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Daily Briefing

09.07.2018
Today's climate and energy headlines
Carbon Brief Staff

Carbon Brief Staff

09.07.2018 | 10:58am
DAILY BRIEFING New-build homes could be fitted with electric car charge points & Anglican £12bn investment funds in threat to fossil fuel companies
New-build homes could be fitted with electric car charge points & Anglican £12bn investment funds in threat to fossil fuel companies

News.

Electric cars: New-build homes could be fitted with charge points

Many UK news outlets preview the UK government’s “Road to Zero” transport strategy, which is expected to be published today. BBC News reports: “New homes in England could be required to be fitted with electric car charging points, under proposals announced by transport secretary Chris Grayling. The strategy also calls for some new street lighting on UK roads to have charge points fitted. Details of a sales ban on new conventional petrol and diesel cars by 2040 are also expected to be set out. The strategy comes at a time when the government is facing criticism for failing to reduce carbon emissions.” The Times says that “the government also confirmed that it ‘sees a role’ for hybrid cars, which are capable of operating through a battery and a petrol or diesel engine”. The Independent says that the strategy has already been branded a “road to nowhere” by environmental groups. “Ministers keep saying they want Britain to be a leader in electric cars, yet they’ve set a phase-out date for petrol and diesel that’s a decade behind other countries,” it reports Greenpeace saying. The Guardian, Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph also cover the story.

BBC News Read Article
Anglican £12bn investment funds in threat to fossil fuel companies

The FT is among many UK newspapers reporting the news that Anglican clergy voted yesterday, in a “symbolic move”, that the Church of England’s £12bn endowment and investment funds should sell their shares in any fossil fuel companies that “are slow to tackle global warming from 2023”. The Times says that “the church has more than £190m in fossil fuel companies. Its General Synod was told yesterday that the church would be profiting from climate change if it continued to invest in organisations that did not take bold steps to stop global warming.” The Mail on Sunday says the move was led by former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, which “puts him at loggerheads with his successor Justin Welby”. Writing in the Daily Telegraph on Saturday, Rowan Williams said: “Only by flexing our economic muscles can we face down this existential threat to humanity.” Meanwhile, the Washington Post covers last Friday’s Vatican conference in which the Pope urged governments “to make good on their commitments to curb global warming, warning that climate change, continued unsustainable development and rampant consumption threatens to turn the Earth into a vast pile of ‘rubble, deserts and refuse’.”

Financial Times Read Article
Donald Trump UK visit: US president is ‘putting British national security at risk’, say over 100 top climate scientists

The Independent reports that more than “100 top climate scientists” have written to Theresa May, the UK prime minister, urging her to challenge Donald Trump about climate change when he visits the UK later this week. The Independent adds that “they said the US president is putting the UK’s national security at risk by ignoring climate change and allowing carbon emissions to continue unabated” The letter itself, which is signed by “135 members of the UK’s climate change research community”, states: “As the US is the world’s second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, President Trump’s policy of inaction on climate change is putting at risk the UK’s national security and its interests overseas.” BusinessGreen also reports the letter saying it “cites a UK national security review from 2015 which highlights climate change as a major risk to the country, as well as Trump’s repeated actions to ‘undermine climate researchers’ in the US and ignore the advice of international experts”.

The Independent Read Article
Mysterious source of illegal ozone-killing emissions revealed, say investigators

The Guardian says that an on-the-ground investigation has revealed that a mysterious surge in emissions of an illegal ozone-destroying chemical has been tracked down to plastic foam manufacturers in China. The chemical, trichlorofluoromethane or CFC-11, has been banned around the world since 2010 and is a potent destroyer of ozone, which protects life on Earth from UV radiation, and strong greenhouse gas. The Guardian adds: “A shock rise in the gas in recent years was revealed by atmospheric scientists in May, but they could only narrow the source to somewhere in East Asia. The Environmental Investigation Agency, a non-governmental organisation, has now identified widespread use of CFC-11 factories in China that make insulating foams.” BBC News explains “why this is so important”: “This is a big deal because of the amount of the dodgy chemical being used and its potential to reverse the healing that’s starting to take place in the ozone layer…As well as the ozone layer, CFC-11 has a warming impact. Researchers estimate that if the use of the chemical continues, it would be the equivalent of CO₂ from 16 coal-fired power stations every year!”

