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Daily Briefing

10.12.2018
Today's climate and energy headlines
DAILY BRIEFING Climate change: COP24 fails to adopt key scientific report
Climate change: COP24 fails to adopt key scientific report

News.

Climate change: COP24 fails to adopt key scientific report

Attempts to incorporate the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on the impacts of a temperature rise of 1.5C into global climate talks in Poland have failed for now, says BBC News. [The debate is likely to reappear in the political section of the talks taking place this week.] The US, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait objected to the meeting “welcoming” the report, says BBC News, with the conclusions of a technical part of the talks instead “not[ing]” it. Australia was silent during the debate, says the GuardianClimate Home Newsnotes that the battle was over two words: “note” or “welcome”. “This is not a choice between one word and another,” Rueanna Haynes, a delegate for St Kitts and Nevis, told a Saturday night plenary where the conclusions were adopted, says CHN. “This is us, as the UNFCCC, being in a position to welcome a report that we requested, that we invited [scientists] to prepare.” The move “shocked delegates” and threw the climate talks into “disarray” after a heated two-and-a-half-hour debate on Saturday night, says another Guardian story. The Guardianalso has a sketch about the incident. The EU, a bloc of the 47 least developed countries, as well as African and Latin and South American nations, all spoke in favour of the report, adds the Guardian, and “several denounced the four countries trying to dilute its importance”. Speaking to the Guardian, Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy in the Union of Concerned Scientists, says: “It is troubling. Saudi Arabia has always had bad behaviour in climate talks, but it could be overruled when it was alone or just with Kuwait. That it has now been joined by the US and Russia is much more dangerous.“ BusinessGreen, the Hilland the Washington Post also cover the story.

BBC News also has a video asking why governments are taking so long to take action on climate change, while Ilka Wagner, deputy head of the German delegation at COP24, tells Unearthed: “The spirit of Paris seems to have vanished a little.”

Several outlets including ReutersTime and NBC News report on a climate protest organised on Saturday outside the talks. “More than a thousand people marched amidst heavy police presence to demand negotiators and ministers attending the UN climate talks in the southern Polish city of Katowice take more ambitious action on climate change,” says DeSmogBlogClimate Home Newsreports that twelve campaigners from eastern Europe and central Asia have been denied entry to Poland for the climate summit by the Polish authorities, according to members of campaign umbrella group Climate Action Network (CAN). Politico also has the story.

BBC News Read Article
French minister asks Trump not to meddle in French affairs

Jean-Yves Le Drian, France’s foreign minister, said on Sunday that US president Donald Trump should not meddle in French affairs, after he criticised France following riots in Paris, reports Reuters. “The Paris Agreement isn’t working out so well for Paris. Protests and riots all over France,” wrote Trump on Twitter on Saturday, says Reuters. Another tweet read: “People do not want to pay large sums of money, much to third world countries (that are questionably run), in order to maybe protect the environment. Chanting ‘We Want Trump!’ Love France.” Le Drian added on LCI television: “The yellow vest demonstration was not protesting in English, as far as I know,” Reuters adds. CNN, the Independentand Vox also have the story, while Axios notes in its headline that blaming the Paris Agreement for the riots is “inaccurate”. Italy’s deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini said on Sunday that France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, was to blame for the “yellow vest” protests by reducing taxes for the very well-off and increasing them for those less well off, another Reuters article says. Macron will address the country on Monday, according to a further Reuters article, after protests on Saturday for the fourth weekend in a row, but demonstrators were “unimpressed” with the government’s overtures, it adds. Climate Home Newssays a climate report was presented months ago to France’s senate warning the shift to a clean economy risked social disruption. The report said green policies must be coupled with public consultation or face social resistance, CHNs says.

