Climate

Nearly a third of the world’s population is now exposed to climatic conditions that produce deadly heatwaves, as the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere makes it “almost inevitable” that vast areas of the planet will face rising fatalities from high temperatures, new research has found. Climate change has escalated the heatwave risk across the globe, the study states, with nearly half of the world’s population set to suffer periods of deadly heat by the end of the century even if greenhouse gases are radically cut.

Guardian 19th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 20 June 2017

Climate Change

The Bank of England will probe banks’ exposure to climate change as it steps up efforts to tackle what it says are “significant” financial threats posed by global warming. Climate change experts said the BoE’s decision to do an internal review of the banking sector, which the central bank revealed on its website on Friday, marked a first. “This is ground-breaking,” said Ben Caldecott, director of the sustainable finance programme at Oxford University’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. “This is the first time a financial regulator has looked at climate risk in such a comprehensive way and at the banking sector in particular.”

FT 16th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 19 June 2017

Climate

Speaking in London last night, Al Gore said: “I was worried when the president of my country announced he was making an announcement about climate change, that if he hauled the US out of the Paris Agreement other nations would use it as an excuse to follow. There has been no such cascade. Indeed, no-one else has left. What we have seen is increasing support for the agreement from across the world, and within the US expressions of solidarity from American governors, mayors and business. No matter what President Donald Trump says, no-one can stop the energy revolution now.”

Climate News Network 16th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 June 2017

Climate

“Trump cannot put the green genie back into the bottle,” says Colin le Duc, head of research at Generation Investment Management, the $16bn US sustainable investment specialist. But Mr Trump’s rejection of the Paris accord has introduced fresh uncertainty into US energy and environment policies for investors that are already struggling to assess how best to adapt to climate change risks. BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, warned last year that investors and governments have been slow to appreciate the problems related to global warming and cannot continue to ignore the risks of climate change. It re-iterated that position last week after Mr Trump’s announcement. “Politics aside, investors can no longer ignore climate risks and the impact of climate-related regulations and technological advancements on the companies in which they invest,” said Ewen Cameron Watt, a senior director at BlackRock. Walking away from the Paris accord provoked widespread anger among some of the US’s closest allies, including Germany, France, Italy, Canada and Japan. It prompted Ray Dalio, chairman of Bridgewater, the world’s largest hedge fund manager, to express reservations about Mr Trump’s approach to international affairs. “I am concerned about his path. I am especially concerned about the consequences of his pursuing so much conflict,” says Mr Dalio.

FT 15th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 15 June 2017

Climate

Michael Gove has said President Trump was wrong to withdraw from the Paris climate accord and that he would try to persuade him to change his mind. The new environment secretary, who interviewed the US president for The Times in January, said that he would encourage him to think beyond his “America first” policy.

Times 14th June 2017 read more »

Scotsman 13th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 14 June 2017

EDF

Vincent de Rivaz, who spearheaded the development of the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant, is to step down as EDF’s chief executive in Britain later this year. The 63-year-old is to leave at the end of October and be replaced by Simone Rossi, head of the French energy giant’s international division, EDF said yesterday, giving no reason for his departure. Mr de Rivaz has been chief executive of EDF Energy, the group’s UK division, since 2003 and led its predecessor, the London Electricity Group, from 2002. EDF Energy’s operations include its business as one of Britain’s “big six” household suppliers, as well as its existing nuclear power plants and some coal and gas-fired power stations. However, Mr de Rivaz’s career has been defined by his decade-long campaign to build a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point C in Somerset. The £18 billion plant finally received the go-ahead from the government in September despite fierce criticism of its high costs, long construction timescale and reliance on Chinese state nuclear companies. The project was also highly divisive within EDF, prompting the resignation of its group chief financial officer and forcing it to carry out fundraising. Mr de Rivaz was long haunted by his 2007 forecast that Britons would be cooking their Christmas turkeys on nuclear power from Hinkley Point C by 2017. The plant is now not expected to come on line until 2025. The Frenchman cut a divisive figure in the energy industry, frequently infuriating MPs with long and evasive answers during select committee appearances.

