Today's climate and energy headlines:
- Korea's Hoesung Lee named head of UN climate panel
- Shell chief pops Carneys carbon bubble
- BBC says sorry for Quentin Letts climate sceptic Met Office show
- UN drops plan to help move climate-change affected people
- Pakistan PM delays climate pledge over provincial rivalries
- Business should be backing renewables fossil fuels don't make economic sense
- Does extreme precipitation intensity depend on the emissions scenario?
Hoesung Lee of South Korea has been named the new head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN body tasked with assessing climate science. Prof Lee, an expert on climate economics and sustainable development, was elected to chair the panel at its ongoing meeting in Dubrovnik, Croatia. He is the fourth person to lead the IPCC in its 27-year history. Lee was elected ahead of five other candidates, beating Belgian Jean-Pascal van Ypersele – another former IPCC vice-chair – in a run-off, reports the Guardian. Speaking after being elected, Lee said: The next phase of our work will see us increase our understanding of regional impacts, especially in developing countries, and improve the way we communicate our findings to the public,” reports The Hindu. Several climate change scientists said they didn’t know Lee, reports the New York Times, with Princeton’s Michael Oppenheimer saying Lee is “relatively quiet.” In his Dot Earth blog at the NYT, Andy Revkin described Lee’s election as “apt” considering “the importance of Asia in coming years, both as the dominant source of growth in greenhouse gas emissions (India in particular) and as a rising force in energy research and innovation (South Korea, China and Japan)”. Today there will be further elections to fill 33 roles in the IPCC bureau, reports Climate Home. Reuters also has the story.
The boss of Royal Dutch Shell has accused Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, of a lack of realism in his comments about climate change. Ben van Beurden, Shells chief executive, dismissed Mr Carneys warning last week that investors in the industry risked being left with billions of dollars worth of stranded assets oil and gas that could never be extracted because of carbon regulation as simplistic. Speaking at an oil industry conference in London, van Beurden said he was not worried about Shell ending up with stranded assets: The reality of demand growth is such that fossil fuels will be needed for decades to come.”. Where Im really concerned is the fact that the arguments that are being put forward their seductive simplicity mean that meaningful climate change action is being delayed,” he added. In his speech, van Beurden urged oil majors and utilities to come on board in backing a tax on carbon emissions, reports Climate Home. van Beurden also said there are signs the price of oil could start to recover, reports the Guardian, but warned of the risk of a spike in oil prices should Opec keep pumping oil flat-out, says the Financial Times.
The BBC has admitted a Radio 4 programme broadcast this summer discussing the role of the Met Office did not meet the organisation’s required standards on accuracy or impartiality. “What’s the Point of the Met Office”, presented by Daily Mail columnist Quentin Letts, attracted a number of complaints from listeners and climate change experts. The BBC apologised for the “unfortunate lapse”, adding: “In giving voice to climate change sceptics, [the programme] failed to make clear that they are a minority voice, out-of-step with the scientific consensus.” Climate Home also has the story.
A reference to a climate change displacement coordination facility to help manage those escaping rising sea levels, extreme weather and ruined agriculture has been removed from the draft agreement for the crucial UN climate talks in Paris. The facility would have provided organised migration and planned relocation, as well as compensation to those having to leave their homes. Australia in particular opposed the idea, says Milman: “Australias opposition to the creation of a body to help people escaping the ravages of climate change appears to have paid off.”
When the UN deadline passed last week, Pakistan was the fifth biggest emitter not to have submitted a climate pledge. Yet according to top climate official, Arif Ahmed Khan, his department delivered a draft plan to the prime ministers office four weeks ago. It set out three options for greenhouse gas emissions cuts from business as usual by 2030. The preferred target is 10%, rising to a maximum 18-20%. Provincial rivalry, inter-departmental battles and bureaucratic caution have been blamed for the delay, says Darby.
The Conservative leadership once advocated powering 21st-century Britain with a green industrial revolution. Yet they now seem intent on the reverse: exploiting shale gas, building new nuclear facilities, and actively undermining clean-energy competition, says Leggett. But while the fossil fuel industry is struggling financially and the case for nuclear is “beset with economic and safety problems”, the green industrial revolution “continues to unfold fast” amid plunging costs. “Which vision should the business community be backing?” asks Leggett.
The rate of increase of global average rainfall per degree of warming differs between different scenarios of greenhouse gas and aerosol emissions. A new study uses four different emission scenarios to investigate whether the same applies to extreme rainfall. These results indicate that, in most models the researchers tested, extreme rainfall actually depends on the total amount of warming, not the emissions scenario.
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