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Daily Briefing

19.03.2019
Today's climate and energy headlines
DAILY BRIEFING England could run short of water within 25 years
England could run short of water within 25 years

News.

England could run short of water within 25 years

The Guardian reports comments from the Environment Agency’s chief warning that England could run short of water within 25 years. Water demand from the country’s rising population could soon surpass the falling supply resulting from climate change, agency chief Sir James Bevan told the Guardian. During a speech at the Waterwise conference in London on Tuesday, Bevan said: “Water companies all identify the same thing as their biggest operating risk: climate change.” BBC News and the Evening Standard also covers Bevan’s speech, in which he says he wants to see wasting water become “as socially unacceptable as blowing smoke in the face of a baby”.

The Guardian Read Article
TV weather forecasts should include regular climate change segment says former BBC presenter Bill Giles

Writing in the Radio Times magazine, former BBC weather presenter Bill Giles has called for broadcasters to add regular slots focusing on climate change to their weather forecasts. Giles said: “I am calling on the BBC and the other major broadcasters to incorporate an additional five-to-ten-minute slot into the forecast that focuses properly and honestly on the Earth’s changing climate.“ Offering more details on how this should work, he adds: “This climate change slot should air at least once a week and would use our technical ability to show weather everywhere in the world to explain in clear, ‘non-jargony’ or technical terms the reasons why our climate is changing – largely due to human influences – and the effects of this on us and all other animals.” His comments are carried in the Guardian, the Evening Standard and the Daily Mail.

Radio Times Read Article
UK scientists join race for lab-grown meat

BBC News reports that scientists at the University of Bath have grown animal cells on blades of grass, in a step towards producing lab-grown meat. The researchers have grown rodent meat “as a proof of principle” of the potential of cultured meat, BBC News adds. “The idea was to essentially, rather than feeding a cow grass and then us eating the meat – why don’t we, in quotation marks, ‘feed our cells grass’,” Scott Allan, a postgraduate student in chemical engineering at the university, told BBC News.

BBC News Read Article
Wales: 'Radical' plan could deliver 100% renewable power by 2035

BusinessGreen covers a report from the Institute of Welsh Affairs which argues that a combination of public and private investment could see Wales fully decarbonise its electricity system over the next 15 years. The report says that Wales could shift to 100% renewable electricity by 2035, “creating over 20,000 jobs and delivering a £7.4bn economic boost for the country’s economy”. The report puts forward a 10-point plan to accelerate decarbonisation in Wales. It proposes “energy efficiency upgrades for 870,000 homes, the roll out of 2.6GW of solar capacity, 2.5GW of onshore wind capacity, 1.7GW of offshore wind capacity, and 4GW of marine and floating wind turbine capacity”, BusinessGreen says.

BusinessGreen Read Article

Comment.

It’s not nimbyism to question the value of fracking

Conservative MP Lee Rowley writes about the return of fracking to the UK for the Times. “Fracking is a rather curious energy solution. Despite herculean efforts, it has never been tried more than a handful of times in the UK — and, so far, has failed each time,” he says. “Incredibly, it is a process where we now have to ask nearby communities to tolerate small earthquakes.” Today, Rowley will present a bill to lock in current earthquake regulations to prevent the industry from successfully lobbying to raise them without proper parliamentary permission, he says. “It’s simply that, as a policy, fracking doesn’t make sense. Let’s stop flogging a dead horse and have a more serious conversation about our future energy supply.”

Lee Rowley, The Times Read Article
Ending climate change requires the end of capitalism. Have we got the stomach for it?

“Ending climate change requires the end of capitalism,” says Guardian writer Phil McDuff. “Policy tweaks won’t do it, we need to throw the kitchen sink at this with a total rethink of our relationship to ownership, work and capital.” McDuff, who writes on economics and social policy, adds: “To pretend that we can compromise our way through this while we wait for a magical, technological bullet that will keep temperatures down without costing us anything is beyond wilful ignorance now. It is a question of basic morality.”

Phil McDuff, The Guardian Read Article

Science.

Gender quotas increase the equality and effectiveness of climate policy interventions

Implementing climate policies to local groups are more effective where there is a gender quota of at least 50% women, new research suggests. In a randomised field experiment in which 440 forest users from Indonesia, Peru and Tanzania made decisions about extraction and conservation in a forest, groups with the gender quota conserved more trees as a response to a “payment for ecosystem services” intervention and shared the payment more equally. The researchers say they “attribute this effect to the gender composition of the group, not the presence of female leaders”.

Nature Climate Change Read Article
A strong relative preference for wind turbines in the US among those who live near them

A survey of people living in the US within 8km of a wind turbine finds around 90% prefer their local wind project to a centralised power plant sited a similar distance away, a new study says. The results also suggest that wind power is preferred “three-to-one” over solar among approximately two-thirds of individuals surveyed who had a preference. The findings “are relatively consistent across states with different characteristics, suggesting a strong social preference for wind turbines among their neighbours,” the authors note.

Nature Energy Read Article
Changing access to ice, land and water in Arctic communities

A new study assesses the impact of Arctic warming on access to semi-permanent trails on land, water and sea ice. Focusing on Inuit Nunangat – the Inuit homeland in northern Canada – researchers modelled daily trail accessibility between 1985 and 2016 for 16 communities. The findings suggest that overall trail access has been minimally affected by the more than 2C warming seen in the past three decades – increasing by 1.38–1.96 days, differing by trail type. The paper concludes: “Across models, the knowledge, equipment and risk tolerance of trail users were substantially more influential in determining trail access than changing climatic conditions.”

Nature Climate Change Read Article

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