Author: Terry Macalister

About Terry Macalister

Terry Macalister, an award-winning journalist and author of a book on the Arctic, is former energy editor of The Guardian newspaper.

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Free football lures energy workers to renewables

Redundant oil workers are in demand by British companies to help to build revolutionary new clean-tech storage systems.

LONDON,15 July, 2017 – Highly-skilled engineers – many of them recently made redundant from the North Sea – are being sought by recruiters in the UK to switch to work on a green battery boom.

This is because the “big six” utilities (the UK’s largest energy suppliers), industrial firms and individual householders are all installing storage systems to back up wind, solar and gas-fired power.

redT energy, a UK company which has developed its own storage technology, says it is doubling staff and already hiring former North Sea oil workers. The recruitment drive is helped by the fact that the low price of crude since 2014 has meant tens of thousands of workers have lost jobs in Aberdeen, the unofficial capital of the British oil industry.

Bryan Fotheringham, an engineering manager at redT, is one of those who have made the transition. He says: “What you have is a huge wealth of intellectual capital and skills, which have been honed in the UK industry. 

“You can’t let that go to waste. Clean energy is a natural career evolution for those of us who have spent some of our career in oil and gas.”

Seeking sparkies

But it is not just engineers that are in demand. Eaton, a large US-based multinational, is on a recruitment drive in Britain too, but is looking for electricians. It wants “a few hundred” sparkies, as they’re known.

It is seeking working electricians who are being lured from traditional self-employed house electrics into installing batteries domestically for Eaton, under its xStorage Home system.

To show it means business, Eaton has signed an unusual partnership agreement with the English Premier League football club Manchester City. The power management group, with total global sales of US$20bn last year, will not only provide services to Man City’s own facilities, but is hoping as well to use the soccer brand for marketing.

And the bid to find the sparkies will involve an inducement – tickets to Man City games. “The highest level of award (for electricians) will be VIP passes at the Etihad Stadium: not a lot, but some,” says Cyrille Brisson, a vice-president at Eaton. 

Also in expansion mode is London-based Powervault Ltd, which is aiming to ramp up sales of its home storage system from 1,000 this year to 50,000 by 2020. Another local rival, Moixa, wants to turn its 1,000 annual sales into one million by 2020.

These small UK firms are competing with much larger rivals, including Tesla, controlled by the billionaire inventor Elon Musk.

“Clean energy is a natural career evolution for those of us who have spent some of our career in oil and gas”

The UK’s Electricity Storage Network, established to lobby on behalf of the sector, says thousands of skilled workers are needed.

“Deployment of storage presents a real opportunity for job creation. Based on activity amongst our members, if we meet the Electricity Storage Network’s target of seeing 2GW [gigawatts] storage capacity deployed by 2020 and 5GW by 2025 in the UK, we estimate that an additional 12,000 jobs could be created,” said Georgina Penfold, ESN’s chief executive.

And the battery bonanza is far from being a predominantly British affair. Musk, who set up Tesla Motors and SpaceX, is moving towards peak production at his new Gigafactory in the middle of the Nevada scrublands. That will employ 6,500 workers and double the world’s supply of lithium-ion batteries – the most common sort used in storage and electric cars.

The US was already estimated to have 336 MW of battery storage in place at the end of 2016 – double the number a year earlier. China, India and several other countries are also keen to add storage to their energy arsenal.

A report from SmartestEnergy, an arm of Japan’s Marubeni group, claims that UK commercial battery storage capacity will grow 100-fold by 2020. It puts the current capacity at a meagre 20 MW but believes this will rise to 2,300 MW within a few years.

Intermittent power

Among the larger battery storage schemes currently on the drawing board is a £12m (US$15.7) project to provide 49 MW by big six energy supplier EDF. Another supplier, Good Energy, has just raised a £10m bond issue to invest in battery storage and electric vehicle (EV) charging points.

Lithium-ion battery pack prices have fallen globally by three-quarters since 2010 and could plunge by a similar amount by 2030, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

But the biggest driver is still the huge amounts of new intermittent power sources coming into the world’s energy system to beat climate change. This is helping to clean up emissions but has also led to ever more volatile power prices as continuous power producers such as coal and old nuclear plants are retired or pushed off the system. 

This has triggered a massive R&D drive to find the “holy grail” of cheap, light and powerful storage. Much of the work has been put into improving lithium-ion batteries, but there are numerous other alternative systems being developed too.

redT for instance uses “flow” technology, where the power is stored in liquid form, while rival Highview Power Storage is experimenting with storing power using chilled air. 

But while the experimentation goes on – so does the marketing, installation and recruitment. Fossil fuel may have helped create global warming, but its oil workers may help beat it too. – Climate News Network 

Redundant oil workers are in demand by British companies to help to build revolutionary new clean-tech storage systems.

LONDON,15 July, 2017 – Highly-skilled engineers – many of them recently made redundant from the North Sea – are being sought by recruiters in the UK to switch to work on a green battery boom.

This is because the “big six” utilities (the UK’s largest energy suppliers), industrial firms and individual householders are all installing storage systems to back up wind, solar and gas-fired power.

redT energy, a UK company which has developed its own storage technology, says it is doubling staff and already hiring former North Sea oil workers. The recruitment drive is helped by the fact that the low price of crude since 2014 has meant tens of thousands of workers have lost jobs in Aberdeen, the unofficial capital of the British oil industry.

Bryan Fotheringham, an engineering manager at redT, is one of those who have made the transition. He says: “What you have is a huge wealth of intellectual capital and skills, which have been honed in the UK industry. 

“You can’t let that go to waste. Clean energy is a natural career evolution for those of us who have spent some of our career in oil and gas.”

Seeking sparkies

But it is not just engineers that are in demand. Eaton, a large US-based multinational, is on a recruitment drive in Britain too, but is looking for electricians. It wants “a few hundred” sparkies, as they’re known.

It is seeking working electricians who are being lured from traditional self-employed house electrics into installing batteries domestically for Eaton, under its xStorage Home system.

To show it means business, Eaton has signed an unusual partnership agreement with the English Premier League football club Manchester City. The power management group, with total global sales of US$20bn last year, will not only provide services to Man City’s own facilities, but is hoping as well to use the soccer brand for marketing.

And the bid to find the sparkies will involve an inducement – tickets to Man City games. “The highest level of award (for electricians) will be VIP passes at the Etihad Stadium: not a lot, but some,” says Cyrille Brisson, a vice-president at Eaton. 

Also in expansion mode is London-based Powervault Ltd, which is aiming to ramp up sales of its home storage system from 1,000 this year to 50,000 by 2020. Another local rival, Moixa, wants to turn its 1,000 annual sales into one million by 2020.

These small UK firms are competing with much larger rivals, including Tesla, controlled by the billionaire inventor Elon Musk.

“Clean energy is a natural career evolution for those of us who have spent some of our career in oil and gas”

The UK’s Electricity Storage Network, established to lobby on behalf of the sector, says thousands of skilled workers are needed.

“Deployment of storage presents a real opportunity for job creation. Based on activity amongst our members, if we meet the Electricity Storage Network’s target of seeing 2GW [gigawatts] storage capacity deployed by 2020 and 5GW by 2025 in the UK, we estimate that an additional 12,000 jobs could be created,” said Georgina Penfold, ESN’s chief executive.

And the battery bonanza is far from being a predominantly British affair. Musk, who set up Tesla Motors and SpaceX, is moving towards peak production at his new Gigafactory in the middle of the Nevada scrublands. That will employ 6,500 workers and double the world’s supply of lithium-ion batteries – the most common sort used in storage and electric cars.

The US was already estimated to have 336 MW of battery storage in place at the end of 2016 – double the number a year earlier. China, India and several other countries are also keen to add storage to their energy arsenal.

A report from SmartestEnergy, an arm of Japan’s Marubeni group, claims that UK commercial battery storage capacity will grow 100-fold by 2020. It puts the current capacity at a meagre 20 MW but believes this will rise to 2,300 MW within a few years.

Intermittent power

Among the larger battery storage schemes currently on the drawing board is a £12m (US$15.7) project to provide 49 MW by big six energy supplier EDF. Another supplier, Good Energy, has just raised a £10m bond issue to invest in battery storage and electric vehicle (EV) charging points.

