Climate Live: UK MPs call for halt in Arctic oil and gas drilling as sea ice shrink to lowest levels

By Tierney Smith

– The day’s top climate change stories as chosen by RTCC
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– Updated from 0830-1700 BST (GMT+1)

Latest news: Thursday 20 September

Last updated: 1700 BST

US: The worst drought to hit the United States in a half century expanded in the upper Midwest and northern Plains states in the past week due to warmer and drier than normal weather, but loosened its grip on some central and southern areas of the country. (Reuters)

Oceans: An ambitious plan to link marine parks across a vast amount of the ocean is coming together, according to conservationists. (

IUCN: Protecting mangroves and replanting them is cheaper than building man-made structures to protect coastlines threatened by climate change, the head of the IUCN has said. Julia Marton-Lefevre said that preserving mangrove forests helps regulate rainfall, reduce the risk of disasters from extreme weather and sea-level rise, provide breeding grounds for fish and captures carbon dioxide. (Christian Science Monitor)

UK: Britain needs a more ambitious programme for encouraging the uptake of low-carbon vehicles, as sales of the cars have been disappointing, the Transport Select Committee of MPs have warned. (Reuters)

Fiji: Villagers from Vunidogoloa on Vanua Levu, Fiji’s second largest island have become the country’s first climate change refugees as rising sea levels, flooding and soil erosion have forced them to relocate to higher and drier land. (

UK: The government is to look into incentives for local communities with windfarms, including discounted electricity bills or grants for facilities such as playgrounds. The consultation will also look at how local businesses could become involved in the supply chain and how developers can best consult local people. (Guardian)

UK: Smart meters could save the UK £14 billion by 2030, according to a new report. The British Gas backed study also found SMEs could save between 4 and 5% on their energy bills with the introduction of the meters. Current government plans aim to replace 53 billion meters in homes and businesses by 2019 to give customers more accurate bills and help them reduce consumption. (BusinessGreen)

Worldwide: Climate change is expected to threaten everything from Arctic foxes to coffee plantations, experts have warned. Speaking at the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, scientists said coral reefs and the Arctic region are some of the most vulnerable habitats to global warming and that even a moderate rise in temperatures could damage plants and animals in some regions. (Reuters)

Arctic: Sea ice in the Arctic has shrunk to its lowest seasonal minimum since satellite records began, according to data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center and NASA.

Worldwide: EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard has said people must get used to extreme weather as climate change is making such events the norm. She said once one-off extreme events will soon no longer be seen as extreme as heatwaves, floods, droughts and wildfires become the new reality. (Guardian)

Arctic: A UK committee of MPs have called for a halt on oil and gas drilling in the Arctic until safety is improved. The Environmental Audit Committee said the current techniques for dealing with any spill do not inspire confidence and voiced fears that a spill could cause unprecedented environmental damage. (BBC)

EU: An EU meeting yesterday came no closer to solving the issue of oversupply of carbon credits in its emissions trading scheme. The UK wants to see credits cancelled permanently to boost the low carbon price, some want permits withheld while Poland and Slovakia are against any action to drive up the cost of emitting due to their coal-heavy economies.

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