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July takes crown for biggest leap in electricity emissions in 10 years

Guardian climate change - 1 hour 49 min ago

And energy consultant says carbon dioxide emissions rose 0.4% in year to 31 July, which is about 80% of Australia’s electricity consumption

Australia’s emissions from electricity generation had their largest recorded leap in more than a decade in July, an upwards trend that is set to continue over the coming year, new analysis has shown.

Carbon dioxide emissions rose 0.4% in the year to 31 July across the national energy market, which accounts for about 80% of Australia’s electricity consumption.

Related: Carbon tax repeal sparks jump in Australia's electricity emissions

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Business must collaborate - without it the world is brutal and terrifying

Guardian climate change - Tue, 2015/08/04 - 2:55pm

Companies should simultaneously compete and work together, says Jonathan Rowson, but there is a moral case for loading the dice to support greater collaboration

I was recently introduced to Pandemic. Unlike zero-sum competition games such as chess, Pandemic is a cooperative board game that helps focus the mind on winning in the context of sustainability. The threat in Pandemic is the end of the world and, although the focus is public health rather than ecological collapse, the same principles apply.

In Pandemic, players have to cooperate to keep four virulent diseases under control and can only win or lose as a team that actively collaborates. In its emphasis on coordinating diverse forms of expertise (dispatcher, medic, scientist, researcher or operations expert) to address complex challenges, the game shares some overlaps with my view that climate change should be understood as problem with seven dimensions – science, law, technology, money, democracy, culture and behaviour.

Related: Beyond capitalism and socialism: could a new economic approach save the planet?

Related: UK energy system is in thrall to giant utilities at customers' expense

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Speed of glacier retreat worldwide 'historically unprecedented', says report

Guardian climate change - Tue, 2015/08/04 - 2:30pm

Researchers have recorded rapid rises in meltwater and alarming rates of glacial retreat, which are accelerating at a pace double that of a decade ago

The world’s glaciers are in retreat. The great tongues of ice high in the Himalayas, the Andes, the Alps and the Rockies are going back uphill at ever greater speeds, according to new research.

And this loss of ice is both accelerating and “historically unprecedented”, say scientists who report in the Journal of Glaciology.

Related: Most glaciers in Mount Everest area will disappear with climate change – study

Related: Polar meltdown sees us on an icy road to disaster

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Obama clean power plan welcomed – but won't avoid dangerous warming

Guardian climate change - Tue, 2015/08/04 - 2:07pm

Politicians and analysts say plan to cut emissions from US power plants helps effort to strike UN climate change deal in Paris later this year

President Barack Obama’s plan to slash electricity-generated CO2 emissions was welcomed on Tuesday as a courageous step towards a lower-carbon future, but not yet enough to brake dangerous global warming.

Politicians and analysts said Obama’s clean power plan, which faces fierce opposition in Republican quarters back home, should foster global goodwill and spur the international effort to pin down a climate rescue pact by year-end.

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Should business leaders speak out more on climate change?

Guardian climate change - Tue, 2015/08/04 - 12:22pm

Join our live debate on Wednesday 5 August, 1-2.30pm BST to discuss the role of business in vocalising the environmental agenda

12.22pm BST

When Richard Branson speaks out on tackling climate change does it help?

With a growing number of CEOs publicly committing their companies to taking action on climate change, what difference can their pronouncements make? Can they persuade others to follow suit, or encourage governments to legislate?

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Majority of Britons worried about global warming, poll finds

Guardian climate change - Tue, 2015/08/04 - 5:01am

Flooding and sea level rise top the list of fears for how climate change will impact the UK

The majority of British people are worried about global warming, a poll has found, with flooding and sea level rise topping the list of fears for what rising temperatures will bring.

A survey of more than 2,000 people found more than half (57%) were worried about global warming, with one in seven of those quizzed, or 14%, very worried about the issue.

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Barack Obama unveils tougher climate change plan - video

Guardian climate change - Mon, 2015/08/03 - 11:40pm
Barack Obama formally unveiled his administration's ramped-up plan to cut carbon emissions from power plants and declared climate change the greatest threat facing the world. Speaking to a friendly crowd at the White House a few months before international climate talks in Paris, Obama said the world may not be able to reverse global warming if aggressive action to stop it is not taken. 'There is such a thing as being too late when it comes to climate change,' he said. Continue reading...

