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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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. 

10-Month Deadline Makes Netherlands a ‘Test Case’ for Rapid Decarbonization

The Netherlands has become a reluctant test case for how quickly a government can cut its carbon emissions when it’s required to, after the supreme court ruled late last year that the country must cut its greenhouse gas emissions 25% below 1990 levels by the end of 2020. 

Climate Groups Accuse EU of ‘Surrender’ on 2030 Emissions Target

EU climate groups are accusing legislators of “surrender” after the European Commission approved a draft regulation for the continent’s Green Deal that makes its net-zero target for 2050 legally binding and sets an interim target for 2030, but contains no fixed goals for the crucial decade of action beginning now.

Drawdown’s Latest ‘Tools of Possibility’ Show Path to 1.5°C, with 1,570 Billion Tons of Emission Cuts by 2050

Humanity can prevent or draw down 1,570 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions between 2020 and 2050 to approach a 1.5°C threshold for average global warming, or 992.77 billion tons to settle around 2.0°C, by adopting a menu of 82 practical solutions ranging from onshore wind to utility-scale solar, from reduced food waste and plant-rich diets to tropical forest restoration and clean cookstoves, according to the 2020 update of the popular Drawdown list.

Trudeau Calls for Year of Consultation on 2030, 2050 Climate Targets

The federal government is calling for a year of consultation before finalizing plans to meet a more ambitious carbon reduction target by 2030 and hit net-zero by 2050.

Coronavirus Already Hampering Preparations for High-Stakes UN Climate Conference

The coronavirus is already impeding preparations for crucial United Nations climate negotiations at COP 26 later this year, with travel restrictions getting in the way of key meetings and governments’ time and resources drawn away by a looming global health crisis.

Why Coal Must Plummet This Decade to Get Below 1.5°C

U.S. Conservatives’ New Climate Plans Mainly Protect Fossils

Brazil Fires Top Climate Policy Staff, Calling Paris Commitment Into Further Doubt

The environment ministry in Brazil has fired the director and deputy director responsible for its climate change programs, at a moment when the international community is looking more closely at the climate impact of the country’s moves to clearcut the Amazon rainforest. 

Line 3 Impact Exceeds Minnesota’s GHG Emission Cuts, Climate Groups Warn

Midwestern U.S. Utility Evergy Promises Paris-Compliant Carbon Cuts

McKinsey Advises Mining Execs on Climate Risk, Decarbonization

‘Bell Tolls on Carbon Economy’ as UK Court Rules Third Heathrow Runway Illegal

United Kingdom climate campaigners are declaring a precedent-setting win after an appeal court ruled the proposed third runway at Heathrow Airport illegal, citing the national government’s failure to include the country’s climate commitments in the project planning process.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Coal_hopper_with_barge_Rob_Loftis.jpeg

Restrictions on Japanese Coal Exports Neglect Deeper Problems at Home

Anxious to deflect surging international criticism for its continuing commitment to exporting coal power to developing countries, Japan is vowing to tighten its export policies to align them with the demands of the 2015 Paris Agreement. But details remain under wraps and environmentalists are unimpressed.

Proponent of Pulling U.S. Out of Paris Deal Becomes EPA Chief of Staff

Study Catches Denier Bots Generating One-Quarter of Climate Messages on Twitter

An “army of automated Twitter bots” is hijacking the conversation about climate change, generating one-quarter of the tweets on the topic on the average day, The Guardian reports, citing as-yet unpublished research by a team at Brown University.

Meetings Industry Has No Plan to Address Air Travel as Backlash Mounts

As It Happened: Pressure Was Building Against Teck Mine Proposal as 41 Nobel Laureates Weighed In

With the federal cabinet still on track last week to decide whether to approve the C$20.6-billion Teck Frontier megaproject, 41 Nobel laureates urged the government to reject the project, a columnist argued that any decision was better than postponing the issue, and the company that ultimately pulled the plug on its own proposal was already considering exiting the tar sands/oil sands entirely.

Four Former Climate Negotiators Demanded Trudeau ‘End the Hypocrisy’, Reject Teck

Days before Teck Resources dealt the final death blow to its own tar sands/oil sands mine in northern Alberta, four former Canadian climate negotiators called on the Trudeau government to “end the hypocrisy” and reject the project, pointing out that Canadian fossil production is still projected to skyrocket in spite of the country’s promises to cut emissions.

