Climate Live: Could a giant umbrella protect the Great Barrier Reef, US Atlantic coast is sea-level rise ‘hotspot’ & UK is urged to improve resource efficiency

By Tierney Smith

– The day’s top climate change stories as chosen by RTCC
– Tweet @RTCCnewswire and use #RTCCLive hashtag
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– Updated from 0900-1700 BST (GMT+1)

Latest news – Monday 20 August

1700: Bill McKibben talks to the Huffington Post about fracking, Keystone XL and continuing the fight against climate change. He says:

“Given the math of climate change, fracking’s no help. We don’t need a bridge—we need to make the leap to renewable energy.” 

1630: RTCC’s John Parnell argues that the recent CO2 emissions cuts – such as the fall in the US which saw the country’s emissions more in line with those in 1995 – mask the dangers of relying too heavily on gas.

1600: Ecotricity’s Dale Vince says the low carbon sector in the UK is in turmoil because of a lack of policy certainty from central government.

1500: As board member of the UN Green Climate Fund get ready to meet for the first time later this week, Farrukh Khan, an alternate member of the board representing Pakistan has said the board member must rise above politics and act as a springboard for a global climate deal in 2015.

He told Reuters: “The role of the fund is extremely important. It has to show the world it is looking beyond political bickeringS of the UNFCCC.”

1400: Turns out making the case for sustainable actions for reasons of self-interest – for example saving you money – could backfire. New research finds telling people about carpooling’s money-saving benefits could make them less likely to recycle.

1300: The Isle of Wight will be at the heart of global efforts to decarbonise island communities, as it hosts the inaugural Ecoislands Global Summit this October.

It’s own Ecoisland partnership aims to see the Island become self-sufficient on renewable energy by 2020. David Green, Ecoisland founder talked to RTCC’s John Parnell about why the Island is pressing ahead with sustainability:

“People have spent too much time trying to agree whole heartedly with everything that has to happen, without doing anything. The result is similar to hill walking; you end up going at the rate of the slowest. We decided we’d start out at the front and see if we can get people to catch up with us.”

1240: It seems everyone wants a piece of the co-operative energy action as shares in the world’s largest community owned solar farm – Westmill Farm near Swindon in the UK – has been over-subscribed by almost 50%.

1130: The row over biofuels is likely to flare again as German researchers claim they have found evidence that European-produced biodiesel does not meet the sustainability targets set out by the EU.

1030: The US administration is expected to announce new fuel economy standards for cars which would cut consumption of petrol and diesel by 18% over coming decades. Some car makers are warning, however, that the new rules will distort theUSmarket and will not deliver expected reductions.

0930: Plans for a £30 billion barrage across the UK’s Severn estuary – between the Vale of Glamorgan and Somerset– have been given a boost after Prime Minister David Cameron instructed officials to look into them.

Supporters say the project could provide 5% of the UK’s electricity – as well as creating thousands of jobs – but environmentalists object saying it could harm local wildlife.

0910: Harry Verhaar at Philips Lighting has posted his reflections on the Rio+20 summit. A key message is that we need to think about ‘Green Budgeting’ – here’s how he explains it…

Transforming our business models will include altering the way we think about budgeting. The current quarterly and annual budgeting and reporting system rewards linear behavior and is based on short-term objectives. We need transparent budgeting procedures that account for long-term investment and returns in value creation. Capital expenditure may be higher in the short-term, but operating expenditure will be lower and the payoffs higher if we invest now in sustainable products, systems, energy and in our people.  For example, efficient lighting solutions will save €128 billion per year, with a return on investment period of 4-5 years. (A switch from incandescent bulbs results in a return on investment within a few months.) However, we need a way to account for long-term solutions that will be understood by investors, shareholders, and the public.

0849: Could a new Greenhouse gas measurement system bring clarity to UN climate talks? John Parnell finds out…

0830: Could giant shade cloths be the answer to protecting coral reefs from heat stress? Climate change scientists say ew and novel waysmust be found to protect ocean regions like the Great Barrier Reef.

Businesses and environmental campaigners are expected today to call on the government to strengthen plans for greater resource efficiency, for materials such as steel and rubber. They warn the UK is facing a looming natural resource crisis.

0816: Scientists warn that climate change is running on ‘fast forward’ along the US Atlantic Coast. The US Geological Survey says the coastline is a hotspot for sea-level rise and has seen waters rise at double the rate of most places around the world.

Ecotricity owner Dale Vince talks to RTCC about how football and sport at large can be run in a sustainable way and can become an example for other businesses to follow.

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