Latest data shows steep rises in CO2 for seventh year

Latest data shows steep rises in CO2 for seventh year

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: June 4, 2019 SNIP: The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased by the second highest annual rise in the past six decades, according to new data. Atmospheric concentrations of the greenhouse gas were 414.8 parts per million in May, which was 3.5ppm higher than the same time last year, according to readings from the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii, where carbon dioxide has been monitored continuously since 1958. Scientists have warned for more than a decade that concentrations of more than 450ppm risk triggering extreme weather events and temperature rises as high as 2C, beyond which the effects of global heating are likely to become catastrophic and irreversible. This is the seventh consecutive year in which steep increases in ppm have been recorded, well above the previous average, and the fifth year since the 400ppm threshold was breached in 2014. In 2016, the highest annual jump in the series so far was recorded, from 404.1 in 2015 to 407.66 in...
Countries vowed to cut carbon emissions. They aren’t even close to their goals, U.N. report finds

Countries vowed to cut carbon emissions. They aren’t even close to their goals, U.N. report finds

SOURCE: Washington Post DATE: November 27, 2018 SNIP: On the eve of the most important global climate meeting in years, a definitive United Nations report has found that the world is well off course on its promises to cut greenhouse gas emissions — and may have even further to go than previously thought. Seven major countries, including the United States, are well behind achieving the pledges they made in Paris three years ago, the report finds, with little time left to adopt much more ambitious policy measures to curb their emissions. That verdict is likely to weigh heavily during a U.N. climate meeting that begins in Poland next week, where countries are scheduled to discuss how well they are, or are not, living up to the goals set in the landmark 2015 Paris climate agreement. The UNEP report finds that, with global emissions still increasing as of 2017, it is unlikely they will reach a peak by 2020. Yet such a peak, required before any decline can occur, is a near-mandatory outcome if the world is to have a chance of achieving the Paris agreement’s most important goal: limiting the planet’s warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels. Current global emissions were 53.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalents in 2017; if all countries live up to all promises made in Paris, they would also be about 53 billion tons in 2030. (Emissions are projected to grow with the growth of populations and economies, so basically, under the current Paris promises, the world is running simply to stand still.) This sets the world...
A Climate Change Wake-Up Call From Germany

A Climate Change Wake-Up Call From Germany

SOURCE: Bloomberg DATE: August 14, 2018 SNIP: It’s sinking in that Germany’s 500 billion-euro ($580 billion) push to promote renewable energy isn’t enough to meet its ambitious climate goals. A look at key targets Germany wants to reach by 2020 by William Wilkes, Hayley Warren and Brian Parkin suggests shortfalls on all fronts, including reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions. That’s also a setback for Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose government developed a subsidy system for wind and solar farms that sparked a global boom in renewable technology. The upshot: to keep the lights on, Germany may have to extend the life of the most polluting fossil-fuel plants and scale back future climate pledges. Merkel’s political bet on renewables and her still-controversial decision to phase out German nuclear plants put her on the hook, particularly after President Donald Trump took the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord. Rising global temperatures, including this summer’s heat and drought in Germany, are adding to the pressure. If Europe’s biggest economy, and a pioneer in the field, can’t make it, it’s a warning sign for heavy-industry countries such as China — and the world. “Germany’s miss has bigger implications,” said Myles Allen, a climate change expert at Imperial College London. “The only thing that matters now is what we’re going to do on carbon capture. Without it, we won’t meet climate...
Trump Administration Unveils Its Plan to Relax Car Pollution Rules

Trump Administration Unveils Its Plan to Relax Car Pollution Rules

SOURCE: Inside Climate News and New York Times and New York Times and The New Republic and many others DATE: August 2, 2018 SNIP: Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in America, and the majority of it comes from cars and small trucks. That’s a major reason why President Barack Obama, in 2012, introduced a rule requiring automobile manufacturers to make their vehicles more fuel efficient—from 37 miles per gallon to more than 51 miles by the year 2025. As a side benefit, drivers would save money on gas and America’s oil reserves would last longer, reducing the incentive for energy companies to extract more of it. But now President Donald Trump wants to “Make Cars Great Again”—by letting them remain as dirty as they are now. The Trump administration’s plan to halt the drive for more efficient U.S. passenger vehicles will downshift the nation’s ambitions on climate change at the same time that it triggers an epic battle with California, the leader on clean cars. The administration is casting its proposal, issued on Aug. 2, as neutral on climate and even beneficial from a safety standpoint. But the costs will be enormous, according to those who favor stricter regulations. It’s not just that consumers will have to pay the price at the pump, they say—everyone will have to pay for the health and ecological costs of air pollution and global warming. Every new gas-guzzler sold will lock in some of those costs for years to come. The rule would freeze emissions and efficiency standards at 2020 levels, or the equivalent of 43.7 miles per gallon...
Old, ill-maintained and often malfunctioning vehicles become energy guzzlers and emit high levels of heat-trapping gases

Old, ill-maintained and often malfunctioning vehicles become energy guzzlers and emit high levels of heat-trapping gases

SOURCE: Reuters DATE: July 24, 2018 SNIP: African and South Asian nations could miss national targets to curb greenhouse gas emissions unless rich countries stop using them as dumping grounds for millions of polluting old cars, a study has warned. The report by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said the United States, Japan and European Union countries had for years been exporting old, used cars – or clunkers – to nations such as Nigeria and Bangladesh. The second-hand vehicles, which should have been scrapped under domestic regulations, are instead being used by poorer nations where they are contributing to carbon emissions, said CSE, a New Delhi-based think-tank. There are around two billion vehicles globally, of which 2 percent – or 40 million – are deemed unworthy for road use in developed nations annually, according to the report. Many of them end up in countries such as Kenya, Nigeria and Ethiopia. Ninety percent of Nigeria’s 3.5 million cars are imported second-hand vehicles, according to data from the management consultancy firm Deloitte. These old, ill-maintained and often malfunctioning vehicles become energy guzzlers and emit high levels of heat-trapping gases, said the CSE. Even though the level of emissions in less developed nations is lower than the world average, clunkers are a rapidly rising source of pollution, added the report. If left uncontrolled, clunkers could jeopardise climate goals set by poorer nations on reducing greenhouse gas emissions as part of an international pact to slow down global warming. The cars are also contributing to high levels of air pollution in cities like Dhaka and Lagos, increasing the risk of lung...