Sergio Costa and Alok Sharma: We could not have anticipated the events we are witnessing now when, last September, the UK in partnership with Italy received the mandate to hold the vital UN climate conference COP26 in Glasgow and the preparatory events in Milan (Pre-COP and Youth4Climate). While the summit and the preparatory events have been postponed until next year, Italy and the UK will continue to work tirelessly to increase the global ambition needed to tackle the climate crisis. Ahead of the COP26 summit, efforts to rebuild the global economy will begin. We believe these should focus on supporting a clean, inclusive and resilient recovery building on the principles of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. We will work together to ensure that the linked challenges of public health, climate change and biodiversity are addressed. As we rebuild our economies, we must continue to embrace the opportunities offered by technology if we are to accelerate the transition to a cleaner future. Innovations in energy storage technologies, smart and no-waste electricity grids, zero-emission vehicles and eco-friendly buildings are some of the technologies on our side. The economic prize on offer is clear. Renewable energy sources such as solar and wind are already cheaper than coal in most countries. And earlier this week, a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency found that boosting investment in renewables would increase jobs in the sector to 42 million globally by 2050, four times more than today.
Times 22nd April 2020 read more »
The nature and framing of climate targets in international politics has changed substantially since their early expressions in the 1980s. Here, we describe their evolution in five phases—from ‘climate stabilization’ to specific ‘temperature outcomes’— co-evolving with wider climate politics and policy, modelling methods and scenarios, and technological promises (from nuclear power to carbon removal). We argue that this co-evolution has enabled policy prevarication, leaving mitigation poorly delivered, yet the technological promises often remain buried in the models used to inform policy. We conclude with a call to recognise and break this pattern to unleash more effective and just climate policy.
Nature Climate Change (accessed) 21st April 2020 read more »
The combustion of coal is the single most important source of climate-warming CO2 emissions. As a result, phasing out coal is one of the most commonly discussed ways to help combat climate change – particularly in Europe, but increasingly globally as well. Yet, if we look at the research on the subject, it usually only focuses on the costs and benefits for the economy and the climate. But the impacts of the coal industry are much more far-reaching. These range from land-use-induced biodiversity loss to premature deaths caused by air pollution-induced respiratory disease. In a recent study, published in Nature Climate Change, my co-authors and I not only analyse the implications of a coal phaseout on the economy and the climate, but also on the environment and public health.
Carbon Brief 21st April 2020 read more »