Austrian researchers have bad news for those nations alarmed about climate change: the Arctic thaw means the chances that the world will exceed the global warming limit set by international agreement are high – and getting ever higher with every tiny shift in the planetary thermometer. Warming in the Arctic is the fastest on the planet – and any warming will release ever more methane and other forms of stored carbon from the thawing permafrost. Methane is a greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon dioxide. And as it seeps into the atmosphere, the chances that the world will overshoot its promise to contain planetary warming to “well below” 2°C increase.
Climate News Network 26th Sept 2018 read more »
Climate change could punch huge holes in bank balance sheets and trigger panic on a scale similar to the 2008 crisis, the Bank of England has warned. Too many banks are unprepared for the financial damage that could be caused by environmental disasters, green policy reforms and advances in low-emission technologies, according to a report from the Bank’s Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA). Thirty per cent of banks dismiss climate change as a corporate social responsibility issue rather than treat it as a financial risk and only 11 per cent are taking action in the long-term interests of the firm. The findings came from a survey of 90 per cent of the British banking sector, representing £11 trillion of assets. Regulators are increasingly concerned that banks are not properly pricing the potential cost of climate change in their models. If those hidden risks materialise, banks could be left carrying big losses. In the worst case, asset prices could reset in an “abrupt correction”, causing liquidity issues that destabilise markets in an echo of the financial crisis, the PRA said. Mark Carney, the Bank governor, branded the risk “a climate Minsky moment”, meaning a sudden and acute collapse in asset prices, as experienced in 2008.
Times 27th Sept 2018 read more »
FT 26th Sept 2018 read more »
The world’s governments are “nowhere near on track” to meet their commitment to avoid global warming of more than 1.5C above the pre-industrial period, according to an author of a key UN report that will outline the dangers of breaching this limit. A massive, immediate transformation in the way the world’s population generates energy, uses transportation and grows food will be required to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5C and the forthcoming analysis is set to lay bare how remote this possibility is. “It’s extraordinarily challenging to get to the 1.5C target and we are nowhere near on track to doing that,” said Drew Shindell, a Duke Univer sity climate scientist and a co-author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which will be unveiled in South Korea next month. “While it’s technically possible, it’s extremely improbable, absent a real sea change in the way we evaluate risk. We are nowhere near that.” In the 2015 Paris climate pact, international leaders agreed to curb the global temperature rise to 2C above the era prior to mass industrialization, with an aspiration to limit this to 1.5C. The world has already warmed by around 1C over the past century, fueling sea level rises, heatwaves, storms and the decline of vulnerable ecosystems such as coral reefs. Shindell wouldn’t share exact details of the IPCC report, but he said that the more ambitious 1.5C goal would require a precipitous drop in greenhouse emissions triggered by a rapid phaseout of fossil fuels, particularly coal, mass deployment of solar and wind energy and the eradication of emissions from cars, trucks and airplanes. Even then, emerging technology will be required on a global scale to capture emissions at the source and bury them in the ground or remove carbon directly from the air.
Guardian 26th Sept 2018 read more »
Limiting global warming to 1.5C by the end of the century could soon become too economically expensive to justify, despite the myriad benefits to the planet of minimising climate change as much as possible, according to a new analysis today by a group of UK academics. The paper asserts that stronger efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions must be undertaken swiftly in order to avoid having to rely on more speculative, risky, and expensive emissions reduction technologies further down the line, such as direct CO2 capture systems or geo-engineering technologies.
Business Green 27th Sept 2018 read more »
NEW research “sounds a warning” on harmful emissions from rivers near the Arctic Circle, a Scots expert says. Aberdeen University’s Professor Chris Soulsby was amongst an international team that has now reported the results of its work on the permafrost soils now thawing in western Siberia. The changing conditions mean the high levels of carbon stored in the peatland river networks are now being released up into the atmosphere. The rates are equivalent to emissions from major cities like Glasgow. And because western Siberia is home to the world’s biggest store of permafrost carbon, the team believes this could have “far-reaching consequences”.
The National 27th Sept 2018 read more »