climate change

Big Oil Hosts Conference to Promote Deepwater Drilling Despite High Costs and Paris Climate Deal

Oil and gas industry giants gathered this week in Pau, an historic city in southwest France, to discuss the future of deepwater drilling.

Over the course of the three-day MCE Deepwater Development (MCEDD) conference hosted by Total and sponsored by Shell, hundreds of industry professionals focused on how to cut costs during a time of record-low oil prices.

As Total described in a letter announcing the annual conference: “Our common objective is to reduce costs significantly in order for deepwater to remain competitive.”  

Ethics Complaint Filed Against Alberta Minister Turned Coal Lobbyist

A complaint filed with Alberta’s Office of the Ethics Commissioner on Tuesday argues that the president of the Coal Association of Canada contravened the Conflict of Interest Act by lobbying for the coal industry shortly after leaving his post as an Alberta cabinet minister.

Until six months ago, coal lobbyist Robin Campbell served as Alberta’s finance minister. He previously held positions as minister of aboriginal relations and minister of environment and sustainable resource development.

The Conflicts of Interest Act bars a former minister from lobbying any public office holder for 12 months after their last day in office.

Progress Alberta, a non-profit progressive advocacy group, filed the ethics complaint, arguing that Campbell’s activity on behalf of the coal industry may contravene rules in the Lobbyist Act designed to prevent the use of “grassroots communication” to persuade members of the public to pressure public office holders.

Since his controversial appointment as Coal Association president, Campbell has visited communities across Alberta and spoken with media about the lobby group’s positions. At least one media report indicates Campbell called on audiences to get in touch with their elected officials.

As The Great Barrier Reef Bleaches White, Queensland Government Approves Australia's Biggest Coal Mine

The Queensland government’s approach to protecting the Great Barrier Reef seems a bit like that of a hypocritical anti-drugs campaigner who preaches the evils of heroin and cocaine while running a meth lab and bong factory in their basement.
 
The state’s left-wing Labor Government has been simultaneously regretting the lack of global action to cut greenhouse gas emissions that damage the reef while granting approvals for the biggest coal mine in Australia’s history.
 

$2.5 Trillion Worth of Global Financial Assets at Risk From Climate Change Impacts by End of Century, Study Warns

An average $2.5 trillion (£1.76trn) of the world’s financial assets would be at risk from climate change impacts if global temperatures are left to increase by 2.5°C by 2100, warns a new study by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics.

The study, published today in the journal Nature Climate Change, is the first of its kind to produce a comprehensive estimate of the total value at risk from climate change impacts. So far most of the attention has focused on the risk of climate change to fossil fuel companies.

Under the Paris climate deal, nations have agreed to limit global warming to “well below” 2°C from pre-industrial levels. However, under business as usual emissions are set to increase global average temperatures by approximately 2.5°C.

Tapping Canada's Geothermal Potential

In the midst of controversy over B.C.’s Peace River Site C dam project, the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association released a study showing the province could get the same amount of energy more affordably from geothermal sources for about half the construction costs. Unlike Site C, geothermal wouldn’t require massive transmission upgrades, would be less environmentally disruptive and would create more jobs throughout the province rather than just in one area.

Despite the many benefits of geothermal, Canada is the only “Pacific Ring of Fire” country that doesn’t use it for commercial-scale energy. According to Desmog Canada, “New Zealand, Indonesia, the Philippines, the United States and Mexico all have commercial geothermal plants.” Iceland heats up to 90 per cent of its homes, and supplies 25 per cent of its electricity, with geothermal.

Nearly $1 Trillion Wasted Globally on Unnecessary New Coal Plants

Nearly $1 trillion (£700bn) is being invested in new coal-fired power plants worldwide despite the fact that the demand for electricity generated from coal has declined for two years in a row, shows a new report released today.

The report, by Greenpeace, the Sierra Club and CoalSwarm, warns that this problem of overbuilding is creating an “increasingly severe capacity bubble”.

Last year the global power sector added at least 84 gigawatts (GW) of new coal power capacity. This is a 25 percent increase from 2014.

Where Do The Remaining Presidential Candidates Stand On Climate Issues?

We are now officially through half of the United States Presidential election primary and caucus season, and there are currently 5 contenders left in the Republican and Democratic parties vying for their party’s respective nomination. Delegate math shows that Governor John Kasich has no chance to become the Republican nominee, so we’re left with four real candidates to examine.
 
The differences between the candidates of the two major parties could not be greater. On the Democratic side, there are two candidates who proudly embrace science and agree that action on climate issues is sorely needed. On the Republican side, both of the remaining candidates reject the scientific consensus and instead argue that climate change is nothing more than a series of unfortunate weather events.
 
It is important to remember that acceptance of climate science is not necessarily limited to one political party. Recent polls show that majorities of voters within both the Democratic and Republican parties (as well as Independent voters) accept that climate change is real and that human activity is a contributing factor. The discrepancy between the desires of voters and the views of the candidates can best be seen in the contributions from the fossil fuel industry, which will be described in detail later.
 
As for the candidates remaining in the race, only Republican frontrunner Donald Trump lacks a record to verify his statements on climate change. But judging on his statements alone, he will not be a friend to the environment if he secures the nomination and subsequently wins the White House.

February's Global Temperature Spike is a Wake-Up Call

By Steve Sherwood, UNSW Australia and Stefan Rahmstorf, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

Global temperatures for February showed a disturbing and unprecedented upward spike. It was 1.35℃ warmer than the average February during the usual baseline period of 1951-1980, according to NASA data.

This is the largest warm anomaly of any month since records began in 1880. It far exceeds the records set in 2014 and again in 2015 (the first year when the 1℃ mark was breached).

In the same month, Arctic sea ice cover reached its lowest February value ever recorded. And last year carbon dioxide concentration in our atmosphere increased by more than 3 parts per million, another record.

What is going on? Are we facing a climate emergency?

Congress Is Infected With Climate Change Deniers, But Their Constituents Understand The Dangers

Here’s an inconvenient truth for the fossil fuel industry: The majority of Americans accept the scientific consensus that climate change is real and that it is a threat that must be addressed. This includes a majority of Democrats, a majority of Republicans, and a majority of citizens who do not identify with a specific political party.
 
But here’s a sad truth for Americans who believe in science: The majority of members of the ruling GOP party in Washington, D.C. refuse to accept the science that climate change is happening and that human beings are to blame.
 
According to a new report by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, 59% of the House Republican caucus and 70% of Senate Republicans refuse to accept the reality of climate change. This means there are a total of 182 climate change deniers in the House and Senate who collectively represent more than 200 million American citizens (based on their district/state size that they represent in Congress.)

Should Kids Be Able to Sue For a Safe Climate? This Federal Court is About to Decide

This is a guest post by Clayton Aldern, originally co-published by BillMoyers.com and Grist.

EUGENE, OREGON — Courtrooms usually aren’t jovial places, but with 21 youth plaintiffs and two busloads of supporting junior high-school students in tow, the air in the US District Courthouse here on Wednesday felt more field trip than federal court.

The occasion for the youthful energy was a hearing on a complaint filed on behalf of the plaintiffs, aged 8–19, by Oregon nonprofit Our Children’s Trust. The kids’ lawyers assert that their clients, and the younger generation as a whole, have been deprived of key rights by their own government. By failing to act on climate change, they argue, the United States government — including President Obama and a baker’s dozen federal agencies — has valued its own generation more than future generations, who will bear a greater burden with respect to the climate crisis.

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