Federal Budget Must Scale Up Energy Efficiency, Signal Long-Term Commitment, Analysts Urge

After Canadians voted for strong climate action in last fall’s federal election, and all the political parties represented in Parliament included energy efficiency in their platforms, the upcoming federal budget is an essential opportunity to slash pollution, create jobs, and make everyone’s lives more comfortable, Efficiency Canada argues in a recent opinion piece.

Come Clean Quickly on Climate, Carney Urges Business

Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters

Royal Bank of Scotland Vows to Stop Funding Coal by 2030, Set Stricter Rules for Oil and Gas

The Royal Bank of Scotland will stop lending to coal projects by 2030, set stricter rules for oil and gas funding, cut its net greenhouse gas emissions to zero this year, and make its operations “climate positive” by 2025, under a new strategy it released Friday alongside its annual financial results.

Week 4, January 27: Our Climate Investments

To address the climate and ecological emergencies and to support Canada’s transition to renewable energy and ecologically-managed forestry, farming and fisheries, in addition to large private sector investments, the Bank of Canada, new public banks, utilities, municipalities and citizens will collectively invest $62.7 billion a year, representing 3.6% of Canada’s estimated $1,735 billion GDP in 2020.

National Climate Plans Need Free-Flowing Rivers

Teck Mine a ‘Pretty Easy No’, Liberal MPs Tell Trudeau in Raucous Caucus Meeting

Liberal Members of Parliament are taking a loud stand against Teck Resources’ C$20.6-billion Frontier tar sands/oil sands mine proposal, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau receiving an “earful” at a caucus meeting Wednesday, Huffington Post Canada reports.

56% of Americans Cite Climate as Top Concern as Anxiety Crosses Party Lines

More than half of Americans see climate change as the most important issue facing society today, according to a December, 2019 Harris poll released this week by the American Psychological Association.

Ukraine Sets Green Deal to Cut Fossil Imports

Wilkinson Wants More Detail After Teck Promises Net-Zero by 2050

Environment and Climate Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says he’s waiting for more detail before deciding whether Teck Resources’ promise to make its operations net-zero for emissions by 2050 will influence cabinet’s decision on the company’s C$20.6-billion Frontier tar sands/oil sands mine proposal.

African Development Bank Hires Ottawa Lobbyist, Seeking Funds ‘to Develop Climate Capacity’

The African Development Bank has hired an Ottawa lobbyist to reinforce its quest for funds to help the continent “develop the capacity to address climate change”, iPolitics reports.

State and Local Progress Can’t Outweigh White House Hostility to Climate Action

While climate action by U.S. states and cities is paying off, with participating jurisdictions now representing nearly 70% of U.S. GDP and population and accounting for more than 50% of national emissions, even the biggest wins can’t make up for the lack of federal support under Donald Trump. 

But with a U-turn in national policy after next January’s presidential inauguration, there’s still a prospect that the United States could nearly halve its emissions by 2030, InsideClimate News reports.

With Democratic Reforms in Place, Maldives Rejoins Commonwealth

Wind turbines

‘Rare, Happy News’ from Climatologists: Worst-Case Warming Now ‘Increasingly Implausible’

It doesn’t make the climate crisis any less urgent, but there’s a growing view among scientists that humanity’s decarbonization efforts so far have dodged the worst climate outcomes projected in the last global assessment report in 2014.

Climate Targets Impede ‘Maximization’ of Carbon Reductions, Monbiot Warns

Rather than setting climate targets that become the minimum politicians strive for, it’s time to adopt a “maximization” strategy to get the climate emergency under control, argues British author and activist George Monbiot, in a post for The Guardian that points to the UK’s widely-cited Committee on Climate Change (CCC) as an example of failed incrementalism.

Jonathan WIlkinson

Cabinet Could Delay Teck Decision, as Company Says Mega-Mine May Never Be Built

Maneuvering around Teck Resources’ controversial Frontier tar sands/oil sands proposal is heating up, with Environment and Climate Minister Jonathan Wilkinson saying Cabinet review of the project may be delayed, while Teck CEO Don Lindsay says it’s “anyone’s guess” whether his company will build the C$20.6-billion project if it’s approved.

