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...
B.C. ill prepared to cope with climate change: auditor general

B.C. ill prepared to cope with climate change: auditor general

SOURCE: Alaska Highway News DATE: February 15, 2018 SNIP: B.C. will not meet its 2020 greenhouse gas emission targets and is not adequately prepared to mitigate the impact of fire, flooding, and drought precipitated by climate change, B.C. Auditor General Carol Bellringer says. In an audit of B.C. climate change policies and the province’s ability to address both risk and adaptation, Bellinger confirmed what the B.C. government already has admitted: it is not on track to meet its interim 2020 targets of reducing greenhouse gases by 33% below 2007 levels by 2020. But it’s also unlikely to meet its longer-range targets either, Bellringer concludes, with its current climate change policies, and says carbon taxes alone are insufficient tools for reducing GHGs. “The trajectory to 2050 is indicating it will not be met with what’s currently in the plans, and that’s even before you take into account the LNG,” Bellringer said at a press conference Thursday, February 15. Then again, few jurisdictions in the world are on track to meet their respective climate change targets. Even Germany, often held up as the climate change poster child, has considered scrapping its 2020 interim targets – an acknowledgement that it won’t meet them. A paper in Nature last year says that all major industrialized countries are failing to meet their climate change commitments and suggested that too many countries are focused on “numerical targets” and should focus more concrete...
What they don’t tell you about climate change

What they don’t tell you about climate change

SOURCE: The Economist DATE: November 16, 2017 SNIP: The Paris agreement assumes, in effect, that the world will find ways to suck CO2 out of the air. That is because, in any realistic scenario, emissions cannot be cut fast enough to keep the total stock of greenhouse gases sufficiently small to limit the rise in temperature successfully. But there is barely any public discussion of how to bring about the extra “negative emissions” needed to reduce the stock of CO2 (and even less about the more radical idea of lowering the temperature by blocking out sunlight). Unless that changes, the promise of limiting the harm of climate change is almost certain to be broken. Fully 101 of the 116 models the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change uses to chart what lies ahead assume that carbon will be taken out of the air in order for the world to have a good chance of meeting the 2°C target. The total amount of CO2 to be soaked up by 2100 could be a staggering 810bn tonnes, as much as the world’s economy produces in 20 years at today’s rate. Putting in place carbon-removal schemes of this magnitude would be an epic endeavour even if tried-and-tested techniques existed. They do not. [F]acing the shortcomings of Paris is beyond most governments. Under Mr Trump, America is not prepared to reduce the flow of emissions, let alone the stock. But the problem would not magically be solved even if America returned to the fold. Many rich countries say they are already doing their bit by cutting emissions more steeply than developing countries. In fact,...
‘Dodgy’ greenhouse gas data threatens Paris accord

‘Dodgy’ greenhouse gas data threatens Paris accord

SOURCE: BBC DATE: Aug 8, 2017 SNIP: Potent, climate-warming gases are being emitted into the atmosphere but are not being recorded in official inventories, a BBC investigation has found. Air monitors in Switzerland have detected large quantities of one gas coming from a location in Italy. However, the Italian submission to the UN records just a tiny amount of the substance being emitted. Levels of some emissions from India and China are so uncertain that experts say their records are plus or minus 100%. Prof Glen Peters, from the Centre for International Climate Research, in Oslo, said: “The core part of Paris [is] the global stock-takes which are going to happen every five years, and after the stock-takes countries are meant to raise their ambition, but if you can’t track progress sufficiently, which is the whole point of these stock-takes, you basically can’t do anything. “So, without good data as a basis, Paris essentially collapses. It just becomes a talkfest without much...
Prove Paris was more than paper promises

Prove Paris was more than paper promises

SOURCE: Nature DATE: Aug 1, 2017 SNIP: Beyond US President Donald Trump’s decision in June to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris climate agreement, a more profound challenge to the global climate pact is emerging. No major advanced industrialized country is on track to meet its pledges to control the greenhouse-gas emissions that cause climate change. Wishful thinking and bravado are eclipsing reality. Countries in the European Union are struggling to increase energy efficiency and renewable power to the levels that they claimed they would. Japan promised cuts in emissions to match those of its peers, but meeting the goals will cost more than the country is willing to pay. Even without Trump’s attempts to roll back federal climate policy, the United States is shifting its economy to clean energy too...