Climate

Planting forests and other activities that harness the power of nature could play a major role in limiting global warming under the 2015 Paris agreement, an international study showed on Monday. Natural climate solutions, also including protection of carbon-storing peatlands and better management of soils and grasslands, could account for 37% of all actions needed by 2030 under the 195-nation Paris plan, it said. Combined, the suggested “regreening of the planet” would be equivalent to halting all burning of oil worldwide, it said.

Guardian 17th Oct 2017 read more »

Posted: 18 October 2017

Climate

Activists from Friends of the Earth Scotland inflated a huge two metre in diameter globe outside The Scottish Government headquarters at St Andrew’s House in Edinburgh today, to highlight the emergency of climate change, and to urge greater action from The Scottish Government. The globe was created using NASA heat maps that show average temperature rises across the planet. The campaigners were taking part in an International Day of Action featuring activities from over 30 grassroots across six continents. Friends of the Earth Scotland Director Dr Richard Dixon said “We’re here to raise the alarm on the climate emergency. 2017 has seen a succession of devastating hurricanes and cyclones, floods in South Asia, wildfires raging around the world and ice shelf collapses. With temperature records repeatedly broken the planet is sending is a very clear message that we are in a climate emergency. These record-breaking disasters come at only one degree of warming so far. “Without greater ambition from advanced nations including Scotland, we will see devastating impacts on hundreds of millions of people around the world, put our ability to grow enough food at risk, increase political instability and wipe out many thousands of plant and animal species. To put it simply, the lives and livelihoods of millions depend upon rich nations cutting emissions as soon as possible.”

Edinburgh Reporter 13th Oct 2017 read more »

Posted: 14 October 2017

Climate

You might not have heard of Paul Hawken, but a new book he has edited could yet help save the world. It is called Drawdown and its subtitle is The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming.

Herald 8th Oct 2017 read more »

Posted: 8 October 2017

Climate

Carbon emissions from agriculture can be significantly cut while still meeting the food demands of the world’s growing population, a new study says. Agriculture and food production is responsible for around 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Slashing the sector’s emissions is considered to be key to limiting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, which is the aspirational target of the Paris Accord.

Carbon Brief 2nd Oct 2017 read more »

Posted: 2 October 2017

Climate

A study released today finds that global methane emissions from agriculture are much larger than previous estimates have suggested. Revised calculations find that methane emissions from livestock in 2011 were 11% higher than modelled estimates based on data produced in 2006 by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC). In response, media outlets including the BBC Radio 4 Today programme and Agence France-Presse (AFP) released reports suggesting that the findings could mean that it will be harder for countries to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement. Carbon Brief spoke to the authors of the new study, as well as scientists from the Priestley International Centre for Climate at the University of Leeds, and asked them to analyse these claims.

Carbon Brief 29th Sept 2017 read more »

Posted: 30 September 2017

Climate

The world’s tropical forests are so degraded they have become a source rather than a sink of carbon emissions, according to a new study that highlights the urgent need to protect and restore the Amazon and similar regions. Researchers found that forest areas in South America, Africa and Asia – which have until recently played a key role in absorbing greenhouse gases – are now releasing 425 teragrams of carbon annually, which is more than all the traffic in the United States.

Guardian 28th Sept 2017 read more »

Carbon Brief 28th Sept 2017 read more »

As soon as Donald Trump won the presidential election, people in the US and around the world knew it was terrible news for the environment. Not wanting to believe that he would try to follow through on our worst fears, we held out hope. Those hopes for a sane US federal government were misplaced. But they are replaced by a new hope – an emerging climate leadership at the state level and a continuation of economic forces that favor clean/renewable energy over dirty fossil fuels. In fact, it appears that some states are relishing the national and international leadership roles that they have undertaken. Support for sensible climate and energy policies is now a topic to run on in elections.

Guardian 28th Sept 2017 read more »

Posted: 29 September 2017

Climate

Ministers should face legal action unless they agree to cut greenhouse gases in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, a former chief government scientist has said. The UK currently has a legally binding target to reduce emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, even though they must be brought down to net zero by that date to meet the country’s international obligations. Last year, the then Environment Secretary, Andrea Leadsom, said the UK would achieve a 100 per cent cut, but ministers have failed to make this tougher target a binding one under the UK Climate Change Act. Speaking to the BBC, Professor Sir David King said this was “crazy”, adding that he backed campaign group Plan B’s threat to take the Government to court over the issue. “The Government knows very well what needs to be done – but it isn’t doing it,” he said. “If it takes legal action to force ministers to behave properly, then so be it – I’ll support it.”

