Drive to 1.5
A 1.5°C limit on average global warming is the long-term, “aspirational” goal in the Paris Agreement. But more and more research is showing that a 1.5 target is essential, not optional - and that it may not take unproven, potentially dangerous carbon capture techniques to get there.
CO2 Emissions Rise 1.7% in 2018 as Energy Demand Sets Record, Coal Consumption Grows
Global carbon dioxide emissions increased 1.7% in 2018, driven by record-high energy demand and still-increasing use of coal-fired power plants, the International Energy Agency reported yesterday.
Massive Arctic Warming Can Still Be Averted by Rapid GHG Cuts, Carbon Brief Concludes
Climate analysts are taking a second look at a key paragraph in a widely-reported study, published last week by the UN Environment Program, that appears to have overstepped with the claim that Arctic warming between 5.0 and 9.0°C is locked in and inevitable by 2080.
Atmospheric Methane Increases Could ‘Negate or Reverse Progress’ on CO2 Cuts
Increases in atmospheric methane between 2014 and 2017 could put the targets in the Paris Agreement out of reach, and point to the “urgent need to reduce methane emissions, especially from the fossil fuel industry,” according to a new research article published last week by the American Geophysical Union.
Average Warming Could Temporarily Exceed 1.5°C in Next Five Years
Four major meteorological agencies have now confirmed that 2018 was the fourth-warmest year on record, with the UK Met Office calculating a 10% chance that average global warming will temporarily exceed the critical 1.5°C threshold in at least one of the next five years.
2019 Set to Deliver Big Jump in Atmospheric CO2
Scientists are looking ahead to a “worrying” jump in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations this year, right on the heels of a report declaring 2018 the fourth-warmest year on record.
The Hard Work Starts Now as COP Delivers Incomplete Rule Book, Low Ambition
After two weeks of marathon negotiations ended with a deeply equivocal, incremental response to the global climate crisis, COP 24 in Katowice, Poland ended where it began: with a wide spectrum of delegates and other climate specialists declaring that the hard work begins now.
COP Refuses to ‘Welcome’ 1.5°C Report as Major Negotiation Points Bog Down
As the first week of this year’s United Nations climate change conference (COP 24) drew to a close, debate ground down Saturday night on a decision that should have been easy—whether the world’s governments should actually “welcome” the landmark 1.5°C pathways report they commissioned from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2015. With petro-states Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Russia, and the United States obstructing the decision, delegates were left to simply “note” the report’s arrival after chewing up valuable negotiating time on a matter of semantics.
CO2 Emissions in Richest Countries Set to Show First Increase in Five Years
Carbon dioxide emissions in the world’s richest countries are on track to increase slightly this year after five years of reductions, and the International Energy Agency (IEA) is pointing to oil and gas consumption as the main culprit.
Climate Emergency, Community Devastation ‘Redefine the Politics’ as COP 24 Begins
The annual United Nations climate change conference (COP 24) got under way yesterday in Katowice, Poland, amid urgent calls for action in response to a year of back-to-back climate emergencies and repeat warnings that the window of opportunity for pathways to 1.5°C average global warming is just a dozen years from closing.
Wider Emissions Gap Shows ‘Countries Are Not Doing Enough’, UN Agency Reports
The gap between countries’ greenhouse gas reduction plans and their promises under the Paris Agreement is even wider than previously believed, according to a major report released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) ahead of the annual UN climate conference opening next week in Katowice, Poland.
IEA Sees Signs of Energy Transition, But Backtracks on Paris-Compliant Modelling
An end to new fossil plant construction, a coal industry already past its production peak, a surge in natural gas use, and up to a billion electric vehicles on the road by 2040, with gasoline demand peaking in 2025, are among the key findings and projections in the annual World Energy Outlook (WEO) released this week by the International Energy Agency.
Climate Home News Compiles ‘37 Things to Know’ About IPCC’s 1.5°C Report
The UN published a summary on the science of 1.5°C global warming on Monday. It’s a big deal.
1.5°C Is Doable, but Just a Dozen Years Left to Get on a Low-Carbon Pathway
Humanity has a dozen years to hold off the accelerated risks of extreme heat waves, wildfires, flooding, drought, sea level rise, and extensive poverty that would result from 2.0°C average global warming by pursuing a tough but doable pathway to 1.5°C, according to a long-awaited science report released in Incheon, South Korea this morning by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Reaction: IPCC Report Combines Urgency and Hope, but ‘Every 0.1° is a Choice Between Life or Death’
About 40 representatives of climate, energy, international development, and other groups affiliated with Climate Action Network-International were monitoring the negotiations in Incheon, South Korea. Here are some of their reactions to the IPCC’s 1.5°C report.
Abreu: ‘The Science Prevailed’ as IPCC Hands Governments a 2050 Deadline for Net Zero Emissions
Catherine Abreu is executive director of Climate Action Network Canada, and was Climate Action Network-International’s Head of Delegation for last week’s high-stakes meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in Incheon, South Korea. In this in-depth interview with The Energy Mix, she talks about the alarming but extraordinary result that scientists, civil society advocates, and government negotiators are bringing home from IPCC 48, and how it came about.
Alarming Findings in IPCC Report Become ‘Thunderous Call to Action’
With representatives of more than 130 countries and about 50 scientists gathered in Incheon, South Korea to negotiate final details of the IPCC’s 1.5°C science report, the Washington Post headlined that they were “struggling to find the right words for very bad news.”
IPCC Special Report Could Drive Faster, Deeper Carbon Cuts Through Talanoa Dialogue
With pressure and momentum building for countries to speed up their action on climate change in the crucial decade between 2020 and 2030, veteran climate negotiator Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) sees today’s IPCC report on 1.5°C as one of the building blocks for a significant “2020 moment” during COP 24 in December.
With Countries ‘Nowhere Near on Track’ to 1.5°C, IPCC Author Urges Massive Transformation
A massive transformation in the world’s energy production, transportation patterns, and food systems will be needed to limit average global warming to 1.5°C—and right now, countries are “nowhere near on track” to achieve that goal, according to an author of the forthcoming report on 1.5° scenarios produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
IPCC ‘Pulls Its Punches’ in Crucial Report on 1.5°C Warming
Reviewers watching over the production of a crucial special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are warning that its statements about the dangers of climate change are being watered down to accommodate some of the world’s heaviest carbon polluters.
IPCC Report on 1.5°C ‘Guardrail’ Draws Support from Some Climate Hawks, Alarm from Others
An upcoming report on ways to limit average global warming to 1.5°C has been generating a lot of discussion at this week’s climate negotiations in Bangkok, and in the weeks leading up to the meetings, with some climate policy advocates asking delegates to take the report seriously while others question its most basic scientific assumptions.
Average Warming On Track to Exceed 1.5°C by 2040: Leaked IPCC Report
Average global warming is on track to exceed 1.5°C by about 2040, according to a leaked draft of a special report commissioned by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Fiji Dismisses Chief Climate Negotiator, Raising Concerns for COP 23 Momentum
Fiji’s presidency of the UN climate talks was an unprecedented opportunity for the Pacific island state to make its mark internationally.
Independent Data Confirms Warming Trend, as Models Suggest Worse May Be Ahead
A recent review of satellite data is confirming that the Earth is already warming, possibly somewhat faster in the highest latitudes than previously believed, while new modelling suggests a warming surge may be on the horizon.
Investment Houses See Climate Targets Undercutting Fossils, Warming Above 2.0°C Boosting Financial Risk
Continued fossil industry development came under increased pressure from investors over the last week, with a major fund manager concluding that climate targets could undercut global oil demand by the mid-2020s and one of the world’s biggest investment advisors warning of trouble ahead if global climate goals are missed.
Two New Studies Trace Massive Glacier Loss Linked to Climate Change
North America accounts for more than half of the 369 billion tons of snow and ice the world’s glaciers are losing each year, and the Alps are on track to see two-thirds of their glacier ice melt by 2100, according to two different studies released this week.
Mass Bleaching Drives Down Replenishment of Great Barrier Reef Corals by 89%
The replenishment of new corals on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef crashed 89% in a mass bleaching “event” in 2016 and 2017 triggered by climate change, and also produced a shift in the coral species on the reef, according to a new study in the journal Nature.
Climate-Induced Warming Harms Food Chains by Leaving Insects ‘No Place to Hide’
Overheating is just as hazardous to insects in shaded woodlands as it is in open grasslands, meaning they receive no respite from climate-induced warming, according to a new study from the UK that points to possible impacts on food chains that depend on the smaller creatures.
Midwestern U.S. Loses Hundreds of Miles of Levees After ‘Bomb Cyclone’ Flooding
Severe flooding across midwestern U.S. states like Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri has taken out hundreds of miles of levees, leaving officials to compare the failed system to Swiss cheese, on the heels of mid-March “bomb cyclone” storm conditions that inundated more than a million acres (405,000 hectares) of farmland.
Australian Farmers Face Suicide Risk as Multi-Year Drought Turns from ‘Crisis’ to ‘Marathon’
A brutal, multi-year drought brought on by climate change is taking its toll on the mental health of Australia’s farmers, just as it has in India, leading to higher suicide rates as farm incomes and the communities that depend on them suffer.
‘Ecological Turmoil’ of Ocean Heat Wave Produces Six-Year Drop in Australian Dolphin Population
A single, extreme heat wave in Shark Bay, Australia spanning two months in 2011 drove down the local bottlenose dolphin population by 12% over the six years that followed, leading to a decline in dolphin calf births and suggesting “that the ecological consequences of extreme weather events may be too sudden or disruptive for even highly adaptable animals to respond,” concludes a new study in the journal Current Biology.
Extreme Weather Displaced Two Million, Affected 62 Million in 2018, WMO Reports
Extreme weather affected 62 million people in 2018 and displaced two million as of September that year, according to the latest in an annual series of State of the Climate reports released Thursday by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
738 Dead, 1.8 Million in Urgent Need, Cholera Cases Hit 271 as Cyclone Impacts Wrack Mozambique
Half a month after Cyclone Idai ripped through parts of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi, destroying 90% of the port city of Beira, the numbers that trace the devastation are continuing to mount: At least 738 dead with many more missing, an estimated three million people affected and 1.8 million in urgent need, 136,000 displaced and 50,000 homes destroyed in Mozambique alone, and deadly disease spreading quickly to people with no choice but to drink contaminated water.
Svalbard’s ‘Doomsday’ Seed Vault in Trouble Due to Rapid Arctic Warming
The Global Seed Vault in Norway, intended as “the ultimate failsafe for biodiversity of crops,” is now threatened by rapid warming in Longyearbyen, the town on the island of Svalbard that is the world’s northernmost community with 1,000 or more residents.
Climate Disaster Losses Could Undermine Financial System Stability, U.S. Federal Bank Exec Warns
Economic losses from natural disasters and other climate impacts could produce enough risk to undermine the security of the financial system, according to a research letter released Monday by Glenn D. Rudebusch, a senior policy advisor and executive vice president with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
Pine Ridge Reservation in Crisis, 13 Million People at Risk, as Experts Say Midwestern U.S. Flooding Could Continue for Months
The record-breaking floods that hit parts of the midwestern United States last week are shaping up as a long-term, slow-moving disaster, with residents of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation stranded for nearly two weeks with limited food and water, at least 50 levees across the region breached or overtopped, experts predicting months of flooding, and nearly two-thirds of the lower 48 states facing elevated risk through May.
