Green News

Trump won't impact India's climate drive, says energy minister

India remains committed to ramping up its clean energy portfolio because it is a "global citizen", energy chief Piyush Goyal told a power summit in Delhi on Thursday.
"With some geopolitical changes in large countries across the world we are finding that the concept of spending more to get clean energy and protect the environment is getting affected in some parts of the world," he said.
"I'd like to reassure you that India does not get affected or dictated in policy or direction by any other part of the world."

Bangladesh bets on coal to meet rising energy demand

On 1 February, Bangladesh's energy minister Nasrul Hamid gave a speech outlining the government's plan to massively expand energy production through coal.
He spoke about a slew of mega projects being built with the assistance of China, Japan and India, but said little about Bangladesh's failure to expand its renewable energy sector.
Bangladesh is betting on coal to support its fast growing economy, even as other countries in Asia try to shift away from the dirty fuel amid an intensifying pollution crisis.

Russia starts work on climate adaptation strategy

Russia has started working on a national climate change adaptation strategy, with ministries and regional officials to asked assess the risks of adverse impacts and possible adaptation measures.
With a delivery date pencilled in for mid-2018, ministry of environment officials told Kommersant, a business daily, they wanted to "get the regions to think about working on adaptation plans - so far most of them are busy dealing with consequences but many of those negative changes require adaptation".

Women's mosque goes solar in India clean energy push

Set up 20 years ago in a remote corner of Lucknow, Ambar Mosque is known for promoting women's rights and putting up visitors to a nearby hospital.
Now the female-led faith centre - where women pray alongside men - is installing solar panels to set an example of clean energy in Uttar Pradesh, a state lagging behind its targets.

UK emissions have fallen 38% since 1990 on coal closures

UK greenhouse gas emissions fell a whopping 38% from 1990 to 2015, the country's National Statistics body confirmed in a report on Tuesday.
That's one of the fastest rate of emissions cuts in any developed country, nearly passing an EU-wide 2030 goal of 40% carbon pollution cuts.
The reason for the dramatic fall? Coal is on its way out. Fast. According to a 2016 analysis by the Carbon Brief website, UK coal use hit its lowest level for 150 years.

End coal by 2030 to meet Paris climate goal, EU told

Belchatow, Poland, to close in 2027. Neurath, Germany, to burn its last lump of lignite in 2029 or 2030.
That is what meeting the climate goals world leaders agreed in Paris means for the EU’s biggest coal power stations, according to a report by Climate Analytics.
To hold global warming “well below 2C”, the 28-state bloc needs to smash dependence on this carbon-intensive fuel by the end of next decade, the consultancy argues.

Climate change is testing southern Africa water agrements

The Chicamba Dam in north-west Mozambique is critical to the water supply of three large cities.
Fed by the Muene River, it provides a livelihood for hundreds of fishermen as well as the small industries that support the local tourists that flock to the dam when it is full.
But the river and dam have become increasingly polluted, with locals pointing the finger at the source of the river: the Zimbabwean city of Mutare some 50 kilometres to the west.

EU warns Poland against 'backdoor' subsidies' for coal

Secret subsidies for fossil fuels will not be tolerated under EU state aid rules, the European Commission warned on Wednesday.
Eleven member states have or are planning to introduce “capacity mechanisms” to make sure there is enough electricity available to keep the lights on.
These must not be skewed towards coal or gas power plants, the competition directorate said in guidance published alongside the bloc's clean energy package.

Germany makes climate change G20 priority

Securing the world against the challenges posed by climate change will be one of the central pillars of its G20 presidency2, the German government has said.
On Wednesday it released its first policy guide to the Hamburg summit, which is scheduled for July 2017. That statement listed global warming among only a few headline issues it wants discussed.
"One main concern is to make progress on realising the goals of the 2030 Agenda for...

