Climate News

Japan, US exposed as UN chief urges G7 to commit to 2030 coal exit

At a summit on “powering past coal”, António Guterres called on rich countries to lead, putting pressure on Japan and the US to produce exit plans

Australian contender for OECD top job backtracks on climate scepticism

Former finance minister Mathias Cormann opposed climate policies in the Australian government and now claims he would lead climate action at the OECD

China’s dirty Covid-19 recovery leaves heavy lifting on climate to its five-year plan

Official government figures show energy, steel and cement consumption rose in 2020, pushing emissions up as Beijing is expected to reveal 2025 targets

Further delay feared as ‘like-minded’ countries resist online climate negotiations

Major developing countries oppose calls to hold preparatory climate negotiations online in June, citing connectivity and time zone concerns

The stakes for Cop26 couldn’t be higher – Climate Weekly

Sign up to get our weekly newsletter straight to your inbox, plus breaking news, investigations and extra bulletins from key events

China, US urged to step up as UN warns world ‘very far’ from meeting climate goals

Collectively, updated national targets will only reduce emissions 0.5% by 2030 from 2010, UN analysis finds — far from the 45% scientists say is needed to hold warming to 1.5C

Bangladesh scraps nine coal power plants as overseas finance dries up

The rising costs of coal imports and Bangladesh’s role as chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum contributed to the decision to axe power projects, analysts say

Fragile countries call for investment in rooftop solar to expand energy access

War-torn states struggle to attract funding for small-scale renewable projects, which leaders say are cheaper, cleaner and less vulnerable to conflict than fossil fuels

“Science-based” corporate climate targets are no such thing, says former advisor

As the number of businesses setting ‘science-based’ targets surges, experts are calling for more transparency over how those numbers are calculated

Hit by hurricanes and Covid, more Central Americans go hungry and plan to migrate

Nearly eight million people are hungry in El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala, according to the World Food Programme, with many planning to leave

More

Politics

Cleaning up the Congo – Climate Weekly

Sign up to get our weekly newsletter straight to your inbox, plus breaking news, investigations and extra bulletins from key events

As US formally rejoins the Paris Agreement, eyes turn to 2030 emissions goal

Now the US is back in the Paris Agreement, it is expected to set a 2030 emissions target, with campaigners calling for at least 50% cuts

Under diplomatic pressure, India considers net zero – but major hurdles remain

Net zero pledges from other major polluters have put spotlight on Delhi’s climate ambitions, but full decarbonisation is a big ask

Italy creates ecological transition ministry but campaigners warn against gas support

Physicist Roberto Cingolani, who comes from a defense and security firm to lead a new Italian green ministry, has previously praised gas as ‘the most sustainable resource’

EU member states divided over green reforms of energy investment treaty

France and Spain are calling for the EU to quit the Energy Charter Treaty unless it is overhauled to support climate goals; eastern member states want less radical reform

Climate leaders welcome reforming WTO chief, as carbon trade wars loom

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala brings an awareness of climate issues to the UN trade body, where member states are set to clash over carbon border taxes

Angola’s oil dependency thwarts its exit from the group of poorest nations

Graduation from the UN group of least developed countries is usually seen as a win, but Angola deferred the move after oil exports plummeted during the pandemic

Time for negotiators to embrace Zoom – Climate Weekly

Sign up to get our weekly newsletter straight to your inbox, plus breaking news, investigations and extra bulletins from key events

More

Finance

Concerns raised about Green Climate Fund flood defence project in Samoa

Flood walls in Samoa financed by the UN’s flagship climate fund are inadequate and could put people in danger, experts warn

DR Congo campaigners take minister to court over illegal logging rights claims

Environment minister Claude Nyamugabo is accused of violating a moratorium on logging in the Congo rainforest, by awarding concessions the size of Wales

Three ways the EU, China and US should deepen cooperation on climate in 2021

Building coalitions on green finance and carbon pricing and putting climate at the heart of diplomacy will allow the big three emitters to deliver on net zero goals

US campaigners call on Joe Biden to commit $8bn to the Green Climate Fund

A letter signed by 46 climate and green groups urges the White House to fulfill its $2bn outstanding pledge to the UN-backed fund and double its initial contribution

