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TODAY'S CLIMATE AND ENERGY HEADLINES

Briefing date 23.06.2022
Climate change a factor in ‘unprecedented’ South Asia floods

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Climate change a factor in 'unprecedented' South Asia floods
Associated Press Read Article

Climate change is a factor in the “erratic and early rains that triggered unprecedented floods in Bangladesh and north-eastern India”, Associated Press reports, citing “scientists”. It says that the floods are “killing dozens and making lives miserable for millions of others”. The newswire quotes Bangladesh’s prime minister Sheikh Hasina saying “we haven’t faced a crisis like this for a long time”. It adds: “Bangladesh, home to about 160 million, has historically contributed a fraction of the world’s emissions. Meanwhile, a decade-old deal for rich nations, who have contributed more to global emissions, to give $100bn to poorer nations every year to adapt to climate change and switch to cleaner fuels hasn’t been fulfilled. And the money that is provided is spread too thin. That means that countries like Bangladesh…have to redirect funds to combat climate change, instead of of spending it on policies aimed at lifting millions from poverty.” Reuters reports under the headline: “Rain-triggered floods in Bangladesh conjure climate warnings.” It continues: “Scientists say that climate change was likely to have made the rains that unleashed catastrophic flooding across Bangladesh worse. While South Asia’s monsoon rains follow natural atmospheric patterns, the rains will become more erratic and torrential as global temperatures continue to climb, scientists say.” Climate Home News says that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the Covid pandemic means aid agencies “are struggling to respond to deadly flooding in Bangladesh and India”.

Separately, Reuters reports: “Nigeria’s homes are vanishing into the sea from climate change.” It adds: “Hundreds of other residents have watched helplessly as tidal waves devour their homes, which experts say is a product of rising sea levels linked to climate change.”

Meanwhile, Associated Press reports that wildfire risks in Europe have been “heightened by early heatwaves, drought”. It quotes the World Meteorological Organization saying: “As a result of climate change, heatwaves are starting earlier and are becoming more frequent and more severe because of record concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases…What we are witnessing today is a foretaste of the future.” Reuters reports on wildfire in southern Turkey that has been “whipped up wind and heat”. It adds: “Human-induced climate change is making heatwaves more likely and more severe, scientists say.” Another Reuters article says the city of Seville in Spain is introducing a scheme to name and classify heatwaves, in what it calls a “world’s first”. The Guardian says heatwaves are “pushing up demand for air conditioning in UK”. Elsewhere, Reuters reports: “Pressure to meet objectives may have led the US Forest Service in New Mexico to ignore risks posed by a controlled burn that sparked the state’s largest wildfire, an agency review found.” Bloomberg reports on a new map that “shows how climate change influences today’s temperatures across the US”.

Biden’s proposed ‘gas tax holiday’ runs into opposition
Financial Times Read Article

US president Joe Biden has asked Congress to “suspend the federal tax on petrol and diesel for three months”, the Financial Times reports, adding that the idea “ran into swift opposition”. The paper says the proposal would suspend the federal levy of 18.4 cent per gallon of petrol and of 24 cents on diesel, at a cost of around $10bn, with Biden asking Congress to make up the money that usually goes to the “highway trust fund” with other revenues. It adds: “Republicans balked and Democrats were chilly to the proposal…Critics have warned that the policy could backfire, boosting demand and contributing to inflation, while failing to provide meaningful relief to families…Oil executives are likely to welcome the move, which amounts to a subsidy for their product.” The Independent reports under the headline: “Critics say proposed Biden gas tax holiday gives billions to oil companies but won’t lower prices at pump.” BBC News reports: “With national elections for Congress coming in November, Biden is under pressure to respond.” It adds: “Analysts say that removing the levy would have a limited impact on household petrol and diesel costs. Political support for the gas tax holiday, which would require an act of Congress, is also uncertain.” The Times says oil prices fell “by as much as 6% as Biden stepped up efforts to cut fuel costs for motorists and fears grew for the US economy”. It adds: “Such measures to reduce fuel costs would be expected to increase demand and could therefore ultimately boost oil prices, analysts said.” (Reuters reports that oil prices fell “as investors worried that rate hikes by the Federal Reserve could push the US economy into recession, dampening demand for fuel”.)

