Today's climate and energy headlines:
- Islamic climate declaration calls for fossil fuelphase out
- Islamic call on rich countries to end fossil fueluse
- Coal industry blames carbon taxes as Scottishpower plant closes
- Fracking in the pipeline as exploration sitesoffered to firms
- Green fury after Shell is given go-ahead forArctic drilling
- US government seeks to cut methane emissions fromoil and gas industry
- Hillary Clinton breaks with Obama to oppose Arcticdrilling
- Citigroup: Coal mining sector running out oftime
- Coral reefs are 'likely to disappear from theEarth' despite climate changetalks
- Britain's shale fracking revolution comes with bigrisks
- Arctic Drilling Approval Threatens Obama's ClimateLegacy
- Century-scale simulations of the response of theWest Antarctic Ice Sheet to a warmingclimate
Islamic scholars from around the world have endorsed adeclaration calling on nations to phase out greenhouse gasemissions and switch to 100% renewable energy. Released during atwo-day symposium on Islam and climate change in Istanbul, thedeclaration will be seen as the religion’s major contribution aheadof the UN climate talks in Paris this December. Carbon Briefsummarises the key messages of the declaration.
Climate and energy news.
Islamic environmental and religious leaders have called onrich countries and oil producing nations to end fossil fuel use by2050, in an Islamic Climate Declaration released yesterday. Drawingon Islamic texts, it says that the world’s 1.6bn Muslims have areligious duty to fight climate change, and urges politicians toagree a new treaty to limit global warming to 2C, “or preferably1.5 degrees.” Like the Papal encyclical last month, the Declarationcalls on the rich countries to recognise their “moral obligation toreduce consumption so that the poor may benefit from what is leftof the Earth’s non-renewable resources”. Unlike Roman Catholicism,Islam is a
Carbon taxes are throttling Britain’s coal producers andcould cause a power capacity crunch, the coal industry has said,following the announcement of the closure of Scotland’s largestpower station, coal-fired Longannet, which will close onthe
The Oil and Gas Authority has announced 27 more locations inEngland where licences to frack for shale oil and gas will beoffered, covering around
Shell has been granted final permission by the US regulatoryauthorities to begin exploratory drilling for oil and gas beneaththe Arctic seabed, prompting environmentalists to accuse PresidentBarack Obama of “double-speak” over his calls to replace fossilfuels with renewable energy sources. Activists have warned ofcatastrophic consequences for the fragile Arctic ecosystem shouldan accident occur. Tapping resources in the Arctic is extremelydifficult and risky, and it could be at least 10 years before anycommercial production begins, analysts said. But Shell welcomed thedecision by the US government to allow it to proceed and sought toreassure stakeholders that it would operate safely in the pristineArctic environment.
The US Environmental Protection Agency proposed the nation’sfirst regulations to curb methane emissions from oil and gasdevelopment. The move comes as scientists reported that the amountof methane released by the US natural-gas sector may be severelyunderestimated. The EPA says that the new proposal together with2012 regulations could reduce the US oil and gas sector’s methaneoutput by up to 30% in 2025, compared to the 2012 level.The
In her first major break with President Obama overenvironmental policy, Hillary Clinton has said she opposed drillingin the Alaskan Arctic because it is too dangerous. “The Arctic is aunique treasure”, she said in a tweet, “given what we know, it’snot worth the risk of drilling”. The statement came just one dayafter the Obama administration gave final permitting approval forRoyal Dutch Shell to to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean’s ChukchiSea.
US banking giant Citigroup says the global coal industry isset for an acceleration of mine closures, liquidations andbankruptcies, and warns that without carbon capture it willstruggle. “In financial terms, we estimate that the value ofunburnable reserves could amount to over $100 trillion out to2050”, it says in a report released yesterday. Citigroup attributesa shift in the global energy mix to “politically driven” decline ininvestor appetite for coal driving the move to lower carbon formsof energy.
Coral reefs, as they existed half a century ago, will likelydisappear from Earth even if climate change talks in December are”wildly successful”, a distinguished professor and marine ecologisthas warned. Prof Peter Sale told the Goldschmidt geochemistryconference in Prague that he predicted a post-apocalyptic future of”algal-dominated, rubble-strewn, slowly eroding limestone benches”.An estimated 70% of the world’s reefs are already threatened ordestroyed, according to the US coral reef task force.
Climate and energy comment.
If the government gets fracking in Britain wrong then itwill become too politically toxic for any future government toconsider, writes Andrew Critchlow in the Telegraph. For years ithas been argued that Britain cannot afford to ignore thepossibility of shale. However the debate isn’t over whether shaleresources are present in the UK, but how they can be extractedsafely in a way that people who are most affected are willing toaccept – and our more densely populated island doesn’t comparefavourably with the US. Perhaps it would be better to leave the oiland gas in the ground until we really need it, he concludes.
By giving the final OK for Shell to drill in the ChukchiSea, President Obama undermines his recent push to protect theclimate and environment, and put himself “at odds” with the threeDemocratic frontrunners for the 2016 presidential race, writesKatherine Bagley of Inside Climate News. She summarises the “angryreaction” from a number of environmentalists.
New climate science.
Scientists have published a comprehensive projection for howmuch ice West Antarctica could lose over the next couple ofcenturies, and how much that could add to sea-level rise. Thescientists used an ice sheet model with 1km accuracy to capture theice dynamics with more detail, over a larger area and for longerthan has been possible before. In the study’s most extremesimulation, most of the major ice streams retreat by hundreds ofkilometres, with the West Antarctic Ice Sheet as a wholecontributed a possible 20 cm to global sea level by the end of thiscentury.
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