climate action tagged posts

Earth warning signs indicate need for restoration

If there ever was a warning sign from Earth, it happened this week. Siberia, a region known for its unrelenting cold and frigidly unforgiving landscape, hit a disturbing milestone: 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Unfortunately, this is on par for 2020. The year saw the hottest January on record, the second-hottest February on record, the second-hottest March on record, the second-hottest April on record and the hottest May on record. The year also saw the highest levels of carbon dioxide ever recorded in the atmosphere.

Together, the records are warning signs, highlighting the structural changes necessary to break our carbon-emitting habits. Fortunately, many of these changes can be incorporated in green recovery plans.

In the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries have an opport...

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How will coronavirus shape our response to climate change?

London traffic before the Covid19 lockdown

The global response to the COVID-19 crisis could inform the fight against climate change, Imperial College London experts say. Imperial’s climate scientists, policy and economic experts say there are lessons to be learned from the pandemic that could put us in a better position to tackle climate change in the future.

Findings from Imperial suggest that social distancing measures to slow and suppress the spread of COVID-19 across Europe – including school closures and national lockdowns – have averted thousands of deaths.

Imperial academics reflect on what the pandemic is teaching us about responding to a global threat, and how we could apply that learning to the fight against climate change.

Known unknowns

In a blog for the Grantham Institute, Dr Ajay Gambhir argues that learning from t...

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Coronavirus lockdown giving oceans much-needed breathing space

sunset over the ocean surface

The coronavirus lockdown is giving the world’s oceans much-needed breathing space, let’s hope we don’t go back to bad habits when it ends, writes the Ocean Conservation Trust. In just a few months, millions of people have been asked to quarantine and whole countries have been locked down to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Around the world, events are being cancelled and travel plans dropped. A growing number of universities, schools and workplaces have closed, and workers are working from home if they can.

This pandemic is shutting down industrial activity on a massive scale.

All of this might feel rather bleak, but there is some good news coming out of the scientific community, which is reporting positive environmental outcomes of the lockdowns that are now being enforced gl...

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COP26: PM ‘doesn’t get’ climate change, says sacked president

The prime minister admitted he “doesn’t really get” climate change, the former head of this year’s key summit on the issue has said. The UK is hosting COP26 in Glasgow in November – but Boris Johnson sacked president Claire O’Neill on Friday. Mrs O’Neill told the BBC there was a “huge lack of leadership and engagement” from the government.

Senior cabinet minister Michael Gove rejected claims that the government was failing to lead on climate change.

Mr Gove told Sky News the Glasgow conference had been the first item on the agenda when the cabinet met in the new year and he said the UK was setting an example on reducing carbon emissions.

But Ms O’Neill, the former Conservative minister for energy and clean growth, said people should be wary of the prime minister’s promises.

“My advice ...

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Fighting Climate Change Is The Cheapest Option We Have Left

You would think that ensuring the survival of the human race is something you can’t put a price on, but one of the reasons that governments aren’t always keen to take action on climate change is the economic costs of doing so.

But new research investigating the future costs of dealing with a warming planet shows just how counterintuitive that way of thinking actually is, because the longer we wait to take action, the more we’re going to have to pay in the long run.

According to the study’s calculations, the cheapest option at this point is to pay what it takes to limit the global temperature rise over the next century to 2 degrees Celsius – the same number that governments committed to with the Paris Agreement.

“To secure economic welfare for all people in these times of global warming, ...

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Corporate climate action and the top brand global leaders

Unilver products: the group is on the ‘A-list’ for leadership on corporate transparency and action on climate change.

Major global brands including BT Group, Danone, Microsoft and Sony have been named among 179 companies on a prestigious ‘A-list’ for their leadership on corporate transparency and action on climate change, released today by global non-profit climate research provider CDP.

Designed to harness the competitive spirit of business to raise ambition and spur action on tackling climate change, CDP scores thousands of companies which disclose environmental data through its platform each year at the request of their corporate customers and investors.

Data from STOXX has shown that the A-list has outperformed its global benchmark by an average of 5.5% per annum over a seven-year period, indicating transparency and leading action on climate change are correlated with financial success.

Out of ove...

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Climate change: Should you fly, drive or take the train?

The climate campaigner Greta Thunberg chose to sail to a UN climate conference in New York in a zero-emissions yacht rather than fly – to highlight the impact of aviation on the environment. The 16-year-old Swede has previously travelled to London and other European cities by train. Meanwhile the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have faced criticism over opting to fly to Sir Elton John’s villa in Nice in a private jet. So what is the environmental impact of flying and how do trips by train, car or boat compare?

What are aviation emissions?

Flights produce greenhouse gases – mainly carbon dioxide (CO2) – from burning fuel. These contribute to global warming when released into the atmosphere.

An economy-class return flight from London to New York emits an estimated 0...

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2019 has been a year of climate disaster. Yet still our leaders procrastinate

2019 may go down in history as Year Zero of the climate apocalypse. The tsunami of extreme events has been so relentless that each is quickly forgotten in favour of its successor. So before the year ends we should pause, remember just how extraordinary it was, and reflect on what this might mean for our future. The year started with a record-breaking heatwave in southern Australia with temperatures in the mid-40s, in some areas for 40 days in a row. Then followed the immolation of vast areas of moist Tasmanian forests, forests that date back to the last ice age.

Approximately 3% of the state burned as a long-term trend of less rainfall and more evaporation was capped off by the driest January on record. On the mainland, who could forget those horrifying images of the Menindee fish kills?

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Climate change: Five things we’ve learned from Madrid talks

The Chilean presidency came in for severe criticism from many

1. Leadership is REALLY important

COP25 in Madrid only happened because the Chilean government, faced with mounting civil disorder, decided to cancel the meeting in Santiago. Spain stepped in and in three weeks organised a well-resourced and well-run event. However, the fact that it was being run by one government, while hosted by another, gave rise to severe difficulties.

Delegates were highly critical of the fact that when it came to the key text about ambition, the Chileans presented the lowest common denominator language first, resulting in a huge number of objections from countries eager to see more ambition on carbon cuts. Experienced COP watchers said they should have started with high ambition and negotiated down to a compromise.

Insiders say that agreement was only found becaus...

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COP25 climate summit: what happened during the first week?

Extinction Rebellion activists stage a rally in solidarity with Amazon indigenous groups outside the COP25 summit in Madrid. Photograph: Rodrigo Jimenez/EPA

What happened in week one?

The COP25 climate talks in Madrid may have officially opened on Monday 2 December, but they only really started on Friday evening. That was when Greta Thunberg arrived to join a 500,000-strong march through the centre of Madrid, demanding that world leaders listen.

The young activist said that she, and the millions who have marched and protested around the world in the last two years, had “achieved nothing” because greenhouse gas emissions have continued to rise...

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