In its coverage, the Guardian notes: “Biden’s ratings have plummeted in recent months as inflation has soared, raising fears that the Democrats could lose their slim majorities in the Senate and House in November’s midterm elections.” The paper adds: “The administration’s efforts to blame Russia for the rising cost of fossil fuels and food have done little to dissipate voter dissatisfaction. Meanwhile, his move to increase national fossil fuel production, in order to diminish the impact of international factors, has been widely criticised by environmentalists, who argue it will scupper any chance of the US meeting its climate targets.” The HillDaily Telegraph and Sky News also have the story.

Reuters says Biden also “urged states to temporarily suspend state fuel taxes”. It adds that “opposition from lawmakers within his own party suggests the request [for a federal gas tax holiday] may never be met” due to a lack of votes. The Hill reports House majority leader Steny Hoyer saying “I don’t know whether we have the votes” to pass the proposed suspension, with a second Hill article saying Congress is “likely to reject” the measure. Another article from the Hill says speaker Nancy Pelosi “decline[d] to endorse gas tax holiday”. Bloomberg says the proposal “is uniting normally warring environmentalists and oil industry leaders who have found common ground blasting it as a political gimmick”. It continues: “Environmentalists say a gas tax holiday would only stoke more demand for fossil fuels while delaying a necessary pivot away from them…Oil leaders and their allies on Capitol Hill are also panning the approach, saying it does nothing to address more fundamental problems holding back US crude and gasoline production.” A Reuters explainer looks at the chances the gas tax holiday will pass through Congress, concluding: “The opposition from senior Democrats could mean Biden’s proposal fails.” Another Reuters article talks of a “deep rift” between Biden and the oil and gas industry, which he has “publicly criticised…for banking big profits”. It adds that he has “rarely spoken directly to the heads of energy companies or their representatives”.

For Bloomberg, columnist Liam Denning writes: “Even if Congress were to give the president what he’s asking for, it wouldn’t help.” He adds: “The good news is that, if the tax holiday does little for wallets, it also won’t encourage much greater gasoline demand.” Denning concludes: “The best long-term solution to the dual quandary [of energy security and decarbonisation] is to diversify energy sources and achieve meaningful conservation through efficiency and electrification, but these steps wouldn’t offer immediate gratification.”

Separately, the Guardian says Los Angeles “may ban new gas stations to help combat climate emergency”.

Clean energy boom leaves fossil spending behind as inflation, climate woes weigh: IEA
S&P Global Read Article

Global investment in clean energy is “set to outpace fossil fuel spending this year as uncertainties over future energy demand scenarios keep oil, gas and coal capital expenditures below the levels seen prior to the pandemic in 2019”, S&P Global reports, covering a new International Energy Agency (IEA) report. It says clean energy investment is “expected to exceed $1.4tn” this year, according to the IEA’s world energy investment report for 2022, with the sector having seen annual growth of 12% since 2020. The publication adds that “while oil and gas investment is up 10% from last year, it remains well below 2019 levels”. Overall energy investment is expected to rise 8% to $2.4tn, it says. Reuters quotes the IEA report saying: “Today’s oil and gas spending is caught between two visions of the future: it is too high for a pathway aligned with limiting global warming to 1.5C, but not enough to satisfy rising demand in a scenario where governments stick with today’s policy settings and fail to deliver on their climate pledges.”CNBC leads its coverage of the IEA report with the headline: “Coal investments set to rise 10% this year as nations fret over energy security.” It quotes IEA chief Fatih Birol saying: ““We cannot afford to ignore either today’s global energy crisis or the climate crisis, but the good news is that we do not need to choose between them – we can tackle both at the same time.” Renew Economy says clean energy is expected to account for “almost three-quarters of the total growth in overall energy investment” this year, according to the IEA. Argus Media says energy investment is being driven up by clean energy spending and cost inflation. Recharge has the headline: “‘Massive surge’ in renewables and energy efficiency driving up global market spending: IEA.” Carbon Brief’s Simon Evans has a Twitter thread picking out the key findings from the IEA report.