Rising Premiums Due to Severe Weather Could ‘Threaten Social Order’, Insurers Warn
The world’s biggest reinsurer, Munich Re, is warning that climate change may soon turn rising insurance costs into a pressing social issue, as more frequent, severe weather puts rates beyond the reach of most households.
Humanitarian Disaster in Mozambique Points to ‘Fundamental Injustice of Climate Change’
With thousands of people in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi still in need of rescue in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, and nearly three million affected, meteorologist and Grist climate writer Eric Holthaus is pointing to the massive natural and humanitarian disaster as an example of the “fundamental injustice of climate change”.
Researchers Scramble to Understand Environmental Health Impacts of Climate Disasters
As wildfires and other climate-driven natural disasters become more frequent and severe, scientists are scrambling to understand the human and animal health hazards they leave behind.
Up to 1,000 Feared Dead in Mozambique, Making Tropical Cyclone Idai Africa’s Worst Ever
More than 1,000 people are believed dead, 90% of the port city of Beira has been destroyed, and 1.5 million people have been affected after Tropical Cyclone Idai slammed into Mozambique late last week with wind speeds of 175 kilometres (110 miles) per hour, before pushing inland to Zimbabwe and Malawi.
Air Pollution Causes 8.8 Million Early Deaths Per Year, More Than Tobacco Smoking
Air pollution, most of it from fossil fuel burning, led to 8.8 million premature deaths world-wide and nearly 800,000 in Europe in 2015, almost double the previous estimate of 4.5 million and even more than the seven million per year caused by tobacco smoking.
Resource Extraction Drives 53% of Carbon Emissions, 80% of Biodiversity Loss, UN Reports
Resource extraction, from fossil fuels and mining to food and biofuels, is responsible for more than half of global greenhouse gas emissions and 80% of biodiversity loss, according to a Global Resource Outlook released last week at the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya.
Winter Rainfall Accelerates Melting of Greenland Ice Sheet
Rainfall is making the Greenland ice sheet melt more quickly, even during the long Arctic winter, concludes a new study in The Cryosphere, a journal of the European Geosciences Union.
Oceans ‘Spiking a Fever’ as Heatwaves Become More Frequent and Severe
A new paper in the journal Nature Climate Change says ocean heatwaves act like “wildfires that take out huge areas of forest” and are becoming much more frequent, killing off kelp, seagrass, and coral and imperiling an ecosystem humanity relies on for oxygen, food, storm protection, and atmospheric carbon removal.
411.66 PPM: Scientists Alarmed by Early Rise in Atmospheric CO2
Scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography are raising the alarm that the atmosphere has just hit a new peak in average carbon dioxide levels, at 411.66 part per million—not even because it’s a record, but because it was recorded three months before the time of year when CO2 concentrations normally reach their annual high.
Ocean Warming Leads to Declining Fish Stocks, with Developing Regions Hardest Hit
Ocean warming has delivered a significant decline in sustainable fish catches over the last century, but holding average global warming to 1.5°C would help protect future catches worth billions of dollars per year, according to two new studies.
Another Century of Fossil Use Could Eliminate Cloud Cover, Trigger 8.0°C of Additional Warming
A startling new study in the journal Nature Geoscience concludes that another century of burning fossil fuels at today’s levels could trigger the total loss of the world’s stratocumulus clouds and trigger another 8.0°C/14.0°F of global warming.
Report Links Climate Change to Majority of 2018’s Under-Reported Humanitarian Disasters
Climate change caused the majority of the world’s under-reported humanitarian disasters last year, and nine of the top 10 occurred in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific, according to an analysis of more than a million online news stories released last week by CARE International.
Study Projects Warming Trends, Rain and Drought for 540 North American Cities in 2080
Average winters in 2080 will be 9.5°C warmer in Montreal, 7.3°C warmer in Quebec City, 6.1°C warmer in Ottawa, and 5.6°C warmer in St. John, New Brunswick than they were in 1990 unless humanity moves quickly to get greenhouse gas emissions under control, according to a new study in the journal Nature Communications.
Insect Collapse Over Next Century Could Trigger ‘Catastrophic Ecosystem Collapse’
The world’s insect populations could disappear in the next century, triggering a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to a first-ever global scientific review that points to climate change as one of the main threats to species that are a foundation of the Earth’s food chains and ecosystems.
Health Professionals Point to Cumulative Impacts of Wildfire Smoke
Experts who attended a wildfire workshop hosted by the British Columbia Lung Association last week in Vancouver are sounding the alarm about the health threats posed by wildfire smoke.
Lake Warming Above 1.5°C Means Less Winter Ice, More Summer Algae
The number of lakes throughout the Northern Hemisphere likely to remain ice-free in winter, and correspondingly clogged with algal blooms in summer, would more than double at 2.0°C average global warming and quadruple at 3.0°C, according to a recent study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
‘Terrifying Assessment’ Shows Himalayas Losing One-Third of Ice by 2100 in Best-Case GHG Scenario
The Mount Everest area will lose more than half of its ice by 2100 in even the most optimistic greenhouse gas reduction scenario, and the Himalayan region as a whole will lose more than one-third, according to a 627-page regional assessment released this week by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).
Record Flood Hits Queensland, Australia While Tasmania Burns
Hundreds of people in northern Australia were forced to evacuate their homes and about 18,000 lost power after the coastal city of Townville, in Queensland, received nearly four feet (120 centimetres) of rain between January 26 and February 4.
Insurance Giant Aon Places Extreme Weather Costs at $653 Billion Over 2017-2018
A US$653-billion global price tag made 2017-2018 the most expensive two-year period ever for extreme weather, according to a report issued last month by UK-based Aon, the world’s biggest insurance broker based on revenue.
Thunberg Addresses World Economic Forum: ‘Our House is On Fire’
16-year-old climate strike leader Greta Thunberg of Stockholm brought her message to 3,000 CEOs attending the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, after travelling 32 hours by train to get to the Swiss mountain resort.
Climate Deaths by 2030 Could Exceed UN Agency’s Estimate of 250,000 Per Year
The World Health Organization may have been too “conservative” with its prediction that climate change will kill 250,000 people per year between 2030 and 2050, according to a new analysis published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).
Study Shows Antarctic Ice Loss Speeding Up Six-Fold Since 1979
An influx of warm ocean water has boosted the rate of Antarctic ice loss six-fold over the last 40 years, in what the Washington Post calls a “startling new finding” that “could mean sea levels are poised to rise more quickly than predicted in coming decades.”
Oceans Warming Faster Than IPCC Estimate, China-U.S. Study Concludes
The world’s oceans are up to 50% warmer than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimated in its most recent report, and the rate of warming is still accelerating, a team of Chinese and U.S. scientists concludes in a study published Thursday in the journal Science.
Chile Foresees More Wildfires Due to High Winds, Low Humidity, Plantation Forests
Chile’s government expects the area burned by wildfires to double this year, the country’s agriculture minister said last Tuesday morning, as flames continued to rage through the heart of the country amid a heat wave.
Climate Health Impacts Kill 2.1 Million World-Wide, 7,142 in Canada in 2017
Chronic exposure to the air pollution associated with greenhouse gas emissions kills 2.1 million people world-wide and 7,142 in Canada per year, according to the second edition of an annual countdown on climate change and health produced by The Lancet, one of the world’s most prestigious medical journals.
Regions Could Face Up to Six Climate Threats at Once by 2100
The risks and hazards associated with climate change are already coming in combination, and some parts of the world could face as many as six climate-related threats at once by the end of this century, warns a paper published last week in the journal Nature Climate Change.
California’s Camp Fire Finally Contained: 17 Days, 85 Dead, 249 Missing, 14,000 Homes Lost
After 17 days, 85 dead, another 249 still missing, 14,000 homes destroyed, and flames that took out an area the size of Chicago, California fire officials declared yesterday that the Camp Fire, the deadliest in state history, has been contained.
Climate Change Brings Severe Drought, Soaring Temperatures to War-Torn Iraq
After years of being devastated by war, Iraq faces increased climate stress in a hotter, drier future, according to a stark report released recently by the Expert Working Group on Climate-related Security Risks.
Researchers Acknowledge Errors in Study Methods, But Oceans Are Still Warming
The authors of a startling new study on ocean warming have filed a correction with the journal that originally published it and acknowledged “inadvertent errors that made their conclusions seem more certain than they actually are,” the Washington Post reports.
California’s Worst-Ever Wildfire Kills 23, Claims 7,000 Structures
California is dealing with the onslaught of three ferocious November wildfires, with satellite images showing dramatic growth in the Camp, Woolsey, and Hill Fires over the last couple of days.
‘Startling’ Warming Study Shows Oceans Absorbing 60% More Heat Than Scientists Thought
Global warming is farther advanced than scientists believed, with the world’s oceans absorbing 60% more heat per year over the last quarter-century than previously research had shown, according to a startling new study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
Migrant Caravan to U.S. Driven Primarily by Climate-Induced Drought
With Donald Trump sending 5,000 troops to his country’s southern border—and surprising the Pentagon yesterday by threatening a force of up to 15,000—in his latest attempt to head off hordes of Democratic voters in next Tuesday’s midterm elections, the United Nations and at least one aid agency are pointing to climate change as the main driver of the migrant caravan wending its way through Mexico to the United States.
Storms, Flooding Kill Six Across Northern Italy, Flood 70% of Historic Venice
About 70% of Venice was flooded earlier this week by the highest tides in at least a decade, with a regional weather system driving waters above 1.6 metres (63 inches) that even swamped the elevated sidewalks the city installed to accommodate rising waters.
Habitat Loss, Over-Exploitation Drive Loss of 60% of World’s Wildlife in 44 Years
Habitat loss and over-exploitation, followed by climate change, are among the key factors that have led to the loss of 60% of the world’s wildlife population between 1970 and 2014, according to the latest edition of World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet Report published Monday.
Intense Hurricane Obliterates Hawaiian Island
A 4.5-hectare Hawaiian island was literally wiped off the map forever when Hurricane Walaka swept through the region earlier this month, just a couple of weeks before Super Typhoon Yutu brought 290-kilometre-per-hour winds to the Northern Mariana Islands in the worst storm to hit United States territory since 1935.
Flash Flood in Jordan Kills 18, Mostly Children and Teachers
A flash flood near Jordan’s Dead Sea yesterday killed 18 people, mostly children and teachers on a school trip, producing what rescuers and hospital workers described as one of the country’s worst disasters in years.
Climate Change Already Making Local, International Conflicts Worse: Red Cross
Humanitarian organizations are already coping with the on-the-ground reality that climate change is making domestic and international conflicts worse, according to Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
‘Clarion Call’ Study Points to ‘Hyper-Alarming’ Decline in Insect Populations
A “hyper-alarming” population decline in insects and the animals that feed on them extends across the Americas and is more serious than scientists previously believed, and climate change is the cause, according to a new study last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Search and Rescue Continues, Poorest Among the Hardest-Hit as Hurricane Michael Recedes
Poor communities in Florida, Alabama, and Georgia have been hit first and worst by Hurricane Michael, with some shellshocked evacuees returning home and realizing the storm has sent them “back to frontier days”.
Super-Heated Ocean Boosts Hurricane Michael into 250-Kilometre-Per-Hour ‘Monster’
Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle Wednesday as the most powerful storm to hit the continental United States in nearly 50 years, packing winds of up to 155 miles (250 kilometres) per hour, killing six people so far, and triggering immediate analysis that connected the new strength of recent hurricanes to ocean warming caused by climate change.
Intense, Repeat Wildfires Pollute Rivers, Threaten Water Supplies
Wildfires are increasingly polluting rivers and threatening water supplies, according to a new study by the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Economic Costs of Climate Change Will Hit Hardest in India, U.S.