Times 13th June 2017 read more »

Telegraph 12th June 2017 read more »

Posted: 13 June 2017

US

Amid the waves of indignation that swept the world in the aftermath of Trump’s announcement on Thursday, another theme has emerged: politicians and executives within America and elsewhere have said they would continue their efforts to cut emissions. Tim Cook, chief executive of Apple, tweeted that the company was “committed to fight climate change and we will never waver”. The iPhone maker last month opened its vast “spaceship” campus in Cupertino, California, which Cook has said will be the greenest building in the world. It was not only the tech giants. Chevron, Nike, General Electric and Goldman Sachs all publicly criticised Trump’s decision. Even ExxonMobil, which for years provided funding to climate sceptic pressure groups and politicians, has argued for staying in the Paris agreement. Last month Exxon shareholders, including the Church of England, approved a resolution requiring the oil giant to publish annual reports on how climate change would affect its business. “I don’t think [Trump’s decision] will make much difference, certainly not for us,” said a European oil executive. The states of California, Washington and New York, which have a combined GDP bigger than Germany’s, proclaimed that they planned to honour the Paris requirements. Jerry Brown, the governor of California, called Trump’s decision “insane”. He was not the only politician to use the occasion to grandstand, especially in Europe. The European Union has rejected Trump’s offer to renegotiate the climate agreement and vowed instead to bypass Washington and work with US business leaders and state governors to keep to the accord’s commitments.

Times 4th June 2017 read more »

Making the American way of life less dirty and wasteful seems an uncontroversial goal, and reducing the fossil fuel consumption of cars, lorries and buildings is the obvious way to go. We should therefore all live in solar-heated apartments near our solar-heated workplaces, recycling all waste products and covering longer distances in electric cars, preferably the safer, driverless variety. Paris asks inland Americans to make sacrifices for coastal Americans. Funnily enough, people in middle America don’t worry much about rising sea levels; they do worry about job losses caused by environmental regulations. Most Americans think global warming is happening (though only 40% think it will harm them). But the states with below-average concern about climate change are the states that voted for Trump. Meanwhile, California and the other liberal st rongholds can go ahead and stick to the Paris agreement if they so choose. I predict they will and that US emissions will continue to fall. Finally, to those who continue credulously to applaud Angela Merkel’s anti-Trump grandstanding, have a think about that increasingly close relationship between Berlin and Beijing. Good luck, Angela, with your pivot to Asia in search of more “reliable” partners. Good luck, Volkswagen – yes, the company that fiddled its engine emissions data – with your new electric car partnership with the state-run Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group. My money’s still on Tesla. President Trump has been much mocked for a sleepy, late-night tweet that introduced to the world the word “covfefe”. I have a message to his virtue-signalling critics. As you press on with your Paris commitments, watch out for flying eggs. And wake up and smell the covfefe. Niall Ferguson is a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford

Times 4th June 2017 read more »

US states accounting for almost 30 per cent of national gross domestic product have pledged to meet the country’s commitments for cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the Paris climate agreement, in defiance of President Donald Trump’s announcement last week that he intends to withdraw from the accord. California, New York, Washington and five other states have said they are committed to cutting emissions by 26-28 per cent from 2005 levels, which was the reduction proposed for the US by Barack Obama in the Paris agreement. The coalition, called the United States Climate Alliance, also pledged to meet or exceed the cuts in carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation envisaged under the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which Mr Trump has promised to scrap.

FT 3rd June 2017 read more »

City leaders of 102 cities across the U.S. have announced they are adopting the Paris Climate Agreement in defiance of President Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the historic accord.

Political Dig 2nd June 2017 read more »

The gas barons had figured that their generators would be complementary, rather than competitive, with intermittent renewables. In recent years, though, in states such as California and Texas, renewables generation has been crushing the power markets on which the gas generators depend. In Texas, tax credit-supported wind generation can be economic even in hours when power prices are negative, ie you have to pay the grid manager to take your energy. In California, ratepayers who install rooftop solar panels receive “net metering”, which means they receive retail power rates for their intermittent production. In effect, during the hours their panels work, the cost of maintaining the transmission and distribution grid, along with the back-up capacity of hydro, nuclear and fossil-fuel plants, is borne by ratepayers who do not have rooftop solar. This did not matter when rooftop solar was just a cute green gadget. Now solar generation in California can lead to rapid swings in net load of up to 16,000MW, or about one-third of the total demand in the state, which is about equal to that of the UK grid. Much of the rooftop and “utility scale” solar generation occurs in the middle of the day, which creates the so-called duck curve, or cat’s ears of net requirements for the grid operator. This means that the very time in the middle of the day when the gas generators were supposed to make money is a time when they are idle, just spinning away without any revenue but with the same requirements for debt service. So they are going broke. As the renewables and gas plant owners fight over generation market share, the distribution utilities and even electricity storage developers are gaining power, so to speak. Because balancing the variations in power load is an increasingly demanding task, state regulators are more willing to allocate revenue to those who can manage the process.

FT 3rd June 2017 read more »

Posted: 4 June 2017

Energy Policy

Theresa May has insisted the UK is committed to the Paris Agreement on climate change as she faced criticism over her response to US withdrawal from the deal.

