Climate News Roundup 10/2/2015

  • Last week I included an article about the dramatic growth of the fossil fuel divestment movement. In this article, Shawn McCarthy discusses the impacts this is having on the stocks of fossil fuel companies.
  • In this article in Mashable, Bill McKibben reflects on the divestment movement and other aspects of the battle against climate change.
  • As a result of disappointing findings from its exploratory drilling in the Arctic, Shell has announced suspension of Arctic drilling for the “foreseeable future.”
  • Climate Interactive, a Washington-based climate research group, released an analysis on Monday that found that the emission reduction pledges received to date still leave Earth on a path to 6.3 degrees F of warming compared to pre-industrial times. Later in the week Climate Action Tracker released its analysis, which found that the pledges would hold warming to 4.9 degrees F. While both are less warming than would occur without the emission reductions, they are still above the level countries have agreed to. An important thing about the pledges that we shouldn’t lose sight of is that they do reduce our global emission rates, which buys us a little more time before we reach the carbon budget, as discussed by Joe Romm.
  • A new study released this week has found that countries that belong to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have decoupled their economic growth from their CO2 emissions.
  • Whether you are a carnivore, climate carnivore, flexitarian, vegetarian, or vegan I think you will find John Sutter’s piece on the climate impacts of meat to be of interest. Those of you who have spent part of your lives in Texas will appreciate his description of brisket, particularly the pictures, even if you no longer eat beef. Brings back memories, although I will say I don’t recall ever being served a 1 lb helping of brisket.
  • One consequence of the Inside Climate News investigation of Exxon’s (now ExxonMobile) climate change research in the 1980’s, which showed that their own scientists were warning of the link between climate change and the burning of fossil fuels, is that a number of groups and individuals are considering litigation.
  • Many people are wondering what outcome is required from the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21) in Paris for it to be considered a success. Anthony Hobley of the Carbon Tracker Initiative provides a set of criteria. One concern about the conference is how much aid to developing countries the developed countries will commit to. In the past developed nations have promised to provide $100 billion annually, but pledges have fallen short of that value. Now French President Francois Hollande has pledged to increase France’s contribution from $3.3 billion annually to $5.6 billion by 2020.
  • Six large U.S. Banks have called for a strong international agreement on climate change. They said that putting a price on carbon is essential to unlocking investments in clean energy. In addition, Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England warned of the huge financial risk exposure faced by the insurance and other industries as a result of climate change and 15 insurance executives echoed his call for action.
  • In the U.S. large trucks burn a lot of fuel and thus make a significant contribution to our greenhouse gas emissions. That is why the EPA and the NHTSA have jointly issued new proposed standards that are currently being commented on. Innovative companies are reminding everyone that the technologies required to meet the new standards are already available so the agencies should go further to drive the deployment of more advanced technologies.
  • Rachel Notley, Alberta’s new premier, has stated that she sees no long-term future in fossil fuels and predicts that Alberta will wean itself from them. Perhaps the oil companies should do the same, since they are having a harder time making money in the oil business.
  • The Atlantic has a challenging and thought-provoking article entitled “If Everyone Gets Electricity, Can the Planet Survive?”
  • Last week I linked to an article by Chris Mooney in The Washington Post about the cold blob in the North Atlantic. This week he had a followup article as well as one about the concern of scientists for the stability of the glaciers on West Antarctica.
  • On Thursday, ten leaders from some of the world’s biggest food companies called upon the U.S. government to support a strong global agreement on combating climate change.
  • India submitted its plan for reducing CO2 emissions to the UN in preparation for the Paris meeting in December. It has pledged to get 40% of its electricity from renewable sources and cut the carbon intensity of its economy by 35% by 2030.

These news items have been compiled by Les Grady, member and former chair of the CAAV steering committee. He is a licensed professional engineer (retired) who taught environmental engineering at Purdue and Clemson Universities and engaged in private practice with CH2M Hill, the world’s largest environmental engineering consulting firm. Since his retirement in 2003 he has devoted much of his time to the study of climate science and the question of global warming and makes himself available to speak to groups about this subject. More here.

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