Cop26 dream team: The people setting the climate agenda on seven key issues

From Denmark’s Dan Jørgensen to Malawi’s Nancy Tembo, here are the leaders to watch ahead of UN climate talks in Glasgow, UK

Covid-19 normalised social protection. Now apply it to the climate crisis

Almost every country rolled out measures such as cash transfers, food and sick pay to cope with coronavirus. Victims of climate shocks need the same support

US plans to end fossil fuel finance overseas, threatens billions in support for oil and gas

Joe Biden has pledged to work to end public funding of ‘carbon-intensive’ fossil fuel projects – a wording campaigners fear leaves the door open to methane gas

Cyclone Eloise shatters Mozambique’s progress to recover from 2019 storms

Eloise hit poor communities in central Mozambique that had barely recovered from cyclone Idai in 2019, which killed more than 1,000 people

More

Justice

Why Grenada had to nationalise its electricity for $60m to pursue renewables

A one-sided privatisation deal and flawed World Bank advice landed Grenada with a hefty legal bill to reform its electricity sector and cut reliance on polluting diesel

Court condemns French government over climate inaction with symbolic €1 fine

Campaigners have hailed a ‘historic victory’ after an administrative court concluded the French government could be held responsible for breaching its 2015-18 carbon budget

Blocked migrant caravan leaves thousands trapped in hurricane-hit Honduras

Around 8,000 Hondurans were dispersed before they could reach the US, highlighting a lack of support for people fleeing climate disaster zones

In Kenya’s changing climate, women are claiming land rights to feed their families

Owning their own land allows Kenyan women to build resilience to drought and flooding, but many are unaware of laws intended to empower them

Shell faces Dutch court in case testing how Paris climate goals apply to businesses

Climate campaigners say Shell is violating human rights by continuing to invest billions in fossil fuels, calling for a much faster shift to clean energy

UK Supreme Court lifts ban on Heathrow airport third runway 

Heathrow still faces major obstacles to carry out its expansion plans, in light of the UK’s 2050 net zero target and uncertain future demand

In Bangladesh, the marginalised Munda face extra barriers to climate adaptation

Shut off from microfinance and benefits, members of the Hindu minority in coastal Bangladesh have struggled to rebuild their lives after Cyclone Amphan

Bolsonaro’s attack on the Amazon breaches Brazil’s constitution, climate lawyers argue

Brazilian campaigners are fighting in the Supreme Court to reinstate anti-deforestation policies and resources slashed by the Bolsonaro administration

More

Energy

EU spent €440 million on failed gas projects since 2013, study finds

Seven EU-backed methane gas pipelines and import terminals have been shelved or cancelled in the past decade, a study by Global Witness found

It’s time to end subsidies for burning wood from forests

Trees are worth much more to humanity alive than dead, say 500 scientists in an open letter to leaders in the EU, US and East Asia

Plans for UK coal mine suspended after criticism of net zero commitment

The UK Committee on Climate Change says the use of coking coal should be curbed by 2035, but the application says the mine will not be closed until the end of 2049

Chinese inspectors slam energy authority over coal expansion spree

In a highly critical report, officials found the National Energy Administration was promoting coal power expansion without regard for Beijing’s environmental goals

South African campaigners push for faster coal exit in presidential commission

As president Cyril Ramaphosa launches an initiative to deliver net zero emissions, campaigners prepare to confront trade unions over coal

EU foreign ministers call for end to financing fossil fuels abroad

EU countries are seeking to align trade and foreign investment policies with the bloc’s climate goals, promoting a global phaseout of fossil fuels

‘Gas is over’: EU bank chief signals phaseout of fossil fuel finance

The European Investment Bank provides limited support for gas under its current policy and intends to end all funding for fossil fuels before the end of the year

Germany’s conservative CDU picks coal industry supporter Armin Laschet as leader

The premier of Germany’s coal mining heartland could be chosen as the country’s conservative alliance candidate for chancellor in a general election in September

More

Land

Indian farmers head for showdown with government over agricultural reform

Already bearing heavy costs from climate change, Indian farmers fear the government’s market reforms will drive them deeper into debt

New Zealand urged to accelerate emissions cuts in line with 2050 net zero goal

Independent advisors said New Zealand should cut emissions “much more than 35%” from 2005 levels by 2030 to align ambition with a 1.5C global warming limit