In a comment on the IEA report, Bloomberg columnist David Fickling writes that the “rich-poor divide on clean power is getting wider”. He says the solution to the problem is “simple”: “Developed nations should unleash the flood of pent-up capital to help emerging economies fund their decarbonisation efforts.”

After fractious debate, EU Parliament votes to back 'biggest ever' carbon market overhaul
Reuters Read Article

The European Parliament has given its backing to reforms of the EU Emissions Trading System (EUETS), Reuters reports, in a vote that “allay[s] fears of a delay to Europe’s climate change policies after lawmakers had rejected the proposals in a first vote this month”. The newswire explains: “This time, a majority of lawmakers backed a proposal to phase out free CO2 permits for industries by 2032 and replace them with a carbon levy on imported steel, cement and other products, designed to put European and foreign firms on a level footing.” It adds that the parliament “scaled back a planned EU carbon market for buildings and transport” but “strengthened other parts of the proposal, supporting an expansion the carbon market to cover 100% of emissions from international shipping trips to and from the EU from 2027”. The publication says: “The vote confirms Parliament’s position for negotiations with EU countries on the final laws. EU countries plan to agree their own position next week.” Associated Press runs the news with the headline: “In climate fight, EU lawmakers back stricter emission caps.” The Politico story is titled: “EU Parliament’s climate champion role in doubt after key vote.” It cites “critics” who says the deal “is out of step with the reality of climate change”. The publication says the EUETS proposal backed by the vote would see emissions covered by the scheme cut to 63% below 1990 levels by 2030, up from the 61% initially suggested by the European Commission “but far below the environment committee’s proposed 67% or the 70% demanded by climate campaigners”. A Reuters “factbox” runs through the details of the parliamentary proposals.

Another Reuters article reports on a European Commission proposal for “sanctions on future free trade agreement partners that disregard labour and environmental standards”. It says that while many of the EU’s existing trade deals include chapters on sustainability, the bloc has not been allowed to impose sanctions in response to disputes in the area. Politico reports: “The EU believes it can use its massive markets as a lever to push its trading partners to better protect the climate by sharpening the provisions in future trade agreements.”

Meanwhile, Politico previews the upcoming six-month EU presidency of the Czech Republic, due to begin in July. The publication reports: “The Czechs are clear that their focus will fall more on the energy supply crisis roiling Europe, rather than decarbonising the economy. ‘Fit for 55 creates the basis for decarbonisation,’ the government wrote in its presidency priorities. ‘However, the Czech Presidency will focus especially on thorough implementation of the main short-term objective, i.e. remove dependence on Russian fossil fuels.’ But they also push back on suggestions they will simply ignore the bloc’s green agenda.”

Ibrahim Thiaw appointed interim UN Climate Change head
Climate Home News Read Article

Ibrahim Thiaw, the Mauratanian diplomat and head of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), has been confirmed as interim head of UN Climate Change from 17 July, Climate Home News reports. It says Thiaw will remain in post until a permanent replacement for outgoing climate chief Patrica Espinosa is found. BusinessGreen also has the story, reporting: “Thiaw is a long-standing advocate of bolder climate action, having repeatedly called for sustainable land management to be leveraged to tackle climate change in his role as executive secretary of UNCCD.”