Reject Teck Wilkinson petition

41,500 Petition Signatures Urge Wilkinson, Federal Cabinet to Reject Teck Frontier Mine

Climate campaigners delivered a petition with 41,500 signatures to Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson’s North Vancouver constituency office Friday, demanding the federal Cabinet reject Teck Resources’ proposed C$20.6-billion Frontier tar sands/oil sands megaproject in Alberta.

Analysts See Pitfalls in ‘Blue Carbon’ Offsets

Wilkinson Tips Early Moves on Just Transition Act, Tougher 2030 Carbon Target

The second-term Trudeau government is considering kicking off its legislative response to the climate crisis with a new Just Transition Act, adjustments to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), and new carbon reduction measures aimed at exceeding its Harper-era goal of reducing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2030, iPolitics reports, citing an interview late last week with Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson.

Spain Adopts National Climate Emergency Declaration

Spain adopted a climate emergency declaration earlier this week, with officials promising to send legislation to the national parliament in the next 100 days to drive action on the crisis.

College Republicans Press Party for Climate Policy

Thunberg Demands Action, Fossils Tout Carbon Capture as Greenpeace Calls Out Fossil Investors at Davos Forum

The annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland was a study in contrasts yesterday, with #FridaysforFuture founder Greta Thunberg slamming the world’s governments and business elites for climate inaction while the fossil industry touted carbon capture and storage as the path to climate stability.

Scientists Declare 2010s the Hottest Decade, 2019 the Second-Warmest Year on Record

NASA and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have declared the 2010s the hottest 10 years on record, with 2019 the second-warmest ever, findings confirmed by climate-related devastation around the globe.

Roberts: Kerry and ‘the Kids’ Try Different Climate Action Strategies

BlackRock CEO’s Influential Annual Letter Emphasizes Climate Risk, Fossil Divestment

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink is promising to pay attention to the climate crisis and avoid investing in companies that “present a high sustainability-related risk” in his widely-read and influential annual letter to chief executives of the world’s biggest companies.

UK Pension Funds Press Barclays Bank to Stop Lending Money to Fossils

In the United Kingdom’s first-ever shareholder climate resolution aimed at a bank, a group of 11 pension and investment funds is urging Barclays to stop lending money to fossil fuel companies.

‘Good News-Bad News’ Report Shows U.S. Emissions Down 2% in 2019

The United States saw its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions decline last year, according to new analysis last week by the New York-based Rhodium Group, with reductions in the electricity sector coming on strong and fast enough to offset increases in other parts of the economy.

UK Government Takes Fire for Delaying Net-Zero Plan to End of Year

Equinor Promises to Cut Production Emissions 40% by 2030

Campaigners Press Scotland to Ban Fossil Lobbying at COP 26

The next United Nations climate conference, COP 26, is still 10 months away from convening in Glasgow. But campaigners are already calling for the Scottish government to help pressure the United Kingdom to keep fossil lobbyists away from the negotiations.

Government-Backed Report Urges China to Stop Building Coal Plants, Use Existing Ones Less

A new report co-authored by China’s government-backed National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) says phasing out construction of all new coal-fired generating stations is the most economically achievable way to hit the country’s long-term climate targets.

COP 25 Becomes First to Use ‘F Words’ to Call Out Fossil Fuels

Disastrously as COP 25 turned out for anyone expecting coordinated action on a mounting global emergency, two of the world’s leading climate campaigners are pointing to a shift in language and emphasis that could echo through future UN climate conferences for years to come. For the first time, report Catherine Abreu and Jamie Henn, institutions and UN diplomats up to and including Secretary General António Guterres used the “F words”—fossil fuels—to name and call out the major cause of the climate crisis, and of the chronic dysfunction in the hallways and back rooms of the COP itself.

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Five Colossal Fossils Face 2020 Shareholder Resolutions on Emission Reductions, Paris Compliance

Colossal fossils ExxonMobil, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, and Equinor can expect to see shareholder resolutions in the first half of 2020 urging them to cut their carbon emissions in line with the targets in the Paris Agreement, after Netherlands-based responsible investment advocates Follow This announced a stepped-up campaign.

Europe Threatens Border Adjustment Tariff for Climate Laggards Like U.S.

In what Politico interprets as a lesson learned from Donald Trump’s trade wars, the European Union is threatening a carbon tariff on countries like the United States that refuse to step up and commit to getting their greenhouse gas emissions under control.

