Daily Briefing |
TODAY'S CLIMATE AND ENERGY HEADLINES
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Today's climate and energy headlines:
- Climate crisis ‘unequivocally’ caused by human activities, says IPCC report
- UK to relax Covid-19 restrictions for COP26 climate conference
- UK: Make coal history says PM after climate warning
- UN climate report raises pressure on Biden to seize a rare moment
- Greece wildfires: Evia island residents forced to evacuate
- UK plans £160M in offshore wind manufacturing investments
- Is China delivering on its climate promises?
- The Guardian view on the IPCC climate report: the fierce urgency of now
- The need for action on climate change is urgent but it is not too late
- Historical warming consistently decreased size, dispersal and speciation rate of fish
The IPCC released the first section of its long-awaited AR6, titled “The Physical Science Basis”, at 9am UK time yesterday, prompting widespread global media coverage. The Guardian unpacks the key findings of the report, highlighting the headline finding that climate change is “unequivocally” caused by human activities. The Sydney Morning Herald, Belfast Telegraph, Evening Standard and Bloomberg also lead with this finding. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal and BusinessGreen report that many of the impacts of climate change could be “irreversible”. A separate Guardian piece states that “we are running out of time”. It also discusses the lengthy process that went into publishing the report, adding that two further instalments, plus a synthesis, are expected next year. Meanwhile, the Financial Times carries a piece entitled, “Global warming will hit 1.5C by 2040, warns IPCC report”. It warns that, according to the report, “the world is likely to temporarily reach 1.5C of warming within 20 years even in a best-case scenario of deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions”. New Scientist, Bloomberg, and the i newspaper have similar headlines. The Conversation reports that global emissions must peak by 2025 to limit warming to 1.5C. MailOnline notes that the world will hit 1.5C a decade earlier than forecast – but RealClimate runs a piece explaining why such claims are misleading, stating: “In fact, the science in the previous SR1.5 report and the new AR6 report are remarkably consistent.” The Sydney Morning Herald, the Hill and South China Morning Post also run pieces framed around 1.5C warming. Scientific American reports that, according to AR6, the Earth is now warmer than it has been for 125,000 years. And New York Times runs a piece entitled: “A hotter future is certain, climate panel warns. But how hot is up to us.”
Separately, the Washington Post‘s Capital Weather Gang focusses on extreme weather events. It notes that, according to the new report, “human influence on weather extremes has ‘strengthened’ since its last review in 2014”, adding that compound extremes – “when one type of weather disaster feeds into and intensifies another” could become more frequent. Reuters adds that, according to the report, once-in-50-year heatwaves are now expected once per decade. The Financial Times also highlights the increasing likelihood of heatwaves. And Inside Climate News says that “this summer’s extremes are only a mild preview of the decades ahead”. Meanwhile, BBC News has feature piece entitled, “Extreme weather: How it is connected to climate change?”, discussing heatwaves, droughts, wildfires and extreme rainfall events. A further Guardian piece is entitled, “IPCC report’s verdict on climate crimes of humanity: guilty as hell”. Reuters has published a list of quotes on the report from the likes of Boris Johnson, Joe Biden and UN secretary general Antonio Guterres – who called the report a “code red” for humanity. Outlets including BBC News, Reuters, ITV News, the Daily Telegraph, the Evening Standard, DeSmog, the Scotsman, the Washington Post, Sky News, the Scotsman and Forbes have led their coverage of the report with Guterres’ quote, while the digital frontpage of the Independent has the phrase “Code red for humanity” over images of wildfires and floods. Meanwhile, the Press Association, via the Belfast Telegraph, quotes Inger Andersen, head of the United Nations Environment Programme, who said that the world “listened, but did not hear” the dangers of climate change. Forbes also publishes quotes from prominent politicians.
