SNAPSHOT: A Bumpy Road to Paris Implementation as Countries Prepared for COP 24

 
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In the months leading up to this year’s United Nations climate conference in Katowice, Poland, negotiators worked toward completion of the all-important rulebook for implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement, and several individual countries announced faster, deeper targets for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. But while the year saw progress, it still wasn’t nearly fast enough or ambitious enough to bring the worst effects of global climate change under control.

Stumbling Toward a Decision

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s landmark report on pathways to climate stabilization was one of the top climate stories of the year, with its dual emphasis on the cataclysmic hazards of exceeding the 1.5°C “guardrail” for average global warming and the pathways for avoiding those outcomes. Early leaks of the report indicated the atmosphere was on track to exceed the 1.5°C threshold by 2040.

Ahead of the report’s release in early October, there were fears the IPCC would pull its punches in laying out the 1.5°C challenge, and epic climate laggards like Saudi Arabia did their best to make that fear a reality during final negotiations in Incheon, South Korea. In the end, science prevailed, said Climate Action Network-Canada Executive Director Catherine Abreu, who anchored the 40-member civil society delegation that helped wrangle a positive outcome from the negotiations. The final document combined urgency with hope and stressed that every additional 0.1°C of global warming is a choice between life and death, as IPCC delegates called for drastic cuts in coal production to protect the 1.5°C target. Climate Home News was out quickly with the 37 things you need to know about the IPCC report.

Before and after the IPCC meeting, there was no shortage of urgent calls for action, with UN Secretary General António Guterres pleading for a faster response to avert runaway climate change, ex-U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern urging countries not to backslide on Paris implementation, and UN climate secretary Patricia Espinosa declaring that countries will finish the Paris rulebook this year, with or without the participation of a climate-denying Trump administration in Washington.

But getting there was easier said than done. Mid-year negotiations in Bonn, Germany opened with calls for faster action and tougher carbon reduction targets, but ultimately bogged down so badly that countries agreed to a supplementary negotiating session in Bangkok in September. While they were in Bonn, most rich countries didn’t even bother showing up for a crucial dialogue session on how to compensate the world’s most vulnerable nations and regions for the impacts of a global crisis they had virtually no role in bringing about.

The Bangkok talks opened with Espinosa, Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon, and key climate campaigners once again urging faster action on Paris implementation and climate finance, as the World Resources Institute (WRI) laid out three must-do challenges for climate negotiators to address. The meetings ended up stalemated on key issues, leaving WRI to issue yet another call for progress as delegates gathered for yet another pre-meeting in Krakow, Poland in late October.

Poland itself became a focal point for concern in the weeks and months leading up to COP 24, with the coal state’s far right government announcing ominous plans in late April to limit protests during the international conference and collect personal data on civil society delegates. The new security law received a harsh response from international human rights experts, but was still in effect as the conference dates approached.

Fossil Fuels or a Stable Climate: Pick One

Throughout the year, a steady stream of studies and reports pointed to the wide gap between countries’ response to the climate crisis and the greenhouse gas reductions required to hit the 2.0°C goal in the Paris Agreement, much less the 1.5°C threshold that gained clear recognition in 2018 as an essential target for climate stabilization.

In March, the International Energy Agency reported that global greenhouse gas emissions had increased 1.4% in 2017, after three years of stability. “The failure of emissions to rise between 2014 and 2016 had suggested to analysts that something may have finally changed in the global energy economy—a possible ‘decoupling’ of emissions growth from steady economic growth, thanks to the proliferation of renewables and increasing energy efficiency,” the Washington Post reported in late March. “Now, that hopeful assumption is being called into question,” and “the IEA’s findings will undoubtedly feed into an increasingly urgent international climate dialogue about how to strengthen countries’ promises under the Paris climate agreement.”

Subsequent IEA reports showed 34 out of 38 energy technologies and energy-intensive sectors falling short of the Paris targets, Oil Change International said the IEA’s own modelling projections were leading countries over a cliff, the UK’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research urged tougher national targets, Carbon Tracker said coal plant retirements must triple, Stockholm Environment Institute Senior Scientist Pete Erickson told The Narwhal that any new fossil infrastructure would imperil domestic and international climate goals, and Oil Change said the G20’s plans for new natural gas plants would undercut Paris. Multilateral banks were falling short of the Paris goals as fossil subsidy dollars continued to flow, and some big insurers continued to invest in coal and tar sands/oil sands projects, although others adopted tougher policies.

Countries and Investors Step Up

Amid the mounting urgency, there were signs of progress, both in theory and in practice. An in-depth analysis by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate pointed to a US$26-trillion opportunity in the post-carbon transition, in a use-it-or-lose-it moment that could deliver 65 million low-carbon jobs, prevent 700,000 premature deaths, and generate $2.8 trillion in government revenues by 2030.

Big institutional investors pushed for more decisive action on climate during the annual G7 meeting in Malbaie, Quebec, just a week after the meeting’s host, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, made the stunning decision to buy a tar sands/oil sands pipeline from Houston-based Kinder Morgan Inc. Renewable power generation posted record growth, and the International Renewable Energy Agency said renewables could hit the Paris targets with a six-fold increase that would also deliver massive cost savings. The world’s biggest petro-states faced pressure to diversify their economies and cut fossil subsidies, and one analyst proposed assigning each citizen of the world a 100-tonne lifetime limit on carbon emissions as a basis for a sustainable carbon budget.

Fifteen countries promised to strengthen their Paris commitments ahead of the 2020 target date for a new round of carbon reduction pledges. India looked likely to miss its 2025 target for installing a massive 175 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity, but was still achieving fast renewables growth and major cost reductions. China led the world in clean energy investment in 2017 and laid plans to boost its renewable energy target from 20 to 35% by 2030. Brazil’s new president had alarming plans to target the Amazon and the Indigenous communities that depend on it, eliminate his country’s environment ministry, and possibly withdraw from the Paris Agreement, after appointing a climate-denying anti-globalist with minimal diplomatic experience as foreign minister. Climate Home News reported that Amazon deforestation was already rising during the election campaign, in anticipation of Jair Bolsonaro’s win.

China Paints Complex Picture of Climate Leadership, Second Thoughts

The news from China in 2018 pointed to continuing contradictions in the policies of a newly emergent superpower that had committed to lead on global climate strategy, faces its own domestic imperatives to do so, but is also caught in the throes of a complicated transition off fossil fuels.

With Donald Trump’s arrival in the White House, China had said it was ready to assume the sole mantle of global climate leadership in response to the United States’ “political selfishness” and capture the massive economic and geopolitical benefits of doing so. But the limits on that position soon came into focus, and they persisted into 2018.

Early in the year, observers were still discussing and dissecting President Xi Jinping’s stirring call in October 2017 for an “ecological civilization” that ensures “harmony between human and nature.” Xi’s speech to the Communist Party congress in Beijing envisioned a “legal and policy framework” that “facilitates green, low-carbon, and circular development,” promotes afforestation and wetland conservation and restoration, and takes “tough steps to stop and punish all activities” that damage the environment. “What we are doing today,” Xi concluded, is “to build an ecological civilization that will benefit generations to come.”

