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Daily Briefing

22.05.2018
Today's climate and energy headlines
Carbon Brief Staff

Carbon Brief Staff

22.05.2018 | 9:22am
DAILY BRIEFING Emerging economies say rich countries must still lead on climate action
Emerging economies say rich countries must still lead on climate action

News.

Emerging economies say rich countries must still lead on climate action

Developed countries should “take the lead in emission reductions,” says a joint statement after a weekend of talks between environment ministers from the BASIC countries of Brazil, South Africa, India and China. Climate Home News covers the statement, noting that the group “account for roughly two-thirds of global coal consumption”. The group commits to agreeing the Paris Agreement “rulebook” in December but asks for “flexibility” in its own climate efforts. See Carbon Brief’s summary of the recent round of climate talks for more on this process. Separately, Chinese premier Xi Jinping has reiterated his country’s plans to step up the fight against pollution but “softened language on the role China wants to play in international climate politics”, reports Carbon Pulse (£). Xi’s speech promised to “guide international cooperation to tackle climate change”, according to a release from China’s new Ministry of Ecology and Environment. This marks a shift from earlier language promising to “lead” on climate change.

Climate Home News Read Article
World's largest battery and car-charging network planned for UK

An energy startup plans to “dot the UK with grid-scale 50MW [megawatt] batteries and rapid vehicle charging docks across 45 sites,” reports the Telegraph. The new £1.6bn plans from Pivot Power would provide 2 gigawatts (GW) of battery capacity, “the equivalent of two-thirds of the installed capacity of the Hinkley Point C new nuclear plant in a quarter of the time and at a fraction of the cost,” the Telegraph adds. The Times story also compares the planned batteries’ capacity to Hinkley C. Separately, Mail Online reports on plans to trial “pop up electric vehicle charging points” that will retract and stay underground when not in use. Meanwhile the latest outlook from Bloomberg New Energy Finance says electric cars will account for 28% of global sales by 2030, with electric buses grabbing an 84% share.

The Telegraph Read Article
Hohn urges BoE to act on banks’ climate change risks

The Bank of England should introduce stricter rules on how banks deal with the risks of climate change, says “activist investor” Christopher Hohn, according to a report in the Financial Times. Hohn warns that failing to act could endanger the long-term stability of Britain’s banking system, the paper adds. Meanwhile shareholder campaigns to force more ambitious climate efforts from fossil fuel companies continue, with Quartz previewing the annual meetings of many oil companies coming over the next few weeks. A group of 60 investors with $10tn in assets want the oil and gas industry to be “more transparent and take responsibility for all its emissions”, Quartz reports. Meanwhile BP stands accused of “corporate evasion” over its climate response, reports DeSmog UK.

Financial Times Read Article
Prime Minister pledges to halve new building energy use by 2030

UK prime minister Theresa May wants to at least halve energy use in new buildings by 2030, reports BusinessGreen. In a speech, May called the response to climate change “one of the greatest industrial opportunities of our time”, BusinessGreen adds. It quotes the UK Green Building Council saying the pledge needs to be backed with clear and consistent policies.

BusinessGreen Read Article
‘Climate Change Is Real,’ Carmakers Tell White House in Letter

President Trump’s administration should cooperate with Californian officials in a coming rewrite of vehicle efficiency standards, carmakers say in a 3 May letter to the White House that also notes “climate change is real”, reports Bloomberg. The manufacturers, who write that they have “a continuing role in reducing greenhouse gases”, want federal and Californian vehicle standards to be aligned.

Bloomberg Read Article
China, India Lead Global Solar Power Expansion

India and China are driving the rapid global expansion of utility-scale solar power as the cost of new projects falls, according to a report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis covered by Bloomberg. The story lists the world’s top 10 largest solar developments, of which the top six are in India or China.

Bloomberg Read Article

Comment.

Flat Earthers vs climate change sceptics: why conspiracy theorists keep contradicting each other

“Flat Earthism and the idea that human activity is not responsible for climate change are two of the most prevalent conspiracy theories today,” write Gareth Dorrian and Ian Whittaker in the Conversation. They write that both ideas have become increasingly popular since the late 20th century, with 16% of the US population doubting the shape of the Earth and 40% thinking human-caused climate change is a hoax. However, they add: “Proponents of one of these theories are not necessarily proponents of the other, even though both are often motivated by a common mistrust of authority. In fact, they regularly contradict one another.”

Gareth Dorrian and Ian Whittaker, The Conversation Read Article
Comment: The future is beneath us

“We know that we will need [gas] for decades to come,” writes UK energy and clean growth minister Claire Perry in a comment for the Sun touting the benefits of developing a domestic shale gas industry, published at the end of last week. Perry continues: “[Gas] fits with our world-beating climate goals as it generates less CO2 than oil and coal. That is why every estimate of our 2050 emissions reductions targets from the independent Climate Change Committee includes gas in our energy mix.” [Perry does not mention that she intends to ask the CCC for advice, later this year, on tightening the UK’s targets in line with the Paris Agreement – as reported by Carbon Brief when she announced the move.]

Claire Perry, The Sun Read Article

Science.

Dismissive and deceptive car dealerships create barriers to electric vehicle adoption at the point of sale

Car dealerships pose a significant barrier at the point of sale for electric vehicles (EVs), new research shows. In 126 shopping experiences at 82 car dealerships across Scandinavia, the researchers find that dealers were dismissive of EVs, misinformed shoppers on vehicle specifications, omitted EVs from the sales conversation and pushed customers towards petrol and diesel vehicle options. The findings “suggest that government and industry signalling affect sales strategies and purchasing trends”, the study concludes.

Nature Energy Read Article
Impact of myopic decision-making and disruptive events in power systems planning

Waiting for a “unicorn” low-carbon technology rather than using what is available now could mean a higher cost of decarbonising the energy system, a new study says. Relying on the eventual development of a unicorn technology results in either an oversized and underused power system, the researchers find, or one that is far from being decarbonised. With perfect foresight, new innovations could reduce total system cost by 13%, the study says, but “waiting for a unicorn technology that never appears could result in 61% higher cumulative total system cost by mid-century compared to deploying currently available low-carbon technologies early on”.

Nature Energy Read Article
Antibiotic resistance increases with local temperature

Rising global temperatures could, in theory, increase resistance to antibiotics in humans, a new study suggests. Focusing on the US, the researchers finds that increases in local temperature as well as population density are associated with increasing antibiotic resistance in common pathogens. For example, a 10C local temperature rise was associated with a 4% increase in resistance to E. coli and 2% to bacterial pneumonia. The findings suggest “current forecasts of the burden of antibiotic resistance could be significant underestimates in the face of a growing population and climate change”, the researchers conclude.

Nature Climate Change Read Article

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