A further Guardian piece focussed on small island nations and says that the report shows the “possible loss of entire countries within the century”, adding that warming above 1.5C would be “catastrophic” for Pacific island nations. Separately, BBC News reports that “nations vulnerable to climate change have warned they are on the ‘edge of extinction’ if action is not taken”. Elsewhere, the New York Times reports that the special assistant on climate change to the prime minister of Pakistan has called climate change a “hammer hitting us on the head” for developing nations. “The scary new climate report means fossil fuel use needs to start falling, fast,” the Los Angeles Times reports. Elsewhere, the Boston Globe calls the report “stark” and highlights in a separate piece that “urgent action is needed”. Meanwhile, Reuters, Forbes and the i newspaper note that, according to the report, a focus on cutting methane emissions could help to tackle climate change. Bloomberg reports that “the latest assessment from the IPCC is yet another tool negotiators can use to extract more ambitious commitments”. The Times says that “leaders will find it hard to ignore evidence”. And the Conversation discusses some of the main ways to get emissions to peak.
Elsewhere, the New York Times, Independent, BBC News, Reuters, BusinessGreen, the Scotsman, the Sydney Morning Herald the i newspaper, RealClimate and Bloomberg have framed pieces around the main takeaways of the report (ranging from 5 to 10 “key points”). And Reuters explains the five SSP scenarios used in the report. Meanwhile, the Sydney Morning Herald also warns that time is “running out”, Reuters reports that “nobody is safe” in a rapidly-warming world and Politico reports that it is time to “get scared”. The Daily Mirror refers to AR6 as a “doomsday report” in two separate pieces and the Daily Mail does the same on its frontpage. Elsewhere, the Guardian and the Belfast Times both carry pieces dedicated to other papers’ coverage of the report – and EurActiv carries a piece entitled: “World shudders at ‘terrifying’ UN climate report.” The report is also covered in the National Geographic, NBC News and in RealClimate.
Finally, the Guardian, the Conversation and the Sydney Morning Herald all discuss the implications of the report for Australia in the coming decades, noting the the continent will become hotter and drier as the climate warms. “Australian scientists call for urgent action to avoid worst of climate crisis”, a separate Guardian piece reports. And a further Guardian piece reports that New Zealand is “a land divided by climate extremes”. Elsewhere, the South China Morning Post reports that Hong Kong will be increasingly hit by “super typhoons, droughts and heatwaves”, according to the report. And the Hindu highlights that climate change will drive a rase in annual rainfall over India. Meanwhile, the Press Association and Politico note that heavy rain and flooding will become more intense and frequent across Europe and the Evening Standard highlights that more flooding is predicted in London.
(See “Climate and Energy Comment” below to see all the opinion-page reaction to the IPCC report.)
The UK is planning to relax Covid quarantining restrictions for attendees of November’s COP26 conference in Glasgow, according to the Guardian. The newspaper reports that those who are fully vaccinated and from red list countries will have to self-isolate for five days in hotels on arrival and for 10 days if they are unvaccinated. It notes that all vaccines will be recognised and that attendees will be “tested frequently throughout the event”. It adds that “the government has offered vaccines to countries coming to the talks, to enable all delegates to be fully vaccinated before the event. However, officials were unable to say how many had taken up the offer.” It continues: “There will be no requirement for COP26 attendees coming from amber or green list countries to self-isolate on arrival in the UK whether vaccinated or not, officials said.” The Press Association notes that between 20,000-25,000 people are expected to attend the event in person. Climate Home News adds that delegates will be asked to isolate at the point of arrival – which will be London for most. “Each person must pay £2,285 ($3,165) for 10 days of hotel quarantine,” Bloomberg adds. Reuters and the Scotsman also cover the news.
BBC News has published comments from Boris Johnson (tweeted last night), made in light of yesterday’s IPCC report: “Today’s report makes for sobering reading, and it is clear that the next decade is going to be pivotal to securing the future of our planet. We know what must be done to limit global warming – consign coal to history and shift to clean energy sources, protect nature and provide climate finance for countries on the frontline…I hope today’s IPCC report will be a wake-up call for the world to take action now, before we meet in Glasgow in November for the critical COP26 summit”.
