Climate

An Antarctic ice sheet found to be less resistant to warming temperatures than previously thought could raise sea levels by as much as five metres if it melts, scientists have warned. Ice sheets in Greenland and West Antarctica were known to be shrinking but the East Antarctic was thought to be far more stable. However, in a new paper published in the journal Nature, a research team found the East Antarctic ice sheet has actually been sensitive to climate change for millions of years. This instability could mean the ice sheet is more susceptible to current global warming than previously thought. Alarmingly, the sheet contains enough frozen water to engulf the world’s coastal cities, if it ever melted.

Independent 14th Dec 2017 read more »

Climate change in the Arctic has “outrun” a computer designed to measure it. So rapid was the temperature change at a weather station in Alaska, the computer analysing the data detected an error and stopped recording the correct temperature. In a blog post, US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) climate scientist Dr Deke Arndt explained the recent incident, referring to it as “an ironic exclamation point to swift regional climate change in and near the Arctic”.

Independent 14th Dec 2017 read more »

Posted: 15 December 2017

Climate

The extent of the human contribution to modern global warming is a hotly debated topic in political circles, particularly in the US. During a recent congressional hearing, Rick Perry, the US energy secretary, remarked that “to stand up and say that 100% of global warming is because of human activity, I think on its face, is just indefensible”. However, the science on the human contribution to modern warming is quite clear. Humans emissions and activities have caused around 100% of the warming observed since 1950, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) fifth assessment report.

Carbon Brief 13th Dec 2017 read more »

Posted: 14 December 2017

Climate

The world is losing the battle to curtail global warming, President Macron told more than 50 heads of state in Paris yesterday. “We are not going fast enough and that is dramatic,” Mr Macron said at the One Planet Summit, which he convened to accelerate implementation of the 2015 Paris agreement. The agreement to prevent global temperatures rising by more than 2C by 2100 was hailed as a breakthrough at the time, but has since been weakened by President Trump’s decision to walk away from the deal. “International commitments place us on a trajectory of global warming of 3.5C,” Mr Macron said. “We are therefore a long way from the objective of the Paris agreement. Without . . . a shock in our own means of production and development, we will not manage it.”

Times 13th Dec 2017 read more »

FT 12th Dec 2017 read more »

The devastating impact of climate change in the polar regions has been confirmed by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) annual Arctic Report Card. Authors from the American scientific agency concluded that 2017 was not a record-breaking year in terms of climate extremes, there was still evidence that the Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the global average. The widespread environmental changes that arise as a result of this warming are beginning to define “an emerging new normal” in the region, the report said. The year saw close to the warmest air temperatures ever recorded – second only to last year’s.

Independent 12th Dec 2017 read more »

Guardian 12th Dec 2017 read more »

French President Emmanuel Macron plans to award multi-year grants for several US-based scientists to relocate to France, his office said on Monday on the eve of a climate summit hosted by the President to raise finances to counter global warming. Macron unveiled the “Make our Planet Great Again” grants after President Donald Trump in June said he was pulling the United States out of an international accord to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that was brokered in Paris in 2015. Macron repeatedly tried to persuade the US leader to reverse his decision. In a statement, the Elysee Palace said 13 of the initial 18 grants will be awarded to scientists based in the United States.

Independent 12th Dec 2017 read more »

The Paris agreement on climate change, ratified by world governments a year ago, has failed to ensure major investors are moving away from fossil fuels with the urgency required to safeguard the planet, civil society groups have said. Large companies, investors and national and local governments met in Paris on Tuesday to celebrate the second anniversary of the signing of the landmark 2015 agreement, which bound nearly all developed and developing countries for the first time to keep global temperatures below 2C, the threshold scientists regard as the limit of safety. Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, arranged the One Planet conference to bring together governments, businesses and others to help find ways to meet the Paris goals. It followed a meeting of governments in Bonn, Germany, last month under the auspices of the UN, aimed at fleshing out the technicalities of the Paris agreement. Nearly 200 civil society organisations, from nearly 60 countries, called on governments at the meeting to end subsidies and public finance for fossil fuels, and for the World Bank to end fossil fuel finance. The signatories included Greenpeace, the Climate Action Network, WWF, Christian Aid and Oil Change International. A group of economists including Jeffrey Sachs and Yanis Varoufak is also called for no more to be spent on fossil fuels, while more than 50 companies including Adidas, Alliance, H&M and Philips signed another declaration calling for the polluting fuels to be phased out. But green campaigners were concerned that the measures announced at the conference were insufficient to drive forward the Paris agreement goals.