Jurisdictions with Net Zero Plans or Aspirations Now Produce 40% of Global GDP

About 40% of the world’s economic activity, totalling US$34.6 trillion, now takes place in jurisdictions that have adopted or proposed plans to bring their carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 or before, according to analysis released last week by the UK’s Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU).

Fossil ‘Youth-Washing’ Includes Sponsorship Funding, Free Trips to COP

Youth climate activists are crying foul as fossil companies keen to burnish their public images as “makers” of the future woo young people with protestations of concern, and promises of funding, while continuing to push US$1.4 trillion in new oil and gas projects through 2024.

COP 25

‘Disgraceful’ COP 25 Shows Big Emitters ‘Betraying People Across the World’

After running 44 hours beyond its scheduled end time, this year’s United Nations climate conference dissolved in failure, frustration, and anger Sunday morning, with a large bloc of countries and an exhausted climate advocacy community blaming the world’s biggest emitters and the fossil fuel interests behind them.

Victor: Acting on Emission Cuts, Solving ‘Hard Problems’ Matters More than Statements of Ambition

The utter failure of leadership at this year’s United Nations climate conference shows that the next step for climate leaders is to evaluate everything they do “through the lens of whether it increases the chances of followership,” international relations specialist David G. Victor writes for the New York Times.

Melting Permafrost Turns Arctic into Net Source of Greenhouse Gases

As scientists grow ever more certain that the Arctic is becoming a net contributor to climate change as its carbon- and methane-heavy permafrost melts, the 35 million people who call the polar region home fear exposure to heavy metals and dangerous pathogens, while witnessing a collapsing food chain.

House of Commons Motion Backs a Green New Deal for Canada

The first motion filed in the reconstituted House of Commons calls for MPs to endorse a Green New Deal for Canada.

Globe and Mail Editorial Rejects International Carbon Credits for LNG Exports

The Globe and Mail editorial board is weighing in against the fossil industry’s increasingly faint hope that Canada can earn international carbon reduction credits for exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Asia.

New UK Government Faces Steep Climb on Net-Zero Target, Power Supply Post-Brexit

Implementing the United Kingdom’s net-zero by 2050 target, eliminating planning bottlenecks for offshore wind, and keeping post-Brexit power connections with Europe smooth, especially for Ireland, are three challenges facing Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Greentech Media reports, in a follow-up on the election last week that brought Johnson a majority government.

500 B Corporations Pledge to Hit Net-Zero Target by 2030, 20 Years Ahead of Paris Schedule

A list of more than 500 B Corps that includes The Body Shop, New Zealand-American shoemaker Allbirds, California-based health and personal care manufacturer Dr. Bronners, and Canadian renewable energy project developer 3Degrees have pledged to hit a net-zero target for their operations by 2030, 20 years ahead of the deadline in the Paris Agreement.

Ontario’s New Hydro One CEO Plans Climate Focus

U.S. Declared ‘Climate Criminal’ as ‘Stalemated’ COP 25 Limps to a Close

Reporters on the ground described two weeks of stalemated United Nations climate negotiations limping to a close, a diplomat branded the United States a “climate criminal” for its stance on the crucial issue of loss and damage, and the hundreds of youth, Indigenous, and other community representatives onsite talked about the grassroot action back home that will continue to spur faster, more ambitious climate action, as COP 25 entered its final hours in Madrid.

Thunberg Named Time Magazine Person of the Year

For speaking truth to power, and inspiring millions of people of all ages around the world to do the same, 16 year-old #FridaysForFuture founder Greta Thunberg has been named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year for 2019.

Jonathan Wilkinson COP 25 climate Canada

Canada Pledges Net Zero by 2050 as Major Emitters Dig In to Block COP 25 Progress

Canada earned praise for promising to legislate a 2050 deadline for net-zero carbon emissions, but big emitters like Australia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, India, and China were called out for blocking progress, as COP 25 moved into a crucial round of high-level negotiations this week in Madrid.

Wilkinson Throws Cold Water on Carbon Credits for LNG Exports

Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson is raising major flags about the fossil industry’s hope of using liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to earn carbon reduction credits under the hotly-contested Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, and aiming to meet Canada’s Paris targets without resorting to international carbon trades.