Lithium-ion battery pack prices have fallen globally by three-quarters since 2010 and could plunge by a similar amount by 2030, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

But the biggest driver is still the huge amounts of new intermittent power sources coming into the world’s energy system to beat climate change. This is helping to clean up emissions but has also led to ever more volatile power prices as continuous power producers such as coal and old nuclear plants are retired or pushed off the system. 

This has triggered a massive R&D drive to find the “holy grail” of cheap, light and powerful storage. Much of the work has been put into improving lithium-ion batteries, but there are numerous other alternative systems being developed too.

redT for instance uses “flow” technology, where the power is stored in liquid form, while rival Highview Power Storage is experimenting with storing power using chilled air. 

But while the experimentation goes on – so does the marketing, installation and recruitment. Fossil fuel may have helped create global warming, but its oil workers may help beat it too. – Climate News Network 

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Complacency threatens climate change action

climate change
climate change

Leading climate change scientist warns that it isn’t only oil companies undermining hopes of meeting targets to limit global warming.

LONDON, 6 April, 2017 – The world is “meandering into a failed future” because of its unwillingness to take decisive action on climate change, a leading UK academic has warned.

Kevin Anderson, a professor of energy and climate change at Manchester University, UK, criticises oil companies for pushing an agenda of complacency.

But, more unusually, he also blames academics, journalists and even some green groups for encouraging a belief that renewable power or other simple solutions can counter global warming.

In an interview with Climate News Network, Anderson denies he is being alarmist or hardline.

But he argues that there is a 95% chance that climate change action will not be robust enough to hold the growth in the Earth’s warming below the 1.5°-2°C target agreed at the UN climate conference in Paris in 2015.

Signs of misguided thinking in the UK, he says, include the government’s support for shale gas drilling and for building a third runway at Heathrow, London’s main airport.

Climate change measures

“The runway at Heathrow, shale gas − these are completely incompatible with Paris,” Anderson says. “And yet no doubt some academics say they will fit because they will have a rose-tinted view of some mythical future that things can be put in place.”

Anderson believes that politicians will not take strong enough measures to address climate change partly because the threat of global warming is often underplayed by many experts.

He says: “I don’t think we will be woken up [to the urgency of the situation]. I think there is a 95% chance we will fail.  It won’t be quite sleepwalking, because we know we are doing it.

“We are knowingly meandering into a failed future, so I think we are going to fail, but there is a very small chance we will succeed.”

The route to open the way for more effective climate action is to be more open and honest about the challenges we face, Anderson argues. “If we are not prepared to face the challenges we have ahead then the answers we come up with will not be appropriate.”

“I think there is a 95% chance we will fail.
It won’t be quite sleepwalking, because
we know we are doing it”

Oil companies, he says, have been undermining the arguments for urgent climate action for a long time. “They have been fairly vilified. They have tried to undermine this [climate action] agenda for years.

“But they are not the only culprit there. Another large swath of society – the academic community, the scientific community, the journalists and the NGOs − are all in that.”

Anderson is convinced that we are not moving away quickly enough from a reliance on fossil-fuelled cars and power stations.

Oil companies such as Shell gradually switching from carbon-heavy and high-cost oil projects such as tar sands in Canada or Arctic drilling and towards gas production is only partially welcomed by Anderson.

Warming spectrum

He says: “They are in the 3°-4°C warming spectrum, not the 5-6°C spectrum, but I personally prefer Exxon to the BPs and Shells, because Exxon is a wolf in wolf’s clothing, whereas Shell is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

“They [Shell] love gas. They extol the virtues of this new ‘green fuel’, but 75% of it is carbon, and when you burn it you get a lot of carbon dioxide.

“These companies love fossil fuels. They tried to go for renewables and failed. They had the opportunity to be the incumbents who catalyse the change and maybe they even tried, but they have failed.

“I do not think the oil companies – the hydrocarbon companies – are going to be any part of the future. They have had their chance, and they have just been found wanting.”

But Anderson also believes that academics are wrongly advising policymakers they can reach the 1.5°-2°C target by using “mitigation” systems that suck carbon out of the atmosphere, such as experimental geo-engineering, and carbon capture and storage.

He believes we should not be relying on this when there are more important targets – such as changing the lifestyles of the rich in the West who burn carbon by flying, driving large diesel cars, and being hooked on wasteful consumerism. – Climate News Network

Leading climate change scientist warns that it isn’t only oil companies undermining hopes of meeting targets to limit global warming.

LONDON, 6 April, 2017 – The world is “meandering into a failed future” because of its unwillingness to take decisive action on climate change, a leading UK academic has warned.

Kevin Anderson, a professor of energy and climate change at Manchester University, UK, criticises oil companies for pushing an agenda of complacency.

But, more unusually, he also blames academics, journalists and even some green groups for encouraging a belief that renewable power or other simple solutions can counter global warming.

In an interview with Climate News Network, Anderson denies he is being alarmist or hardline.

But he argues that there is a 95% chance that climate change action will not be robust enough to hold the growth in the Earth’s warming below the 1.5°-2°C target agreed at the UN climate conference in Paris in 2015.

Signs of misguided thinking in the UK, he says, include the government’s support for shale gas drilling and for building a third runway at Heathrow, London’s main airport.

Climate change measures

“The runway at Heathrow, shale gas − these are completely incompatible with Paris,” Anderson says. “And yet no doubt some academics say they will fit because they will have a rose-tinted view of some mythical future that things can be put in place.”

Anderson believes that politicians will not take strong enough measures to address climate change partly because the threat of global warming is often underplayed by many experts.

He says: “I don’t think we will be woken up [to the urgency of the situation]. I think there is a 95% chance we will fail.  It won’t be quite sleepwalking, because we know we are doing it.

“We are knowingly meandering into a failed future, so I think we are going to fail, but there is a very small chance we will succeed.”

The route to open the way for more effective climate action is to be more open and honest about the challenges we face, Anderson argues. “If we are not prepared to face the challenges we have ahead then the answers we come up with will not be appropriate.”

“I think there is a 95% chance we will fail.
It won’t be quite sleepwalking, because
we know we are doing it”

Oil companies, he says, have been undermining the arguments for urgent climate action for a long time. “They have been fairly vilified. They have tried to undermine this [climate action] agenda for years.

“But they are not the only culprit there. Another large swath of society – the academic community, the scientific community, the journalists and the NGOs − are all in that.”

Anderson is convinced that we are not moving away quickly enough from a reliance on fossil-fuelled cars and power stations.

Oil companies such as Shell gradually switching from carbon-heavy and high-cost oil projects such as tar sands in Canada or Arctic drilling and towards gas production is only partially welcomed by Anderson.

Warming spectrum

He says: “They are in the 3°-4°C warming spectrum, not the 5-6°C spectrum, but I personally prefer Exxon to the BPs and Shells, because Exxon is a wolf in wolf’s clothing, whereas Shell is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

“They [Shell] love gas. They extol the virtues of this new ‘green fuel’, but 75% of it is carbon, and when you burn it you get a lot of carbon dioxide.

“These companies love fossil fuels. They tried to go for renewables and failed. They had the opportunity to be the incumbents who catalyse the change and maybe they even tried, but they have failed.

“I do not think the oil companies – the hydrocarbon companies – are going to be any part of the future. They have had their chance, and they have just been found wanting.”

But Anderson also believes that academics are wrongly advising policymakers they can reach the 1.5°-2°C target by using “mitigation” systems that suck carbon out of the atmosphere, such as experimental geo-engineering, and carbon capture and storage.

He believes we should not be relying on this when there are more important targets – such as changing the lifestyles of the rich in the West who burn carbon by flying, driving large diesel cars, and being hooked on wasteful consumerism. – Climate News Network

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Human rights row threatens gas pipelines

Azerbaijan flag gas pipelines
Azerbaijan flag gas pipelines

Campaigners are calling for European banks to pull the plug on the controversial Southern Gas Corridor project due to Azerbaijan’s human rights record.

LONDON, 23 March, 2017 – The future of a controversial planned gas pipeline network from the Caspian Sea to Europe has been thrown into doubt again due to a row over human rights in Azerbaijan.

The former Soviet Republic has been suspended from a global organisation promoting good practice in the oil and gas sector.

Exit from the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) raises new questions about the autocratic country’s ability to win funding from European Union-linked funders for the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) pipelines.