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Neil deGrasse Tyson on Q&A calls scientific illiteracy a tragedy of our times

Guardian climate change - Mon, 2015/08/03 - 10:57pm

Astrophysicist joins scientists and mathematicians to discuss climate change and extraterrestrial life – and the booing of Adam Goodes – without acrimony

Politicians cherry-picking information to suit their own agenda is one of the great tragedies of modern civilisation, the astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said on Monday night’s Q&A.

In a panel devoid of politicians, Tyson joined the oncologist and Guardian Australia columnist Ranjana Srivastava, the mathematician and CSIRO marine scientist Beth Fulton and the mathematics ambassador Adam Spencer to discuss climate change, extraterrestrial life and artificial intelligence.

Related: Neil deGrasse Tyson: curiosity about science is 'an ember that must be fanned'

Related: A letter to my patient, whose terminal cancer is the least of her worries | Ranjana Srivastava

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Weatherwatch: Melting polar ice brings promise of prosperity

Guardian climate change - Mon, 2015/08/03 - 9:30pm

Scientists are still attempting to gauge what possible effects the melting of the Arctic ice sheet will have on the British weather. For example, is the Gulf Stream going to slow down sufficiently to give us colder winters and are we already getting more storms during the summer because the jet stream has moved?

So, it is a surprise to see a confident prediction of one potential effect. According to the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, the lack of polar ice is going to make us wealthier.

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Bjørn Lomborg consensus centre was to have up to $800,000 in public funds for marketing

Guardian climate change - Mon, 2015/08/03 - 9:19pm

FOI documents also show centre rejected by University of Western Australia was planning to spend up to $2m of its $4m budget on events

Bjørn Lomborg’s “consensus centre” was to spend up to $800,000 of its $4m in government funding on promotion and marketing and up to $2m on high-profile “events” under the controversial and now-abandoned agreement with the University of Western Australia (UWA).

Lomborg is searching for a new university to host his government-funded thinktank after a backlash from staff and students forced UWA to abandon the deal.

Related: Bjørn Lomborg university funding tied to 'rational conversation' lectures

Related: Bjørn Lomborg's $4m centre rejected by Flinders University academics

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Obama unveils sweeping cuts to power plant emissions: 'We have to get going'

Guardian climate change - Mon, 2015/08/03 - 9:05pm

‘We are the last generation that can do something’ about climate change says president in announcing requirement of 32% reduction on 2005 levels by 2030

Six years after first promising to “roll back the spectre of a warming planet”, Barack Obama finally committed the US to unprecedented action against climate change on Monday, with sweeping new curbs on carbon emissions from power plants that are equivalent to taking 70% of American cars off the road.

The culmination of his long-fought battle against coal industry lobbyists and climate change sceptics in Congress was greeted with jubilation by many environmentalists who described the tougher-than-expected regulations as a “game-changer”.

Related: Obama's clean power plan hailed as US's strongest ever climate action

Related: White House insists tough new carbon restrictions are legal under Clean Air Act

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Scott Walker given fake $900m check from Koch brothers for 'climate denial'

Guardian climate change - Mon, 2015/08/03 - 8:04pm

The Wisconsin governor, known for his anti-Obama environmental policies, was confronted by climate activists during a New Hampshire campaign stop

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker encountered what looked like a group of young supporters during a campaign stop on Monday at a local pizza shop, only to be presented with a fake check from the billionaire Koch brothers by a group of climate activists.

Walker, one of the top-tier candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, was in the midst of a meet-and-greet with prospective voters in the early primary state of New Hampshire. The governor held the event ahead of a forum on Monday evening during which 14 Republican contenders are set to participate in what has evolved into a pre-debate before the first official GOP debate on Fox News later this week.

Related: Obama's clean power plan hailed as US's strongest ever climate action

I will stand up for American workers and stop the 'costly power plan'

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The Guardian view on climate change: Obama’s plan is overdue but welcome all the same | Editorial

Guardian climate change - Mon, 2015/08/03 - 8:03pm
President Obama’s plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions faces many hurdles, but it could make a critical difference to the world’s chances of containing global warming

President Obama on Monday set out a plan to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions. His proposals are neither new nor radical, but deserve to be strongly supported, both in America and across the globe. Explicitly, the statement was a challenge to state governors, to Republican senators and congressmen, to fossil-fuel barons, to entrepreneurs who want to invest in renewable sources of energy, and to citizens who want to hang on to their homes and their jobs.