But by November 2018, with the effects of Trump’s trade war setting in, Greenpeace East Asia climate advisor Li Shuo saw China’s interest in climate leadership taking a back seat to more traditional strategic concerns. In a post for The Diplomat, he said the country’s wider concerns about the U.S. agenda were “shifting Beijing’s perception of the West as well as its own position in the world. Barely a year has passed since President Xi Jinping proudly declared his vision for China to be a ‘participant, contributor, and leader’ in global environmental affairs. Now, confidence is waning. With its rapid rise directly confronted by the most powerful nation in the world, the mood in Beijing is bleak.”

At least three news reports in four months had China leading the world in clean energy investment, and the country announced in late March that it had hit its 2020 emissions reduction target two years early. Later in the year, China laid out plans to increase its 2030 renewable energy target from 20% to at least 35% of electricity production, after scaling back renewables subsidies and introducing policies to enable solar and wind to compete at “grid price parity.”

But an investigative report also revealed that China was quietly restarting construction on 46.7 gigawatts of new coal capacity it had mothballed two years before—even though a glut of electricity was turning some of its existing plants into money-losing ventures—as bluer skies over Beijing translated into hardship for industrial workers. An emerging deal to fund a coal plant in Kenya became an embodiment of the contradiction in China’s climate leadership. There was speculation that Canada’s trading relationship with China might have been one factor in the Trudeau government’s decision to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline, and the prospect of an ice-free Arctic had China laying plans for a new polar silk road.

A mid-January report had the European Parliament falling short of its 2030 energy targets. But by May, the European Union was considering a net-zero emissions target for 2050, and in November the EU adopted an energy efficiency and renewable energy plan that was sufficient to overshoot its 2030 carbon goals. Ireland voted to divest from fossil fuels, and the UK’s renewable energy capacity exceeded that of its fossil fuel installations for the first time. Germany faced mounting pressure to phase out coal as a 2019 planning deadline approached, even as the country admitted it would miss its emissions reduction target for 2020. France announced a fossil production ban designed to keep five billion barrels of oil in the ground, and set a 2021 deadline for phasing out coal, while Finland unveiled a 2029 coal phaseout plan, with incentives for faster action. Iceland aimed for full carbon neutrality by 2040.

New Zealand’s new government banned all new oil and gas exploration, as backbenchers worked across party lines to craft a credible national climate policy. Australia’s continuing political strife over climate, fossil energy, and climate denial showed parallels with the United States and held possible portents for Canada. Massive job counts showed renewable energy and energy efficiency taking hold in every U.S. zip code, and California Governor Jerry Brown renewed his pledge to “launch our own damn satellite” if the U.S. government didn’t step up and show climate leadership. California, Colorado, and Mexico won leadership awards for reductions in climate-busting methane emissions. Nineteen cities with a combined population of 130 million committed to net-zero-carbon buildings by 2030.

Massive loopholes in international trade regimes were keeping 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions outside national climate plans. France’s foreign minister told the U.S. there would be no trade deal between the two countries if the Trump administration withdrew from the Paris Agreement, President Emmanuel Macron urged the EU to take the same position, Sierra Club senior attorney Steve Herz agreed, and Trump’s withdrawal threat put a possible border adjustment tax back on the table. Canada and the EU added climate provisions to their Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) in what was interpreted as a visible snub of Trump.

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Honduras Looks for Help, Warns of Rising Migration After Climate Disasters

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Analyst Cites Fossil Exports as the ‘Biggest Climate Scandal You’ve Never Heard Of’

The focus on domestic greenhouse gas reductions in the run-up to next year’s United Nations climate conference in Glasgow, COP 26, will leave out the “biggest climate scandal you’ve never heard of”, Australian political philosophy professor Jeremy Moss writes in a recent post for Climate & Capital Media.

Contrail Pollutants Contribute Twice the Impact of Airline CO2 Emissions, Study Finds

A new report from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency concludes that emissions of black carbon, nitrous oxide, soot, and water vapour were responsible for two-thirds of the total climate impact of the aviation industry in 2018—twice that of its CO2 emissions.

Build EVs to Hit Climate Targets, Boost Manufacturing, Clean Energy Canada Urges

Key West, Florida Bans Big Cruise Ships in Bid to Protect Ecosystems

International Group Proposes Legislation to Criminalize Ecocide

In an effort led largely by small island nations, 13 international lawyers are drafting a plan to make ecosystem destruction a criminal offence of the highest degree.

Tucson, Arizona Declares Climate Emergency

Boris Johnson

BREAKING: UK Declares 68% Carbon Reduction Target for 2030 After Analyst Warns to Watch the Fine Print

The United Kingdom will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 68% from 1990 levels by 2030, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced today, a plan he said would put the country on track for net-zero emissions by 2050 and represent the fastest rate of GHG reductions of any major economy.

BREAKING: Countries’ Fossil Extraction Plans Drive Emissions Far Past 1.5°C Limit

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a “potential turning point” in global fossil fuel production, countries will drive greenhouse gas emissions far beyond a 1.5°C limit on average warming if their published plans to increase coal, oil, and gas extraction come to pass, according to the 2020 Production Gap Report issued this morning by five major international agencies.

Price: Following the Money Spotlights ‘Big Banks’ Green Bafflegab’

There must be a basement somewhere on Bay Street full of English majors, writes campaigner and Engagement Organizing author Matt Price. Every day they churn out great reams of verbiage about “environmental, social and governance strategy” and fill annual reports with a dozen different ways to say the big five Canadian banks care about the environment.

Europe Clean Air Rules Prevented 60,000 Premature Deaths in a Decade

In Conversation: A Better Climate Accountability Bill Serves Everyone’s Interests, Croome and Andrews Say

Julia Croome and Alan Andrews are staff lawyers at Ecojustice, where they’ve been leading much of the climate community’s research and analysis leading up to the release of Bill C-12, the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, last week. In this feature interview, they explain the essential difference between an accountability bill and a climate plan, the gaps in the current legislation, and why every party in Parliament should want C-12 strengthened.

Opinion: Kerry Must Lead Total Reform of U.S. Climate Diplomacy

After four years of climate denial at the top of the U.S. government, the appointment of John Kerry as a climate envoy for the next administration is a bit of a breath of fresh air. But to avert runaway climate breakdown, we need the Biden administration to be orders of magnitude more ambitious, writes Brandon Wu of ActionAid.

Vermont Aims for Fuel-Efficient Cars for Low-Income Households

Carbon Capture at Montana Coal Plant ‘Not Financial Attractive’, Trump’s DOE Concludes

Kerry Named White House Climate ‘Czar’ as Analysis Shows U.S. Could Cut Emissions 38-54% by 2030

Paris Agreement architect John Kerry was appointed White House climate “czar”, a half-dozen other senior appointments signalled stability and continuity, and a few glass ceilings were shattered as U.S. President-elect Joe Biden announced nominees for senior administration positions Monday.

India Will Exceed Paris Agreement Target, Modi Tells G20 Summit

Clean, Green California Still Allows Oil Drilling Next to Schools

Only 45 of Top 100 U.S. Cities Have Specific Carbon Targets

German Automakers Get $2.3 Billion to Shift Technologies

UK Issues First-Ever Green Bond

Asian Development Banks Hold Off on Coal-Free Pledges

End Peat Burning, Embrace Nature-Based Solutions, UK Climate Minister Urges

Gold Mining Giant’s Climate Plan Falls Short on Supply Chain Emissions

Climate Vulnerable Forum Push for Specifics as 151 Countries Promise Tougher Paris Targets

While more than 150 countries have confirmed their Paris Agreement commitments to introduce more ambitious climate plans by the end of this year, the Climate Vulnerable Forum is warning those promises may not be enough to avert the worst effects of the climate crisis in the countries it affects first and worst.

