Net anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions must approach zero by mid-century (2050) to stabilize global mean temperature at the levels targeted by international efforts1–5. Yet continued expansion of fossil-fuel energy infrastructure implies already ‘committed’ future CO2 emissions6–13. Here we use detailed datasets of current fossil-fuel-burning energy infrastructure in 2018 to estimate regional and sectoral patterns of ‘committed’ CO2 emissions, the sensitivity of such emissions to assumed operating lifetimes and schedules, and the economic value of associated infrastructure. We estimate that, if operated as historically, existing infrastructure will emit about 658 gigatonnes (Gt) of CO2 (ranging from 226 to 1,479 Gt CO2 depending on assumed lifetimes and utilization rates). More than half of these emissions are projected to come from the electricity sector, and infrastructure in China, the USA and the EU28 countries represent approximately 41 per cent, 9 per cent and 7 per cent of the total, respectively. If built, proposed power plants (planned, permitted or under construction) would emit approximately an additional 188 (range 37–427) Gt CO2.
Nature 1st July 2019 read more »
Report: Retire all existing and planned fossil fuel plants to limit warming to 1.5C. It will be very difficult to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by enough to halt global heating at 1.5C – the threshold at which catastrophic climate change becomes more likely – according to a new paper published in Nature.
Business Green 4th July 2019 read more »
Legal actions over failure to act on climate change have kicked off in at least 28 countries, according to a report published this week. Most have been launched against governments, but companies have also been targeted for failing to incorporate climate change into their decision-making or failing to disclose risks to shareholders. Citizens, non-governmental organisations, businesses and even local governments have taken businesses and governments to court for failing to protect them from the effects of climate change, according to the report from the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and Environment.
Times 4th July 2019 read more »
International development secretary Rory Stewart has said that every single UK aid programme must be assessed on its ability to limit climate change and protect the environment. At an event during London Climate Week he said that over the next five years the Department for International Development would double the amount it spends on helping countries mitigate and adapt to climate change from £1.1bn in 2020-21 to £2.2bn by 2025-26. The announcement follows a report from the International Development Select Committee in May which described climate change as not just one of a number of issues UK aid should focus on but as the “the single biggest threat to stability and wellbeing in some of the world’s most vulnerable nations”.
Telegraph 3rd July 2019 read more »
Guardian 3rd July 2019 read more »
The harsh fact is that going carbon-neutral would be more painful than most greens admit, says Ross Douglas, founder of Autonomy, an urban-mobility conference in Paris. Many politicians are now promising “green growth”. Maybe one day we will indeed enjoy renewable-powered overconsumption. However, for the next two decades at least, until greener technologies arrive, cutting emissions will hurt. The US could go carbon-neutral fast if it rationed clothing, turned beef and flying into once-a-year luxuries, set a serious carbon tax, and banned fracking, coal mining and the Ford F-Series pick-up, the country’s bestselling vehicle for 42 years. But nobody gets elected president on a platform of economic decline. And given the lag time of carbon emissions, these measures would only ameliorate the climate some time next century.
FT 4th July 2019 read more »
The Arctic is on fire. Dozens of wildfires of an unprecedented intensity have been burning across the Arctic circle for the past few weeks, releasing as much CO2 in just one month as Sweden’s total annual emissions. Fires in the region are not unknown but the scale of the blazes, predominantly in boreal peatlands across Siberia, is surprising. Satellite measurements show the amount of energy released by the fires in June is more than that released by all the previous nine years of the month.
New Scientist 3rd July 2019 read more »
Understanding the UK’s recent spike in wildfires.
Carbon Brief 3rd July 2019 read more »