South China provinces raise alerts over historic flooding
Reuters Read Article

Citing a report from China’s state media, Reuters writes that Guangdong and Jiangxi provinces in south China “upgraded” flood warnings on Tuesday over “historic flooding”. The newswire says that in Jiangxi province to the north-east, authorities raised a flood “red alert” after “485,000 people in nine districts were affected”, citing state news agency Xinhua. The article says that the summer rainy season “brings floods to China almost every year”, but “environmental groups say climate change can bring heavier and more frequent downpours”. The New York Times reports under the headline: “Extreme weather hits China with massive floods and scorching heat.” It says: “The two-pronged weather emergency that China is experiencing reflects a global trend of increasingly frequent and lengthy episodes of extreme weather driven by climate change.”

Meanwhile, another article by Reuters reports that China is “considering extending a purchase tax exemption for new energy vehicles”, according to state media citing a regular cabinet meeting on Wednesday chaired by Premier Li Keqiang. Additionally, Xinhua reports that China has made a “milestone advance in its effort to build a solar power station in space”. The state new agency says this move is to “convert the sunlight in outer space into an electrical supply to drive the satellites in orbits or transmit power back to the Earth”.

Elsewhere, Xinhua reports on remarks made by President Xi in a keynote speech in virtual format, at the opening ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum. The news agency says: “He expressed the hope that business leaders will actively participate in building the BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution, strengthen cooperation on digital economy, smart manufacturing, clean energy and low-carbon technology, and support the industrial restructuring and upgrading in BRICS countries.”

Finally, the Global Times carries an interview with Nicholas Dweh Nimley, a researcher on China-Africa strategic bilateral and multilateral cooperation, on what the state-run newspaper describes as the “implementation of China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Africa over the past 10 years”. Nimley is quoted saying that China and Africa could “further strengthen cooperation in the future with regard to renewable energy”. It adds his comment: “China-Africa cooperation in new areas such as digital economy, aerospace, clean energy and new infrastructure are also scaling up.”

EU signals shift to coal, accuses Russia of 'rogue moves' on gas
Reuters Read Article

The EU will “temporarily shift back to coal to cope with dwindling Russian gas flows without derailing longer term climate goals”, Reuters reports, citing “an EU official”, who it quotes saying: “The EU’s 2030 and 2050 targets remain fully intact…while we may temporarily increase our use of coal, the long term direction is clear.” The newswire says the International Energy Agency (IEA) called on Europe to replace Russian gas supplies by boosting energy efficiency, renewables and nuclear power. It adds: “In a statement to Reuters, IEA chief Fatih Birol said Russia might continue to find excuses to cut supplies or halt them altogether as winter approached.” The Washington Post reports under the headline: “Russia’s chokehold over gas could send Europe back to coal.” It quotes European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen saying: “We have to make sure that we use this crisis to move forward and not to have a backsliding on the dirty fossil fuels.” A Reuters “explainer” asks if Germany could keep its nuclear plants running for longer, a move it says chancellor Olaf Scholz has “so far opposed”. The newswire says it would be “legally possible” but quotes an industry figure saying it is “too late”. Frankfurter Allgemeine reports that the Bavarian prime minister Markus Söder is campaigning for a longer service life for the remaining three German nuclear power plants to secure the energy supply, quoting him saying “it’s a fact that the fuel rods used so far could still run for a while, and we just have to order some from around the world”.

G7 leaders to debate ways to stabilise global energy markets
Financial Times Read Article

Leaders of the G7 nations are expected to debate ways to stabilise global energy markets, the Financial Times reports, citing comments from a senior official in the Biden administration. It quotes the official saying: “[We] expect [G7 leaders] to speak to how can we take steps that further reduce Russia’s energy revenues, and do so in a way that stabilises global energy markets and lessens the disruptions and pressures that we’ve seen.” Reuters says the G7 and Nato “will work to increase pressure on Russia over its war in Ukraine next week”, citing a US official. Another Reuters article says the G7 is “likely to discuss the fate of a Russian turbine blocked in Canada and blamed for reducing gas supplies to Germany”, citing a Canadian minister.

