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Today's climate and energy headlines
DAILY BRIEFING IoD members overwhelmingly back UK decarbonisation push & Paris agreement to become law this year
IoD members overwhelmingly back UK decarbonisation push & Paris agreement to become law this year


IoD members overwhelmingly back UK decarbonisation push

Around three quarters of business leaders surveyed by the Institute of Directors agree with the need to decarbonise UK energy supplies, reports BusinessGreen. The leaders also believe successive governments have failed to deliver secure or affordable energy supplies, report the Times, City AM,Guardian and Edie. The survey “reveals overwhelming support for clean energy”, says a second piece from BusinessGreen.

BusinessGreen Read Article
Paris climate agreement set to become law this year

The Paris Agreement on climate change will enter force by the of the year if countries stick to their promises to ratify the deal, reports Climate Home. Some 57 countries accounting for 57.88% of global emissions have ratified or signalled their intention to do so, enough to pass the thresholds for entry into force of 55 countries and 55% of emissions. Meanwhile the Philippines is now likely to back the climate deal, according to another Climate Home article, after backing down on threats to ignore the agreement.

Climate Home Read Article
Scientists to probe ways of meeting tough global warming goal

Scientists have set the outlines of a report on how to restrict global warming to below 1.5C, even though the threshold is at risk of being breached already, reports Reuters. The study is due to be published in 2018. Analysis from Carbon Brief and others indicates there may be as little as five years of carbon budget remaining for the 1.5C limit. An opinion piece for DeSmog UK says the world has “almost certainly blown the 1.5C global warming target”.

Reuters Read Article
National Grid slashes forecasts for big new power plants

National Grid now says its previous estimates for the growth of solar farms and other small-scale generators were almost 50 times too low, reports the Telegraph. It also says fewer large new power stations will be built than expected. National Grid says it no longer needs to build new gas pipelines near Avonmouth, partly because fewer gas-fired power stations are now expected.

The Telegraph Read Article
EDF Should Face Penalty for Hinkley Delay, U.K. Ex-Minister Says

Tim Yeo, former Conservative minister and now a lobbyist for the nuclear industry says the Hinkley C scheme should receive lower payments if it is delayed beyond a planned 2025 start date, reports Bloomberg. [The planned deal includes penalties for lateness, but only after four years’ delay]. Separately, the Financial Times looks at the UK’s ambitious plans to build six new nuclear plants, amid concern over the involvement of foreign firms in critical infrastructure. Elsewhere Reuters looks at plans to deliver “mini-nuclear” plants, known as small modular reactors, potentially as early as the mid-2020s, according to companies developing the technology.

Bloomberg Read Article


Weather eye: Cheaper batteries

Scientists are trying to make cheaper batteries using organic quinones, chemicals readily available from plant sources such as rhubarb, says Jeremy Plester in the Times. “If the costs of building battery storage solutions can be brought down to more or less the cost cost of generating energy then there is the potential to decarbonise just about the entire power market”, he says.

Jeremy Plester, The Times Read Article
The BBC is leaving its audiences in the dark

The BBC should tell its audience if evidence is overwhelmingly on the side of experts, not the dissenters, says Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, in the Times. He points to evidence humans are behind climate change along with the economic impacts of Brexit as ideas “backed by the overwhelming weight of evidence”. He adds: “It is little use just presenting rival claims without giving the viewer some guidance as to which is more credible…A robust understanding of impartiality must imply even-handed rigour and scrutiny…not treating all claims as equal”.

Paul Johnson, The Times Read Article
Is it useful to think of climate change as a “world war”?

War metaphors help convey the seriousness and urgency of the climate challenge, writes Vox’s David Roberts, responding to Bill McKibben’s recent piece titled: “A World at War”. Yet McKibben fails to address the elephant in the room, Robert’s says, which is the political barriers to radical action. “Despite his bravura effort, I’m not sure McKibben can make the war metaphor work”, Roberts says.

David Roberts, Vox Read Article
Time to listen to the ice scientists about the Arctic death spiral

Arctic sea ice is disappearing fast and it is time to start listening to Peter Wadhams’ warnings of imminent ice-free Septembers, writes the Guardian’s John Vidal. Wadhams’ views are not shared by most ice scientists. Natural variations in the climate system mean the downward trend in Arctic sea ice extent driven by climate change is likely to be a bumpy one, as Carbon Brief explains.

John Vidal, The Guardian Read Article


Pacific sea level rise patterns and global surface temperature variability

A new study suggests that the amount of sea level rise in the Pacific Ocean can be used to make near-term estimates of global surface temperatures. The researchers find that when sea level rise in the western Pacific is greater than average, the rise in global surface temperatures slows. In contrast, when sea level drops in the western Pacific but increases in the eastern Pacific, global temperatures rise rapidly because the heat stored in the ocean is released. Based on the Pacific Ocean’s sea level in 2015, the study estimates that by the end of 2016, the Earth’s average surface temperature will be up to 0.28C higher than in 2014.

Geophysical Research Letters Read Article
How predictable is the timing of a summer ice-free Arctic?

A new paper ponders the question of whether it is possible to predict the first year that the Arctic will have a sea ice-free summer – i.e. when sea ice extent declines below one million square kilometres. Using climate models, the researchers show that natural variability in the climate system alone adds around two decades of uncertainty to sea ice predictions. And the potential pace of future climate change – based on estimates of human carbon emissions – adds another five years of uncertainty, the researchers say.

Geophysical Research Letters Read Article
Anthropogenic impacts on an oyster metapopulation: Pathogen introduction, climate change and responses to natural selection

Natural selection may help oyster populations recover from diseases that have spread as a result of climate change, a new study says. Climate change has enabled a northward spread of Dermo disease in oysters along the US east coast, and human activities have inadvertently introduced MSX disease in the same area. Undertaking a breeding experiment, researchers find the “striking result” that oysters were able to spread resilience to MSX disease – even into parts of the population that had experienced little to no MSX disease exposure themselves. The findings suggest that, if left to their own devices, oyster populations may find a way to recover from introduced diseases, the study concludes.

Elementa Read Article


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