Failure to meet standards

The EITI, which is chaired by former Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, says Azerbaijan has failed to meet the appropriate standards of transparency, particularly with regard to consulting members of the public.

The parting of ways is a specific challenge to the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which are affiliated to the EITI. Both lending groups are heavily backed by individual countries inside the European Union.

The two banks have been weighing up whether to provide more than €3bn towards the SGC, a 3,500 kilometre network of pipelines from the Azeri-controlled part of the Caspian Sea to the heel of Italy.

Civil rights campaigners have tirelessly argued against this, saying it could only cement the position of Azeri president Ilham Aliyev, who they accuse of committing endless human rights abuses.

Knowing that any revenues from the SGC project will only
serve to entrench Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev’s
regime, now is the time for Europe to think whether it is
willing to put its highest energy bets on such a partner”

The campaigners say it is now time for the European banks to pull the plug on the SGC, which is being built by Azeri state oil group SOCAR in partnership with BP and other western oil companies.

The EITI board’s decision is but the latest confirmation that Azerbaijani fossil fuels export projects like the SGC only fuel the autocratic regime in Baku as it intensifies its repression of civil society and media in the country,” says Anna Roggenbuck, a policy officer at CEE Bankwatch Network, which monitors the behaviour of lending groups.

The EIB and the EBRD should recall their commitments to human rights and take the EITI board’s decision as their cue to disengage from the project.”

Xavier Sol, director of another non-governmental organisation, Counter Balance, agrees: “EU leaders, who have long cited democracy and human rights as the cornerstones of modern-day Europe, should recognise the EITI board’s decision for the stark warning sign it is.

Knowing that any revenues from the Southern Gas Corridor project will only serve to entrench Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev’s regime, now is the time for Europe to think whether it is willing to put its highest energy bets on such a partner.”

The SGC, which involves fixed links such as the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, is billed by BP as the global oil and gas industry’s most “ambitious undertaking yet”, one that would change the energy map of the entire region.

Anti-gas campaigners

But human rights and environmental campaigners argue that it should not be built – not least because Europe is trying to move to a low-carbon future to beat global warming and should wean itself off fossil fuels such as gas.

The EBRD has previously indicated it would be difficult to fund a project that did not accord with EITI standards. “If there is no progress [on the implementation of EITI standards in Azerbaijan] it will be quite difficult to justify a large amount of financing,” the EBRD’s now former managing director for energy and natural resources, Riccardo Puliti, told the Anadolou news agency in September 2016.

The Azeri government would need to look for funding elsewhere if the European banks refuse to cooperate. It said in a statement: “We consider the Board’s decision on suspension of Azerbaijan as an unfair one. The mandate of the EITI has been significantly shifted far from transparency and accountability in extractive sectors.”

Reinfeldt says he believes the Caspian country could yet change its mind: “We all hope that the government of Azerbaijan will return to the EITI and continue the good work done in achieving transparency.” – Climate News Network

Campaigners are calling for European banks to pull the plug on the controversial Southern Gas Corridor project due to Azerbaijan’s human rights record.

LONDON, 23 March, 2017 – The future of a controversial planned gas pipeline network from the Caspian Sea to Europe has been thrown into doubt again due to a row over human rights in Azerbaijan.

The former Soviet Republic has been suspended from a global organisation promoting good practice in the oil and gas sector.

Exit from the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) raises new questions about the autocratic country’s ability to win funding from European Union-linked funders for the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) pipelines.

Failure to meet standards

The EITI, which is chaired by former Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, says Azerbaijan has failed to meet the appropriate standards of transparency, particularly with regard to consulting members of the public.

The parting of ways is a specific challenge to the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which are affiliated to the EITI. Both lending groups are heavily backed by individual countries inside the European Union.

The two banks have been weighing up whether to provide more than €3bn towards the SGC, a 3,500 kilometre network of pipelines from the Azeri-controlled part of the Caspian Sea to the heel of Italy.

Civil rights campaigners have tirelessly argued against this, saying it could only cement the position of Azeri president Ilham Aliyev, who they accuse of committing endless human rights abuses.

Knowing that any revenues from the SGC project will only
serve to entrench Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev’s
regime, now is the time for Europe to think whether it is
willing to put its highest energy bets on such a partner”

The campaigners say it is now time for the European banks to pull the plug on the SGC, which is being built by Azeri state oil group SOCAR in partnership with BP and other western oil companies.

The EITI board’s decision is but the latest confirmation that Azerbaijani fossil fuels export projects like the SGC only fuel the autocratic regime in Baku as it intensifies its repression of civil society and media in the country,” says Anna Roggenbuck, a policy officer at CEE Bankwatch Network, which monitors the behaviour of lending groups.

The EIB and the EBRD should recall their commitments to human rights and take the EITI board’s decision as their cue to disengage from the project.”

Xavier Sol, director of another non-governmental organisation, Counter Balance, agrees: “EU leaders, who have long cited democracy and human rights as the cornerstones of modern-day Europe, should recognise the EITI board’s decision for the stark warning sign it is.

Knowing that any revenues from the Southern Gas Corridor project will only serve to entrench Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev’s regime, now is the time for Europe to think whether it is willing to put its highest energy bets on such a partner.”

The SGC, which involves fixed links such as the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, is billed by BP as the global oil and gas industry’s most “ambitious undertaking yet”, one that would change the energy map of the entire region.

Anti-gas campaigners

But human rights and environmental campaigners argue that it should not be built – not least because Europe is trying to move to a low-carbon future to beat global warming and should wean itself off fossil fuels such as gas.

The EBRD has previously indicated it would be difficult to fund a project that did not accord with EITI standards. “If there is no progress [on the implementation of EITI standards in Azerbaijan] it will be quite difficult to justify a large amount of financing,” the EBRD’s now former managing director for energy and natural resources, Riccardo Puliti, told the Anadolou news agency in September 2016.

The Azeri government would need to look for funding elsewhere if the European banks refuse to cooperate. It said in a statement: “We consider the Board’s decision on suspension of Azerbaijan as an unfair one. The mandate of the EITI has been significantly shifted far from transparency and accountability in extractive sectors.”

Reinfeldt says he believes the Caspian country could yet change its mind: “We all hope that the government of Azerbaijan will return to the EITI and continue the good work done in achieving transparency.” – Climate News Network

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Europe’s tough line on shipping emissions

shipping
shipping

Shipping industry is ordered to reduce its climate-damaging CO2 emissions in European waters or face trading charges.

LONDON, 25 February, 2017 − The European Parliament has lost patience with shipping industry inaction over climate change and has outlined plans to include vessels in its Emissions Trading System (ETS).

Ship owners are furious, claiming it is wrong that they will effectively be charged for carbon pollution in Europe Union waters ahead of any wider international arrangement.

But the members of the parliament in Brussels endorsed a recommendation from their own environment committee that the maritime industry should be included in the European Union’s ETS, a cap-and-trade scheme aimed at tackling global warming.

Maritime transport is estimated to produce around 1,000 million tonnes of carbon annually and is responsible for about 2.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

It is predicted that CO2 output will increase by between 50% and 250% by 2050, depending on future economic and energy developments.

“This is not compatible with the internationally-agreed goal of keeping global temperature increase to below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels, which requires worldwide emissions to be at least halved from 1990 levels by 2050,” the European Commission explains.

Key amendment

The decision by the European Parliament involved one key amendment to the proposal put forward by its environment committee: the scheme will only start to include shipping from 2023 if there has been no comparative action taken by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

But this concession has done nothing to assuage the anger of the shipping industry.

Simon Bennett, director of policy and external relations at the International Chamber of Shipping, says: “This vote for a unilateral, regional measure simply risks polarising debate among IMO Member States, which have already agreed to develop a strategy for reducing shipping’s CO2 emissions in line with the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

“The vote completely ignores the real progress that has already been made by IMO – which, under the Kyoto Protocol, to which EU Member States are signatory, has a mandate to address CO2 emissions from international shipping.”

“This cross-party proposal will end
the anomaly of shipping being the only
sector in Europe not contributing
to the 2030 emissions reduction targets”

But the Transport & Environment (T&E) pressure group says the IMO – a United Nations body that overseas shipping regulation – has a bad track record of failing to act quickly.

Bill Hemmings, aviation and shipping policy director at T&E, says: “This cross-party [European parliament] proposal will end the anomaly of shipping being the only sector in Europe not contributing to the 2030 emissions reduction targets.