Independent 27th Sept 2017 read more »

Global emissions of climate-warming carbon dioxide remained static in 2016, a welcome sign that the world is making at least some progress in the battle against global warming by halting the long-term rising trend. All of the world’s biggest emitting nations, except India, saw falling or static carbon emissions due to less coal burning and increasing renewable energy, according to data published on Thursday by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (NEAA). However other mainly developing nations, including Indonesia, still have rising rates of CO2 emissions. Stalled global emissions still means huge amounts of CO2 are being added to the atmosphere every year – more than 35bn tonnes in 2016 – driving up global temperatures and increasing the risk of damaging, extreme weather. Furthermore, other heat-trapping greenhouse gases, mainly methane from cattle and leaks from oil and gas exploration, are still rising and went up by 1% in 2016.

Guardian 28th Sept 2017 read more »

Posted: 28 September 2017

Climate

A study from construction firm AECOM and Cambridge Econometrics on behalf of WWF has examined the potential impact of environmental damage on the UK economy in a business-as-usual scenario. It claims that 354,000 jobs may be lost without action to protect UK water supplies, while increased extreme weather events such as floods, heatwaves and wildfires could result in a 0.9% fall in GDP. Too little is being done by the public and private sector to prepare for these risks, campaigners warn.

Edie 26th Sept 2017 read more »

Ministers should tighten the UK’s official climate change target – or face the courts, the government’s former chief scientist has said. Prof Sir David King is supporting a legal case forcing ministers to shrink carbon emissions to zero by 2050. He says the current government goal – an 80% emissions cut by the same date – is too weak to protect the climate. Ministers have promised more ambitious climate policies in their forthcoming and long-delayed Clean Growth plan. But Prof King told BBC News the government knew the 80% target cut behind that plan was too weak.

BBC 27th Sept 2017 read more »

Posted: 27 September 2017

Climate

There has been a bit of excitement and confusion this week about a new paper in Nature Geoscience, claiming that we can still limit global warming to below 1.5 °C above preindustrial temperatures, whilst emitting another ~800 Gigatons of carbon dioxide. That’s much more than previously thought, so how come? And while that sounds like very welcome good news, is it true? Here’s the key points.

Real Climate 22nd May 2017 read more »

Floods, droughts and heatwaves could cost the economy tens of billions of pounds and hundreds of thousands of jobs by 2050, according to a new report commissioned by conservation charity WWF. A “natural capital” stress test found that flooding in 2050 on a similar scale to the winter of 2013/14 would affect more than twice as many homes if current policies – such as allowing construction on flood plains – continued. The process is based on stress tests used in the financial sector to try to work out the future health of a company, such as a bank, in the event of an economic crisis. WWF said there were some “major environmental challenges” on the way, so it made sense to try to “future-proof” the economy.

Independent 25th Sept 2017 read more »

Posted: 25 September 2017

Climate

A lot of work has been done since to understand why climate change is so uniquely paralysing, most prominently by George Marshall, author of the book Don’t Even Think About It. Marshall describes climate change as “a perfect and undetectable crime everyone contributes to but for which no one has a motive”. Climate change is both too near and too far for us to be able to internalise: too near because we make it worse with every minute act of our daily lives; too far because until now it has been something that affects foreign people in foreign countries, or future versions of ourselves that we can only conceive of ephemerally. It is also too massive. The truth is if we don’t take action on climate change now, the food shortages, mass migration and political turmoil it will cause could see the collapse of civilisation in our lifetimes. Which of us can live with that knowledge? It’s not surprising, then, that some years ago climate activists switched to a message of optimism. But the message of optimism has done is create a giant canyon between the reality of climate change and most people’s perception of it. An optimistic message has led to complacency – “people are saying it’s doable so it will probably be fine” – and championing success stories has convinced people that the pathetic, threadbare action taken by governments so far is sufficient. I’ve lost count of the sheer number of politically engaged, conscientious people I’ve met who have simply no idea how high the stakes are. Could the language of emergency work? It has never been tried with as much meteorological evidence as we have now, and we’ve never had a target as clear and unanimous as the one agreed in Paris. The one thing I know is that the events of the last few months have changed the game, and this is the moment to start debating a new way to talk about climate change. It may be that if the time for a mass movement is not now, there won’t be one.

Guardian 21st Sept 2017 read more »

Experts have warned that we must move much more quickly towards a low-carbon world, if we are to have any chance of limiting global warming to 2oC this century. Changes in electricity, heat, buildings, industry and transport are needed rapidly and must happen all together, according to researchers at the universities of Manchester, Sussex and Oxford in a new study published in the journal ‘Science’. “Current rates of change are simply not enough. We need to accelerate transitions, deepen their speed and broaden their reach. Otherwise there can be no hope of reaching a 2 degree target, let alone 1.5 degrees. This piece reveals that the acceleration of transitions across the sociotechnical systems of electricity, heat, buildings, manufacturing, and transport requires new approaches, analyses and research methods.”

Scotland B2B 21st Sept 2017 read more »

Posted: 22 September 2017