Daily Briefing |
TODAY'S CLIMATE AND ENERGY HEADLINES
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Every weekday morning, in time for your morning coffee, Carbon Brief sends out a free email known as the “Daily Briefing” to thousands of subscribers around the world. The email is a digest of the past 24 hours of media coverage related to climate change and energy, as well as our pick of the key studies published in peer-reviewed journals.
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Today's climate and energy headlines:
- World CO2 emissions stay flat for third year, helped by China falls: study
- Trump looking at fast ways to quit global climate deal: source
- Environmentalists launch 'emergency' campaign to persuade Trump climate change is real amid fears of 'planetary disaster'
- Fears over solar and wind power reliability 'overblown', says energy secretary
- The Guardian view on climate change: Trump spells disaster
- We can fix climate change, but only if we refuse to abandon hope
- Global Carbon Budget 2016
Global greenhouse gas emissions have stayed flat for the third year in a row in 2016, according to the annual report by a coalition of climate scientists known as the Global Carbon Project. C02 emissions from fossil fuels and industry were set to rise a tiny 0.2% in 2016 from 2015 levels to 36.4bn tonnes, the third consecutive year with negligible change and down from three percent growth rates in the 2000s, say the researchers. The BBC leads with the angle that “declining consumption of coal in the US last year played a significant role”. In contrast, the Financial Timessays that “a fall in the use of coal in China, by far the world’s largest carbon emitter, is the main reason for the slowdown”. The Washington Post claims the latest data is “stunningly good news for the planet”. Meanwhile, the authors of the report explain their findings in the Conversation.
US president-elect Donald Trump is seeking quick ways to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement on climate change, a source on his transition team has told Reuters. It adds: “Trump’s advisers are considering ways to bypass a theoretical four-year procedure for leaving the accord, according to the source, who works on Trump’s transition team for international energy and climate policy. ‘It was reckless for the Paris agreement to enter into force before the election’ on Tuesday, the source told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity…The source said the future Trump administration is weighing alternatives that could accelerate the pull-out: sending a letter withdrawing from the 1992 international framework accord that is the parent treaty of the Paris Agreement; voiding U.S. involvement in both in a year’s time; or issuing a presidential order simply deleting the U.S. signature from the Paris accord.” Meanwhile, at the UN talks in Marrakech, the Financial Times reports separately that both China and Saudi Arabia have said that they will stick to their Paris Agreement pledges, despite the prospect of Trump’s wrecking ball. The current US administration has been attempting to calm fears. Reuters reports John Kerry saying that the US will “push ahead on climate pact before Trump takes over”. Mary Robinson, a UN climate envoy, says that the US would become a “rogue state” if it abandoned the Paris deal, according to Reuters. Climate Home reports that “US Republicans are expected to axe billions of dollars in climate finance when they take the White House and Congress in January”. In France, Bloomberg reports the views of Nicolas Sarkozy, the former French president who is seeking re-election next year. He says that “Europe must be prepared to respond in kind” with a trade war, if Trump withdraws from the Paris deal.
One of the biggest ever environmental campaigns has been launched by a group of the world’s most eminent scientists and environmentalists in an “emergency” effort to convince Donald Trump that global warming is real before he becomes US President in January. The Independent says that the Sierra Club is mong those now preparing for “arguably the most important campaign ever designed to change the mind of a single individual in modern history”. The Guardian and Observer both carry articles with the views of climate scientists. Meanwhile, in the Guardian, US environment correspondent Oliver Milman sets out “why the media must make climate change a vital issue for President Trump”. Politico has “5 takeaways on what Donald Trump’s win means for climate and energy”.
In a speech at EnergyUK’s annual conference, Greg Clark, the new business and energy secretary, has claimed that fears over intermittent solar and wind power were “overblown” and those who said they would jeopardise Britain’s ability to keep the lights on have been “proved wrong”. The Telegraph says: “His rhetoric is markedly more positive than that of his predecessor Amber Rudd, who used her flagship energy policy speech a year ago to announce plans to make wind and solar generators pay their ‘full costs’.”
The Guardian’s editorial says 20 years of global progress on climate change was “wiped out” by Trump’s victory last week: “Donald Trump is the first self-declared climate denier to lead of one of the world’s biggest emitters…For delegates in Marrakech, the only source of optimism may be their years of experience in holding the [UNFCCC] talks together. But they cannot do it on their own. In the end, it may all come down to scientifically literate Republicans in Congress. They must be the voice of the two-thirds of Americans who understand the link between human activity and global warming – and want to break it.”
Zoe Williams is among a number of UK newspaper columnist who explored the potential impact of a Trump presidency on climate action: “The spectre of climate change, much more influential on the left than on even the sensible right, loomed so large that we – reasonably enough – began to fear the future, at the same time losing confidence in our collective ability to do anything but mess stuff up. The pessimism infected our political language, left it pale and limp. But it didn’t actually halt progress: discoveries were made and solutions found. We have, in likelihood, the technical expertise to halt emissions forever.” Elsewhere, the climate sceptic commentators are full of glee. In the Times, Matt Ridley admits to knowing Myron Ebell, Trump’s notoriously climate sceptic adviser on climate and energy, and says that “if Mr Trump unleashes more gas production, that will cut emissions and drive out coal faster than renewable energy ever could”. Christopher Booker in the Sunday Telegraph simply runs with the headline: “So farewell then, climate change nonsense; plus you get the funeral you deserve.”
The annual effort by scientists to quantify all the major components of the global carbon budget has just been published today. Provisional figures for 2016 suggest emissions from fossil fuels and cement production grew at just 0.2%, compared to the average growth of 1.8 % per year during 2006–2015. Cumulative emissions of CO2 from 1870 are expected to reach 565 ± 55 GtC by the end of 2016. The rate at which CO2 is accumulating in the atmosphere is expected to be higher this year, however, because the strong El Niño meant that land plants took up less CO2.