1.5 degree climate change

New Findings on Ocean Warming: 5 Questions Answered

Read time: 5 mins
Ocean beach view
By Scott Denning, Colorado State University

Editor’s note: A new study by scientists in the United States, China, France and Germany estimates that the world’s oceans have absorbed much more excess heat from human-induced climate change than researchers had estimated up to now. This finding suggests that global warming may be even more advanced than previously thought. Atmospheric scientist Scott Denning explains how the new report arrived at this result and what it implies about the pace of climate change.

UN: Healing Ozone Layer Shows Why Environmental Treaties Matter

Read time: 3 mins
Earth's atmosphere from space

By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch. Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

After decades of thinning, Earth's ozone layer is slowing recovering, the United Nations (UN) said in a report released Monday, highlighting how international cooperation can help tackle major environmental issues.

We Have Almost Certainly Blown the 1.5-Degree Global Warming Target

Read time: 4 mins
Great Barrier Reef aerial view

By Climate Extremes Research Fellow, University of Melbourne and Research Fellow in Climate and Water Resources, University of Melbourne.

The United Nations climate change conference held last year in Paris had the aim of tackling future climate change. After the deadlocks and weak measures that arose at previous meetings, such as Copenhagen in 2009, the Paris summit was different. The resulting Paris Agreementcommitted to:

Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognising that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.

The agreement was widely met with cautious optimism. Certainly, some of the media were pleased with the outcome while acknowledging the deal’s limitations.

Top Obama Energy Official Says Administration Rejects “Keep It In The Ground” As Climate Strategy

Read time: 4 mins

We’re certainly not advocating any strategy for reducing hydrocarbon emissions by keeping oil in the ground…that’s not a position.” 

This was the response of Christopher A. Smith when he was asked what he thought of the “growing movement of keeping oil in the ground” at the 2016 Columbia Global Energy Summit in April.

Since Chris Smith worked for more than a decade for Chevron and Texaco, this answer should not surprise anyone. 

However, Chris Smith now works for President Obama as assistant secretary of fossil energy, so when he says “we’re certainly not advocating” he is referring to the fact that the Obama Administration’s Department of Energy does not support any strategy to keep oil in the ground. 

And if you think Mr. Smith isn’t in a position of authority in the Obama administration when it comes to oil policy, you might want to consider how he was introduced at the event by moderator Antoine Halff:

Shell and Chevron: Two Oil Giants With Two Very Different Approaches to Climate Change

Read time: 5 mins

This week saw two oil companies take two very different approaches to climate change. One has recognised the impact that global efforts to cut emissions will have on its bottom line while the other denies climate action will have any adverse impact.

I’m talking about Shell and Chevron. Both behemoths in the energy world but with drastically opposite views sitting on either side of the Atlantic.

This week Shell released its latest annual report for the year up to December 2015. Reading through it, it quickly becomes clear that the company has started joining the dots on climate change following the Paris climate agreement and mounting shareholder pressure.

G20 Countries Must Improve Credibility of Their Paris Climate Pledges, Report Warns

Read time: 2 mins

The credibility of countries’ climate pledges agreed in Paris in December particularly those of the G20 nations must be strengthened, warns a new report out today.

While much attention has been given to scrutinising the level of ambition of each country’s intended nationally determined contribution (INDC) in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, less focus has been paid to exactly how credible these pledges are.

In December 2015 more than 180 countries agreed an historic deal to limit global warming to “well below 2C” and to make every effort to keep temperature increase to 1.5C.

Just How Hot Will 2016 Be? UK Met Office Forecasts Record-Breaking Global Temperatures

Read time: 2 mins

So you thought December was unusually warm? Well, ditch that sweater because 2016 is forecast to be the hottest year ever recorded.

According to the UK Met Office, the global average temperature for next year is expected to be between 0.72°C and 0.96°C above the long-term (between 1961–1990) average of 14°C.

The Met Office said there is just a 5 per cent chance that 2016 will be below the 2015 global average temperature.

Paris Climate Talks to Fossil Fuel Investors: ‘Get Out Now’

Read time: 4 mins

The end of the fossil fuel era is being signalled loud and clear here at the Paris climate conference as ministers enter the final hours of negotiations.

It's crunch time and everyone is saying the elements needed for an ambitious deal are still on the table. An essential part of this includes establishing a clear long-term goal to guide investor confidence toward a low-carbon society.

And with a 1.5C degree target option currently alive in the text, along with words such as ‘decarbonisation’ and ‘carbon neutral’, the signal couldn’t be clearer.

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