Today's climate and energy headlines:
- Coal in the G7: Who's burningwhat?
- G7 poised for historic call to phase out fossilfuel emissions
- China greenhouse gases: Progress is made, reportsays
- 'Beautiful' nuclear power stations can win oversceptics, says Energy Secretary AmberRudd
- UK and US main barriers to addressing climatechange, survey finds
- Africa sounds the alarm over crucial climatesummit
- Drax power station is actually INCREASINGgreenhouse gas emissions
- Cutting the budget for energy-saving programmeswill cost us all in the longrun
- The Case for a CarbonTax
- At last, a brilliant plan for us all to gogreen
- New record for UK renewablesoutput
- Why 2015 could be the year that really changes theclimate debate
- New climate change laws are spreading faster thanever
- Quantifying sources, transport, deposition, andradiative forcing of black carbon over the Himalayas and TibetanPlateau
- The relationship between temperature and assaultin New Zealand
As the G7 meets in Germany, Oxfam has published a new reportfinding that coal-fired power plants in the G7 countries areresponsible for more than twice the total emissions of the 54countries of Africa, and ten times more than the 48 least developedcountries of the world. Using the report’s new research, which wasproduced by E3G, and our own research, Carbon Brief lays out therole that coal currently plays in each of the G7 countries.
Climate and energy news.
G7 leaders meeting in Germany appear to be edging towardsagreeing on an historic target to wipe out greenhouse gas emissionsby the end of the century. “Talks on climate change ran late intoSunday night as officials debated a variety of carbon cuttingoptions, RTCC understands,” writes King. “These included a goalproposed by the EU to cut emissions 60% on 2010 levels by 2050,with full decarbonisation by 2100, and another goal for G7countries to decarbonise their own energy sectors by 2050.”The Associated Pressreports thatAngela Merkel is calling for G7 to throw its weight behind along-standing pledge to seek $100bn to help poor countries tackleclimate change. The Guardianreports that LaurentFabius, the French foreign minister, has also been stressing howimportant this money is for securing a successful deal in Paris.Meanwhile, Reuterssays that Japan says it isopen to the G7 announcing its own collective carbon emissionstarget. It adds in another reportthat Merkel alsowants the G7 to commit to 2C global warming goal. The meetingconcludes today with a communiqué which is expected to provide moredetails about such pledges.
China’s greenhouse gas emissions could start to declinewithin 10 years, according to a report from the London School ofEconomics. This would be five years earlier than expected and wouldoffer a boost towards efforts to protect the climate, saysHarrabin. “The shift has been partly caused by a massive commitmentto renewables. China is the world’s top investor in wind and solarpower. It has also been replacing old coal plants with cleaner newstations.” The Guardian, RTCCand BusinessGreenalso carry the story.Separately, Reutersreport that “China coalimports slump further in May as policies bite”. Zheng Nan, ananalyst with China’s Shenyin Wanguo Securities, told the newsagency: “Imports are constantly decreasing compared to last yeardue to new policies, and the use of new (renewable) energy.”
The Independent speaks to Amber Rudd, the new energy andclimate change secretary, who tells the paper that Britain’s newnuclear power stations and other energy infrastructure projectsmust be designed to look beautiful to garner essential publicsupport. She says she has also set up a meeting with Lord Lawson,the climate sceptic former Tory chancellor: “I will be having aconversation with him. I’m hoping to win him over, so great is myambition. But we will see.” Extending the interview intothe Sunday editionof the paper, Ruddadded that spending on energy efficiency was being looked at:”We’re reviewing that whole area.” In a separate story, Tom Bawden reports thatGreg Barker, the former DECC minister in charge of the Green Deal,blames the Big Six electricity providers for its failure.
A new survey by YouGov has found that people in the US andUK lag far behind countries including China in wanting thoseclimate talks in Paris in December to produce a meaningfulcommitment to address climate change. In the US, the poll foundthat 17% of people “do not agree to any international agreementthat addresses climate change”. That number is 7% in the UK. InChina and Indonesia, on the other hand, it is only 1%.
Diplomats from nearly 200 countries meeting in Bonn, who aretrying to lay the groundwork secure a climate deal in Paris inDecember, have reportedly made little progress, says Vidal,”raising the possibility of a last-minute diplomatic fiasco, ashappened in Copenhagen in 2009″. The world’s least-developedcountries have accused richer nations of failing to providefinancial backing for a strong new treaty.
Rose highlights a a new study by the Spatial InformaticsGroup which claims that the switch by Drax, the UK’s biggestcoal-fired power station, from coal to wood is actually increasingcarbon emissions. “[The] conclusions are devastating. The officialDECC standard says biomass plants should emit a maximum of 285kg ofcarbon dioxide for every 1MW/hr of electricity. But the researchfound that averaged over 40 years, Drax’s net emissions will bemore than four times as high.” Last month, Carbon Briefalso investigatedwhether the UK’s biomass burning helps solve climate change.
Climate and energy comment.
The paper slams the prospect that the Treasury will “finallysucceed in cutting the budget for energy-saving programmes”. Itsays: “The problem is that energy efficiency is unglamorous, hardto get right, and no one suffers immediately if it does not happen.It is, therefore, an obvious target for the Chancellor looking tomake savings.” But, “if ever you wanted a definition ofshort-termism, we suspect that the Government is about to provideit.”
“A carbon tax would raise the price of fossil fuels, withmore taxes collected on fuels that generate more emissions, likecoal,” says the paper. “This tax would reduce demand forhigh-carbon emission fuels and increase demand for lower-emissonfuels like natural gas. Renewable sources like solar, wind, nuclearand hydroelectric would face lower taxes or no taxes. To beeffective, the tax should also be applied to imported goods fromcountries that do not assess a similar levy on the use of fossilfuels.”
Ridley, the climate sceptic Conservative peer, praises the”Ecomodernist Manifesto”, a “short but brilliant essay” publishedonline recently by 18 prominent greens. “It gets sustainabilityright at last,” he says, because the “best way to look after theEarth is to promote economic growth and interfere as little aspossible with nature”. Last week, the New Yorkeralso looked at the samemanifesto and was less than impressed.
According to Goodall, renewable energy provided 13.4GW, or43%, of British electricity at 2pm on Saturday. “I believe this isa new record,” he says. “Summer days that are both windy and sunnyare rare. In no sense were the daylight hours of Saturday 6th June2015 typical. But it did provide an inspiring moment that showedhow renewables could eventually replace fossil fuels.”
Mooney begins a new weekly column for the Post on energy andthe environment called “Planetary”. He says many events arecombining to make 2015 a key year for climate action: “Climatepolicy has momentum, momentum of a kind that we’ve rarely seenbefore. And momentum matters.”
Mehra, the chief executive of the GLOBE Internationalsecretariat, says now that 75% of global emissions are covered bynational targets, a UN emissions deal is within reach.
New climate science.
Black carbon particles (soot) over the Himalayas and TibetanPlateau are known to affect snowmelt and glacier retreat. Now newresearch tracks where these particles originate. The study findsthe largest contribution from biofuel and biomass emissions inSouth Asia, followed by fossil fuel emissions from South Asia, thenfossil fuels from East Asia. The same patterns hold for all seasonsexcept summer, when East Asia fossil fuels becomes more important,the researchers say.
Analysis of police data and hospital records shows thefrequency of physical assault in New Zealand increases in periodsof unusually warm weather. For each 1C of temperature rise, theresearchers found a 1.5% rise in assaults. However, it remainsdifficult to make accurate predictions about future assault ratesin a warming world, the researchers say.
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