Push to halt biodiversity loss with legally binding EU targets
Financial Times Read Article

The European Commission has published proposals for legally binding targets to cut pesticide use and improve natural ecosystems, the Financial Times reports, despite what it calls “objection from farmers”. The paper quotes EU environment commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius saying: “We really have an urgency here. Very often in those discussions about climate change we forget about importance of ecosystems and what a huge work they do as regards the absorption of CO2 emissions.” Reuters says the proposals would aim to “halve the use of chemical pesticides and restore nature across the EU”. It reports: “European Union environment policy chief Virginijus Sinkevičius told Reuters the proposal on repairing habitats would require EU countries to take steps to restore nature to at least 20% of EU land by 2030 and all degraded ecosystems by mid-century.” It adds that the proposals “will need approval from the European Parliament and EU countries – some of whom have sought to delay or roll back sustainable farming measures, citing the Ukraine war’s impact on global food supply”. The Guardian says the “milestone” legislative proposals are “the first in 30 years to tackle catastrophic wildlife loss in Europe”. It says the move is a “boost for UN negotiations on halting and reversing biodiversity loss”.

Separately, MailOnline reports: “The loss of plant and animal species around the world could have a devastating effect on public finances, a new study claims.” Reuters also covers the findings: “Mass biodiversity loss would slash global credit ratings, report warns.” It explains: “Major global biodiversity loss could cause enough economic damage by the end of the decade to severely cut more than half of the world’s sovereign credit ratings – including China’s, the first major study on the issue has warned.”

Germany fears ‘maintenance’ shutdown of Russia gas pipeline
Financial Times Read Article

The Financial Times reports that the German government fears Russia “could take advantage of annual maintenance on its main export pipeline to shut off gas supplies to the country completely, increasing the risk of a winter energy crisis in Europe’s largest economy”. Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Germany’s economy ministry on Wednesday rejected a Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper report saying the government would declare on 8 July phase two out of three in its emergency gas plan. It adds that “the alarm stage, to be declared when the government sees a high risk of long-term supply shortages of gas, enables utilities to pass on high gas prices to customers and thereby help to lower demand”. However, Bloomberg says that Robert Habeck will make a statement today on “energy and supply security” amid expectations the government is poised to trigger the second stage of the country’s gas-emergency plan.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that Europe’s industries “are slashing their usage of natural gas, a sign that factories could be starting to slow production so the vital fuel can be stored for winter”. Reuters reports: “The German companies that drive Europe’s biggest economy are contemplating painful cuts to their output and resorting to polluting forms of energy previously considered unthinkable as they adjust to the prospect of running out of Russian gas.” The Times reports: “Germany braces for higher gas prices in ‘economic attack’.” Another Bloomberg article reports the comments of an executive at German energy firm Vattenfall saying: “[Russia’s] reputation as a reliable supplier is completely gone forever”.

Elsewhere, Die Welt reports that the “climate money” payments to citizens and promised in the coalition agreement will not come until 2024 at the earliest, according to German finance minister Christian Lindner. The article explains that the income from CO2 pricing on fuels, heating and gas was supposed to flow back to every citizen, motivating those who use less fossil energy.

Finally, Deutsche Welle reports that the German government “wants to push ahead with the renovation of Germany’s railway network”. It says transport minister Volker Wissing announced on Wednesday that the general overhaul of the first rail corridor is slated to begin in 2024. DW explains that “rail plays an important role in the German climate protection goals for 2030”.

Cement carbon dioxide emissions quietly double in 20 years
Associated Press Read Article

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from cement making have doubled in the last 20 years, Associated Press reports, citing “new global data”. It says cement emissions reached nearly 2.6bn tonnes of CO2 (GtCO2) in 2021, up from 1.2GtCO2 in 2002. The newswire reports: “China is key because it produced more than half of the world’s cement in 2021, with India a distant second at about 9%.”