Guardian 12th Dec 2017 read more »

More than 50 global companies including Unilever, M&S and Adidas have called on nations meeting in Paris to discuss climate progress, to phase-out fossil fuel subsidies by 2025 and create the framework to limit global warming increases to well below 2C.

Edie 12th Dec 2017 read more »

Posted: 13 December 2017

Climate

Emmanuel Macron, French president, will on Tuesday host dozens of world leaders along with companies and campaign groups at a summit in Paris aimed at bolstering the fight against climate change. Two years after rallying the world behind the Paris accord to limit greenhouse gas emissions, France is again seeking to take the lead on climate talks as the US steps back from UN-orchestrated efforts to prevent dangerous global warming.

FT 12th Dec 2017 read more »

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have united in a call to end investment in fossil fuels. On the eve of an international summit on climate finance, the two leaders join a long list of MPs calling for divestment from oil, coal and gas companies. A cross-party group of more than 100 MPs and former MPs are demanding the £612 million Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund stop investing in fossil fuels. The pledge calls for the “phasing out of fossil fuel investments over an appropriate time-scale”. The announcement of Blackford and Corbyn’s decision comes as fifty heads of state, including UK Prime Minister Theresa May, arrive in Paris for an international summit on climate change and climate finance, hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron.

The National 12th Dec 2017 read more »

Theresa May has declared that tackling climate change and reducing its effects on poorer countries is a “moral imperative”, as the Conservative party renewed its push to portray itself as environmentally friendly. The prime minister set out her commitment to dealing with climate change in an article for the Guardian, echoing David Cameron’s 2005 efforts to show the Tories cared about global warming. Ahead of this week’s climate change summit in Paris, May said: “There is a clear moral imperative for developed economies like the UK to help those around the world who stand to lose most from the consequences of manmade climate change.” She described coal as “one of the dirtiest and most destructive ways of generating power” and hailed the “enormous commercial opportunity which the shift to cleaner forms of energy represents”. May’s commitment to the issue of climate change was questioned when she abolished the Department for Energy and Climate Change shortly after taking office last year. Later, her appointee as environment secretary, Andrea Leadsom, had to ask officials whether climate change was real. However, the prime minister insists “tackling climate change and mitigating its effects for the world’s poorest are amongst the most critical challenges the world faces”. At the summit she will announce a £140m boost to funding for poorer communities affected by climate change through deforestation or vulnerability to natural disasters and extreme weather, plus £15m of additional support for reconstruction on Dominica in the Caribbean, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria in September.

Guardian 12th Sept 2017 read more »

Theresa May: Tackling climate change and mitigating its effects for the world’s poorest are among the most critical challenges the world faces. That is why I will join other world leaders gathering in Paris today for the One Planet Summit. There is a clear moral imperative for developed economies such as the UK to help those around the world who stand to lose most from the consequences of manmade climate change. But by putting the UK at the forefront of efforts to cut carbon emissions and develop clean energy, we can also make the most of new economic opportunities. And by taking action to create a secure natural environment, we are fulfilling a duty we owe to the next generation.

Guardian 12th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 12 December 2017

Carbon Footprint

Building solar, wind or nuclear plants creates an insignificant carbon footprint compared with savings from avoiding fossil fuels, a new study suggests. The research, published in Nature Energy, measures the full lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of a range of sources of electricity out to 2050. It shows that the carbon footprint of solar, wind and nuclear power are many times lower than coal or gas with carbon capture and storage (CCS). This remains true after accounting for emissions during manufacture, construction and fuel supply. Nuclear power is twice as good as coal, with the energy embedded in the power plant and fuel offsetting 5% of its output, equivalent to an EROI of 20:1. Wind and solar perform even better, at 2% and 4% respectively, equivalent to EROIs of 44:1 and 26:1.

Carbon Brief 8th Dec 2017 read more »

Posted: 9 December 2017

Climate

Current predictions of climate change may significantly underestimate the speed and severity of global warming, according to a new study. Reappraisal of the models climate scientists use to determine future warming has revealed that less optimistic estimates are more realistic. The results suggest that the Paris Climate Agreement, which aims to keep global average temperatures from rising by 2C, may be overly ambitious. “Our study indicates that if emissions follow a commonly used business-as-usual scenario, there is a 93 per cent chance that global warming will exceed 4C by the end of this century,” said Dr Ken Caldeira, an atmospheric scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science, who co-authored the new study. This likelihood is an increase on past estimates, which placed it at 62 per cent.

