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Today's climate and energy headlines
DAILY BRIEFING London climate-change street protest arrests reach 290 on second day
London climate-change street protest arrests reach 290 on second day


London climate-change street protest arrests reach 290 on second day

There is widespread continuing coverage of the ongoing “Extinction Rebellion” climate protests in London. Reuters reports that the number of arrests has now reached 290, as protestors continue to block important junctions in the capital bringing “parts of central London to a standstill”. BBC News also covers the protests and arrests. Press Association says the protestors now plan to disrupt public transport in London, as well as roads, while in another piece the wire service says protests have blocked Edinburgh’s North Bridge. BBC News also carries a Q&A by environment correspondent Matt McGrath which asks what the protestors want and if it is “realistic”. They want the UK to target net-zero emissions by 2025 and launch a “citizens’ assembly” to discuss how this should be achieved, McGrath explains. The Economist asks if the protests could be “the next Occupy movement”. Climate Home News carries an interview with climate lawyer Farhana Yamin, who was arrested yesterday as part of the protests after “gluing herself to Shell headquarters”. The Guardian has an interview with some of the protestors, who explain their motivations. A Financial Times podcast charts the “rise of Extinction Rebellion”. The Independent reports on related protestors who have occupied the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

Reuters Read Article
British Steel sold excess carbon credits before seeking state aid

British Steel could have avoided asking for a £100m government rescue loan over EU carbon permits, reports the Financial Times. The firm could have kept hold of the emissions permits it now needs, but instead chose to sell them “in an ill-judged bet on the EU’s emissions trading scheme”, the paper says. It continues: “By selling its allowances for cash, rather than holding on to them, the manufacturer has been caught out after the price of emissions credits surged over the past two years.” In another article, Financial Times energy editor David Sheppard explores why the EU carbon market is being “roiled by Brexit”, with prices reaching a 10-year high as fears of a no-deal exit recede. A comment in the Financial Times by BNP Paribas’s Mark Lewis says the EU carbon market is “near[ing] mainstream”, with allowances having been the world’s “top-performing commodity over the past two years”.

Financial Times Read Article
Ban sales of diesel lorries by 2040, National Infrastructure Commission tells ministers

The government should ban sales of new diesel lorries by 2040 to reduce the climate impact of freight, according to a new National Infrastructure Commission report picked up by BusinessGreen. The commission says that hydrogen and battery technology for heavy goods vehicles will be commercially available from the 2020s, BusinessGreen adds. The Financial Times also covers the report, under a headline saying the 2040 date is “deemed unworkable”. The paper reports that the motor industry has criticised the recommendation, quoting the Road Haulage Association’s policy director saying: “This proposal is simply impractical and doesn’t take account of reality.”

BusinessGreen Read Article
Satellite data confirms global warming trend

Satellite measurements of the Earth’s “skin temperature” confirm that global warming is heating the planet in line with land-based records, reports RTÉ, picking up the findings of a new study from scientists at Nasa. The new research uses satellite infrared readings, confirming that 2016, 2017 and 2015 were the warmest years in the instrumental record, in that order, one of the researchers is quoted saying. There is one “disturbing difference” in the new data, according to US News and World Report. This is that the Arctic is warming even faster than thought. Newsweek carries an interview with study author Dr Gavin Schmidt. He tells the outlet: “[This] is an independent confirmation that the magnitudes of the assessed changes [in global temperature] are accurate, and possibly even a little underestimated.”