“EU governments must follow Parliament’s lead and agree that ship CO2 emissions must go in the EU ETS if the IMO does not act. The benefits to our climate through less warming and to our industry and economy through lower fuel costs cannot be ignored.” .

Critics complain that the IMO was told to introduce measures to cut shipping CO2 emissions as long ago as the Kyoto Treaty of 1997, but has failed to act.

The IMO insists that it has been working hard and has introduced an Energy Efficiency Design Index to help build less fuel-hungry ships and plans for a 0.5% limit on sulphur content of fuel from 2020. The latter measure was also fiercely opposed by some sections of the industry.

Polluting industries

The irony is that the ETS has not worked well so far, leaving the price of carbon much lower than expected due to the heavy number of exemptions given to other land-based polluting industries already covered by the scheme.

Ships tend to burn the dirtiest fuel oils, but they are a very carbon-efficient form of transport compared to road or air because of the heavy volumes they can carry.

Global temperature rise has been seen most graphically in the Arctic, where sea ice is melting at an unprecedented rate. And many in the shipping industry see this as an opportunity to open quicker summer routes from East to West that were blocked in the past by year-round ice.

The need to find solutions to dirty fuel has led ship owners to experiment with liquefied natural gas, and with new technological solutions.

Among the solutions offered up has been the Lynx Separator, which uses a giant spinning steel sponge to clean exhaust emissions– Climate News Network

Shipping industry is ordered to reduce its climate-damaging CO2 emissions in European waters or face trading charges.

LONDON, 25 February, 2017 − The European Parliament has lost patience with shipping industry inaction over climate change and has outlined plans to include vessels in its Emissions Trading System (ETS).

Ship owners are furious, claiming it is wrong that they will effectively be charged for carbon pollution in Europe Union waters ahead of any wider international arrangement.

But the members of the parliament in Brussels endorsed a recommendation from their own environment committee that the maritime industry should be included in the European Union’s ETS, a cap-and-trade scheme aimed at tackling global warming.

Maritime transport is estimated to produce around 1,000 million tonnes of carbon annually and is responsible for about 2.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

It is predicted that CO2 output will increase by between 50% and 250% by 2050, depending on future economic and energy developments.

“This is not compatible with the internationally-agreed goal of keeping global temperature increase to below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels, which requires worldwide emissions to be at least halved from 1990 levels by 2050,” the European Commission explains.

Key amendment

The decision by the European Parliament involved one key amendment to the proposal put forward by its environment committee: the scheme will only start to include shipping from 2023 if there has been no comparative action taken by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

But this concession has done nothing to assuage the anger of the shipping industry.

Simon Bennett, director of policy and external relations at the International Chamber of Shipping, says: “This vote for a unilateral, regional measure simply risks polarising debate among IMO Member States, which have already agreed to develop a strategy for reducing shipping’s CO2 emissions in line with the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

“The vote completely ignores the real progress that has already been made by IMO – which, under the Kyoto Protocol, to which EU Member States are signatory, has a mandate to address CO2 emissions from international shipping.”

“This cross-party proposal will end
the anomaly of shipping being the only
sector in Europe not contributing
to the 2030 emissions reduction targets”

But the Transport & Environment (T&E) pressure group says the IMO – a United Nations body that overseas shipping regulation – has a bad track record of failing to act quickly.

Bill Hemmings, aviation and shipping policy director at T&E, says: “This cross-party [European parliament] proposal will end the anomaly of shipping being the only sector in Europe not contributing to the 2030 emissions reduction targets.

“EU governments must follow Parliament’s lead and agree that ship CO2 emissions must go in the EU ETS if the IMO does not act. The benefits to our climate through less warming and to our industry and economy through lower fuel costs cannot be ignored.” .

Critics complain that the IMO was told to introduce measures to cut shipping CO2 emissions as long ago as the Kyoto Treaty of 1997, but has failed to act.

The IMO insists that it has been working hard and has introduced an Energy Efficiency Design Index to help build less fuel-hungry ships and plans for a 0.5% limit on sulphur content of fuel from 2020. The latter measure was also fiercely opposed by some sections of the industry.

Polluting industries

The irony is that the ETS has not worked well so far, leaving the price of carbon much lower than expected due to the heavy number of exemptions given to other land-based polluting industries already covered by the scheme.

Ships tend to burn the dirtiest fuel oils, but they are a very carbon-efficient form of transport compared to road or air because of the heavy volumes they can carry.

Global temperature rise has been seen most graphically in the Arctic, where sea ice is melting at an unprecedented rate. And many in the shipping industry see this as an opportunity to open quicker summer routes from East to West that were blocked in the past by year-round ice.

The need to find solutions to dirty fuel has led ship owners to experiment with liquefied natural gas, and with new technological solutions.

Among the solutions offered up has been the Lynx Separator, which uses a giant spinning steel sponge to clean exhaust emissions– Climate News Network

*

China trumps US on climate change

China crowd people
China crowd people

UK environmental campaigner Bryony Worthington says China’s positive action on climate change is much more significant than Donald Trump’s threat to exit the Paris agreement.

LONDON, 23 February, 2017 – A leading voice in the debate on climate change says more attention should be paid to positive action being taken to tackle CO2 emissions in China rather than worrying about the US and Donald Trump.

Bryony Worthington, a Labour peer and co-author of the 2008 Climate Change Act, says the White House “soap opera” is compelling but a distraction and not a potential road block to successful worldwide action against global warming.

In many ways it would be ‘back to business as usual’ if Trump pulled the US out of the Paris climate change agreement as he has threatened,” she argues.

I would rather they [the US] stayed in. I would rather they participated in the way they have up till now in a positive way, but it’s not going to be the end of the world if that happens.

“We have had to deal with a non-cooperative Federal US position before in climate negotiations – clearly, Obama being at the end of his second term of office had a hugely positive effect on the outcome of Paris – but that was the exception in recent years. Action globally can still prevail, and in the US too, at a city and state level, progress there will continue to be hugely important.

It would be a setback, but I think the rest of the world has united … and that’s kind of interesting in that it shows a galvanising effect and that, I think, is what will continue to happen.”

Baroness Worthington was speaking ahead of a talk she will give on Thursday, the first in the UK’s new annual Cambridge Climate Lecture Series.

China’s population

Worthington, who sits in the House of Lords, and is the executive director for Europe of the Environmental Defense Fund, says China will have a more profound impact on the future climate than the US, if only because of its larger population.

I do think we spend far too much time focusing on the US and too little time looking at what is happening in Asia and the rest of Europe where there are still some very positive signs.

The country that matters the most is China because it is the most populous and it’s still got a higher energy intensity in its energy system than the US.

China is adopting a much more long-term view
and has the capacity to plan on a longer-term basis,
so it’s much more significant what is happening there”

I try to focus on that country rather than the US. China is adopting a much more long-term view and has the capacity to plan on a longer-term basis, so it’s much more significant what is happening there.”

Worthington says she is still hopeful that the UN climate change agreement to keep global temperatures from growing more than 2°C are realisable.

I think the Paris goals are challenging. The nice thing about Paris was it set a very clear equation. It basically said we have got to get net zero by the second half of the century.

We have got to get emissions down as far as possible and we have got to increase sink, the absorption rate of greenhouse gases. We can get going on both sides of that equation on the timescale that has been set out …

“We just need to find the political will to do it and Paris was all about political will. The stars were in line: we had all the right political leaders at the right time. It was a really important marker of progress. It’s not going to be the last word at all and the hard work begins now, but it was a huge boost in terms of momentum and a lot of progress relies on sentiment. Paris was really important in reinforcing the sentiment that we will act.”

Worldwide agreement

But the Labour peer says finding worldwide agreement is never easy, especially at a time when countries such as the US and the UK are showing a renewed commitment to the nation state.

We are at an interesting time in humanity’s history and maybe one of the side-effects of trying to tackle climate change is we will see global governance emerging and stronger global action with different global actors emerging.

The human race is slightly behind what we need to do. We are just getting on to the starting line and we need to significantly increase the pace. There is an awful lot of work to be done, but I still remain hopeful we will rise to this challenge collectively.” – Climate News Network

UK environmental campaigner Bryony Worthington says China’s positive action on climate change is much more significant than Donald Trump’s threat to exit the Paris agreement.