The Guardian Read Article
Incoming EPA administrator: ‘I do believe that people have an impact on the climate’

The Hill reports that Andrew Wheeler, Scott Pruitt’s replacement at the US Environmental Protection Agency, has said in a new interview with the Washington Post that he believes humans have played a role in climate change. “I do believe climate change is real,” Wheeler says, in contrast to the disgraced Pruitt, who finally resigned last week following months of scandals. “I do believe that people have an impact on the climate.” In the Washington Post interview, Wheeler also says he has no plans to repeal the so-called “endangerment finding” which states in US law that CO2 is a pollutant: “There would have to be a major, compelling reason to try to ever reopen that. I don’t think that’s an open question at this point.” Meanwhile, InsideClimate News and the New York Times both run articles examining Wheeler’s likely impact on US climate policy.

The Hill Read Article
UK has raised £4bn towards climate action in developing countries since 2016

Last Friday, the UK government published the annual results for its international climate finance (ICF). BusinessGreen says that the UK “has mobilised more than £4bn in both public and private funding towards tackling climate change in developing countries since 2016, helping to reduce or avoid more than 10.4m tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions”. However, the Times reports that government reveals within the results that it has “grossly overstated the benefits of its £10 billion climate change aid programme after double-counting the number of people in poor countries who would get clean energy”. The Times adds: “The Department for International Development slipped a correction into its annual report on the programme, published on Friday, admitting that the number of people who would benefit from the project was 36 million, not 77 million. A spokesman for the department blamed ‘human error, which double-counted some of the people with access to clean energy, which led to the expected results being over-reported.'” Last October, following a long-running freedom-of-information request, Carbon Brief published detailed analysis of how and where the UK spends its ICF.

BusinessGreen Read Article

Comment.

This heatwave is just the start. Britain has to adapt to climate change, fast

Simon Lewis, who is professor of global change science at University College London and the University of Leeds, as well as a Carbon Brief contributing editor, writes in the Guardian that the UK’s current heatwave should be on top of the political agenda: ” Climate change is a greater threat to the UK than EU directives, terrorism or a foreign power invading. Yet the scope of our political discussion on future threats is limited to Brexit and spending on defence. Instead of this blinkered view where the future is the same as the past, we need to step out of the intense heat and take a cool look at what we are doing to our home planet.”

Prof Simon Lewis, The Guardian Read Article
A Summer Header

An editorial in the Times celebrates what it says has, so far, been a “long, hot and so far glorious summer for Britain”. it cites England’s World Cup run and “early intelligence” that England’s wine harvest will be the “biggest and fruitiest ever” among its reasons for good cheer. However… “Of course doomsters are always on hand to dampen the spirits. The sunny weather and moorland fires, they say, are just a harbinger of the baking heat and natural disasters that climate change will bring. El Niño will lead to drought and hosepipe bans as soon as our gardens reach full bloom. There is only brief respite from politics and Brexit before the jousting resumes.”

Editorial, The Times Read Article
The Observer view on why we shouldn’t waste a drop of water when it’s so vital and valuable

As the UK continues to experience a heatwave, the Observer says it highlights the political important of government’s being able to ensure supplies of fresh water to its people: “A government that cannot provide plentiful water, and thus ensure basic hygiene, healthcare and sanitation, may not long survive…Global warming and population growth are further roiling water politics. In drought-hit southern Australia, a row erupted over the alleged ‘politicising’ of the problem by those who argued climate change was to blame. Even when, for the first time, pregnant cows were sent to the abattoir because pastureland had turned to dust, sheer obtuseness trumped common sense Down Under. Climate change denial cannot be vanquished overnight, no more than we can insist it start raining. But appreciating the value of water, and water conservation, can start today.” Meanwhile, today’s Guardian carries a column by Prof Catriona Sandilands at York University, Toronto, who says that “I see my garden as a barometer of climate change”.

Editorial, The Observer Read Article

Science.

Great Barrier Reef recovery through multiple interventions

The destruction of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef could be stemmed by the local removal of crown of thorns starfish, a coral predator, as well as by reducing climate change, a new study says. Over the past two decades, the Great Barrier Reef has seen four mass bleaching events as a result of abnormally high sea temperatures, most recently in 2016 and 2017. The new study finds that a combination of multiple interventions could improve coral cover across the reef.

Conservation_Biology Read Article

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