The future economic costs of climate change will hit hardest in India and the United States, according to a new study published last week in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Species Diversity Determines Forests’ Resilience Against Drought
Species diversity is one of the key factors that determine a forest’s resilience against drought, according to new research on 40 temperate and boreal forests published last month in the journal Nature.
Rising Carbon Levels Reduce Ocean Oxygen Levels, Subjecting North Atlantic Species to ‘Slow Suffocation’
Atlantic wolffish and cod and Greenland halibut are at risk of slow suffocation as climate change drives oxygen depletion in the cold waters off eastern Canada, one of the world’s richest fishing grounds, a team of oceanographers reports in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Permafrost Melt Closes In on Critical Climate Tipping Point
Melting permafrost is closing in on a critical tipping point where it will release large volumes of methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, driving atmospheric warming above the maximum 2.0°C target in the Paris Agreement much sooner than scientists hoped, according to a new study in the journal Nature Geoscience.
Major Mental Health Crisis Hits Puerto Rico as Year-Long Hurricane Recovery Lags
A year after Hurricane Maria killed nearly 3,000 people and destroyed much of the infrastructure on the island of Puerto Rico, the country is facing a major mental health crisis, as the grinding, day-to-day reality of living with the aftermath of a US$139-billion catastrophe steadily overwhelms the survivors.
Poor and Rural North Carolinians Are Hardest Hit as Aerial Photos Show ‘Overwhelming’ Devastation
Aerial photos showed “overwhelming” devastation, an 1,870-megawatt nuclear plant had to be shut down, and poor and rural residents of the Carolinas were hit hardest as tropical depression Florence continued to drop rain on a waterlogged region.
‘It’s All About the Water’ as ‘Slow-Moving Natural Disaster’ Turns Carolinas Into an Archipelago
Meteorologists may have downgraded it from a hurricane to a mere tropical storm, but the “storm known as Florence is creating a slow-motion natural disaster for the Carolinas,” as rivers and streams overflow their banks and the waters continue to rise, the Washington Post reports.
Typhoon Mangkhut Kills 64 in Philippines Before Hitting Southern China, Hong Kong
At least 64 people are dead after 550-mile-wide Typhoon Mangkhut tore through the northern end of the Philippine island of Luzon, uprooting trees and setting off landslides and floods. But officials were at least tentatively relieved that the impact wasn’t even worse after the region sustained the world’s most powerful storm so far this year.
UN Agencies Urge Greater Resilience as Droughts, Floods Drive Global Hunger to 10-Year High
Climate shocks like droughts and flood have helped drive global hunger up to levels last seen a decade ago, leaving one out of nine people around the world undernourished, concludes the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report issued earlier this week by five United Nations agencies.
Climate Action in Cities Could Create 13.7 Million Jobs, Prevent 1.3 Million Premature Deaths
Cities around the world could create 13.7 million jobs and prevent 1.3 million premature deaths per year by 2030 by pursuing “ambitious urban climate policies” that “vastly reduce carbon emissions globally,” according to a report released over the weekend by C40 Cities, the Global Covenant of Mayors, and the NewClimate Institute.
Extreme River Flows More Likely at 2.0 Than at 1.5°C
Extreme river flows considered once-in-century events can be expected more frequently if average global warming is kept to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, but even more so in many regions at 2.0°C, according to an international study of major river systems around the world.
Sweltering Summer Leaves 72% of Britons Concerned About Climate
A recent poll conducted by British pollster Opinium as the sweltering summer of 2018 drew to a close found concern about climate change amongst Britons “at the highest level in almost a decade,” The Independent reports.
Poorest, Most Vulnerable Countries Face Worst Impacts if Warming Pushes Past 1.5° to 2.0°C
The world’s poorest nations will see the biggest local climatic shifts at the margin between 1.5° and 2.0°C average global warming, even though they often have the least capacity to adapt to those impacts, according to a study published late last month in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Tens of Thousands of Species at Risk in Shift from 1.5 to 2.0°C Average Warming
Tens of thousands more species will be at risk of extinction if countries set their sights on the Paris Agreement target of 2.0°C average global warming, rather than the more ambitious goal of 1.5°C, according to a new paper in the journal Science.
2.0°C ‘Guardrail’ Won’t Hold Off Severe Climate Impacts
A target of 2.0°C average global warming is no longer the “guardrail” that will hold off many the worst effects of climate change, according to a series of papers published this week in Philosophical Transactions A, a scientific journal of the British Royal Society.
1.5°C Target Holds Far Better Future Than 2.0° for Arctic Ice
The difference between the Paris agreement’s 2.0°C top-line target for average global warming and its more ambitious 1.5°C goal could have a massive impact on the frequency of ice-free Arctic summers by the end of the century, according to two new studies in the journal Nature Climate Change.
1.5°C Target Could Prevent 153 Million Premature Deaths by 2100
The air quality improvements associated with a global effort to keep average global warming at 1.5°C would prevent up to 153 million premature deaths per year by 2100, with improvements on every inhabited continent and the greatest gains in Asia and Africa, according to a Duke University study published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Paris Implementation Would Slash Health Care Costs
The Best Climate Models Predict 15% Higher Future Temperatures
A comparison of the reliability of climate models—based on their ability to replicate present-day conditions on Earth—finds that the most accurate also imply the bleakest forecast for humanity and most other living creatures, an article in the journal Nature reports.
Shipping Efficiency Would Save 7.9 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050
Increasing transport ship efficiency places #32 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. Efficiency gains of 50% across the sector, at a net cost of US$915.9 billion, could prevent 7.9 gigatons of CO2 emissions by 2050, while saving the international marine industry US$1 trillion in fuel costs over the life of the vessels.
Northern Holland Installing World’s Biggest Floating Solar System
A company in The Netherlands has begun work on the world’s largest floating solar installation, a network of 73,500 panels on 15 islands on the Andijk reservoir in northern Holland that will have the ability to track the sun as it crosses the sky.
Central Bank Execs Stress Financial Sector’s Role in Addressing Climate Change
It’s time for central banks and the wider financial community to set clear, measurable goals for building a smooth transition to a low-carbon economy, 34 of the world’s biggest central banks declared last week, in the first comprehensive report by the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS).
Booming Community Solar Sector Promises Access for Low-Income Households
Determined to make good on the promise of equity contained in the phrase “community solar,” more than a dozen U.S. states and non-profit developers are working hard to ensure that low-income Americans have fair access to the power of the sun.
Bike Infrastructure Would Save 2.31 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050
Bike infrastructure ranks #59 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. Better and more widespread bike infrastructure would eliminate 2.31 gigatons of carbon dioxide and produce net savings of US$400.5 billion, with further lifetime savings of $2.1 trillion.
Micro Wind Would Save 200 Megatons of Carbon by 2050
Micro wind places #76 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. If its share of global electricity generation increases to 1%, it could eliminate 0.2 gigatons of carbon dioxide at a cost of $US36.1 billion, against savings of $19.9 billion.
Climate-Vulnerable Countries Plan New Tools to Fund Green Development
With at least a billion people in developing countries facing serious risk as the climate warms, the 48 members of the Vulnerable Twenty Group of Ministers of Finance (V20) is introducing a new set of tools to free up more funds at less cost for green development.
Renewables Make Decarbonization $15 Trillion Cheaper, Promise $160 Trillion in Savings by 2050
The plummeting cost of solar and wind farms, coupled with government policies driving faster electrification, has cut the cost of reaching global climate goals by US$15 trillion in the last year, concludes a report issued this week by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Alternative Cement Would Save 6.69 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050
Alternative cement places #36 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions, with the potential to avoid 6.69 gigatons of atmospheric carbon dioxide by 2050. The shift would save US$174 billion, because such alternatives ultimately last longer.
Global Coal Plant Construction ‘Collapses’, But China Considers Massive New Buildout
The introduction of new coal-fired power plants around the world has entered a “collapse” over the last three years, although the China Electricity Council is considering a proposal for a massive new buildout.
Sustainable Investments Grow 34% Over Two Years, with Climate as Prime Motivator
Sustainable investments around the world grew 34% over the last two years to US$30.7 trillion, with financial professionals pointing to climate change as a leading motivator for investors, according to the latest in a series of biennial analyses by the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance.
Florida Utility to Replace Two Natural Gas Plants with World’s Biggest Battery
Florida Power & Light has announced plans to build the world’s biggest battery and charge it from an existing solar power plant to replace two of its existing natural gas generating stations, a deal it says will save its ratepayers US$100 million.
Idaho Signs Solar Contract at Record-Low 2.175¢/kWh, Sets 2045 Target for 100% Clean Power
A new, 120-megawatt solar farm in southern Idaho is on track to deliver electricity at prices started at 2.175 cents per kilowatt-hour, believed to be the lowest ever for a U.S. project.
Lookback from 2050: NPR Essay Shows How We Got Climate Change Under Control
It’s 2050. We’ve got climate change under control. And we got the job done through mass electrification, reimagining cities, protecting forests, and changing the way cows are fed.
Living Buildings Would Revitalize the Environment, Build Community
Living buildings is one of the 20 carbon reduction options that Drawdown lists as Coming Attractions—strategies that weren’t ready for prime time when the book was published, but looked like promising approaches through mid-century.
UBS Bans Project-Level Finance for New Coal Plants
Swiss banking giant UBS has adopted new lending guidelines that ban project-level finance for new coal-fired generating stations around the world.
Electric Bikes Would Save 960 Megatonnes of Carbon by 2050
Electric bikes place #69 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. They can eliminate 0.96 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 at a cost of $US106.8 billion, with net savings of $226.1 billion.
Carbon Engineering Raises $68 Million for Commercial Direct Air Capture Plant
Squamish, B.C.-based Carbon Engineering has received billionaire backing from Silicon Valley investors, netting US$68 million to build its first commercial-scale Direct Air Capture (DAC) facility to pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
Home Water Efficiency Would Save 4.61 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050
Water saving in the home places #46 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. It can eliminate 4.61 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 at a net cost of $US72.44 billion, producing net savings of $1.8 trillion, based solely on energy savings from more efficient use of hot water.
Doig: International Equity is the Key to Faster, Deeper Carbon Cuts
Hitting the Paris Agreement goal of keeping average global warming well below 1.5°C will depend on a “frank and open discussion on equity” that drives negotiators toward faster, deeper emission cuts and away from “conventional development paths,” argues Dr. Alison Doig, Head of Policy at Christian Aid, in a blog post published late last week.
Connect Infrastructure Planning with Climate Crisis, Analysts Urge U.S. Legislators
Linking infrastructure policy with the climate crisis, introducing more low-carbon transit, and incorporating more nature in infrastructure design are all key steps in addressing the urban sprawl that is one of the underlying causes of the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions.
Forest Protection Would Save 6.2 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050
Forest protection places #38 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions, with the potential to avoid 6.2 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 and sequester an astonishing 896.29 gigatons.
Quebec Cap-and-Trade Revenues Exceed $3 Billion as Carbon Market Withstands Ontario Withdrawal
A new infusion of C$215 million has pushed Quebec’s cumulative carbon cap-and-trade revenues above the $3 billion mark, at just the moment when Ontario has cancelled its carbon pricing program and Alberta’s Jason Kenney is vowing to do the same if he wins the provincial election later this year.