LONDON, 23 February, 2017 – A leading voice in the debate on climate change says more attention should be paid to positive action being taken to tackle CO2 emissions in China rather than worrying about the US and Donald Trump.

Bryony Worthington, a Labour peer and co-author of the 2008 Climate Change Act, says the White House “soap opera” is compelling but a distraction and not a potential road block to successful worldwide action against global warming.

In many ways it would be ‘back to business as usual’ if Trump pulled the US out of the Paris climate change agreement as he has threatened,” she argues.

I would rather they [the US] stayed in. I would rather they participated in the way they have up till now in a positive way, but it’s not going to be the end of the world if that happens.

“We have had to deal with a non-cooperative Federal US position before in climate negotiations – clearly, Obama being at the end of his second term of office had a hugely positive effect on the outcome of Paris – but that was the exception in recent years. Action globally can still prevail, and in the US too, at a city and state level, progress there will continue to be hugely important.

It would be a setback, but I think the rest of the world has united … and that’s kind of interesting in that it shows a galvanising effect and that, I think, is what will continue to happen.”

Baroness Worthington was speaking ahead of a talk she will give on Thursday, the first in the UK’s new annual Cambridge Climate Lecture Series.

China’s population

Worthington, who sits in the House of Lords, and is the executive director for Europe of the Environmental Defense Fund, says China will have a more profound impact on the future climate than the US, if only because of its larger population.

I do think we spend far too much time focusing on the US and too little time looking at what is happening in Asia and the rest of Europe where there are still some very positive signs.

The country that matters the most is China because it is the most populous and it’s still got a higher energy intensity in its energy system than the US.

China is adopting a much more long-term view
and has the capacity to plan on a longer-term basis,
so it’s much more significant what is happening there”

I try to focus on that country rather than the US. China is adopting a much more long-term view and has the capacity to plan on a longer-term basis, so it’s much more significant what is happening there.”

Worthington says she is still hopeful that the UN climate change agreement to keep global temperatures from growing more than 2°C are realisable.

I think the Paris goals are challenging. The nice thing about Paris was it set a very clear equation. It basically said we have got to get net zero by the second half of the century.

We have got to get emissions down as far as possible and we have got to increase sink, the absorption rate of greenhouse gases. We can get going on both sides of that equation on the timescale that has been set out …

“We just need to find the political will to do it and Paris was all about political will. The stars were in line: we had all the right political leaders at the right time. It was a really important marker of progress. It’s not going to be the last word at all and the hard work begins now, but it was a huge boost in terms of momentum and a lot of progress relies on sentiment. Paris was really important in reinforcing the sentiment that we will act.”

Worldwide agreement

But the Labour peer says finding worldwide agreement is never easy, especially at a time when countries such as the US and the UK are showing a renewed commitment to the nation state.

We are at an interesting time in humanity’s history and maybe one of the side-effects of trying to tackle climate change is we will see global governance emerging and stronger global action with different global actors emerging.

The human race is slightly behind what we need to do. We are just getting on to the starting line and we need to significantly increase the pace. There is an awful lot of work to be done, but I still remain hopeful we will rise to this challenge collectively.” – Climate News Network

*

UK must not cool stance on global warming

Global warming Banksy grafitti
Global warming Banksy grafitti

World-renowned British scientist Martin Rees has urged the UK government to prioritise global warming, and warns of the danger of not taking urgent action.

LONDON, 2 February, 2017 – One of Britain’s most senior scientists has expressed concern that action to tackle global warming is sliding down the government’s list of priorities despite its ratification of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal and former president of the Royal Society, says politicians should not be distracted or listen to “siren voices” seeking to dissuade them from early action.

I worry that we have to wait till the downsides of climate change are even more apparent than they are today before action is taken,” he says.

It may be slipping down the agenda and may not get much ideological support, and that is why I have been banging on about increasing research and development of clean energy, which gets broad support even from those who are not so enthusiastic about climate action.

They [many politicians] like hi-tech, and they are right to think that the quickest way to bring down emissions is by accelerating the development of efficient, clean energy.”

Cambridge initiative

Lord Rees was talking in support of a new UK initiative, the Cambridge Climate Lecture Series.

The town-and-gown project, aimed at members of the University of Cambridge and the residents of the city, is trying to kickstart an urgent new round of public debate on action to reduce carbon emissions in the UK and globally.

The world-renowned cosmologist and astrophysicist will join a panel debate on 16 March, following a series of three talks starting on 23 February. The talks will be held in a university venue and will be open to all. Live-streaming will make them available to a global audience.

Rees has welcomed the initiative, the brainchild of Tony Eva, an earth scientist, and Hugh Hunt, reader in engineering dynamics and vibration from the university’s engineering department.

“It is hard to be optimistic about these issues
because it is hard to engage politicians with
something that is not only long-term but also global”

It’s very important to get outside our academic bubble, because those who work in academia are in touch with experts among climate scientists, and they are getting very concerned,” says Rees.

We need to ensure that this concern is widely disseminated. Academics themselves cannot determine national policies. We have to make sure these issues are discussed and debated widely, and especially among young people.

That’s because, although the short-term effects have already affected some regions, what we worry most about is what will happen in the second half of the century and even after that, when we may cross tipping points and see irreversible changes in the global climate.”

Action on global warming

He says it is key to start a political discourse followed by action on global warming at a time when Brexit and other issues are hogging the limelight.

Hopefully the public will help us debate this, firm up our ideas and interact with the political process,” Rees says, “because for politicians the urgent issues tend to be higher on the list and you have to work hard to get them to think about an issue that affects people in 50 years or more.

You have to convince them it is important – indeed, essential – to pay an insurance premium now if we are to remove a potential very serious risk to people in the second half of the century.

We should not listen to the siren voices that say we can avoid doing very much now because there will be advanced technology in 50 years’ time and everyone will be richer … we have to make a start.

It is hard to be optimistic about these issues because it is hard to engage politicians with something that is not only long-term but also global, and therefore what we do in this country does not have any more specific benefit to this country than it does to Australia.” – Climate News Network

World-renowned British scientist Martin Rees has urged the UK government to prioritise global warming, and warns of the danger of not taking urgent action.

LONDON, 2 February, 2017 – One of Britain’s most senior scientists has expressed concern that action to tackle global warming is sliding down the government’s list of priorities despite its ratification of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal and former president of the Royal Society, says politicians should not be distracted or listen to “siren voices” seeking to dissuade them from early action.

I worry that we have to wait till the downsides of climate change are even more apparent than they are today before action is taken,” he says.

It may be slipping down the agenda and may not get much ideological support, and that is why I have been banging on about increasing research and development of clean energy, which gets broad support even from those who are not so enthusiastic about climate action.

They [many politicians] like hi-tech, and they are right to think that the quickest way to bring down emissions is by accelerating the development of efficient, clean energy.”

Cambridge initiative

Lord Rees was talking in support of a new UK initiative, the Cambridge Climate Lecture Series.

The town-and-gown project, aimed at members of the University of Cambridge and the residents of the city, is trying to kickstart an urgent new round of public debate on action to reduce carbon emissions in the UK and globally.

The world-renowned cosmologist and astrophysicist will join a panel debate on 16 March, following a series of three talks starting on 23 February. The talks will be held in a university venue and will be open to all. Live-streaming will make them available to a global audience.

Rees has welcomed the initiative, the brainchild of Tony Eva, an earth scientist, and Hugh Hunt, reader in engineering dynamics and vibration from the university’s engineering department.

“It is hard to be optimistic about these issues
because it is hard to engage politicians with
something that is not only long-term but also global”

It’s very important to get outside our academic bubble, because those who work in academia are in touch with experts among climate scientists, and they are getting very concerned,” says Rees.

We need to ensure that this concern is widely disseminated. Academics themselves cannot determine national policies. We have to make sure these issues are discussed and debated widely, and especially among young people.

That’s because, although the short-term effects have already affected some regions, what we worry most about is what will happen in the second half of the century and even after that, when we may cross tipping points and see irreversible changes in the global climate.”

Action on global warming

He says it is key to start a political discourse followed by action on global warming at a time when Brexit and other issues are hogging the limelight.

Hopefully the public will help us debate this, firm up our ideas and interact with the political process,” Rees says, “because for politicians the urgent issues tend to be higher on the list and you have to work hard to get them to think about an issue that affects people in 50 years or more.

