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Daily Briefing

16.05.2019
Today's climate and energy headlines
DAILY BRIEFING National Grid says state ownership would delay UK’s move to green energy
National Grid says state ownership would delay UK’s move to green energy

News.

National Grid says state ownership would delay UK's move to green energy

Many publications report on reaction to the Labour Party’s plans, if elected, to renationalise the energy network. Reuters reports that UK energy network firms have been “rattled” by the proposal. National Grid has said in a statement that “proposals for state ownership of the energy networks would only serve to delay the huge amount of progress and investment that is already helping to make this country a leader in the move to green energy”, according to Reuters. Press Association reports further comments from National Grid, which describes Labour’s plans as “an enormous distraction” to efforts to decarbonise. The Daily Telegraph reports that the news of Labour’s energy plans “wiped more than £500m off SSE and National Grid”, while the Daily Mail reports that the plans “would hit pensions”. The Sun says the plans would mean “Britain faces black outs”. The Guardian reports that the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said the move “would make the country poorer” and “hinder efforts to tackle climate change”. Matthew Fell, the CBI’s chief UK policy director, tells the Guardian: “Much-needed investment is drying up under Labour’s threats, which seriously risks hampering efforts to tackle climate change, and puts in doubt the innovation that will deliver a net-zero carbon economy.“ However, the Labour party says it considers nationalisation “a central part” of its plans to tackle climate change, the Guardian adds, “with the party arguing that the profits generated from [energy] infrastructure should be invested in the green economy rather than given to shareholders in the form of dividends”. The Labour Party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow energy secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey will officially present the party’s energy proposal later today, BBC News reports. BusinessGreen also covers Labour’s plans for nationalising the energy network.

Elsewhere, several UK publications report on another key part of Labour’s energy plans. The party has pledged to install solar panels on the rooftops of more than one million social and low-income homes, the Times reports. Labour said the programme, which is also due to be announced later today, would “would create 16,900 jobs and save 7.1m tonnes of CO2 a year, equivalent to taking 4m cars off the roads”, the Guardian reports. Corbyn told the Guardian: “In this country, too often people are made to feel like the cost of saving the planet falls on them. Too many think of green measures as just another way for companies or the government to get money out of them, while the rich fly about in private jets and heat their empty mansions.” He added that Labour’s plans for a “green industrial revolution” would “benefit working-class people with cheaper energy bills, more rewarding well-paid jobs and new industries to revive the parts of our country that have been held back for far too long”. The Daily Mirror covers the story with the headline: “Labour want to install 2million solar panels on your homes to cut energy bills.”

Reuters Read Article
Cats get more mentions on TV than climate change, analysis finds

Press Association reports on new analysis finding that cats and picnics get more mentions than climate change on UK television. The analysis looked at the subtitles of 128,719 programmes, excluding news, over a year on 40 channels using data supplied by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky. Climate change was mentioned 3,125 times, the research finds, while Brexit received 68,816 mentions, according to PA. The research was carried out by Deloitte on behalf of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta). BBC News reports that references to climate change also came far behind terms such as as “beer” and “sex”, according to the analysis. Bafta is now calling for more “environment plot lines” in UK TV shows in wake of the findings, BBC News adds. BusinessGreen and the Daily Mail also have the story.

Press Association via the Belfast Telegraph Read Article
Trump's interior secretary: I haven't 'lost sleep' over record CO2 levels

The Guardian reports that President Donald Trump’s interior secretary David Bernhardt told US lawmakers that he hasn’t “lost sleep” over the news that CO2 in the atmosphere has reached record levels. “I believe the United States is number 1 in terms of decreasing CO2,” Bernhardt told the oversight hearing, according to the Guardian. Elsewhere, several publications report that presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren has released plans to help prepare the US military for climate change. The Hill reports that the proposal requires the Pentagon to reach net-zero emissions on non-combat bases by 2030. Reuters and Axios also cover the proposal.

The Guardian Read Article

Comment.

The Guardian view on the Australian election: vote on the climate emergency

An editorial in the Guardian urges Australians to “vote on the climate emergency”. The editorial reads: “The climate emergency is the most pressing issue of our time. For decades, Australia has seen this existential crisis looming and has failed to act on it.” It continues: “We believe the Coalition’s indefensible attitude to climate change, its wafer-thin policy offering and the fact that it has not resolved the internal divisions that blighted its term in office mean it has forfeited the right to voters’ trust.” Elsewhere, Nature carries a feature on the role that climate change will play in Australia’s general election. Carbon Brief recently produced an editorial grid showing what each party’s manifesto says about climate change and energy.

Editorial, The Guardian Read Article
Jeremy Corbyn, not Brexit, is the true threat to our economic prosperity

Liz Truss, the UK’s chief secretary to the Treasury, has written in the Daily Telegraph calling the Labour Party’s plans for nationalising the energy network “a disaster”. Describing Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell as a “bigger threat to the economy than Brexit”, she says: “Their war on enterprise and the individual is fuelling an insidious notion that aspiration and success are somehow bad, and all we need is a committee run by politicians to solve our problems. As anyone old enough to remember the late trains and soggy sandwiches of British Rail can tell you – this is a fantasy that has failed before.” Elsewhere, the Centre for Policy Studies’ Robert Colvile writes in the Daily Mail that Labour’s energy plans will “raid your nest egg and your pension”. An editorial in the Sun says the plans provide “a glimpse of the madness Corbyn would inflict on Britain”. Meanwhile, Ryan Shorthouse, the director of Conservative thinktank Bright Blue, writes to the Times to say that the organisation’s research shows the majority of Conservative Party members believe that humans are causing climate change and are concerned about its impact.

Liz Truss, The Daily Telegraph Read Article

Science.

Substantial increase in minimum lake surface temperatures under climate change

The average surface temperature of European lakes has risen by 0.35C per decade since the early 1970s, a new study finds. The researchers analysed observational data for 1973-2014 from eight European lakes, finding rising annual and summer average temperatures – as well as increases in annual minimum lake surface temperature. “As a result of the rapid warming of annual minimum lake surface temperatures, some of the studied lakes no longer reach important minimum surface temperature thresholds that occur in winter,” the authors note. This has “complex and significant potential implications for lakes and the ecosystem services that they provide”, they add.

Climatic Change Read Article
Global pattern of phytoplankton diversity driven by temperature and environmental variability

New research assesses how the diversity of phytoplankton varies across the world’s oceans. The researchers determine the monthly “species richness” of 536 phytoplankton species using models and >540,000 global phytoplankton observations. The diversity of these microscopic marine plants is about three times higher in the tropics than in higher latitudes, the researchers find, “with temperature being the most important driver”. However, below 19C, “richness is lower than expected”, the study finds, with waters between ~8C and 14C “showing the greatest divergence from theoretical predictions”. The lack of a consistent relationship between phytoplankton richness and temperature “suggests unanticipated complexity in responses of marine biodiversity to ocean warming”, the authors conclude.

Science Advances Read Article

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