Germany tells World Bank to quit funding fossil fuels

The World Bank must end its support for the industries that cause climate change, Germany’s federal development minister Gerd Müller has said.
On Wednesday, German chancellor Angela Merkel and Müller met with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim to sign a cooperation agreement on climate change.
A statement from the German government said Müller had used the moment to call on the World Bank to put 'an end to investments in obsolete and climate-damaging technologies'.

Mayors signal desire to fight climate change at city level

A global alliance of mayors will announce new plans to tackle air pollution this week in a sign that cities are taking increasingly aggressive steps to curb harmful emissions.
City leaders from Paris, Atlanta, Cape Town, Seoul and Vancouver are among those set to sign up to a new declaration in Mexico City at the annual C40 Cities Mayor’s summit.
"We all share a commitment to adapt, revitalize and mitigate climate change impacts in our communities," said Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris and incoming C40 Cities chair.

Why the UN's Green Climate Fund is not fit for purpose

The need to finance immediate adaptation actions for the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the poorest and most vulnerable developing countries is not controversial.
Developed countries have already contributed around US $10 Billion to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) whose board has taken the laudable policy decision to allocate half of that amount to finance adaptation activities in the poorest and most vulnerable countries.

African countries bid for climate self sufficiency

Every year the UN climate talks are full of tension between rich nations that have benefitted from industrial development and vulnerable countries demanding they pay for what they've done to the climate.
Could this year's summit - "the Africa COP" - be a different story?
Climate Home reported how financial support has been trickling down too slowly to make any meaningful impact - but on Africa day ministers from Nigeria, Egypt, Chad and other nations

India's silence on Trump noted at Marrakech climate talks

Delhi has kept quiet through the COP22 talks: few understand how it would react should the US president-elect quit the Paris deal
India was a vocal presence at the 2015 Paris climate summit, holding regular press conferences and feeding the media a wealth of information on the emerging economy's green ambitions.
A year on, the country's climate diplomacy team has gone to ground in the wake of Donald Trump's election as US president.

Countries hit by climate change pledge to go 100% renewable

Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Costa Rica are in 47-strong coalition aspiring to go 100% renewable, with international support, in Marrakech statement
Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Costa Rica are among 47 countries on the front line of global warming impacts that "will strive to lead" the transition to a green economy.
At UN climate talks in Marrakech, the Climate Vulnerable Forum set out an intention to go 100% renewable and carbon neutral. Members promised to update their national climate plans and produce mid-century strategies before 2020, in line with the aspirational 1.5C global warming limit agreed last year in Paris.

Fiji invites Trump to visit climate-hit Pacific islands

On the final day of climate talks in Marrakech, next year's host appealed to the US president-elect for solidarity
Pacific island leaders have issued a plea to the incoming president of the United States not to abandon them to the rising ocean.
During the evening hours on Friday the prime minister of Fiji Frank Bainimarama called on Donald Trump to rethink his position on climate change and invited him to come to his islands to see the effects of global warming.

Marrakech climate summit marks the start of a new era

As Obama, Kerry and Ban Ki-moon head for the exit, it's unclear if a new world order will place same emphasis on climate action
As dusk fell over Marrakech on Friday, a chill gripped the fast-emptying pavilions that housed the 2016 UN climate summit.
Talks were scheduled to conclude at 6pm, but envoys managed to find reasons to maintain negotiations into the night, perhaps aware of the hangover that follows such a party.

If Trump quits, California could apply to join UN climate talks

Head of state senate says legal brains are exploring ways in which golden state could be represented if Trump pulls nation from Paris Agreement
If Donald Trump pulls the US out of the UN climate process in early 2017, the world's sixth largest economy could try and fill the sizeable hole it leaves1.
Asked by Climate Home on Thursday if the golden state could replace the United States, California senate leader Kevin De Leon said it was an "option that I want to keep open".

Smog Chokes Delhi, Leaving Residents 'Cowering by Our Air Purifiers

Levels of the most dangerous particles soared over the weekend in some places to more than 16 times the limit India's government considers safe.
For days, many in Delhi have been living as if under siege, trying to keep the dirty air away from their children and older parents.
But it is not easy: Open a window or a door, and the haze enters the room within seconds. Outside, the sky is white, the sun a white circle so pale that you can barely make it out. The smog is acrid, eye-stinging and throat-burning, and so thick that it is being blamed for a 70-vehicle pileup north of the city.

