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Daily Briefing

19.07.2019
Today's climate and energy headlines
DAILY BRIEFING UK police say they will prevent repeat of climate-change protest chaos
UK police say they will prevent repeat of climate-change protest chaos

News.

UK police say they will prevent repeat of climate-change protest chaos

The Metropolitan Police have said that climate activists Extinction Rebellion (XR) will not be allowed to repeat the kind of disruption they caused in London earlier this year when they hold fresh demonstrations in October, reports Reuters. Speaking to reporters yesterday, deputy assistant commissioner Laurence Taylor said the protests in April were “wholly unacceptable” and “went well beyond the realm of what was reasonable and we would not tolerate that level of disruption again”, Reuters says. Taylor also warned the group against targeting Heathrow, saying: “We will absolutely not tolerate incursions into the airport, endangering the aircraft or disrupting the daily management of Heathrow.”

Elsewhere, the Financial Times reports that XR is to launch a “tax rebellion”, calling on Londoners to withhold a fifth of monthly council tax payments. It says the group will ask the city’s residents to hold back 22% of their council tax – the average proportion that would go to the Greater London Authority – with the proceeds going to a “tax rebellion fund” aimed at achieving climate-related goals. The Times reports that a week-long XR protest outside the Scottish parliament last month cost almost £500,000 to police, and the Daily Telegraphreports that a man in Bristol was “unable to reach his dying father’s bedside before he passed away after an XR protest on the motorway left him stuck in traffic”.

Reuters Read Article
New York awards offshore wind contracts as governor signs climate bill

New York governor Andrew Cuomo has announced two major offshore wind contracts as he signed into law a landmark climate bill to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, Reuters reports. The two contracts unveiled yesterday – awarded to Norway’s Equinor and a joint venture between Denmark’s Orsted and US utility Eversource – will add up to 1,700 megawatts of capacity, which is enough to power one million homes, Reuters says. The contracts are the largest for offshore wind energy in the country so far, notes the Hill. It quotes Cuomo saying: “With this agreement, New York will lead the way in developing the largest source of offshore wind power in the nation.” The wind projects, to be built off the coast of Long Island, will be operational within the next five years, says the New York Times. The contracts “represent a big step forward for a technology that has been slow to take off in the US because of local opposition and high costs,” the paper adds.

Separately, Reuters reports that America’s biggest solar power developers are stockpiling panels to lock in a 30% federal tax credit set to start phasing out next year.

Reuters Read Article
June 2019 was the hottest June on record across the globe – NOAA

The latest data from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that June 2019 was the hottest June in their 140-year global record, reports Reuters. It continues: “The report said the average global temperature in June was 1.71F [0.95C] above the 20th-century average of 59.9F (15.5C) and marks the 414th consecutive month in which temperatures were above the 20th-century average.” “Nine of the 10 hottest Junes on its 1880-2019 record have occurred in the past nine years”, says BBC News. Forty-one countries may have set their record warmest June, notes USA Today, including Bangladesh, Hungary, Iraq, Nicaragua, the Philippines and Turkey.

Meanwhile, the Guardian reports on a new study that warns the number of extremely hot days around the US could more than double this century. “By mid-century, an average of 36 days a year could feel like 100F (37.7C) or hotter. Toward the end of the century, 54 days a year could feel that hot,” it says.

Reuters Read Article
Brazil deforestation soars in July, threatening EU trade deal

Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest accelerated in the first half of July, reports Reuters, “outstripping the full month last year and raising red flags for a regional trade deal with the European Union”. Preliminary satellite data shows over 1,000 square kilometres were cleared in the first 15 days of July, Reuters says – a 68% increase from all of July 2018. Green parties and farmers may seize on the rising deforestation to bolster the case against ratifying a new free trade deal between Brazil and the EU, a European diplomat based in Brazil told Reuters. “I think it’s ammunition for them to use, especially farmers, even if they don’t care about the Amazon,” said the diplomat, who Reuters reports was not authorised to speak to the media.

Reuters Read Article
Poland expected to delay EU carbon neutrality deal

EU leaders may struggle to agree on a 2050 carbon neutrality target before December, as objections from Poland will take time to resolve, reports Climate Home News. It continues: “Poland was one of four member states to block a deal on net-zero emissions at the last meeting of national leaders in June. Finland has made strengthening climate ambition top priority for its 6-month presidency of the European Council, with the next moment to broker a settlement in October.” But it says Poland’s elections coming in late autumn and the continuing negotiations over the EU budget mean the country is “unlikely to arrive ready to compromise”. Lidia Wojtal, a former Polish negotiator, tells Climate Home News that Poland “will not agree to carbon neutrality by October”. “I don’t see how Poland will agree to lose this very strong negotiating position before the budget is agreed,” she continues, adding that a deal was more likely to be found at the following council meeting in December 2019 or early 2020.

Climate Home News Read Article
UK energy-saving efforts collapse after government subsidy cuts

The number of energy-saving improvements to homes in the UK has plummeted by almost 85% compared to five years ago, reports the Guardian. New government data, published yesterday, shows that the average number of energy efficiency upgrades – such as loft insulation or boiler upgrades – has fallen to 10,000 per month for the six months to the end of May. “This compares with an average of 65,000 a month in 2014,” the Guardian says. The charity National Energy Action is quoted describing the news as “exceptionally disappointing” and warning that “based on this dire progress, it would take over 96 years to help all the fuel-poor households who currently live in homes with solid walls”.

The Guardian Read Article

Comment.

Should I offset my summer holiday flights?

With many in the northern hemisphere jetting off for their summer holidays, BBC News business reporter Lucy Hooker looks at ways to offset the CO2 emissions from flying. Offsetting schemes can be to “plant trees, install renewable energy technology, or to change people’s lifestyles”, explains Hooker, to ensure “if you have emitted a tonne of carbon, in theory at least, you have ensured a tonne of carbon hasn’t been emitted somewhere else”. Hooker looks at the schemes run by airlines and those by dedicated offsetting companies, noting that “many airlines do run their own schemes, but they often come in for criticism for not pressing home the environmental message strongly enough”. Another issue is that “in the past some carbon offsetting schemes have been criticised for backing projects that did not deliver on the results they promised”. To ensure that people choose a reliable provider, Edward Hanrahan, chief executive of ClimateCare, tells Hooker that it is important to “look for reputable players with accreditation from one of the big monitoring organisations”.

Lucy Hooker, BBC News Read Article

Science.

Detection of a climate change signal in extreme heat, heat stress and cold in Europe from observations

In the last two decades Europe experienced a series of extreme heat events. This study examined trends in temperature extremes in Europe, finding that on average across Europe the number of days with extreme heat and heat stress has more than tripled and hot extremes have warmed by 2.3C from 1950‐2018. Days with extreme cold temperatures have decreased by a factor of 2‐3 and warmed by more than 3C. Cold and hot extremes have warmed at about 94% of stations, a climate change signal that cannot be explained by internal variability.

Geophysical Research Letters Read Article

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