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Fossil fuel lobby given far more access to UK ministers than renewables – analysis

Guardian climate change - 1 hour 11 min ago

Coalition government granted more meetings to Shell and BP alone than the green energy sector – and more than twice as many as the top two climate NGOs

Fossil fuel companies enjoy far greater access to UK government ministers than renewable energy companies or climate campaigns, an analysis by the Guardian has revealed.

Shell, the fossil fuel multi-national, has had at least 112 meetings with ministers since the last general election, and its rival, BP, at least 79 meetings. But this outweighs the number of meetings that ministers granted to renewable energy companies.

I was just amazed at their sense of entitlement. They thought the government was there to ease their way

If Cameron’s serious about keeping people’s energy bills down... he’d put his money – and meetings – where his mouth is

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Heartland takes climate foolishness to a Biblical level | John Abraham

Guardian climate change - 1 hour 23 min ago

Nonsense non-science organization wants to interfere with the Pope’s climate encyclical

I just received a notice that made me laugh. The Heartland Institute, one of the groups responsible for misleading the public about climate change, sent out a notice about an upcoming Papal event. The event itself sounds great, it is a workshop on April 28th to address global warming. I have written about the bold action taken by Pope Francis; he is clearly a leader amongst the faith community on this topic which is already having large societal and human health impacts. At the upcoming events, world leaders in science, business, and religion will congregate to work toward solutions to help protect the most vulnerable.

Of course, this is all bad news for those who are trying to sweep the problem of climate change under the rug. That brings us to the Heartland Institute. They are asking their members and readers to tell the Pope that climate change is not a crisis. In an email I received, it is stated that Heartland will be bringing “real scientists to Rome” to dissuade the Pope from taking climate change seriously.

The sideshow envisioned by these organizations will not detract from the deep concern that Pope Francis has for the truth and how it relates to the environment. The Pope will take the findings of science seriously (see for example the 2011 report from the Pontifical Academy of Sciences), but he will not be calling for policies that “shut down virtually all economic activity around the world.” He is not the “alarmist” that other alarmists may think he is. He will, however, strike some alarms.

He is committed to uplifting the poor and protecting future generations. These are, of course, basic responsibilities of anyone who calls him or herself a Christian. Yet, the problems arising from climate change exacerbate these challenges. He will most likely tell us that we must address climate change in order to more fully uplift the poor and protect future generations. Moreover, the Pope, indeed the Catholic tradition, recognizes the earth as “a gift for which we are all indebted.” It is our “dwelling place” “entrusted to our protection and care.” We are not only “to respect nature” but “to discern in it a grammar written by the hand of God” (Lumen Fidei, # 55).

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Canada’s provinces try to exert climate change pressure on Harper government

Guardian climate change - 4 hours 33 min ago
Despite Alberta’s absence, a provincial alliance aims to take steps to make the Canadian economy more ‘carbon sober’ before Paris climate conference

In the buildup to the Paris climate conference towards the end of this year, Canada has promised to announce emissions targets for the period up to 2020 by early June. Meanwhile the country’s provinces and territories – with the exception of Alberta – have formed a common front to exert pressure on the federal government.

Three-quarters of all Canadians live in provinces where carbon emissions will be taxed

The priority of the federal government is economic growth, which depends on capitalising on Canada's oil reserves

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Britain’s political leaders have a clear moral duty to end coal-fired power | Nicholas Holtam

Guardian climate change - 6 hours 10 min ago

As lead C of E bishop on the environment, I was cheered by Clegg, Cameron and Miliband’s joint pledge on climate change. Now they must call time on old king coal – by 2025

As the general election edges closer, it is becoming increasingly rare to hear our politicians agree on any topic, as parties set out distinct offers to voters.

So it was welcome that in a joint statement David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg pledged to work towards agreeing a new international deal on climate change; to agree UK carbon budgets in accordance with the Climate Change Act; and to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy and end the use of “unabated coal” in power generation.

Related: Cameron, Clegg and Miliband sign joint climate pledge

Shrinking the Footprint aims to cut the carbon footprint of the church’s 42 dioceses and 16,000 churches by 80% by 2050

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Vatican climate change summit to highlight moral duty for action

Guardian climate change - 6 hours 17 min ago

Religious leaders and scientists to attend Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity meeting which will focus on duty of faithful to address global warming

The Vatican is hosting a climate change summit that will focus on the need for decisive action to combat global warming as a moral imperative and Christian duty, especially given its impact on poor people.

The Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity meeting in Rome on Tuesday is a precursor to the release of Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment, which is due out in June or July and is expected to centre on the duty of the faithful to address climate change, whatever its causes.

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Nearly half of top pension funds gambling on climate change

Guardian climate change - 9 hours 23 min ago

Index produced by thinktank shows just under 50% of investors take no measures to protect assets from expected climate-related market shifts

Almost half the world’s top pension funds are taking an ill-advised gamble on climate change, according to a financial thinktank.

The Asset Owners Disclosure Project’s (AODP) annual index of 500 of the largest global asset owners found that 232 of them had done little or nothing to protect their investments from the financial upheavals predicted due to climate change.

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From 'axe the tax' to 'climate consensus': how Abbott reshaped our climate story | Alex Frankel

Guardian climate change - 13 hours 53 min ago

After years running focus groups I’ve learned one thing: technical terms like ‘carbon’ and ‘emissions’ can never win against a simple story about tax

It started out somewhat awkwardly with speedos, but, as opposition leader, Tony Abbott was a consummate media performer. In the lead up to the 2013 Federal election, he would stand on the factory floor in the signature orange vest and deliver the Liberal party’s narrative to the people of Australia without faltering.

Related: Australia 'public enemy number one' of UN climate talks, says Nobel laureate

Related: By fighting so hard for the PM, Peta Credlin has put Abbott in a corner

Related: Why discrediting controversial academics such as Bjørn Lomborg damages science

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World Bank fudges the fossil fuel facts | Letters from Oil Change International and others

Guardian climate change - Mon, 27/04/2015 - 18:23

The World Bank’s response (Letters, 22 April) to your article (World Bank ‘increased finance for fossil fuels’, 18 April) incorrectly characterises how Oil Change International (OCI) classifies fossil fuel projects, and in doing so further obscures how much of the institution’s support is going to oil, gas and coal.

The World Bank seems to want to solve the problem by changing its label on business as usual to sound climate-friendly

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Three-quarters of extremely hot days influenced by man-made global warming, scientists say

Independent climate change - Mon, 27/04/2015 - 17:53

Three-quarters of the extremely hot days in the world are now being influenced by man-made global warming and nearly one in five days of heavy rainfall are due to human influences on the climate, scientists said.

Categories: News

Extreme weather already on increase due to climate change, study finds

Guardian climate change - Mon, 27/04/2015 - 16:03

Researchers say heatwaves that previously occurred once every three years are now happening every 200 days thanks to global warming

Extreme heatwaves and heavy rain storms are already happening with increasing regularity worldwide because of manmade climate change, according to new research.

Global warming over the last century means heat extremes that previously only occurred once every 1,000 days are happening four to five times more often, the study published in Nature Climate Change said.

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Fishermen and tigers struggle for survival in India's Sundarbans – in pictures

Guardian climate change - Mon, 27/04/2015 - 15:13

Rising sea levels are forcing farming communities in the Sundarbans to risk their lives fishing in the mangrove forest that is home to the Bengal tiger

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Scepticism over rising temperatures? Lord Lawson peddles a fake controversy

Guardian climate change - Mon, 27/04/2015 - 12:33

Why does the Global Warming Policy Foundation claim to undertake a ‘major inquiry into the integrity of the official global surface temperature records’ on data by meteorological organisations?

Lord Lawson’s lobby group for so-called climate change sceptics launched an attempt to create a fake controversy about the evidence for rising global temperatures as countries negotiate a new international agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

In a press release on Sunday aimed at its cheerleaders in the UK media, the Global Warming Policy Foundation claimed that it was undertaking “a major inquiry into the integrity of the official global surface temperature records”.

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Andrew Motion and Wellcome book prize authors call on charity to divest

Guardian climate change - Mon, 27/04/2015 - 11:41

Leading health charity should pull money out of fossil fuels, say authors who have received and judged the prestigious Wellcome book prize

Sir Andrew Motion and more than a dozen authors and judges honoured by the prestigious Wellcome book prize have called on the huge medical charity to sell off its investments in fossil fuel companies.

