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Daily Briefing

19.09.2016
Today's climate and energy headlines
DAILY BRIEFING Sea ice, near record low, is not rebounding, U.N. ‘certain’ Paris climate deal will enter into force by end-2016, & more
Sea ice, near record low, is not rebounding, U.N. ‘certain’ Paris climate deal will enter into force by end-2016, & more

News.

Sea ice, near record low, is not rebounding

Just 1.6 million square miles of Arctic sea was covered by ice at this year’s annual minimum, reports ClimateWire, the second-lowest extent on record. Arctic ice has shrunk by one million square miles, reports the Times. Arctic summer sea ice is going “down, down, down”, says Andy Revkin in his Dot Earth blog. New Scientist also has the story.

ClimateWire via Scientific American Read Article
U.N. 'certain' Paris climate deal will enter into force by end-2016

UN officials are confident the Paris Agreement on climate change will enter force this year, reports the Thomson Reuters Foundation. At least 20 countries have said they will join at a UN event on 21 September, says Climate Home. To enter force, Paris has to be joined by at least 55 countries representing 55% of global emissions, says the Hill. BusinessGreen also has the story.

Thomson Reuters Foundation Read Article
Chinese consortium bid for a majority stake in National Grid's £11bn network

A state-backed Chinese consortium is bidding for a stake in part of the UK’s gas distribution network, report the Daily Mail and others. The move “will challenge [Theresa] May’s new stand on key assets”, says the Times. The bid, from the Fosum conglomerate, is for a network that supplies gas to 11m customers, says the Telegraph. City AM and the Express also have the story. A Daily Mail editorial asks: “Is it really wise to hand over yet more of our vital infrastructure to agents of a totalitarian regime”?

Daily Mail Read Article
Canada will impose nationwide carbon price: minister

Canadian environment minister Catherine McKenna has said the federal government will impose a nationwide carbon price if provinces fail to adequately regulate emissions, reports Reuters. She also said Canada was unlikely to deepen its carbon targets, reports Carbon Pulse. McKenna has called a national carbon price “a floor, not a ceiling”

Reuters Read Article
Hinkley approval set to boost reactor plans across UK

Nuclear executives say Theresa May has removed doubts about her commitment to the industry, reports the Financial Times. The Hinkley C go-ahead removes concerns of those planning to build additional new reactors in the UK, the paper says.

Financial Times Read Article
Trump's climate science denial clashes with reality of rising seas in Florida

A few blocks from the Miami Beach hotel where Donald Trump said he was “not a big believer in made-made climate change”, flooding blocked key roads last autumn, reports the LA Times. Miami is now raising the street and others in a $500m effort to protect itself from rising seas. The Times includes an animation showing areas of Miami that would be flooded with 1-6 feet of sea-level rise, noting that it has already risen 3 inches since 1992. The New York Times says flooding of US coastlines caused by global warming “has already begun”.

LA Times Read Article

Comment.

The Observer view on global warming

Time is running out for Britain to sign up to the Paris Agreement on climate change, says an Observer editorial. Citing last week’s news of the second-lowest Arctic sea ice level on record and another record-warm month for the world, the paper says it is “deeply worrying” that the UK has yet to sign up to Paris. “The longer [the government] delays, the more it is likely to lose the leadership it once commanded when it came to climate change issues”.

The Observer Read Article
The twisted tale of Britain’s great energy gamble

Jonathan Ford, the Financial Times chief leader writer, continues his series of bylined opinion pieces criticising UK energy policy. His latest once again decries “a series of interlocking decisions to decarbonise the UK’s energy markets. These committed Britain not to set a carbon levy and allow levy and allow investors to determine the best solution. Instead, the country signed up not simply to cut emissions, but to do so in large measure via renewables”. He concludes: “Utilities “should be building cheap gas capacity, while working out how to get cheap and reliable low emission power”.

Financial Times Read Article
UK new nuclear plans face major challenges, warns EDF chief

Challenges facing the UK nuclear industry include efforts to make subsequent plants “significantly cheaper” than Hinkley C, says EDF boss Vincent de Rivaz in an interview with Telegraph energy editor Emily Gosden. De Rivaz also admits he does not yet know how EDF would fund slated plans to build a second new plant at Sizewell in Suffolk. The interview is picked up in a report for theTimes.

Sunday Telegraph Read Article
Hinkley must not be taken as a precedent for other nuclear stations

Political reality made it hard to say no to Hinkley C, says a leader in the Guardian’s business section, but other new nuclear plants can, and should, be opposed. It says Theresa May and her government “must seriously think about whether they want more nuclear power stations popping up around the country…Bradwell and Seizewell must only be approved if the government genuinely believes they are the best solution to Britain’s energy issues. Most experts would say they are not.”

The Observer Read Article
Britain is now free to frack and slash energy bills

One of the key benefits of the vote to leave the EU is “that Britain will not longer have to cooperate with overzealous regulations on shale gas extraction”, writes climate-sceptic author Bjorn Lomborg for the Telegraph. He says “if you want to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, fracking matters…[for] switching from coal to gas”. Lomborg does not mention that the UK has already largely crossed the bridge from coal to gas, with coal supplying only 13% of UK energy last year.

The Telegraph Read Article

Science.

Arctic sea ice patterns driven by the Asian Summer Monsoon

A new study explains how understanding the link between the summer monsoon and Arctic sea ice may improve seasonal predictions. Monsoon-related sea ice variations are comparable in magnitude to locally forced Arctic Oscillation variability, say the authors, inducing a dipole pattern in which the North Atlantic-European Arctic contrasts the Siberian-North American Arctic. The mechanism adds to the complex list of factors that can influence sea ice, including changes in ocean circulation, ecology, and Northern Hemisphere climate.

Journal of Climate Read Article
Projection of temperature and heat waves for Africa with an ensemble of CORDEX Regional Climate Models

Under a high emissions scenario, most parts of Africa are projected to warm at least 3.5C by the end of the century, with parts of the Sahara and Arabian Peninsula warming as much as 6C, according to a new analysis of temperature and extreme events in Africa. The study also finds that the number of warm days in summer increases by more than 90% in the gulf of Guinea, Central African Republic, South Sudan and Ethiopia. The authors used a large ensemble of Regional Climate Models from the COordinated Regional climate Downscaling EXperiment (CORDEX).

Climate Dynamics Read Article

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