 meeting of the world’s largest economies has been described by the Financial Times as “watering down” commitments to tacking climate change. The draft communique, seen by the newspaper, “omits the phrases ‘global warming’ and ‘decarbonisation’ and downplays the Paris climate accord”. Ahead of a G20 summit in Osaka, starting on Friday, the document is described as a sign of Japan seeking to “curry favour” with the US due to ongoing trade talks and concerns about North Korea.

Meanwhile, the GuardianRTE and Reuters all cover a new report by the London-based think tank Overseas Development Institute which documents a significant rise in G20 coal subsidies. The Guardian says the nations have “almost tripled” the subsidies given to coal-fired power plants in recent years, despite a pledge made a decade ago to phase out such fossil-fuel payments. RTE notes that G20 host Japan was one of the biggest providers of public finance to coal, along with China, South Korea and India. In their coverage of the report, ClimateHome News point out that four of the nations giving billions to support the fossil-fuel industry – specifically, the UK, Ireland, France and Canada – have all declared “climate emergencies” in recent months.

Financial Times Read Article
Self-styled presidential ‘climate change candidate’ would wean US off fossil fuels

Jay Inslee, the Washington state governor and Democratic presidential hopeful, has released his “Freedom from Fossil Fuels” plan as part of a “multi-pronged policy platform” to tackle climate change, according to Reuters. The news outlet reports how the Democrat candidate revealed his plan, which involved shifting decisively away from fossil fuels – including a ban on drilling on public lands and ending crude oil exports – “just as the country is poised to become the world’s biggest producer”. The story is also reported by the Guardian, Vox and HuffPost, as well as BuzzFeed News, which focuses on Inslee’s specific pledge to ban fracking. The news website also notes previous proposals by the governor to retire all US coal plants by 2030, galvanise $9tn in climate spending and hold a climate-only debate for Democrats.

Elsewhere, Axios carries a piece outlining how the Democrat candidates are “poised to showcase just how far left the party has moved in the last several years — especially on energy and climate change” in this week’s presidential debates. InsideClimate News has produced an in-depth exploration of each of the Democrat candidates’ positions on climate change – and how they have evolved over time. Among those featured are Bernie SandersElizabeth Warrenand Joe Biden, who, according to polling reported by The Hill, is the frontrunner for Democratic voters who care about climate change. The New York Timesreports on concerns about warmer temperatures and higher sea levels in Miami, where Democrats are set to debate later this week.

Reuters Read Article
'Hell is coming': week-long heatwave begins across Europe

The Guardian reports that an “unprecedented week-long heatwave” is moving across mainland Europe, noting that temperatures could reach or even exceed 40C in parts of the continent. The paper features concerned comments from regional weather forecasters, as well as health warnings being issued in a bid to prevent severe dehydration and heatstroke. It also notes the link that scientists have established between last year’s lengthy heatwave and climate change. The SunDaily Mirror and Daily Express all carry the story, with the Sun noting that “British holiday hotspots” would be among the areas affected. BBC News says the temperatures expected in France could break the national record for June. Reuters reports that Parisian authorities were opening up “cool rooms”, keeping swimming pools open late and installing emergency water fountains as the city prepares for a “potentially dangerous” heatwave.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports on a study undertaken in Los Angeles that found a correlation between heatwaves and crime in poorer neighbourhoods.

The Guardian Read Article
Science, storms and protests: The issues behind climate crisis

Sky News is running a week-long series of “special reports on the world’s climate crisis” under the banner of “A New Climate”. In the introductory article, the authors make their position clear, writing: “The planets have aligned. We’ve come to our senses. And if we act now it’s not too late”. Other pieces in the series so far look at the UK’s first “climate change refugees” and the country’s changing electricity generation.

Sky News Read Article

Comment.

Labour's plans are rattling the City crockery

The Daily Mail features an opinion piece from Henry Deedes on the shadow chancellor’s plans for a “green revolution”, which he describes as “slightly barmy”. “Jeremy Corbyn’s lot are very angry about carbon emissions. Their aim is to ensure Britain is carbon neutral by 2050 – a policy announced by Prime Minister Theresa May just a couple of weeks ago. However, Labour want to rid us of carbon emissions even if it means crippling the economy,” he writes. In the Times, political sketch writer Quentin Letts says McDonnell had dropped “a clutch of socialist bombs within a block of the Bank of England”.

Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph carries a comment piece by Daniel Klier, the global head of sustainable finance at HSBC. He says: “Political action is a necessary step towards limiting global temperature increase to two degrees, as set out by the 2015 Paris Agreement. But it is not sufficient. An estimated $100 trillion (£79 trillion) of new infrastructure spending is required by 2030 to transition to a low-carbon economy and stay in line with the Paris targets. Governments and public sector bodies cannot do this on their own. Banks, investors and issuers must pull their weight on climate change. So far, we aren’t doing enough…We need to be confident in the business case for green finance. Returns on green products typically equal or even exceed those offered by equivalent non-green offerings.”

Henry Deedes, Daily Mail Read Article

Science.

Shifts in tourists’ sentiments and climate risk perceptions following mass coral bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef

Tourists visiting the Great Barrier Reef after the 2016 mass bleaching were more likely to show signs of ecological “grief” than those visiting before the event, a study finds. The research tracks “threat perceptions and values” associated with the Great Barrier Reef and climate change among 4,681 Australian and international tourists visiting the Great Barrier Reef region before and after mass coral bleaching in 2016 and 2017. Those visiting after bleaching were also more likely to see climate change as an immediate threat, the study finds.

Nature Climate Change Read Article
Amazonian tree species threatened by deforestation and climate change

Climate change could have a larger impact on tree species richness in the Amazon than deforestation by 2050. The research finds that climate change could decrease tree species richness by 31-37%, while deforestation could decrease richness by 19-36%. The combined impacts of climate change and deforestation are estimated to reduce Amazon tree species richness by up to 58% by 2050, the study shows. “This outlook urges rapid progress to zero deforestation, which would help to mitigate climate change and foster biodiversity conservation,” the authors say.

Nature Climate Change Read Article
Shifting avian spatial regimes in a changing climate

The range of bird communities in the US Great Plains has shifted 590km northwards over the past four decades, a study finds. The study makes use of data tracking the movement of birds across the area from the past 46 years. “In the present era of rapid global change, development of early warnings of ecological regime shifts is a major focus in ecology,” the authors say.

Nature Climate Change Read Article

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