With Fossils Making Net-Zero Promises, Not All Targets Are Equal

Most North American and European fossil producers have published voluntary carbon reduction commitments, but not all targets are equal, Pembina Institute Senior Analyst Benjamin Israël writes in a new analysis, the first of three looking at the future of oil in a decarbonized world.

10 ‘Climate-Damaging Subsidies’ Cost Germany €46 Billion Per Year, Greenpeace Finds

TAF’s Pickering Charts ‘Uncomfortable Path’ to Scaling Up Climate Action

G20 Survey Finds Canada’s Renewables Growth Stagnating, Fossils at 76% of Total Energy

While Canada has the second-largest share of renewable energy in its electricity mix, it was one of only four that didn’t have plans to increase renewables output in 2020, even as its greenhouse gas emissions soared far above its fair share of a 2030 carbon budget, according to the latest edition of the Climate Transparency Report released earlier this week.

U.S. GHG Emissions on Track for ‘Biggest Drop on Record’

The United States is on track to exceed the emissions pathway targeted by the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, thanks to green(er) transformations in the country’s power sector coupled with pandemic-driven declines in transportation. It’s a deep enough drop in emissions to put the country’s Paris Agreement targets back within reach, according to new analysis by BloombergNEF.

‘Complacency is Breathtaking’ as Nations Approve 10 Years of Rising Emissions from International Shipping

Governments attending a key meeting on international shipping have adopted what one observer calls a “disastrously weak” plan that will lead to a decade of increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from a sector that already adds a billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere each year.

Youth Climate Lawsuit Delays $700M Coal Mine Expansion in New South Wales

Scandal-Plagued U.S. Utility Touts Net Zero with No Clear Plan to Cut Coal

Dr. Bonnie Henry’s Example Builds Case for Chief Climate Officer for B.C.

New South Wales Introduces Renewable Transition Plan

EU Ag Policy Faces Charges of Greenwashing

Campaigners Urge Governments to Back Mandatory Climate Literacy

Doig: For 1.2 Billion People, Decarbonization is a Matter of Survival

I have sat in many long Zoom calls this year discussing climate ambition. Never once have I thought these were life or death discussions for me personally. But for 1.2 billion people across the globe, the collective decarbonization commitments put forward by all governments are a matter of survival. The tempest of our changing climate is right on their door and pushing hard.

Iowa Utility Shuts Coal Plant, Builds Solar

Greece, Turkey Spar Over New Gas Field that Would Massively Raise Emissions

Ontario Youth Climate Defenders Win Their Day in Court

Almost a year after launching a climate lawsuit against their province’s government, seven young Ontarians have learned that their case can go forward, and they will have their day in court.

Early Signs Show Biden Setting Up to Deliver on Bold Climate Action Agenda

It’s still the earliest of early days in the Biden administration’s transition process, with countless decisions to be made, cabinet appointments to be vetted, and senior staff to be recruited. But the news reports so far are coming to an astonishing consensus: that President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris meant it when they declared climate action a priority, and they seem determined to deliver on the promise.

Former Conservative Cabinet Minister Calls for Ontario Gas Phaseout

Alberta Mining Town Weighs Costs, Benefits of Coal Export Plan

Virginia Releases Plan to Address Sea Level Rise, Flooding

Youth Campaigners’ Mock COP to Spotlight Vulnerable Countries, Adopt Climate Ambition Treaty

Youth campaigners kicked off their Mock COP 26 this week with a demand for “real action” on the climate crisis, taking up the calendar slot that was supposed to be filled by the regular UN climate event before it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

European Green Deal Takes Aim at LNG Exporters

New Mexico’s Biggest Utility Plans 950 MW Solar, Moves Farther from Carbon Capture

New Zealand Labour, Greens Form Cooperation Agreement

Putin Decrees Limited Support for Paris Agreement Goals

Gabon Counts Hydropower Deal Toward Emission Reduction Target

Israel Plans 15 GW New Solar by 2030

Pandemic Leaves U.S. Cities with Less Cash for Green Transition

NJ Transit Backs Off Plan for Proposed Gas Plant

Biden-Harris Win Could Bring 1.5°C ‘Within Striking Distance’, Climate Think Tank Declares

With their promise to bring the United States back into the Paris Agreement on Day One of their new administration, and a US$2-trillion climate plan in their back pockets, a major climate think tank says the election win by President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris could be enough to bring a 1.5°C limit on average global warming “within striking distance”.

UK Hires Fossil Consultants to Advise on COP 26 Planning

Quebec Announces $90 Million for Clean Energy Mineral Supply Chains

While Governor Talks Climate, Illinois is America’s Fourth-Biggest Coal Mining State

Biden-Harris Campaign Launches BuildBackBetter. com Transition Team Site

With the final ballots still being counted in five key states, but analysts and a desperate-sounding Donald Trump signalling the imminent end of the U.S. election campaign, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris unveiled BuildBackBetter. com as the online address for the transition leading up to their inauguration January 20.

Wilkinson Promises New 2030 Target in ‘Very Near Term’ as Opposition MPs Flag Delays

Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson promised to announce measures to exceed Canada’s 2030 target for greenhouse gas reductions in the “very near term”, but refused to say when the government’s wider climate plan would be released, under questioning by opposition MPs at the House Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.

Wealthy Countries Fall Short on $100-Billion Annual Climate Fund Promise

In 2009, the world’s rich nations agreed to collectively mobilize an annual US$100 billion in climate finance for poorer nations by 2020. But Oxfam’s examination of the latest available figures finds the reality falling far short of the promise.

Oil Change Names Banks that Financed U.S. Fracking ‘Fiasco’

Cut Black Carbon 90%, GHGs 60%, Alliance Urges Maritime Shippers

Greenburg, KS Builds Back Green After 2007 Tornado

Marshall Islands Critiques IMO’s Short-Term Carbon Goal

Big Food Companies Launch New Deforestation Pledge After Missing 2020 Target

Nature-Based Solutions Can Drive Green Recovery: WWF

Election Just ‘One Step Along the Way’ as U.S. Vote Counting Continues, Climate Community Awaits Results

With vote counting in Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election not nearly complete, climate campaigners were clear about two key points: that every ballot must be tallied before anyone tries to tweet or more officially call the outcome, and that wherever this chapter of the story ends, a massive amount of work was ahead to build a just, green recovery and pull the country back into the Paris Agreement.

Michigan Regulator Won’t Review Climate Impacts of Line 5 Pipeline

COVID Could Trigger Rapid Renewables Rise in Sub-Saharan Africa

Lookback: Trump’s 2017 Inauguration Put Climate Campaigning at the Starting Gate

This archived post captures what the world looked like on January 20, 2017, the day a misogynistic, white nationalist climate denier became president of the United States. It stands as a prequel for a monumental, four-year effort to contain the damage on climate, energy, environmental justice, and so much more—and for the rebuilding that begins as soon as the votes (all the votes) have been counted later this week or this month.