It's official: the Paris climate deal is now international law

A UN deal to limit warming to well below 2C from pre-industrial levels is now international law, in what officials say is an historic day in efforts to tackle climate change.
Agreed by 195 countries last December, the treaty commits governments to delivering regular carbon reduction plans and directing more funding towards low carbon sources of energy.
So far, 192 countries have signed and 94 governments have formally ratified the pact, which required support from 55 countries covering 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions to go live.

Africa's "buyer's remorse" over Paris climate deal

When Chad announced in September 2015 it aimed to slash its greenhouse gas emissions 71% by 2030, the country was hailed as a climate leader.
The government of the arid, oil producing state - long ravaged by warfare - even offered to slash carbon pollution 18% from business-as-usual in the event it received no external funding or support.
The generous gesture was seen by many observers as proof of a new age of African climate ambition, one of the 190 pledges that underpinned the historic Paris Agreement.

Transparency battle to dominate Marrakech climate summit

After the grand political moment in Paris, this year's UN climate talks will be more workmanlike.
Starting this week in Marrakech, negotiators must thrash out how to put the historic agreement into practice.
Submissions to the UN portal hint at the battles to come. Here are three elements to watch.
National climate plans
After the failure of the 2009 Copenhagen talks to carve up responsibility for climate action, the Paris deal was built from the bottom up.

South Korea leads list of 2016 climate villains

It has been a year brimming with self-congratulation and post-treaty goodwill. Across the world, politicians have dined out on the signing of the Paris agreement and its rapid ascension into international law.
But as the head of the UN climate body and the president of next week's Marrakech talks said on Friday, it's just a piece of paper. Now it's time to actually start cutting emissions.
Back at home, the world's major emitters have at best left their climate plans unchanged. Some have actually implemented policies that will lead to more, not less CO2 in the atmosphere.

COP22: UN reports increase in climate aid flows

Global climate finance flows to poorer countries totalled US$741 billion in 2014, an increase of 15% from 2011-12.
That is according to a biennial report from the UNFCCC's Standing Committee on Finance (SCF) released at UN climate talks in Marrakech on Monday.
It represents progress, the authors said, but pales in comparison to the $1.6 trillion invested annually in fossil fuels.
"Climate finance remains a monumental challenge," said UN climate Chief Patricia Espinosa. "Too much money still flows into high carbon investment."

UN agrees historic deal to cut HFC greenhouse gases

The climate's low hanging fruit has been picked - amidst some ill-concealed irritation over who gets the sweetest harvest.
The Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol to cut the use of potent warming greenhouse gases used in fridges and air conditioning has been described as the single most important step that the world can take to limit global warming.
The deal, received with a round of applause in the early hours of Saturday, has delivered on most of the promises made by the member countries last week, getting the world on track to avoid almost 0.5C warming by 2100.
Between 2020 and 2050 70 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent, comparable to the emissions of nearly 500 million cars, will be prevented from entering the atmosphere thanks to a progressive reduction of HFCs.

Fossil fuels in court: from Colombia

The use of fossil fuels is the single biggest driver of climate change around the world, emitting more than 32 billion tonnes of CO2 alone in 2014.
Yet up until now, the companies that extract, refine and sell fossil fuels have not been held financially responsible for the impacts of climate change.
A new wave of legal activism is working to change that. Eager to stop new coal mines, oil fields and supporting infrastructure, and to raise funds to support people affected by climate change impacts, climate activists are increasingly taking legal action against fossil fuel producers. Cases against coal and oil companies are now pending in the Netherlands, in Peru, in Pakistan and New Zealand, in the Philippines and the United States.