Colombia banks on forest economy to deliver climate ambition leap

Since the end of a 50-year civil war, Colombia has seen a spike in forest clearance, that the government now hopes to reverse with agroforestry initiatives

France and UK lead push for climate finance to restore nature

Campaigners welcomed commitments to ramp up funding for biodiversity but raised concerns it came at the expense of other climate and aid spending

The net tightens around illegal logging operations in Pará, Bolsonaro’s stronghold

Uruará voted for Brazil’s rightwing president hoping for a more relaxed approach to illegal logging, but enforcement agencies are cracking down

Brazil sets ‘indicative’ goal of carbon neutrality by 2060

Brazil is seeking to join the net zero club, but campaigners denounced its pledge as meaningless while deforestation rises under President Bolsonaro

Brazil must reverse deforestation trends before EU finalises Mercosur trade deal

Imazon study finds indigenous people’s territories at greatest risk from forest clearance as a result of growing agricultural activity under the agreement

Landless Brazilians are invading more and more protected areas of the Amazon

Emboldened by President Bolsonaro, landless people are settling in environmental reserves and indigenous territories

More

Transport

Mauritius oil spill: questions mount over ship fuel safety

More than six months after the Wakashio spilled fuel oil into a pristine lagoon, Mauritians are still waiting for answers and compensation

EU urged to address aviation’s full climate impact, including non-CO2 emissions

Air travel is heating the climate at approximately three times the rate of the sector’s carbon dioxide emissions alone, report finds, with major policy implications

As UN action on ship emissions falls short, attention turns to regions

The International Maritime Organization set minimal curbs on shipping’s 1Gt carbon footprint this decade. Here’s how the EU, US and China could decarbonise the sector

UN shipping body approves Arctic heavy fuel oil ‘ban’, delayed for a decade

Campaigners describe ban as “meaningless”, as concessions to Russia allow most ships to continue using heavy fuel oil in the sensitive polar region until 2029

Anger as UN body approves deal that allows ship emissions to rise to 2030

A package of fuel efficiency measures agreed at the International Maritime Organization is expected to shave just 1% off shipping emissions this decade

Ships to get free pass on emissions until 2030, under compromise proposal

Ship efficiency measures backed by a broad coalition of 14 countries will fail to reduce emissions in line with industry and Paris climate goals, campaigners warn

UK Supreme Court hears climate case on Heathrow airport expansion

Heathrow Airport is challenging a ruling that quashed plans to build a third runway earlier this year, based on the UK commitment to the Paris Agreement

UK Climate Assembly calls for frequent flyer levy, private jet ban

A group of 108 citizens tasked with finding fair and socially acceptable ways to decarbonise the British economy by 2050 proposed curbs on jetsetting

More

Science

Study suggests China’s crackdown on illegal CFC gases is working

Levels of the banned CFC-11 in the atmosphere have fallen over east Asia after the Chinese government cracked down on illegal producers in the foam industry

Fatal Himalayan glacial lake outburst highlights destabilising effect of warming

More than 200 people are dead or missing after floods gushed through mountain gorges in Uttarakhand, India, in a disaster linked to climate change

Rich nations accused of inflating climate adaptation finance figures

Japan labelled loans for roads and bridges as “climate adaptation” finance, while the World Bank counted support for Nepal to rebuild from an earthquake

‘Star Wars without Darth Vader’ – why the UN climate science story names no villains

As the next blockbuster science report on cutting emissions goes to governments for review, critics say it downplays the obstructive role of fossil fuel lobbying

I am proud to have negotiated the Paris Agreement, at my first UN summit

Five years on from the landmark talks in Paris, multilateralism and dialogue continue to be the way forward for countries to meet their climate promises

10 myths about net zero targets and carbon offsetting, busted

Carbon neutrality targets are often not as ambitious as they sound, relying on problematic carbon offsets and unproven technologies

Poor nations call for more financial support to cope with climate impacts

At a summit of least developed countries, leaders said they needed aid to overcome climate disasters and put ambitious climate plans into action

WMO: Siberian heatwave put 2020 among three hottest years on record

Temperatures reached 38C in Siberia, leading to wildfires and increased melting of the sea ice and putting 2020 on course for 1.2C warming globally

More