Daily Briefing |
TODAY'S CLIMATE AND ENERGY HEADLINES
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Today's climate and energy headlines:
- G7 leaders target zero-carboneconomy
- G7 leaders agree to phase out fossil fuel use byend of century
- Do 'whatever it takes' for a deal, says majorityin global climate survey
- China's greenhouse gases could peak early, easingclimate fears
- Why warmer storms could lead to more flooding thanexpected
- MEPs threaten to block trade deal over rights toregulate carbon emissions
- Drax says cheap oil feeding through to electricityprices
- Climate change scientists urged to be more open tothe public about uncertainties
- Donald Trump: 'Windfarms are ruining thelandscape'
- We're all climate change deniers atheart
- Perspectives on the Green Climate Fund: possiblecompromises on capitalization and balancedallocation
- Steeper temporal distribution of rain intensity athigher temperatures within Australianstorms
- Tension between scientific certainty and meaningcomplicates communication of IPCCreports
Global climate talks received a symbolic boost today, as theG7 group of rich nations threw their weight behind a long-term goalof decarbonising the global economy over the course of thiscentury. Today’s declaration backs a long-term goal of cuttingglobal greenhouse gas emissions at the “upper end” of 40-70% below2010 levels by 2050 and decarbonising completely “over the courseof this century”.
Climate and energy news.
The G7 leading industrial nations have agreed to cutgreenhouse gases by phasing out the use of fossil fuels by the endof the century, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, hasannounced, in a move hailed as historic by some environmentalcampaigners. The G7 also agreed on a global target for limiting therise in average global temperatures to a maximum of 2C overpre-industrial levels, but stopped short of agreed immediatebinding targets. The move has been hailed as a ‘historic decision’in the fight against climate change, reports The Financial Times, Roger Harrabinat BBC Newsdescribes the move as a’seismic shift’, and theMailOnlinegoes with the headline’The hills are alive with the sound of Merkel’. AlsoinThe Guardian, Karl Mathieson says thatpersuading ‘climate recalcitrants’ such as Japan and Canada to signup for fossil fuel phase out is a significant achievement by AngelaMerkel. While Pilita Clark in The Financial Timesdescribes thedecision as a ‘turning point’, but warns ‘many questions remainabout whether such an outcome will ever be achieved’.Elsewhere,The Telegraph,Reuters,BusinessGreen, Climate ProgressandRTCCalso cover the news. And youcan read Carbon Brief’s coverage of the story here.
Nearly two-thirds of people believe that negotiators at theUN climate talks in December should do “whatever it takes” to limitglobal warming to a 2C rise, according to a new global survey. 89%said climate change should be a national priority in their country,and 80% said their country should take measures to reduce emissionseven if others do not. The survey involved 10,000 citizens from 79developed and developing countries. Meanwhile,RTCCsays the survey shows China islagging behind the rest of the world in public support for climateaction.
China’s greenhouse gas emissions could peak by 2025, fiveyears earlier than indicated by Beijing, suggests a study by theLondon School of Economics. The report notes that China’s “coalconsumption fell in 2014, and fell further in the first quarter of2015”. An earlier peak would help the world get on track forlimiting global warming to 2C above pre-industrial times, theresearchers say.
A new study of storms in Australia suggests the likelyintensification in flooding caused by climate change may be evengreater than expected. This is because of changes to thedistribution of rainfall within storms, the researchers say. Thefindings suggest climate change could cause an increase in floodpeaks even if the amount of rainfall stays the same, because moreof the rainfall is concentrated into intense bursts, theysay.
The European parliament will block a new trade pact unlessit guarantees states’ rights to regulate over climate, health andsocial laws, a key parliamentary leader has warned just days beforea related crunch vote on trade liberalisation with the US.Environmentalists have warned trade deals such as the Trade inServices Agreement (Tisa) could outlaw attempts to set blocemissions limits for airlines or ships.
The chief executive of coal-fired power station Drax,Dorothy Thompson, has warned that weak prices since the start ofthe year are hitting the rate at which they can sell itselectricity. Lower gas prices, due to the sharp fall in the cost ofoil, are leading to weak power prices in the wholesale market.Forward sales in 2016 were at a lower average achieved price of£48.80 per megawatt hour than sales made for 2015, which achieved£49.90 per Mwh, Thompson says.
Climate scientists must be more honest about the limits oftheir knowledge and uncertainty around predictions if they are towin the trust of the public, says a new academic paper. Scientistsare under increasing pressure to communicate their research moreclearly, to galvanise politicians into taking action, and to helppromote their universities, the paper says. But they should resistglossing over any uncertainties in research if they don’t want tolose credibility, the authors say. T
Donald Trump has attacked Alex Salmond, saying the formerFirst Minister should be ‘ashamed of himself’ for backing plans tobuild offshore windfarms near a golf course owned by the flamboyantUS billionaire. Trump says he will be appealing after losing hislatest legal challenge to the 11-turbine scheme. ‘The only problemwe have… is these stupid windmills that Alex Salmond is trying toforce down everyone’s throats,’ says Trump.
Climate and energy comment.
In the absence of intergovernmental action, we arehopelessly ill-equipped to deal with climate change as individuals,says Oliver Burkeman in The Guardian. We’ve evolved to respond morevigorously to threats that are immediate and easy to picturementally, rather than those that are distant and abstract, Burkemansays. We find it far easier to downgrade our fears of climatechange than to change our behaviour, he argues.
New climate science.
A survey of representatives from developed and developingcountries reveals their views about the annual sum of USD 100billion that governments have pledged to the Green Climate Fund(GCF) should be dispensed. The authors suggest reformulating thelong-term finance pledge – which is the mechanism that houses theGCF – to clarify the ratio of mitigation to adaptation, as well asa number of other factors.
A new study of 79 locations throughout Australia finds thatpeak rainfall during storms is heavier at higher temperatures. Theauthors suggest the warming expected over the 21st century couldincrease the magnitude and frequency of floods.
Certainty about human-caused climate change has grownconsiderably between the recent IPCC report and the previous onesix years ago. But a new letter suggests that in attempting tocommunicate that certainty, the IPCC panel caused confusion in themedia about “what counts” as evidence. The article cites David Roseof the Mail on Sunday.