Marine Permaculture Could ‘Reforest’ the Oceans, Draw 102 Gigatons of CO2 by 2050
Marine permaculture technology that seeds the world’s oceans with kelp forests while pumping up colder, nutrient-rich waters from the ocean depths is one of the 20 carbon reduction options that Drawdown lists as Coming Attractions—strategies that weren’t ready for prime time when the book was published, but looked like promising approaches through mid-century.
Reforestation Could Offset 10 Years of Emissions, But Countries Are Behind on Forest, Land Use Promises
After years of severely underestimating the number of trees on Earth, scientists are now calculating that a massive, global reforestation effort could offset at least 10 years of greenhouse gas emissions produced by human activity.
Mass Transit Would Save 6.57 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050
Expanding use of mass transit ranks #37 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions, with the potential to eliminate 6.57 gigatons of carbon dioxide and produce US$2.38 trillion in savings. The cost, according to Drawdown, is too variable to be determined.
From Vegan to Paleo, Farm Practices Matter More Than End Product
A solution to the raging food wars between vegans, paleos, and everyone in between is to recognize that good, bad, or terrible farming practices are far more important than the end product that lands on dinner plates, according to a recent post on Resilience.org.
Building Automation Would Save 4.62 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050
Building automation ranks #45 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. It could eliminate up to 4.62 gigatons of carbon dioxide by 2050 at a cost of US$68.1 billion, eventually saving building owners around $880.6 billion.
Concentrated Solar Power Would Save 10.9 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050
Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) places #25 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. Scaling up CSP to 4.3% of global electricity production by 2050 would avoid 10.9 gigatons of carbon dioxide. While implementation costs of CSP are high, at US$1.3 trillion, net savings by 2050 could total $414 billion, with lifetime savings of $1.2 trillion.
Exotic Carbon Capture Techniques Prop Up Fossil Interests, Aren’t Needed to Hit 1.5°C, New Study Asserts
The urgency and scope of the climate crisis are being needlessly exploited to drive fringe ideas like carbon dioxide removal (CDR) and solar radiation management (SRM) from the margins to the mainstream, according to a hard-hitting report issued last week by the Washington-based Center for International Environmental Law and Berlin’s Heinrich Böell Foundation.
California Sets Sights on Up to 100,000 New Net-Zero Homes Per Year
Net-zero buildings that produce as much energy as they consume may be about to hit the mainstream in California, where most new homes and multi-residential structures up to three stories high will be equipped with rooftop solar panels beginning next year.
Efficient Water Distribution Would Save 870 Megatons of Carbon by 2050
More efficient water distribution places #71 on the Drawdown list of climate solutions. It could cut atmospheric carbon dioxide by 870 megatons by 2050 at a cost of US$137.4 billion, producing net savings of $903.1 billion.
Analysts See Oil Industry’s Twilight, But Not Soon Enough to Hit Climate Targets
Two different analyst reports this week show the oil industry moving into its twilight, but the projected rate of decline is still far too slow to hit a 1.5°C threshold for average global warming and hold off the worst effects of climate change.
Utilities Seek New Identity, Different Revenue Sources in Post-Carbon Economy
From rebranding themselves as “partners” in energy delivery, to renovating legacy infrastructure to accommodate electric vehicle charging, to redirecting into the business of “smart” homes, microgrids, and energy storage, utilities are working overtime to reinvent themselves for a post-carbon world.
World’s Biggest Offshore Wind Farm Delivers First Power to UK Grid
The world’s biggest offshore wind farm was expected to begin delivering power to the United Kingdom grid this week.
Fossils’ Poor Stock Performance Makes Case for Divestment: IEEFA
Pouring more dollars into the fossil sector no longer makes sense for investors paying attention to a decade of poor stock performance, the gradual departure of institutional investors, depressed profits, a shaky future outlook, and the fact that fossils placed dead last in the 2018 Standard & Poors 500 stock market index, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis argues in a new briefing note.
Equipment Manufacturer Urges Bold Energy Efficiency Action to Meet Paris Climate Goals
Energy efficiency is poised to meet the carbon reduction targets in the Paris Agreement, depends on readily-available technology, and constitutes a trillion-dollar opportunity, writes Kim Fausing, President and CEO of Danish energy systems manufacturer Danfoss, in a recent post for the World Economic Forum. All that’s needed is a change of mindset on the part of energy consumers—especially the big industrial ones—and smart governance.
Origami-Style Window Blinds Would Produce Solar Electricity, Deliver Better Daylighting
An Australian architectural design firm is working on a new origami-style window blind that produces electricity and even brings more natural daylighting into the space.
Fuel-Efficient Trucks Would Save 6.2 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050
Increasing fuel efficiency in the global freight trucking industry places #40 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. It could reduce atmospheric emissions of carbon dioxide by 6.2 gigatons by 2050, at a net cost of US$543.5 billion, but $2.78 trillion in net savings.
Solar, Wind, Storage Set for Breakout Year Thanks to ‘Remorseless’ Cost Reductions
World-wide renewable generation capacity could grow by more than 200 gigawatts this year, thanks to “remorseless reductions in the costs of solar and wind electricity and of lithium-ion batteries,” according to a commentary published earlier this month by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Deloitte Sees 21 Million EVs in 10 Years, Cost Parity in 2021/2022
Another major consultancy is predicting electric cars’ dominance over conventional vehicles, with Deloitte projecting EVs’ total cost of ownership matching internal combustion as early as 2021 in the UK and 2022 globally, and no later than 2024.
100% Renewables, Land Restoration Can Meet 1.5°C Target Without ‘Unproven’ Geoengineering Techniques
A rapid shift to 100% renewable energy by 2050, combined with land restoration efforts to boost the resilience of natural ecosystems on every continent, would be enough to hold average global warming below 1.5°C without resorting to unproven and potentially dangerous “negative emissions” techniques, according to a two-year modelling effort conducted by 17 leading scientists and funded by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.
‘Planetary Health Diet’ Would Cut Emissions, Protect Biodiversity by Halving Red Meat Consumption
The world’s first-ever science-based “planetary health diet” is calling for a “new global agricultural revolution” in which red meat and sugar consumption is cut by half, and vegetable, fruit, pulse, and nut consumption double, in order to avert 11 million deaths per year, curtail the devastating climate impacts of industrial agriculture, and protect biodiversity.
Perennial Food Crops Could Boost Soil Carbon and Food Security, Reduce Deforestation
Replacing soil-depleting annual food species with perennial crops is one of the 20 carbon reduction options that Drawdown lists as Coming Attractions—strategies that weren’t ready for prime time when the book was published, but looked like promising approaches through mid-century.
City Housing, Transportation Policies Can Cut Carbon…Without Intending To
Cities across the United States are beginning to adopt housing and transportation policies that also end up reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change—even if carbon reductions are the farthest thing from their decision-makers’ minds.
64% Chance that Full Fossil Phaseout Would Keep Average Warming Below 1.5°C
Humanity would have a 64% chance of keeping average global warming under the crucial 1.5°C threshold if all fossil infrastructure were replaced with zero-carbon alternatives at the end of its operating life, according to a new study in the journal Nature Communications.
Policy Moves, Front-Line Action Could Make 2019 a ‘Breakthrough Year’ for Climate Solutions
After a bruising year of climate change news, including alarming reports of far worse in the future and an incomplete result at the United Nations climate conference in Katowice, Poland, 2019 is dawning as something improbable: A year of hope for effective climate action.
Jaccard: Carbon Taxes are ‘Good Policy, Bad Politics’ When Regulations Do Most of the Work
One of Canada’s leading climate economists and modelers is out with a Globe and Mail opinion piece that questions the decades-old narrative that positions carbon pricing as the cornerstone for effective climate policy.
International Climate Action Must Include Limits on Fossil Fuel Supply
Constraints on fossil fuel supplies are needed alongside effort to reduce demand if the countries that participated in COP 24 earlier this month hope to gain control of the climate crisis, geographers Philippe Le Billon of the University of British Columbia and Berit Kristoffersen of Arctic University of Norway write for Policy Options.
Global Wind Industry on Track to Grow 680 Gigawatts Over 10 Years
The global wind industry is on track to deliver more than 680 gigawatts (680 billion watts) of new capacity over the next decade, according to two recent reports by Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.
Carbon Capture Moves ‘Front and Centre’ as Climate Crisis Deepens
One of the countless side discussions at this year’s United Nations climate change conference in Katowice, Poland focused on the growing acceptance that some method of capturing carbon dioxide—from the atmosphere, or at the point where it’s first emitted—will be necessary to keep average global warming within 1.5°C.
Gender Equality Puts Climate Objectives Alongside Development Goals
Tuesday, December 11 was Gender Day at COP 24, a chance to underscore what gender equality means for effective climate action, and to identify what more can be done to unleash the power of half the world’s population.
Falling Cost of Renewables, Batteries Allows Countries to Boost Their Paris Commitments
The falling cost of renewable electricity and lithium-ion batteries will make it “substantially cheaper” for countries to fulfill their carbon reduction commitments under the Paris Agreement, according to a discussion paper released last month by Umwelt Bundesamt, the German environment agency.
World Bank Doubles Climate Fund to $200 Billion for 2021-25
The World Bank has committed US$200 billion to fund climate change mitigation and adaptation between 2021 and 2025, a doubling of its previous budget, and is funding the two aspects of the crisis equally for the first time.
Expert Panel Points to Breakout Potential in Direct Air Capture for Carbon
Direct air capture (DAC) techniques to pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere may be on the cusp of the same drastic cost reductions that have brought solar, wind, and battery storage into the mainstream over the last decade, according to the chair of a recent U.S. expert panel on negative emission technologies.
Unsubsidized Wind, Solar, and Batteries Beat Fossils on Price, BNEF Concludes
Unsubsidized wind and solar are new the cheapest source of new grid-scale power in all the world’s major economies except Japan, according to the latest electricity cost competitiveness report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
‘Natural Climate Solutions’ Could Offset 21% of U.S. Emissions
A collection of “low-tech, time-tested forest, farm, and land management techniques” could offset 21% of the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions, InsideClimate News reports, although it would take a carbon price of at least US$100 per ton for those strategies to meet U.S. targets under the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Energy Efficiency Could Boost the Benefit of HFC Phasedown from 0.5 to 1.0°C
The governments behind the landmark Kigali Amendment on climate-busting hydro-fluorocarbon refrigerants are taking aim at energy efficiency improvements that could double the benefit of the HFC phasedown from 0.5 to 1.0°C.
‘Inflection Point’ Shows U.S. Solar, Wind Less Costly to Own and Operate Than Existing Coal Plants
Finance and investment consultants at Lazard are the latest to conclude that renewable energy has reached an “inflection point”, where building new solar and wind capacity is often less expensive to build and operate than existing fossil-fired power plants.
Energy Efficiency Delivers Half of U.S. Power Sector’s Carbon Reductions Since 2005
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) is taking a short victory lap for efforts to boost efficiency in the country’s electricity system, after a U.S. government agency reported demand reductions accounting for half of the sector’s greenhouse gas cuts since 2005.
UK Renewables Capacity Exceeds Fossils for First Time Ever
Renewable electricity capacity in Britain has overtaken natural gas and coal for the first time ever, according to a report issued earlier this week.
Asleep at the Switch: Canada’s Pathway to 1.5°C Means Phasing Out Natural Gas
There’s a massive gap in Canadian climate strategy that is big enough and serious enough to undercut every other effort to turn the country from a climate laggard to a climate leader: Without a fast, determined effort to phase out natural gas, Canada will not meet its obligations under the Paris Agreement, much less deliver on the increased ambition at the heart of the global accord.