However, the Guardian reports that Johnson has been accused of “climate crisis complacency”, with the leaders of the Labour and Lib Dem parties claiming that Johnson is enabling climate delay. Meanwhile, the Independent has been told that “despite calls for Mr Johnson to ‘do the heavy lifting’ – by using his clout to pressurise other world leaders into stronger commitments – there are no plans for him to meet any before November.” And the i newspaper reports that “climate experts have urged Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak to ‘ramp up’ their action on climate change after a United Nations report warned the world could breach critical temperature thresholds within 20 years.” Elsewhere, the Independent quotes Johnson in a piece entitled, “World’s 1.5C goal slipping beyond reach without urgent action, warns landmark IPCC climate report”. The Times notes that “it is easier to agree about the threat of global warming than it is to come up with workable solutions”, adding that the UK government were meant to publish a heat and buildings strategy and a review of the cost of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, but that so far, “neither document has seen the light of day”. Elsewhere, the Guardian reports on the alleged rift between Boris Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak, listing net zero as the top issue.
Meanwhile the Guardian reports that Alok Sharma – the COP26 president – has said that the chance to limit worst impacts of climate breakdown is “still achievable, but retreating fast”, adding that the most polluting countries must cut their emissions. “This must be the COP that consigns coal to history,” said Sharma, according to the outlet. Meanwhile, the Press Association notes that Sharma called the report a “wake-up call for the world”. A separate Press Association piece notes that Sharma called COP26 the world’s best chance to avert climate disaster, while the Independent reports that Sharma has “called for action”. BBC News also carries comments from Sharma. Meanwhile, the Evening Standard and the Times report that Scotland’s net-zero secretary Michael Matheson has called COP26 “the world’s best chance – perhaps one of our last chances – to avert the worst impacts of climate change”. Separately, the Scotsman reports that in light of the new report, Scottish Labour have demanded that Nicola Sturgeon oppose the oil field proposed off Shetland. The Herald also covers this story.
Meanwhile, Greta Thunberg has said that “massive public pressure” is needed to fight climate change, according to Reuters. And the Independent reports that Thunberg has said the world must be “brave” in confronting climate change. Elsewhere, the Independent carries quotes from Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate, who “calls for governments to take heed of stark warnings in IPCC’s landmark report” and warns that “even at 1.2C, communities like mine, across Africa and the global south – on the front lines of the climate crisis – are already facing impacts that are destroying livelihoods, dreams and hopes”. And in BusinessGreen, Andrew Warren asks if holding COP26 in person is “worth the carbon footprint”. Meanwhile, the Scotsman runs a piece entitled: “COP26: Could the future of the planet hang on the summit in Glasgow?” And the Sydney Morning Herald warns that Australia’s climate policies are falling short of UN global goals.
The release of the IPCC’s latest report on climate science “has heaped further pressure” on US president Joe Biden to “deliver upon what may be his sole chance to pass significant legislation to confront the climate crisis and break a decade of American political inertia”, says the Guardian. Responding to the report, Biden said that “we can’t wait to tackle the climate crisis. The signs are unmistakable. The science is undeniable. And the cost of inaction keeps mounting”, the paper notes. Climate policy expert Leah Stokes from the University of California tells the paper that “Congress didn’t pass a climate bill in 2009 and it’s taken over a decade to get us back to serious climate legislation…This summer is the best chance we have ever had to pass a big climate bill. This is it. President Biden is poised to become the climate president we need. But there are no more decades left to waste”. MailOnline also reports Biden’s comments.
At the same time, Reuters reports that the US Senate will today “vote on passage of a $1tn bipartisan infrastructure bill that is one of President Joe Biden’s top priorities, and then will immediately begin to debate a more far-reaching $3.5tn bill”. The Hill reports that Democratic leaders “are seizing” on the new IPCC report in the their push for the $3.5tn “reconciliation” plan that “they’re hoping to pass later this year, almost certainly without any [Republican] votes”. It adds: “Democrats on Monday released a memo just hours after the UN report detailing policies they’re planning to include in their $3.5tn spending package, including numerous provisions designed to mitigate climate change.” However, despite the “rare political accord” over the infrastructure bill, the Washington Post warns that the Republican party “has adamantly opposed Democrats’ budget measure and pledged to vehemently fight it, arguing that it would worsen the deficit and wrongly unwind the tax cuts they adopted four years ago. Both proposals face a complex path in the House, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi has pledged not to take up one without the other”. Also in the Washington Post, national correspondent Philip Bump explains that – “amazingly and predictably” – the bipartisan infrastructure bill still has opponents because “it addresses climate change at all”. Finally, the New York Times has a feature on how President Biden has made the uptake of electric vehicles a pillar of climate policy, but “government incentives mostly help affluent buyers, not average families”.