India domestic action smooths path to HFC deal in Kigali

India has announced plans to destroy the potent greenhouse gas HFC23, in a surprise bid to show climate leadership at talks in Kigali.
Collecting and incinerating the chemical, a by-product of another gas, could avoid up to 400 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent a year, officials claim.
Developed countries welcomed the move, ahead of the last day of negotiations on a global pact to tackle the growing climate impact of chemicals used in fridges and air conditioners.
Divisions remain over the speed of a wider phase-down of HFCs. A large coalition wants to see use of the gases peak as early as 2020, while India is calling for more time to switch its industry over to cleaner alternatives.

Saudi Arabia blasts Korean bank for "playing" with UN climate fund

The Export-Import Bank of Korea (Korea Exim) has drawn sharp criticism for withdrawing its application to be a conduit for climate funding, days after protests attacked its history of financing coal.
The board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) was set to decide on Friday whether to accredit the bank. This would have allowed it to oversee projects that will help poor countries cope with the transition demanded by a changing climate.
But on Friday morning, the board of the GCF was told that Korea Exim had asked the board to suspend consideration of the application "for the time being". The bank did not give a reason for the decision.
The move drew a furious response from the Saudi Arabian representative Ayman Shasly, who felt the organisation's limited resources had been treated with disdain by the bank.

Renewable investment beats rising demand for first time

Renewable electricity investment in 2015 was "more than sufficient" to cover the growth in global demand,according a new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
It was the first time in history funding for renewables alone was enough to meet increasing demand. The milestone was passed partly due to a slowdown in demand growth. But strong investment in renewables has continued and prices have fallen, meaning investors get more generating capacity for their buck.
The cost per watt of installing new onshore wind generation fell by 20% between 2010 and 2015. Over the same time solar PV dropped by a precipitous 60%.

Simple planting switch could slash rice methane emissions

Directly seeding rice into fields rather than transplanting it into flooded paddies would dramatically reduce methane emissions and slow down climate change, according to scientists studying the staple crop.
A number of experiments in Asia, particularly in the Philippines and Japan, show that a change in the way rice is grown would have considerable other benefits in saving water and improving yield.
However, in Asia, which accounts for 90% of rice production, only a quarter of the crop is currently produced by direct seeding.
The research, cited by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, says that while rice is a staple food for more than half the world's population, growing it is becoming less profitable because of the costs of labour, shortage of water and high energy costs.

India joins Paris Climate change Agreement

NEW DELHI: India formally joined the Paris Climate Change Agreement by submitting its instrument of ratification at UN headquarters in New York on Sunday - the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The instrument of ratification was deposited by India's permanent representative to the UN, Syed Akbaruddin.
By putting Gandhi seal on the climate deal, the country will now urge the global community to adopt 'Gandhian way of life' (shun extravagant lifestyles) to reduce their carbon footprints and protect the earth from adverse impact of climate change.India will articulate its point vigorously during the next climate conference (COP22) at Marrakech in Morocco, beginning November 7.

World Bank calls on Vietnam to avoid coal

The World Bank is working to convince Vietnam's government it should not build a network of polluting coal plants across the country, the global lender's president said in a New York speech.
Jim Yong Kim said leaders in Hanoi are considering plans for up to 40 gigawatts of new coal power, believing it will be cheaper than solar, wind and other forms of renewables.
"When I ask them about using renewables they say 'we would but it's too expensive'," he said. Coal is 9 cents a kilowatt hour and the tariff for solar is 12-13 cents, but "there's no need for it to be that high...

India signals intent ahead of Marrakech climate summit

With the UN still basking in Delhi and Brussels' fast-track ratification of the Paris climate deal, many may have expected the COP22 summit to have been a joyous occasion.It may kick off with celebrations, but in a statement released over the weekend Indian environment minister Shri Anil Madhav Dave made clear he wants to see the cash promised at previous summits.
"Mobilising means of implementation i.e. finance, technology and capacity-building support before and after 2020: US$11 billion per year climate finance goal has not been met," it said.
At Morocco, India will insist for a concrete roadmap from developed countries.