Morneau Attends Efficiency Canada Launch, Calls Efficiency the ‘Ultimate Win-Win’
The Canadian government is amending federal regulations to make it easier for households and businesses to adopt energy-efficient products and strategies, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced, during the launch event for Efficiency Canada in Ottawa November 1.
Solar and Wind Shift ‘from Mainstream to Preferred’ in New Deloitte Analysis
Solar and wind have shifted “from mainstream to preferred” energy sources, according to a new analysis by Deloitte Insights that points to renewables as the technologies “best able to meet new demand for reliable, affordable, and environmentally responsible energy.”
Mayors Urge Faster Phaseout of Gasoline, Diesel Cars
The mayors of Paris, Copenhagen, Seoul, and Medellín are urging automakers to stop building gasoline and diesel cars as soon as possible, following a World Health Organization report that found 630 million children around the world are exposed to unsafe air.
‘Rewilding’ Ecosystems Could Cut Methane Emissions, Boost Forest Carbon Storage
Conservation scientists are taking a serious look at “rewilding” key ecosystems by reintroducing large species like lions and elephants, giant tortoises and donkeys, in areas where they once thrived. One of the 16 papers in a recent special series suggests the process could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Off-Fossil Transition to Reach ‘Point of No Return’ in 2035, But Not Soon Enough for IPCC Target
The global shift to non-fossil energy will reach the point of no return by 2035, fossil analysts at Wood Mackenzie conclude in a recent report, creating an “unstoppable” shift off fossil fuels. But a faster transition will still be needed to hit the decarbonization targets set out two weeks ago in the IPCC’s landmark report on 1.5°C pathways.
Energy Efficiency is Waning, But Could Quickly Drive Down Emissions, IEA Analysis Shows
Countries are falling behind on energy efficiency policies that would be enough to peak greenhouse gas emissions quickly and then drive them down, even if the global economy doubles through 2040, according to a new analysis released last week by the International Energy Agency.
Coal Industry Collapse Could Move Far Enough, Fast Enough to Hit IPCC’s 2030 Target: Analyst
The IPCC’s urgent call for the world’s power utilities to reduce coal consumption 60% by 2030 might look unrealistic through a business-as-usual lens. But it isn’t far off a mounting trend that has only begun to reflect the falling cost and heightened viability of renewable energy, writes Bloomberg News analyst David Fickling.
Zero-Energy Homes Now Affordable Enough for Mainstream Markets
After years of being perceived as a luxury product, the price of zero-energy homes has come down to the point that they’re now ready for “mainstream markets”, the Rocky Mountain Institute reports in a recent analysis.
Rapid Emission Cuts Would Reduce the Need for Carbon Removal Technologies: IPCC
While “carbon dioxide removal is necessary to meet the 1.5°C target,” the technique can’t substitute for deep emission cuts, and fast action on climate change will be needed to avoid the most harmful negative emissions technologies, The Sink and Mirror reports, in its summary of this week’s IPCC report on options for limiting average global warming to 1.5°C.
Carbon Capture Companies Announce Milestones in Canada, Italy
Just as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a landmark 1.5°C pathways report that placed heavy emphasis on the need for viable carbon capture and storage methods, companies based in Switzerland and Canada are reporting progress on technologies designed to meet the challenge.
IPCC Delegates Consider Drastic Coal Cuts to Protect 1.5°C Target
Climate scientists gathered in Incheon, South Korea to review scenarios for 1.5°C average global warming may be poised to recommend a much faster phaseout of greenhouse gas emissions from coal, even as the United States tries to undercut the science behind the scenario report.
U.S. Utilities, Global Fossils Fight Public Opinion to Slow 100% Renewables Transition
As public demand veers increasingly in the direction of 100% renewable energy, the utility and fossil industries are doing their best to dampen the enthusiasm, injecting what they see as a dose of reality into the drive to get runaway climate change under control.
Wind to Become Europe’s Biggest Source of Electricity by 2027
Wind power will be the single biggest source of electricity generation in Europe, at 23% of total demand, by 2027, International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol told participants at WindEurope’s Global Wind Summit last week.
Massive Job Counts Show Renewables, Efficiency Taking Hold in ‘Every U.S. Zip Code’
The Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, and Boston regions lead the list of metropolitan areas that emerge as “America’s top 50 clean energy job engines,” producing 1.8 million jobs in energy efficiency and renewable energy—more than half of the country’s 3,176,8329 clean energy employment, Environmental Entrepreneurs reports in a survey released this week.
Falling Renewables, Storage Costs Poised to Take the Bite Out of the Natural Gas Boom
A flurry of recent news reports all lead toward the mounting realization that new renewable energy systems are less expensive for power utilities to undertake than historically cheap natural gas plants. The finding could have stunning implications for an industry that has been preparing for a boom, with fossil publications and analysts excitedly touting a new wave of liquefied natural gas (LNG) transport.
Sabia Urges Big Investors to Seize Multi-Trillion-Dollar Climate Opportunity
Major institutional investors must begin looking at the new climate economy as “what you start doing,” rather than a constraint on their activities or the financial returns they bring their clients, said Michael Sabia, president of the C$300-billion Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, in opening remarks to a group of foreign government representatives and private sector leaders during G7 meetings in Halifax last week.
ING Directs €500-Billion Lending Portfolio Toward Paris Targets with ‘Science-Based Approach’
Amsterdam-based financial institution ING Groep N.V. has unveiled plans to direct its €500-billion lending portfolio toward meeting the Paris Agreement target of holding average global warming to 2.0°C or less.
New Renewables Undercut Existing Fossil Prices in U.S. Grid Transition
U.S. utilities can now buy new renewably-generated electricity at less than it costs them to operate existing fossil plants, a senior executive at Denver-based Xcel Energy told Greentech Media this week.
Subsidy-Free Solar Sweeps Europe as Countries Reap Reward for Earlier Supports
From Germany to Italy, and from the United Kingdom to Spain, Europe is reaping the reward for its early support for renewable energy technologies that are now cost-competitive with fossil fuels—without any subsidies for the renewables. (We won’t vouch for any fossil project ever being subsidy-free.)
Ørsted Opens World’s Biggest Offshore Wind Project Off Northwest England
The 659-megawatt Walney Extension offshore wind project became the world’s biggest of its kind when it opened off the northwest English coast last week, boasting individual eight-megawatt turbines up to 195 metres in height and supplying enough electricity to power nearly 600,000 homes.
Fossil Demand Set to Peak in 2023 Due to Renewables Growth, Climate Action
Global fossil fuel demand is set to peak in 2023, putting trillions of dollars in oil, gas, and coal investments at risk due to a surging renewable energy sector, according to a new Carbon Tracker analysis released on the eve of the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco.
Climate Solutions Promise $26 Trillion in Benefits as Global Economy Hits ‘Use It or Lose It Moment’
The “bold action” needed to address the climate crisis could deliver at least US$26 trillion in economic benefits through 2030, while producing more than 65 million low-carbon jobs, preventing 700,000 premature deaths, and generating $2.8 trillion in government revenues in that year, according to a blockbuster report issued this morning by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.
Espinosa and Hidalgo: Climate Action is Ramping Up, But ‘More is What We Need’
UN Climate Secretary Patricia Espinosa and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, Chair of C40 Cities, issued this post just days before delegates gathered for several days of climate negotiations in Bangkok.
Diverse Forests Store Twice the Carbon, Improve Biodiversity, Compared to Monoculture Plantations
Multi-species forests can sequester twice as much carbon as monoculture plantations, according to a new study in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B.
Average U.S. Wind Cost Hits 2¢ Per Kilowatt-Hour
Average prices for wind power in the United States fell to 2¢ per kilowatt-hour last year, a stunning drop from a threshold of 7¢ in 2009, with inexpensive projects in the central part of the country leading the way, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
Power Prices Below Zero Point to the ‘End of the Energy Mainframe’
The rise of cheap, available renewable energy is creating a management nightmare for traditional utilities from California to Germany to Australia, as the availability of surplus electricity drags down the price the power companies can charge for their product at certain times of day.
19 Cities, Combined Population 130 Million, Pledge Net-Zero Carbon Buildings by 2030
Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver are three of 19 cities around the world whose mayors have promised to ensure that all new buildings in their communities are net-zero carbon by 2030—and that all their cities’ buildings, old and new, meet a net-zero standard by 2050.
Legal Rights for Nature Could Help Protect Biodiversity
With environmental destruction escalating around the world, environmentalists are accelerating conservation efforts through such endeavors as the Nature Needs Half (NNH) movement, and fighting pitched battles to have nature formally recognized as a legal entity with inalienable rights that must be protected.
Renewables Hit 64% of Global Electricity Supply by 2050 in New Bloomberg Analysis
New investment worth US$11.5 trillion will drive renewable energy to 64% of global electricity supply through 2050, while coal will largely be squeezed out of the grid, according to the annual New Energy Outlook report issued last week by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
G20’s $1.6T for New Gas Projects Undercuts Paris Climate Promises: Oil Change
With US$1.6 trillion in upcoming investments in new fossil gas projects, G20 countries are contradicting their own commitments under the Paris Agreement and perpetuating the myth that gas is a “bridge fuel” to a post-carbon future, states a report released yesterday by Oil Change International and endorsed by more than 20 organizations around the world.
Green Building Pioneers Urge LEED to Embrace Low-Carbon Tech, Climate Change Challenge
As the U.S. Green Building Council celebrates the 20th anniversary of its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system for environmentally sound buildings, it’s coming under pressure to toughen up a set of construction and retrofit rules that brought green design to the mainstream, but still fall short of the performance that will be needed to decarbonize the global economy.
Wealthiest Cities Hold Key to Fast, Effective Climate Action
Researchers from Norway, Sweden, Japan, and the United States are pointing to the world’s big, affluent cities—with both huge carbon footprints, and the institutional capacity and infrastructure to shrink them rapidly—as the key to avoiding catastrophic global warming.
Renewable Power Posts Record Growth, But Wider, Faster Shift Needed to Hit Paris Goals
Renewable electricity accounted for 70% of new power generation around the world last year, but greenhouse gas emissions are still on the rise and the global economy as a whole needs to pick up the pace to drive the post-carbon transition, concludes the Renewables 2018 Global Status Report released earlier this week.
IEA Sees Global EV Fleet Tripling by 2020, Then Doubling Every Three Years Through 2030
The global electric vehicle fleet is on track to triple between 2017 and 2020, from 3.7 to 13 million, then grow by an average 24% per year through 2030, the International Energy Agency reported this week.
Studies Show 100% RE Grids are Already Happening
Lingering doubts about the feasibility or reliability of a 100% renewable grid can be laid to rest by a flurry of recent studies and reports showing several jurisdictions around the world “already at or close to 100%,” veteran climate and energy analyst Joe Romm reports in a recent analysis on Resilience.org.
Ramped-Up Corporate Renewables Procurement Still Falls Short of Paris Goals
Although more and more companies around the world “are voluntarily and actively procuring or investing in self-generation of renewable energy,” commercial and industrial users can still go a lot farther to help drive a transition off fossil fuels, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) reports.
60 Mega-Investors Demand Sharper Climate Focus at Fossils’ Annual Meetings
A group of 60 global investment managers representing more than US$10.4 trillion in assets is calling on fossil companies to take climate action more seriously at their upcoming annual meetings.
Bonn Climate Negotiations Bog Down, Leading to Extra Fall Session in Bangkok
After nine days of negotiations, the mid-year United Nations climate meeting remains bogged down in technical details, forcing countries to agree to an extra week of talks in Bangkok in September before they meet in Katowice, Poland in December to finalize the rulebook for implementing the Paris agreement.
