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Daily Briefing

16.04.2018
Today's climate and energy headlines
Carbon Brief Staff

Carbon Brief Staff

16.04.2018 | 9:22am
DAILY BRIEFING Global shipping in ‘historic’ climate deal
Global shipping in ‘historic’ climate deal

News.

Global shipping in 'historic' climate deal

There is widespread coverage of the news that the global shipping industry has, for the first time, agreed to cut its emissions of greenhouse gases. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) deal was finally struck last Friday. BBC News explains: “Shippings has previously been excluded from climate agreements, but under the deal, emissions will be reduced by 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 levels. One minister from a Pacific island state described the agreement as ‘history in the making’. Shipping generates roughly the same quantity of greenhouse gas as Germany and, if it were accounted for as a nation, would rank as the world’s sixth biggest emitter. Like aviation, it had been excluded from climate negotiations because it is an international activity while both the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement involved national pledges to reduce greenhouse gases.” Reuters says: “The compromise plan, which will cut emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared with 2008 levels, fell short of more ambitious targets.” The Guardian says that the countries holding out against a stronger agreement included Brazil, Panama, Saudi Arabia and the US. The Daily MailClimate Home NewsIndependent and Bloomberg also report on the deal. The Times says that “shipping companies are already experimenting with fuel-saving measures, such as giant kites flown from the bow that pull vessels along and tall spinning cylinders which act like sails”. New Scientist asks: “Carbon-free shipping is possible, so why aren’t we doing it?” In the Washington Post, Chris Mooney notes that “if nothing is done to halt emissions growth in the industry, emissions are projected to continue to grow, and shipping would burn up a significant share of the remaining global carbon emissions allowable under the Paris climate agreement”. Carbon Brief has updated its detailed explainerabout the IMO talks.

BBC News Read Article
Rich Commonwealth countries ‘shirking responsibility on climate change’

As Commonwealth leaders gather in London this week, Christian Aid has published a report saying that rich Commonwealth nations such as the UK are “shirking their responsibility on climate change while poorer countries pick up the slack”. Countries including the UK, Australia and Canada have not made sufficient pledges to cut emissions based on their ability to act and responsibility for the problem, says Christian Aid. But poorer countries such as Bangladesh, Kenya and Zambia are doing more than their fair share to cut greenhouse gases. The Press Association says that “in many cases, the fair level of action by richer countries outstrips what they can do domestically, so the study argues they should support poor nations to deliver emissions cuts”. BusinessGreen also covers Christian Aid’s report. Meanwhile, the Guardian has published a letter by Keith Mitchell, prime minister of Grenada, and Gaston Browne, prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, which says: “As climate change gets worse, we urgently need a new system for fast and effective debt relief when disasters hit. We should not have to bear these extra costs ourselves through climate risk insurance. We call on larger Commonwealth countries, including the UK, to play a leading role in the creation of such a system.”

Press Association Read Article
Green policy to force up price cap on electricity

Annual household electricity bills in the UK could rise by almost £200, or a third, by 2025 because of increasing wholesale prices and green subsidies, warn Aurora Energy Research. The Times says this will “leave ministers, who condemned leading suppliers last week for increasing energy bills, with the ‘politically awkward’ reality of their own policies forcing up the level of their [energy price] cap”. Richard Howard, head of research at Aurora, says: “Our analysis suggests the average household electricity bill will increase by nearly £200 — from £619 in 2017 to £807 in 2025. The bulk of this increase is due to rising government policy costs and an increase in wholesale power prices — largely as a result of rising gas prices.” Meanwhile, the Daily Mail previews a Channel 4 Dispatches programme on green energy airing tonight with the headline: “Burning green pellets is ‘filthier than using coal’…and British consumers are subsidising the use of pellets in pursuit of Government green policies”. Carbon Brief has covered this nuanced topic a number of times. Separately, the Daily Telegraph reports that “Michael Gove is facing a Cabinet backlash over his plans for a ‘green Brexit’ amid concerns that it will lead to increased red tape and damage the economy after Brexit”. It adds: “Greg Clark, the business secretary, is concerned that [Green Brexit regulation] could lead to…conflict with the Committee on Climate Change”.

