Greta Thunberg and the Extinction Rebellion (ER) have their critics, but the evidence is clearly on their side. The broadcast media collectively reported the ER protests as “middle-class people disrupt traffic shock” – a lazy cop-out from the real story. It’s a global tale of doing too little too late. Greta ducked school to protest outside the Swedish parliament at the lack of action on climate change. She has been copied by schoolchildren across the world. This makes her an ideal photo opp for politicians, and Westminster leaders were eager to be snapped next to her this week in London. The SNP’s Iain Blackford used the moment to brag: “The Scottish Government’s Climate Change Bill has been hailed as ‘a concrete application of the Paris Agreement’ by Laurent Fabius, the architect of the Paris Agreement. “The bill contains the most ambitious statutory targets of any country in the world for 2020, 2030 and 2040, with the aim of Scotland being carbon-neutral by 2050.” Another architect of the Paris agreement and chief executive of the European Climate Foundation, Laurence Tubiana, has praised the British Government. “This decision to review Britain’s long-term climate target sends a strong message to the EU and other big economies that London is committed to the Paris Agreement, and now it’s time they too considered what more they can do,” he said. Britain sounds like it’s doing the right thing. If only it were enough. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report of 2018 is the benchmark for climate policy, and it reports the world has a decade to restrict global temperature rises. The Scottish Greens report this as “The IPCC… findings add up to one clear, over-riding message that confronts humanity with the most important decision it will ever make: act now, or face climate breakdown.” The IPCC is saying that the game got a lot bigger and we need to do a lot more. Carbon-neutral by 2050 does not cut it. The governments of Edinburgh and London are building a dinghy – what’s needed is an ark. The Greens say the “climate bill... going through the Scottish Parliament now... (is) not strong enough and it doesn’t respond to the latest science coming from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change”. They propose a climate emergency bill which has a 10-point plan: 1. Lead a green energy transition. Scotland is on track to generate 100% of our electricity needs from renewables in the next five years. This is great progress but we need to see similar gains made in generating the energy we use for heating our homes from renewables rather than fossil fuels. 2. Divest all public investment from the fossil fuel industry, including public bodies’ pension funds. 3. Increase funding for walking and cycling, putting Scotland on par with the Netherlands. 4. Better buses and reliable rail that are publicly funded and cheap to use. 5. Develop a district heating funding stream to deliver renewable heat to homes across Scotland. 6. Deliver warm homes for all, ending the scourge of fuel poverty and ensuring all homes achieve at least an EPC Band C rating by 2030. 7. Support climate-friendly farming and land management, including a massive increase in investment in sustainable forestry and peat restoration. Introduce a nitrogen budget for the farming sector to reduce harmful nitrous oxide emissions. 8. Tax single-use plastics. For example, Scotland consumes between 200 million and 800 million single-use cups each year. A 25p levy or tax would result in an annual revenue of £50-200 million and a significant reduction in consumption. 9. Give councils the power to introduce workplace parking levies. 10. Redirect government business support towards environmentally responsible companies. All of the above is necessary, but it does not go far enough. Aviation produces 600 million tonnes of CO2, according to Friends of Earth, amounting to “about 3.5% of global warming from all human activities”. Yet no mention of restricting flights to a personal limit of, say, two a year. And no mention of tablets and mobile phones. In 2016, data centres which make the inherent possible consumed more electricity (over 400 terawatt hours) than the whole of the UK (about 300 terawatt hours) globally. A US study warns that 20% of all the world energy could be needed for data by 2025. To put this into context, the world’s largest data centre is in Virginia, USA, and according to The Guardian just 1% of its energy comes from renewable sources. A research paper published in Nature magazine in 2018 concluded “UK and US citizens need to cut beef by 90% and milk by 60% while increasing beans and pulses between four and six times”. We need an emergency climate bill, but one written with the conviction of a 16-year old girl. Greta Thunberg told Westminster: “You don’t listen to the science because you are only interested in solutions that will enable you to carry on like before.” It is equally applicable to Holyrood.
