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Daily Briefing |

TODAY'S CLIMATE AND ENERGY HEADLINES

Briefing date 05.01.2017
NOAA challenged the global warming ‘pause.’ Now new research says the agency was right, China to plow $360 billion into renewable fuel by 2020, & more

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News.

NOAA challenged the global warming ‘pause.’ Now new research says the agency was right.
Washington Post Read Article

New ocean temperature research backs previous findings suggesting there has been no slowdown in the rate of warming at the Earth’s surface, report the Washington Post and many others. The new research “disprove[s] there was a hiatus in global warming” between 1998 and 2014, reports Agence France-Presse. Many researchers had previously accepted the idea that warming had slowed during the first 15 years of the century, says the BBC, noting that this slowing disappears in the latest data backed by today’s study. InsideClimate News, Ars Technica, Think Progress and Scientific American all report on the research. Associated Press also covers it under the headline “Global warming data that riled doubters is confirmed”. The Guardian says researchers that first suggested there had been no global warming “pause” were “harassed by Republicans for publishing inconvenient science”, adding that today’s study “proves them right”. The co-authors of today’s research, writing at Scientific American, say independent scientific replication, not political investigation, is the best way to verify controversial findings. Read the details on the science behind today’s research at Carbon Brief.

China to plow $360 billion into renewable fuel by 2020
Reuters Read Article

China is to spend 2.5tn yuan ($361bn) on renewable power generation by 2020, Reuters reports. China’s National Energy Administration says the investment will create over 13 million jobs in the green energy sector, Reuters adds. Under the plans, low-carbon energy, including nuclear, is to contribute about half of new electricity generation to 2020.

Renewables investment in UK will fall 95% over next three years – study
The Guardian Read Article

The Green Alliance thinktank says investment in wind, solar, biomass and waste-to-energy projects will decline by 95% between 2017 and 2020, reports the Guardian. The thinktank says the government’s official pipeline of infrastructure projects shows £1bn in planned renewable energy investments had disappeared during 2016.

Comment.

The underestimated danger of a breakdown of the Gulf Stream System
Stefan Rahmstorf, RealClimate Read Article

“A new model simulation of the Gulf Stream System shows a breakdown of the gigantic overturning circulating in the Atlantic after a CO2 doubling,” writes Stefan Rahmstorf at RealClimate. Though there is likely to be a tipping point where the Gulf Stream “switches off”, it isn’t yet clear exactly where that point is, Rahmstorf says. The new study finds a tipping point when CO2 doubles, he notes, with the Gulf Stream breaking down over the course of about 300 years.

Here’s what optimistic liberals get wrong about Trump and climate change
Brad Plumer, Vox Read Article

Are pessimists right, or instead those optimistic reappraisals suggesting the US clean energy transition will continue despite president-elect Trump, asks Brad Plumer for Vox. He points out that a US shift to cleaner electricity, even if it continues, is “just a fraction of the larger climate problem. To halt global warming, we’ll need sweeping changes in virtually every corner of the economy – and fast.”

Editorial: Why researchers should resolve to engage in 2017
Editorial, Nature Read Article

“Debates over climate change and genome editing present the need for researchers to venture beyond their comfort zones to engage with citizens,” says an editorial in Nature. It adds that researchers “should receive credit” for doing so. It goes on to suggest ways for scientists to engage, saying “such engagement will be productive only if researchers try to understand the values of others”. The editorial is prompted by the rising prominence in the US of sceptical comments about climate change.

Editorial: Uncharitable Behaviour
Editorial, The Times Read Article

“Charities tread a fine line when seeking to secure or oppose a change in government policy,” says a Times editorial. It calls on the Charity Commission to be “vigilant in policing non-charitable arms set up for campaigning purposes”. The editorial is prompted by an informal resolution of a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority, over claims made by Friends of the Earth in relation to fracking. A separate news article for the Times says: “The Charity Commission dropped an investigation into the claims made by FoE after the environmental group told the regulator that they had been made by its non-charitable arm.”

Science.

Hurricane intensification along United States coast suppressed during active hurricane periods
Nature Read Article

During quiet hurricane seasons on the United States coast, storms may be less frequent but are much more likely to intensify rapidly, according to new research. Conversely, sea surface temperatures and vertical wind shear vary in concert to form a protective barrier during busy hurricane seasons, prevents the hurricanes that do form from reaching their potential intensity. Such variability poses a challenge for forecasting and, consequently, for predicting coastal risk during hurricane season, say the authors.

Overlooked possibility of a collapsed Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation in warming climate
Science Advances Read Article

While most climate models project moderate changes in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation – a limb of the global conveyor belt that transports heat around the world – observations and theoretical calculations suggest it is far more vulnerable to rising temperatures and the impact of Arctic meltwater. New model projections suggest the AMOC collapses 300 years after after the atmospheric CO2 concentration is abruptly doubled from 1990 levels, bringing with it prominent cooling over the northern North Atlantic.

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