The Times Read Article
UK government criticised for 'shocking' inaction on insulating draughty homes

The UK government’s failure to take action on insulating draughty homes has been criticised by the statutory body for energy consumers. Citizens Advice says silence by ministers on energy efficiency plans would mean consumers lost out and insulation installers would go bust. The government axed its flagship energy efficiency scheme in 2015 and has yet to replace it or signal what might come next. Citizens Advice says the black hole on policy could lead people to conclude energy efficiency is unimportant, even though experts view it as vital for cutting bills and carbon emissions. Meanwhile, in an article for the Observer, Adam Vaughan speaks to experts who say technology will revolutionise both consumer use and generation of power: “British Gas owner Centrica, the UK’s largest energy supplier, and Ovo, one of the biggest ‘challenger’ firms, both told the Observer they expected domestic energy use to continue falling. Customers will not just consume energy, but generate it too, becoming ‘prosumers’ – ‘a horrible word but a useful term,’ says Tom Pakenham, head of electric vehicles at Ovo, that means ‘to generate your own energy, store it and use it in intelligent way’.”

The Guardian Read Article
Europe's carmakers not disputing CO2 fines but want more help

Europe’s carmakers have said they are not looking to challenge fines if they fail to meet the European Union’s CO2 goals for 2020, but want governments to do more to help them hit targets, according to Erik Jonnaert, who heads the European Automobile Manufacturers Association. EU rules from 2020-21 will, in effect, force new cars to average 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre, with carmakers facing hundreds of millions of euros in potential fines for non-compliance. The current EU-mandated average is 130 g/km.

Reuters Read Article

Comment.

Britain's 'blue economy': Why Brexit is a perfect opportunity to build on the UK's seafaring heritage

In a news feature for the Sunday Telegraph, Ambrose focuses on how “Britain’s maritime heritage is quietly being reimagined as the ‘blue economy’, a sphere in which centuries-old sectors touch the forefront of technology to help create a more sustainable economic future”. She adds: “In the coming weeks, views on the changing tide of Britain’s marine and maritime industries will pour in to an expert panel of industry leaders from ports, shipping, finance and academia. Leading the Maritime 2050 panel is Hugh McNeal, the chief executive of Renewable UK…By establishing a lead in what could prove to a be a £76bn global market, Britain could witness a five-fold increase in the export value of offshore wind to £2.6bn a year.”

Jillian Ambrose, Sunday Telegraph Read Article
The Climate and the Cross: evangelical Christians debate climate change

A new Guardian documentary, The Climate and the Cross, explores a battle among US evangelicals over whether climate change is real and a call to protect the Earth – the work of God and, therefore, to be welcomed – or does not exist. The film-makers, Chloe White and Will Davies, explore how a group of Christian Americans might be changing attitudes: “Evangelicals have traditionally been the bedrock of conservative politics in the US, including on climate change. But a heated debate is taking place across the country, with some Christians protesting in the name of protecting the Earth.”

Charlie Phillips, The Guardian Read Article

Science.

Opportunities for biodiversity conservation as cities adapt to climate change

Using green infrastructure in cities to build resilience to climate change could have significant co-benefits for endangered species, a new study finds. Research shows that, in 58 cities, using nature-based improvements around rivers and waterways could have a positive impact on 270 threatened species.

Geography and Environment Read Article
Climate-related displacements of coastal communities in the Arctic: Engaging traditional knowledge in adaptation strategies and policies

The traditional knowledge of native peoples living in the Arctic should be used to inform policy decisions surrounding ecological displacement, a new study finds. New research finds that although indigenous people are represented at international forums, traditional knowledge is not fully integrated into Arctic policy-making. It adds that scientific bodies such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) do not make use of traditional knowledge.

Environmental Science & Policy Read Article

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