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Daily Briefing

30.04.2019
Today's climate and energy headlines
DAILY BRIEFING UK government advisers to recommend net zero emissions by 2050
UK government advisers to recommend net zero emissions by 2050

News.

UK government advisers to recommend net zero emissions by 2050

The Financial Times and other publications preview a report due this week from the UK’s chief advisory body on climate change, which is expected to recommend that the government reduces its greenhouse gas emissions to “net zero” by 2050. The FT reports that the Committee on Climate Change, which is to publish its recommendations on Thursday, will set the goal for the UK overall, “according to three people briefed on the report”. However, it is expected to say that Scotland should target net zero by 2045, while Wales aims for a 95% reduction by 2050, the FT reports. This is because Wales has a large sheep farming industry. The Times reports that the prime minister Theresa May “is likely to back this [goal] , although it does not yet have cabinet agreement”. It adds: “Ministers are expected to back the target but not the routes to achieve it.”. BBC News reports that the report is also expected to say that the government’s plan to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040 is “too tame”, adding: “The committee will say 2030 would be a feasible date.” Also reporting on the report’s expected target, Bloomberg says: “If adopted, the proposals would give the UK the tightest emissions rules of any of the leading economies.” The i newspaper also previews the report.

Meanwhile, more than 50 leading business chiefs have written a letter in the Times urging European countries to commit to slashing their emissions to net zero by 2050. The chief executives of Unilever, Burberry and Ikea are among the signatories to the letter.

Financial Times Read Article
Extinction Rebellion and Momentum join forces on climate crisis

The Guardian reports that the Labour-supporting political movement Momentum, the youth climate strikers and Extinction Rebellion are to unite in protest outside parliament tomorrow. “In the first explicit collaboration between the three groups, a coalition of activists and campaigners will rally in Parliament Square,” the article reads. The groups will call for the Conservative government to “declare a climate emergency”, the Guardian says. BBC News reports that a “climate emergency” has now been declared by the Welsh government. Elsewhere, the Independent reports that London mayor Sadiq Khan met with members of Extinction Rebellion on Monday. Khan said he shared the protesters’ “passion” and claimed his office was “doing what we can”, the Independent reports. Press Association reports that the environment secretary Michael Gove is set to meet members today to “discuss their concerns”. Meanwhile, City AM reports that protesters will carry out new actions targeted at the Bank of England on Thursday.

Elsewhere, the Daily Mirror reports the comments of a new Environmental Justice Commission, led by Ed Miliband, Caroline Lucas and Laura Sandys, which is calling for the UK to adopt a “war footing” to tackle climate change. The commission proposes to set out “an ambitious and rigorous programme of reform capable of tackling the dual problems of climate change and wider economic and social injustice”, the Mirror reports. The Independent also covers the commission’s comments.

The Guardian Read Article
O'Rourke calls for $5 trillion to fight climate change

Many US publications report that Democrat presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke has launched a $5 trillion plan to battle climate change. Politico reports that O’Rourke says the money should be spent over the next decade, with the goal of reaching net zero carbon emissions by the mid-century. “The former Texas congressman’s plan is among the most detailed of the crowded Democratic 2020 field, but it does not define how it would achieve dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions,” Politico says. The New York Times reports that O’Rourke’s plan would “recommit the US to the Paris Agreement and restore Obama-era power plant regulations and fuel standards”. Other key proposals include new regulations on building efficiency standards and reducing methane emissions from natural gas production, the New York Times says. Bloomberg adds that O’Rourke would seek to put the plans in action within the first 100 days of his presidency. The Hill reports that the Sunrise Movement, a youth climate organisation that backs the Green New Deal, has criticised the plans for being “out of line with the scale of actions necessary” to tackle climate change. Axios and BuzzFeed News also have the story.

Politico Read Article
Spain's socialists win election with Green New Deal platform

Spain “threw its weight behind a Green New Deal programme on Sunday after re-electing the pro-climate Spanish Socialist Party”, Climate Home News reports. The party, which campaigned on a sweeping platform of ecological transition, clinched 29% of the vote and 123 seats in the 350-seat congress, Climate Home News says. “It will need to form a coalition with populist left-wing party Unidos Podemos (UP), which has also called for a decarbonisation of the economy,” it adds.

Climate Home News Read Article

Comment.

Let’s seize the moment and create a Green New Deal for the UK

Ed Miliband, Caroline Lucas and Laura Sandys, who are spearheading a new cross-party Environmental Justice Commission, have written in the Guardian to call for the UK to “create a Green New Deal for the UK”. They say: “When people ask how we can bring the country together, we believe this issue has the potential to do so. For some, it will be the climate issue that motivates them, for others the economic and social justice gains that can be achieved in the war against climate change. For many it will be all of these.”

Ed Miliband, Caroline Lucas and Laura Sandys, The Guardian Read Article
Labour is right, there is a climate emergency. So why did it just back a new coal mine in Cumbria?

Writing in the Independent, Green MP Caroline Lucas says that climate action must occur “across political divides and in line with what the science demands, not constrained by what some would assert is currently ‘politically possible’”. Lucas “welcomes” Labour’s motion in parliament this week to declare a national climate emergency, but warns that “with the clock ticking we must be honest about the need to go much further, about a bold vision that puts an end to the ‘growth at all costs’ economic model”. She highlights the decision by Cumbria County Council to give the go-ahead for “Britain’s first new deep coal mine in 30 years” as “a slap in the face for the young people striking for a future”. Lucas warns that “MPs might be falling over themselves to get selfies with [climate activist Greta] Thunberg, but their policies still don’t stack up”.

Caroline Lucas, The Independent Read Article

Science.

Extreme weather events in early summer 2018 connected by a recurrent hemispheric wave-7 pattern

The summer of 2018 saw heatwaves hit North America, western Europe and the Caspian Sea region, along with rainfall extremes in south-east Europe and Japan. These extreme events were all connected by a particular atmospheric pattern, a new study suggests. The researchers identify an “amplified hemisphere-wide wavenumber 7 circulation pattern”, which sees the jet stream develop large meanders that can stay in place for weeks, making weather conditions more persistent. The study finds that “the occurrence of this wave 7 pattern has increased over recent decades”, including during the European heatwaves of 2003, 2006 and 2015.

Environmental Research Letters Read Article
Basal melting of Ross Ice Shelf from solar heat absorption in an ice-front polynya

Part of the Ross ice shelf in Antarctica is melting 10 times faster than the overall ice shelf average, a new study says, as a result of solar heating of the surrounding ocean surface. Using new in situ observations of the world’s largest ice shelf, researchers built up a record of how its north-west section interacts with the ocean beneath it. The results show that the melting rate is “an order of magnitude higher than the shelf-wide average”. This is caused by warm ocean water that flows into the cavity under the ice shelf near Ross Island, the researchers say, causing melt rates to nearly triple during the summer months.

Nature Geoscience Read Article

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