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Daily Briefing

26.06.2019
Today's climate and energy headlines
DAILY BRIEFING ‘Climate apartheid’: Rich people to buy their way out of environmental crisis while poor suffer, warns UN
‘Climate apartheid’: Rich people to buy their way out of environmental crisis while poor suffer, warns UN

News.

‘Climate apartheid’: Rich people to buy their way out of environmental crisis while poor suffer, warns UN

A UN representative has warned of a possible future “climate apartheid”, where wealthy communities will be “able to buy their way out” of the impacts of climate change while the poorest suffer most, according to the Independent and others. The UN’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty Philip Alston said that “millions could be impoverished” even if the world’s aspirational target of limiting global warming to 1.5C is met, BBC News reports. The world’s poorest could “be hardest hit by rising temperatures – and the potential food shortages and conflict that could accompany such a change”, BBC News says. “Developing nations are expected to suffer at least 75% of the costs of climate change – despite the fact that the poorer half of the world’s population generate just 10% of emissions.” The Guardian reports that Alston’s comments, contained within a report to the UN human rights council, conclude: “Human rights might not survive the coming upheaval.” Reuters also has the story.

The Independent Read Article
Europe on alert as ‘dangerous’ heatwave approaches

Publications continue to report on the “dangerous” and “unprecedented” heatwave sweeping central Europe. The Financial Times reports that the forecasted heat has triggered public warnings in France, Spain and Germany and has led to the rescheduling of exams for hundreds of thousands of French students. “Hell is coming,” said Spanish meteorologist Silvia Laplana in a tweet showing a time-lapse map of red heat spreading across Spain, where temperatures in some parts are predicted to exceed 40C, the FT reports. “Extreme heatwaves are expected to become more frequent owing to climate change, particularly in southern Europe, where the likelihood of heatwaves is already 10 times greater than it was during pre-industrial times,” the FT says. The Guardian adds that Météo-France is now predicting peaks of 45C in the southern towns of Nîmes and Carpentras on Friday. The New York Times covers the news with the headline: “Europe is bracing for a heatwave. It’s the new normal.”

Financial Times Read Article
France failing to tackle climate emergency, report says

The Guardian reports that France is not doing enough to tackle its greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new report from the country’s independent advisory council on climate change. The report says that France must strengthen its climate policies – particularly on transport, car use and building renovation – if it is to meet its commitments under the Paris Agreement, the Guardian reports. France will have to triple its efforts on cutting emissions from these sectors if it is to get back on track, Reuters reports. In its first report, The Haut Conseil pour le Climat (HCC) said that in 2015-18, emissions fell by just 1.1% – below the target of 1.9%. Climate Home News also has the story.

The Guardian Read Article
Exclusive: Investors with $34tn demand urgent climate change action

Reuters reports that investors managing more than $34tn in assets – nearly half the world’s invested capital – are demanding governments take more urgent action on climate change. In an open letter to the “governments of the world” seen by Reuters, groups representing 477 investors stressed “the urgency of decisive action” on climate change to achieve the Paris Agreement targets. The Guardian also has the story.

Elsewhere, the Guardian reports comments from Al Gore, who is calling for a “major upgrade” to the global economy in order to tackle climate change.

Reuters Read Article
Planned growth of Heathrow and other airports ‘will stop UK hitting climate change targets’

The Independent covers a recent Carbon Brief guest post, in which researchers Dr Declan Finney and Dr Giulio Mattioli argue that the UK’s planned airport expansions are not compatible with its goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. “The researchers said the planned expansions were not the result of ‘inevitable’ increases in demand. Instead, increased airport capacity is likely to mean cheaper flights, which means people are inclined to fly more frequently,” the article says.

The Independent Read Article

Comment.

Britain led the world on climate change — now we must do it again

Labour MPs Kerry McCarthy and John McNally write in the Red Box section of the Times on the need for the UK to lead the world on climate change action. They write: “Today is a significant day in parliament. MPs are expecting thousands of people from nearly every constituency in the UK to come to Westminster to meet us. What unites these people with the firefighters, surfers, schoolchildren, faith leaders, doctors and many other professions who will be coming to parliament? Quite simply, that they care. They care about our warming climate.”

Meanwhile, in the Daily Telegraph, Christopher Snowdon – head of lifestyle economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) – writes that “these green targets waved through by MPs will make the cost of no deal look like small change”.

Kerry McCarthy and John McNally, The Times Read Article
Shell is not a green saviour. It’s a planetary death machine

“It is hard to believe it needs stating, but it does. The oil industry is not your friend. Whatever it might say about its ethical credentials, while it continues to invest in fossil fuels, it accelerates climate breakdown and the death of the habitable planet,” writes Guardian columnist George Monbiot. He argues that Shell’s funding of the arts, including subsidising tickets for young people at the Royal Shakespeare company, amount to “bread and circuses – without the bread”. Monbiot adds the oil firm’s recently announced funds for “ecosystem restoration” and “reforestation” pale in comparison to its continued investment in oil and gas. “The [$300m] fund sounds big, and it is – until you compare it with Shell’s annual income of $24bn,” he says.

George Monbiot, The Guardian Read Article

Science.

The effect of domestic air pollution mitigation and fracking on retirements of coal power plants

While low natural gas prices driven by the rise in fracking have increased retirements of coal-fired power stations around the world, “the foremost cause of retirements has been the tightening of criteria air pollutant regulations”, a new study suggests. “Even accounting for the resulting increase in emissions from new natural gas plants, the regulations eliminated over a billion tonnes of CO2 emissions,” the study finds. The authors conclude that “strict mitigation to protect domestic public health has led to sizeable global co-benefits”.

Climate Change Economics Read Article

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