Climate change weekly wrap (Feb #3) – latest news, great photos and analysis

All you need to know from the last seven days of international climate change and energy politics


By Ed King, Megan Darby and Sophie Yeo

Welcome to RTCC’s weekly wrap, where we pull together the top stories from the past week, and highlight key events to look forward to over the next 7 days.

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Brazil’s drought
This week’s most popular story was Fabiola Ortiz’s account of life in Brazil as the country deals with its worst drought in 84 years. Poor rains, deforestation and high water consumption has led to parts of the country declaring a state of emergency. Even carnival dancers will suffer – water used to cool them off has been banned. In the country’s biggest city, Sao Paulo, the mayor is close to restricting water access to two days a week.

G20 crunch time
The world’s top economies will decide how successful a global climate deal is – long before countries actually come to sign off any deal in Paris later this year. That was the message from top EU climate official Artur Runge Metzger, who spoke to RTCC this week. “Practically all the G20 should be able to [submit pledges] – they have the intellectual capacity and political will to move this forward,” he said.

Forests progress
Are we starting to see some movement on efforts to stem deforestation? It’s a huge problem, accounting for 10-15% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Aida Greenbury, chief sustainability offer at APP, a huge paper and pulp company operating in Indonesia, told us it is slowly stopping the practice of cutting down tropical forests, and is taking steps to safeguard biodiversity and local tribes.

Asia Pulp and Paper has stopped converting natural forest to plantations, but is not stopping others (Pic: Flickr/Rainforest Action Network)

Asia Pulp and Paper has stopped converting natural forest to plantations, but is not stopping others (Pic: Flickr/Rainforest Action Network)

UK climate love-in
They’re used to tearing strips off each other, but PM David Cameron, Deputy PM Nick Clegg and opposition leader Ed Miliband signed a commitment to target an ambitious climate deal in Paris later this year. This is more spin than substance, but green groups said it was politically significant ahead of May’s General Election, and a sign the country’s climate consensus isn’t dead. Yet.

Across the world climate impacts are already changing lives, and forcing people to leace their homes. Sophie Yeo has mapped some critical areas of concern.

Quote of the week
“We have never seen such sensitive and worrying situation as this” – Brazil’s minister of environment Izabella Teixeira on the country’s drought, its worst in 84 years.

Beijing claims its emissions fell in 2014. Gerard Wynn wonders how they came to that conclusion.

The Kyoto Protocol was 10 this week. What has it achieved?

Stat of the week
BP says global energy demand will rise 37% by 2035, with two-thirds coming from fossil fuels.

This year could be the worst on record for coral bleaching, say scientists. Warming waters cause them to release algae, lose their colour and in some cases die off.

Pic: U.S. Geological Survey

Pic: U.S. Geological Survey

Big debate
Should journalists be climate campaigners? Some green groups say the climate situation is *so* serious media outlets have to start aggressively raising levels of public knowledge on the issue.

We ran two articles on it this week – one from RTCC editor Ed King, the other from former Daily Telegraph environment correspondent Louise Gray. Please let us know what you think – either via email or on twitter @RTCCclimatenews

Coming up next week
24-27:  IPCC meeting in Nairobi, Kenya
25: UK Green Party to launch election campaign
25: European Commission to release its proposed pledge for 2015 climate deal

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