Climate

To limit global warming in 2100 to below 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, many scientists assume that the large-scale use of negative emissions in the latter half of the 21st century will be needed. Negative emissions “suck” CO2 out of the atmosphere, allowing a more gradual reduction of emissions in the near-term. Integrated assessment models (IAMs) that generate energy and emission pathways to limit warming to 1.5C have generally relied on large amounts of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) to provide the required negative emissions. Many deploy BECCS on a massive scale, allocating a land area up to five times the size of India to growing the biomass needed by 2100. Criticism of model reliance on BECCS has led researchers to examine the potential of “natural climate solutions” (NCS) to remove CO2 in the atmosphere through reforestation, land-use change and other ecosystem-based approaches. Here, Carbon Brief uses the recently published review of NCS to examine how big a role they could play in contributing to negative emissions. This analysis shows that NCS could provide a sizable portion of the required emissions and reduce the need for BECCS in pathways limiting warming to below 1.5C, particularly when coupled with faster emissions reductions over the next few decades.

Carbon Brief 21st May 2018 read more »

With world temperature rise already 1°C above pre-industrial levels, new research shows that there is only a 0.5°C safety margin left in the system before the most vulnerable groups of people suffer severely. The current political target, agreed in Paris more than two years ago, of aiming to prevent temperature from rising more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, and certainly stopping a rise beyond 2°C, disguises the fact that we are already more than halfway to the danger point. And scientists have now shown that there is a huge difference in the consequences to the human race if the 1.5°C limit is exceeded and temperatures allowed to reach 2°C.

Climate News Network 22nd May 2018 read more »

Posted: 22 May 2018

Climate

Global warming is on track to cause a major wipeout of insects, compounding already severe losses, according to a new analysis. Insects are vital to most ecosystems and a widespread collapse would cause extremely far-reaching disruption to life on Earth, the scientists warn. Their research shows that, even with all the carbon cuts already pledged by nations so far, climate change would make almost half of insect habitat unsuitable by the end of the century, with pollinators like bees particularly affected. However, if climate change could be limited to a temperature rise of 1.5C – the very ambitious goal included in the global Paris agreement – the losses of insects are far lower.

Guardian 17th May 2018 read more »

Posted: 18 May 2018

Climate

Our planet is warming, presenting innumerable challenges for life around the world, from potentially catastrophic sea level rises as ice caps melt, to desertification and the mass extinction of species. But in the UK the prospect of a warmer climate appeals to some. Wine and fruit producers are hoping for larger harvests, while the government has noted that declining sea ice in the Arctic could see lower shipping costs and new trade routes. The latest research to predict a benefit from global temperature rises says the UK could see energy output from onshore wind turbines increase over the coming decades, as higher temperatures whip up stronger winds. According to researchers from the British Antarctic Sur vey, the University of Oxford and the University of Bristol, data suggests the UK and large parts of northern Europe could become windier if global temperatures reach 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. The findings mean wind could become an increasingly important source of energy generation, in Britain as well as in parts of Germany, Poland and Lithuania.

Independent 17th May 2018 read more »

Herald 17th May 2018 read more »

Wind energy in the UK could increase by 10% if the world warms to 1.5C above pre-industrial temperatures, a new study finds. The research is the first to look at this question using new climate models specifically designed to assess the small changes between current global temperatures and 1.5C of warming. The largest changes are found for summer months in the UK, the lead author tells Carbon Brief. At these times, wind energy typically contributes less to the UK energy mix. Any increase could help to offset increased air conditioning use as temperatures rise, he adds. However, the results appear to contradict a previous study, which found wind potential would fall with rising temperatures.

Carbon Brief 17th May 2018 read more »

Environmental law firm ClientEarth is to launch a new climate change initiative, which will work to convince governments and the finance sector to work towards a ‘net zero’ emissions target. The new team is to be led by Alice Garton, who has worked for ClientEarth since April 2015 and will now take up the new post of head of climate role. She will direct ClientEarth lawyers with expertise across environmental, public, finance and company law to encourage governments to legislate for net zero emissions, as mandated by the Paris Agreement goals, and engage companies to align their activities and investments with a zero carbon trajectory. Last month UK climate minister Claire Perry announced she will instruct the Committee on Climate Change to scope a scope a ‘net zero’ goal for the UK, with a potential target date of 2050. However, the commitment is unlikely to head off on-going legal action against the government, which is calling for Ministers to move more swiftly to comply with the Paris Agreement and introduce a net zero target for the UK. The move comes after BusinessGreen last week announced plans for its inaugural editorial campaign, Net Zero Now, which will aim to encourage and support companies and governments as they work to adopt a net zero emissions goal. It also comes as Simon Clarke MP became the latest Conservative to call for a ‘net zero’ target. Writing in a new collection of essays from the Centre for Policy Studies think tank Clarke argues the government should have a more ambitious emissions target and develop a strategy for meeting it that centres on the rapid roll out of clean technologies.

