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DECC must 'come clean over decision-making process', says Green MP Caroline Lucas

Independent climate change - Sat, 23/05/2015 - 23:00

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is under growing pressure to “urgently come clean” over its decision-making process concerning a vast underground gas storage facility in Lancashire, which has been subject to a 12-year planning dispute.

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Cannes concludes with call-to-arms on climate change: ‘To not tackle the issue through film would be criminal’

Guardian climate change - Sat, 23/05/2015 - 14:04

The director and star of a film about one of the scientists who proved the contribution of greenhouse gases to global warming have urged audiences and movie-makers to recognise the urgency of action required – a message which has found echoes throughout the festival

The Cannes film festival has ended with a question: “Now you know, what are you going to do about it?” Such are the final words of the closing night film, Ice and the Sky, which implores its audience to recognise the urgency of action required on climate change.

Related: Ice and the Sky review - powerful eco doc fronts up to climate change deniers

Related: Join the Guardian's climate change campaign

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Ice and the Sky review - powerful eco doc fronts up to climate change deniers

Guardian climate change - Sat, 23/05/2015 - 13:59

March of the Penguins’ Luc Jacquet goes back to Antarctica for this study of the life’s work of influential climatologist Claude Lorius, which offers a strong message

The Cannes film festival winds to a solemn close with this documentary from Luc Jacquet, previously responsible for one of the mega-hits of eco-cinema, March of the Penguins. There’s only a brief glimpse of a penguin this time around; here Jacquet returns to the Antarctic to tell the life story of climatologist Claude Lorius, now in his 80s, who has spent his life drilling out ice cores at enormous depth, and whose resulting analysis proved key in linking climate change and “greenhouse” gases.

Jacquet presents his film very much as a head-on challenge to climate change deniers: by simply talking us through Lorius’ career, and the progress of his work, we understand the methodical processes by which he came to his conclusions. Essentially, it’s a rebuttal to background-noise deniers’ complaints about flawed science: Lorius says what he found, and what it means, with calm, unflappable detachment. We are taken through the stages: Lorius’ first trip to Antarctica to study snow; the realisation that the ratio of “light” hydrogen atoms to “heavy” in each snowflake corresponds precisely to the ambient temperature of the day of the snowfall; then decision to take core samples to study the change in temperature over time. Jacquet decribes a rather entertaining eureka moment: when ancient ice is used for a celebratory whisky, Lorius realised the trapped air that escapes can be analysed too, for its gas content.

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Shell boss endorses warnings about fossil fuels and climate change

Guardian climate change - Fri, 22/05/2015 - 19:31

Ben van Beurden agrees that we need to capture the carbon emissions of fossil fuel reserves, but predicts that the world will be ‘zero carbon’ by the century’s end

Ben van Beurden, the chief executive of Shell, has endorsed warnings that the world’s fossil fuel reserves cannot be burned unless some way is found to capture their carbon emissions.

The oil boss has also predicted that the global energy system will become “zero carbon” by the end of the century, with his group obtaining a “very, very large segment” of its earnings from renewable power.

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Which is the healthiest city in the US?

Guardian climate change - Fri, 22/05/2015 - 16:45

City links: Fit cities in America, gentrification in Hong Kong and London’s canalside ‘duck lanes’ feature among this week’s best city stories

This week’s top city stories from around the web celebrate ducks and worms, and think about transformations in Hong Kong and Medellín. We’d love to hear your responses to these stories and any others you’ve read recently, both on Guardian Cities and elsewhere. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Axa to divest from high-risk coal funds due to threat of climate change

Guardian climate change - Fri, 22/05/2015 - 16:30

Insurance company to move £350m out of coal companies and triple investments in green technologies

The insurance company Axa has said it will remove around €500m (£355m) of coal investments from its portfolio, in a move that reflects long-term concerns in the insurance industry over climate change.

The company has also pledged to triple its investments in green technologies and services to more than €3bn by 2020 and provide investors with more information on the risk to its investments from climate change.

