Climate Live: Calls to cancel US ethanol quota amid drought, Greenpeace sub finds coral near Shell drill site

By John Parnell

– The day’s top climate change stories as chosen by RTCC
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– Updated from 0900-1700 BST (GMT+1) 

Latest news – Tuesday 31 July

1738 Could the Pacific Ocean be turning more caffeinated? National Geographic News reports that in areas where waste systems are less regulated, the ocean could be becoming mildly caffeinated.

But the levels of caffeine found in these areas is still relatively low – around 45 nanograms per litre compared to your typical cup of coffee at 500,000,000 nanograms per litre.

1650 The UK business lobby, the CBI, has said that green growth could halve the UK’s trade deficit by 2015. The country is in the midst of a deepening recession but the companies operating in the green economy have bucked the trend.

1610 Another twist in the Arctic drilling saga. A Greenpeace submarine (yes, they have their own submarine) has found evidence of a larger than anticipated coral population in the Chukchi Sea near a Shell drill site. The group notes that while Shell has acknowledged the presence of the corals, they were absent from the Environment Impact Assessment for the project.

Check out the letters of protest against Greenpeace‘s protest, from the US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Greenpeace’s actions are dubbed bad for Native Alaskans, marine life and mammals.

1551 Excellent blog/article in the UK Daily Telegraph by Tom Chivers – entitled: Climate change and confirmation bias: what would it take to change your mind? It comes off the back of Monday’s release of the Berkley Earth Surface Temperature final report, led by Professor Richard Muller. Muller was once (in his own words) a ‘climate sceptic’. He now believes that climate change is being caused by humans, although many sceptics still believe this is not the case.

1416 @rtcc_edking Just back from a Rio 2016 Olympics briefing with Adriana Rattes, the city’s Secretary of State for Culture. Says they are determined to use Games as a springboard for better transport and sustainable development in Rio (we know transport is an issue post Rio+20).

1300 Supermarket chain Tesco has responded to the report by the EIA (See 0940) by saying that HFC reductions were part of its wider climate strategy to halve emissions from its stores by 2020: “As part of this overarching target, we are introducing natural refrigeration units. We had hoped to roll out 150 [HFC-free] stores by the end of this year, but unfortunately the technology we initially used in our natural units failed to meet our high expectations.”

1130 BP’s results not as positive as EDF’s. The oil giant reported a quarterly $1.4 billion loss. The company had to down grade the value of refineries and shale gas assets. It was also hit by a $847m charge relating to the Deepwater Horizon disaster and its long-delayed projects in Alaska.

1030 The French utility firm EDF has said greater renewable energy output boosted its profits by 4.6% for the first half of this year. The company saw greater contributions from Hydropower and other sources, offsetting lower nuclear usage.

0940 The Environmental Investigation Agency has launched its fourth Chilling Facts report into commercial refrigeration’s impact on climate change. The study calls for a switch away from the use of HFCs, which have a warming effect hundreds of times greater than CO2.

0840 There has been a surge in demand for solar energy units in Bangladesh. Installations of small home systems are now at 55,000 a month in the country.

0835 A new study has found that bigger is better when it comes to wind turbines. The researchers found that with each doubling of size, the global warming potential, which sums up the energy required to build, transport, maintain and dispose of them, was cut by 14%.

0829 US farmers have called for the Obama administration to suspend its ethanol quota in the midst of the country’s widespread and severe drought. The US is one of the world’s largest ethanol producers but farmers say there is only one winner in the clean fuel versus food debate.

0825 A staggering 90% of businesses are unprepared for the green economy according to a report by Deloitte. Only six out of 65 companies were deemed to be ready. Check out the full story for a list of the top performers.

Top tweet

Image of the day

This graph shows how Arctic sea ice cover changes throughout the seasons. The black line is the average, the blue line is this year’s data so far, which is approaching record lows.

(Source: National Snow and Ice Data Center)

Reading list

The Economist assesses Germany’s ambitious, but risky, renewable energy targets.

Could the greatest threat to Greenland come from within? The Greenland government is considering opening up to mining according to The Guardian.

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