Australian bushfires linked to climate change – UN official

A summary of today’s top climate and clean energy stories.
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(Pic: United States Department of Agriculture)

(Pic: United States Department of Agriculture)

Australia: United Nations climate change chief Christiana Figueres says there is ”absolutely” a link between climate change and bushfires and has warned that the Coalition government will pay a high political and financial price for its decision to scrap carbon pricing. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Australia: UN climate chief says Direct Action ‘a lot more expensive’ than pricing carbon  Christiana Figueres calls for rapid emissions cuts to avoid ‘doom and gloom’ events such as the NSW bushfires (Guardian)

UK: The head of the UN body tasked with delivering a global climate treaty broke down in tears at a meeting in London as she spoke about the impact of global warming on coming generations. Christiana Figueres told the BBC that the lack of an agreement was “condemning future generations before they are even born”. (BBC)

Research: Traffic-related air pollution have been linked to the development of asthma in children and adults who live or work close to high-traffic roads or highways, says a commentary in Monday’s issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, suggesting there are steps that can be taken to mitigate the danger. (Metro)

China: Airborne fine-particle pollution density in Harbin, the capital of key Chinese farm province Heilongjiang, reached 1,000 micrograms per cubic meter yesterday, or 40 times more than the international safe standard under World Health Organization guidelines. (Forbes)

Research: A new study shows that human beings are too selfish to endure present pain to avert future climate change. (Time)

Finance: The business case for eco-efficiency is moving into the mainstream but the financial crisis has shrunk the pool of venture capital funding available for clean tech in recent years and is unlikely to be replenished. (Financial Times)

US: Rising seas and higher storm surges, driven in part by climate change, could eventually have a devastating effect on the seven low-lying nuclear power generating sites on the Northeast coast in future hurricanes, say researchers from Columbia University. (Rushville Republican)

UK: Declining levels of climate finance contributions from developed nations are slowing efforts to address global warming, the UN climate change official Christiana Figueres warned on Monday. (RTCC)

UK: An analysis by the Trade Union Congress found that gas and electricity prices have risen by 152% over the past decade, four times faster than inflation, even before the latest increases by British Gas and SSE are taken into account. General secretary Frances O’Grady will tell the TUC’s annual climate change conference in London: “The Government has been guilty of dithering over two of the biggest challenges we face today – our cost of living crisis and the need to tackle climate change by reducing carbon emissions.” (Express)

US: One of the largest private corporations in the US stands to make billions if the controversial Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline goes ahead, says a new report released today. The impacts of more “Koch Cash” could further negatively influence climate change legislation. (RTCC)

Research: The Amazon is at a higher risk of decline due to stronger dry seasons in stark contrast to projections made by climate models used in the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (RTCC)

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