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Today's climate and energy headlines
DAILY BRIEFING World leaders ‘have moral obligation to act’ after UN climate report
World leaders ‘have moral obligation to act’ after UN climate report


World leaders 'have moral obligation to act' after UN climate report

There is continued coverage of the IPCC special report on 1.5C and its implications for policymakers in the international press today. The Guardian reports that “world leaders have been told they have moral obligation to ramp up their action on the climate crisis in the wake” of the report. It adds, however, that the “the muted response by Britain, Australia and other governments highlights the immense political challenges facing adoption of pathways to the relatively safe limit of 1.5C”. Separately, the Guardian runs two news stories exploring what the 1.5C says about solar geoengineering – a term used to describe a set of untested technologies that could lower global warming by reflecting sunlight away from the Earth – and the report’s take on tipping points – a term used to describe thresholds in the Earth’s system “that, if passed, could send the Earth into a spiral of runaway climate change”. A third article in the Guardian explores a “little-noticed treaty could help delay climate catastrophe”. The Times reports that “households may face higher energy bills under proposals being considered by the government to meet a far tougher greenhouse gas emissions reduction target” following the IPCC report’s release. The Daily Mail says implementing the actions necessary to curb dangerous climate change “will cost the world £1.8trillion every year for the next two decade”. “But the cost of doing nothing will also be substantial,” it notes. A separate article on MailOnline takes a deep look at the report’s findings. BBC News carries a video packing exploring how 1.5C of warming could change the world. DeSmogUK reports that the IPCC’s findings have led to a new wave of criticism of the UK government over its support of fracking. Meanwhile, Press Association reports that the Scottish Government will seek fresh independent advice on its climate change targets in the wake of the IPCC report. In contrast, Australia’s politicians have “rejected the report’s call to phase out coal power by 2050, claiming renewable energy cannot replace baseload coal power,” the Guardian reports. The Daily Express reports on how climate sceptic Piers Corbyn “clashed” with Professor Stuart Haszeldine, a scientist from the University of Edinburgh, live on Nick Ferrari’s LBC show. Carbon Brief publishes a detailed explainer on the new report.

The Guardian Read Article
Director-general Tony Hall says BBC will not start airing ‘one-sided arguments’ despite being slammed for not challenging Nigel Lawson's false claims over climate change

The Daily Mail reports that Tony Hall, the BBC’s director-general, has said the broadcaster will not silence voices that are considered to be “beyond the pale”. He told the Society of Editors yesterday: ‘Our impartiality does not mean we strike some sort of false balance, but that we reflect all contributions to a debate. So no equivalence between the climate change sceptic and the overwhelming consensus of scientific opinion. But no exclusion of viewpoints because they’re generally felt to be beyond the pale.” Last night, BBC2’s current affairs show Newsnight featured a controversial US climate sceptic and Trump-supporting lobbyist called Myron Ebell, which drew sharp criticism on social media, leading to the editor of the show tweeting her defence. Carbon Brief recently broke the exclusive news that the BBC has now circulated guidelines to all its editorial staff on how to report climate change.

Daily Mail Read Article
Economists win Nobel for work on climate and growth

This year’s Nobel prize for economics has been awarded to William Nordhaus and Paul Romer for their work on how climate change and technology have affected the economy. The Guardian reports that Nordhaus first made his name by warning policymakers in the 1970s that their economic models were not properly taking account of the impact of climate change. He was also an early advocate for a global price on carbon, saying “the most efficient remedy for the problems caused by greenhouse gas emissions would be a global scheme of carbon taxes that are uniformly imposed on all countries,” according to the New York Times. His words were echoed in the newly released IPCC report, which says “that putting a price on carbon dioxide emissions would be central for getting global warming under control,” the New York Times notes. The Financial TimesDaily Telegraph and Reuters also have the story. Bloomberg carries an editorial praising the decision to honour Nordhaus and Romer. “In recognizing Nordhaus and Romer, the Nobel committee has rewarded economics as it should be done. Study the evidence, employ it to build testable theories of how the world works, then use them to inform actual policy — and always be ready to change theories that don’t match the facts,” it says.

BBC News Read Article


The Guardian view on climate change: a global emergency

The Guardian is one of several UK newspapers publishing an editorial in the wake of the release of the IPCC report. It says: “Climate change is an existential threat to the human race. This may seem an absurd or alarmist statement, since we have been conditioned by unparalleled growth to expect that there are no catastrophes that are insurmountable. But the threat is real.” The Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror also carry editorials. The Daily Mail says: “No one is more passionate than the Mail about protecting the planet for our children and grandchildren. And we are far from blind to the potential threat caused by climate change.” The Guardian also carries several opinion articles in the wake of the report. Among these is a piece by Christina Figueres, who was head of the UN’s climate body for six years, including during the 2015 Paris Agreement. The Guardian also carries comment pieces by Dana NuccitelliBob Ward and Zoe Williams, as well as a cartoon by Martin Rowson. Elsewhere, a feature in the Guardian explains what you can do if you are “overwhelmed by climate change”. An article in the Tablet describes 1.5C as a “theological threshold”. Matt McGrath at BBC News has “five things we have learned from the IPCC report”, including that it “is the most significant warning about the impact of climate change in 20 years” and the BBC News also has a video of “five things we can do to help prevent global temperatures rising more than 1.5C”. Will Gore, the executive editor of the Independent writes that “we may not be able to hold back the tide – and at present the outlook looks pretty bleak: but for goodness sake let’s at least try”. In a blog post, Mike Thompson, the head of carbon budgets at the Committee on Climate Change, writes that they are awaiting the UK government’s formal request for advice on long-term emissions targets in light of the report. There are still questions around how achievable the 1.5C limit is, Thompson says, but the report “gives us a good deal more evidence to consider”. Buzzfeed and Time also react to the report.

Editorial, The Guardian Read Article


Mountain snowpack response to different levels of warming

The mountain snowpack of the Sierra Nevada in the US is likely to shrink and retreat to higher altitudes as the climate warms, a new study says. The researchers project that the likelihood of the “snow water equivalent” (SWE) of the snowpack in April exceeding the long-term average will decline by 31% and 41% with winter warming of 1.5C and 2C, respectively. It also becomes 79% and 90% more likely that the snowpack will be higher than the long-term average for those respective temperature changes, the study notes.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Read Article
The impact of global warming on sea surface temperature based El Niño–Southern Oscillation monitoring indices

One of the ways that scientists identify El Niño and La Niña events is by unusually warm or cold sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in tropical Pacific Ocean. But as global temperatures rise, warming SSTs may affect how representative these indicators are, a new paper says. The researchers propose a new method that classifies events after removing the long-term warming trend from SST record. Reclassifying El Niño and La Niña events since 1976, the researchers say their approach “aligns well” with other indicators.

International Journal of Climatology Read Article
Public acceptance of resource-efficiency strategies to mitigate climate change

There is broad public support for “resource-efficient” strategies that reduce demand for common household goods, such as cars, clothing, electronics, appliances and furniture, a new study suggests. Using consumption-based emissions modelling and workshops with the public, the researchers show that “acceptability is already high for strategies that aim to develop more resource-efficient products”. Following such strategies could reduce the carbon footprint in the UK by up to 29bn tonnes of CO2-equivalent, the study finds.

Nature Climate Change Read Article


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