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Daily Briefing

17.07.2017
Today's climate and energy headlines
Carbon Brief Staff

Carbon Brief Staff

17.07.2017 | 9:28am
DAILY BRIEFING Donald Trump regrets ‘bizarre mistake’ of Paris climate withdrawal, Richard Branson claims, Maize, rice, wheat: alarm at rising climate risk to vital crops, & more
Donald Trump regrets ‘bizarre mistake’ of Paris climate withdrawal, Richard Branson claims, Maize, rice, wheat: alarm at rising climate risk to vital crops, & more

News.

Donald Trump regrets 'bizarre mistake' of Paris climate withdrawal, Richard Branson claims

The Virgin Group founder Richard Branson told an audience in Brooklyn that Donald Trump regrets the “bizarre mistake” of withdrawing the US from the Paris climate agreement. “With climate change, it’s America first and our beautiful globe last, and that seems incredibly sad…I’ve got a feeling that the president is regretting what he did. Maybe his children and son in law [adviser Jared Kushner] are saying, ‘Look, I told you so.’ Hopefully there is a positive change of mind”, Branson commented, also noting that businesses and cities were firmly behind a transition to low-carbon energy. Meanwhile the French president Emmanuel Macron believes that he may have persuaded President Trump to reverse his decision to withdraw from Paris, the Times, the TelegraphAPReuters and the Hill report. “Donald Trump listened to me. He understood the sense of my approach…He told me that he would try to find a solution in the coming months. We talked in detail about what could enable him to come back into the Paris accords”, Macron said following Trump’s state visit. The Guardian also has the story and a video of Branson’s talk.

The Independent Read Article
Maize, rice, wheat: alarm at rising climate risk to vital crops

New research by Met Office scientists suggests that governments may be seriously underestimating the risks of crop disasters occurring in major farming regions around the world. They used sophisticated climate models to demonstrate that extreme weather events could devastate food production if they occurred in several key areas at the same time. Their study found that there is a 6% chance every decade that a simultaneous failure in maize production could occur in China and the US, the impact of which “would be felt at a global scale”, said Chris Kent, one of the scientists, with more than 60% of global maize production affected. “We have found that we are not as resilient as we thought when it comes to crop growing,” said Kirsty Lewis, science manager for the Met Office’s climate security team.

The Observer Read Article
'Groundbreaking': Cornwall geothermal project seeks funds

A fundraising drive has been launched to raise £5m for the UK’s first commercial geothermal power station, located near Redruth, Cornwall. If it succeeds, the project to produce power from hot rocks several kilometres under the ground in Cornwall will begin drilling early next year. Cornwall’s geology of extensive granite means it has long been seen as the most promising part of the UK for the technology, the Guardian writes. One study estimated that geothermal could provide a fifth of the country’s power, but previous plans have faltered because of risk-averse investors. However, the £18m United Downs Deep Geothermal Power project has already secured £13m in public funding. The Times also covers the story.

The Guardian Read Article
Schroders issues climate change warning

The UK’s largest-listed asset manager has issued a stark warning about climate change, cautioned that rapid global temperature rise could potentially put trillions of pounds of investor’s cash at risk, the Financial Times reports. Schroders, which manages $520bn for investors across the world, said its analysis of the biggest drivers of climate change, suggested global temperatures are poised to rise by 4C above pre-Industrial levels – twice the 2C limit agreed by global leaders at Paris in 2015. “Climate change will be one of the defining themes of the global economy, industries and financial markets in the years and decades ahead”, said Andy Howard, head of sustainable research at Schroders.

Financial Times Read Article
Marine heatwave off Australian coast "almost certainly" caused by climate change: study

Human-caused climate change was “almost certainly” responsible for a marine heatwave off Australia’s coast, according to a study by the University of Tasmania published today. An area of ocean roughly seven times the size of Tasmania, experienced a peak intensity of 2.9C warmer than expected, causing widespread damage to marine species. “We can say with 99% confidence that anthropogenic climate change made this marine heatwave several times more likely, and there’s an increasing probability of such extreme events in the future”, said Eric Oliver, the lead researcher.

Xinhua Read Article
Fracking firms struggling to raise money from UK banks amid environment protests

Companies hoping to frack in Britain have been “finding it a challenge” to get finance from British banks, according to minutes of a meeting between the industry and a Government minister, that took place in May last year. Some conventional oil and gas projects had been “affected by protests as well”, according to the civil servant’s notes. One financial expert told the Independent that the banks’ reluctance to invest in fracking was likely because of public’s generally negative view of the controversial process, suggesting this may still be a problem for the shale gas industry. Energydesk also carries the story and the Guardian has two features on fracking activism in the UK.

The Independent Read Article
Saudi Arabia on track to tender renewable projects, asks firms to qualify

The world’s largest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, has asked companies to qualify to bid for its first utility-scale 400MW wind power project at Dumat al-Jandal, the energy ministry said on Sunday. Saudi Arabia plans to develop 30 solar and wind projects over the next 10 years as part of a $50 billion program to boost power generation and cut its oil consumption, Bloomberg reports.

Reuters Read Article

Comment.

Mr. Trump, the Climate Change Loner

Macron’s endeavour to change Trump’s mind on the Paris climate agreement “was a futile exercise, as he must have known it would be”, the New York Times writes. The editorial states that: “There is zero chance that he would reaffirm President Barack Obama’s commitment to make meaningful reductions in America’s greenhouse gas emissions, or seek to re-establish the leadership role that Mr. Obama occupied”. However, a lack of support from Russia and Saudi Arabia at the G20 was heartening for “those who feared (and still fear) that Mr. Trump’s betrayal of America’s commitments would cause other countries to backslide as well”. The Times hopes that “someday Mr. Trump will awaken to the fact that the leaders of the world, who again and again have demonstratively turned their backs on him, regard him with astonishment and dismay.” “But we can’t bet on that either”, the editorial concludes.

Editorial, New York Times Read Article
Global environment is heating up for fossil fuels and their producers

Last year Peabody, the world’s biggest coal producer, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US. If energy-intensive businesses “don’t want to go the way of Peabody, they’d better start planning for a low-carbon future”, writes the economics editor of the Times. “Today, a vast amount of regulatory energy is going into pricing climate change risk”, he notes, be the risk natural or policy-based. “Being green is no longer a bung to corporate social responsibility but a financial risk to be costed like any other…All this should drive investment into green innovation”, Aldrick concludes.

Philip Aldrick, The Times Read Article

Science.

The unprecedented 2015/16 Tasman Sea marine heatwave

The Tasman Sea off southeast Australia exhibited its longest and most intense marine heatwave ever recorded in 2015/16, lasting for 251 days reaching 2.9C above average. A new study investigates the physical drivers, ecological impacts, and role of climate change in the event. The results suggest the occurrence of an extreme warming event of this duration or intensity in this region is, respectively, more than 330 times and 6.8 times as likely due to the influence of climate change.

Nature Communications Read Article
Attributing extreme fire risk in Western Canada to human emissions

Forest fires in western Canada have been made 1.5-6 times more likely because of human-caused warming, a new study says. Researchers used an event attribution framework to quantify the influence of human emissions on extreme fire risk in the current climate of western Canada. The results show that the combined effect of human and natural forcing is estimated to have made extreme fire risk events more likely, compared to a climate with natural forcings alone.

Climatic Change Read Article

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