South Korea Follows Japan with Carbon-Neutral Pledge

Pembina Flags Three Climate Priorities for B.C.’s Majority Government

Kitchener, Halton Hills Become First Ontario Cities to Demand Gas Plant Phaseout

Include Small Businesses in Green Recovery, Smart Prosperity Urges

Shun Blue Hydrogen Produced with Fossil Subsidies, Scientists Urge EU

New Zealands’ Ardern Wins Landslide in Vote for Climate Action

Regardless of Election Result, U.S. Will Still Depart the Paris Agreement November 4

Even if a Biden-Harris victory is confirmed and declared in the hours after the polls close in next week’s presidential election, the United States will still become the first and only country to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Agreement on November 4.

Switzerland to Fund Projects in Peru Under World-First Carbon Offset Agreement

A newly-signed carbon offsetting agreement will see Switzerland earn emission reduction credits by funding sustainability projects in Peru with money from Swiss motor fuel importers.

Failing to Embrace Green Recovery Will Drive ‘Catastrophic’ Climate Change, C40 Cities Warns Governments

The world’s governments can cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than half by 2030, create 50 million “good, sustainable jobs” by 2025, prevent 270,000 premature deaths in the next 10 years, and save US$1.4 billion in health costs by embracing a green and just recovery, the C40 Cities COVID-19 Recovery Task Force concludes in an analysis released Wednesday.

Local Council Turns Thumbs Down on PEI Wind Farm Expansion

B.C. Energy Traders’ Bonus Scheme Undercuts Provincial Climate Goals

China Won’t Likely Follow Through on Australian Coal Ban

World Bank Division Backs 2-GW Indonesian Coal Plant Despite Big Green Promises

400-MW Cable Connects German, Danish Wind Farms in Baltic Sea

Democrats Explore How Biden Climate Plan Would Navigate a Hostile U.S. Senate

With a bitter presidential campaign in the United States winding down to its last 100 or so hours, and Democratic candidates Joe Biden and Kamala Harris holding a steady lead in opinion polls, U.S. analysts are starting to ponder how much the new administration will be able to get done on climate policy once it takes office—and how they’ll go about it.

UK Exceeds 50 GW of Offshore Wind Under Development

New Federal Database Shows Location of Every Canadian Wind Turbine

Trump Moves to Open Tongass National Forest to Logging

Utilities Plan Major Boost for New Hampshire Energy Efficiency Programs

EU Carbon Price Would Have to Triple to Support Green Hydrogen

IRENA Sees Offshore Wind Hitting 228 GW by 2030

German Defence Minister Sees ‘Momentous’ Challenge in Climate Change

Soil Carbon Conservation Boosts Farmland Health, Productivity

Wilkinson Interested in Carbon Border Adjustment as Analysts Scan Biden Trade Policies

The Trudeau government is expressing warmer interest in carbon border adjustments (CBAs) as a way to control industrial greenhouse gas emissions without putting Canadian companies at a competitive disadvantage internationally, just as the European Union and the United States begin serious musings about taking similar steps, the Globe and Mail reports this week.

New Carbon Regulations Give International Shipping a Free Pass Until 2030

International shipping companies are on track to get a free pass on their greenhouse gas emissions for the rest of this decade under what’s being called a “compromise” proposal that postpones energy efficiency requirement for marine vessels until 2030.

Whitby Adopts New Green Growth Standard

New IMF Climate Action Blueprint Maintains GDP, Factors in Human Health

Rejecting the oft-cited dictum that growth must be sacrificed to cut emissions, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has issued a “blueprint” for getting to net-zero by 2050 without economic pain—and with a healthier global population.

Insurer Warns of Ecosystem Collapse in One-Fifth of Countries, Imperiling $42 Trillion in Global GDP

A new report from insurance giant Swiss Re Group warns that more than half of global GDP—totalling US$42 trillion—is in peril, as climate change brings biodiversity to a tipping point and puts 20% of the world’s countries at risk of ecosystem collapse.

BREAKING: ‘Baby Steps’ in Annual Analysis Make International Energy Agency a ‘Threat to Climate Safety’

The International Energy Agency is taking intense criticism this morning for a set of energy futures scenarios that factor in the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, recognize the transition taking hold in global energy production, but still guide governments, corporations, and investors toward decisions that will drive average global warming far above 1.5°C.

Fossil Shutdowns Could Lead to Pricey Compensation Claims Under Investor Dispute Settlement Rules

A maze of more than 2,600 bilateral treaties and preferential trade agreements could expose governments to costly lawsuits by allowing foreign investors and shareholders to recover losses on their stranded oil, gas, and coal assets, according to a new analysis by the London, UK-based International Institute for Environment and Development.

Emissions of Super-Pollutant Nitrous Oxide Rising on ‘Worst-Case’ Trajectory

Global emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O) are rising on a frightening scale, putting them on track to single-handedly push global warming far beyond the limits of the Paris Agreement, according to a new study.

JPMorgan Pledges ‘Operational Carbon Neutrality’ in 2020

Canada Would Need Minimum $117 Carbon Price without Other Emission Reduction Programs: PBO

Amazon Biomass Collapse Leads to Uncounted Carbon Losses

Leaked 2018 Strategy Proposed ‘Broader Than Oil’ Coalition to Undercut Ottawa’s Clean Fuel Standard

A top communications and government relations firm led by long-time Conservative Party strategist Jaime Watt developed a confidential plan to undercut support for the federal Clean Fuel Standard (CFS) by convincing Canadians that “fighting climate change is a losing battle,” according to leaked documents released this week by Greenpeace Canada.

European Parliament Adopts 60% Carbon Cut by 2030 as Fossils Fall Short of Paris Targets

European legislators adopted a legally-binding target this week to decrease greenhouse gas emissions 60% by 2030, more ambitious than the net reduction of “at least 55%” the European Commission had proposed, even as a new study found the continent’s fossil companies’ climate plans falling short of the targets in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Keep Fossil Polluters Out, Campaigners Urge COP 26 Organizers [Sign-on]

Climate campaigners are mounting a new effort to push fossil fuel lobbyists out of the influential back rooms of next year’s United Nations climate change conference in Glasgow.

Nature-Based Solutions Risk a Greenwashing ‘Circus,’ Says International Coalition

An international coalition of NGOs and Indigenous groups is warning that the net-zero emissions concept has become little more than a licence to pollute as governments and fossils leverage their version of “nature-based solutions” to dodge the heavy lifting of actual emissions cuts.

IEA Says Climate Goals ‘Virtually Impossible’ without Carbon Capture

Canada Signs G20 Energy Statement that Endorses Fossil Bailouts, Never Says the Word ‘Climate’

Canada has signed on to a G20 energy communiqué led by Saudi Arabia that endorses fossil industry bailouts, contains not a single use of the word “climate”, makes no reference to the G20’s now 11-year-old promise to phase out “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies, and endorses the host country’s perverse definition of a “circular carbon economy” that is long on unproven carbon capture technologies and short on meaningful commitments to actual decarbonization.

Rapid Arctic, Antarctic Ice Loss Prompts Urgent Call for 1.5°C Action

Ice cover in the Arctic Ocean reached its second-lowest level on record, and ice melt in Antarctica is on track to raise global sea levels 2.5 metres over the very long term, according to two separate studies released in the second half of September.

Multinational Companies’ Supply Chains Produce Nearly 20% of Global Emissions

The supply chains of big, multinational companies like Coca-Cola, Walmart, and Total SA account for nearly one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change.

New Study Places Long-Term Cost of Carbon Emissions at $100,000 Per Ton

Carbon dioxide emissions will ultimately cost humanity US$100,000 per ton, according to a shocking new study released earlier this month by the University of Chicago.

