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Daily Briefing |


Briefing date 05.09.2018
Michael Gove blocks oil drilling in Surrey countryside

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Michael Gove blocks oil drilling in Surrey countryside
Daily Telegraph Read Article

The Daily Telegraph reports that the environment minister Michael Gove has blocked an independent oil and gas company from drilling for oil in the Surrey Hills – following a 10-year battle between the firm and protesters. Gove did not renew a permit held by Europa Oil and Gas to drill for oil within its Holmwood prospect at Bury Hill Wood, which is due to expire at the end of the month, according to the Daily Telegraph. In response, the oil firm said it would withdraw its application to drill at the site. The Guardian reports that “concerns over the impact on ancient woodland” led Gove. to decide against renewing the lease. A spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs told the Guardian: “The nation’s woods and forests are cherished natural assets and we want to ensure they are protected now and into the future.” BBC News also has the story.

Fears over climate change hit highest level in a decade following heatwave, study says
The Independent Read Article

The Independent reports on a new poll finding concern over climate change hit its highest level in almost a decade in the UK amid this summer’s record-breaking heatwave. The poll, by market researcher Opinium, also shows that 60% of UK adults think climate change made the heatwave “stronger or more likely to happen”. It also finds that almost one third of respondents (30%) now describe themselves as “very concerned” about climate change – higher than any poll since 2008. Elsewhere, the Press Association reports on the results of the 2017 Scottish Household Survey, which finds that six in 10 adults in Scotland view climate change as an “immediate” issue.

Governments standing in way of $26 trillion green bonus, global commission finds
Climate Home News Read Article

Climate Home News reports on a study finding that implementing strong measures to tackle climate change could cumulatively add at least $26 trillion to the world economy by 2030. “We are at a unique ‘use it or lose it’ moment”, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former finance minister of Nigeria and co-chair of the commission behind the report, told Climate Home News. “Policy makers should take their feet off the brakes, send a clear signal that the new growth story is here and that it comes with exciting economic and market opportunities.” Reutersreports that the group behind the report, the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, includes former heads of government, business leaders and economists. The study also finds that investing in clean energy, cities, food and land use, water and industry could generate 65m new jobs in 2030, Reuters reports.

Trump to name climate change skeptic as emerging tech adviser

CNN reports that President Donald Trump is to name William Happer, a Princeton atomic physicist and “prominent climate change sceptic”, as the senior director for emerging technologies for the National Security Council. Happer, 79, is an emeritus professor at Princeton who served in the Department of Energy under President George Bush in the early 1990s, CNN reports. The Hill reports that around a decade ago, Happer requested that the American Physical Society change its position on climate change to one that “raised doubts about global warming”. “The request was harshly rejected,” the Hill adds. Elsewhere, Bloomberg reports that last-minute edits have been made to Trump’s proposal to weaken restriction on power plant emissions to omit warnings about climate change.

Scientists invent new form of solar power
Sky News Read Article

Sky News reports on a study describing a new way to capture the power of the sun – via “semi-artificial photosynthesis”. Plants normally convert sunlight into energy through photosynthesis, when plants split water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen. The new technique, which was developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge, is based on this process. Hydrogen, which is produced when the water is split, could “potentially be a green and unlimited source of renewable energy”, MailOnline reports. The findings could be used to “build synthetic, more robust pieces of solar energy technology”, the researchers told Popular Mechanics.


You’ve Heard of Outsourced Jobs, but Outsourced Pollution? It’s Real, and Tough to Tally Up
Brad Plumer, New York Times Read Article

Brad Plumer of the New York Times writes on the “huge problem” of “outsourced pollution” –whereby wealthy countries such as the UK and the US offload their CO2 emissions to poorer nations via trade. This is typically achieved “by importing more steel, cement and other goods from factories in China and other places, rather than producing it domestically,” Plumer writes. “Britain, for instance, slashed domestic emissions within its own borders by one-third between 1990 and 2015. But…if you included all the global emissions produced in the course of making things like the imported steel used in London’s skyscrapers and cars, then Britain’s total carbon footprint has actually increased slightly over that time.” Carbon Brief previously published a detailed explainer on the world’s largest CO2 importers and exporters.

Don't Be Fooled: Weather Is Not Climate
Kate Marvel, Scientific American Read Article

In her latest column for Scientific American, scientist Kate Marvel reminds readers of the difference between weather and climate. She writes: “Weather is short-term and impossible to predict far in advance. Climate is just the average weather over a long time.” However, scientists can find links between extreme weather events and climate change, she says: Extreme events don’t matter on an empty planet, and climate change doesn’t happen in a pristine world. It’s our presence that turns weather events into disasters.”


Deep reefs of the Great Barrier Reef offer limited thermal refuge during mass coral bleaching
Nature Communications Read Article

While deep coral reefs can provide refuge for marine life under stress from extreme heat, this protection is “transient” and has “limited ability to provide broad ecological refuge”, a new study says. Assessing long-term temperature conditions and impacts during the 2016 mass coral bleaching event, the researchers evaluated the potential of deep reefs within the Great Barrier Reef and adjacent Coral Sea to act as thermal refuges. Upwelling of cool water “initially provided thermal relief” at depths of around 40 metres, the researchers say, “but then subsided resulting in anomalously warm temperatures even at depth”.

Intrinsic Pink-Noise Multidecadal Global Climate Dynamics Mode
Physical Review Letters Read Article

“Pink noise” may play a factor in the natural variability of the climate, a new study suggests. Similar to the more familiar white noise, it is a random noise found in systems such as earthquakes, electronics and biology. Studying 42 datasets of proxy data, such as ice cores and stalactites, the study identifies pink noise energy signatures on decadal time scales both before and after the Industrial Revolution. The researchers “hypothesise that this pink-noise multidecadal spatial mode may resonate with externally driven greenhouse gas forcing, driving large-scale climate processes”.

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