More than 2,000 people have been evacuated off the Green island of Evia, BBC News reports. It notes that Greece and neighbouring Turkey have been battling wildfires for nearly two weeks in the midst of the regions worst heatwaves in decades. Meanwhile, Reuters reports that the Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has apologised for failures in tackling the wildfires, adding that more than 500 fires have been burning across the country. Mitsotakis has approved more than €500m to fund relief and compensation for those who lost houses and property in the fires, according to a separate Reuters piece. Elsewhere, the Guardian reports that, according to Greek media, “multiple previously extinguished fires had reignited on Evia and were moving at speed towards yet more villages and the 7,000-population town of Istaia”. The EU has launched “one of its largest firefighting operations ever”, it adds. EurActiv notes that the plan involves “nine planes, 1,000 firefighters and 200 vehicles deployed by European Union states”, according to a statement. MailOnline has published drone footage of the damage to Evia and, similarly, Reuters has published drone footage showing the “devastation’ of Turkey’s pine forests.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that the fire burning across Northern California – dubbed the “Dixie Fire” – has burned more than 463,000 acres, making it the second largest fire in Californian history. “The blaze has been active for 26 days and is 21% contained”, Reuters notes. The Daily Telegraph shows before and after pictures of the area burned in the fire, saying that it looks “like a war zone”. It adds that the fires have grown to an area larger than Los Angeles. The New York Times notes that the ashes of the Dixie fire have fallen 1,000 miles away and the Guardian also covers the fires. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal notes that the US is struggling to pay its firefighters. Similarly, Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, is the senior US senator from California, has written an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times entitled, “To turn back Dixie fire and others in California, raise pay for federal firefighters”.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that “unsettling heat” is predicted to hit the Pacific northwest and Midwest again this week. “This event will not be as intense as the late June heat wave, but Seattle, Tacoma, Portland and Eugene, Oregon, are all under excessive heat watches with temperatures peaking between Wednesday and Friday before relenting some over the weekend”, the Washington Post adds. “Canadian wildfires could intensify from a looming heat wave”, the New York Times reports, while Reuters notes that power demand is expected to surge in Texas during the heatwave. Elsewhere, the Daily Telegraph has published pictures from the fires currently burning across the world. And the Guardian reports that, for the first time ever, smoke from Siberian wildfires has reached the North pole.
The UK ‘s business and energy ministry has announced a £160m investment into offshore wind manufacturing in Humber, Politico reports. “The investments are being rolled out as part of Boris Johnson’s 10-point roadmap for the UK’s ‘green industrial revolution,’ which envisions a massive boost of Britain’s offshore wind capacity and the creation of up to 250,000 green jobs”, the outlet adds. BBC News adds that the scheme is set to be complete by 2023. The plant, which has manufactured more than 1,500 offshore wind turbine blades since it opened in 2016, currently employs about 1,000 people, it notes. BusinessGreen adds that the “business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the investment provided further evidence the north east was now firmly established as a world leading hub for the fast-expanding global offshore wind industry” Meanwhile, the i newspaper reports that the funding will “create and support” 1,340 jobs – making blades and towers for the turbines. The piece says that UK ministers “want to reassure voters that carbon emissions can be brought under control without the need for drastic lifestyle changes”, adding that “the government is adamant that wherever possible, going green should be presented as something that is not a burden but a boon, making Britain a nicer place to live and helping the economy through the creation of ‘green jobs’.” A separate piece in the i newspaper entitled, “Consumers should brace themselves for net-zero costs – but savings will flow in the long run”, notes that “fresh policies will be needed to cushion the financial impact of the transition to net zero for consumers”. And a further piece in the i newspaper reports that, according to Kwarteng, “The cost of electric-powered heat pumps will fall by half if the government backs them as a replacement for gas boilers”. Meanwhile the i newspaper reports that Kwarteng is “lobbying the Treasury to release funding for a fresh home energy retrofit scheme, months after the government scrapped the green homes grant.” The Daily Telegraph says “the government is examining proposals to extend both the cash amount and the eligibility of a £4,000 “clean heat grant” due to launch next April to help households with the upfront cost of replacing a gas boiler, The Telegraph can reveal.” And the Daily Express adds that Kwarteng spoke on Sky News about the role of electric cars in reducing emissions.
