All you need to know from the last seven days of international climate change and energy politics
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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This was the week Europe was supposed to set out its bold ambitions to be a climate leader. The details arrived on Wednesday, along with an avalanche of documents. Alas for the European Commission, which was behind the announcements, member states like the UK say the new goals could “severely undermine” efforts to cut emissions. RTCC had the exclusive on Secretary of State Ed Davey’s stinging letter to his European counterpart Miguel Arias Canete.
In a column for RTCC, Mattias Soderberg – a Danish climate analyst at the ACT Alliance – explained why he felt Brussels’ plans for a UN climate deal this December were “lame.”
In better news, China’s official statistics agency says the country’s use of coal fell 2.9% in 2014. Thermal power is still HUGE in China, accounting for over 60% of electricity, but MASSIVE investments in solar and wind are starting to alter the balance. Glenn Peters from the Oslo-based CICERO climate research centre said China’s 2014 CO2 emissions are projected to be 0.7% lower than 2013.
In the end, it must have come as a relief to the UN climate-science panel’s chief to go. Facing allegations of sexual harassment that surfaced last week, Rajendra Pachauri decided he’d step down as IPCC chair and allow the body to get on with its work. He denies the charges and says his computer was hacked, but said his presence would affect this week’s IPCC meeting in Nairobi. Sophie Yeo had a look at what the IPCC needs to do next.
Quote of the week
“Failure to write the prescription, however, might leave us contemplating the death certificate instead…” – Prince Charles hopes a UN climate pact later this year will be a success.
Can the Green party crack Westminster, asked Ed King. We heard from current and former green ministers in Ireland, Finland and the Netherlands.
Ok – this isn’t as lovely as a beach in the Maldives or an Amazonian rainforest – but it’s arguably more important. China’s emissions could have peaked – and this is how.
So good I put this IN CAPITALS. In the first of a series of columns, Marshall Islands poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner reflects on the cultural dimensions of climate change. It’s a beautiful and compelling article.
Sophie Yeo’s short report on research in the journal Nature has caused a storm. The paper relates to the so-called global warming hiatus. Scientists think it could last a bit longer – but will end with fast warming. Many readers were not convinced (below the line at least)
Scientist Chris Rapley discusses how climate risk should be communicated, and offers his views on the qualities the next IPCC chair should have.