Today's climate and energy headlines:
- Irreversible loss of world's ice cover should spur leaders into action, say scientists
- British companies call for government action on climate change
- Swansea Bay tidal energy lagoon gets green light from Amber Rudd
- Appeals court tosses suits challenging climate change plan
- China, India reject calls for tougher climate goal at UN talks
- Record boost in new solar power continues massive industry growth
- White House unveils $34m climate plan to disaster-proof developing countries
- G7 nods to loss and damage claims with climate insurance pledge
- The G7 is right to call for fossil fuel phase-out, but it can happen sooner
- Why climate uncertainty justifies action
- Lagrangian coherent structures along atmospheric rivers
- Impacts of rising air temperatures and emissions mitigation on electricity demand and supply in the United States: a multi-model comparison
We need only look to the world’s ice cover to see the
urgency with which emissions need to come down, scientists told
delegates at this week’s climate talks in Bonn, Germany. New
observations show the cryosphere in serious and irreversible
decline, they warned at a press conference yesterday.
Climate and energy news.
A coalition of businesses has called on Prime Minister David
Cameron to push for a cap on global warming of 2C above
pre-industrial levels. In a letter to Downing Street, 80 British
businesses including BT, John Lewis, Coke, Mars, IKEA and Marks
& Spencer urged the government to set an ambitious fifth carbon
budget from 2028-2032 and to bring in clearer long-term policies
that encourage investment in low-carbon energy. RTCCand BusinessGreenhave the story.
Planning permission has been granted for a £1bn project to
build a tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay. Energy secretary Amber Rudd
gave the go ahead for the project, which could be up and running by
2018. A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change
said a contract for subsidies paid by consumers to the developers
in return for electricity, which is yet to be agreed, would be
“subject to strict value for money considerations.” BusinessGreenhas more on the
The U.S. Court of Appeals has dismissed a pair of
high-profile lawsuits challenging the Obama administration’s
sweeping plan to tackle climate change. The judge ruled the
challenge against the Environmental Protection Agency was premature
since the plan to curb emissions from coal-fired power plants could
still be changed before it becomes a final regulation.
While there are signs of progress in some areas at the
climate talks taking place in Bonn this week, China, India and
Saudi Arabia are calling for discussions to lower the target for
limiting global warming from 2C to 1.5C to be shelved, reports
RTCC. Harjeet Singh of Action Aid says, “They know their entire
economic model right now depends on fossil fuels For China and
India, it is a slightly different game, because it is more about
A record 40 gigawatts of solar power was added to the
world’s grids in 2014, pushing total cumulative capacity to 100
times the level it was in 2000. There is now a total of 178GW to
meet world electricity demand, which may be enough to prompt a
rapid acceleration of the technology, says The Guardian. Meanwhile,
industry figures show wind and solar power provided at least 40 per
cent of electricity supply in the UK last weekend,
President Obama announced new measures on Tuesday to help
disaster-proof developing countries from extreme weather and sea
level rise. In a boost to confidence ahead of the Paris climate
talks, the initiative will help give vulnerable countries like
Bangladesh, Columbia and Ethiopia access to climate data. The $34m
plan involves several US government agencies, Google and the UK Met
A former spokesperson for the Alliance of Small Island
States has welcomed the G7’s promise that up to 400 million more
people in vulnerable developing countries would have be insured
against climate change by 2020 but said it “in no way it replaces
or meets the developing world’s requests for loss and damage.” A
climate compensation fund is being debated in UN talks but has long
been a bone of contention between rich and poor nations, says RTCC.
Climate and energy comment.
The G7 nations this week called for a decarbonisation of the
global economy over the course of this century. This is the right
message, but on the wrong timescale. The low-carbon transformation
needs to happen largely by the middle, not the end, of this
century, says Frank Jotzo, Director of the Centre for Climate
Economics and Policy at Australian National University.
As greenhouse gases rise, the likelihood of extreme events
increases along with average temperatures. Given the science, which
is well established, it is impossible to argue that we know the
risks are small – so climate change becomes a simple matter of
insurance against possible bad outcomes, says Martin Wolf. A new
book by academics from the Environmental Defense Fund and Harvard
University entitled “Climate Shock”, examines, among other things,
how much we should value future lives against our own, a concept
known in climate economics as discounting.
New climate science.
Water vapour from the tropics is transported to mid-latitude
regions on long filaments of flowing air that intermittently travel
across the world’s oceans. A new study investigates how these
‘atmospheric rivers’ form, using weather data and simulations of
the transport of water from the Caribbean to the Iberian Peninsula
in Spain. When these rivers make landfall, they can cause severe
floods and other extreme weather events, the researchers say.
A new study explores how the power sector in the US both
affects and is affected by climate change. Without mitigation of
greenhouse gas emissions, rising temperatures could raise
electricity demand by 2-7% in 2050, the study finds. The increase
in system costs to meet this additional demand is comparable to
costs of cutting power sector emissions by approximately 50% in
2050, the researchers say.
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