The Wellcome Trust, whose £19bn endowment makes it the second biggest health charity in the world, says “climate change is one of the greatest contemporary challenges to global health”. It is among the targets of a fast-growing climate change movement calling for divestment from fossil fuels.

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We need our leaders to speak out on climate change, not stay silent

Guardian climate change - Mon, 27/04/2015 - 10:47

The less that political, community and business leaders talk about climate change, the more scope there is for scepticism to emerge

Something is missing from the British general election campaign. Climate change had its 3.5 seconds of fame during the seven-way leaders’ debate, but has barely been heard of since. Save for the occasional specialist hustings, and the odd supplementary manifesto, climate change – allegedly the defining challenge of the 21st century – is missing in action.

But strangely, the problem seems largely one of style rather than substance.

Related: Five ways that people frame climate change debates

Related: The lasting legacy of quiet leadership

Related: Big business using trade groups to lobby against EU climate policy

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Climate Change Authority emissions reduction targets 'too weak', says Milne

Guardian climate change - Mon, 27/04/2015 - 09:03

Greens leader Christine Milne says Australia should target 40%-50% of 2000 levels by 2025, 60%-80% by 2030, and reach ‘net-zero pollution’ by 2040

Greenhouse gas reduction targets suggested by the independent Climate Change Authority are too weak, according to the Greens, who say Australia should reduce emissions far more quickly, with the aim of net-zero pollution by 2040.

As the battlelines are drawn in the debate over what post-2020 emission reduction targets Australia should promise at a United Nations conference in Paris later this year, the Greens leader Christine Milne says Australia should cut greenhouse gases by between 40% and 50% of 2000 levels by 2025, by 60% to 80% by 2030 and reach “net-zero pollution” by 2040 – in other words, to have sufficient “greenhouse sinks” to compensate for continuing emissions.

The Australian Greens want targets that would provide a 75% chance of stabilising global temperatures at 2C

Related: Meeting low post-2020 emissions target could cost $20bn under Direct Action

Related: Australia could source 100% of power from renewables by 2050, report finds

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Australia's Direct Action fund may need $1bn more to meet emissions target

Guardian climate change - Mon, 27/04/2015 - 04:46

Breakdown of initial auction results shows fund’s biggest beneficiaries, as well as funding shortfall if price per tonne of emissions reduction stays at $13.95

The Australian government’s Direct Action emissions reduction fund could require up to $1bn of extra funds to meet its carbon emissions reduction goal, according to a Guardian Australia analysis based on initial auction results.

The results of the first Direct Action auction, revealed last week, showed emissions reduction contracts worth $660.4m had been awarded to prevent 47m tonnes of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere.

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Meeting low post-2020 emissions target could cost $20bn under Direct Action

Guardian climate change - Mon, 27/04/2015 - 03:15

Business group warns of burden on taxpayer of using Direct Action to achieve reductions after 2020 as AGL calls for cap on Australia’s greenhouse emissions

Taxpayers will have to pay at least $20bn to meet even a low post-2020 emissions reduction target for Australia under the Abbott government’s Direct Action policy, a leading business group has warned.

And in a separate submission, the energy retailer AGL has said Australia must impose an overall cap or limit on its greenhouse emissions if the government’s policy is to have any chance of success – something it currently does not do.

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Weatherwatch: Warmer, wetter and better for the biting bugs

Guardian climate change - Sun, 26/04/2015 - 21:30

A type of mosquito, Culex modestus, has recently been discovered in Kent. This mosquito is capable of carrying the deadly West Nile virus, but there are too few of the mosquitoes to be much of a threat so far. However, health experts writing in The Lancet warn that this and other serious diseases carried by mosquitoes are spreading further north through Europe as the climate warms. More rainfall and higher temperatures in Britain could also help establish the Asian tiger mosquito, which carries dengue and chikunguny viruses, and even malaria could appear in Britain within the next few decades.

However, malaria is not new to this country. For centuries it was the scourge of marshy areas and Geoffrey Chaucer gave an early description of the ague, as malaria was known, in the Nun’s Priest’s Tale. But the old type of malaria was different from the modern-day variety, because the malarial parasite and its mosquito could withstand cool climates, although in hot summers the disease could be fearful and inflicted a terrible toll on people living in marshy areas.

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