Oceans Face Oxygen Loss, Acidification as Warming Challenges Ability to Absorb Carbon

With the Earth’s oceans rapidly and dangerously losing oxygen due to a combination of global warming and pollution, Greenpeace is urging countries to restore and protect the planet’s marine ecosystems, both for their own sake and because a healthy ocean is vital to fighting the climate emergency.

Crossword Puzzle Tests COP Delegates’ Knowledge on Fossil Fuel Phaseout

Just when you thought there was nothing but despair emanating from UN climate negotiations in Madrid, that there was no creative way to push recalcitrant big emitters toward the end of the fossil fuel era, Climate Action Network-International is out with a crossword puzzle primer (yes! a crossword puzzle!) on the fossil phaseout.

U.S., Canadian Fossils to Lead $1.4 Trillion in New Oil and Gas Development Through 2024

Fossils in the United States and Canada are leading plans to invest another US$1.4 trillion in new oil and gas extraction projects over the next five years, even though the industry already has enough existing fields and mines to blow past a 1.5°C limit on average global warming and nearly exhaust the carbon budget for 2.0°C, according to an analysis released late last week by the Global Gas & Oil Network (GGON).

Denmark to Cut Emissions 70% by 2030 While New Zealand Adopts Climate Policy Lens

Two of the world’s wealthier countries have committed to a more ambitious response to the climate crisis, with Denmark adopting a 2030 deadline for a 70% emissions reduction and New Zealand declaring it will filter all major government decisions through a “climate lens”—although observers aren’t unanimously excited about New Zealand’s plan.

Need to Get It Right: Article 6 Could Trigger Faster Carbon Cuts or Massive Greenwashing

It could make or break the success of the Paris Agreement. It’s a notably complicated section of an international accord that is already arcane and nuanced by real-world standards. And as negotiations passed their midpoint Friday, many participants at this year’s UN climate conference, COP 25, said they would rather postpone final drafting of Article 6 than settle for a bad decision.

Carbon Pricing ‘Isn’t the Only Tool in the Toolbox’: Wilkinson

Carbon pricing is just one part of a complete climate plan, and it will be at least two years before the Canadian government decides whether to extend the federal floor price beyond C$50 per tonne after 2022, Environment and Climate Minister Jonathan Wilkinson told The Canadian Press last week.

Throne speech Ottawa 2019 climate action emissions Trudeau Payette

Wilkinson Vows Tougher 2030 Emissions Target as Throne Speech Promises Net-Zero by 2050

A 2050 deadline to achieve net-zero emissions, a price on carbon in every part of the country, and new initiatives on energy-efficient buildings, zero-emission vehicles, “clean, affordable power”, and climate change adaptation are major elements of the legislative program the incoming federal government laid out in the Speech from the Throne delivered in Ottawa yesterday by Governor General Julie Payette.

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‘Two Worlds Collide’ as Urgent Street Protests Meet Slow, Deliberate COP Negotiations

With negotiations at this year’s United Nations climate conference in Madrid, COP 25, reaching their midpoint, some delegates and observers are getting a sense of what Climate Home News calls “two worlds about to collide”.

New Coal Plant Construction Puts Indonesia at Odds with 1.5°C Carbon Target

Even as its neighbours join the rest of the world in turning increasingly away from coal, Indonesia is charging full steam ahead with new coal plant construction, putting any hope of aligning with a 1.5°C average global warming target under the 2015 Paris Agreement in serious jeopardy along the way.

Alberta Fossils Aim to Push More Oil Through the Same Pipes

With the three new pipelines they’ve been counting on all delayed, Alberta fossils are looking to at least two new strategies to push more bitumen through the pipes and rail lines they’ve already got, even as two major tar sands/oil sands operators cut back their investment plans for 2020.

‘Unglamourous’ Manure Workshop Brings Ground-Up Solutions to COP 25

The emissions reduction potential of manure was the decidedly…earthy, if “unglamourous” focus of a pre-conference workshop attached to United Nations climate negotiations in Madrid, according to ECO, the daily conference newsletter produced by Climate Action Network-International.

WMO Declares 2010s the Warmest Decade on Record as Climate Impacts Accelerate

The 2010s are almost certain to take their place as the warmest decade on record, and 2015-2019 as the five-year span with the highest average temperatures ever, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reports, in a dire provisional statement released Tuesday at the beginning of this year’s United Nations climate negotiations in Madrid.

