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Daily Briefing

22.10.2018
Today's climate and energy headlines
Carbon Brief Staff

Carbon Brief Staff

22.10.2018 | 9:26am
DAILY BRIEFING Climate fund approves $1bn for projects in poor countries
Climate fund approves $1bn for projects in poor countries

News.

Climate fund approves $1bn for projects in poor countries

The Green Climate Fund has approved more than $1 billion for 19 new projects to help developing countries tackle climate change, officials revealed on Sunday. During a a four-day meeting of the UN-backed fund in Bahrain, which concluded on Saturday, officials also agreed to start seeking fresh money next year as its initial capital of about $6.6 billion will soon be used up. The decision of US president Donald Trump to withhold $2bn of the $3bn pledged to the fund by his predecessor, has contributed to a shortfall in its projected assets, the Associated Press notes.

Associated Press Read Article
Climate change is exacerbating world conflicts, says Red Cross president

Climate change is already making conflicts around the world worse and governments must take steps to ensure it does not exacerbate things further, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross has said. Peter Maurer explained that humanitarian organisations were having to factor the impacts of climate change into their work far earlier than they were expecting. He told the Guardian Australia: “When I think about our engagement in sub-Saharan Africa, in Somalia, in other places of the world, I see that climate change has already had a massive impact on population movement, on fertility of land. It’s moving the border between pastoralist and agriculturalist.” He continued: “It’s very obvious that some of the violence that we are observing … is directly linked to the impact of climate change and changing rainfall patterns.”

The Guardian Read Article
Migrants building £2.6bn windfarm paid fraction of minimum wage

Workers building the £2.6bn Beatrice offshore windfarm in Scotland include migrants without proper immigration documents paid a fraction of the UK minimum wage, the Guardian reveals. A group of Russian workers on a ship contracted to carry out the initial construction of the project were brought in to the country on seafarer identity documents, intended for foreign crew leaving UK waters immediately, instead of the official permits required of people from outside the European Economic Area, the paper explains. In what the Guardian describes as an “extraordinary relaxation of immigration rules”, the Home Office granted a six-month, time-limited waiver to the windfarm industry to use non-EEA workers in April 2017. Some workers on the ship were receiving less than £5 an hour. The International Transport Workers’ Federation and the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers’ union have described the use of cheap foreign labour instead of local workers as a growing problem in the sector’s subcontracting chains.

The Guardian Read Article
Government ditches $10m promotion blitz amid Great Barrier Reef furore

The Australian government has dropped plans for a $10 million campaign promoting the Great Barrier Reef’s promising future, after a backlash over its failure to address climate change and protect the reef, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. However, the Department of the Environment and Energy has refused to say why it ditched the campaign. Richard Leck, head of oceans at WWF Australia, commented: “it doesn’t matter how many millions you spend on trying to spin your reef-saving credentials, without an effective policy on climate change the public simply won’t believe it, and the government has finally realised that”.

Sydney Morning Herald Read Article
Brazil front-runner proposals could lead deforestation to 'explode': NGOs

A group of more than 20 non-government organisations have said that proposals made by Brazil’s presidential front-runner Jair Bolsonaro could lead deforestation “to explode”, presenting a serious threat to the country’s environment. The NGOs – including Greenpeace and WWF-Brasil – signed an open letter last Friday calling for Brazilians to take action to protect the environment. The group also criticised “the announcement of a possible exit of Brazil from the Paris Agreement”, Reuters reports.

Reuters Read Article
Energy efficiency plans are 'not enough', warns infrastructure tsar

The UK government’s £300m investment in low-carbon heating is “not enough” to meet the nation’s climate targets, Sir John Armitt, the chair of the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has warned. In an opinion piece for the Telegraph, Armitt argued that the investment in low-carbon heat networks to take the place of carbon-heavy gas heating, revealed by ministers last week, was not ambitious enough. “We at the National Infrastructure Commission have been clear of the need to fund research and trials into potential sources like hydrogen and heat pumps”, he said, adding: “Replacing natural gas for heating, and improving insulation of buildings, could have a drastic impact on emissions – we need to invest now to find the best approaches.”

