Climate movement grandpa James Hansen says the Green New Deal is ‘nonsense’. In the 1980s, NASA scientist James Hansen brought climate change to the attention of Congress, and shortly thereafter the public. Humans, he testified in 1988, were responsible for rising global temperatures. But the man who put his reputation on the line to alert the world to the dangers of global warming doesn’t appear to agree with the most recent crop of climate advocates.
Grist 24th April 2019 read more »
Ten days of protests, blockades and disruption across London has come to a conclusion as Extinction Rebellion ended its action in the capital. Hundreds of activists met in Hyde Park earlier for a “closing ceremony”. More than 1,100 people have been arrested since campaigners first blocked traffic on 15 April. On the final day of action, protesters blocked roads, climbed on a train and glued themselves together in London’s financial district.
BBC 25th April 2019 read more »
“It could be wishful thinking – and it will be interesting to see if it lasts. But it does seem that the campaign against global warming has just reached a tipping point.” The protests have shaped conversations and media coverage for the last week but the real concern is to what effect this will influence UK politics. Many are now looking to the next few weeks to see whether the group will be remembered for its action over ten days, or as the beginning of policy change.
The i News 25th April 2019 read more »
A teenage climate activist who gained world recognition for her school strikes is claiming the UK has overstated how much it has reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The gases – mainly carbon dioxide – from burning fossil fuels contribute to global warming when released into the atmosphere. The UK’s current target is to cut 80% of emissions from 1990 levels by 2050. The government says greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by 42% since 1990. But Greta Thunberg told MPs in Westminster that the true reduction was more like 10%. Two very different figures – can both be right? It all depends on what you count as a country’s emissions. Miss Thunberg says the 42% figure excludes emissions from international aviation, shipping and imports, accusing the UK government of “very creative carbon accounting”. She is right to say that the figure misses out these things. It refers to the UK’s “territorial emissions” – that is a measure of what happens within the country’s borders, including things such as heating and powering homes, transport, domestic industry and agriculture. The UK is not unique in producing its figures like this, though. It is sticking to internationally agreed standards.
BBC 26th April 2019 read more »
The UK is breaching the Paris agreement on climate change by excluding international aviation and shipping figures from carbon budgets, according to a leading NGO. The Swedish campaigner Greta Thunberg accused the British government this week of “very creative carbon accounting” after the government defended its work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The UK government does not include emissions from global flights or shipping when it states it has reduced emissions by more than 40% since 1990. Instead, international aviation and shipping are monitored by two UN agencies, but there are growing doubts that – in the case of aviation in particular – the bodies have the power or ability to tackle major transport carbon emitters. Globally, domestic and international flights emitted 895m tonnes of CO2 last year – 2.4% of global energy-related CO2 emissions, according to analysts at Carbon Brief. Worldwide, aviation is one of the fastest growing sectors for greenhouse gas emissions, which increased by 76.1% between 1990 and 2012, according to the UN’s climate body.
Guardian 25th April 2019 read more »
Thunberg may be a well-intentioned and eloquent campaigner, a walking riposte to all those who until recently claimed that the young are apathetic, but that does not make her right. Nor does it imply any duty for policymakers to do exactly what she says: that is, to destroy the western market economy in line with her vision of the Earth being consumed soon by a ball of fire followed by floods. Her central claim, made repeatedly, that “nothing” is being done is demonstrably false. For several decades, western governments have aimed energy policy at tackling this challenge. In Britain, emissions have fallen by 38 per cent since 1990. Indeed, an encouraging piece of news landed a few days ago that should have introduced some balance into the debate. Over Easter, Britain burnt no coal in its power production for 92 hours – the longest coal-free period since before the First World War. The complex story of Britain’s abandonment of high-polluting coal as a source of fuel is one of the great success stories of modern British history. It stands as a counter to the claim that in this country we have done nothing. Perhaps because the shift from coal is so rarely mentioned we take it for granted that it happened at all. Britain’s industrial revolution and rapid expansion of access to electricity had been built on mining the rich seams of coal underneath our feet. By the 1950s it had covered our buildings in a thick layer of soot and was causing death by air pollution. Coal had to go, and it did. In 1950, the UK consumed and shipped 206 million tonnes of it. By 2017 that was down to 15 million tonnes.
The Times 26th April 2019 read more »
The Siberian village of Oymyakon is regarded as the coldest permanently-inhabited place on earth. Though it is only a few degrees of latitude further north than Aberdeen, the village of 500 residents is in a mountain valley where cool air pools, isolated from warmer currents by the “Siberian high” pressure system and the Chersky range. Yet even here, the effects of global warming are already being felt. There are no walruses tumbling to their deaths like in David Attenborough’s new Our Planet series. But as the permafrost soil thaws in this region, thousands of people have had to move to new housing, and animals face new predators and diseases.
Telegraph 25th April 2019 read more »
ACTIVISTS have staged a protest at the Royal Bank of Scotland’s (RBS) headquarters, demanding further action to combat climate change. The campaigners are calling on the bank and others to fully commit to ending the financing of fossil fuel projects. They say RBS has been taking steps in the right direction over the past few years but believe the bank – which is majority owned by the UK Government – has a “massive opportunity” to lead the country away from fossil fuel finance. Campaigners want the improvement in practice to be made permanent through a company policy that specifically excludes the financing of fossil fuels.
Herald 25th April 2019 read more »
At the end of March, San Francisco’s Federal Reserve board issued an “economics letter” which argued that “in the coming decades, climate change will have increasingly important effects on the US economy” that, it said, are “relevant considerations” for the central bank. Nothing odd about that, you might think. If you live in California it is almost impossible to ignore climate issues given the devastating impact of recent wildfires (among other climate shocks). But this bland statement of the obvious conceals a startling tale of change which investors cannot afford to ignore – irrespective of their views on climate science. Until four years ago, central bankers almost never talked about climate change. But in September 2015 Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, created a frisson among the tribe of (mostly) faceless financial bureaucrats by declaring that climate change had become a financial stability risk.
FT 26th April 2019 read more »