Independent 6th Dec 2017 read more »

Posted: 7 December 2017

Climate

Dr Bill Hare is the co-founder and CEO of Climate Analytics, an international non-profit climate science and policy institute based in Germany. He is a physicist with three decades of experience in the science, impacts and policy responses to climate change and stratospheric ozone depletion. Hare was also a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report and has advised ministers from the Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries at the UNFCCC climate negotiations. I think nuclear is too slow. You look at the modelling assessments of nuclear and most of them indicate that it’s too slow to be introduced, apart from all the safety and other issues, concerns about nuclear, to actually play a significant role in the 1.5C transition. Natural gas is a technology that will need to be deployed as part of a transitional framework, 10-15 years might be the timescale, actually. It might not have the same market potential as the natural gas industry hopes. If you look at the scientific assessments that have been done of this, there are few technical obstacles to being able to run 100% renewable systems. There are important transitional challenges.

Carbon Brief 1st Dec 2017 read more »

Posted: 2 December 2017

Climate

Carbon Brief covers all the COP23 summit’s key outcomes and talking points.

Carbon Brief 19th Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 20 November 2017

Climate

UN climate talks in Bonn have concluded with progress on technical issues, but with bigger questions about cutting carbon unresolved. Delegates say they are pleased that the rulebook for the Paris climate agreement is finally coming together. But these technical discussions took place against the backdrop of a larger battle about coal, oil and gas. It means that next year’s conference in Poland is set for a major showdown on the future of fossil fuels. This meeting, known as COP23, was tasked with clarifying complex operational issues around the workings of the Paris climate agreement. One of the most important elements was the development of a process that would help countries to review and ratchet up their commitments to cut carbon. Fiji, holding the presidency of this meeting, proposed what’s being called the Tala noa Dialogue. Over the next year, a series of discussions will take place to help countries look at the promises they have made under the Paris pact.

BBC 18th Nov 2017 read more »

Guardian 17th Nov 2017 read more »

The large coalition of US cities and state s backing climate action – which as a group represents the third-largest economy in the world – stole the American show, with the California governor, Jerry Brown, popping up everywhere, pumping up the crowds. The multi-nation pledge to phase out coal use was the political high point, but the dragging on of the coalition talks in Germany prevented Angela Merkel from potentially joining the party. The politics is key: UN climate talks run on consensus, with no votes, so trust and momentum are vital and were preserved in Bonn. But the summit was like a dress rehearsal for next year, when the Paris rulebook has to be finalised and poorer and vulnerable nations will demand much more action and funding from the rich countries they blame for climate change. Further gatherings in Paris in December and California next year will also help prepare the stage for the 2018 UN climate summit. That will be in Silesia, a heartland of Europe’s King Coal, Poland, which has alre ady started feeling the international pressure to clean up its act. If that summit achieves its goals – accelerating carbon cuts – then the curtain will have been raised on the clean, green 21st century, against a backdrop of the mines and power plants of the 20th century.

Guardian 17th Nov 2017 read more »

One of the fathers of climate science is calling for a wave of lawsuits against governments and fossil fuel companies that are delaying action on what he describes as the growing, mortal threat of global warming. Former Nasa scientist James Hansen says the litigate-to-mitigate campaign is needed alongside political mobilisation because judges are less likely than politicians to be in the pocket of oil, coal and gas companies. “The judiciary is the branch of government in the US and other countries that is relatively free of bribery. And bribery is exactly what is going on,” he told the Guardian on the sidelines of the UN climate talks in Bonn.

Guardian 17th Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 18 November 2017

Climate

Ministers from governments around the world meeting in Bonn for the final days of the UN climate talks must prove they can pass “the Trump test” by moving on without the US on issues crucial to combating global warming, a leading climate economist has said. “It’s about getting on with it,” Lord Nicholas Stern told the Guardian. “They have to get on with it. But there are good signs.” He said the recent meeting of the International Monetary Fund had proved countries were prepared to pass the test. “[We will have] the absence of the US for a little bit, but the determination at that meeting was striking. There is a dete rmination to get on with things come what may.”

Guardian 16th Nov 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 November 2017