UK: Johnson hints that new coal mine for Cumbria will get go-ahead
BBC News Read Article

An article by BBC News political editor Chris Mason picks out a brief response from UK prime minister Boris Johnson in parliament yesterday, regarding the proposed new coal mine in Cumbria. Mason quotes Johnson saying: “We can all be proud of the way in which we reduced CO2 emissions in this country, but plainly it makes no sense to be importing coal, particularly for metallurgical [steelmaking] purposes, when we have our own domestic resources.” The article continues: “To supporters of the mine in and around Whitehaven, that sounded like a possible prime ministerial thumbs-up for it getting the go-ahead…[S]ources in No 10 caution about reading too much into the PM’s comment.” Mason ends with a list of questions he says the government will face after its decision on the mine, which is due by 7 July. His questions include: “Will steel producers in the UK definitely be happy with the coal?…How much of it will be exported?…What is the carbon footprint of importing so much metallurgical coal?” (He does not ask how or if the mine – and steelmaking based on coal – might be compatible with the UK’s legally-binding net-zero target.)

In other UK energy news, the Times reports: “Rolls-Royce has said that it can only deliver its first ‘mini’ nuclear plant by its 2029 target date if the government commits this year to deploying the technology – years before it even gets safety approval. The small modular reactor (SMR) consortium led by the FTSE 100 group has made an audacious pitch to ministers to fast-track the technology in Britain despite its early stage of development.” The Daily Mail says the proposed Sizewell C new nuclear plant has been “plunged into crisis as French giant EDF ‘threatens to quit’”. It reports: “EDF is prepared to walk away from the Sizewell C nuclear project unless the government makes a key investment commitment in the coming weeks, unions have warned.”

Separately, City AM says UK chancellor Rishi Sunak “has reaffirmed his support for the North Sea oil and gas industry, labelling it ‘the foundation of the UK’s energy supply in the decades to come’.” The Independent says the “government has claimed” that tax relief for oil and gas companies subject to Sunak’s windfall tax is “not technically a subsidy and so compatible with its climate plan”. Finally, the Financial Times reports: “The head of the UK’s new £22bn infrastructure bank said it is building the capacity to make its own direct equity investments.” It says the head of the new bank, John Flint, “said [its] strategy will focus on clean energy and investing in projects relating to renewable energy supply as the UK shifts to net-zero by 2050”.

Albanese government may join US push to cut global methane emissions by 30%
The Guardian Read Article

A Guardian “exclusive” reports that the Australian government “could sign up to Joe Biden’s push to limit global methane emissions by 30% from 2020 levels by the end of the decade, as part of efforts to signal Australia has turned a corner on climate ambition”. Another Guardian article reports the Australian farmers’ federation “has warned the Albanese government not to rush any plan to sign on”. Meanwhile, the Guardian “temperature check” column says: “[Opposition] coalition MPs are in the middle of a post-defeat debate over climate targets, but there appears to be a large Paris-shaped blind spot in their current commentary.” The Independent says a House of Lords committee in the UK has criticised British ministers, arguing that “environment and the climate crisis were sacrificed in the government’s rush to strike a post-Brexit trade deal with Australia”.

Separately, MailOnline reports the comments of the head of the Australian energy market operator Aemo under the headline: “Electricity boss says Australia must ditch coal and transition to renewable energy immediately to avoid future threats of blackouts.” Elsewhere, Reuters reports on an increase in the rate of coal royalties imposed by the Australian state of Queensland, which it says could lead other states to follow suit. Finally, the Guardian carries a comment originally published by the Conversation, titled: “Why is Australia so cold right now despite global heating?”

As Prince Charles anchors Commonwealth, challenges ahead
Associated Press Read Article

Prince Charles’ commitment to environmental issues “could prove an asset with the bloc that includes low-lying island states on the front lines of climate change”, Associated Press reports, citing comments from a Royal historian around the Commonwealth heads of government meeting taking place in Rwanda this week. The newswire says the summit “will tackle challenges such as climate change and how to wrestle millions out of poverty.”

An editorial in the Times says: “It is too early to write off the Commonwealth as a colonial relic. With stronger leadership it can become a key player in global politics.” It says to become “fit for the 21st century” the grouping “must expand its ambitions”, pointing to the examples of “the development and climate change goals that it sets itself”.

