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Daily Briefing

14.09.2018
Today's climate and energy headlines
Carbon Brief Staff

Carbon Brief Staff

14.09.2018 | 9:39am
DAILY BRIEFING Climate change means Hurricane Florence will dump 50% more rain
Climate change means Hurricane Florence will dump 50% more rain

News.

Climate change means Hurricane Florence will dump 50% more rain

The Guardian is among several publications reporting on the first “pre-event attribution study” finding that Hurricane Florence is set to bring 50% more rainfall to the US east coast as a result of climate change. Event attribution studies are a growing area of research whereby scientists assess to what extent climate change could have influenced the likelihood of an extreme weather event. The new study, from scientists at Stony Brook University and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is the first to do this ahead of an event actually happening, Buzzfeed News reports. For the study, the researchers ran two computer simulations of the hurricane: one using current weather forecasts, and other using forecasts with the likely impact of climate change subtracted. “There was a big difference between the simulations,” Buzzfeed News says. The study finds that Hurricane Florence will be about 50 miles (80km) larger in diameter than it would be if human activity had not warmed the planet, reports InsideClimate News. On Twitter, Gavin Schmidt, the director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, offered his thoughts on the study. Elsewhere, the Washington Post reports on how recent sea level rise could make the hurricane’s storm surges larger. The New York Times carries a video titled “Is climate change making hurricanes worse? Yes. Here’s why.” In addition, the Financial Times and the New York Times report on how countries in south east Asia are gearing up for “Super Typhoon Mangkhut”.

The Guardian Read Article
California leads subnational efforts to curb climate change

The Economist is among publications reporting on the ongoing Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco. Climate Home News report how, at the summit, China has the most significant non-US presence out of any country. “More than fifty Chinese officials, academics and business leaders are listed on a three day programme of events,” Climate Home News Reports. The Guardian reports on how much of the summit has focussed on the push from gas-powered to electric vehicles. Several publications, including the New York Times, the Guardian and Bloomberg report on how large protests have broken out outside the summit. “The message of the protesters, who were mostly peaceful, was mainly directed at the California governor, Jerry Brown, calling on him to stop oil drilling in the state and protect residents who live close to oil facilities,” the New York Times reports.

The Economist Read Article
UK offers green assurances for no-deal Brexit

Climate Home News reports that the UK government has promised that its environment and energy rules will “remain in step with the EU’s even if it makes a hard, no-deal exit next year”. On Thursday, the Department for Exiting the EU released a batch of papers detailing how it is preparing for a possible crash Brexit on 29 March. The plans cover policy areas such as industrial and vehicle emissions, nuclear energy, farming, medicines, product labelling, money and tax, and applications for EU funding, according to Climate Home News.

Climate Home News Read Article
United Airlines targets 50 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions

Reuters reports that United Airlines has set a goal to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% in the next few decades. The company, which is the third-largest US airline, will “invest more than $2 billion a year in more fuel-efficient aircraft, expanding its use of low-carbon biofuels in daily flights and implementing ways to better conserve fuel,” according to Reuters. “This is not only good for the environment but guards against oil price instability,” Aaron Stash, a United manager of environmental strategy and sustainability, told Reuters. Business Insider UK also has the story.

Reuters Read Article

Comment.

You can’t put America first if you put climate change last

By showing inaction over climate change, President Donald Trump – “the man sworn to protect and defend the United States” – “makes us all less safe while weakening the long-term vitality of the US economy,” writes Brian Klaas, a fellow in global politics at the London School of Economics, in the Washington Post. “Scientists, economists and generals don’t always agree; when they do, it’s time to listen,” he writes. “The message they are sending is clear: You can’t put America first if you put climate change last.”

Brian Klass, Washington Post Read Article
Climate change: we need to start moving people away from some coastal areas, warns scientist

In an article for the Conversation, a professor from the University of Bournemouth has warned that, in countries across the world, people may need to move away from coastal areas in response to the growing threats caused by climate change. “Prevention is always less costly and more effective than remediation, particularly when involving people’s safety,” writes Prof Luciana Esteves. “The earlier we accept the need to change, the less damaged is the legacy we leave to the next generations.”

Luciana Esteves, The Conversation Read Article

Science.

Evaluating climate geoengineering proposals in the context of the Paris Agreement temperature goals

“Based on present knowledge, climate geoengineering techniques cannot be relied on to significantly contribute to meeting the Paris Agreement temperature goals,” concludes a new review paper. The researchers assess the published literature on a range of carbon dioxide removal and solar geoengineering techniques. They find that although several techniques may eventually have the potential to contribute to limiting climate change, “all are in early stages of development, involve substantial uncertainties and risks, and raise ethical and governance dilemmas”.

Nature Communications Read Article
Climatic responses to future trans‐Arctic shipping

An increase in Arctic shipping in response to melting sea ice could reduce Arctic warming by around 1C by the end of the century, new research suggests. Emissions of black carbon and sulphur from ships have the potential to warm the climate, by darkening snow and ice surfaces, or cool the climate by promoting cloud formation. In this study, the researchers find that the cooling effect would win out, slightly offsetting overall Arctic warming.

Geophysical Research Letters Read Article
Simulation of Past Changes in the Austrian Snow Cover 1948–2009

The number of days each year with snow cover in Austria has declined by an average of 11-15 days since the mid 20th century, a new study suggests. Using a 1km snow cover model for Austria, the researchers simulated snow cover conditions between 1948 and 2009. Comparing the number of snow cover days between 1950-1979 1980-2009 shows decreases across Austria, the study finds, with a maximum of more than 35 days in Villach in the eastern Alps. The results suggest that snow cover is declining in mid and late winter rather than early in the season.

Journal of Hydrometeorology Read Article

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