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Daily Briefing

20.03.2017
Today's climate and energy headlines
Carbon Brief Staff

Carbon Brief Staff

20.03.2017 | 9:17am
DAILY BRIEFING Climate change financing dropped from G20 draft statement, Global energy CO2 emissions could be cut by 70 percent by 2050: IRENA, & more
Climate change financing dropped from G20 draft statement, Global energy CO2 emissions could be cut by 70 percent by 2050: IRENA, & more

News.

Climate change financing dropped from G20 draft statement

Opposition from the US, Saudi Arabia and others has forced Germany to drop a reference to financing programmes to combat climate change from the draft communique at a G20 meeting. A G20 official taking part in the meeting of G20 financial leaders in Baden-Baden said on Friday that efforts by the German G20 presidency to keep the wording on climate change financing had run into resistance. “Climate change is out for the time being,” said the unnamed official. At their previous meeting in July 2016, G20 financial leaders said they encouraged all signatories of the Paris Agreement on climate change to bring the deal into force as soon as possible. The Independent, Sunday Telegraph and Bloomberg also have the story.

Reuters Read Article
Global energy CO2 emissions could be cut by 70 percent by 2050: IRENA

Global energy-related CO2 emissions could be reduced by 70% by 2050 and completely phased out by 2060, research by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) suggests. The report, produced for the German government, says that achieving this goal would require the share of renewable energy in primary energy supply to increase to 65% in 2050 from 15% in 2015. An additional $29tn of energy investment would be needed between now and 2050, the report says, equivalent to 0.4% of global GDP. But the transition would also boost the global economy by $19tn, reports Bloomberg. The Associated Press also covers the story.

Reuters Read Article
Former EPA Officials: Trump Budget Is Even Worse Than It Seems

The reaction continues to President Trump’s proposed “America First” budget, and the substantial cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency funding it puts forward. Former EPA chief, Gina McCarthy, says the budget is “is even more challenging than it looks at first glance.” “Literally and figuratively this budget is a scorched earth budget,” she warned. French ambassador for the Paris climate talks, Laurence Tubiana, told Climate Home that the US U-turn is “shocking”. “It is not the final budget of course and I hope that Congress will revise that,” she said. “But it is an intention, it is a signal clearly and it is a pity because the US will not be truthful to its commitments”. The Guardian reports comments by former US energy secretary Ernest Moniz that he finds “anti-scientific statements” coming from the Trump administration “disturbing”. “Some of the statements being made about the science, I might say by non-scientists, are really disturbing,” he said, “because, as I said, the evidence is clearly there for taking prudent steps.” In a interview airing today on Good Morning Britain, physicist Stephen Hawking will say that Trump should find a replacement for Scott Pruitt at the Environment Protection Agency, reports the Guardian. “Climate change is one of the great dangers we face, and it’s one we can prevent,” Hawking will say, “it affects America badly, so tackling it should win votes for his second term. God forbid.” The Observer, BBC and Think Progress all have more reaction, while the Washington Post reports that the American public have been sending cookies and thank you cards to EPA staff.

Inside Climate News Read Article
Trump advisers want concessions for coal if US stays in climate pact

Trump administration officials have told lobbyists and European diplomats that the US won’t stay in the Paris climate change agreement unless it can secure wins for the fossil fuel industry. According to “three people familiar with the discussions,” the White House decision on the Paris deal could hinge on international willingness to come up with a strategy to commercialise and deploy technologies that will reduce emissions from fossil fuels. US officials who want to stay in the 2015 Paris agreement believe that creating a future pathway for fuels like coal is the only way to win support from conservative and industry groups that want the US to withdraw.