Scotsman 2nd June 2017 read more »

Nigel Lawson: Decarbonisation is a miserable fantasy which hurts the planet and makes us all poorer. Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement has dealt a hammer blow to an elite consensus which has built up around the issue of climate change. That consensus has placed cutting carbon dioxide emissions above people’s jobs and protecting the environment. With US industry already enjoying a substantial competitive advantage over European firms, this decision will make European climate policies all the more unsustainable. If Britain is to keep up with the rest of the world, it is essential that the next government rethinks energy policy to prioritise competitiveness and affordability.

Telegraph 2nd June 2017 read more »

President Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord is rewriting the global order, forcing Europe into closer relations with China at the expense of the transatlantic alliance, Jean-Claude Juncker warned yesterday. The European Commission president lamented America’s latest retreat from postwar western alliances as he announced a new and unlikely partnership with communist China.

Times 3rd June 2017 read more »

A coalition of American cities and states, led by the economic powerhouse of California, have vowed to resist President Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord. The United States Climate Alliance also includes dozens of US businesses and banks, including Goldman Sachs, which fear being excluded from a green energy revolution that will yield contracts worth billions. As many as 30 states have already pledged to wean themselves off fossil fuels. The Democratic governors of Washington, New York and California plan to negotiate with the United Nations to be recognised as parties to the 195-nation pact — a highly unusual effort that underscored how Mr Trump’s decision has split the US. The three states, which together account for about a fifth of US economic output, said they would stick by the commitment Barack Obama made under the Paris deal in 2015 to reduce emissions by at least 26 per cent from 2005 levels.

Times 3rd June 2017 read more »

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has said he will personally make up the $15m in funding that the United Nations will lose after Donald Trump pulled the US out of the Paris climate accord. The US would have been required to contribute that amount towards efforts to prevent catastrophic climate change under the historic agreement between 195 countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.“Americans are not walking away from the Paris climate agreement,” Mr Bloomberg said on Thursday, according to the Washington Examiner. “Just the opposite – we are forging ahead. Mayors, governors, and business leaders from both political parties are signing on to a statement of support that we will submit to the UN and together, we will reach the emission reduction goals the United States made in Paris in 2015. The billionaire philanthropist added: “Americans will honour and fulfil the Paris agreement by leading from the bottom up — and there isn’t anything Washington can do to stop us.”

Independent 2nd June 2017 read more »

With or without President Donald Trump, the United States will work to address climate change. Not because of the Paris agreement, which is nonbinding. Not because backing out would earn the ire of the other 194 countries that have signed on to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. will work to address climate change because it cares about environmental health and economic stability. American cities have already spent billions of dollars on climate action and have committed themselves to environmental goals that go beyond the Paris agreement commitments. Thirty-five major cities have already set emissions reductions goals of 80 percent or more below 2005 levels, a World Wildlife Fund report found, and 62 cities were on track, as of 2015, to meet or exceed the federal target established in the Paris agreement. As of March, 25 cities have committed to moving toward getting 100 percent of their energy from renewable sources. Most recently, the largely Republican town of Abita Springs, Louisiana, made the commitment. “Transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy is a practical decision we’re making for our environment, our economy, and for what our constituents want in Abita Springs,” Mayor Greg Lemons said in a statement. “Politics has nothing to do with it for me. Clean energy just makes good economic sense.”

Yes Magazine 1st June 2017 read more »

China and Europe pledged on Friday to unite to save what German Chancellor Angela Merkel called “our Mother Earth”, standing firmly against President Donald Trump’s decision to take the United States out of the Paris climate change pact.Trump’s move was “a big mistake”, said Donald Tusk, one of the European Union’s top officials.

Reuters 2nd June 2017 read more »

Global reactions.

Carbon Brief 2nd June 2017 read more »

The European Union has rejected Donald Trump’s offer to renegotiate the Paris climate agreement and pledged instead to bypass Washington to work with US business leaders and state governors to implement the historic accord’s commitments. Less than 24 hours after the US president announced his decision to withdraw from the 2015 agreement and strike a new, less ambitious deal with the rest of the world, Brussels declared its outright refusal to engage in such talks. EU officials will instead cut out the White House to deal directly with the US states and major corporations, many of whom have already pledged to live by the terms forged in Paris. In Britain, Theresa May faced criticism for not signing up to a joint declaration by Germany, France and Italy in opposition to the US move. A Downing Street source defended the prime minister, pointing out that other countries including Japan and Canada had not signed up to the letter either.

