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Daily Briefing

26.04.2018
Today's climate and energy headlines
Carbon Brief Staff

Carbon Brief Staff

26.04.2018 | 10:05am
DAILY BRIEFING Macron: The US will come back to the Paris climate pact
Macron: The US will come back to the Paris climate pact

News.

Macron: The US will come back to the Paris climate pact

French President Emmanuel Macron says he expects the US will come back to the Paris climate change agreement. In a speech to US Congress yesterday, Macron said climate change is a long-term problem that won’t go away, and that gives him confidence the US will either stay in the agreement or come back if it does leave. “I’m sure, one day, the US will come back and join the Paris agreement. And I’m sure we can work together to fulfill with you the ambitions of the global compact on the environment,” Macron told the House and Senate, eliciting some cheers from within the House chamber. “Let us face it,” he added, “there is no planet B”, reports both the Independent and BusinessGreen. Macron’s most forceful comments came in the form of a veiled rebuke against Trump, says the Huffington Post, pushing back on the view that securing jobs and restoring industry are more urgent concerns. “What is the meaning of our life, really, if we work and live destroying the planet, sacrificing the future of our children?” he asked. Macron also played down his differences with Trump on Paris as “a short-term disagreement” that should not prevent the US and France from working to confront climate change challenges, reports the New York TimesPolitico described the speech as one “that could have been delivered by former President Barack Obama or even Hillary Clinton”. Macron’s speech used “lots of flattering language and lavish references to American history”, while “directly attacking the worldview of Trump”, writes coloumnist Anne Applebaum in the Washington Post. The French president received more than one standing ovation in his remarks to Congress on climate change, says the BBC. The Telegraph and Climate Home News also cover the story

The Hill Read Article
Climate change to drive migration from island homes sooner than thought

New research suggests many small islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans will be uninhabitable for humans by the middle of this century – much earlier than previously thought. The new study considers both sea level rise and the impact of large waves on coastal flooding of an atoll in the Marshall Islands. Saltwater inundation, leading to the contamination of water sources, could see the atoll – and many others – become uninhabitable sometime between 2030 and 2060, the researchers say. This is later than previous studies, which said these islands would see only small impacts until at least the end of the 21st century, says USA Today. However, these studies did not consider the impact of large waves. The findings have ramifications for the US military, reports the Washington Post, as the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site sits, in part, on the atoll island of Roi-Namur that was the focus of the research. The Air Force also spent nearly $1bn in recent years building a facility there to track space debris, notes InsideClimate News. The Independent and MailOnline also have the story. Carbon Brief also covered the study and spoke to several scientists not involved in the research.

The Guardian Read Article
Global wind capacity to rise by more than half in next five years

Global wind energy capacity could increase by more than half over the next five years, as costs continue to fall and the market returns to growth at the end of this decade, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) says. In its annual report on the status of the global wind industry, the GWEC said cumulative wind energy capacity stood at 539 gigawatts (GW) at the end of last year, 11% higher than the previous year. That should increase by 56% to 840 GW by the end of 2022 as countries cut emissions and prices continue to fall. Elsewhere, writing for the Daily Mail, Breitbart columnist and climate sceptic James Delingpole rails against the UK government’s commitment to “expensive, inefficient and environmentally damaging” wind energy. Referencing the second world war, Delingpole points out that “wind power was all the rage among Nazis”. “But it has taken until now for the Nazis’ dream of a world powered by wind to become even remotely plausible,” he says.

Reuters Read Article
EPA chief Pruitt faces congressional grilling on spending, ethics

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt will face questions from lawmakers in congressional budget hearings today over a series of controversies plaguing his tenure. The hearings will pose a critical test for Pruitt on issues ranging from his heavy spending on first-class air travel and security, to his rental of a room in Washington D.C. from an energy industry lobbyist. With nearly a dozen pending investigations into Pruitt, White House sources tell Reuters that officials are becoming worried about the flow of charges against him. “Pruitt’s performance could be a make-or-break moment,” says The Hill.

Reuters Read Article
The cost of carbon emissions to double by 2021, say new forecasts

Europe’s carbon price is set to double in the next three years, “creating a major market push towards cleaner power and factories”, reports the Telegraph. The allowances traded on the European carbon market, which are used by industry to offset their carbon emissions, have already tripled in value in the last year – climbing to €13.82 per tonne this April. Fresh analysis shows that the price of carbon is set to double by 2021 and could even quadruple by the end of the next decade. Thinktank Carbon Tracker forecasts that the price could reach between €25-30 a tonne by the turn of the decade, the Telegraph notes.

The Telegraph Read Article

News .

Seven member states push for EU to raise climate targets

Ministers from seven EU member states yesterday launched a bid to raise the bloc’s climate ambition in Paris. The EU’s current targets are to cut greenhouse gas emissions at least 40% from 1990 levels by 2030 and 80% by 2050. Ahead of interim UN climate talks in Bonn, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Portugal and Luxembourg have called for a faster transition to a clean economy. While they did not determine exactly what the target should be, they agreed it should line up with the Paris Agreement.

Climate Home News Read Article

Comment.

'We're doomed': Mayer Hillman on the climate reality no one else will dare mention

“We’ve got to stop burning fossil fuels,” says Mayer Hillman, the 86-year-old social scientist and senior fellow emeritus of the Policy Studies Institute, in an in-depth interview with the Guardian. “So many aspects of life depend on fossil fuels, except for music and love and education and happiness. These things, which hardly use fossil fuels, are what we must focus on,” he argues. “What legacies are we leaving for future generations?” he asks. “In the early 21st century, we did as good as nothing in response to climate change. Our children and grandchildren are going to be extraordinarily critical.” Individual and even national action are “as good as futile”, Hillman says. Instead, the world’s population must globally move to zero emissions across agriculture, air travel, shipping, heating homes – every aspect of our economy – and reduce human population too.

Patrick Barkham, The Guardian Read Article
Mapped: The UK Universities that have Pledged to Divest from Fossil Fuels

Writing for DeSmogUK, freelance journalist Christine Ottery has produced an interactive map of which UK university have – and haven’t – divested from fossil fuel investments. Increasing numbers of universities across the UK and Ireland are making divestment pledges, writes Ottery: “Around two-thirds of the ‘elite’ Russell Group universities have so far divested. These universities are the among the oldest in the UK, and generally have the largest investment funds.”

Christine Ottery, DeSmogUK Read Article

Science.

Climate, economic, and environmental impacts of producing wood for bioenergy

Increasing bioenergy production and pellet exports could cause a rise in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions lasting decades or longer, according to a new literature review. “Alternative uses of roundwood often offer larger reductions in GHGs, in particular long-lived wood products that store carbon for longer periods of time and can achieve greater substitution benefits than bioenergy,” the researchers say. “Other effects of using wood for bioenergy may be considerable including induced land-use change, changes in supplies of wood and other materials for construction, albedo and non-radiative effects of land-cover change on climate, and long-term impacts on soil productivity.”

Environmental Research Letters Read Article
Phenological sensitivity to climate change is higher in resident than in migrant bird populations among European cavity breeders

Birds that do not migrate may be more responsive to changes in temperature than those that do, a new study finds. Researchers studied 10 nest boxes containing both non-migratory and migratory bird species in Europe from 1991-2015. They found that resident birds were likely to adjust their egg-laying time in response to rising temperatures, whereas migrant birds were less likely to do so.

Global Change Biology Read Article

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