The U.S. is on track to meet about two-thirds of its carbon-emissions goals under the Paris climate accord -- even without the support of President Donald Trump.
Envoys at a special round of global climate talks are nearing a crucial stage in their effort to flesh out the landmark Paris agreement, the United Nations diplomat helping organize the meeting said.
The head of the UK independent advisory body on climate change has hailed the Scottish Government for setting an "ambitious" new target for cutting emissions.
It is still physically possible to meet ambitious climate goals agreed by world leaders to limit global temperatures rises to 1.5C, scientists have said.
A Scottish international aid charity has launched a campaign urging the Scottish Government to set tougher targets in new climate change legislation.
Environmental campaigners are calling on politicians to introduce default 20mph limits in towns and cities to help tackle air pollution.
Three Democratic governors have said they will not let the United States back away from a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, despite Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from an international pact.
Labour and the Conservatives will be criticised for creating an “almost environment-free” General Election as the Greens take to the streets to raise concerns.
The Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) has appointed Dr. Pratima Rangajaran as the chief executive officer of its newly-formed investment company, OGCI Investments.
A rift between U.S. President Donald Trump and the rest of the Group of Seven over his hard-line climate change stance looks set to widen next month when leaders meet in Italy.
European ministers have agreed to ratify the world’s first comprehensive climate treaty - a move which is set to bring the deal into force.
An application for an open-cast coal mine in Northumberland has been “called in” by the Government on climate grounds.
Dong Energy said it will cover additional costs associated with "going green" so that businesses can access renewable electricity and achieve sustainability ambitions.
Norway’s $870 billion sovereign wealth fund will back proposals to force Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp., two of the biggest oil companies, to assess how climate-change policies can affect their business.
The UK is among more than 160 countries set to sign up to the world’s first comprehensive deal to tackle climate change at a ceremony in New York.
Pulling the plug without warning on a £1 billion competition for technology to cut climate emissions from power stations has damaged investment in the UK, MPs have warned. Scrapping the scheme to develop “carbon capture and storage” technology, which captures and stores permanently underground up to 90% of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel plants, will also make it more expensive for the UK to tackle climate change.
Government advisers have repeated calls for a 57% cut in UK greenhouse gases by 2030 in the wake of a new global climate deal. The Committee on Climate Change said its advice on cutting emissions for the period 2028-2032 was the “minimum level of UK ambition necessary” in light of the Paris Agreement - the global deal to avoid dangerous climate change agreed late last year.
Ministers from countries around the world are set to arrive in Paris for the final week of UN climate talks which have so far produced a draft text and a greater sense of optimism than previous meetings.
China has said it expects world leaders to reach a consensus at upcoming climate change talks in Paris later this month.
A UK Government minister has highlighted the "vital" need to maximise the North Sea's economic recovery to protect Britain's ongoing energy security. Energy minister Andrea Leadsom said continued exploration and investment in the oil and gas sector would be crucial. She was asked about the package of measures announced by Chancellor George Osborne in his March Budget during the Commons energy and climate change committee meeting yesterday.
An open letter by 41 signatories has been sent to the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) regarding CCS (Carbon Capture Storage). Scientists and experts from Scotland to China said they had written to reassure the UNFCCC that CCS is “safe, secure and effective”. They said extensive research had shown CO2 storage at selected sites was unlikely to lead to any leakages.
Home insulation firm the Mark Group and energy efficiency firm Climate Energy have gone into administration within hours of each other with the loss of at least 1,000 jobs.
Cities across the world should switch to LED for street lights in the next decade to save huge amounts of energy, money and carbon emissions, it has been urged.
Physically removing carbon from the atmosphere cannot be relied upon to prevent extreme global warming or save the oceans from acidity, scientists have warned. Carbon capture and enhanced natural “sinks” are simply not feasible methods of limiting warming because of the sheer scale of the challenge, according to one study. Another team found that even aggressive carbon dioxide removal (CDR) policies would take centuries and possibly thousands of years to reverse ocean acidification. In both cases, the experts concluded there was no way of dodging the need for substantial cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.