Politico Read Article
CO2 emissions stay same for third year in row – despite global economy growing

There has been further reporting of Friday’s news from the International Energy Agency (IEA) that global CO2 emissions from energy have stayed flat for three years in a row even as the global economy has grown. Global emissions from the energy sector were 32.1bn tonnes in 2016, the same as the previous two years, while the economy grew by 3.1%, reports the Guardian. The halt in growth is down to renewable power expansion, switches from coal to natural gas and improvements in energy efficiency, says the IEA, though it is too soon to say if global emissions have peaked. Emissions in the US were down 3% between 2015 and 2016, says Ars Technica, taking emissions to levels not seen since 1992. Emissions in China were down 1.6%, notes the Washington Post, while they remained flat in Europe. “These three years of flat emissions in a growing global economy signal an emerging trend and that is certainly a cause for optimism, even if it is too soon to say that global emissions have definitely peaked,” says Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director, as reported by the New Scientist. BusinessGreen and Carbon Pulse also have the story.

Guardian Read Article
Shell and Eni handed back oilfield seized by Nigerians

A huge oil exploration block seized from Shell and Eni by the Nigerian government amid a corruption probe has been returned to the companies. In January, a court allowed the authorities to take control of the $1.3bn oil licence off the coast of Nigeria while investigations continued into alleged bribery, corruption and money laundering. But Shell and Eni, which each own 50% of the licence, successfully argued that they were not given a fair hearing before the seizure, says the Financial Times. The block is believed to contain up to nine billion barrels of oil, making it potentially the biggest in Africa. Elsewhere, the Financial Times reports on the new-found oil wealth in Guyana that has heightened tensions with its neighbour Venezuela.

Sunday Times Read Article

Comment.

Natural gas: less heat, more light

In the debate over global warming, “natural gas already had a stink about it,” says the FT’s Lex column, but “rather than holding one’s nose on the subject, a shift from coal to gas should be seen as part of the process of taming global warming.” “Gas emits half the carbon dioxide of coal,” the article says, “if carbon emissions are the main cause of global warming, then replacing coal with gas to generate power or heat makes sense.” “There are signs that switching from coal to gas has stabilised carbon emissions in recent years,” Lex notes. “That should give us all a whiff of hope.”

Lex, Financial Times Read Article
Australia must share the blame for coral bleaching

“So long as Australia’s energy policy is in thrall to its mining industry and an arena for political back-stabbing, the government cannot claim it is serious about preserving the Great Barrier Reef for future generations.” That’s the conclusion of an FT editorial, reacting to recent research highlighting the perilous state of the Great Barrier Reef as a result of ocean warming. Australia has “some of the highest per capita emissions of carbon dioxide in the developed world” thanks to their reliance on coal power, the FT says, “but there is now an urgent need to build a credible, overarching policy framework to drive investment in clean generation to replace ageing coal-fired plants.”

Editorial, Financial Times Read Article
Deranged man attacks climate change funding with budget ax

In a forthright editorial, the most-read newspaper in New Jersey says that President Trump’s proposed budget “leaves no doubt” that the US stands “in the shadow of a madman”. “How else to describe a President who in one moment says he loves clean water and air, and the next vows ‘get rid of’ the very agency charged with protecting them?” the Star-Ledger argues. By rejecting the science of climate change, “Trump is sending a dangerous message to the world, making other governments less likely to carry out their pledged emissions cuts,” the article warns. “Our only hope is that saner minds in Congress prevail.”

Editorial, Star-Ledger Read Article

Science.

Local disruption or global condition? El Niño as weather and as climate phenomenon

South American, Indonesian and Southeast Asian fishermen have long recognised the El Niño phenomenon, recalling its devastating effects in stories passed down through generations. But it wasn’t until the 1980s and 1990s that the phenomenon began to gain attention in the northern hemisphere, says a new study. The authors explore the rich cultural importance of El Niño, and how the advent of satellite imagery revolutionised scientific forecasting efforts.

Geo Geography and Environment Read Article
The transient atmospheric response to a reduction of sea-ice cover in the Barents and Kara seas

A new modelling experiment shows how surface heating over the Barents and Kara Seas leads to anomalous circulation patterns, which ultimately affect not just the polar regions but also weather in the mid-latitudes. The authors explain the proposed mechanism for how loss of sea ice affects the North Atlantic Oscillation, highlighting the additional role for the lower stratosphere.

Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society Read Article

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