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Daily Briefing

18.04.2019
Today's climate and energy headlines
DAILY BRIEFING Hundreds of arrests in London as climate protest enters third day
Hundreds of arrests in London as climate protest enters third day

News.

Hundreds of arrests in London as climate protest enters third day

Most frontpages of the UK’s national newspapers feature the Extinction Rebellion protests. “Climate protests that have gridlocked the core of the British capital continue,” Politico reports. The New York Times says that protestors have occupied “major London landmarks”, including Marble Arch, Oxford Circus and Waterloo Bridge, “as part of a global civil disobedience campaign that demands government action on climate change”. Yesterday, protestors also targeted the home of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, according to the Guardian and BBC News, saying that they wanted the Labour Party to go further than declaring a “climate emergency”. At least 100 people were arrested yesterday, according to new figures from Scotland Yard reported in the Guardian, taking the total number of arrests so far to around 400. The Financial Times reports that businesses claim to have lost £12m to date from the protests. London’s mayor Sadiq Khan has told LBC radio that while he shares Extinction Rebellion’s climate change concerns, he does not support the group’s tactics: “Bear in mind, that you don’t want to inadvertently cause damage to your cause by putting people off because of the way you’re protesting”. The Daily Telegraph reports that Khan has been criticised by “rank and file” police for “aggravating” climate protests. A separate article in the Daily Telegraph claims that “Sadiq Khan could barely disguise his glee at the idea of Extinct Rebellion taking aim at the government’s supposed inaction on climate change”. The same paper also ran a opinion piecedenouncing the protestors as “hardened rabble rousers…more interested in Marxism than climate change”, while another article describes the movement’s leaders as “a jetsetter, a Buddhist teacher and a yoga instructor”. BBC’s Newsnight ran a segment on the protests. BusinessGreenReuters and the Independent are among the other outlets also carrying the story.

Politico Read Article
David Attenborough warns 'we're running out of time to save the planet'

Today’s Daily Mirror’s frontpage leads with the following warning: “The end of life on earth…unless we change now”. “In his starkest warning yet about our future existence”, Attenborough is calling for “an end to the use of fossil fuels” in a new BBC documentary, the Daily Mirror writes. The “veteran broadcaster” is joined by other experts in a documentary entitled “Climate Change: The Facts”, which airs tonight at 9pm on BBC One. Narrating the programme, Attenborough warns: “Right now we are facing our greatest threat in thousands of years. Climate change. At the current rate of warming we risk a devastating future.” Elsewhere, an article in the Conversation suggests that the documentary “should talk about the solutions”.

Daily Mirror Read Article
Satellite confirms key NASA temperature data: The planet is warming — and fast

A “high profile NASA temperature dataset” has found new backing from independent satellite records, the Washington Post reports. A new study in the journal Environmental Research Letters, confirmed the findings of NASA’s GISTEMP dataset, which has pronounced the past five years as the hottest on record. Dr Gavin Schmidt, the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and an author of the study, commented: “We may actually have been underestimating how much warmer [the Arctic’s] been getting”.

The Washington Post Read Article
Pope tells Greta Thunberg to carry on her fight

Pope Francis has given his blessing to Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg’s efforts, after meeting her briefly yesterday in Rome. Thunberg sat in the front row of the pope’s general audience in St Peter’s Square when the two spoke. She told the pope: “Thank you for standing up for the climate and speaking the truth. It means a lot.” The pontiff responded: “God bless you, continue to work, continue. Go along, go ahead.”

Deutsche Welle Read Article
South Carolina aims to bar offshore drilling with budget proposal

South Carolina has introduced a provision to the state budget that prohibits the state from approving any activity that would facilitate drilling offshore. South Carolina’s Republican-majority Senate fear that the federal government “will open the Atlantic coast to offshore drilling”, Reuters explains. Republican State Senator Chip Campsen commented: “We don’t want South Carolina’s pristine coastline to be turned into an industrial wasteland.”