Can the right be good for the climate in Latin America?

The downfall of DilmaRousseff and the instatement of her conservative vice-president, Michel Temer, not only have put an end to 13 years of Workers' Party rule in Brazil, but also consolidated a historic defeat for the left in Latin America.
The region's four biggest economies - Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia - now have center or right-of-the center governments. At first sight, that might spell doom for the mother of all progressive agendas, the fight against global warming.
The right-wing approach to regulation naturally gives leverage to the private sector to resist change.
As it happens, this is Latin America, not by chance the birthplace of magical realism. Things that might be perfectly sensible elsewhere in the world don't work quite the same way in this corner of the Earth.

Scientists struggle to keep up with melting Arctic

In an unusually stark warning a leading international scientific body says the Arctic climate is changing so fast that researchers are struggling to keep up. The changes happening there, it says, are affecting the weather worldwide.
The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) says: "Dramatic and unprecedented warming in the Arctic is driving sea level rise, affecting weather patterns around the world and may trigger even more changes in the climate system.
"The rate of change is challenging the current scientific capacity to monitor and predict what is becoming a journey into uncharted territory."
The WMO is the United Nations' main agency responsible for weather, climate and water.

Oil majors told: stop rewarding bosses for climateobusting strategies

For the first time in 2017, shareholders will get a binding vote on corporate pay policies in the UK.
Share Action is urging them to use it at BP and Shell to stop bonus structures that reward high carbon strategies.Both oil majors give incentives for executives to expand production, the campaign group states in a report, in defiance of international climate goals that will curb demand for fossil fuels.
Catherine Howarth, chief executive at Share Action, said: "Responsible investors who are serious about climate risk have a crucial opportunity to 'walk the talk' at BP and Shell next year, by pushing for remuneration policies designed make these major companies commercially resilient in a low carbon world - and voting down policies which fail that test."

Arctic Sea Ice Falls to second lowest extent, despite cool summer

Arctic sea ice has plunged to the second lowest extent on record.
The minimum occurred earlier this week, but US government scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) waited until they were sure the ice had finally begun its winter expansion. Huge areas of the normally ice-bound Beaufort, Chukchi, Laptev and East Siberian seas were open and exposed to the warmth of an atmosphere that has grown radically hotter.
On September 10, just 4.14 million sq km at the far northern extreme remained covered.

UN: 20 more countries ready to ratify Paris climate deal

The UN secretary general's chief climate adviser Selwin Hart says 20 countries plan to ratify the Paris climate deal in New York on 21 September, raising hopes the treaty could go live this year.
So far 27 countries including the US, China, Norway and Peru have formally approved the agreement, accounting for just over 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Leaders from Mexico and Brazil are among those expected to hand Ban Ki-moon their instruments of ratification next Wednesday (21st Sept) at a one-hour event at UN headquarters.

Climate targets mean an end to oil-fuelled cars by 2035

The last-ever petrol and diesel cars must roll off production lines in less than two decades, according to a report that has mapped the transport sector's carbon emissions.
The Climate Action Tracker analysis released on Thursday also highlighted the need to stamp out the rigging and massaging of vehicle emissions test that have been revealed to be widespread throughout the auto industry.
Stronger tests would allow for a necessary doubling of new car fuel economy standards across the world in the next fifteen years.

Meet the woman who first identified the greenhouse effect

Irish physicist John Tyndall is commonly credited with discovering the greenhouse effect, which underpins the science of climate change.
Starting in 1859, he published a series of studies on the way greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide trapped heat in the Earth's atmosphere.
A recently digitised copy of The American Journal of Science and Arts suggests a woman beat him to it, however.
It includes a presentation by Eunice Foote to a top US science conference in 1856. She describes filling glass jars with water vapour, carbon dioxide and air, and comparing how much they heated up in the sun.