António Guterres

COP 25: Guterres Conveys ‘Hope, Not Despair’ as Vulnerable Countries Demand Action

UN Secretary General António Guterres showed up with a mix of urgency and hope, the Climate Vulnerable Forum called for a commitment from countries to adopt more ambitious climate targets by next year, and delegates heard from youth leaders and businesses, movie stars and retired politicians pushing for faster, deeper carbon cuts as COP 25 negotiations in Madrid got under way Monday and Tuesday.

‘Transformational Ramping Up’ Can Deliver 50% Emissions Reduction by 2030

It will take a “transformational ramping up” with all the world’s biggest emitters fully onboard. But with a 50% improvement in emission reduction targets for 2030, the countries attending this year’s UN climate negotiations in Madrid can get back on track to meet the 1.5°C target in the Paris Agreement, Berlin-based Climate Analytics concludes in a report released on the eve of the conference.

Throne Speech in Ottawa, COP Negotiations in Madrid Raise Pressure on Canada for Climate Action

With a much-anticipated Speech from the Throne taking place tomorrow in Ottawa, and United Nations climate negotiations under way in Madrid, the Trudeau government is under sustained pressure to make climate action a priority at home and do its fair share internationally to limit average global warming to 1.5°C.

Fossil of the Day Award Australia Brazil Japan Climate Action Network International COP 25

Australia, Brazil, Japan Share Fossil of the Day (Dis)Honours as COP Negotiations Get Under Way

Australia, Brazil, and Japan found themselves in a three-way tie yesterday for Fossil of the Day, the coveted award from Climate Action Network-International for the country or institution that has done the most to obstruct progress at UN climate negotiations, taking place this year in Madrid.

Investors Scorch Big Four Auditing Firms for Failing to Assess Climate Risk

The world’s four biggest auditing firms are taking fire for their failure to adequately assess the systemic risks posed by climate change, with 29 European investors managing more than £1 trillion (US$1.28 trillion) in assets warning the gap in their analysis could do more harm than the 2008 financial crash.

COP 25

‘Vanguard vs. Laggards’: Spain Presses COP 25 Delegates for Faster, Deeper Carbon Cuts

As this year’s United Nations climate change conference, COP 25, got under way in Madrid, initial news coverage pointed to a division between the plodding, formal negotiating process and the broader, global urgency of getting 195 countries together to find common ground on a more urgent response to the climate crisis.

Nine Climate Tipping Points Could Pose ‘Existential Threat to Civilization’, Scientists Warn

With this year’s United Nations climate conference set to kick off in Madrid Monday morning, the Earth is in danger of crossing as many as nine crucial climate “tipping points” that represent an “existential threat to civilization”, scientists warn in a commentary published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Abandons Climate Denial

Carbon emissions from a coal plant in Germany

Record GHG Concentrations Prompt Call for Drastic Action to Reduce Emissions

A pair of alarming reports from United Nations agencies shows greenhouse gas emissions at record levels and rising at a faster annual rate, meaning that efforts to counter the climate crisis must increase three- to five-fold to avoid a world of 3.2°C average global warming in less than 100 years.

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EU to Declare Climate Emergency Ahead of UN Climate Conference Next Week

European Union legislators are on track to declare a climate emergency ahead of the annual United Nations climate conference opening next week in Madrid, while stressing that the symbolic statement must be backed up by action.

Fossil fuel production planned and projected by countries

Fossil Production Plans, Subsidies Put Countries Far Beyond 1.5°C Paris Target

The world’s governments are on track to produce more than twice as much oil, gas, and coal as the amounts that would enable them to hold average global warming to 1.5°C, according to a first-ever production gap report produced by the United Nations Environment Programme and five senior environmental research NGOs.

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Companies, Scientists Press IEA for More Ambitious Carbon Reduction Scenarios

A list of 65 pension fund, insurance, science, and large corporate representatives are adding their voices to the chorus of criticism calling on the International Energy Agency (IEA) to shift the way it projects future fossil fuel demand to account for the climate crisis.

European Investment Bank divests oil gas coal

World’s Biggest Public Lender Announces End to Fossil Project Funding

In a blockbuster announcement yesterday, the European Investment Bank pledged to end most or all of its financing for fossil energy projects by the end of 2021 and devote future financing to “accelerate clean energy innovation, energy efficiency, and renewables,” a move it says will “unlock €1 trillion of climate action and environmental sustainable investment in the decade to 2030.”