Renewables Must Scale Up Six-Fold to Hit Paris Targets, But Cost Savings Are Massive: IRENA
Renewable energy deployment must scale up six-fold to hit the targets in the Paris agreement—but that outcome is still possible, and would lead to dramatic growth in the global economy and human welfare, according to a report released last week by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Project Drawdown: 100 Steps to Reduce Atmospheric Carbon, Reverse Global Warming
The Energy Mix is introducing a regular feature to help balance our coverage between the depth of the climate crisis, the intensity of the fight against fossil fuel projects like the Kinder Morgan pipeline, and the shining promise of a decarbonized economy. Project Drawdown styles itself “the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming”. Beginning today, we’ll be summarizing one climate solution from the Drawdown site in each edition of The Mix.
Time to Embrace Supply-Side Campaigns, Keep Fossils in the Ground, New Study Argues
It’s time to get past a consistent bias shared by analysts, politicians, and pundits across the political spectrum, veteran climate hawk David Roberts writes in a recent column for Vox: the curiously widespread aversion to restricting the supply of fossil fuels and leaving more climate-busting carbon in the ground.
Green Investment, Fossil Divestment Go Hand in Hand
Two of the most popular household strategies for promoting the post-carbon transition—divesting from fossil fuels and investing in clean solutions—will work best when they go hand in hand, and when the federal government joins individual Canadians who are already making the effort, writes Patrick DeRochie, climate and energy program manager at Environmental Defence.
101 Cities Source at Least 70% of Electricity from Renewables
Just over 100 cities around the world sourced at least 70% of their electricity from renewable sources in 2017, a dramatic increase from the 42 that had hit that milestone in 2015, according to a new report by UK-based disclosure and environmental impact researchers CDP.
A Credible Carbon Price Tomorrow Can Influence Decisions Today
Over-the-horizon carbon prices can do a lot of good, but only if the promises are believable, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research concludes in a new report.
Loss and Damage Financing Must Push Beyond Market-Based Measures
A technical debate flowing out of last year’s UN climate conference in Bonn could help determine the global response to the unavoidable loss and damage developing countries will experience as a result of climate change.
Women’s Rights Are Key to Slower Population Growth, Faster Decarbonization
The need to get rampant global population growth under control is one of the factors that place women’s rights at the centre of the fight against climate change, former White House counsellor John Podesta and former Member of Congress Tim Wirth argue in a recent Washington Post opinion piece.
Norway Bans Lofoten Oil Drilling for At Least Four Years
Norway will ban oil drilling until at least 2021 in the ecologically sensitive Arctic waters off Lofoten, Vesterålen, and Senja, Prime Minister Erna Solberg announced January 14.
Insurers From A to Z Turn Their Backs On Coal
Climate hawks are hailing a growing movement among international insurance companies to refuse to provide coverage to coal mining and coal-burning companies, and to divest their financial investments from the sector.
NATIONAL PLANS & RESPONSES
Canada Reports Greenhouse Gas Emissions Increase for 2017
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased marginally in 2017, from 708 to 716 million tonnes, driven mostly by increased oil and gas production, according to the national inventory the country filed this week with the United Nations climate secretariat.
Fossils ‘Surprised and Disappointed’ as Norway Turns Against Lofoten Islands Oil Drilling
Norwegian fossils declared themselves “surprised and disappointed” last week after the opposition Labour Party, the biggest voting bloc in the national parliament, withdrew its support for offshore oil and gas exploration in the environmentally sensitive Lofoten Islands.
15 Groups Receive Federal Dollars to Form Pan-Canadian Expert Collaboration
A new Pan-Canadian Expert Collaboration on climate change will receive up to C$20 million over five years to “generate, communicate, and mobilize trusted information, policy advice, and best practices for Canadians, governments, and stakeholders,” Environment and Climate Change Canada announced this week.
Indonesia Sees Path to Prosperity in ‘Mainstreaming’ Low-Carbon Development
Indonesia’s planning minister has said the country will choose a low-carbon development pathway after a government report found it could significantly boost the economy.
By 2045, the centenary of Indonesia’s independence, citizens could be as wealthy as those of the Netherlands or Germany today, the report found. But it will need to make careful choices across all sectors of the economy.
Canada Falls Short on Efforts to Cut Emissions, Phase Out Fossil Subsidies, Environment Commissioner Reports
Canada still isn’t on track to meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets or phase out fossil fuel subsidies, federal Environment Commissioner Julie Gelfand warned last week, in the last report she will issue before her five-year term expires.
Business, Investment Leaders Demand IEA Scenarios that Drive Toward 1.5°C
It’s high time for the International Energy Agency to develop future scenarios that show a reasonable prospect of keeping average global warming to 1.5°C, while taking a precautionary approach to so-called negative emission technologies, a group of more than 40 business leaders, investors, and energy specialists asserts in a letter released this week by Oil Change International.
Australia Yanks Support from UN’s Green Climate Fund as National Elections Loom
Australia will stop contributions to the United Nations’ major fund for battling climate change this year, according to government budget papers released on Tuesday.
With a federal election looming, the government followed up on Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s threat not to “tip money into that big climate fund”.
‘Incremental’ Gains in Budget 2019 Fall Short of a Path to Climate Stabilization
Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s pre-election budget March 19 would have been “an historic milestone of massive proportions” had a government of any political stripe introduced it five, 10, or 20 years ago, but falls short of the climate challenges that every government today must confront, The Energy Mix publisher Mitchell Beer writes in a guest post for the Canadian Science Policy Centre.
EXCLUSIVE: Ottawa Leans Toward California on Fuel Economy Rules, Will Seek Feedback on Fossil Subsidies
The federal government is leaning toward supporting tougher fuel economy standards against Trump administration rollbacks, and is about to announce incremental progress on curbing fossil fuel subsidies, The Energy Mix learned Thursday evening, during a town hall hosted by Environment and Climate Minister Catherine McKenna.
Russian Climate Legislation Has ’80-90% Chance’ of Passing Despite Pushback from Fossils, Oligarchs
Russia is considering climate legislation that could give the world’s fifth-largest emitter a framework for regulating carbon emissions for the first time.
Morneau’s Pre-Election Budget Boosts ZEVs and Energy Retrofits, Extends New Fossil Subsidy
Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau tabled a pre-election budget yesterday that included a 2040 deadline to phase out new internal combustion vehicle sales, major new funds for building energy retrofits, and a budget boost for municipal infrastructure, but introduced a new fossil fuel subsidy while doggedly claiming a fossil subsidy phaseout is still on the government’s agenda.
1.4 Million Students in 128 Countries Make March 15 #schoolstrike a Global Phenomenon
More than 1.4 million students in more than 300 cities across 128 countries and all seven continents skipped classes to demand climate action at an estimated 2,229 events in more than 40 languages on Friday, March 15, as The Guardian reported that 16-year-old Youth Strike for Climate founder Greta Thunberg had been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Trump Climate Deregulation Could Boost U.S. Emissions by 200 Mt Per Year by 2025
Climate deregulation by the Trump administration could increase U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by more than 200 megatonnes per year by 2025, enough to “hobble global efforts to avoid the worst impacts of climate change,” Reuters reports.
Construction Boom Drives Up China’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions
China’s greenhouse gas emissions grew about 3% last year, despite rapid gains in clean energy production that couldn’t keep pace with surging demand for electricity.
Surging Canadian, U.S. Fossil Production Puts Paris Targets at Risk
Growing production in Canada and the United States has added the equivalent of another Russia or Saudi Arabia to global oil and gas markets in the last decade, pointing to a “growing disconnect” between fossil production and the urgency of the climate crisis, International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol told an audience in Ottawa late last month.
EU Chair Commits Billions to Climate Mitigation, Endorses Thunberg’s #SchoolStrike
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker promised an EU budget with billions of euros per year for climate change mitigation, in a speech he delivered in Brussels last week alongside Swedish school strike leader Greta Thunberg.
Renewables Could Head Off EU Natural Gas Boom as Germany Phases Out Coal
Renewable energy may be poised to head off a boom in natural gas demand that European producers expected to see in the wake of Germany’s coal phaseout plan.
Green New Deal Envisions Net-Zero Emissions in 10 Years Through WWII-Scale Effort
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) released an outline of the Democrats’ Green New Deal yesterday, in the form of a 14-page Congressional resolution that would bring U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to net zero in 10 years by “dramatically expanding and upgrading renewable power sources”.
UK Carbon Dioxide Emissions Fall 38% from 1990 to 2017
Cleaner electricity and reduced energy demand were the two major factors driving a 38% drop in the United Kingdom’s carbon dioxide emissions between 1990 and 2017, from 600 to 367 megatonnes, the biggest reduction in any industrialized country.
Green New Deal Draft Commits to Net-Zero GHG, Leaves Out Fossil Phaseout Deadline
With Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey set to outline Democrats’ Green New Deal legislation within days, a recent draft includes a commitment to “net-zero greenhouse gas emissions” but appears to leave out an explicit deadline for phasing out oil, natural gas, and coal development in the United States.
Canada Falls Farther Behind Its Paris Emissions Target, with Fossils the Primary Driver
Carbon pollution from Canada’s fossil industry and some questionable assumptions about carbon credits are driving projected greenhouse gas emissions more than 100 million tonnes beyond the country’s 2030 target under the Paris Agreement, according to an analysis of the federal government’s latest emission calculations.
Germany to Phase Out Coal by 2038, Pay €40 Billion for Regional Transition
Germany will shut down all its coal plants by 2038 and pay out at least €40 billion (US$45.7 billion) to support a just transition in affected regions if the country accepts recommendations finalized Saturday by a government-appointed coal commission.
France Plans 300 MW of New Solar Capacity to Replace 40-Year-Old Nuclear Plant
France has received European Commission approval for a €250-million plan to replace the 40-year-old Fessenheim nuclear generating station by contracting for 300 megawatts of new photovoltaic solar capacity.
China Moves to Phase Out Subsidies as Solar, Wind Prices Become Competitive with Coal
With the end of 2020 as a target date to phase out renewable energy subsidies, China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) has unveiled a package of eight “enticements” for developers that are prepared to consider subsidy-free solar and wind projects over the next two years, Greentech Media reports.
Green New Deal Risks Splitting U.S. Climate Community Over Timelines, Targets
The prospect of a comprehensive Green New Deal to drive rapid decarbonization and create jobs in the United States has been receiving considerable air time in the U.S. congress and media. But with the specifics of the plan still taking shape, a tough political battle is already emerging between Democrats demanding 100% renewable energy by 2035, and a second contingent urging a 100% decarbonization target—a policy which would leave options like carbon sequestration and nuclear generation on the table.
Trump, Other Disasters Drive U.S. Climate Concern to Record Levels
Recent polling shows a sharp jump in Americans’ awareness of the climate crisis, with nearly three-quarters accepting the reality of climate change and worrying about how it affects their lives. And there’s some indication that Donald Trump is one of the disasters driving the uptick in awareness.
12,500 Students in Belgium Skip Classes, Demand National Climate Action
About 12,500 students in Belgium skipped classes last Thursday, in what they hope will be a weekly protest inspired by 15-year-old Greta Thunberg’s school strike in Sweden.
Veteran Negotiator Declares UN Climate Process a ‘Co-opted Charade’, Paralysed by ‘Groupthink’
United Nations climate negotiations are paralysed by “groupthink” and won’t deliver the speed and depth of carbon reductions that will hold off the worst effects of climate change, writes veteran COP participant Kit Vaughan, in a recent post on the Lush Cosmetics website that calls for stepped-up citizen action in lieu of an incremental, fossil-dominated UN process.
