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Daily Briefing

17.10.2018
Today's climate and energy headlines
Carbon Brief Staff

Carbon Brief Staff

17.10.2018 | 10:08am
DAILY BRIEFING Scottish Power is first energy giant to go 100% green
Scottish Power is first energy giant to go 100% green

News.

Scottish Power is first energy giant to go 100% green

Scottish Power will become the first of the UK’s “Big Six” energy suppliers to generate all its electricity from wind, reports the Times. The Glasgow-based firm, ultimately owned by Spanish energy giant Iberdrola, has sold its gas and hydro power assets to Drax for £702m, the paper adds, with Scottish Power citing a strategy to curb climate change and release funds for further renewables investment. The firm plans to invest £5.2bn over four years to more than double its renewables capacity, says BBC News. Scottish Power says green energy is the future, according to the Guardian. The Financial Times says the purchase of gas and hydro assets marks Drax’s continuing shift away from coal. “It also marks a move by Drax to position itself as a provider of flexible power generation, which it believes will become more important as the UK shifts towards intermittent wind and solar power,” the paper adds. As Reuters notes, Drax must close its remaining coal units by 2025 as part of the wider UK phaseout of the fuel. The ScotsmanTelegraphIndependent and BusinessGreen all have the story. An analysis piece for the Independent Minds asks whether the move is “greenwash or gamechanger” for the power industry.

The Times Read Article
Pompeii among 37 World Heritage Sites at risk from flooding and erosion as sea levels rise

The Roman ruins of Pompeii are among dozens of world heritage sites facing increasing risks from flooding and erosion as climate change pushes sea levels higher, according to a widely covered new study. The Telegraph’s story says risks to Pompeii may increase by up to 16% by 2100. Agence France Presse, the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Independent all have the story. Carbon Brief has made an interactive map of the sites, showing their risks today and under various levels of future warming.

The Telegraph Read Article
Staying safe from climate risks makes financial sense, says new commission

The world needs to invest more in preparing for the accelerating impacts of climate change, according to a new global commission launched this week, reports Reuters. The Global Commission on Adaptation, launched in the Hague, will be overseen by World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva, former UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon and Bill Gates. It will focus on adaptation covering food and rural livelihoods, infrastructure, cities and industry, Reuters adds. The commission aims to rebuild political will after the US announcing plans to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, says the Guardian story on the launch. The commission involves 17 countries including China, India, South Africa and the UK, it adds.

Thomson Reuters Foundation Read Article
Anti-fracking activists to challenge prison sentences at Court of Appeal

Senior judges will hear an appeal against the jail terms handed to three fracking protestors in the UK, reports the Press Association. The protestors were jailed for 15 or 16 months for climbing onto lorries outside energy firm Cuadrilla’s fracking site in Preston New Road in Lancashire last July. Fracking resumed at the site on Monday In the Guardian, another anti-fracking protestor, Esme North, writes: “In the face of catastrophic climate change, protest is a moral obligation”. In the Sun, today’s lead comment article, by Stephen Pollard, argues that shale gas will “solve our energy crisis and bring jobs”. He asserts that it “offers[s] the chance to reduce carbon emissions without sacrificing the economy…In the real world, the only way to lower carbon emissions quickly is to replace coal power with gas”. [The UK has already replaced most of its coal-fired power with conventional gas, renewables and lower energy use. Last year, Carbon Brief analysis showed the UK got just 7% of its electricity from coal, with wind alone generating more than twice that.]

Press Association via ITV News Read Article
British carbon footprint shrinks to smallest since 1859

Per capita CO2 emissions have fallen to their lowest level since 1859, reports the Telegraph, based on Carbon Brief analysis. The figure builds on previous Carbon Brief reporting that found total UK CO2 emissions in 2017 were at their lowest level since 1890. “The UK’s pursuit of cleaner power means the average Briton’s carbon footprint is now the smallest it has been since the coal-fuelled days of 1859, according to fresh research,” the Telegraph says.

The Telegraph Read Article
Political deadlock has put $1bn in green projects on hold

Project developers bidding for $1.1bn from the UN’s Green Climate Fund (GCF) are “looking anxiously for board approval in Bahrain this week”, reports Climate Home News. It adds that the fund’s last board meeting in July collapsed with no agreement on 11 project proposals, worth nearly $1bn. If the funding is approved this week, the article says it may trigger a new fundraising drive to replenish the fund’s coffers. “GCF policy is to formally start the replenishment process once 60% of initial contributions have been allocated,” it explains

Climate Home News Read Article
Rick Perry’s coal rescue runs aground at White House

The White House has shelved a plan to prop up coal-fired power plants amid opposition from the president’s own advisers, reports Politico, citing “four people with knowledge of the discussions”. Energy secretary Rick Perry has spent more than a year pushing various plans that would invoke national security to force power firms to keep coal plants running, it adds. Under Trump, coal power generation has hit a 35-year low, notes Think ProgressArs Technicaalso has the story.

Politico Read Article

Comment.

After Nobel in Economics, William Nordhaus Talks About Who’s Getting His Pollution-Tax Ideas Right

In an interview with the New York Times, Nobel-winning climate economist William Nordhaus says: “If we start moving very swiftly in the next 20 years, we might be able to avoid 2C, but if we don’t do that, we’re in for to changes in the Earth’s system that we can’t begin to understand in depth…We’ve been going backward for the last two years. Maybe we can stop going backward and start going forward.” Nordhaus also discusses current global experience with carbon pricing, which he advocates. He argues in favour of framing a carbon price “not as a tax, but as a financial windfall for taxpayers”, writes interviewer Coral Davenport. Nordhaus says the EU’s carbon market has a “flawed design” because it relies on accurately projecting emissions. “If those projections are wrong, the system fails,” he says.

Coral Davenport, New York Times Read Article
Feature: Could chip fat help dirty shipping clean up its act?

The global shipping industry is as big a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions as aviation, writes Chris Baraniuk in a feature for BBC News that also looks at sulphur dioxide emissions from ships. He asks: “Could chip fat help mitigate these failings?”, noting a small biofuels programme called GoodShipping, which supplied a small container ship with treated former cooking oil in September. Baraniuk also looks into sulphur scrubbers and battery-powered ships, including a 70m-long coal-carrying vessel running on battery power in China.

Chris Baraniuk, BBC News Read Article
Leader comment: Economics driving green energy boom

“Scotland is well placed to profit from wind energy but must ensure the beauty of its landscape is preserved,” says an editorial in the Scotsman, commenting on the news that Scottish Power has sold its gas and hydro plants to concentrate on wind energy. It says “Scotland can help the world fight climate change and make money in the process”. The editorial notes comments from Scottish Conservative energy spokesperson Alexander Burnett, saying that some people view windfarms as “unsightly”. In the Edinburgh Evening News, Kezia Dugdale, former leader of the Scottish Labour Party writes: “Last week the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] produced a staggeringly stark report into the impacts of climate change.” She says that while Scotland met its most recent annual climate goal after closing Longannet coal-fired power station, that “masked the reality that our agriculture emissions are stagnant and our transport emissions are on the up”.

Editorial, The Scotsman Read Article

Science.

Multiple non-climatic drivers of food insecurity reinforce climate change maladaptation trajectories among Peruvian Indigenous Shawi in the Amazon

The Indigenous Shawi people of the Peruvian Amazon face food security as a result of climate change and compounding social factors, a new study finds. Using interviews, workshops and exercises, the researchers find that the Shawi face several challenges that could worsen the impacts of climate change on food security, including a growing population and a growing desire for deforestation.

PLOS ONE Read Article

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