The UK is breaching the Paris agreement on climate change by excluding international aviation and shipping figures from carbon budgets, according to a leading NGO. The Swedish campaigner Greta Thunberg accused the British government this week of “very creative carbon accounting” after the government defended its work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The UK government does not include emissions from global flights or shipping when it states it has reduced emissions by more than 40% since 1990. Instead, international aviation and shipping are monitored by two UN agencies, but there are growing doubts that – in the case of aviation in particular – the bodies have the power or ability to tackle major transport carbon emitters. Globally, domestic and international flights emitted 895m tonnes of CO2 last year – 2.4% of global energy-related CO2 emissions, according to analysts at Carbon Brief. Worldwide, aviation is one of the fastest growing sectors for greenhouse gas emissions, which increased by 76.1% between 1990 and 2012, according to the UN’s climate body. Andrew Murphy, of the Transport & Environment NGO, which sits as an observer at the ICAO, the UN agency responsible for international aviation, said this had to change. “Aviation has been kept off the books. If you look at the UK Climate Change Act both international shipping and aviation emissions are kept off the five-year carbon budgets.
Edie 26th April 2019 read more »
Britain should eat less red meat, plant millions of trees and build a new generation of onshore wind turbines under radical plans to hit “net zero” greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The climate change committee, a Government advisory body, is on Thursday expected to recommend abandoning the existing target to reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by then. It will instead recommend that all greenhouse gases, including carbon, methane and nitrous oxide, are eradicated or offset by that date. The committee’s report will recommend a series of measure to help meet the target, including a suggestion that less red meat in people’s diets could reduce methane produced by livestock. Other recommendations include encouraging homeowners to replace domestic gas boilers with more environmentally friendly alternatives, planting millions of trees and greater use of carbon capture.
Telegraph 28th April 2019 read more »
Political leaders in Britain are not strong enough to tackle the climate change crisis, according to one of the country’s leading authorities on the subject. Lord Stern of Brentford, author of the Stern Review on the cost of tackling global warming, said that politicians were holding the country back from making progress on the issue. “Has the political leadership been strong enough? No, I don’t think so,” he said. He added that protests by campaigners such as Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, and Extinction Rebellion, a group that caused disruption in the capital last week, would help to build awareness and spur politicians into action. “Leadership is absolutely fundamental, but that doesn’t come out of nowhere, it comes as these pressures build,” he said. Lord Stern, a former chief economist at the Treasury and the World Bank, is among Britain’s most respected thinkers on the environmental crisis. In 2006 he published The Stern Review: The Economics of Climate Change, which described global warming as the “greatest and widest-ranging market failure ever seen”. He told The Times that policymakers needed to act to avert a catastrophic rise in global temperatures. If they waited an additional ten to fifteen years before taking radical steps to reduce carbon emissions, it would be too late, he said.
Times 29th April 2019 read more »
MPs will vote on Wednesday whether to declare an environmental and climate emergency following mass protests over political inaction in addressing the crisis. Labour will force a Commons vote on the issue, fulfilling one of the key demands of the Extinction Rebellion (XR) movement, whose activists paralysed parts of London in recent weeks. The move comes as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday declared a “climate emergency” in her speech to the SNP conference in Edinburgh.
Scotsman 29th April 2019 read more »
Companies are leading the way on clean energy technology, investors are pressuring the biggest carbon emitters, retailers are chasing shifting consumer demands and industries are being transformed by carbon pricing and targeted subsidies. Capitalism and the power of price signals in markets are proving to be the solution, not the problem. “We can use markets in order to tackle climate change, but we have to recognise that they currently suffer from a number of market failures which need to be corrected for them to work properly,” says Bob Ward, policy director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics. In the search for an effective tool to fight the problem, economists have coalesced around the idea of putting a price on emitting carbon. Carbon pricing takes two forms: a cap-and-trade system and a carbon tax.
Telegraph 28th April 2019 read more »
Nick Butler: Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg, who has drawn worldwide attention by regularly walking out of school to protest the failure to address climate change, spoke at a UK parliamentary event last week and endorsed the Extinction Rebellion street protests. She wrung an admission from environment secretary Michael Gove that the country had “not done nearly enough” to tackle climate change. This is my open letter in response. Your next objective should be the creation of a fund to translate what are now just possibilities and experiments into full-scale practical solutions. The fund should be managed by the scientific academies – the Swedish Academy, the Royal Society and many others – that have already done serious work on the reality of climate change and the associated risks. Such a fund should be devoted to sponsoring the best work they can find – regardless of its national origin – on science which they believe can change the outcome for the planet. The research could be in energy storage, which would make renewable energy more economically competitive, in grid technology to improve access to low-cost supplies, or in the critical issue of energy efficiency and the elimination of waste. Or it could be a technology we can barely imagine at the moment. There is unlikely to be a magic bullet. The answers have to match the diverse uses of energy – from transport to heating and cooling – and address the needs of different countries across the world, rich and poor. Science has transformed telecommunications over the last 30 years. Now a similar industrial revolution is needed in energy. Low cost and low carbon must go together – technology which people cannot afford will remain unused – but once the options are available they will be taken up across the world. The telecoms revolution has shown us how quickly globalisation can work. The combination of science and economics can be formidable.
FT 29th April 2019 read more »