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Daily Briefing

05.05.2017
Today's climate and energy headlines
Carbon Brief Staff

Carbon Brief Staff

05.05.2017 | 9:31am
DAILY BRIEFING Just 1% of UK ‘strongly opposed’ to renewables, finds government survey, U.S. will lose jobs if it quits Paris climate deal: UN, & more
Just 1% of UK ‘strongly opposed’ to renewables, finds government survey, U.S. will lose jobs if it quits Paris climate deal: UN, & more

News.

Just 1% of UK ‘strongly opposed’ to renewables, finds government survey

Only 1 per cent of the public are “strongly opposed” to renewable energy, according to a new Government survey, reports the Independent. And while a further 4 per cent were simply “opposed” to solar, wind and other such forms of electricity generation, both groups were massively outnumbered by supporters of renewables, 79 per cent said they were in favour of clean and green energy. While overall support for renewables remained steady in The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s quarterly Public Attitudes Tracker poll, the level of support for specific renewable energy technologies set new records across the board, notes BusinessGreen . An all-time high of 73 per cent said they supported onshore wind projects, with just nine per cent saying they were opposed. Similarly, support for biomass energy set a new record of 66 per cent with only six per cent opposed, and support for wave and tidal power reached a record high of 79 per cent. More than seven in 10 (71 per cent) were either very or fairly worried about climate change, writes the Express. Solar Power Portal and the Scotsman also covered the findings.

Independent Read Article
U.S. will lose jobs if it quits Paris climate deal: U.N.

The United States will shoot itself in the foot if it quits the Paris climate accord because China, India and Europe will snap up the best power sector jobs in future, U.N. Environment chief Erik Solheim said on Thursday, according to Reuters. “There is no doubt where the future is and that is what all the private sector companies have understood,” Solheim told Reuters in Geneva. “The future is green,” he said. US President Donald Trump is expected to announce as early as next week whether he will keep his campaign pledge to withdraw the US from the climate pact. Meanwhile, Politico reports that European leaders are also working to persuade Trump to remain in the Paris climate change agreement by warning of dire diplomatic consequences if the United States withdraws, and emphasising that the US would not be bound by Barack Obama’s plan to tackle global warming. The coordinated, behind-the-scenes campaign includes efforts by the European Commission and key European Union countries like Germany, France and the UK. However there remains uncertainty how best to influence the unpredictable U.S. president, amidst fears of angering him if they overplay their hand. The Express also covers these efforts, noting that some European leaders have warned that if the US exits the deal, it could result in a ‘domino effect’. Trump advisors are set to meet on Tuesday to discuss the Paris deal, a separate Politico article report, with Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and adviser, scheduled to hold a separate meeting with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on Tuesday morning to discuss the climate deal. Sources inside the White House say the president’s inclination has been to pull out, notes Axios, but Ivanka has set up a process to go through the decision and ensure he hears all the facts before making his decision. The Hill and Business Insider also report on the meeting. Meanwhile Reuters Africa reports Trump is set to meet Pope Frances on the 24th, ” a potentially awkward encounter given their diametrically opposing positions on immigration, refugees and climate change”.

Reuters Read Article
Eat bugs for dinner to save planet

Replacing half of the meat eaten worldwide with insects would free up a third of farmland, according to research by Edinburgh University and Scotland’s Rural College. The research is the first to compare the environmental impacts of conventional meat production with those of alternative sources of food, reports Phys.org. The researchers found that insects and imitation meat such as tofu are the most sustainable as they require the least land and energy to produce, reports the Express. However In contrast to previous studies, lab-grown meat was found to be no more sustainable than chicken or eggs.

The Times Read Article
Directionless, US climate negotiators head to UN talks

As UN climate talks prepare to resume in Bonn on Monday, records show the US state department has had no formal engagement with the process since Donald Trump assumed the presidency. Since the beginning of this year, 241 submissions have been made to the various work streams of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), but just two are from the US – both pre-Trump. “The US generally addresses all issues in detail in order to promote US interests,” a former official told Climate Home. An article published today in CarbonBrief looks at the US and other countries submissions to an official UN international climate action peer-review process. The US submission, published this week, said “jobs, economic growth and energy independence” are its priority.

Climate Home Read Article

Comment.

Negative emissions tech: can more trees, carbon capture or biochar solve our CO2 problem?