Global climate goal could be in peril without carbon price reform
Reuters Read Article

An overhaul of international carbon pricing policies is needed if the world is to meet its climate targets, Reuters reports, citing a report from the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance, which it says includes investors managing $10.6tn in assets. The article says less than 25% of global emissions are covered by a carbon price. Separately, BusinessGreen reports the findings of a carbon market sentiment survey: “Confidence remains high across the global carbon market, but investors want to see governments act to make carbon pricing fairer and more predictable.”

Comment.

The G7 is our chance to kickstart climate action – here’s how
Ban Ki-Moon, The Independent Read Article

In a comment for the Independent, former UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon writes that leaders meeting at the upcoming G7 summit “have their hands full” with issues such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Covid pandemic and “growing instability in the global economy”. Ban writes: “Rising to these challenges requires following through on promises to achieve peace, protect public health, and ease poverty. But it also means addressing a threat that both dwarfs and implicates all the others: climate change.” He adds: “The climate crisis is fast approaching a stage of catastrophic harm that endangers the well-being and livelihoods of billions of people – and the window for preventing the worst possible outcomes shrinks by the day.” He concludes: “We look forward to steps taken following the G7 negotiations, and encourage global leaders to set examples ahead of the next UN climate conference, COP27, in Egypt this November. How they act now will shape all of our lives – for better or worse.”

Global effort needed to beat climate crisis
Editorial, South China Morning Post Read Article

An editorial in the South China Morning Post says extreme weather events that scientists “contend will increase in frequency and duration as a result of climate change have been especially noticeable in China in recent weeks”. It points to recent heavy rains – which it says have been the highest since 1961 in parts of China – as well as floods, landslides, heatwaves and concerns over drought in other parts of the country, as well as in South Asia. The article continues: “Until carbon emissions are significantly reduced, the severity will worsen and spread.” It concludes: “[C]ountries and individuals can only do so much; the world needs to work together to make a difference.”

How the Brazilian elections could determine the future of the Amazon
Lázaro Thor Borges, China Dialogue Read Article

An article for China Dialogue previews Brazil’s upcoming election, where president Jair Bolsonaro is seeking re-election, having “championed the easing of environmental policy”. The piece says Bolsonaro’s opponents “push for a sustainable turnaround” and adds: “In this tug-of-war against a backdrop of elections, the future of the Amazon is at stake.” In related news, Reuters reports: “Norway is ready to resume payments to Brazil over the prevention of the deforestation of the Amazon if there is a change of government in October’s elections as opinion polls suggest, the Nordic country’s environment and climate minister said.”

Science.

Electoral appeal of climate policies: The Green New Deal and the 2020 US House of Representatives elections
PLOS Climate Read Article

New research links US ​​Democrats’ endorsement of the Green New Deal – a “legislative proposal which outlined a vision for a sustainable and equitable economy” – to a two percentage point increase in their vote share in 2020. The authors investigate the electoral appeal of the US Green New Deal in the 2020 federal elections to the US House of Representatives. Not a single Republican voted for the deal, so they restrict their analysis to Democrats only. The paper concludes that “US voters reward legislators who advocate an ambitious climate policy agenda”.

Recent marine heatwaves in the North Pacific warming pool can be attributed to rising atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases
Communications Earth & Environment Read Article

There is less than a 1% chance that the north-east Pacific marine heatwaves seen over 2019-21 could have happened without human-caused emissions, new research finds. The authors use two different attribution methods to link greenhouse gas emissions to the three-year event, which had a “1.6C intensity”. The recent heatwaves were located in an “outstanding warming pool”, caused by elevated greenhouse gas emissions and a recent decrease in industrial aerosols, the study finds. The authors add: “​​The here-detected Pacific long-term warming pool is associated with a strengthening ridge of high-pressure system, which has recently emerged from the natural variability of climate system, indicating that they will provide favourable conditions over the north-east Pacific for even more severe marine heatwave events in the future.”

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