UK Moves Up Ban on New Fossil Fuel Vehicles to 2030

Quebec Cabinet Minister Touts LNG Project While Environmental Review Still Pending

Moody’s Sees State Mandates Driving U.S. Renewables Growth

Germany Lays Plans to Triple Spending on Climate, Energy

France Puts Hold on Environmental Tax for Airlines

Researchers Urge Supply-Side Fossil Cuts by Governments

BREAKING: ‘First Blueprint’ Lays Out China’s Path to Carbon Neutrality

China would rely on a massive increase in solar, nuclear, and wind capacity while cutting its coal consumption 96% between 2025 and 2060 under a “first blueprint” for fulfilling the carbon neutrality target unveiled by President Xi Jinping at last week’s United Nations General Assembly.

Jonathan WIlkinson

Wilkinson Promises Five-Year Emissions Targets While O’Regan Announces $320 Million for Newfoundland Fossil Industry

Within hours of each other Friday, Environment and Climate Minister Jonathan Wilkinson vowed that a series of five-year emissions targets through 2050 will be his top legislative priority this fall, while Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan unveiled a C$320-million cash infusion for the struggling fossil industry in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Humanity Faces a ‘Climate Reckoning’, Trudeau Says, as 60 World Leaders Sign Climate-Biodiversity Pledge

The world faces a “climate reckoning”, and countries must create a more equitable international system that can confront 21st century challenges, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the United Nations General Assembly in a recorded address Friday.

Youth Around the World Demand Action During Friday’s Global Climate Strike

From Vienna to Seoul, Pretoria to Warsaw, Saskatoon to Hong Kong, youth climate activists—masked and social distancing—returned to the streets last week for a Global Climate Strike calling for a green and just recovery.

RCP 8.5 is Still the Most Reliable Climate Scenario

Climate Hawk Declares ‘Most Progressive Throne Speech in a Generation’ as Ottawa Pledges Tougher Emission Targets, Links Cleantech to Million-Job Strategy

Climate change moved to the centre of Canada’s million-job recovery strategy, the Trudeau government pledged immediate action on more ambitious carbon reduction targets, neither the fossil nor the nuclear industry rated a single explicit mention, and a government-appointed senator was more deeply critical than many of the country’s leading campaign organizations as Governor General Julie Payette read a much-anticipated Speech from the Throne Wednesday afternoon.

Scathing New Report Finds ‘Failure Across the Board’ in Colossal Fossils’ Climate Plans

Despite a flurry of announcements from colossal fossils claiming great plans to decarbonize their operations, the companies’ actual performance shows they can’t be counted on to manage their own decline, Oil Change International concludes in a scathing new report that finds “failure across the board” in the industry’s climate plans.

Climate-Vulnerable Nations Urge Courage, Demand Action at UN General Assembly

As their homelands see more and more damage from the escalating chaos of the climate crisis, the national leaders of Bangladesh and the Marshall Islands called on the rest of the world for compassion, courage, solidarity, and action as the annual United Nations General Assembly convened this week.

Prince Charles Calls for Urgent Action, Says Climate Impacts Will ‘Dwarf’ Pandemic

BREAKING: New Assessment Declares Canada’s Climate Plan ‘Insufficient’ as Throne Speech Day Dawns

With the Trudeau government just hours away from tabling its long-awaited Speech from the Throne, the international Climate Action Tracker is branding the country’s carbon reduction efforts “insufficient” and consistent with a 3.0°C world, with “little support” for green recovery measures to date.

Wilkinson Says COVID Won’t Hijack Canada’s Green Agenda as Climate Community Demands Commitments, O’Regan Touts Nuclear

On the eve of this afternoon’s Speech from the Throne, Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson is declaring that the pandemic won’t hijack Canada’s green agenda, adding that “if left unaddressed, climate change will have more of an impact on Canadians than COVID-19,” CTV News reports.

Fridays for Future Calls Global Climate Strike September 25

As the United Nations’ 75th General Assembly continues to unfold under pandemic conditions, #FridaysforFuture is urging the world’s children and their supporters to participate in a global climate strike this Friday, September 25.

China’s Xi Jinping Pledges CO2 Emissions Peak Before 2030, Carbon Neutrality by 2060

China is committing to peak its greenhouse gas emissions before 2030 and hit carbon neutrality by 2060, President Xi Jinping announced yesterday, in what was seen as a surprisingly bold videolink address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Climate Community Scorches UK for Naming All-Male Leadership Team for COP 26

U.S. Senate Defies Trump, Reaches Bipartisan Deal to Cut HFCs 85% by 2035

In a brief moment of bipartisan agreement, and what the Washington Post calls a “rare show of defiance of the Trump administration,” the U.S. Senate sealed a deal earlier this month to reduce climate-busting hydrofluorocarbon emissions 85% by 2035.

China to Consider Carbon Neutrality by 2050 in Long-Term Climate Plan

China is considering a long-term climate plan that commits to carbon neutrality by 2050, just days after the European Union boosted its 2030 emission reduction target from 40 to 55%.

140 California Cities, Counties Add Environmental Justice to Planning Process

Youth Activists Plan ‘Mock COP’ to Protest Delays in Climate Action

Frustrated by the lack of progress in addressing the climate emergency and appalled by the UK’s pallid efforts to promote the pandemic-delayed COP 26, young activists will be holding their own “Mock COP” this November.

Chamber of Commerce (Still) Elevates Climate Deniers in U.S. Congress

EU Targets 55% Emissions Cut by 2030, but Real Progress Hinges on U.S. Election Result

Europe is on track to increase its 2030 greenhouse gas emission reduction target from 40 to 55% after the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), the continent’s “biggest and most influential political faction”, threw its support behind an updated EU-wide goal.

Faster Tree Growth Leads to Shorter Lifespans, Less Carbon Storage

Climate modellers have long embraced the idea that trees flourish in warmer conditions, calculating friendly feedback loops where thriving forests create deeper carbon sinks. But a new study showing that fast-growing trees die younger has thrown cold water on this theory.

UK Citizen Climate Assembly Calls for ‘Fair’ Green Recovery

A ban on SUVs, a frequent flyer tax, carbon emissions labelling, and protections for those most exposed in the push to net zero were among the core recommendations when the UK’s citizen-led Climate Assembly issued its final report last week.

The Battle Plan: Key Lessons from the Second World War for the Climate Mobilization (Part 2)

This is the second of two excerpts from Seth Klein’s A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency, published in early September and available here. The book includes Klein’s “battle plan”, a set of key lessons for the climate mobilization from the Second World War.

Trump Attacks Inadvertently Strengthen Paris Accord

Bolsonaro Holds Fast on Defence of Big Ag, Calls Rainforest Defenders a ‘Cancer’

While Brazil could gain two million jobs, US$535 billion in GDP, and 12 million hectares of restored pastureland by “building back better” from the pandemic, President Jair Bolsonaro is clinging  to his own status quo, defending the interests of Big Ag and calling the civil society groups fighting deforestation in the Amazon a “cancer”.

The Battle Plan: Key Lessons from the Second World War for the Climate Mobilization (Part 1)

This is the first of two excerpts from Seth Klein’s A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency, published in early September and available here. The book includes Klein’s “battle plan”, a set of key lessons for the climate mobilization from the Second World War.