Meanwhile, the Press Association discusses the cost of measures, such as retro-fitting homes to be more energy efficient, and states that “households may face short-term financial pain before reaping the longer-term rewards from tackling climate change”. Meanwhile, a further i newspaper piece reports that “to meet net-zero target the government must convince people to change their behaviour”. And the Daily Mail has dedicated a two-page spread to how the UK might respond to climate change. One story entitled, “Families’ huge bill to go green” has the smaller subheading: “But ignoring climate issue ‘would cost us even more’”. The opposite page in the print edition is dedicated to a comment piece by the climate sceptic columnist Ross Clark entitled: “When will they tell the truth about how much green target of ‘net zero’ will really cost us?”
Meanwhile, a Guardian “exclusive” reports that the UK’s green economy is worth £200bn – making it four times larger than its manufacturing sector. “More than 1.2 million people are currently employed in low carbon industry”, it adds. And the Guardian carries a separate piece entitled, “Green revolution brings fresh hope to north-east England”. Elsewhere, the Times reports that Extinction Rebellion is planning an “endless” protest in London from 23 August. And the Press Association reports that, according to the results of a recent poll, there is “broad public support for tough action on climate change”.
Pressure is “on China” to fulfil its climate pledges after the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued “its starkest report yet” on the consequences of global warming, reports AFP via France 24. The newswire says that although President Xi announced that China would peak its carbon emissions before 2030 and achieve “carbon neutrality” by 2060, “there is no action plan” for these goals yet. It adds that “progress on a climate change law to rein in polluting sectors…has stalled due to industry pressure, while new coal plants are proliferating”. Separately, a BBC article analyses Chinese government’s current efforts to pursue its climate goals. The piece looks at the country’s attempts to shift from coal, switch to green energy and push to make more electric vehicles. “Experts agree that without big reductions in China’s emissions, the world cannot win the fight against climate change,” the article says.
Meanwhile, the Global Times, a state-run newspaper, says that China’s national emission trading scheme (ETS) is “running smoothly” since its launch on 16 July. But the outlet notes that the scheme’s trading volume has been “decreasing” due to “a noticeable wait-and-see attitude in the market”. China Energy News, an outlet supervised by state-run People’s Daily, also reports that the ETS’s trading volume has “shrunken significantly” after a good start. “A person in the know” tells the publication that the market’s participants are currently “restricted” and that the market is “not active enough”. The person says that “multiple electricity-generating enterprises have not completed their registration processes, so they did not have the right to trade”.
Elsewhere, China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, has pledged to “strictly control” the credit scale of the projects with high energy consumption and high emissions, reports Beijing Business Today. The outlet adds that the central bank promised to promote the “green transition and upgrade” of such “dual high” projects.
Yesterday’s IPCC report has prompted a slew of editorials. A Guardian editorial opens by noting the extensive heatwaves and wildfires seen this year, stating “The future that environmental scientists foresaw with alarm, when the IPCC produced its first report three decades ago, has arrived.” It continues: “Without an accelerated reduction in greenhouse gases during the next decade, the ambition of the 2015 Paris climate agreement to limit global heating to 1.5C will not be met… The science is irrefutable. Less certain is the strength of political will to act upon it.” It notes that top emitters including China, Russia and India “refused to endorse the 1.5C goal” at Biden’s April climate summit. The editorial states that Britain is “both uniquely placed and unprepared to host the crucial Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow”, adding that “delay and equivocation have become the government’s trademark response to the greatest challenge of our times”. It concludes: “thus far, there is little sign that Boris Johnson’s government is willing to treat the climate crisis in the same way [as covid-19]. The stark conclusions of the IPCC study, and Britain’s vital convening role at Cop26, make that position indefensible.” Meanwhile, a Financial Times editorial says that “Failure to cut greenhouse gas emissions deeply would lead within a few decades to what a leading climatologist called ‘hell on earth’”. It adds that “no one should imagine that this report is unduly alarmist”, noting that the lengthy writing process did not allow authors to “take full account of the latest signs that climate may be changing even faster than most models had suggested”. It continues: “The report makes depressing reading but provides policymakers with no excuse to throw up their hands and give up… The report should fortify the resolve of global leaders to agree on a far-reaching route toward net zero emissions at November’s COP26 summit in Glasgow.” It adds that the report should “prompt environmental campaigners to abandon some traditional prejudices, particularly against nuclear power” and “Attitudes may need rethinking, too, to geoengineering”.
