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Daily Briefing |

TODAY'S CLIMATE AND ENERGY HEADLINES

Briefing date 08.06.2018
Trump, Macron engage in Twitter spat ahead of contentious G7

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News.

Trump, Macron engage in Twitter spat ahead of contentious G7

US President Donald Trump plans to depart from this weekend’s Group of 7 (G7) summit in Canada several hours early, CNN reports. The White House said Trump would depart mid-morning on Saturday, skipping sessions on climate change and the environment. The announcement follows a Twitter spat with French President Emmanuel Macron, where Marcon said: “The American President may not mind being isolated, but neither do we mind signing a 6 country agreement if need be.” Trump replied complaining that the EU and Canada have used trade tariffs and barriers agains the US for years. Macron yesterday called on other G7 leaders not to water down a joint communique at the end of the summit, the Guardian reports. France and Germany have both they won’t sign a joint G7 statement without major concessions from the US, Bloomberg reports. Politico meanwhile has heard word from an official involved in drafting the G7 statement that there is concern the US may object to any use of the phrase “climate change”. Think Progress has a rundown of some of the issues each of the other G7 countries may have with Trump. Meanwhile, speaking at an international climate summit beginning in Boston today John Kerry accused Trump of “misleading” Americans about the nature of the Paris accord, the Boston Globe reports. Kerry announced what he planned to be a major summit two years ago when he was secretary of state, however the Trump administration failed to support the plan, leading to a much smaller gathering. Speaking to Sky News yesterday, Queen Noor of Jordan called Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement “short-sighted”.

New Zealand zero carbon law may exempt its highest emitting sector
Climate Home Read Article

New Zealand’s “Zero Carbon Bill” may give its farmers may get a free pass from climate action, proposals published for consultation on Thursday indicate. Agriculture is the country’s biggest emitter, accounting for 49% of greenhouse gas emissions. Climate Home reports that the proposals include three different options, one if which is to achieve only net zero carbon dioxide by 2050, disregarding other greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide, which dominate emissions from the agricultural sector. Other options would stabilise emissions of agricultural gases such as methane or lower net emissions across all greenhouse gases to zero by 2050.

News .

Key 'step forward' in cutting cost of removing CO2 from air
BBC News Read Article

Canadian firm Carbon Engineering say they have taken a big step forward on cutting the costs of direct air extraction, the BBC reports. The firm published a peer-reviewed study showing that they can capture carbon for under $100 a tonne, which would be a major advance on the current price of around $600 per tonne. The team say their process would carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turn it into gasoline or other fuels, CNBC reports. David Keith, a Harvard University professor and co-founder of the company, says the process will eventually be able to produce fuel for about $4 a gallon, Bloomberg reports. “The key thing that the company’s done from the beginning is focus on doing this in a way that is industrially scalable,” said Keith. The Economist notes that recycling CO2 as fuel means that Carbon Engineering’s business model offers zero, rather than truly negative, emissions. Ars TechnicaReuters and the Atlantic also have the story.

Comment.

Is Australia's current drought caused by climate change? It's complicated
Andrew King Anna Ukkola & Ben Henley, The Conversation Read Article

Much of southern Australia is experiencing severe drought after a very dry and warm autumn across the southern half of the continent, writes three Australian climate change researchers in The Conversation. But are droughts getting worse, and can they be attributed to climate change? “Drought is a complex beast and can be measured in a variety of ways. Some aspects of drought are linked with climate change; others are not.” … Compared with other extreme weather types, it is hard to make useful statements these links, the researchers add. “There is some evidence to suggest that climate change is exacerbating drought conditions in parts of Australia, especially in the southwest and southeast. Much more work is needed to understand the intricacies of the effects of climate change on different aspects and types of drought.”

It's time for Ireland to deliver a credible climate plan
Peter Thorne, The Guardian Read Article

“There is clearly an enormous appetite to make Ireland live up to its reputation as the emerald island by being a leader in addressing climate change,” writes Peter Thorne, director of the Irish Climate Analysis and Research Units at Maynooth University. But week the Irish Environmental Protection Agency confirmed Ireland will miss its 2020 international emissions target. “The goal is 20% cuts on 2005 levels; in reality we’re on track for 1%.” But a recent Citizens’ Assembly ballot shows that there is a huge public appetite for strong action on emissions. Here, citizens were presented over two weekends with a crash course in the evidence basis for climate change and what critical aspects of their lives might look like in 30 years hence if Ireland became leader in tackling climate change. “The citizens were almost unanimous in desiring an act similar to the UK Climate Change Act with a watchdog similar to the Climate Change Committee.”

Donald Trump is costing us one precious thing: time
Bill McKibben, The Guardian Read Article

Donald Trump may be costing us many things, writes veteran environmentalist Bill McKibben, but he’s “definitely costing us one precious thing”: time. “[W]e’ve all but stopped paying attention to climate change, the single greatest crisis the planet has ever faced. He goes on to detail how of around 660 essays in the New York Times op-ed pages in the last year, six seemed to bear “some relation” to climate change. “One percent of the possible attention is too little for this crisis, but I’m not calling out the New York Times,” adds McKibben. “…But the constant sense of crisis that Trump creates…takes a toll beyond each day’s chaos. It is robbing us of the concentration we need to focus on issues that demand that attention over the long term, attention that can’t endlessly be drawn away.”

Science.

Quantifying long-term changes in carbon stocks and forest structure from Amazon forest degradation
Environmental Research Letters Read Article

Despite sustained declines in Amazon deforestation, forest degradation from logging and fire continues to threaten carbon stocks, habitat, and biodiversity. This study combined Landsat imagery and high-density airborne lidar data to estimate changes in aboveground carbon density. On average, degraded forests contained 45.1% of the carbon stocks in intact forests, and differences persisted even after 15 years of regrowth. In comparison to logging, understory fires resulted in the largest and longest-lasting differences. Forest carbon stocks recovered faster than attributes of canopy structure that are critical for biodiversity in tropical forests, including the abundance of tall trees.

Internal variability in European summer temperatures at 1.5C and 2C of global warming
Environmental Research Letters Read Article

European summer temperatures at 2C warming are on average 1C higher than at 1.5C of global warming. In a 2C warmer world, one out of every two European summer months would be warmer than ever observed in our current climate. Daily maximum temperature anomalies for extreme events reach levels of 7C at 2C warming and 5.5C at 1.5C warming. The largest differences are over southern Europe, where they find the highest mean temperature increase. However, due to the large effect of internal variability, only four out of every ten summer months in a 2C warmer world present mean temperatures that could be distinguishable from those in a 1.5C world. The distinguishability between the two climates is largest over southern Europe. Furthermore, 10% of the most extreme and severe summer maximum temperatures in a 2C world could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5C.

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