Comment: The financial sector must be at the heart of tackling climate change

“The catastrophic effects of climate change are already visible around the world,” write Bank of England governor Mark Carney, Bank of France governor François Villeroy de Galhau and Frank Elderson, chair of the Network for Greening the Financial System, in a comment for the Guardian. They point to events such as heatwaves and typhoons, writing: “These events damage infrastructure and private property, negatively affect health, decrease productivity and destroy wealth. And they are extremely costly: insured losses have risen five-fold in the past three decades. The enormous human and financial costs of climate change are having a devastating effect on our collective wellbeing.” They write of the Network for Greening’s first report, published today, which “seeks to translate commitments to act on climate-related financial risks into concrete action”. The report calls for: climate-related financial risks to be incorporated into day-to-day supervisory work and board risk management; central banks to lead by example, integrating sustainability into their portfolio management; working to bridge data gaps on climate risks; and building capacity to manage those risks. The Guardian also carries a news story summarising views of Carney and his co-authors, while Quartz covers a related speech by Sarah Breeden, the Bank of England’s executive director of international banks supervision. Separately, BusinessGreen reports the comments of veteran investor Jeremy Grantham, who says that those with climate-friendly investment strategies will be “handsomely rewarded”. Meanwhile, a BBC News piece from Monday reports related comments from Legal and General Investment Management. The article reports the message from the firm as follows: “The world is facing a climate catastrophe and businesses around the world must address it urgently or face the ultimate sanction for a public company, shareholders who refuse to back them any more.”

Mark Carney, François Villeroy de Galhau and Frank Elderson, The Guardian Read Article
Editorial: The only consistency about the climate change protesters is that they are completely wrong

“The Extinction Rebellion activists are demanding action from the British government which is doing more than almost any other in the world to reduce carbon emissions,” says an editorial in the Daily Telegraph, adding: “Indeed, it is arguably placing this country at a competitive disadvantage with unfeasibly ambitious targets. The sanctimonious climate change activists essentially want to put us back into the dark ages by ending economic growth.” The editorial links the protests to Occupy movement and the Greenham Common women, saying: “The consistent thread running through all of these protests is that their premise is completely wrong.” Writing in the Independent, Labour MP Geraint Davies says that “putting the burden of fighting climate change on children is disgraceful”. He argues the government should be doing more to tackle the problem: “We should be investing in renewable energies instead, since fracking will prevent us from meeting our environmental targets.”

Editorial, The Daily Telegraph Read Article
New climate models predict a warming surge

The latest generation of climate models “are now showing a puzzling but undeniable trend”, writes Paul Voosen in a news feature for Science magazine. “They are running hotter than they have in the past.” He quotes one of the scientists involved in the research asking if this trend is “realistic or not” and saying: “At this point, we don’t know.” Voosen continues: “That’s an urgent question: If the results are to be believed, the world has even less time than was thought to limit warming to 1.5C or 2C above preindustrial levels.” Carbon Brief published a guest post from several of the scientists behind this work in March.

Paul Voosen, Science Read Article
Interview: Sen. Ed Markey on the Green New Deal

Green new deal co-sponsor senator Ed Markey gives an interview to Vox writer David Roberts, in which he quickly contradicts the idea that the plan calls for a complete decarbonisation of the US economy within 10 years. “The 10-year thing is not a deadline, just a crash programme set up to get started?” asks Roberts. “That is correct,” Markey responds. He also explains that the green new deal resolution does not exclude or ban things including nuclear power, air travel or beef. He adds: “Nuclear power is not excluded, but it must compete with renewables. They are cheaper, but that’s the marketplace at work. We’re not excluding it.” Markey concludes: “I think the era of incrementalism on climate change is over. We are now in the era of the green new deal. It’s not going away.”

David Roberts, Vox Read Article


Recent global warming as confirmed by AIRS

Independent estimates of global surface temperature from satellite data are “highly coherent” with ground-based records, a new study shows. Researchers compared data collected from NASA’s Atmospheric Infra-Red Sounder (AIRS) instrument – launched on the EOS Aqua satellite in 2002 – with surface-based records for 2003-17. The findings illustrate that satellite data can “serve as an important validation of surface-based estimates” of global surface temperature, the researchers say. Both datasets show 2016 as the warmest year.

Environmental Research Letters Read Article
Arctic sea ice volume variability over 1901–2010: A model-based reconstruction

A new study analyses changes in Arctic sea ice volume according to a 1901-2010 reconstruction that combines both model and reanalysis data. Both 1901-40 and 1980-2010 are “marked by sea ice decline”, the researchers note, but while the earlier period saw a significant decline in only the Atlantic sector of the Arctic, “sea ice decline over the 1979-2010 period is pan-Arctic and six times larger”. The declines in sea ice volume were driven by warming surface temperatures as well as “changes in ice motion and deformation”, the authors note.

Journal of Climate Read Article


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