In other UK newspaper editorials, the Daily Mail says “serious as the situation is, it is vital the government resists being bounded into ill-conceived unilateral measures which would have little impact but hit low-income families the hardest…Signing up to ever more punitive targets while our rivals continue to behave as they please would be an act of pure economic hara-kiri”. The Times says: “Remarkably there are still some who, despite years of accumulating scientific evidence and a summer of extraordinary extreme weather events, continue to deny the reality of climate change or the role of humans in causing it. Thankfully their number no longer includes any of the world’s governments…Yet there can be little confidence at this stage that COP26 will deliver the necessary action by governments to reduce emissions…[And] it is troubling that with little more than 80 days before it hosts COP26, the government has not only failed so far to produce its own detailed road map but has yet to publish a review promised by the Treasury into the costs of net zero.…There is no getting away from the fact that there will be costs, as the government will have known full well when it legislated twice in the past three years to commit Britain to the world’s most ambitious emissions targets. If the government is serious about achieving those targets, it needs to be honest about those costs. It should start by publishing the Treasury review.” An editorial in the Sun says: “Whether or not you fully subscribe to all of its catastrophic predictions, there’s no doubt that the UN’s latest “code red” climate report makes for troubling reading…If the “dirty half-dozen” of Germany, Russia, China, India, the US and Canada cannot be persuaded to take meaningful action, the UK’s own strenuous efforts will amount to little more than a drop in the ocean.” The Daily Telegraph, which has long promoted climate scepticism, takes a defeatist stance implying the UK should adapt to the changing climate: “If something is unavoidable then it needs to be prepared for. Cajoling countries that are unwilling to listen may be a fruitless exercise. Adapting our lives to cope with inevitable warming is just as important as identifying the cause.”
Elsewhere, the Evening Standard has published an editorial entitled “It’s not too late to take action on climate change”. The editorial says: “The Glasgow summit in November may be the last opportunity for the world to come together and turn back from the brink. London can help lead the way… As alarming as much of the IPCC report is, now is not the time to give up. Fatalism is as dangerous as denial.” The Daily Express says: “Some point to big polluters such as China, but the climate change battle must begin at home.” (All the UK editorials can be seen in this tweet thread by Carbon Brief’s Leo Hickman.)
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times carries an editorial asking “Will humanity heed this ‘code red?’ The piece says that “we can still prevent the worst devastation with radical action to cut carbon emissions over the next decade”, adding that this will take “ambitious and committed leadership from the U.S. and other industrialised nations — and a reversal of political lethargy that has slowed progress since the Paris climate agreement in 2015.” The Wall Street Journal runs an editorial with the subheading “The facts in the new U.N. report aren’t as dire as its advertising”. And the Independent also carries an editorial entitled “It is now or never if we want to save our planet”, with the subheading “ Action on the climate crisis requires political leadership and public acceptance of sacrifices”. Meanwhile, an editorial in the Scotsman outlines some of the main findings of the IPCC report, stating that the report “should convince everyone just how close to catastrophe humanity now is and just how hard we must work to avoid it.”
In other reaction to the IPCC report around the world, the New York Times carries an opinion piece by Kathy Castor, chair of the US House select committee on the climate crisis. Castor notes that conversations around climate change often focus on CO2, but highlights that according to the report, there is also an “urgent need” to cut methane emissions. She notes that natural gas is made up of 85-90% methane, which “escapes at every point of its production and distribution”. She states that “to solve this crisis, Congress must act”. Elsewhere, Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson writes that we’re out of time”, stating that “we have no choice but to adapt to the warmer world we have created and now must live in”. Meanwhile, American economist Paul Krugman has penned an opinion piece in the New York Times entitled: “Climate denial, Covid denial and the Right’s descent”. He draws parallels between Covid “deniers” and climate “deniers”, writing that “influential conservatives” will “react [to the AR6 report] the same way they’ve reacted to past warnings — or the way they’ve reacted to Covid-19. Extreme weather events probably won’t change anything”, he says. Similarly, Los Angeles Times columnist Nicholas Goldberg says that “Covid was a dress rehearsal for global climate change. And it didn’t go well.”