Guardian 2nd June 2017 read more »

Captains of industry, corporations and business groups distanced themselves from the White House as many expressed frustration with President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord. The reactions from across the business world – including oil producers, the tech sector and finance – stood apart from Mr Trump’s portrayal of the decision as a needed corrective to rules that could stymie commerce. Tesla founder Elon Musk confirmed he would quit White House advisory councils on business in protest.

Telegraph 2nd June 2017 read more »

Posted: 3 June 2017

Climate

President Donald Trump has announced that the US is withdrawing from the 2015 Paris climate agreement. He said moves to negotiate a new “fair” deal that would not disadvantage US businesses and workers would begin. Mr Trump said during last year’s presidential election campaign that he would take the step to help his country’s oil and coal industries. Opponents say withdrawing from the accord is an abdication of US leadership on a key global challenge. The scale of his opposition, seeing the deal as “a massive redistribution of US wealth to other countries” is a clear indication that he has fully bought into an economic nationalist and climate denier perspective. The question of unfairness cropped up again and again, how the world’s worst polluters, China and India, had “no meaningful obligations” placed on them by the deal. The overall tone and content of his speech clearly plays to his base but is also a clear disavowal of multilateralism, especially on climate change, and will definitely push other countries more closely together on this issue.

BBC 1st June 2017 read more »

Mrs May has been criticised for not signing a joint condemnation from France, Germany, and Italy.

BBC 1st June 2017 read more »

US coal producers welcomed President Trump’s decision on Thursday to pull the US out of the Paris climate deal. Mr Trump cast his move as part of a bigger ‘America first’ agenda, aimed at restoring US jobs in struggling industries. But the move drew criticism from other business executives, who said it would hurt US companies’ ability to work abroad and inhibit innovation.

BBC 1st June 2017 read more »

Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Paris climate deal has been labelled an “international disgrace” by world leaders, US politicians and environmental groups, who all lined-up to decry the President’s announcement.

Independent 2nd June 2017 read more »

Trump said he was open to a “a new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, its taxpayers”. This is make believe. The 2015 Paris Agreement was far from perfect for a variety of different reasons, but the truth is, it was almost certainly the best deal that the US, and the rest of the world, was going to get. It was non-binding, and it did allow different countries to establish their own targets, but crucially, at at time when the evidence of a warming planet is clear for all to see, it was an agreement that involved every nation. Of key importance, China and India, the world largest populations and the first and fourth overall emitters of carbon dioxide respectively, are sticking with the deal hammered out in France, and are on target to easily exceed the targets they set for themselves in the 2015. Moreover, these two countries, China especially, are taking up leadership role, as the US cedes the one it formerly occupied. Indeed, it was Chinese President Xi Jinping who urged world leaders to hold with the Paris agreement, when he spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year.

Independent 2nd June 2017 read more »

Elon Musk has said he is leaving Donald Trump’s advisory council over the President’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate accords. The Tesla and SpaceX founder tweeted: “Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.” He had threatened to depart the economic advisory role if his advice on climate change was ignored.

Independent 1st June 2017 read more »

Staying in the pact would result in a “massive redistribution of US wealth to other countries”, Mr Trump said. “We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us any more.” He argued that the accord would cut trillions of dollars from American output and cost 2.7 million US jobs by 2025. White House advisers believe other signatories, including China, are fiddling their emissions figures and that climate change warnings are “alarmist”. The agreement aims to prevent average global temperatures rising more than 2C over pre-industrial levels, with each country setting its own emissions targets. Barack Obama, who signed the Paris accord last year, said Mr Trump was “rejecting the future”. Theresa May told Mr Trump last night that the accord “provides the right global framework for protecting the prosperity and security of future generations”.

Times 2nd June 2017 read more »

China and the European Union will announce a new joint commitment to combat global warming today, making a clear break from President Trump after he withdrew the United States from the Paris climate accord. Critics said that Mr Trump’s promise to revive the coal industry could not be fulfilled. He was surrendering America’s leadership role on the world stage, they added – and China would step in. Nigel Purvis, a US climate negotiator under President Clinton, said: “Trump just handed the 21st century to China. It’s an opportunity for China to rebrand itself as the global leader.” Mr Trump went against the advice of Rex Tillerson, his secretary of state; Gary Cohn, his chief economic adviser; his daughter, Ivanka; and the Pope. Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple, had called the White House on Wednesday to urge the president to rethink. Elon Musk, the Silicon Vally billionaire who leads Tesla, the electric car company, said that he would leave the two White House councils on which he served as an adviser. “Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world,” Mr Musk said. “If I were a Chinese policymaker I’d be baffled as to why Trump had offered us an open goal,” said John Ashton, who spent years negotiating with China as the Foreign Office’s special envoy for climate change. Other countries may respond by redoubling thei r commitment to the accord, as China and Europe are doing, or by seeking to water down their pledges, as some fear that developing giants such as India and Brazil will do.