Some argue that the two degree limits agreed to in the Paris climate agreement cannot be achieved unless ways to remove huge amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere are found, and emissions are slashed, writes Bianca Nogrady in the Guardian. This is where negative emissions technologies come in – a term covers “everything from reforestation projects to seeding the stratosphere with sulphates or fertilising the ocean with iron fillings”. Despite controversy such as concerns it will grant governments and industry a licence to continue with business as usual, “many argue we no longer have a choice”, she adds. A recent article from Carbon Brief examines the projects funded by the UK’s £8.6m national research programme into negative emissions.

Bianca Nogrady, Guardian Sustainable Business Read Article
The great climate silence: we are on the edge of the abyss but we ignore it

We continue to plan for the future as if climate scientists don’t exist, but the greatest shame is the absence of a sense of tragedy, writes Clive Hamilton, professor of public ethics at Charles Sturt University in Canberra, in the Guardian. “Our best scientists tell us insistently that a calamity is unfolding, that the life-support systems of the Earth are being damaged in ways that threaten our survival. Yet in the face of these facts we carry on as usual.” This bizarre situation contradicts every modern belief about the kind of creature the human being is, he adds. “How should we understand the disquieting fact that a mass of scientific evidence about the Anthropocene, an unfolding event of colossal proportions, has been insufficient to induce a reasoned and fitting response?”

Clive Hamilton, Guardian Read Article
Paris climate agreement: One sentence that could decide the fate of the planet

Now it’s become clear US President Donald Trump’s decision on whether to withdraw from the Paris Agreement could come down to a single sentence, writes CNN columnist John D. Sutter. The question mark comes over whether a sentence in Article 4.11 of the agreement requires the United States to stick with its current pledge, which was made by the administration of Barack Obama, or allows the US to revise its pledge to be less ambitious. “The former scenario might push Trump out of the agreement. The latter might be easier for this administration to stomach. It’s worth stating clearly that neither of these options is good for the planet.”

John D Sutter, CNN Read Article
The nuclear cliff-edge: What if Britain crashes out of Euratom?

If Britain crashes out of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euraton) in 2019 without substitute arrangements in place, within a matter of weeks it could find itself unable to replenish its uranium stockpiles, warns The Economist. “It would be unable to carry out maintenance on reactors using American and Japanese technology, and be forced to halt construction of Hinkley Point C, a new reactor being built by France’s EDF that will rely on foreign firms for up to 36% of its inputs.” A cross-party committee of MPs, as well as the industry itself, said this week that an abrupt departure in two years’ time could be disastrous, but it is a real possibility, the article warns.

The Economist Read Article

Science.

Unmask temporal trade-offs in climate policy debates

Different “global warming potentials (GWPs)” – a measure of the impact of greenhouse gases over a particular number of years – should be reported together to capture the near and long-term climate effects, a new paper says. In a Policy Forum article, researchers argue that reporting just one of GWP100 or GWP20 “hides trade-offs between short- and long-term policy objectives inside a single time scale of 100 or 20 years.” Stakeholders, such as editorial boards of leading sci­entific journals, scientific societies, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, could help lead the way in adopting both GWPs as standard, the researchers say.

Science Read Article
Future productivity and phenology changes in European grasslands for different warming levels : implications for grassland management and carbon balance

Rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations and warming temperatures could allow more intensive management of European grasslands, a new study suggests. Model simulations show an increase in potential annual grass yields, grazing capacity and livestock density, alongside a shift to an earlier growing season. Grassland soils continue to be a carbon sink in Mediterranean, Alpine, North eastern, South eastern and Eastern regions, the researchers find, though soils become a net carbon source when local warming reaches 3.5C above pre-industrial levels.

Carbon Balance and Management Read Article

Science .

A climate policy pathway for near- and long-term benefits

Making immediate cuts to short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) would help achieve a number of Sustainable Development Goals, as well as slowing global temperature rise, a new paper says. In a peer-reviewed Policy Forum article, researchers recommend better monitoring, reporting and regulation of SLCPs, such as methane and black carbon (soot), in order to reduce short-term warming by 0.5C over the next 25 years. Separate reporting of the SLCPs would also provide a better understanding of the health and agricultural benefits from making cuts, they add.

Science Read Article

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