You have to convince them it is important – indeed, essential – to pay an insurance premium now if we are to remove a potential very serious risk to people in the second half of the century.

We should not listen to the siren voices that say we can avoid doing very much now because there will be advanced technology in 50 years’ time and everyone will be richer … we have to make a start.

It is hard to be optimistic about these issues because it is hard to engage politicians with something that is not only long-term but also global, and therefore what we do in this country does not have any more specific benefit to this country than it does to Australia.” – Climate News Network

*

May urged to melt Trump’s climate doubts

A British scientist says the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, should try to dispel Donald Trump’s climate doubts at their meeting today.

LONDON, 27 January, 2017 – A co-author with the heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, of a new book on climate change has urged Theresa May, the UK prime minister, to challenge Donald Trump on the issue. The book is formally launched today, the day that May and Trump are to meet.

Emily Shuckburgh, a dynamical oceanographer at the British Antarctic Survey, said early signs from the new US president had “raised alarm bells”, and it was vital that May highlighted the opportunities as well as the challenges posed by global warming.

“The climate is changing, that’s what the data says. You can have all the alternative facts in the world, but you are not going to get around that,” said Dr Shuckburgh, who is also a fellow of Darwin College at the University of Cambridge.

The new US president, who in 2012 described climate change as a hoax, has in recent days further shaken climate scientists and those who depend on them by telling the US Environmental Protection Agency to remove the page on global warming from its website. 

He has also chosen a leading oilman, Rex Tillerson, as his secretary of state, and says he wants to promote more oil drilling on federal land. Trump’s meeting with May is his first face-to-face meeting with a foreign premier since his inauguration.

Well-placed

Shuckburgh, who wrote the book with Prince Charles and the former leader of Friends of the Earth-UK, Tony Juniper, says most countries are determined to prepare for a lower carbon world.

May is better placed than most to speak out because the UK has been at the forefront of action to tackle global warming through its groundbreaking Climate Change Act and other initiatives, Shuckburgh says.

“The science is absolutely clear that the climate is changing, and the dominant cause of the warming we have seen over the last 50 years is human activities. But aligned to that is the fact that responding to the climate challenge is a huge opportunity.

“It is an opportunity for innovation and driving new jobs, and for improving the health of many million people around the world, not least those suffering from the effects of air pollution.”

“The climate is changing, that’s what the data says. You can have all the alternative facts in the world, but you are not going to get around that.”

Shuckburgh said that climate change action could improve the quality of life for people in the US, so Trump could look at the issue either in terms of a threat or as an opportunity.

“In both cases it is critically important to highlight the scale of the challenge and the urgency of the challenge. Those are the twin messages that I would want her [May] to relay”, Dr Shuckburgh said.

“From everything I see so far it would appear that Donald Trump is a pragmatic businessman, and looking at this purely through the lens of a business opportunity, it’s quite obvious there is a huge opportunity in a sensible but rapid transition to a low carbon world.

“The early signals have raised alarm bells, but many people have commented that actually the low carbon, clean tech transition is now well established. There was a very large gathering of tech people in San Francisco before Christmas, and there were pictures of a protest outside that struck a chord with me.

“Someone held up a banner saying: ‘Ice does not do politics, it just melts’, and in a way that sums it up: the climate is changing, that’s what the data says. You can have all the alternative facts in the world, but you are not going to get around that.” – Climate News Network

A British scientist says the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, should try to dispel Donald Trump’s climate doubts at their meeting today.

LONDON, 27 January, 2017 – A co-author with the heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, of a new book on climate change has urged Theresa May, the UK prime minister, to challenge Donald Trump on the issue. The book is formally launched today, the day that May and Trump are to meet.

Emily Shuckburgh, a dynamical oceanographer at the British Antarctic Survey, said early signs from the new US president had “raised alarm bells”, and it was vital that May highlighted the opportunities as well as the challenges posed by global warming.

“The climate is changing, that’s what the data says. You can have all the alternative facts in the world, but you are not going to get around that,” said Dr Shuckburgh, who is also a fellow of Darwin College at the University of Cambridge.

The new US president, who in 2012 described climate change as a hoax, has in recent days further shaken climate scientists and those who depend on them by telling the US Environmental Protection Agency to remove the page on global warming from its website. 

He has also chosen a leading oilman, Rex Tillerson, as his secretary of state, and says he wants to promote more oil drilling on federal land. Trump’s meeting with May is his first face-to-face meeting with a foreign premier since his inauguration.

Well-placed

Shuckburgh, who wrote the book with Prince Charles and the former leader of Friends of the Earth-UK, Tony Juniper, says most countries are determined to prepare for a lower carbon world.

May is better placed than most to speak out because the UK has been at the forefront of action to tackle global warming through its groundbreaking Climate Change Act and other initiatives, Shuckburgh says.

“The science is absolutely clear that the climate is changing, and the dominant cause of the warming we have seen over the last 50 years is human activities. But aligned to that is the fact that responding to the climate challenge is a huge opportunity.

“It is an opportunity for innovation and driving new jobs, and for improving the health of many million people around the world, not least those suffering from the effects of air pollution.”

“The climate is changing, that’s what the data says. You can have all the alternative facts in the world, but you are not going to get around that.”

Shuckburgh said that climate change action could improve the quality of life for people in the US, so Trump could look at the issue either in terms of a threat or as an opportunity.

“In both cases it is critically important to highlight the scale of the challenge and the urgency of the challenge. Those are the twin messages that I would want her [May] to relay”, Dr Shuckburgh said.

“From everything I see so far it would appear that Donald Trump is a pragmatic businessman, and looking at this purely through the lens of a business opportunity, it’s quite obvious there is a huge opportunity in a sensible but rapid transition to a low carbon world.

“The early signals have raised alarm bells, but many people have commented that actually the low carbon, clean tech transition is now well established. There was a very large gathering of tech people in San Francisco before Christmas, and there were pictures of a protest outside that struck a chord with me.

“Someone held up a banner saying: ‘Ice does not do politics, it just melts’, and in a way that sums it up: the climate is changing, that’s what the data says. You can have all the alternative facts in the world, but you are not going to get around that.” – Climate News Network

*

Westerners urged to reduce carbon footprint

Carbon emissions airport
Carbon emissions airport

Top UK climate scientist says global carbon emissions could be cut by a third within a year if well-off westerners changed their lifestyle.

LONDON, 21 January, 2017 – Global carbon emissions could be cut by one-third within 12 months if affluent westerners changed their way of life, claims a leading climate change scientist.

Kevin Anderson, professor of energy and climate change at Manchester University, in the UK, says a major reduction in personal air travel is a key starting point.

More than half of the carbon dioxide pollution that causes a large part of global warming comes from the 10% best-off people on the planet, he argues.

Carbon footprint

Let’s be clear about this. If the top 10 high emitters – people like you and me and others – if we reduce our carbon footprint just to the level of the average European, it would be a one-third cut in global emissions.

I genuinely think we could achieve it in one year, but we would have to think that climate change is a very serious issue, and that has big political implications.”

Anderson, who already avoids flying when he can, made his comments in the run-up to a talk he will give on 9 March at Cambridge University in the UK.

“We need to make sure that we are not
living in larger houses and have many
houses, and drive larger cars

This is part of the Cambridge Climate Lecture Series, a new town-and-gown initiative, shared between the university and the city and designed to rekindle debate on global warming.

Anderson is convinced that wealthy westerners must act decisively and radically to change their lifestyles.

Those of us who are high emitters …. need to rapidly curtail how often we fly. We should not be flying on any occasion business class or first class because that has far higher emissions. We need to find alternatives to flying.

But in addition we need to make sure that we are not living in larger houses and have many houses, and drive larger cars. 

Our high incomes allow us to have status in society and typically have larger carbon footprints. It is a real challenge for us in that position, because we have to significantly change our lives in the short term and find other ways of seeing value for hard work.”

UK commitment

Anderson plans to use his talk to explain what kind of personal, societal and corporate changes need to be made in Britain to meet the UK government’s commitment under the Paris climate change agreement.

He said during the Paris negotiations that he thought there was only a slim chance – less than 10% – that the world could manage to stop temperatures rising by more than 1.5°C over their pre-industrial level. This week the World Meteorological Organisation confirmed that they are already about 1.1°C higher than before the Industrial Revolution.

