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Daily Briefing

29.05.2019
Today's climate and energy headlines
DAILY BRIEFING Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg addresses leaders at world summit
Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg addresses leaders at world summit

News.

Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg addresses leaders at world summit

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has called on world leaders to “recognise the seriousness of global warming and admit that not enough is being done to curb it”, the Washington Post reports. It quotes her words at the R20 Austrian World Summit in Vienna where she said it was wrong to portray climate change as “primarily an opportunity to create new green jobs, new businesses, green economic growth”. The quote continues: “This is above all an emergency and not just any emergency. This is the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced…This is not something you can like on Facebook.” The Hill reports that Thunberg also called on audience members to take direct action to strengthen measures against climate change, saying: “If people really knew the full consequences of the climate crisis, they would join us on the streets, striking from their work, moving on from words to action, because the biosphere doesn’t care about empty words. The biosphere doesn’t care about what we say. It only cares about what we actually do.” The annual summit for climate action has been organised by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s R20 Regions of Climate Action.

Elsewhere at the summit, UN secretary general António Guterres told audience members that fossil fuel subsidises are helping “to destroy the world”, Reutersreports. It quotes him saying: “Many people still think that to give fossil fuel subsidies is a way to improve living conditions of people. There is nothing more wrong than that. What we are doing is using taxpayers’ money – which means our money – to boost hurricanes, to spread droughts, to melt glaciers, to bleach corals. In one word – to destroy the world.” Carbon Brief previously published an explainer on the challenge of defining fossil fuel subsidises.

The Washington Post Read Article
United Nations says 80 Countries may ramp up climate pledges

The New York Times reports that around 80 countries may ramp up their actions to tackle climate change ahead of the schedule set by the Paris Agreement, according to Luis Alfonso de Alba, a Mexican diplomat who is currently the United Nations secretary general’s envoy on climate change. He declined to say which countries were expected to announce higher climate ambitions, the New York Times says, but signalled that announcements could be made at an upcoming summit in September. The current pledges made under the Paris Agreement are “insufficient to avert the worst effects of climate change”, the New York Times adds.

The New York Times Read Article
Rory Stewart: I will double foreign aid spent on climate change fight

Conservative leadership candidate Rory Stewart has pledged to double the amount of UK foreign aid spent on fighting climate change if elected, Sky News reports. Stewart, who is the international development secretary, said he wanted to make the Department for International Development (DfID) “centred on climate change and the environment”, according to Sky News. The Times reports that Stewart would double the amount it spends on the environment over the next five years from the existing £1.1 billion to £2.2 billion by 2025.

Sky News Read Article
10 days and counting: Britain smashes yet another coal free power record

The UK has gone more than 11 days without generating any of its electricity from coal, breaking the previous record set just a week ago, according to BusinessGreen and others. After the UK passed the 10-day mark on Sunday, BusinessGreen reported: “For the last 10 days England, Scotland and Wales have managed without coal, with wind, solar, biomass and nuclear, alongside electricity from European interconnectors, supplying the bulk of Britain’s power.” [Gas remains a major part of the mix.] Axios and CityAM also have the story, while the Guardian has a live graphical tracker.

BusinessGreen Read Article

Comment.

Green party gains should embolden the EU on climate change

An editorial in the Financial Times says that the recent European parliament election results “mark the moment the environmental agenda moved firmly into the European political mainstream”. It reads: “Europe’s Green parties have morphed from the long-haired sandal-wearers of 1970s caricature into responsible and disciplined political machines. They have worked effectively as part of regional and national coalitions in several EU countries. The additional pressure their increased clout will put on EU institutions and national governments is welcome.”

Elsewhere in the Financial Times, Lakshmi Mittal, chairman of major steelmaking firm ArcelorMittal, writes that politics remains the biggest obstacle to climate change action. Mittal writes: “Clearly it is essential we invent new ways of doing things that don’t rely on fossil fuels. For the global steel industry, that means while it continues to reduce its carbon footprint through energy efficiency, ultimately it needs to use an energy source other than coal to extract iron from iron ore, a critical part of the primary steelmaking process.” In contrast, writing in the Times, Tony Lodge of free-market thinktank the Centre for Policy Studies argues that the UK will be “using coal for many years to come” in industrial processes such as steelmaking.

Editorial, Financial Times Read Article
Britain has been a leader in the fight against climate change – but more needs to be done

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable considers five ways to ramp up the fight against climate change for the Independent. The article starts: “One of the most sobering experiences of my professional life was working in the team in the 1980s which produced the Brundtland report, Our Common Future, for the UN secretary general. It was sobering partly because it brought out clearly the nature of the threats; the scientific findings of global warming and climate change emerged from the Bellagio conclave at that time, and the scientific work on mass extinctions was solidifying.”

Vince Cable, The Independent Read Article

Science.

Heat stress vulnerability and risk at the (super) local scale in six Brazilian capitals

Both poor and wealthy people living in Brazil’s six largest cities – which together house 86% of the country’s population – could face a very high risk of heat stress as temperatures rise, a study finds. Using high-resolution climate data, the research finds that, in São Paulo, Vitória, Curitiba, and Porto Alegre, very high risks are found in the wealthy zones of the cities. However, in Natal and Manaus, very high risks are encountered in the poorly developed city zones, according to the study.

Climatic Change Read Article

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