France’s €100-Billion Stimulus Plan Stresses Green Investment, Jobs

Carbon Border Taxes Mustn’t Penalize Developing Countries for Emissions Driven by Developed-World Policies

While a carbon border adjustment looks reasonable at face value as a way to encourage faster, deeper carbon cuts, the approach will fail the equity test in the 2015 Paris Agreement if it puts the onus on developing countries to curtail fossil fuel use the developed world has worked hard to promote.

50% Global Emissions Cut Would Avoid Severe Climate Impacts to Tropics

If governments across the world align their 2025 climate targets with the 1.5°C limit in the Paris Agreement, they can still halve the crushing GDP losses that will otherwise hit tropical economies by 2100, and significantly mitigate sea level rise and extreme heat events, Climate Analytics concludes in a new study.

Action on Climate, $40/Barrel Oil Could Mean Trillions in Stranded Fossil Assets

With colossal fossils Total and Shell downgrading the value of their oil and gas assets, BP pledging to cut oil and gas production 40% by 2030, and even fossil behemoth ExxonMobil ripping up a US$30-billion plan to renew its oil and gas reserves, Bloomberg Green is out with a timely explainer on stranded assets.

California Looks to Include Climate Planning in Utility Rates

Australian State Sets Up for Quickest Shift from Coal to Renewables

Japanese Business Lobby Hinders National Climate Policy

China May Finally Bar ‘Clean’ Coal from Green Bond Eligibility

Big Investors Point to Climate as ‘Systemic Threat’ to Economy

New Framework Gives Pension Funds a Blueprint for Net-Zero Investing

A group backed by 70 major investors with more than US$16 trillion under management has launched the Net Zero Investment Framework, the world’s first blueprint to help pension funds and other big investing institutions match the composition of their investment portfolios with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Indigenous Off-Diesel Efforts Need Better Support: Pembina

Carbon-Free Europe Will Need Electricity from North Africa

Wilkinson Orders Federal Environmental Assessment for Vista Coal Mine Expansion

Environment and Climate Minister Jonathan Wilkinson is earning praise for ordering a federal environmental review of the proposed Vista coal mine expansion near Hinton, in the Rocky Mountain foothills of Alberta, reversing an earlier decision after facing intense pushback from the Louis Bull Tribe, the Stoney Lakoda Nation, and Ecojustice.

Women Shut Out of UK’s ‘Incredibly Blokey’ Cabinet Climate Committee

Deutsche Bank Dumps Tar Sands/Oil Sands, Arctic Oil and Gas, Falls Short on Coal Divestment

Frankfurt-based banking giant Deutsche Bank is immediately cutting off financing for new tar sands/oil sands and Arctic oil and gas projects and will end its involvement with coal mining by 2025, in a move that at least one Canadian climate analyst praised but a European campaign organization cast as just a first step in a longer transformation.

Montreal Reports 14 Heat Wave Deaths

Canadian ‘Green Ribbon Panel’ Touts Nuclear

Famed ‘Doughnut’ Economics Framework Gets Adaptation for Cities

A new methodological guide adapts the celebrated Doughnut Economics framework for living within planetary boundaries to the urban level by answering one passionate, optimistic question: “How can our city be a home to thriving people, in a thriving place, while respecting the well-being of all people, and the health of the whole planet?”

Jamaica Adds Forestry, Land Use to New, Improved Climate Target

Halifax Weighs 30-Year Climate Crisis Plan

Shift in UK Aid Policy Raises Worries for Climate Finance

Global Automakers Are Off-Course on Paris

Poll Shows World-Wide Majority Wants Environmental Protection

WMO Sees ‘Enormous Challenge’ to Hit Paris Targets as 1.5°C Warming Looms

There’s a one in five chance that average global warming will hit 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels in at least one of the next five years, and a 70% chance that at least one month will exceed that threshold, according to the latest in a series of annual climate updates released yesterday by the World Meteorological Organization.

IEA’s Clean Energy Summit Prompts Calls for 1.5°C Modelling

The virtual Clean Energy Transitions Summit convened yesterday by the International Energy Agency produced new calls for the Paris-based agency to put a 1.5°C ceiling for average global warming at the centre of its attempt to lead on climate change.

Campaigners Urge Iceland to Ban Heavy Fuel Oil in New Climate Plan

West Africa Looks to Harmonize Power Production with Climate Goals

Global Development Banks’ Recovery Plans Must Omit Fossil Funding, Advocates Say

When 450 global development banks with their hands on US$2 trillion in public funds meet in November to chart their contribution to the pandemic recovery, they must declare an end to international financing for fossil fuels, three leading finance and development advocates argue in a post this week for the Thomson Reuters Foundation. 

Japan’s Climate Plan Still ‘Highly Insufficient’ After Coal Closure Announcement

Macron Responds to Municipal ‘Green Wave’ with €15-Billion Climate Pledge

Shareholders Push Chevron to Align with Paris Targets

Week 26, June 29: Global Engagement

Unless every nation pulls its weight, global emissions will continue to rise and the climate emergency will cause an ever more disastrous future.

New Coalition in Ireland Would Pursue Ambitious Climate Program

Committee on Climate Change Warns UK is Still Failing

International Maritime Organization Plans Virtual Climate Talks in July

U.S. Policy-Makers Are ‘Easy Prey’ for Anti-Solar Lobbyists, Study Finds

Inoculating policy-makers against utility lobbying by helping them understand the benefits of community solar will be critical to realizing the promise of energy equity that lies in the technology. 

Fossils’ Climate Promises Depend on Definitions of Net-Zero

Austria’s Ambitious Green Plan Costs $3 Per Day

Momentum Builds for Canadian Climate Accountability Act, Long-Term Carbon Targets

Momentum for Canadian climate accountability legislation is beginning to build, with campaigners laying out five pillars for a federal accountability act, a national think tank arguing the benefits of legislated milestones, and a CBC News analysis laying out how such a law might work in practice.

Independent Analysis Shows European Fossils Overstating Climate Pledges

Climate Models for Upcoming UN Report Show ‘Incredibly Alarming’ Risk of Runaway Warming

The climate community and the general public are in for some “incredibly alarming” worst-case scenarios as modelling for the United Nations’ next major climate risk assessment takes shape, with about a quarter of the new research showing a sharp increase in the amount of global warming that would be expect if atmospheric carbon levels doubled from pre-industrial levels.

BP Downgrades Asset Value by $17.5 Billion, Sends ‘Shock Waves’ Through Fossil Industry

Colossal fossil BP is moving to downgrade the value of its assets by up to US$17.5 billion, after scaling back its estimate of future oil and gas prices and projecting that the coronavirus pandemic will produce a permanent drop in fossil demand, while accelerating the shift to carbon-free energy.

Record Renewable Energy Adoption in 2019 Still Falls Short of Climate Targets

Global clean energy investment grew 1% last year, to US$282.2 billion, and countries installed a record 184 gigawatts of new renewables capacity. But the momentum is still far short of what’s needed this decade to drive the transition off carbon, according to the latest Global Trends In Renewable Energy Investment report, published as a collaboration between BloombergNEF, the Frankfurt School, and the United Nations Environment Program.

Greta Thunberg Justin Trudeau

Tie Canada’s UN Security Council Bid to Climate Action, Thunberg Urges Island States

With Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pushing hard for a long-coveted seat on the United Nations Security Council, #FridaysforFuture founder Greta Thunberg is urging small island states to hinge their votes for both Canada and Norway on the two fossil countries stepping up their action on climate change.