Pelosi Promises New Climate Bill in U.S. House
United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is vowing to table new legislation on climate change modelled on the cap-and-trade bill her caucus introduced and passed in 2009, only to have it die on the floor of the U.S. Senate.
U.S. CO2 Emissions Rise 3.4% in 2018
Carbon dioxide emissions in the United States grew 3.4% in 2018, their second-biggest jump in two decades, delivering what the Washington Post calls “a jarring increase” at a time when scientists are stressing the need to drastically reduce emissions.
India Plans Another 500 Gigawatts of Renewable Capacity by 2028
India has unveiled bold plans to procure an additional 500 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2028, including 350 GW from solar and 140 from wind, with the objective of producing 40% of its electricity from non-fossil fuels by 2030.
Renewables Exceed 40% of German Power Supply, Outpace Coal for the First Time
Renewable energy supplied 40.4% of Germany’s electricity last year, exceeding the output from coal for the first time, according to a report released last week by applied science researchers at the Munich-based Fraunhofer Society.
French Climate Petition Approaches Two Million Signatures in One Week as Groups Plot Legal Action
A petition protesting France’s failure to honour its commitments under the 2015 Paris Agreement has collected nearly two million signatures in one week, making it the country’s most popular sign-on ever—far exceeding the tally for the country’s well-publicized gilets jaunes (Yellow Vests) movement, at just over a million.
UK Labour Party Promises ‘Economic Revolution’ to Tackle Climate, Create Green Jobs
An “economic revolution to tackle the climate crisis, using the full power of the state to decarbonize the economy and create hundreds of thousands of green jobs in struggling towns and cities” would be in the offing for the United Kingdom if the opposition Labour party formed a government, The Guardian reports, citing an interview with the party’s shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey.
India’s Oil and Gas Subsidies Down 70%, But Coal Bailouts Continue
India cut its oil and gas subsidies 70% between 2014 and 2017 and increased renewables subsidies six-fold over the same period, according to an analysis issued late last year by the International Institute of Sustainable Development (IISD) and the Delhi-based Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW).
Pelosi Unveils Climate Crisis Panel, But Details Leave Progressives Fuming
With the new United States Congress due to be sworn in today, the new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives is already at odds over the composition and mandate of the reconstituted House Select Committee on Climate Crisis, which had been seen as a possible pathway for the Green New Deal advocated by the progressive wing of the caucus.
Recognition of Loss and Damage Emerges as COP 24 Success Story
Recognition of the loss and damage vulnerable countries face due to the inevitable impacts of climate change is emerging as a major success story in the aftermath of this year’s United Nations climate change conference in Katowice, Poland.
Saudi Negotiator Lays Out Objections to IPCC’s 1.5°C Report
In the first week of this year’s United Nations climate change conference, Saudi Arabia was one of four petro-states that blocked delegates’ full acceptance of the IPCC report on 1.5°C pathways, chewing up scarce and valuable negotiating time along the way. In a subsequent interview with Carbon Brief Editor Leo Hickman, senior Saudi negotiator Ayman Shasly claimed that “we adore and we really like the Paris Agreement” and laid out his country’s reasoning for standing firm against full adoption of the report.
India Plans New Solar, Wind Tenders to Hit 175-Gigawatt Target by 2022
India is planning to issue tenders for 60 gigawatts of new solar and 20 GW of new wind capacity over the next two years, in a bid to hit its target of installing 175 GW of new renewable energy generation by 2022.
China Dumps ‘Clean’ Coal from Green Bond Criteria, Still Exports Outdated Coal Technology
China is dumping so-called “clean coal” from the guidelines for its green bond programs, a decision that will match up the country’s green finance definitions more closely with the standard set by the global Climate Bonds Initiative.
High Ambition Coalition Drives Up Paris Commitments While Poland Earns Public Rebuke
The High Ambition Coalition that drove the Paris Agreement to a better conclusion put in a repeat performance, and the Polish Presidency responsible for driving the success of this year’s negotiations earned a strong public rebuke, as this year’s United Nations climate conference moved into its final hours in Katowice.
Canada Sets Coal Phaseout Rules with Relaxed Emissions Target for Coal-to-Gas Conversions
Canada has published a set of regulations that largely eliminate coal-fired power generation by 2030 and have received praise from the Pembina Institute as “a historic step in protecting public health and sending a signal for clean energy investments”.
BREAKING: Canada Commits to Faster, Deeper Carbon Cuts in 2020
Canada will adopt tougher greenhouse gas reduction targets when the Paris Agreement takes effect in 2020, Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna said yesterday, just days before her departure for this year’s United Nations climate change conference in Katowice.
EU Sets 2050 Carbon Neutral Target, 10 Years Too Late for CAN-Europe
The European Union has set a 2050 deadline for carbon neutrality, 10 years later than the target adopted in early October by Climate Action Network-Europe in line with a 1.5°C limit on average global warming.
Developing Nations ‘Lead the Charge’, Outpace Wealthier Countries in New Clean Energy Capacity
Developing countries are “charging ahead of wealthier nations in the global green energy push,” adding more clean electricity than fossil fuel capacity in 2017 for the first time ever, according to a Bloomberg News report citing the annual Climatescope survey by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
G20 Communiqué Ignores IPCC Report, Tones Down Support for Paris Implementation
A draft communiqué from the leaders of the G20 shows that resolve to stand up for the Paris climate agreement against critical voices, such as the United States, may be weakening.
U.S. Utilities Add Transmission and Renewables, Cut Coal as Grid Transition Continues
American Electrical Power (AEP), one of the larger investor-owned utilities in the United States, has unveiled a five-year, US$33-billion capital investment plan that focuses mostly on upgrading its transmission and distribution infrastructure.
EXCLUSIVE: Federal Climate Panel to Seek Practical Steps to Meet, Possibly Exceed Canada’s 2030 Target
Proven, practical measures to reach or even push beyond Canada’s 2030 greenhouse gas reduction targets will be the focus for the federal government’s new climate change advisory panel, co-chair Steven Guilbeault told The Energy Mix in an exclusive interview Sunday.
U.S. Climate Assessment Shows Impacts ‘Intensifying Across the Country’
The effects of climate change in the United States are “intensifying across the country” and will soon add up to hundreds of billions of dollars per year without rapid corrective action, according to a national climate assessment released by the Trump administration on Friday, while a large proportion of U.S. citizens were preoccupied with the busiest shopping day of their year.
‘Carbon-Free’ Virtual Forum Demands 1.5°C Action for World’s Most Vulnerable Nations
The Climate Vulnerable Forum completed the world’s first-ever zero-emissions climate summit this week, a day-long virtual meeting that challenged the inevitably more carbon-intensive COP 24 in Katowice, Poland to usher in tougher national climate targets and make climate financing more available to vulnerable countries.
Slovakia Speeds Up Coal Subsidy Phaseout to 2023 as EBRD Considers Ending New Coal Financing
Slovakia is setting an accelerating timeline to phase out its coal mining subsidies by 2023, Economy Minister Peter Ziga told an energy conference in Bratislavia earlier this week.
Climate Policies in Canada, Russia, China Would Drive Warming Above 5.0°C by 2100
Canada, Russia, and China are pursuing policies that would push average global warming about 5.0°C by 2100 if every country followed their lead, according to a new ranking of countries’ climate action programs, published Friday in the journal Nature Communications.
Brazil’s Bolsonaro Appoints Anti-Globalist Climate Denier as Foreign Minister
Brazil’s president-elect Jair Bolsonaro has named an anti-globalist diplomat to lead on foreign affairs and his country’s relationship to the Paris Agreement.
Canada Posts Highest Per Capita Emissions as G20 Falls Short on Climate Action
Governments in 19 of the world’s 20 biggest economies—including Canada—are still paying closer attention to fossil lobbyists than their own scientists’ advice, and are falling far short in their response to the climate crisis, according to new analysis released this week by the global Climate Transparency partnership.
EU’s New Efficiency, Renewable Energy Targets Will Overshoot Its 2030 Climate Goals
The European Union has adopted new energy efficiency and renewable energy targets that could actually overshoot the continent’s greenhouse gas reduction goals, after accounting for slower economic growth due to Brexit.
‘180-Degree Turn’ in Policy Triggers Rapid Climate Action by New Spanish Government
In recent years, Spain has been a graveyard for climate-friendly policies. But there are signs the dead may be twitching back to life.
Democrats on Offence, Climate Hawk Urges ‘Green New Deal’ After Midterm Election Result
The split result in U.S. midterm elections Tuesday evening is receiving extensive coverage in the country’s climate and energy media, with the new Democratic House majority expected to promote climate action and push back on the Trump administration’s environmental rollbacks in spite of an expanded Republican majority in the Senate.
Spain Plans Coal Phaseout by Year’s End, Unveils €250-Million Job Transition Fund
Spain’s new government and its unions have agreed on a transition plan to shut down most of the country’s coal mines by the end of this year and invest €250 million in mining regions over the next decade.
Abreu and Marshall: Canada Needs Better Accountability to Make Good on Paris Pledges
Canada must seize a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to show it can make good on its international climate commitments by forming an independent expert body to monitor its progress on climate change and clean growth, two of the country’s leading climate policy advocates argue this week in a post for The Hill Times.
Hurricane Prompts North Carolina to Set 40% Emissions Reduction Target by 2025
Prompted by the killer hurricane the temporarily turned his state into an archipelago, Governor Roy Cooper (D) signed an executive order Monday requiring North Carolina to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% below 2005 levels by 2025.
Canadians Support New Carbon Price Plan as Study Shows Common Ground in Alberta, B.C.
Majorities of Canadians in most provinces support the federal government’s new carbon pricing plan, and differences in public opinion between Alberta and British Columbia aren’t necessarily as entrenched as they might appear, according to two separate pieces of analysis released this week.
A Carbon Tax Rebate in Every Mailbox as Trudeau Unveils Federal Backstop
Households in Manitoba, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Saskatchewan will receive carbon tax rebate cheques under a plan unveiled yesterday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that will extend the federal floor price on carbon to provinces that don’t introduce their own carbon pricing schemes.
Seize the Moment for Climate Action, MPs Urge During Emergency Commons Debate
Canadians are feeling the effects of climate change today, and the next 10 to 12 years will give the country one chance to turn the corner on a mounting global crisis, key MPs told the House of Commons Monday evening, during an emergency debate on the implications of last week’s IPCC report on pathways to 1.5°C average global warming.
Glynn: 100-Tonne Lifetime Emissions Limit Per Person Helps Define Nations’ Carbon Budgets
Last week’s debate on Ireland’s annual financial budget would have been a great opportunity for legislators to take a serious look at their “other” budget—their carbon budget—University College Cork post-doctoral energy modeler James Glynn argues in a recent post.
Appeal Court Orders Fast Emission Cuts in Landmark Decision Against Netherlands Government
An appeal court in The Netherlands put “all world governments on notice” this week, upholding a previous, historic legal order that the national government accelerate its plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Ex-U.S. Climate Envoy Warns Against ‘Backsliding’ on Paris Implementation
When the nations of the world adopted the Paris Agreement in December 2015, they took a giant step toward establishing an operational regime to spur climate action after some 20 years of failed attempts to do just that.
350 Canada Urges Emergency Parliamentary Debate on 1.5°C Pathways [Sign-On]
Within hours of the IPCC’s release of landmark report on pathways to 1.5°C average global warming, 350 Canada was out with a petition calling on party leaders in the House of Commons to hold an emergency debate on the topic.
