Climate Weekly: Mediterranean clubbing holidays to go green?

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(Pic: Flickr/Amnesia Ibiza)

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Ibiza and Mallorca are best known for beaches and nightclubs. Despite abundant sunshine, the Balearic islands get only 2% of electricity from renewables.

Now their regional government is proposing a bold climate law to go 100% renewable by 2050 and fully electrify the car hire fleet by 2035.

It exposes a rift with Madrid, which is seeking to prevent the closure of old coal power plants – including Mallorca’s – on grounds of cost and security of supply.

The federal government is due to publish its own draft climate law soon. Can regional efforts encourage higher ambition? Or will Madrid impose its energy policy on the region?

EU climate commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete could be influential here, as a former minister for Spain’s centre-right ruling party.

Quote of the week

“It is infuriating and hard to understand why Madrid is blocking the aim of the Balearic Islands to switch to clean energy” – Sarah Oppenheimer, Mallorca resident and environmental campaigner

Turning it up to 11

Climate Home News got hold of a draft of the most hotly anticipated climate science report of the year: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s special report on 1.5C.

Read the full draft summary for policymakers here, or get straight to the point with our 11 takeaways.

The report is due to be finalised in September, incorporating new literature published by mid-May and review comments from experts and governments.

Number of the week

2040s – when global warming will exceed 1.5C, on current trends

Fool’s gold

Illegal gold mining has swallowed the indigenous village of Watch Post in the Brazilian Amazon and poisoned the Tropas river.

Our correspondent Fabiano Maisonnave joined a party of Munduruku people determined to reclaim their land.

Pot luck

Donald Trump’s top climate adviser, George David Banks, has been forced to quit, apparently over having admitted in 2013 to smoking marijuana.

While fully on board with Trump’s pro-fossil agenda, Banks was respected across the political spectrum as an honest broker, according to this E&E Climatewire profile.

His exit leaves a vacuum in the White House on international climate change issues.

Central lobby

Should businesses have direct access to negotiators at UN climate talks? Business Europe and the US Council for International Business say so, in submissions to the process, arguing they can bring solutions to the table.

Transparency campaigners are not convinced, seeing conflicts of interest between corporations and climate goals, Arthur Neslen reports.

Peak confusion

Did China’s emissions peak in 2014? Experts are divided, explains Li Jing, as gaps in the 2017 data leave room for interpretation.

Climate conversations

EU subsidies to a massive gas pipeline clash with climate goals – Aled Jones, Anglia Ruskin University

Brown investment

London-based bank Standard Chartered may be in breach of its climate policy with a planned loan to a coal power station in Vietnam, according to NGOs.

The Nghi Son 2 coal plant is set to use “outdated” technology and exceed the bank’s guideline emissions limits, say analysts from Market Forces and Greenpeace.

Japanese and Korean export credit agencies are also supporting the project, against OECD guidelines.

Arctic opening

In another first for Arctic shipping, a commercial vessel crossed the northern sea route in winter, without an icebreaker escort.

This doesn’t mean the route was ice-free – the Eduard Toll was designed to cut through ice. But sea ice extent in January hit a record low for the time of year.

A spurt of investment by shipowners in ice-capable carriers shows they see northern Russia as a growth market over the coming decades.

Read more on: Climate Politics