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Daily Briefing

01.09.2015
Today's climate and energy headlines
DAILY BRIEFING Obama makes urgent appeal in Alaska for climate change action
Obama makes urgent appeal in Alaska for climate change action

News.

Scientists pinpoint Arctic warming hotspots behind severe northern hemisphere winters

Recent research suggests a warming Arctic could be the cause
of a series of very cold winters in the US and Asia. Now, a new
study picks out the exact areas in the Arctic circle where
unusually high temperatures appear to be driving severe winters in
mid-latitude countries. The findings could help scientists forecast
very cold conditions and give people time to prepare, the study
says.

Carbon Brief Read Article
Warming tropical oceans could see 'widespread and intense' species loss, study warns

The tropics could see a huge drop in biodiversity as marine
life heads for cooler waters, a new study suggests. Rising sea
temperatures could push fish, molluscs and crustaceans towards
higher latitudes, the researchers find. But species that can’t move
fast enough are likely to face local extinction if emissions remain
very high, the lead author tells Carbon Brief.

Carbon Brief Read Article

Climate and energy news.

Obama Makes Urgent Appeal in Alaska for Climate Change Action

During a rare visit to Alaska, President Obama issued a
global call for urgent action to address climate change, declaring
that the US was partly to blame for what he called the defining
challenge of the century and would rally the world to counter it.
“Climate change is no longer some far-off problem; it is happening
here, it is happening now,” Obama told an international conference
on the Arctic. “We’re not acting fast enough.”

New York Times Read Article
Energy companies more reliant on 'dirty' coal to produce electricity than they were a decade ago

The Independent’s frontcover story reveals that two of
Britain’s largest energy suppliers – British Gas and SSE – are more
reliant on coal to produce the electricity they sell to customers
than they were 10 years ago. “In the past 10 years the percentage
of electricity generated from renewable sources has grown by 400% –
yet total carbon emissions from generation have only fallen by
around 8%. This is because while the Big Six energy companies are
now buying more than a third of the energy that they sell from
polluting coal-fired power stations, they have cut back on buying
power from more expensive but greener gas-fired power
stations…The statistics come as the campaign group 38 Degrees and
the Big Deal, a consumer collective, prepare to launch a drive to
persuade consumers to switch energy suppliers to companies offering
zero-carbon electricity.”

The Independent Read Article
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say

On Saturday, the frontpage of both the Independent and its
sister paper “i” led with the story by the papers’ science editor
that 2015 is near certain to be the hottest year on record
globally. “Climate scientists are predicting that 2015 will be the
hottest year on record “by a mile”, with the increase in worldwide
average temperatures dramatically undermining the idea that global
warming has stopped – as some climate-change sceptics claim.”
Connor quotes climate scientists such as James Hansen and UEA’s
Phil Jones. Connor also wrote a separate comment piece for
the

The Independent Read Article
Dutch government to appeal against emissions ruling - report

The Dutch government will appeal against a district court
ruling ordering it to cut greenhouse gases emissions faster than
now planned, the Dutch daily Trouw has reported this morning. The
government will announce its decision to contest the June 24
ruling, the paper said, citing anonymous sources in The
Hague.

Reuters Read Article
'Supergiant' gas field discovered in Mediterranean

A “supergiant” gas field holding the equivalent of 5.5bn
barrels of oil has been discovered off the coast of Egypt, the
largest ever find in the Mediterranean. Italian oil group Eni said
the find was enough to supply Egypt with gas for decades, in a
major boost to the country’s struggling economy. The

Daily Telegraph Read Article
U.N. climate talks begin divided, but with hope for Paris accord

Chances that governments will work out a UN accord to combat
climate change in December seem brighter than in the run-up to a
failed attempt in 2009, experts said as delegates from almost 200
nations met in Bonn on Monday for five further days of formal
negotiations. “We’re closer to an agreement” than at the same time
before Copenhagen, Elina Bardram, head of the European Commission
delegation, told Reuters. “But there’s a lot still to be done.”
Meanwhile, Yvo de Boer, the former UN climate chief, has criticised
French plans for the involvement of heads of state at the start of
this December’s climate summit in Paris. He told

Reuters Read Article
Secrecy over plan for new nuclear plant is 'disgraceful', says veteran campaigner

The government is putting the commercial interests of a
French energy giant over the British taxpayer in a “disgraceful”
decision not to release documents on the UK’s first new nuclear
power station in 25 years, according to a veteran anti-nuclear
campaigner. Dr David Lowry, an independent consultant and member of
Nuclear Waste Advisory Associates, has asked the Department for
Energy and Climate Change (Decc) to release documents related to
the proposed construction by the French company EDF of Hinkley
Point C. The plant on the Somerset coast is expected to cost
£24.5bn. The documents were requested under Freedom of Information
legislation, but Decc is unwilling to release them.

