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Daily Briefing

24.05.2019
Today's climate and energy headlines
DAILY BRIEFING Latest global school climate strikes expected to beat turnout record
Latest global school climate strikes expected to beat turnout record

News.

Latest global school climate strikes expected to beat turnout record

Hundreds of thousands of children and young people across the world are today walking out of lessons to call for more climate action in what is likely to be the largest strike yet, the Guardian reports. Climate strikes are planned in more than 1,400 cities in more than 110 countries, with organisers saying numbers could top the 1.4 million seen in the last global day of strikes in March. A second Guardian story reports on a new demand from Greta Thunberg and other youth climate strikers for parents to take part in protests. The youth protesters are asking adults to join them on 20 September for a general strike for more climate action. The date is days before a “crucial” United Nations summit at which nations will be urged to do more to tackle climate change, the Guardian says. The Scottish edition of the Times says that children are expected to strike in towns and cities across Scotland, including Aberdeen, Fort William and Stirling. Meanwhile, the Irish edition of the Times reports that more than 40 Irish scientists and academics have signed a letter expressing their solidarity with young climate strikers. Reuters reports that thousands of children are also taking part in Australia and New Zealand, while MailOnline reports that protesters from Extinction Rebellion have blocked several streets in Melbourne.

The Guardian Read Article
Labour would make climate change core part of school curriculum

The Labour Party would make climate change a “core” part of the curriculum from primary school onwards if elected, the Independent reports. Under the party’s proposal, the curriculum would also including training in skills and knowledge in renewable energy and green technology jobs, the Independent says. The Guardian reports that issues around climate change are currently covered in both science and geography at key stage 3 (KS3) for ages 11-14 and at key stage 4 (KS4) for ages 14-16 – both subjects are compulsory at KS3, while only science is compulsory at KS4. “Activists have complained it’s not enough,” it adds. Sky News and BusinessGreen also cover the story.

The Independent Read Article
Record methane levels pose new threat to Paris climate accord

The Financial Times reports that scientists have “sounded the alarm” as levels of methane in the atmosphere have reached a record high. New data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the US shows that concentrations of atmospheric methane surged last year and accounted for a sixth of the atmosphere’s capacity to trap heat, according to the FT. “Methane’s unexpected rise is a major challenge to the Paris agreement – and we don’t know why it’s happening,” Euan Nisbet, earth sciences professor at Royal Holloway University of London, tells the FT. “Much of the rise seems to be coming from the tropics.”

Financial Times Read Article
Letter makes plea to rich over climate

A group of researchers has written to the 100 wealthiest charitable bodies and families to request funding to tackle climate change and ecological issues, BBC News reports. Signatories include Prof Myles Allen from Oxford University, Prof Joanna Haigh from Imperial College London, Prof Lorraine Whitmarsh from Cardiff University and Prof Sir David King, former government chief scientist. The letter reads: “We implore you to urgently consider significant investment to prevent further ecological catastrophe – whether through your personal investments or your philanthropy.”

Meanwhile, Press Association reports that Prince Charles has called on businesses to do more to tackle climate change. Speaking via video message at a summit of corporate lawyers in London, he said businesses had “no excuse” not to take immediate action and that “this really is the final call”. The Sun also covers his comments.

BBC News Read Article

Comment.

Young people have led the climate strikes. Now we need adults to join us too

Writing in the Guardian, Greta Thunberg and 46 other youth climate strikers have called for adults to join their movement – starting from 20 September. The article reads: “This is our invitation. Starting on Friday 20 September we will kickstart a week of climate action with a worldwide strike for the climate. We’re asking adults to step up alongside us.” Writing that “it is time to unleash mass resistance”, they add: “This is about crossing lines – it’s about rebelling wherever one can rebel. It’s not about saying ‘Yeah, what the kids do is great, if I was young I would have totally joined in.’ It doesn’t help, but everyone can and must help.”

Elsewhere, Climate Home New’s editor Karl Mathiesen writes on the website’s decision to invite young climate change protesters to guest edit the site. “It’s normal for us to host commentary from activists. But this is something different. Something we would never normally do. It’s an open offer to a group to use our site as a platform to express their ideas,” he writes. “We aren’t doing it because we endorse everything the school strikes or Fridays for Future movement says, does or calls for. We are doing it because it’s our job to bring you the full picture.” The first article published under the new collaboration is from Russian protester Arshak Makichyan. He writes on his decision to protest against climate inaction alone in Moscow, where unapproved protests of more than one person are prohibited by the state. In addition, the Guardian speaks to several young climate protesters from across the world ahead of today’s strike. The Conversation, meanwhile, carries an interview between climate scientist Mark Maslin and his 13-year-old daughter Abbie, who is also planning to strike today.

Greta Thunberg and 46 youth activists, The Guardian Read Article
This treaty is good for the environment. It might even be good for Trump.

The New York Time’s editorial board has called on Donald Trump to embrace the Kigali Agreement – a “climate-change deal” agreed by in October 2016 by delegates from 197 nations at a conference in Kigali, Rwanda. The agreement sets hard targets for the global phaseout of chemical coolants called hydroflurocarbons, or HFCs, which can act as potent greenhouse gases. The article reads: “What makes Kigali hard for the White House to write off is its support by American manufacturers. As companies like Honeywell and Carrier see it, HFCs are on their way out, and industry will have to adjust eventually. Better to put a plan into place that provides regulatory predictability and stability.”

Editorial Board, The New York Times Read Article
How climate change can fuel wars

The Economist has a long read on the role that climate change can play in fuelling conflicts around the world. The newspaper reports from Dar es Salaam, a refugee camp in Chad that, 50 years ago, would have been submerged in several metres of freshwater. “In the 1960s Lake Chad was the sixth-largest freshwater lake in the world, an oasis and commercial hub in the arid Sahel,” the article reads. Refugees at the camp believe the violence they’ve seen is partly a consequence of worsening drought, the Economist reports. “Before the lake began to shrink everything was going normally,” says Al-Haj Adam Ibrahim, who arrived at the refugee camp with his family after facing multiple attacks from Boko Haram. The Economist also carries an editorial on the topic.

The Economist Read Article

Science.

The effect of wind and solar power generation on wholesale electricity prices in Australia

The impacts of renewable energy on electricity prices has long been a controversial subject. This study investigates the effect of wind and utility-scale solar electricity generation on wholesale electricity prices in Australia over the period from 2010 to 2018. It finds find that an extra GW of dispatched wind capacity decreases the wholesale electricity price by 11 Australian dollars per MWh, while solar capacity reduces prices by 14 dollars per MWh. Despite this, wholesale electricity prices in Australia have been increasing, predominantly driven by the increase in natural gas prices.

Energy Policy Read Article
Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement and the costs of delayed action

Current country-level commitments under the Paris Agreement fall short of putting the world on a required trajectory to stay below 2C. Therefore, the timing of increased ambition is hugely important. This paper analyses the impact of both the short and long-term goals of the Paris Agreement on global emissions and economic growth. They find that the rate of emissions reduction ambition required between 2030 and 2050 is almost double when the NDCs are achieved but not ratcheted up until 2030, and leads to lower levels of economic growth throughout the rest of the century. However, if action is taken immediately and is accompanied by increasingly rapid low-carbon technology cost reductions, then there is almost no difference in GDP compared to the path suggested by the current NDC commitments.

Climate Policy Read Article

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