Reuters Read Article

Comment.

The Guardian view on climate change campaigners: suited or superglued, we need them all

While the cause of climate change “is being taken up in the corridors of power, we still need activists outside on the streets”, argues an editorial in the Guardian on the Extinction Rebellion protests. The Guardian adds: “The question is whether real change is achieved on the streets or in the corridors of power; whether moderates or militants prevail; and whether progress is made through careful negotiation and the pursuit of acceptable compromises, or radical demands which rupture the status quo. The truth is that both are needed.” The piece concludes: “There is nothing moderate about the approaching catastrophe. …Social movements exert pressure on internal processes of change, which are inherently incremental and cautious.” The Daily Mail also runs an editorial on the Extinction Rebellion protests, describing the activists as “prancing hippies”. An op-ed in the same paper by former home secretary David Blunkett asks: “Why hasn’t the full force of the law been used against these eco-anarchists?”, while Robert Hardman claims that the protests are “making Britain a global laughing stock”. In the Times, environment editor Ben Webster takes a look at the group’s demands.

Elsewhere in the Guardian, the Guardian’s economics editor, Larry Elliot, lauds the governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney’s “timely” warning on climate change, that “spoke the language that the City would understand”, but adds that “governments also need to embrace new ideas to help shift the dial”.

Editorial, The Guardian Read Article
How flygskam (or flight shame) is spreading across Europe

A feature in the London Evening Standard Magazine explores how flying “has become almost taboo as a result of its negative impact on the environment”, with the Swedish even inventing a new word for the shame associated with flying: “flygskam”. Sweden’s national rail service, reported a record 32 million customers last year, which it attributes to “the big interest in climate-smart travel”, writer Juliana Piskorz explains. Meanwhile, airline Swedavia AB “reported its weakest overall passenger growth in a decade” last year. Piskorz contrasts changing Scandinavian attitudes with the UK, where “plans continue for a third runway at Heathrow despite the airport already being the biggest single source of CO2 emissions in the UK”.

Juliana Piskorz, Evening Standard Magazine Read Article

Science.

Return period of extreme rainfall substantially decreases under 1.5C and 2.0C warming: a case study for Uttarakhand, India

A flood event on the scale of the one that hit northern India in 2013 and caused thousands of deaths could become significantly more likely in a 1.5C or 2C warmer world, a new study suggests. Using the weather@home climate modelling system, the researchers investigate the change in the return period of similar events under 1.5C and 2C of warming, compared to current and pre-industrial levels. “The likelihood of such extreme precipitation events will significantly increase under both future scenarios,” the study finds. “Our results also suggest that until now, anthropogenic aerosols may have effectively counterbalanced the otherwise increased meteorological flood risk due to greenhouse gas induced warming,” the authors also note.

Environmental Research Letters Read Article
Anthropogenic climate change and heat effects on health

A new paper introduces two measures to assess the impact of human-caused climate change on the intensity and frequency of health‐relevant heat extremes. The study finds that “all regions currently experience at least 10 additional days per year when thermal deaths are expected to occur, but the number is several times higher in warmer tropical regions, where it is estimated to exceed 100 days by the end of the century”. The authors also show that significant increases in heat extremes that impact health may also arise in smaller‐scale areas, which they explore for Central England.

International Journal of Climatology Read Article
Modelling the climate suitability of tea in Sri Lanka in response to current and future climate change scenarios

Climate change is projected to “have a negative effect on the habitat suitability of tea in Sri Lanka by 2050 and 2070”, a new study says. Using a “habitat suitability model”, the researchers simulated conditions for growing tea in Sri Lanka under current and future climates according to a range of scenarios. The findings suggest a future decline in areas with “optimal”, “medium”, and “marginal” suitability for tea growing of approximately 11%, 17% and 8%, respectively.

Agricultural and Forest Meteorology Read Article

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