The Independent Read Article

Climate and energy comment.

Britain is falling behind in solar energy while other nations surge ahead

Intent on settling old scores with the profligate Lib Dems,
the government is effectively ending its solar subsidy scheme just
as the USA expands its own, says Lean. “Ministers are looking
increasingly out of step…If [the UK government] succeeds [in
shutting down the UK’s solar industry] the loss will not be to
solar energy; there will be little effect on the worldwide spread
of the technology. It will be to British firms and its economy,
which will once again miss out on exploiting a rapidly expanding
technology, while countries like the US power ahead.”

Geoffrey Lean, Daily Telegraph Read Article
UK Treasury takes control of energy policy

Wynn rues the increasing evidence that the Treasury has
taken effective control on the UK’s energy policy: “The prospect of
new, Treasury-imposed [Levy Control Framework] is seeing some
unfortunate decision-making…All that is while DECC continues to
support gas and coal-fired power and shale gas exploration, which
are funded separately, as well as new nuclear power, which takes so
long to build that it falls outside the LCF budget period…UK
low-carbon energy policy is increasingly dictated by a sceptical
Chancellor, rather than a thoughtful optimisation of the country’s
technology and energy resources.”

Gerard Wynn, Energy and Carbon Blog Read Article
The Observer view on green energy

“In terms of timing, last week’s government decision to
slash subsidies that help families and small businesses install
solar panels could not have been worse,” said the Observer
editorial. “This year promises to be the hottest on record. At the
same time, international negotiations on the establishment of
climate change controls are scheduled to reach their peak in Paris
in a few months…The current Conservative administration has made
it clear it wants to have nothing to do with green technology. It
is a short-sighted attitude.”

Editorial, The Observer Read Article
Citi report: slowing global warming would save tens of trillions of dollars

A division within Citibank (America’s third-largest bank),
recently published a report looking at the economic costs and
benefits of a low-carbon future, notes Nuccitelli. “The report
considered two scenarios: a business-as-usual scenario and one
called Action, which involves transitioning to a low-carbon energy
mix. “One of the most interesting findings in the report is that
the investment costs for the two scenarios are almost identical,”
he says. “In fact, because of savings due to reduced fuel costs and
increased energy efficiency, the Action scenario is actually a bit
cheaper than the Inaction scenario.”

Dana Nuccitelli, Guardian Environment Read Article

New climate science.

The climate responsibilities of industrial carbon producers

The principle of “common but differentiated
responsibilities” suggests industrialised nations that have
produced the greatest share of historic emissions bear particular
responsibility for curbing climate change. But a new paper looks at
climate responsibility from the perspective of the major
investor-owned companies producing fossil fuels. It is still
possible for these companies to effectively contribute to a
solution through communicating climate risk and rejecting contrary
claims by lobby groups, say the authors, but history suggests
heightened societal pressure will be needed to hasten such a
transition.

Climatic Change Read Article
Grey swan tropical cyclones

A new paper examines the storm surge threat from so-called
“grey swan” cyclones in three vulnerable regions, the Persian Gulf,
Cairns in Australia and Tampa, Florida. The authors define these as
high-impact storms that would not be predicted based on history but
may be foreseeable using physical knowledge. The authors say surges
exceeding 11?m in Tampa and 7?m in Dubai are possible towards the
end of the century.

Nature Climate Change Read Article
On judging the credibility of climate predictions

A group of scientists have developed a new way to assess the
trustworthiness of climate model predictions, illustrated in a new
paper using decadal predictions of annual mean global mean surface
air temperature. The approach uses a new technique based on very
different prediction problems, which the authors say allows a more
explicit use of data to make quantitative judgments and trains
users to be better judges of credibility.

Climatic Change Read Article

THE BRIEF

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THE BRIEF

Expert analysis directly to your inbox.

Get a Daily or Weekly round-up of all the important articles and papers selected by Carbon Brief by email. By entering your email address you agree for your data to be handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy.