Climate-heating greenhouse gases hit new high, UN reports

Head of World Meteorological Organization says no sign of a slowdown, let alone a decline The concentration of climate-heating greenhouse gases has hit a record high, according to a report from the UNs World Meteorological Organization. The jumps in the key gases measured in 2018 were all above the average for the last decade, showing action on the climate emergency to date is having no effect in the atmosphere. The WMO said the gap between targets and reality were both glaring and growing. The rise in concentration of greenhouses gases follows inevitably from the continued surge in global emissions, which was described as emissions must fall by half by 2030 to give a good chance of limiting global heating to …

How vested interests tried to turn the world against climate science

For decades fossil fuel majors tried to fight the consensus just as big tobacco once disputed that smoking kills In 1998 a public relations consultant called Joe Walker wrote to the American Petroleum Institute (API), a trade association representing major fossil fuel companies, with a proposed solution to a big problem. In December the previous year, the UN had adopted the Kyoto protocol, an international treaty that committed signatory countries to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions in order to avert catastrophic climate breakdown. Reducing emissions represented a direct threat to the profits of fossil fuel companies and the API was working on an industry response. As promised, attached is the Global Climate Science Communications Plan that we developed during our …

Revealed: top UK thinktank spent decades undermining climate science

UKs Institute of Economic Affairs has links to 14 members of Boris Johnsons cabinet The UKs most influential conservative thinktank has published at least four books, as well as multiple articles and papers, over two decades suggesting manmade climate change may be uncertain or exaggerated. The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has issued publications arguing climate change is either not significantly driven by human activity or will be positive. The group is one of the most politically influential thinktanks in the UK, and boasts that 14 members of Boris Johnsons cabinet, including the home secretary, foreign secretary and chancellor, have been associated with the groups past and current initiatives. Despite a Climate Accountability Institute,calculates how much carbon is emitted throughout …

To curb lobbying power, Elizabeth Warren wants to reinstate the Office of Technology Assessment

In a move to correct the imbalance of power between technologically sophisticated corporations and the lawmakers who regulate them, presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren is proposing that Congress reinstate the Office of Technology Assessment. It’s a move that gets deep into the weeds of how policy making in Washington works, but it’s something that Warren sees as essential to leveling the playing field between well-paid corporate lobbyists who are experts in their fields and over-worked, under-staffed congressional members who lack independent analysts to explain highly technical issues. “Lobbyists are filling in the gaps in congressional resources and expertise by providing Congress information from the perspective of their paying corporate clients. So let’s fix it,” writes Warren. It’s one of the …

Adaptation isnt enough. Weve got to throw everything at the climate crisis | Fiona Harvey

Jonathan Franzen preaches the gospel of adaptation. But without cutting emissions, it wont work, says Guardian environment journalist Fiona Harvey When were faced with threats of inundation, our reaction has traditionally been to build walls. Sea-level rises, storms and floods have been held back with solid barriers, seawalls and dykes. We have used walls to keep out people, too: the fact that this has failed throughout the ages has not stopped its recent According to the UN, climate-related disasters are already taking place at the rate of one a week, though only a few of them such as number of people facing water shortages set to leap from 3.6 billion today to 5 billion by 2050. At least $1tn a …

Climate crisis: aviation industry hears clamour for electric planes

Shift from fossil fuels top of agenda for Paris air show, industry having lagged behind other sectors Faced with growing calls for action on the climate crisis, aerospace companies gathering for the Paris air show next week are turning their thoughts to a future run on electricity rather than fossil fuels. The scale of the challenge is considerable. The target for net zero carbon emissions by 2050, recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and emissions laggard compared with the car industry or power generation, but improvements in the German startup Lilium and US firm Bell Helicopter small hybrid-electric commuter aircraft to market in the early 2020s, and Aurora Flight Sciences, which is also targeting air taxis. Yet for …