The Manchester academic will argue for steps to be taken to allow for a rapid reduction in energy demand alongside a ramping up of low-carbon power generation.

Other speakers in the series include Baroness Bryony Worthington, an architect of the UK’s 2008 Climate Change Act and founder of Sandbag, and Anthony Hobley, chief executive of the Carbon Tracker Initiative, a not-for-profit financial thinktank.

The meetings will be chaired by Emily Shuckburgh, deputy head of polar oceans at the British Antarctic Survey and the co-author of a forthcoming book, Climate Change. – Climate News Network

Top UK climate scientist says global carbon emissions could be cut by a third within a year if well-off westerners changed their lifestyle.

LONDON, 21 January, 2017 – Global carbon emissions could be cut by one-third within 12 months if affluent westerners changed their way of life, claims a leading climate change scientist.

Kevin Anderson, professor of energy and climate change at Manchester University, in the UK, says a major reduction in personal air travel is a key starting point.

More than half of the carbon dioxide pollution that causes a large part of global warming comes from the 10% best-off people on the planet, he argues.

Carbon footprint

Let’s be clear about this. If the top 10 high emitters – people like you and me and others – if we reduce our carbon footprint just to the level of the average European, it would be a one-third cut in global emissions.

I genuinely think we could achieve it in one year, but we would have to think that climate change is a very serious issue, and that has big political implications.”

Anderson, who already avoids flying when he can, made his comments in the run-up to a talk he will give on 9 March at Cambridge University in the UK.

“We need to make sure that we are not
living in larger houses and have many
houses, and drive larger cars

This is part of the Cambridge Climate Lecture Series, a new town-and-gown initiative, shared between the university and the city and designed to rekindle debate on global warming.

Anderson is convinced that wealthy westerners must act decisively and radically to change their lifestyles.

Those of us who are high emitters …. need to rapidly curtail how often we fly. We should not be flying on any occasion business class or first class because that has far higher emissions. We need to find alternatives to flying.

But in addition we need to make sure that we are not living in larger houses and have many houses, and drive larger cars. 

Our high incomes allow us to have status in society and typically have larger carbon footprints. It is a real challenge for us in that position, because we have to significantly change our lives in the short term and find other ways of seeing value for hard work.”

UK commitment

Anderson plans to use his talk to explain what kind of personal, societal and corporate changes need to be made in Britain to meet the UK government’s commitment under the Paris climate change agreement.

He said during the Paris negotiations that he thought there was only a slim chance – less than 10% – that the world could manage to stop temperatures rising by more than 1.5°C over their pre-industrial level. This week the World Meteorological Organisation confirmed that they are already about 1.1°C higher than before the Industrial Revolution.

The Manchester academic will argue for steps to be taken to allow for a rapid reduction in energy demand alongside a ramping up of low-carbon power generation.

Other speakers in the series include Baroness Bryony Worthington, an architect of the UK’s 2008 Climate Change Act and founder of Sandbag, and Anthony Hobley, chief executive of the Carbon Tracker Initiative, a not-for-profit financial thinktank.

The meetings will be chaired by Emily Shuckburgh, deputy head of polar oceans at the British Antarctic Survey and the co-author of a forthcoming book, Climate Change. – Climate News Network

*

EU in danger of missing its own climate targets

EU climate targets
EU climate targets

A new report urges the European Union to adopt stricter regulations on decarbonisation if it is to meet its 2030 and 2050 climate goals.

LONDON, 24 November, 2016 – A massive new drive to get more diesel cars off the road and close more coal-fired power stations is needed if the European Union is to meet its own climate goals, according to a new report.

The trading bloc is already substantially “off-track” from its own 2030 and 2050 targets, even though CO2 emissions have been naturally depressed by lower-than-expected economic growth due to the financial crisis.

The tough assessment comes from the Paris-based Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) alongside calls for a “significant revision” of green policies throughout Europe.

Ambitious plans

The IDDRI says there has been progress in key areas of power production with a shift to renewable energy, but “in other sectors such as transport and industry the transition towards deep decarbonisation has barely started in any member state whatsoever”.

The EU has adopted ambitious plans to cut carbon pollution by 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. This is considered a crucial milestone towards plans to slash emissions by 80% to 95% by the middle of the century.

The IDDRI claims to have drilled down into data from all 28 member states and looked in far more detail at individual parts of the economy.

It concludes that the EU has made significant progress in cutting the carbon intensity from its power sector by 21% from the year 2000 to 2014.

There have also been annual reductions of a similar nature in the intensity of home energy consumption and a 9% cut in EU passenger fuel consumption.

The specific combination of technological challenges,
financial risks, low profitability and competitive
concerns calls for a suite of policies that must
go beyond carbon pricing and R&D funding”

But the report points out that the latter figure represents 0.7% per year. This is almost a third of the 2% per annum reduction needed to meet its 2050 targets.

To counter this the IDDRI argues that during 2017 “the EU should adopt very ambitious regulations to drive the decarbonisation of transport, and in particular the roll-out of alternative fuel vehicles, in which it is currently lagging behind”.

There have already been strong calls in the German parliament to phase out the combustion engine by 2030, even though the country is a major producer of traditional vehicles.

Equally, the IDDRI calls for the targets, financing and monitoring of energy-efficiency retrofitting and fuel switching in buildings to be strengthened.

But the primary thrust of new policies inside the EU should be aimed at ensuring the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) works properly.

The failure of the cap and trade system, evidenced by rock-bottom CO2 prices, is seen as undermining the wider decarbonisation of EU economies.

The IDDRI also wants to home in on fragile parts of industry such as energy intensive sectors such as cement making and steel.

It says: “The specific combination of technological challenges, financial risks, low profitability in the current context and competitive concerns calls for a suite of policies that must go beyond carbon pricing and R&D funding.”

Climate action

The authors of the report call for stable long-term funding for pilot projects to demonstrate new methods, as well as help to create a market for new low-carbon materials and processes in the energy-intensive industries.

The IDDRI is also urging the EU to find ways to help member states wean themselves off unabated and heavily polluting coal as a source of electricity generation. Some countries such as Britain have already promised to phase out coal power plants by 2025, but others including Germany and Poland are still heavily reliant on them.

The latest climate change talks have just broken up in Marrakech with a broad consensus that action must be taken to counter global warming, even by those developing countries that were slow to engage earlier on, and even in the shadow of Donald Trump, a climate sceptic, being voted in to the White House.
Climate News Network

A new report urges the European Union to adopt stricter regulations on decarbonisation if it is to meet its 2030 and 2050 climate goals.

LONDON, 24 November, 2016 – A massive new drive to get more diesel cars off the road and close more coal-fired power stations is needed if the European Union is to meet its own climate goals, according to a new report.

The trading bloc is already substantially “off-track” from its own 2030 and 2050 targets, even though CO2 emissions have been naturally depressed by lower-than-expected economic growth due to the financial crisis.

The tough assessment comes from the Paris-based Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) alongside calls for a “significant revision” of green policies throughout Europe.

Ambitious plans

The IDDRI says there has been progress in key areas of power production with a shift to renewable energy, but “in other sectors such as transport and industry the transition towards deep decarbonisation has barely started in any member state whatsoever”.

The EU has adopted ambitious plans to cut carbon pollution by 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. This is considered a crucial milestone towards plans to slash emissions by 80% to 95% by the middle of the century.

The IDDRI claims to have drilled down into data from all 28 member states and looked in far more detail at individual parts of the economy.

It concludes that the EU has made significant progress in cutting the carbon intensity from its power sector by 21% from the year 2000 to 2014.

There have also been annual reductions of a similar nature in the intensity of home energy consumption and a 9% cut in EU passenger fuel consumption.

The specific combination of technological challenges,
financial risks, low profitability and competitive
concerns calls for a suite of policies that must
go beyond carbon pricing and R&D funding”

But the report points out that the latter figure represents 0.7% per year. This is almost a third of the 2% per annum reduction needed to meet its 2050 targets.

To counter this the IDDRI argues that during 2017 “the EU should adopt very ambitious regulations to drive the decarbonisation of transport, and in particular the roll-out of alternative fuel vehicles, in which it is currently lagging behind”.

There have already been strong calls in the German parliament to phase out the combustion engine by 2030, even though the country is a major producer of traditional vehicles.

