Today's climate and energy headlines:
- Rising cost of building Hinkley Point divides both sides
- Barack Obama and Justin Trudeau to join forces on climate change
- Exclusive: Clash between countries stymies aviation emissions talks
- Fracking Becomes An Issue In Presidential Primaries
- JP Morgan: Coal investments on par with child labour
- South Africa to start shale gas exploration in next year
- Crippled Fukushima Reactors Are Still a Danger, 5 Years after the Accident
- What's the Answer to Climate Change?
- Tories would have come up with a worse nuclear deal
- More heat than light in the US fracking debate
- Hinkley: Twist, stick, or China?
- Future sea level rise constrained by observations and long-term commitment
- Extinction of fish-shaped marine reptiles associated with reduced evolutionary rates and global environmental volatility
- Emergence of heat extremes attributable to anthropogenic influences
Debate continues over the planned Hinkley Point new nuclear scheme, with the Financial Times comparing its costs, likely profits and electricity prices. The scheme is a “central part of UK energy strategy”, says Reuters. It says the latest crisis for the scheme “has exposed Britain’s reliance on [the plan]”. The project is “on the brink”, according to the Daily Mail. The Times reports that “safety fears could stop” the project going ahead, though the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) hit back on Twitter saying “there are no safety concerns”. Separately, the Times reports that George Osborne “was so desperate” for new nuclear that he was prepared to offer an even higher price for Hinkley C’s electricity. The story is based on an opinion piece from former energy secretary Ed Davey, see below. Separately, AFP reports that France’s oldest nuclear plant at Fessenheim is to close while Reuters says China’s first Westinghouse AP1000 reactor has been delayed. Carbon Brief has produced an interactive map of all the world’s nuclear reactors past, present and future.
Canada and the US are expected to announce a series of joint climate change measures this week, reports the Guardian. This will include a 45% cut in methane emissions from the oil and gas industry, it says. Grist also has the story
International talks on tackling carbon emissions from aviation have “hit a roadblock”, reports Reuters, citing “sources familiar with the matter”. It says the problem revolves around developed versus developing country views of responsibilities, with officials attempting to come up with a plan before a key meeting in May. The International Civil Aviation Organization is due to adopt a climate action plan at its annual assembly in September.
Candidates for the US presidential election have been setting out their views on fracking, reports Desmog Blog. Donald Trump is in favour, while Bernie Sanders is against. Hillary Clinton is in favour if a list of conditions are met, it says. Clinton’s proposed approach to fracking failed to convince either industry or environment groups, reports Reuters. The Washington Post Energy and Environment blog explores the difference between Clinton and Sanders’ views on fracking.
JP Morgan Chase will stop funding new coal mines or plants in the 30 OECD nations, but could still back projects in poor countries, reports Climate Home. The bank, one of the world’s largest, has put coal projects in the same category as illegal logging and child labour, says Carbon Pulse. Grist also has the story.
Shale gas exploration will be given the green light in South Africa within 12 months, reports Reuters, more than six year after firms applied for licences. Environmentalists argue water supplies would be put at risk in the semi-arid Karoo region, believed to hold shale gas reserves, reports AFP.
Five years after the Fukushima disaster the crippled nuclear reactors are still a danger, reports Scientific American. “Major questions still loom today, in npart because the damaged reactors are too dangerous to enter”, it says. Meanwhile a Japanese court has issued an injunction against the restart of two reactors at Takahama, reports Reuters. Separately, Reuters reports on Greenpeace tests that show locals are still eating radioactive food, 30 years after the Chernobyl disaster.
The Atlantic looks at some of the most frequently posed solutions to climate change, arguing that the problem is so complex that there’s no single solution. “It’s not enough to let the market handle it or depend on geo-engineering”, it says.
Writing in the Times, former energy and climate change secretary Sir Ed Davey defends the Hinkley C new nuclear scheme, saying it should not be abandoned and is not too expensive. He writes: “the Conservatives, most notably the chancellor, would have shaken hands with EDF at a higher price”. To manage the risk of the plant not being built, he says, we need to keep our options open, adding: “That’s why the Conservatives’ rejection of onshore wind, solar and carbon capture and storage is so risky.”
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are “unrealistic about energy policy”, says a Financial Times editorial. It says it is “troubling” that the Democratic contenders “have been competing over which of them is more eager to bring fracking to an end”. It says stopping fracking would be good for Saudi Arabia but “disastrous” for the US.
The government “is in something of a hole over Hinkley C”, writes Richard Black in a piece for Business Green. With rising costs, problems finding backers and prominent Conservatives now coming out against, “even the politics are making less sense”. Perhaps the only solution, he writes, would be for China to take over the project, building its own reactors there in addition to at Bradwell, in Essex.
A new study finds a way to reconcile two types of sea level rise projections: those that come from an understanding of the processes and those that come from looking at how sea level has changed in the past. Constraining the expected response of the various elements that govern sea level rise with observations from the last century, the scientists project 57–131 cm of sea level rise by 2100 – an estimate they say overlaps with the IPCC’s projection for a high emissions scenario.
Blame for the demise of ichthyosaurs roughly 30 million years before the end-Cretaceous mass extinction event has often been pinned on loss of their main prey or increased competition. But a new study says their diminishing richness and ultimate extinction is more likely down to a period of staggered climatic volatility that profoundly reorganised marine ecosystems.
All of the 16 exceptionally hot years this century are unlikely to have reached record-breaking levels without human influence, concludes new research. The study found a clear discernible contribution from human activity to the likelihood of record-breaking warm years going as far back as the 1930s. Aerosol induced cooling delayed the timing of a detectable influence from human activity to record-breaking events in some regions, say the authors.
Expert analysis directly to your inbox.