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Seeds of Time - preserving food resources in a hot future climate | John Abraham

Guardian climate change - Fri, 22/05/2015 - 14:00

A new movie explores plans to preserve future food production

So often, we talk about “proving” climate change is happening, or articulating changes we expect in the future from increased extreme weather. We should also talk about adaptation - how can we adapt to a future climate?

A recent film, being shown in theaters in New York City now and Los Angeles next Friday is a great success story about adaptation; decisions we can make now that may influence the fortunes of future generations. The movie, called Seeds of Time, is directed by Oscar-nominee Sandy McLeod. It is narrated by Dr. Cary Fowler who identifies the challenges agriculture will face with climate change and other potential disasters. Cary was former Executive Director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust. Their goal was to put together an international plan to preserve global genetic diversity.

Crop diversity constitutes the treasure chest of traits that our food crops will need to adapt to climate change, drought, pests and diseases. Without it, food security is at the mercy of the elements and we can expect significant drops in yield. With diversity - if we are smart and committed enough to conserve it - we can create sustainable agricultural systems that produce enough food for humanity. It should be an easy choice.

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Companies cannot keep shying away from setting tough climate targets

Guardian climate change - Fri, 22/05/2015 - 13:17

Only a handful of companies are setting emission reduction targets in line with what climate scientists say is necessary - that must change

Today the low carbon economy is worth over £3tn. This fact is just one of many showing how far the business case for addressing climate change has come, with smart businesses broadening their strategy beyond risk management to value creation. Business leaders who shared their vision of a low-carbon future in Paris this week echoed this sentiment, calling on governments to lock in the right frameworks and targets to help deliver this goal.

Yet, despite the emphasis on government target setting, the goals that come from businesses are just as important. Balancing near-term targets with longer-term climate risks is one of the most complex risk management challenges facing company executives today. Businesses increasingly recognise that emissions reductions will need to be ambitious, because going over the 2C warming limit is not a viable economic option.

Related: Business leaders prepare for limited UN climate deal in Paris

Related: Less material consumption is not the end for business

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University of Hawaii System votes to divest from fossil fuels

Guardian climate change - Fri, 22/05/2015 - 11:50

In our latest Keep it in the ground update, Hawaii university says it will divest its $66m fund from fossil fuels, we launch our Climate Publishers Network, plus how to join in our next live event

The University of Hawaii System has announced it will divest its $66m (£42m) endowment from oil, coal and gas companies, following a vote by its board of regents on Thursday.

It becomes the 30th higher education institution in the world to join the fast-growing global fossil fuel divestment movement. The campaign, which started in September 2013, brought together more than 1,300 supporters including students, faculty and board members.

Thanks to 25 news orgs agreeing to share #climatechange content ahead of #COP21 We need public support for ambition!

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Climate change blamed for severe drought hitting Vietnam's coffee crops

Guardian climate change - Fri, 22/05/2015 - 10:04

Exports drop 40% as world’s second-biggest coffee exporter suffers rising temperatures and drought, combined with effects of deforestation, land degradation and depleted water resources caused by decades of growth

The last time Nguyen Van Viet saw water in his well was almost four months ago. The 44-year-old has farmed coffee in central Vietnam for two decades and says that’s never happened before.

“This is the worst drought I’ve seen in over a decade,” Viet, told the Guardian. “Some people don’t have enough water to drink.”

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Brazil's ditching of climate change targets may not signal policy shift

Guardian climate change - Fri, 22/05/2015 - 07:00

Dilma Rousseff’s reneging on a plan to limit CO2 emissions had many fearing the worst but June’s summit with the US may simply mean a delayed announcement

First it was there. Then it was gone. The long-awaited announcement of Brazil’s new climate target came and went with a sleight of hand that caused an uproar among environmentalists this week.

But rather than signalling a shift in policy, as some had feared, the sudden appearance and disappearance of the country’s CO2 reduction goals appears to have more to do with diplomatic mistakes, realpolitik priorities and the greater importance of the US than China, the Guardian has learned.

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