Equally, the IDDRI calls for the targets, financing and monitoring of energy-efficiency retrofitting and fuel switching in buildings to be strengthened.

But the primary thrust of new policies inside the EU should be aimed at ensuring the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) works properly.

The failure of the cap and trade system, evidenced by rock-bottom CO2 prices, is seen as undermining the wider decarbonisation of EU economies.

The IDDRI also wants to home in on fragile parts of industry such as energy intensive sectors such as cement making and steel.

It says: “The specific combination of technological challenges, financial risks, low profitability in the current context and competitive concerns calls for a suite of policies that must go beyond carbon pricing and R&D funding.”

Climate action

The authors of the report call for stable long-term funding for pilot projects to demonstrate new methods, as well as help to create a market for new low-carbon materials and processes in the energy-intensive industries.

The IDDRI is also urging the EU to find ways to help member states wean themselves off unabated and heavily polluting coal as a source of electricity generation. Some countries such as Britain have already promised to phase out coal power plants by 2025, but others including Germany and Poland are still heavily reliant on them.

The latest climate change talks have just broken up in Marrakech with a broad consensus that action must be taken to counter global warming, even by those developing countries that were slow to engage earlier on, and even in the shadow of Donald Trump, a climate sceptic, being voted in to the White House.
Climate News Network

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Fossil fuel majors strut their stuff for Marrakech

 The big oil and gas conglomerates, the fossil fuel majors, say they want to cut their contribution to global warming. How serious are they?

LONDON, 6 November, 2016 – The oil industry has been in damage limitation mode ahead of this week’s climate change talks in the Moroccan city of Marrakech.

On Friday 4 November Shell, BP and other fossil fuel majors launched a collective investment fund aimed at reducing the impact of oil and gas on global warming.

The bulk of the money will be spent on carbon capture and storage (CCS), but the relatively small amount – $1bn over ten years – has been met with derision from environmental critics.

The timing of the latest initiative from the energy companies’ Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) is clearly designed to show “we are doing our bit” on global warming.

This section of the energy industry is keen to deflect some of the criticism that will be coming the way of the fossil fuel majors over carbon emissions.

There are 11 leading oil companies involved in the OGCI,including Saudi Aramco and Total who collectively control 20% of the world’s oil resources.

Key actors?

These are players who believe that tough new measures to slow CO2 output may be unworkable unless they play a part in the debate.

Some of these companies have already moved back themselves a bit into renewables, but they are mainly pushing CCS-type solutions, plus promoting gas as a “transition” fuel.

Are they serious, or is it just greenwash to try to slow down the whole move to a lower carbon economy and buy time for their legacy oil and gas businesses?

Whatever they are up to, there is another course of action being taken by US energy corporations who have steered clear of the OGCI. Their slogan could be not so much “keep it (carbon) in the ground” as “keep it (your head) in the sand”, according to one critic.

The world’s biggest independently stock-listed oil company, Exxon Mobil, is among the least open to dialogue on climate change.

Chief executive Rex Tillerson and his board in Houston are ferociously independent and are used to financial success.

Critics within

Exxon has no interest in the OGCI and is known to be particularly opposed to that organisation’s calls for a carbon price.

But Exxon is increasingly coming under fire from its own shareholders about an apparent lack of planning for climate change.

Meanwhile two years of low oil prices have left Exxon in a drastically weakened financial state, forced to borrow money to pay dividends.

On 28 October the Texans reported a 38% slump in three-monthly profits – the company’s eighth straight quarterly decline. 

Exxon was also forced to admit that it may need to write off almost a fifth of its oil and gas reserves because they cannot be developed at an oil price of $50 per barrel.

The company is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission over whether it is sitting on “stranded assets” that are worth nothing like the value they have been ascribed.

“No company has more to lose than Exxon. Though widely seen as the best-run oil company in the business, it’s also been the slowest among its peers to face up to the risks that climate change poses”

A recent piece on the financial newswire Bloomberg noted the surprising blindness Exxon seems to have around global warming, even when its own survival could be at stake.

“No company has more to lose than Exxon. Though widely seen as the best-run oil company in the business, it’s also been the slowest among its peers to face up to the risks that climate change poses to its business,” Bloomberg said.

Tom Sanzillo, former deputy comptroller (a senior financial official) of New York State and now at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, says Exxon may be in “irreversible decline”, a statement Exxon totally rejects –  unsurprisingly.

But whether oil and gas companies are trying to ignore climate change or verbally engage with it, the only measure that really counts is action.

Spending $1bn on CCS over ten years is a drop in the ocean: one carbon capture plant needs more cash than that to install.

There is certainly no sign yet that any of the fossil fuel majors is prepared to follow Danish utility Dong Energy and flick the spending switch even 10%, never mind 100%, from fossil fuels to renewables. Yet even energy experts at Chatham House have warned that Big Oil needs to change its business model or die. – Climate News Network 

 The big oil and gas conglomerates, the fossil fuel majors, say they want to cut their contribution to global warming. How serious are they?

LONDON, 6 November, 2016 – The oil industry has been in damage limitation mode ahead of this week’s climate change talks in the Moroccan city of Marrakech.

On Friday 4 November Shell, BP and other fossil fuel majors launched a collective investment fund aimed at reducing the impact of oil and gas on global warming.

The bulk of the money will be spent on carbon capture and storage (CCS), but the relatively small amount – $1bn over ten years – has been met with derision from environmental critics.

The timing of the latest initiative from the energy companies’ Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) is clearly designed to show “we are doing our bit” on global warming.

This section of the energy industry is keen to deflect some of the criticism that will be coming the way of the fossil fuel majors over carbon emissions.

There are 11 leading oil companies involved in the OGCI,including Saudi Aramco and Total who collectively control 20% of the world’s oil resources.

Key actors?

These are players who believe that tough new measures to slow CO2 output may be unworkable unless they play a part in the debate.

Some of these companies have already moved back themselves a bit into renewables, but they are mainly pushing CCS-type solutions, plus promoting gas as a “transition” fuel.

Are they serious, or is it just greenwash to try to slow down the whole move to a lower carbon economy and buy time for their legacy oil and gas businesses?

Whatever they are up to, there is another course of action being taken by US energy corporations who have steered clear of the OGCI. Their slogan could be not so much “keep it (carbon) in the ground” as “keep it (your head) in the sand”, according to one critic.

The world’s biggest independently stock-listed oil company, Exxon Mobil, is among the least open to dialogue on climate change.

Chief executive Rex Tillerson and his board in Houston are ferociously independent and are used to financial success.

Critics within

Exxon has no interest in the OGCI and is known to be particularly opposed to that organisation’s calls for a carbon price.

But Exxon is increasingly coming under fire from its own shareholders about an apparent lack of planning for climate change.

Meanwhile two years of low oil prices have left Exxon in a drastically weakened financial state, forced to borrow money to pay dividends.

On 28 October the Texans reported a 38% slump in three-monthly profits – the company’s eighth straight quarterly decline. 

Exxon was also forced to admit that it may need to write off almost a fifth of its oil and gas reserves because they cannot be developed at an oil price of $50 per barrel.

The company is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission over whether it is sitting on “stranded assets” that are worth nothing like the value they have been ascribed.

“No company has more to lose than Exxon. Though widely seen as the best-run oil company in the business, it’s also been the slowest among its peers to face up to the risks that climate change poses”

A recent piece on the financial newswire Bloomberg noted the surprising blindness Exxon seems to have around global warming, even when its own survival could be at stake.

“No company has more to lose than Exxon. Though widely seen as the best-run oil company in the business, it’s also been the slowest among its peers to face up to the risks that climate change poses to its business,” Bloomberg said.

Tom Sanzillo, former deputy comptroller (a senior financial official) of New York State and now at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, says Exxon may be in “irreversible decline”, a statement Exxon totally rejects –  unsurprisingly.

But whether oil and gas companies are trying to ignore climate change or verbally engage with it, the only measure that really counts is action.

Spending $1bn on CCS over ten years is a drop in the ocean: one carbon capture plant needs more cash than that to install.

There is certainly no sign yet that any of the fossil fuel majors is prepared to follow Danish utility Dong Energy and flick the spending switch even 10%, never mind 100%, from fossil fuels to renewables. Yet even energy experts at Chatham House have warned that Big Oil needs to change its business model or die. – Climate News Network