The Telegraph Read Article
Report: North of England poised for green jobs boom

The north of England could benefit from 46,000 new green jobs by 2030, according to a new report from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR). The IPPR attributes this future boom to the growth of low-carbon industries such as offshore wind energy. However it also predicts that 28,000 workers in the North’s fossil fuel sector will lose their jobs by 2030 as a result of the transition from coal-fired power to greener fuels. The Guardian also covers the report, leading with a headline focusing on the projected job losses: “28,000 jobs at risk in north of England over low-carbon economy”.

BusinessGreen Read Article
UK should bring forward new petrol and diesel car ban to 2032 – MPs

The UK government is under pressure to bring forward a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by eight years to 2032, after a report from a parliamentary committee described its plans as “vague and unambitious” on Friday. Rachel Reeves, chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, which authored the report, said: “If we are serious about being EV (electric vehicle) world leaders, the government must come forward with a target of new sales of cars and vans to be zero emission by 2032”. With electric cars currently accounting for less than 1% of new sales, BBC News suggests that the switch “will mean seismic changes, and gives rise to a host of pressing questions”.

Reuters Read Article

Comment.

Why climate change and other global problems are pushing some business leaders to embrace regulation

Matt Gisham, director of the Ashridge Center for Business and Sustainability, examines “a growing trend of some CEOs actively lobbying for more ambitious government action and regulation on a whole range of social and environmental issues”. “Part of what’s been driving more ambitious corporate action on innovation to address social and environment challenges is increased pressure and higher expectations from the rest of society that business should play a role in helping sort out contemporary global challenges”, he says. “Ultimately, long-term legitimacy, reputation, and license to operate are at stake.”

Matt Gisham, Harvard Business Review Read Article
Politicians say nothing, but US farmers are increasingly terrified by it – climate change

A feature in the Guardian explores how climate change is likely to affect farmers in the states of Iowa and Ohio. “Research forecasts Iowa corn yields could drop in half within the next half-century thanks to extreme weather – yet it’s not part of the political conversation”, writes Art Cullen, who is is editor of The Storm Lake Times in Iowa. “It’s the least debated issue of the midterm political season”, but “everyone knows that things have been changing in sweeping ways out here on the richest corn ground in the world…Everyone knows it has been getting wetter and weirder”, Cullen says.

Art Cullen, The Guardian Read Article
Hurricane Michael reminded America why climate change is a national security risk

There’s at least one faction of the Trump administration that’s taking the threat of climate change seriously: the United States military, argues Jared Keller, a contributing editor at the Pacific Standard. For years the Department of Defense (DOD) has viewed climate change as a “threat multiplier,” rather than a direct national security concern, Keller explains. But Hurricane Michael demonstrated that climate change “can also pose a more direct threat to security—by destroying military defence systems”. Reports suggest that as many as 17 Raptors may have been damaged or destroyed at the Tyndall Air Force Base following the hurricane. Keller writes: “The fact that a storm system seems to have decimated a critical part of the Air Force’s air superiority fleet means, for the military, climate change just got even more personal.”

Jared Keller, Pacific Standard Read Article

Science.

Natural forests exhibit higher carbon sequestration and lower water consumption than planted forests in China

Natural forests could store higher amounts of carbon and consume less water than planted forests, according to new research conducted in China. Using a combination of remote sensing and field data collection, the researchers find that, in water-stressed parts of China, the difference in water consumption between natural and planted forests is significantly larger than in regions where water is ample. “Future forest plantation projects should be planned with caution, particularly in water‐limited regions where they might have less positive effect on carbon sequestration but lead to significant water yield reduction,” the researchers say.

Global Change Biology Read Article
Impacts of 1.5 °C and 2 °C global warming on winter snow depth in Central Asia

Global warming of 1.5C or 2C could cause winter snow depth to decrease in midwestern parts of Central Asia, such as western Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, research shows. However, winter snow could increase in northeastern Central Asia, according to the projections, which were made using climate models. “Central Asia will tend to experience a warmer and wetter winter at both 1.5 °C and 2 °C global warming levels, which can be associated with an increase in snow depth in the northeastern regions,” the researchers say.

Science of the Total Environment Read Article

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