Business Green 16th May 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 May 2018

Climate

Scientists may have to recalibrate their projections of what a “worst case” climate change scenario is, as new studies take into account greater global economic growth than previously forecast. Climate scientists forecasting how the earth’s climate will change over time examine trends in greenhouse gas emissions, which are largely dependent on how the global economy behaves. As countries get richer, the amount they consume goes up, and so too do greenhouse gas emissions. Scientists use four scenarios called representative concentration pathways (RCPs) that attempt to depict possible futures for our planet. The standard worst case scenario, RCP 8.5, assumes rapid and unrestricted e conomic growth which will see rampant burning of fossil fuels. In addition, it also assumes no further action will be taken to limit warming than the policies countries are already pursuing. However, scientists at the University of Illinois say there is a one-in-three chance that by the end of the century emissions will have exceeded those estimated in the RCP 8.5 scenario.

Independent 15th May 2018 read more »

Posted: 16 May 2018

Just Transition

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) will today publish a new report setting out how unions, NGOs, and governments can better work together to accelerate climate action and ensure a “just transition” to a low carbon economy. The report, which will be officially launched at an event in Brussels later today, sets out a series of recommendations detailing how unions can be help shape effective national climate action strategies and provides examples of innovative projects where governments and unions have worked together to ensure the delivery of socially just and inclusive emissions reduction programmes. Specifically, the report calls for greater government engagement with economic diversification and industrial policies, as well as skills programmes and social protection initiatives, which can help address some of the negative jobs impacts that can result from decarbonisation efforts.

Business Green 15th May 2018 read more »

Posted: 15 May 2018

Climate

Climate change should be placed “front and centre” of the Bank of England’s mandate so that the central bank can boost green investment, according to a new report that has won broad backing from the chair of the UK’s climate watchdog. Mark Carney, the BoE’s governor, has repeatedly warned of the physical damage climate change could wreak on the economy and the risks to financial stability that might result from a sudden revaluation of carbon-intensive assets. The central bank has been reviewing UK insurers and banks’ exposure to climate-related risks and supports efforts to develop international standards for voluntary disclosure. But a report from the campaign group Positive Money, published on Tuesday, argues that this concern for fin ancial stability will look “incoherent” unless the BoE does more to boost investment in the transition to a low-carbon economy. The report urged the government to rewrite the mandate of the Monetary Policy Committee to include green objectives explicitly and called on the BoE to look at ways to build climate-related risks into its macroeconomic models.

FT 15th May 2018 read more »

Posted: 15 May 2018

Climate

The UK could halve its annual carbon emissions by avoiding waste from products like food, clothing and electronics. Resource inefficiency is a major source of emissions, and one that has been largely overlooked in the response to climate change. Fast fashion, wasteful eating habits and our demand for the latest mobile phone or electronic gadget all have roles to play, but so does the waste that occurs on a larger scale and relies on government interventions to address.

Independent 13th May 2018 read more »

More efficient resource use and better product design across manufacturing and industry has largely been largely “ignored” in climate policy, yet new research today suggests it could play a key role in tackling the current shortfall in CO2 cuts needed to meet UK climate targets, while boosting the economy in the process. A study led by four UK universities calculates action taken now to put less materials into the production process and get more value out of the materials used could cut UK greenhouse gases by as much as 200 megatonnes of CO2 equivalent by 2032, equating to more than half the country’s entire annual emissions.

Business Green 14th May 2018 read more »

Posted: 14 May 2018

Climate

UN talks have been officially suspended as countries failed to resolve differences about implementing the Paris climate agreement. The negotiations will resume in Bangkok in September where an extra week’s meeting has now been scheduled . Delegates struggled with the complexity of agreeing a rulebook for the Paris climate pact that will come into force in 2020. Rows between rich and poor re-emerged over finance and cutting carbon. Overall progress at this meeting has been very slow, with some countries such as China looking to re-negotiate aspects of the Paris deal.

BBC 10th May 2018 read more »

Posted: 11 May 2018

Climate

Theresa May’s government is lobbying for the right to host a crucial climate meeting in 2020, in a sign of the prime minister’s determination to highlight the Conservative party’s green credentials. Claire Perry, the energy minister, said on Wednesday that the UK planned to put its name in the ring for the UN’s main annual climate change conference in 2020.

FT 9th May 2018 read more »

Posted: 10 May 2018

Climate

Almost all the ice covering the Bering Sea has melted, scientists have confirmed, throwing communities living around its shores into disarray. The region’s ice cover normally persists for at least another month, and this year it has vanished earlier than any other year except 2017. Located in the northern Pacific Ocean between Alaska and Russia, the Bering Sea is experiencing the brunt of climate change and has already drawn attention this year for unprecedented levels of winter melting. In February, soaring Arctic temperatures led to around half the region’s ice disappearing in the space of two weeks. This trend has continued into spring, and scientists have confirmed that by the end of April just 10 per cent of normal ice levels remained.

Independent 6th May 2018 read more »

Posted: 7 May 2018