IEA Drives Fossil Growth, Climate Breakdown with Latest World Energy Outlook

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is undercutting its own, essential role in confronting the climate crisis by downplaying renewable energy options and driving future investment to more expensive, higher-carbon fossil fuels, according to analysts responding to the release of its annual World Energy Outlook report earlier this week.

Climate Costs to Taxpayers Will Spiral Unless Australia Introduces New Policies

Shareholders Push BHP to Quit Australia Mineral Council

Trump Withdrawal from Paris Fails to Derail U.S. Climate Action

Donald Trump filed formal notice this week that the United States will withdraw from the 2015 Paris Agreement. But the decision doesn’t take effect until the day after next year’s presidential election, Trump’s successor will be able to rejoin the agreement on 30 days’ notice—and analysis shows the former reality TV star has failed to completely derail his country’s progress on greenhouse gas reductions.

World’s Biggest Fossils Must Cut Output 35% by 2040 to Hit 1.5°C Warming Target

The world’s seven biggest fossil companies, including ExxonMobil, BP, and Shell, must cut their oil and gas production 35% by 2040 to avoid driving average global warming above 1.5°C, according to a new analysis published last week by UK-based Carbon Tracker.

Get Started Now on Deeper Emissions Cuts, Climate Organizations Urge Federal Parties

The four federal parties that went out to voters this fall with strong climate policies had better get started on implementing those policies right now, a coalition of Canadian climate organizations asserted Friday.

Change of Location for COP 25 Leaves Thunberg Stuck on the Wrong Continent

The decision to relocate this year’s United Nations climate conference, COP 25, from Santiago, Chile to Madrid, Spain has left #FridaysforFuture founder Greta Thunberg stuck on the wrong continent, with just four weeks remaining before the annual negotiating session convenes.

Harvey: Journalists Must Ensure Climate Denial ‘Has No Place Left to Hide’

As the scientific reality of the climate crisis becomes ever more obvious and immediate, veteran UK environmental reporter Fiona Harvey warns her fellow journalists to expect rearguard actions from remaining climate denialists to become ever more vicious as they find themselves “running out of rope”.

B.C. Introduces Climate Accountability, Independent Monitoring

COP 26 Delegates in Glasgow Could Be Housed on Cruise Ships

Analysis: Encana Departure Puts Canada, Alberta at Crossroads to a Carbon-Free Future

The overwrought grief that greeted Encana Corporation’s decision to move its Calgary head office to the United States shows Canada and Alberta at a crossroads, facing an increasingly obvious choice between yesterday’s energy options and tomorrow’s.

UN Scrambles to Relocate Climate Conference After Chile Withdraws as Host

Chile’s decision to withdraw from hosting this year’s United Nations climate conference, COP 25, has international climate hawks calling for a quick effort to reorganize and relocate the meeting, to avoid losing time in the effort to speed up global greenhouse gas emissions and deliver assistance for vulnerable communities.

Frequent Flyer Levy Would Target 2% of UK Residents Who Take One-Fifth of the Flights

With aviation expected to become Britain’s single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, activist groups like Possible and Greenpeace and the UK’s Green Party are pushing for a frequent flyer levy to cut down on jet-setting.

Russian Industry Guts Draft Climate Law

Election Post-Mortems Point to Conservatives’ Climate Problem, Urge Massive Federal Investment in Carbon Reductions

In the wake of last week’s federal election results, two different clean transition organizations are pointing to the climate policy problem now facing Conservative politicians in Canada, and the opportunity for governments to invest in the shift off carbon.

Tower of Denial, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Forms Climate Task Force

With Climate on the Agenda, Advocates Call for Legislated Targets, Fossil Industry Phasedown

As election results rolled in last night in downtown Ottawa, climate hawks assessed the results of the first campaign in Canadian history where climate change was at the top of the political agenda. Now, they say the next step is to hold a reconfigured parliament accountable for the domestic action and international commitments that will make the country a world leader in responding to the climate crisis.

Fossil Emissions Kill Almost as Many as Tobacco, and Public Health Campaign Models Apply

The air pollution produced by fossil fuels kills almost as many people globally each year as tobacco use—a fact that jurisdictions ramping up their fight against climate change should share widely with both public health officials and the public as a whole, write policy experts Lourdes Sanchez and Nina Renshaw.

