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Daily Briefing

Today's climate and energy headlines
DAILY BRIEFING ‘Cut lamb and beef’ to fight climate change
‘Cut lamb and beef’ to fight climate change


'Cut lamb and beef' to fight climate change

The number of sheep and cattle in the UK should be reduced by between a fifth and a half to help combat climate change, the government’s advisory Committee on Climate Change (CCC) says, reports BBC News. The CCC says the shift is needed because beef and lamb produce most farm greenhouse gases, says the BBC. But environmentalists say the recommendations are too timid, the BBC adds. The Guardian meanwhile focuses on the CCC advice that tree planting must double by 2020 in order to lock up carbon as well as help limit the more frequent floods expected with global warming. The report highlights that the loss of soil fertility, biodiversity and peatland degradation is now “apparent” and “partly driven by intensive food production”, notes Farming UKBusinessGreen and Press Association also cover the new report. Carbon Brief also covered the report, and separately covered another CCC report released today on biomass in the UK.

BBC News Read Article
Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change

Associations representing California crab fishermen have filed a suit against 30 fossil fuel companies saying they “knowingly caused harm” by contributing to warming, the Guardian reports. The lawsuit seeks to make the companies pay for the harm global warming has caused to California’s fisheries, and finance the changes that will be needed to sustain the crab fishing industry in the future. InsideClimate News also has the story.

The Guardian Read Article
House Democrats Announce They'll Hold Climate Change Hearings Early Next Year

Democrats in the US house of representatives say they plan to hold a series of hearings about climate change over two days in early 2019, reports the Pacific Standard. But it’s far from clear if Democratic leaders have interest in pushing a sweeping climate bill, says Axios in a look at the “climate decisions” facing democrats. The Hill also reports on a “split” among the Democrats on how to tackle climate change, while Vox says the “struggle is on” for control of the long-term Democratic climate agenda.

Pacific Standard Read Article
Climate change already affecting hurricanes and tropical cyclones, research shows

A relationship already exists between climate change and storm severity, research published in Nature today shows, reports ABC News. Researchers from Berkeley in California analysed the intensity of three major US storms (hurricanes Katrina, Irma and Maria) and compared them with simulations of using pre-industrial temperatures. Their findings suggested some influence of climate change on tropical cyclones is already starting to be seen, said researcher Christina Patricola. The Guardian has a graphic showing how simulations of all 15 tropical cyclones showed rainfall increasing between 5% and 10% due to warming in the ocean and atmosphere. Wind speeds remained largely unchanged, however. “My hope is that this information can be used to improve our resilience to the kinds of extreme weather events we are going to have in the future,” Patricola told the Guardian. Bloomberg also has the story. A separate study published in December and covered by Carbon Brief found climate change tripled the chances of Hurricane Harvey’s record rain. Another study, covered in the Independent, finds Houston’s urban landscape directly contributed to the huge impacts of Hurricane Harvey. The MailOnline and Scientific American also cover this story.

ABC News Read Article
Climate protesters glue themselves to Downing Street gates

Members of campaign group Extinction Rebellion have been arrested after defacing government buildings and super-gluing themselves to the gates of Downing Street, BBC News reports. At least 27 environmental campaigners, including Labour councillors and NHS staff, were arrested, according to police, the BBC adds. The Guardian has a video of looking at the recently launched campaign of civil disobedience by the protest group. The Guardian also reports that “social media influencer” Jack Harries has taken part in the group’s protests.

BBC News Read Article
Bristol plans to become carbon neutral by 2030

Bristol’s council has unanimously backed a commitment to become carbon neutral by 2030, the Guardian reports. The motion, put forward by Green party councillor Carla Denyer, means the city has the most ambitious emissions targets of the UK’s core cities group, the Guardian adds. Meanwhile the Manchester Evening News says Manchester’s town hall has pledged to ensure all energy used in the city is green by 2038. The pledge would effectively mean that all transport and fuel in the city would be renewable by that point, the Manchester Evening News adds. In related news, VOA News reports that European cities are seeking greater support for their efforts to tackle climate change. Georgios Kaminis, mayor of Athens, said the EU should provide direct funding to cities to help them act on climate change.

The Guardian Read Article


If celebrity victims of climate change can’t silence the deniers, who can?

Nothing brings the environment closer to home than when it affects people who seem a world away, writes Guardian columnist Zoe Williams. “In the early stages of the climate crisis, it often felt as if the opposite were true: floods, droughts and heatwaves were always somewhere else’s problem, usually the global south,” writes Williams. She goes on to laud celebrities such as Neil Young and Miley Cyrus for their response to wildfires in California, saying of Cyrus: “it’s an unusual and laudable thing, if your first thought, in the face of the charred remains of everything you own, is to give more away”.

Zoe Williams, The Guardian Read Article
EU must not blindly sign up to a weak aviation carbon market

The future of the aviation sector’s impact on the climate is being debated on both sides of the Atlantic this week, write Dufrasne and Murphy in Climate Home News. “In Montreal, countries are negotiating the design of a global carbon market for airlines at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (Icao). In the European Union, member states are battling over whether or not to relinquish their power to regulate aviation emissions to make space for the global system. Both decisions are critical to the environmental integrity of efforts to decarbonise flying.” A lack of ambition on both of these would “lead to the establishment of a scheme with no real impact on the climate,” they continue.

Gilles Dufrasne & Andrew Murphy, Climate Home News Read Article
3 Really Important Things the Draft Brexit Withdrawal Agreement Says About the Environment and Climate Change

Following the publishing of the draft Withdrawal Agreement text on Tuesday, DeSmogUK sets out its key takeaways. These include continued commitment on both sides to the Paris Agreement, embedding on both sides of the “precautionary” and “polluter pays” principles, and a commitment of “non-regression” on environmental protection.

Mat Hope, DeSmogUK Read Article


Wave farm impacts on coastal flooding under sea-level rise: A case study in southern Spain

Wave farms – machinery that turn energy from the sea’s waves into electricity – could play some role in protecting coastal areas from flooding as sea levels rise, a study suggests. Using models, the researchers investigate how a wave farm could affect the impact of flooding in Playa Granada, Spain under different levels of sea level rise. The researchers find that the wave farm could reduce the total area of beach affected by flooding by up to 6%.

Science of the Total Environment Read Article


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