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Category: Climate (Page 1 of 6)

A new Climate Change Act commits Finland to carbon neutrality by 2035, and carbon negativity by 2040

Protocol »

Assuming it is signed by President Sauli Niinistö, the law would make Finland the first country in the world to make its commitment to carbon negativity legally binding.

University of Eastern Finland international law professor Kati Kulovesi called the new targets “remarkable,” particularly the carbon negativity commitment. The targets are based on a scientific analysis of the country’s nationally determined contributions, which Kulovesi also commended.

Pollution is killing 9 million people a year » one in six of all deaths across planet

Damian Carrington, The Guardian »

The death toll from pollution dwarfs that from road traffic deaths, HIV/Aids, malaria and TB combined, or from drug and alcohol misuse. The researchers calculated the economic impact of pollution deaths at $4.6tn (£3.7tn), about $9m a minute.

The overall impact of pollution has not improved since the first global review in 2017, since when 45 million lives have been lost to it. Prevention was largely overlooked in the international development agenda, the researchers said, with funding increasing only minimally since 2015.

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DW »

It was supposed to be the summit that would stop global warming. But now there’s deep disappointment, with environmentalists saying COP26 fell far short of the urgent action that’s needed. Negotiations in Glasgow went on beyond the deadline, as draft after draft came closer to producing a global agreement to restrict greenhouse gases. But the final document was met with anger after India scuppered its key provision – to phase out coal power.

Delegates did manage to come to an agreement at the end of the conference, which has been seen as a final hour, last ditch effort to stop catastrophic climate change.

Most countries agreed on new and more ambitious targets for reducing emissions. But the pledges fell short of what science says is needed to stop the world from heating beyond a dangerous 1.5 degrees Celsius.

India insisted on a last minute watering down of the final text, changing references of a coal phaseout to a phase down. And wealthy nations resisted calls to create a mechanism to compensate poor countries suffering the worst effects of climate change. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged countries to do more.

Leaders agreed to reconvene for talks in Egypt next year, where major emitters will be asked to present new targets. But with the goal of 1.5 degrees now on life support, activists say COP27 is already dead.

Meanwhile, New Delhi shuts schools as government considers ‘pollution lockdown’ over noxious smog »

France 24 »

New Delhi authorities announced Saturday a one-week closure of schools and said they would consider a “pollution lockdown” to protect citizens from toxic smog.

The Guardian »

Alok Sharma, the president of the Cop26 climate summit, offered an emotional apology on Saturday evening as a package was agreed with last-minute changes to its wording on coal. A commitment to ‘phase out’ coal, which was included in earlier drafts, was changed to ‘phase down’ after China and India led opposition to it. Sharma said he was ‘deeply sorry’ for how the negotiations had ended ‘The pressure for change is building’: reactions to the Glasgow climate pact Glasgow climate pact: leaders welcome Cop26 deal despite coal compromise Cop26 ends in climate agreement despite India watering down coal resolution

Elsewhere » COP Scorecard: What Did Two Weeks of Talks Actually Achieve? » Bloomberg

XPRIZE and the Musk Foundation announce 23 XPRIZE Carbon Removal Student Award Winners

This week XPRIZE announced the 23 student-led teams that shared the US$5M Student Awards purse in XPRIZE Carbon Removal.

18 of teams will receive US$250,000 to jump-start carbon removal projects, while 5 teams will receive US$100,000 to develop technologies that will support the Measurement, Reporting or Verification of Carbon Removal solutions more broadly.

XPRIZE received 195 complete submissions from 44 countries. Each student team was required to submit a detailed proposal outlining the project they intend to execute. Beyond the project details, teams needed to convince XPRIZE’s independent panel of judges that their project was scientifically viable, that their project at scale can have a meaningful positive impact on climate change, and that the team (who were required to be majority students and led by students) had the skills required to pull it all off.

XPRIZE notes the teams who were successful in this round were able to articulate the most clear and detailed plans for sustainable, carbon negative projects that will result in durable CO2 sequestration (or, in the case of the MRV teams, best support carbon removal).

US$95 million is still up for grabs.

A list of the award winners can be found here »

Press release »

Few willing to change lifestyle to save the planet, climate survey finds

The  survey by Kantar Public shows the majority now realize climate change is real. Shockingly, it also shows the majority feel they are already doing enough and are not willing to change their lifestyle to do more.

Jon Henley, The Guardian »

Only 51% said they would definitely act to protect the planet, with 14% saying they would definitely not and 35% torn. People in Poland and Singapore (56%) were the most willing to act, and in Germany (44%) and the Netherlands (37%) the least.

The most common reasons given for not being willing to do more for the planet were “I feel proud of what I am currently doing” (74%), “There isn’t agreement among experts on the best solutions” (72%), and “I need more resources and equipment from public authorities” (69%).

Other reasons for not wanting to do more included “I can’t afford to make those efforts” (60%), “I lack information and guidance on what to do” (55%), “I don’t think individual efforts can really have an impact” (39%), “I believe environmental threats are overestimated” (35%) and “I don’t have the headspace to think about it” (33%).

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Half world’s fossil fuel assets could become worthless by 2036 in net zero transition

Jonathan Watts, Ashley Kirk, Niamh McIntyre, Pablo Gutiérrez and Niko Kommenda / The Guardian »

Countries that are slow to decarbonise will suffer but early movers will profit; the study finds that renewables and freed-up investment will more than make up for the losses to the global economy.

It highlights the risk of producing far more oil and gas than required for future demand, which is estimated to leave $11tn-$14tn (£8.1tn-£10.3tn) in so-called stranded assets – infrastructure, property and investments where the value has fallen so steeply they must be written off.

The lead author, Jean-Francois Mercure of the University of Exeter, said the shift to clean energy would benefit the world economy overall, but it would need to be handled carefully to prevent regional pockets of misery and possible global instability.

“In a worst-case scenario, people will keep investing in fossil fuels until suddenly the demand they expected does not materialise and they realise that what they own is worthless. Then we could see a financial crisis on the scale of 2008,” he said, warning oil capitals such as Houston could suffer the same fate as Detroit after the decline of the US car industry unless the transition is carefully managed.

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