Pandemic Produces New Efforts, Wider Paralysis on International Climate Action

The economic and logistical paralysis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic has produced a mixed picture for global action on the climate crisis, with countries, cities, businesses, and others scrambling to accelerate action under the Paris Agreement but some of the key commitments under the 2015 accord facing serious obstacles.

Climate Plan Gets ‘Complicated’ as Blackrock Begins Juggling

99.93% of Barclays Bank Shareholders Endorse Climate Plan

Nobel Economist Nordhaus Proposes Import Tariffs to Enforce National Climate Action

The U.S. economist who shared a Nobel Prize for his work as a carbon pricing pioneer is now advocating import tariffs to penalize countries that don’t participate in international climate agreements.

Montpellier: It’s Time to #FireYourFossilBank

After watching the country’s Big Five banks supply nearly half a trillion dollars to the global fossil fuel industry since 2016 despite rapidly accelerating climate change, it’s time for Canadians to #FireYourFossilBank, Below2C editor Rolly Montpellier writes in a recent opinion piece.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_East_Africa_drought

Pandemic Will Drive Global Famine Without Urgent Food System Reform

The COVID-19 pandemic is increasing the risk of famine in the world’s poorest countries as it bankrupts small-hold farmers, breaks supply chains, and stymies efforts to build climate resilience, reports Climate Home News. If the worst of the disaster is to be averted, humanitarian systems need to change the way support is delivered, and “think differently” about everything from climate finance to food production.

Researchers Will Track Climate Benefits of Coronavirus Recovery Spending

Hundreds of Companies, Regional Governments Demand Green Recovery Post-Pandemic

The pressure on governments to make the post-pandemic economic stimulus a green recovery continues to intensify, with 155 multinational companies and more than 220 state and regional governments joining the call, and business analysts suggesting the right recovery package could make 2019 the year of peak carbon while delivering badly-needed job creation.

Europe’s Green Recovery Includes ‘Caveat’ for Natural Gas

The European Union has introduced an important “caveat” in its much-touted green recovery plan, with Climate Commissioner Frans Timmermans admitting that natural gas will “continue to play a key role in replacing coal while helping to build a hydrogen infrastructure at least cost,” Euractiv reports.

40 Global Brands Threaten Boycott Over ‘Land-Grabbing’ Brazilian Legislation

A diverse coalition of 40 international companies—including the UK’s top supermarkets, a Swedish pension fund, and Norwegian asset manager Storebrand—are threatening boycotts should Brazil’s Bolsonaro government push through a bill that will accelerate the devastating deforestation of the Amazon.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Headquarters_of_the_United_Nations

Berman, Campanale Call for Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty

With fossil jobs drying up, the industry bent under a “staggering mound of debt” despite trillions in subsidies, fossil fuels responsible for 75% of the world’s past greenhouse gas emissions, and companies plotting a massive expansion prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, governments must adopt a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty alongside a strengthened Paris Agreement, according to Canadian climate campaigner Tzeporah Berman and Carbon Tracker Initiative founder Mark Campanale.

UK Hosts ‘Couldn’t Deliver a Pizza, Let Alone COP 26’, Ousted COP President Charges

Dominic Cummings might have thought his flagrant disregard for COVID-19 safety precautions would produce the toughest public rebuke he could ever face. But that’s just because the widely-reviled political strategist and chief adviser to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson didn’t see Claire Perry O’Neill coming until it was too late to duck.

200+ Groups Representing 40 Million Health Workers Call for Health, Climate Reform

Health workers around the world have joined together to deliver an open letter to G20 leaders urging them to implement post-pandemic recovery plans that prioritize human and environmental health—with key signatories representing more than 40 million individual medical professionals. 

UN Climate Conference Rescheduled for November 2021

Britain has announced that the next UN climate conference, originally planned for Glasgow in November, will be delayed a full year, to November 1-12, 2021.

Abreu Wins Prestigious Jack Layton Progress Prize

Climate Action Network-Canada Executive Director Catherine Abreu is the recipient of this year’s Jack Layton Progress Prize, awarded annually “to an individual or organization who has run a particularly noteworthy political or issue campaign” for justice, sustainability, or democracy.

McKinsey Explores What 1.5°C Would Look Like

Rwanda Emerges as Climate Leader with Updated 2030 Carbon Target

One of the world’s poorest countries became one of its more ambitious climate leaders last week, when Rwanda became the first African nation to promise deeper greenhouse gas emission reductions and a more ambitious approach to climate adaptation by 2030.

South Korea Faces Big Challenges in Implementing ‘Stunningly Ambitious’ Green New deal

National elections last month amounted to an endorsement of a “stunningly ambitious” national climate policy put forward by South Korea’s Democratic Party under President Moon Jae-in. But now, the hard work begins to bring that commitment to life in a country that is deeply locked in to coal-fired electricity and faces a “painful, controversial but necessary overhaul of its energy systems,” Channel News Asia reports.

Pandemic Delays Climate Plan Update as Ottawa Mulls Green Recovery Options

A recent wave of policy advocacy aimed at shaping the Canadian government’s green economic stimulus package is beginning to generate media coverage of its own, with the Globe and Mail reporting this week on the “frenzy” now under way “to determine just how—and how much—the federal government’s strategy for economic recovery from the COVID-19 shutdown will be shaped by its climate change agenda.”

UK Green Heating Plan Will Take 1,500 Years to Deliver

Canada’s ‘Rich Carbon Sink’ Peatlands Need Urgent Protection, Story Map Shows

Northern peatlands—the richest carbon sinks on the planet and epicentres of biodiversity—are in urgent need of protection from human development, the Wildlife Conservation Society Canada asserts, in a detailed “story map” that outlines why and how these “enormous carbon storehouses” must be preserved, with Indigenous peoples leading the way.

Switch Roadbuilding Funds to Broadband, UK Climate Advisor Urges

Philippe Dunsky

In Conversation: Post-COVID Recovery Becomes Added Lens for Climate, Energy Efficiency Programs, Dunsky Says

Philippe Dunsky is President of Dunsky Energy Consulting, a 35-person Canadian firm specialized in accelerating the clean energy transition. In early April, he circulated a sampling of the energy efficiency, clean energy, electric mobility, and climate action plans his firm is continuing to support through the pandemic, with members of his Montreal-based team conducting their work from home. He talked to The Mix about what a future of rapid decarbonization could look like post-coronavirus.

Germany Falls Behind on New 2030 Climate Target

Make COP 26 the Green Recovery Conference, Wuppertal Institute Urges

In Conversation: COVID Demands Global Investment to Build Back Better, McArthur Says

Shaughn McArthur is Policy and Influence Lead at CARE Canada, and has been a leading voice for Canadian civil society at the last several United Nations climate change conferences. He’s been looking at the way the global focus on the pandemic has drawn attention away from the climate emergency—and how action on COVID can bring both crises together.

‘Radical Agenda’ in Memo to Ministers Shows Fossil Fuel Lobby Losing Touch

The epic news conference in mid-April where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced C$2.4 billion in job creation funding for the country’s oil and gas workers, but not the $30-billion bailout the industry had demanded, was the second-worst moment in a very bad week for the fossil fuel lobby.

17 of 27 EU Countries Link Pandemic Recovery to European Green Deal

Nearly two-thirds of the countries in the European Union have signed on to an appeal to put the European Green Deal at the heart of the continent’s post-pandemic recovery, after Ireland, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Malta joined the crowd last week.