British PM to Chair New Climate Committee

Colossal Fossils Plot 35% Oil Production Increase Through 2030

With climate scientists, the United Nations, and millions of #ClimateStrike protesters around the world demanding faster, deeper carbon cuts, the world’s colossal fossils are poised to increase their oil production by seven million barrels per day over the next 12 years, in a strategy to generate one last, big surge of profits and emissions before demand for their product collapses.

Oil Lobby Wish List Would Drive Up Canada’s Fossil Emissions 60% by 2030, Analysis Shows

The overheated wish list that Canada’s oil industry is putting forward in this month’s federal election would use up 60% of the entire country’s 2030 carbon budget under the Paris Agreement, Toronto-based Environmental Defence concludes in a scathing analysis released Monday.

Business Coalition Urges All Federal Parties to ‘Renew Canada’s Climate Leadership’

A group of nearly four dozen Canadian business leaders has sent the parties running in the federal election an eight-point plan that calls on them to “renew Canada’s climate leadership” if they are a part of the country’s next government.

How the ‘Lionesses’ of Global Climate Diplomacy Brought Net Zero Targets to Life

Six years ago, a group of about 30 “lionesses” of international climate diplomacy gathered at a country estate in the borders region of Scotland to lay the groundwork for the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Google Searches for ‘Climate Change’ Outstrip Game of Thrones in September

With concern about climate change heating up and interest in Winterfell cooling down (because…wait for it…Winter is Coming, Jon Snow), it was bound to happen: last month, United States Google searches on the climate crisis finally exceeded those for Game of Thrones, for the first time since the long-running TV melodrama became a thing.

Donner: No Federal Party Has a Plan to Hit a 1.5 or 2.0°C Climate Target

At the midpoint in Canada’s climate change election, analysis by a University of British Columbia climatologist shows that none of the federal parties have put forward platforms that support holding average global warming to 1.5 or 2.0°C.

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Dozens of Countries Agree to Tackle Short-Lived Climate Pollutants

Faster, more coordinated reductions in short-lived climate pollutants (SLPCs) may be one of the lower-profile but more important results of last week’s United Nations Climate Summit in New York, after environment ministers from dozens of countries agreed to focus on a class of greenhouse gases that has mostly been overlooked so far in international climate agreements, InsideClimate News reports.

Energy Efficiency Day Generates Praise for State and Local Leaders, Promises to Do More

Massachusetts, California, Rhode Island, Vermont, and New York took top billing, while Maryland won honours as the most-improved U.S. state, when the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy released its 2019 50-state scorecard to coincide with Energy Efficiency Day October 2.

One Million Rally Across Canada, 7.6 Million World-Wide, as Thunberg Addresses #ClimateStrike March in Montreal

An estimated one million Canadians took to the streets Friday for youth-led #ClimateStrike marches and rallies in many dozens of communities across the country, part of a global day of action that saw many millions more around the world leave their schools and jobs to demand government action to reverse the climate crisis.

Warming Will Produce Rapid Sea Level Rise, Annual ‘100-Year’ Storms, Declining Fish Stocks, Shrinking Glaciers Without Fast Climate Action: IPCC

The world’s oceans will rise nearly one metre (three feet) by 2100, 100-year coastal storms and flooding will happen annually, fish stocks will see serious declines, snow and ice cover will diminish, and killer storms will get wetter and more powerful without fast action to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, concludes the latest science report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), issued last week after a contentious negotiating session in Monaco.

Beer: Emissions Are Set to Rise Through 2050. And Fossils Think Climate Protesters Are the Naïve Ones?

With the latest trend report for fossil fuel consumption projecting higher carbon dioxide emissions through 2050, Canadian fossils are expressing the odd view that the million or more people who took to the streets for #ClimateStrike Friday are naïve to expect a rapid phasedown of fossil production.

Thunberg Wins ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’ as Right-Wing Attacks Backfire on Attackers

58 weeks into the global school strike movement for which she’s served as a focal point and an inspiration, #FridaysForFuture founder Greta Thunberg is drawing strong reactions from multiple directions, becoming a recipient of the 2019 Right Livelihood Award while fending off increasingly strident attacks from online deniers.

All Eyes on 2020 After UN Climate (Action) Summit Fails to Deliver