Implicitly, it was assurance to the rest of the world that there could be real agreement at the next United Nations climate conference in Paris in December. And if there is real agreement, based on binding promises and targets that can be measured, then it might after all be possible to contain global warming to a maximum of 2C and to limit catastrophic climate change. To cut greenhouse gas emissions by 32% from levels surpassed 10 years ago and to do it all by 2030 sounds pretty radical: hundreds of coal-fired power stations could close, mines could shut down. There will be legal and administrative challenges, from at least a dozen states, maybe two dozen. Americans who do not believe that climate change is a real hazard, and those who accept the science but not the solutions, are hardly likely to change their minds because of yet another fiat from the White House.

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Population growth and climate change: fewer people does not mean more CO2 | Letters

Guardian climate change - Mon, 2015/08/03 - 7:16pm

Your editorial’s argument about a causal link between slowing population growth and increased economic growth (Fewer people means more carbon: the population paradox, 3 August) is dangerously out of date.

In its 2014 report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change showed how the reduction through efficiency of CO2 emissions from fossil fuels was wiped out by population increase, the real paradox being why it then offered pages of energy policy advice, but not a word on population. Could it be that the IPCC – and you – are blinded by the logic that regards economic growth as more important than carbon emissions and misery for lots of women and children?

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Can the UK follow Obama's climate lead?

Guardian climate change - Mon, 2015/08/03 - 6:38pm

The bold action on climate change taken by the US president stands out in stark contrast with the timid approach of Britain

Barack Obama is setting out his vision for US climate action on Monday, and what is most striking of all is the tone. For a long time the US was considered a slow mover in taking serious steps to reduce the threat that a changing climate causes to food security, to public health and to the environment.

Obama, keenly aware that this generation of politicians will be judged by whether or not we showed the ability to plan ahead to protect the future of our planet, clearly wants to change that.

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Ban Ki-moon hails SDGs agreed by 193 nations as 'leaving no one behind'

Guardian climate change - Mon, 2015/08/03 - 4:25pm

UN member states finally assent to plan for sustainable development goals that wins praise for pledge on poverty despite scepticism over implementation

After tense negotiations, 193 countries have agreed the next set of development goals, which will seek to end poverty, achieve gender equality and ensure food security in every corner of the globe by 2030.

“This is the people’s agenda, a plan of action for ending poverty in all its dimensions, irreversibly, everywhere, and leaving no one behind,” said Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, after the targets were agreed on Sunday.

These global goals, if adopted, will represent a seismic shift in how the world tackles poverty

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Stop burning fossil fuels now: there is no CO2 'technofix', scientists warn

Guardian climate change - Mon, 2015/08/03 - 4:22pm

Researchers have demonstrated that even if a geoengineering solution to CO2 emissions could be found, it wouldn’t be enough to save the oceans

German researchers have demonstrated once again that the best way to limit climate change is to stop burning fossil fuels now.

In a “thought experiment” they tried another option: the future dramatic removal of huge volumes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This would, they concluded, return the atmosphere to the greenhouse gas concentrations that existed for most of human history – but it wouldn’t save the oceans.

Related: Climate change: world’s wealthiest understand, but only half see it as threat

Related: How to join the divestment movement – your questions answered

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Our environmental deficit is now beyond nature’s ability to regenerate

Guardian climate change - Mon, 2015/08/03 - 4:17pm

We are heading fast in the wrong direction despite the world gearing up to approve new sustainable development goals and a new climate accord

The world enters ecological ‘overshoot’ this year on 13 August, six days earlier than last year. All the world’s production and consumption for the rest of the year, this suggests, then runs up an environmental deficit beyond nature’s ability to regenerate itself and safely absorb our economic waste. It’s a highly conservative estimate, based on the best data available.

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Climate change: Oceans will die even if we remove carbon dioxide from atmosphere, say scientists

Independent climate change - Mon, 2015/08/03 - 4:02pm

Attempts to save the world from global warming by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while continuing to burn fossil fuels are unlikely to prevent the oceans from dying as a result of a build-up of acidity, scientists have found.

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These are the four SDGs we need to agree on to help the planet

Guardian climate change - Mon, 2015/08/03 - 2:56pm

Tackling indoor air pollution, protecting coral reefs, boosting R&D in cleaner energy and ending subsidies for fossil fuels are the most important sustainable development goals for safeguarding the environment

The governments of the UN’s 193 member states are gearing up to select a set of development and environmental targets for the next 15 years to replace the millennium development goals (MDGs) that expire this year. These targets will influence the £1.6tn in development aid the OECD predicts will be needed by 2030 and countless trillions in national budgets – as well as set the tone for corporate green spending.

Related: Sustainable development goals: changing the world in 17 steps – interactive

Related: Cookstove designs are failing the poorest communities

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