Canada Records 15-Megatonne Emissions Hike in 2018, Wiping Out 13 Years of Gains

Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased by 15 million tonnes between 2017 and 2018, driven by vehicle emissions, oil and gas extraction, and manufacturing, and essentially erasing 13 years of small reductions dating back to 2005.

Shell Draws Praise, Pushback for 2050 Net-Zero Pledge

Royal Dutch Shell is receiving some praise and a healthy dose of pushback after unveiling plans to become a “net-zero carbon company” by 2050.

‘Gobsmacking’ UK Announcement Says Green Transport Must Become Citizens’ First Choice

The UK government recently declared that meeting the nation’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 will require that public transit, cycling, and other forms of active transport become “the natural first choice” for citizens—a statement that transport policy experts and active travel campaigners found happily “gobsmacking,” reports BBC News.

Suspected COVID-19 Claims Climate Pioneer Sir John Houghton at Age 88

Sir John Houghton, a Welsh physicist and climate researcher who helped convince then-prime minister Margaret Thatcher that climate change is real, caused by human activity, and in need of a response, died last week of suspected COVID-19 at age 88.

Without Net Zero Plans, Pandemic-Driven CO2 Decline a ‘Pit Stop’ to Climate Ruin

Forecasters are predicting that coronavirus disruptions will lead to the largest annual drop in carbon dioxide emissions ever recorded—but multiple data challenges make any such estimates extremely tentative, and without post-pandemic recovery efforts that prioritize and accelerate the zero-carbon shift, the plunge in emissions will prove nothing more than a brief pit stop on the road to climate ruin, analysts warn.

Falling Short of Paris Targets Will Cost $600 Trillion by 2100, New Study Shows

The world’s governments will miss out on US$600 trillion in economic activity by the end of the century if they stay on their present path for carbon emission reductions, rather than setting and meeting tougher targets consistent with the 2015 Paris agreement, according to a paper published this week in the journal Nature Communications.

Adow: The West Must Pay Its Debt If the World Is to Win the Climate Fight

Writing with “a clarity born not from abstract understandings but from visceral experience,” Mohamed Adow, founder and director of Power Shift Africa, urges the West to act with integrity and deep compassion, and pay the profound and ever-growing “climate debt” it owes the developing world. 

NOAA Reports Fastest Growth in Methane Concentrations Since 2014

Atmospheric methane levels increased at the fastest rate in five years between 2018 and 2019, according to preliminary data released last week by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and scientists aren’t entirely sure why.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Subnational Leadership ‘Essential’ in Climate, COVID-19 Crises

Informed, cooperative, and compassionate bipartisan leadership at all governmental levels is helping U.S. citizens weather the pandemic, just as such subnational leadership has proven to be an essential agent in the climate crisis fight.

Japan Takes Criticism for ‘Unambitious’ Carbon Reduction Target

BP, Investment Activist Group Develop Joint Climate Resolution

Climate Finance Isn’t Reaching the World’s Most Vulnerable

Colossal Fossil Equinor Quits Independent Petroleum Association Over Climate Policy

Russia Gets Pushback on ‘Unambitious’ 2030 Carbon Target

UN Postpones COP 26 Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

The United Nations has postponed this year’s global climate change conference, COP 26, to the middle of next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

European Green Deal Will Guide Coronavirus Recovery Plan, EU Leaders Pledge

European Union leaders have agreed to make the massive economic measures they’re planning in response to the coronavirus match up with the continent-wide Green Deal they adopted not long before the pandemic struck.

Scarce Details, ‘Quid Pro Coal’ Undercut Australian State’s 17.7-GW Renewables Plan

The Australian state of New South Wales has released a new net-zero plan that promises up to 17,700 MW in new wind, solar, and storage capacity, with the potential for up to 2,000 permanent jobs. But the deal carries a quid pro quo with coal, to the dismay of those pushing for rapid climate action.

Democrats Should Crib Warren’s Climate Plan

Climate Satellites Still On the Job, Delivering Data to Help Coronavirus Fight

Their manufacturers may be offline, and their mission control stations are on skeleton staff, but the NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) satellites that relentlessly gather data to track a changing climate are still on duty overhead.

Coal-Dependent South Korea Adopts 2050 Carbon-Neutral Target, Sets Deadlines for Green New Deal

In a major shift, South Korea’s governing party has pledged to adopt a Green New Deal and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, with a recently-introduced plan that includes a carbon tax, a phaseout of financing for domestic and overseas coal projects, and accelerated support for renewable energy.

Officials Weigh Postponing COP 26 Despite Urgent Timing for Climate Action

Scarcely seven months before a United Nations conference where countries will be under pressure to agree on fast, decisive action on climate change, the coronavirus pandemic is raising serious questions about whether the event will have to be cancelled—or possibly shifted to an all-virtual gathering.

Indigenous Approaches Could Support Ecological Health in the Amazon

A flurry of news reports earlier this year suggested that the future of the Amazon—and, therefore, of the planet—would be in good hands if only the wisdom of Indigenous peoples and the careful research of scientists were given the attention they deserve. But while Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro rules, that is an unlikely outcome.

Oil War and COVID-19 Create Risk, Opportunity for Clean Energy

The end-to-end news coverage of the coronavirus emergency is producing a secondary wave of commentary and analysis on whether the global pandemic will derail the transition to fossil to renewable energy. The verdict so far: It depends.

Global Climate Events Postponed to Help #FlattenTheCurve

Critical climate meetings across the globe are being cancelled or postponed in the weeks ahead in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. The pandemic could also delay the rollout of at least one major emissions reduction program.

Climate Crisis Response a ‘Cautionary Tale’ for Health Organizers

The fight for climate action offers a “cautionary tale” for policy-makers looking to accelerate their efforts to #FlattenTheCurve on COVID-19—as well as on how to best stimulate the global economy in the pandemic’s aftermath, reports the New York Times.

Tropical Forests Lose One-Third of Carbon Storage Ability, Could Soon Become Carbon Source

Tropical forests have lost much of their ability to pull carbon dioxide out of the air, and could begin turning into net carbon sources in the next 10 to 15 years, according to an alarming new study published last week in the journal Nature.

Carbon emissions from a coal plant in Germany

Electricity Generation Cuts Emissions 2% in 2019, But Faster Coal Phaseout Needed

Greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation fell 2% last year, the biggest annual drop since at least 1990, driven by reduced coal use in the European Union and the United States, according to a report released Monday by climate think tank Ember.

Tar Sands/Oil Sands See Sharp Decline in Capital Spending, Job Creation

Alberta’s tar sands/oil sands have shifted decisively into a “mature” phase of development in which job creation and capital spending will continue to lag and new technologies will replace a large share of the work force laid off due to “lower-for-longer” oil prices between 2014 and 2016, according to a new analysis this week by the Edmonton-based Parkland Institute.

Carbon Reductions, ‘Clean Growth’ Remain Top Priorities for Federal Budget: Morneau

While contingency planning for the coronavirus is gaining prominence as a focus for this year’s federal budget, Finance Minister Bill Morneau says carbon reductions and energy sector transformation will still be a major priority.

Australia Working Toward Net Zero Despite Federal Stonewalling

Continued attempts by Scott Morrison’s government to downplay the climate crisis and obstruct solutions in Australia are proving to be increasingly out of step with public opinion, as state and local governments—as well as business interests, environmentalists, and ordinary people—fight to decarbonize the country by 2050.