At the World Economic Forum in Davos this year, two people stood out: Greta Thunberg, the 17-year-old Swedish climate activist, and Donald Trump. Ms Thunberg does not pretend we are doing anything relevant; Mr Trump does not pretend he cares. Most participants in the climate debate, however, pretend to care, pretend to act, or both. If anything is to be done, this must change.” That change means a massive acceleration in the speed of our switch from fossil fuels to renewables which can only be delivered – he argues – through very significant and active government intervention.We have so much to do and so little time. If we are to succeed in halting climate change, we have to change course now.
FT 18th Feb 2020 read more »
Almost half of the world’s GDP is now generated in places where authorities have either set, or are proposing to set, a net zero emissions target, according to the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU). The latest update to ECIU’s Net Zero online tracker released today shows that move towards setting ambitious climate targets is rapidly growing around the world, with just over $39tr – around 49 per cent of the world’s annual gross domestic product (GDP) – now rooted in regions and cities which either have or plan to adopt a net zero target.
Business Green 18th Feb 2020 read more »
When Cockermouth in Cumbria was submerged in 2009, it was clear that a prime cause was the expedited drainage from Lake District hill farms to promote grazing pasture. When the Somerset Levels were flooded in 2014, a prime cause was the change of use of surrounding hills to growing high-density maize, exposing soil to runoff. Likewise, subsidised conifer plantations have everywhere debased vegetation and produced irregular spate rivers. As for building retaining walls to protect riverside communities, this merely shifts volume downstream. Here it meets the readiness of local planners to build houses in flood plains. The sprawl of housing estates is now urged on councils by a fanatically anti-planning government. As a drive across the aforementioned Somerset Levels will show, the result is acres of accidents waiting to happen. There is nothing a flood likes more than a good stretch of concrete. Hence these floods are not acts of God, they are, in large measure, acts of government. For the most part, they are preventable by upland river management and lowland common sense. The National Trust responded to the Cockermouth disaster by slowing runoff from the hills, despite farmer opposition. The disaster has not been repeated. The rewilding movement seeks to promote variegated vegetation and retain water in peatland. Beaver reintroduction, now operating from Angus to Sussex to Devon, has shown remarkable results in damming streams and slowing flow. It can be done.
Guardian 17th Feb 2020 read more »
The huge strain caused by the climate crisis could cause an economic recession “the likes of which we’ve never seen before,” a US study has warned. The increase in prevalence of extreme weather, bringing deadly heatwaves, more severe storms, and causing wildfires and floods, is insufficiently accounted for in financial markets, raising the possibility of a sudden correction when serious problems arise, according to new research from University of California. “If the market doesn’t do a better job of accounting for climate, we could have a recession – the likes of which we’ve never seen before,” said Paul Griffin, an accounting professor at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management.
Independent 18th Feb 2020 read more »