Reuters Read Article
Brazil to review Paris Agreement status, says Bolsonaro environment minister

The “discussion whether there is global warming or not is secondary” and “innocuous”, Jair Bolsonaro’s appointed environment minister has told the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper, reports Climate Home News. Bolsonaro will be sworn in as Brazil’s president on 1 January 2019. In his first interview after the announcement of his appointment, the new minister, Ricardo de Aquino Salles, was asked if Bolsonaro’s government would abandon the Paris Agreement. He said: “Let’s examine carefully the most sensitive points and, once the analysis is over [we will make the decision], remembering that national sovereignty over territory is non-negotiable.” Meanwhile, Brazil environmental regulator Ibama has denied French oil major Total a permit to drill in the Foz do Amazonas Basin for a fifth and final time, Reuters reports. Ibama said it agreed with a technical assessment that indicated oil exploration in the area would present risks to reefs and biodiversity, adds Reuters. In related news, another Reuters article reports that an initial 100 electric buses from China have arrived in Chile as part of plans to “face down its capital Santiago’s notorious smog problem’.

Climate Home News Read Article
Greenhouse gases are making us more stupid

Raised CO2 in the air could have toxic effects, the Sunday Times reports. “Human cognitive performance declines with increasing CO2,” said researchers from University College London (UCL) in a paper, according to the Sunday Times. “Given the likelihood of increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration by the end of this century, direct impacts of CO2 emissions on human cognitive performance may be unavoidable.” The Independent also has the story.

The Sunday Times Read Article
Airlines ignoring efficient planes in blow to carbon targets – study

“Airlines are failing to take up the most efficient planes in sufficient numbers to make a significant dent in their CO2 emissions”, according to a new study, the Observer reports. No airlines have invested enough in new types of planes to reach the top levels of energy efficiency, according to a ranking by German NGO Atmosfair, it says.

The Observer Read Article

Comment.

Act now to prevent an environmental catastrophe

A group of 100 academics, authors, politicians and campaigners from across the world have called for action to address climate change. Signatories include Indian scholar and activist Dr Vandana Shiva Delhi, author Naomi Klein, academic and activist Noam Chomsky, author Philip Pullman, theologian Dr Rowan Williams and 350.org founder Bill McKibben among many others. “Political leaders worldwide are failing to address the environmental crisis,” the letter reads. “If global corporate capitalism continues to drive the international economy, global catastrophe is inevitable.” Meanwhile, a Guardian article with the title “We are not all doomed. Not yet” also looks at the ways to tackle climate change. An article in the Financial Times looks at how employers are having to think about how to deal with staff who set out to be arrested due to climate action.

Letter, The Guardian Read Article
The world still isn’t meeting its climate goals

Current climate pledges put the world on pace for around 3C of warming this century, says the New York Times. “To reach the broader Paris goals, countries would have to dramatically accelerate the transition toward clean energy over the next 12 years.” The article present several interactive charts, based on Climate Action Tracker’s recently updated assessment of climate pledges, of how worldwide emissions will need to change in order to stay below 2C of warming.

Brad Plumer & Nadja Popovich, The New York Times Read Article
Why greens are turning away from a carbon tax

Environmentalists are increasingly ready to look elsewhere than a carbon tax, says a feature in Politico. “This month’s fuel-tax riots in Paris and the defeat of a carbon-fee ballot measure in Washington state show the difficulty of getting people to support a levy on the energy sources that heat their homes and power their cars,” it says. However, it also notes that some supporters say the biggest problem for carbon tax proposals has been how they were designed. The New York Times says Justin Trudeau is facing a carbon tax backlash and is “not alone”. The Washington Post has an article on “how to enact policies that are effective in slowing climate change”, while a Financial Times article argues that carbon tax-and-dividend is a “winning policy”.

Zack Colman and Eric Wolff, Politico Read Article

Science.

Global wheat production with 1.5 and 2C above pre‐industrial warming

Global warming of 1.5C or 2C could have a varied impact on the world’s wheat production, such as by negatively affecting wheat yields in warm regions, including India, but positively affecting yields in other, more temperate regions, a study shows. Using climate models, the researchers find that the impacts of global warming “on wheat production are therefore not evenly distributed and will affect regional food security across the globe as well as food prices and trade”, the authors say.

Global Change Biology Read Article

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