UN cash crunch means poor face climate envoy funding axe

Negotiators for poor countries often say they are at a disadvantage at UN summits, lacking the numbers, technology and institutional support of richer countries.
For example, at the latest round of UN climate talks in Bonn in May, Bangladesh sent 4 officials, Burkina Faso 3, Ethiopia 5 and Uruguay 6 compared to 25 for the UK, 31 for the European Commission, 58 for Japan and 44 for the US.
At the Paris climate talks in December 2015, I met a diplomat from Botswana who said he had to cover four sets of complex negotiations on his own.

Saudi Arabia warns UN over 1.5C climate study

Science should not be the sole basis on which efforts to tackle climate change are assessed 2, the Saudi Arabian government has said in a letter to the UN.
In a 2-page submission the oil-rich Kingdom argues socioeconomic factors facing individual states should be given equal weighting to scientific reports and data.
"Policy makers need to be informed of the projected social and economic costs associated with different pathways of combating climate change in addition to environmental costs," said the letter, dated 8 September.
"Furthermore, policy makers need to be informed of the availability and feasibility of various means of implementation, such as technology and finance, to enable them to make practical and effective decisions."

Epic Flight by Solar Impluse 2 Represents Undeniable Strategic Breakthrough

The Solar Impulse 2 has landed. More than a year after beginning its 25,000-mile trek around the world using only the sun as a fuel source, Solar Impulse 2 has returned to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, the country where its historic flight began. This is a big deal. For the first time ever, a two-pilot team was able to circle the globe without using a drop of fossil fuel. The 5,070-pound solar-powered aircraft with a 236-foot wingspan was piloted by Solar Impulse 2 chairman Bertrand Piccard and co-pilot Andre Borschberg taking turns for long solo stretches. Though it is a monumental technological breakthrough, it didn't come easy for the pilots.

Green Climate Fund to target 'high risk' investments.

Graph The UN's $10 billion flagship green fund has signalled it is ready to support clean energy and climate resilience projects other major banks find too risky.

Board members agreed on a proposal it should "take on risks that other funds/institutions are not able or are willing to tak1e" and adopt a "high level of risk appetite".

That could mean supporting wind and solar energy projects in African states other funders deem politically unstable or targeting small-scale adaptation projects that offer limited financial returns.

The artificial leaves that turn CO2 and sunshine into fuel.

Graph Plants use sunshine to turn carbon dioxide from the air into sugars that store energy.

Now, US scientists have developed an artificial leaf that could produce a climate-friendly alternative to fossil fuels. It solves some tough energy and environmental challenges, according to a study published in the journal Science.

"We burn so many different kinds of hydrocarbons - like coal, oil or gasoline - that finding an economical way to make chemical fuels more reusable with the help of sunlight might have a big impact," said physicist and co-author Peter Zapol.

Five markers of climate change in 2015's weather.

Graph Every year, meteorologists pull together a state of the climate report.

Thomas Karl, director at NOAA, the US agency that coordinates data and analysis from all over the world, describes it as an "annual physical" of the Earth's climate system.

This weighty tome for 2015 is out and it's packed with records. Global warming and the El Nino weather system combined to make for some extreme conditions.

"Last year's El Niño was a clear reminder of how short-term events can amplify the relative influence and impacts stemming from longer-term global warming trends," said Karl.

How China could peak CO2 emissions by 2022.

Graph China could speed up its climate plans to peak carbon dioxide emissions in six years, under proposals presented to policymakers this week.

Two Beijing-based government advisory groups - the National Center for Climate Change and International Cooperation and the Energy Research Institute - drew up an "accelerated low carbon scenario" with American consultancy Energy Innovation. It would see coal's share of primary energy use fall to 47% in 2030 (down from 64% in 2015), and non fossil fuel sources rise to 22%.

EU invests €62 million in wind and solar projects.

Graph The European Investment Bank is investing up to €62 million (US$69m) in a renewable energy fund, it announced on Friday.

Under a target to put a quarter of its lending towards tackling climate change, the EIB is channeling money through SUSI Partners into wind and solar power.

The Swiss investment firm has so far financed 170MW of clean electricity capacity across five EU member states.