Times 2nd June 2017 read more »

European leaders dismissed Donald Trump’s claim that the Paris climate accord can be renegotiated after the US president announced he will pull out of the deal struck in 2015 to seek better terms. Shortly after Trump’s announcement the leaders of France, Germany and Italy released a joint statement rejecting Trump’s assertion that the climate deal can be redrafted. “We deem the momentum generated in Paris in December 2015 irreversible and we firmly believe that the Paris Agreement cannot be renegotiated, since it is a vital instrument for our planet, societies and economies,” said chancellor Angela Merkel, president Emmanuel Macron and prime minister Paolo Gentiloni.

Guardian 1st June 2017 read more »

What does the Paris agreement require the US to do? The main obligation for all countries that have joined the Paris agreement is to submit a plan every five years on how they intend to deal with climate change. Countries have already come up with their initial plans and the US blueprint that the Obama administration submitted has a goal to cut the country’s climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28 per cent by 2025 from what levels were in 2005. The accord also requires rich countries to provide financing for developing countries in line with their existing obligations under the parent treaty of the Paris accord, the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. There is no strict timeline for when money needs to be handed over and experts say the US has already met this requirement because after it joined the Paris agreement, the Obama administration put $500m into a green climate fund set up to channel funds to poorer nations. Mr Trump’s suggestion the accord could be renegotiated provoked some bafflement as it is a voluntary deal that includes no enforcement mechanism. “It’s a sham. There is no process for it. He’s laid out no criteria,” said David Doniger of the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group. Some suggested Mr Trump could tell China and India he would stay in the deal if they increased their emissions cuts while he scaled back the US’s own targets. But Mr Doniger said: “Why would China bargain with the US? It’s bargaining in bad faith by the United States.” Christiana Figueres, the former UN climate official who helped seal the Paris deal, said: “I have a hard time imagining how any country would be willing to let the United States off the hook.” Climate lawyers were also left puzzled on Thursday. Mr Trump appeared to be making a “de facto withdrawal”, said Sue Biniaz, a former legal adviser in the State Department who worked on UN climate negotiations for nearly 30 years and helped draft the Paris Agreement. She added: “He is leaving the door ajar t o re-enter.” Dan Bodansky, another legal expert on the Paris agreement, said: “So long as [the US] is a party, it has an obligation under international law to perform the agreement in good faith.” In a letter to the president in April congressman Kevin Cramer, a former Trump adviser, highlighted several other changes he said the US could push for, including tying emissions targets to a range of economic scenarios and boosting support for new fossil fuel technology.

FT 2nd June 2017 read more »

Although President Donald Trump has presented his energy policy decisions as being focused on creating jobs, the solar and wind industries that could be threatened by leaving the Paris accord employ many more people than the coal industry that is likely to be the principal beneficiary. About 374,000 people spend at least some of their time working in the solar power industry, with 260,000 of those working there more than half the time, according to a study published by the Department of Energy in the final days of Barack Obama’s administration. A further 102,000 work in wind power. Together that is almost three times the 160,000 people employed in the coal industry, with about 86,000 of those at coal-fired power plants and 74,000 in coal mining and distribution. The number employed in coal mining has dropped from about 89,000 at the start of 2012 to about 50,500 in April, following a slight bump of about 1,000 over the past year. Solar power is so labour-intensive in part because the rapid growth of the industry has created a lot of construction jobs installing systems. About 37 per cent of US solar jobs are in construction, with about 27 per cent in wholesaling. Only about 19 per cent of US solar jobs are in manufacturing, and the industry has been heavily reliant on low-cost imported panels, mostly from China, Malaysia and Korea, to enable it to compete against fossil fuel generation.

FT 1st June 2017 read more »

President Donald Trump announced Thursday that the United States would abandon the Paris climate agreement, but his justification for withdrawing was rooted in a false economic claim. Trump claimed that U.S. commitments under the Paris accord would cost the country’s GDP $3 trillion, but the report he took that estimate from “does not take into account potential benefits from avoided emissions.”

Renew Economy 2nd June 2017 read more »

Posted: 2 June 2017

Climate

President Donald Trump has privately told “confidants” he intends to leave the Paris accord on climate change, “according to three sources with direct knowledge,” Axios reported Saturday.

Think Progress 28th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 30 May 2017