Saudi Arabia Made Best Efforts to Stall IPCC Science Report
It wouldn’t have been a United Nations climate negotiation without one of the world’s most profligate fossil fuel producers (and human rights abusers) trying to bog down the proceedings and water down a final report. And several news reports had Saudi Arabia doing exactly that as the IPCC meeting in Incheon, South Korea went into overtime Saturday.
EU Sought Stricter Adherence to 1.5°C Limit
As negotiations in Incheon, South Korea were reaching a pivot point late last week, the European Union called for a strict interpretation of the 1.5°C global warming threshold in the landmark UN climate science report due out today.
Confidential Comments Showed Trump Administration Pushback on IPCC’s 1.5°C Report
As IPCC negotiations in Incheon, South Korea got under way last week, confidential U.S. comments on a landmark global warming report raised doubts about the science behind it, warned that it risked crimping economic development, and advocated for carbon-catching technologies.
Draft Plan Boosts China’s 2030 Renewables Goal from 20 to 35%
A new renewable portfolio standard (RPS) under development by China’s National Development and Reform Commission calls for the country to produce at least 35% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, a big jump from its previous 20% target for “non-fossil fuels”, according to draft documents viewed by Bloomberg News.
Canada, EU Add Climate to Trade Deal in Visible Snub to Trump
Canada and the EU added a climate clause to their trade deal at a high-level meeting in Montreal last Wednesday.
One Planet Summit Delivers New Financing Commitments During Climate Week NYC
The United Nations secretary general, the president of the World Bank, and UN Special Envoy for Climate Action Michael Bloomberg all lined up alongside French President Emmanuel Macron this week to host the second annual One World Summit, with the goal of mobilizing financing to support climate action.
UN General Assembly Stresses ‘Sonic Boom SOS’ for Climate Action
The climate crisis is taking centre stage during this week’s United Nations General Assembly in New York City, with national leaders “feeling a sense of urgency to keep up the momentum on combating climate change,” the Associated Press reports.
Backbenchers Work Across Party Lines to Craft ‘Credible’ Climate Policy for New Zealand
Two years of consensus building through “clear-eyed analysis and good faith engagement” between policy-makers, industry, and civil society has left New Zealand with a credible climate policy, a process that drought-stricken Australia would do well to emulate, according to a recent op-ed for the Australian Broadcasting corporation.
Brown Renews Pledge to ‘Launch Our Own Damn Satellite’ as Summit Urges Faster Climate Action
After three days of new low-carbon commitments from regional governments, cities, and industry, the Global Climate Action Summit concluded Friday with a call for governments to step up their climate ambition, and renewed pressure on California Governor Jerry Brown to suspend new fossil fuel permits and protect front-line communities in the state that hosted the landmark international event.
Pacific Climate Warriors Shift Region ‘from Passive Victims to Active Leaders’
Four years after blockading the world’s largest coal port in Newcastle, Australia with their traditional canoes, the Pacific Climate Warriors have managed to shift their region’s relationship with the climate crisis “from passive victims to active leaders,” the Transition Network reports, based on an interview with Samoan climate organizer Fenton Lutunatabua.
Flurry of Low-Carbon Announcements Marks First Day of Global Climate Action Summit
The Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco is entering its second day, with media and other observers scrambling to keep up with a cascade of carbon reduction announcements and commitments. Climate Nexus is live-blogging the news as it breaks.
London, New York Mayors Urge Cities Worldwide to Dump Their Fossil Investments
Pointing to a summer of record heat and extreme weather in which London was improbably hot and dry, while New York was unexpectedly rainy, Mayors Sadiq Khan and Bill de Blasio are calling on cities around the world to join them in divesting their shares in fossil fuel companies and join a new global initiative on finance and investment.
UN Secretary General Urges Faster Action to Avert Runaway Climate Change
National leaders have until 2020 to step up efforts to curb global climate change before it’s too late, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres warned Monday, in a statement at UN headquarters in New York.
Iceland Aims for Full Carbon Neutrality by 2040
Iceland will increase the number of electric cars on its roads, ban new petroleum and diesel vehicles as of 2030, sequester carbon through wetland reclamation and reforestation, and aim for full carbon neutrality by 2040 under a 34-point climate action plan released this week by Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir.
‘Uneven’ Progress, ‘Stalemated’ Issues Create Steep Climb for Paris Agreement Implementation
Nearly a week of climate negotiations ended in Bangkok Sunday with what civil society observers called “uneven” progress on the all-important “rulebook” that countries are to adopt to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement. With talks due to conclude just three months from now at COP 24 in Poland, diplomats have a monumental task ahead to hammer more than 300 pages of draft text into a final agreement, and to reconcile deep political differences that were still on display during the week in Bangkok.
Massive Trade Loophole Places 25% of Global Emissions Outside National Climate Plans
A massive and growing “carbon loophole” is undermining global efforts to bring greenhouse gas emissions under control, with “most types of carbon policy” failing to account for the imported goods that represent about one-quarter of the global carbon footprint, according to a new report sponsored by the ClimateWorks Foundation.
Australia Can Still Build Coal Plants Under ‘Voluntary’ Paris Agreement, Resources Minister Asserts
Australia doesn’t need to withdraw from the Paris Agreement because it “doesn’t actually bind us to anything in particular” and won’t impede the country from building more coal-fired generating stations, Resources Minister Matt Canavan said last week.
High Stakes in Bangkok: WRI Lays Out Three Must-Do Challenges for Climate Negotiators
Since the Paris Agreement on climate change was adopted in December 2015, negotiators have been grappling with how to set it in motion with a strong framework of rules and operating procedures, commonly known as the “implementing guidelines” or “the Paris Rulebook”.
Bangkok Climate Negotiations Need Fast Action on Paris Implementation, Climate Finance
As delegates from around the world gathered in Bangkok this week for a second round of “intersessional” negotiations, aimed at making real progress on Paris Agreement implementation ahead of this year’s UN climate conference, they faced three severe warnings: That their countries are not on track to meet the carbon reduction targets in the Paris deal, aren’t ready to complete the Paris implementation rules three months from now in Katowice, Poland, and are far short of raising the US$100 billion the world’s richest countries promised to help developing nations tackle the climate crisis.
Business Lobby Gives Up on Seeing Climate Action from Australia Government
The Australian business community has given up on seeing any meaningful climate and energy action from the country’s Coalition government, now led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison following the ouster late last month of previous PM Malcolm Turnbull, and is looking elsewhere for movement in the months leading up to national elections next May.
Norway Nears Decisions on Sovereign Wealth Fund Divestment, Lofoten Oil Drilling Ban
A government report late last month slowed down some of the momentum for Norway’s US$1-trillion sovereign wealth fund to divest its oil and gas stocks, worth more than $40 billion.
South Africa Plans Shift from Coal and Nuclear to Renewables, Natural Gas
South Africa is moving decisively to reduce its reliance on coal- and nuclear-generated electricity and shift its focus to renewable energy sources and natural gas, although the country’s updated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for the electricity sector still foresees some new demand for coal.
California Adopts 2045 Deadline for 100% Carbon-Free Power, Speeds Up EV Deployment
California legislators voted this week to adopt a 100% carbon-free electricity target for 2045 and accelerate electric vehicle deployment across the state.
France’s Hulot Resigns on Live Radio, Citing Slow Progress on Climate
French Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot resigned yesterday in the midst of a live radio interview, in what Deutsche Welle casts as a “stunning setback” to the government of President Emmanuel Macron.
India Increases Mandatory Renewables Target for Big Power Consumers
India is reinforcing its recently-announced push to increase its 2022 renewable energy target, from 175,000 to 227,000 megawatts of installed capacity, by requiring major power consumers to add more renewables to their electricity supply mix.
EU Earns Cheers, Jeers for Setting 32% RE Target by 2030
With Climate and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete tweeting that Europe is “upping its game” on climate ambition, the European Union has announced a binding renewable energy target of 32% by 2030, below the 35% originally proposed by the European Parliament but above the 27% put forward by the European Council.
Canada Can’t Meet Paris Targets While Scaling Up Oil and Gas
Canada has virtually no chance of fulfilling its 2030 commitments under the Paris agreement if it continues to scale up oil and gas production, veteran earth scientist David Hughes concludes in a report released last week by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Parkland Institute.
Rich Countries Fail to Show Up for Climate Loss and Damage Dialogue
The countries on the front lines of climate change came away disappointed at the end of the two-day Suva Expert Dialogue last Thursday, as most rich nations simply failed to show up for discussions on what they can do to help the most vulnerable address the physical and financial impacts they face.
Carbon Pricing Saves 90 Megatonnes by 2022, Leaves Canada 90 Megatonnes Short of Paris Target
The federal floor price on carbon could eliminate up to 90 megatonnes of carbon dioxide by 2022, depending on the specific carbon pricing schemes different provinces and territories put in place, according to a new analysis released yesterday by Environment and Climate Change Canada.
15 Countries Strengthen Their Paris Commitments Ahead of 2020 Target Date
More than a dozen countries have updated their carbon reduction commitments under the Paris agreement, without waiting for the 2020 target date to increase their climate ambition. And an analysis by the World Resources Institute indicates that the majority have strengthened their goals.
Path to a Strong Economy ‘Paved with Strong Climate Policies’, Climate Hawks Assert
The Canadian politicians now negotiating to mollify Kinder Morgan investors by buying a $7.4-billion pipeline are right that the country can take action on climate change and have a strong economy. But “the path to a low-carbon economy is paved with strong climate policies, not the continued expansion of fossil fuels,” the executive directors of Environmental Defence and Climate Action Network-Canada argue in a Hill Times op ed this week.
China Hits 2020 Carbon Target Two Years Ahead of Schedule
China has hit its 2020 carbon reduction target two years ahead of schedule, the country’s Special Representative on Climate Change Affairs, Xie Zhenhua, told the Green Carbon Summit in Shanghai last week.
Emissions Growth in 2017 Shows More Work Needed to Hit Paris Goals
Energy-related greenhouse gas emissions increased 1.4% in 2017 after three years of stability, showing that countries must work harder to meet their commitments under the Paris agreement, the International Energy Agency warned in a release Wednesday.
Canada’s Emissions Projections Fall Farther Behind Paris Target
The gap between Canada’s Paris commitments and its climate policies has grown from 44 to 66 megatonnes in the last 18 months, according to a federal report filed with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Canada Must Phase Out Tar Sands/Oil Sands to Meet 2030 Carbon Target
Canada will have no hope of meeting its relatively modest greenhouse gas reduction target for 2030 unless it phases out all tar sands/oil sands production by that year, according to new modelling by two University of Toronto geographers.
China’s Power Sector Carbon Market Will Eventually Be World’s Largest
China is launching the world’s biggest carbon cap-and-trade market—and its plans are only getting started. But still missing is an actual date when the first carbon permit will change hands.
World Bank, National Leaders Deliver Climate Finance Pledges at Macron Summit
Without any official standing in the world’s diplomatic battle to restore climate stability by ending the use of fossil fuels, French President Emmanuel Macron’s one-day One Planet Summit in Paris still provided a stage yesterday for a flurry of hopeful commitments from national governments, international institutions, and private companies.
Global GHG Emissions Set to Rise 2% in 2017
The annual increase in global greenhouse gas emissions is on track to hit 2% this year, after levelling off at about 0.4% between 2013 and 2016, according to the latest estimate from the Global Carbon Project (GCP).