Meanwhile, Professor Mark Howden and Dr Morgan Wairiu – vice-chair and coordinating lead author of the IPCC – have penned an opinion piece in the Guardian about the threat to Pacific islands. “With temperatures rising above 1.5°C, Pacific communities are likely to experience increasingly devastating climate change impacts”, they write. In other IPCC reaction, Washington Post reporter Sarah Kaplan has says that the report “contains crucial reasons for hope” – highlighting that “it does not find evidence for a single temperature threshold beyond which climate change will spiral out of control”. The Washington Post also carries an analysis piece by Ishaan Tharoor entitled: “Welcome to ‘Trump world,’ the climate future scientists fear”. Separately, the Guardian carries passages from climate experts Rob Law, Joëlle Gergis, Rebecca Huntley, Joseph Moeono-Kolio and Bill Hare discussing “how they are staying strong”.
And Adam Morton – Guardian Australia’s climate and environment editor – has written that the “coalition’s misleading tactics will no longer cut it”, adding that “the [Scott] Morrison government’s ‘technology, not taxes’ mantra ignores the fact that taxes pay for technology, and affordable technology can make a difference”.
The Times carries a comment piece from Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK government’s chief scientific adviser, and Professor Stephen Belcher, chief scientist at the Met Office. “If any of us needed a reminder of the urgency of climate change, then look no further than the recent spate of extreme weather around the world”, the piece opens. It continues by noting the importance of reaching net zero emissions and highlighting that “as with any journey we need to chart possible routes, we need to be able to assess where we are on the journey, and we need to be prepared for the hazards along the way.” It adds that “the climate system is unforgiving”, but says that “there is still time to act and to meet the Paris goal”. The piece continues: “It is often said that the UK emits only 1% of global emissions, so we don’t matter — but the UK can make a huge difference by promoting innovation across the globe.” The authors say that “progress needs to be measured”, adding that “this direct measurement is achievable, and a pilot system is being trialled in the UK, and should be pursued now.” The Guardian also carries a comment piece by Vallance under the headline: “The IPCC report is clear: nothing short of transforming society will avert catastrophe.“ And the Times reports that Valance “has called on governments to produce climate change “road maps” and a new emissions dashboard as the world emerges from the Covid crisis”.
Separately, in other UK comment, the Daily Telegraph carries a comment by right-wing former politician Nigel Farage under the headline: “’Green’ Boris has betrayed Red Wall voters with his crass coalmines joke.” Also in the Daily Telegraph, Tom Harris says “the political question of our era is how to tackle climate change without losing voters”. He continues: “Sadly, much more than innovation will be required if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. For those in opposition, the solutions are easy and simple, or even simplistic. For the government, the paradox of trying to produce measures that are both effective and affordable will define politics for the next decade.” Also in the Daily Telegraph, Rachel Millard runs through what she describes as the “the multi-trillion pound bill for Britain’s net-zero drive”. And, finally, in the Independent, sketch writer Tom Peck says: “Will Boris Johnson and Jeremy Clarkson now take the climate crisis seriously? They owe us an apology.”
Small “clupeiform” fish, such as anchovy and herring, are likely to have “reduced ability to move” in a warmer word, which could affect their ability to breed, a new study suggests. The researchers show that smaller clupeiform fish “occurred historically in warmer waters, moved the shortest distances at low speed and displayed the lowest speciation rates”. Furthermore, the authors add, “fish moved faster and evolved rapidly under higher rates of temperature change, but these historical rates are far lower than current warming rates”. An accompanying News & Views article says the researchers “robustly present an alarming case of double jeopardy for the future diversity of herrings, sardines and anchovies, pivotal groups in fisheries and marine ecosystems alike”.