Weekly wrap: cooling on coal, but not ready to quit

This week’s top climate politics and policy stories. Sign up to have our Friday briefing and Monday’s crib notes sent to your inbox

(Pic: Peabody Energy)


It has been a week thick with contradictions, omissions and dodged decisions.

Germany published its hotly anticipated 2050 climate strategy. Glaringly absent was an end date for coal use.

Poland declared its readiness to ratify the Paris Agreement – as long as it gets more financial support for coal.

China’s top ministries published green finance guidelines that do not rule out fossil fuel infrastructure including – you guessed it – coal plants.

Blackrock – the world’s largest asset management fund – published a well-received briefing on climate risk. Where were those principles when it voted against a climate resolution at Exxon Mobil?

The G20 reaffirmed its climate commitments, but avoided setting any deadlines. Its “cut and paste communique” on fossil fuel subsidies just wasn’t good enough, argued Shelagh Whitley of the Overseas Development Institute.

UK climate minister Nick Hurd would not say when the country will ratify the Paris Agreement or publish its next carbon-cutting strategy.

Question to which the answer is no: Is climate change causing conflict in the Sahel?
Question to which the answer is yes: Did the Black Lives Matter protest backfire?

Satellite data revealed the shocking scale of makeshift oil refineries in war-torn Syria. Thousands of children are thought to be working for ISIS in extremely hazardous conditions, reported Karl Mathiesen.

In happier data news, the pipeline of planned coal power plants worldwide shrank by 14% in the first half of this year – cancelling a fleet the size of the EU’s – Coal Swarm showed. It’s not enough to meet global climate goals, but analysts are hopeful the trend will continue as China and India clamp down on excess projects.

And in Kenya, smallholder farmers are turning citizen scientists in an initiative that paves the way for adaptation to drought and floods. Lou Del Bello has a photo essay as part of our Africa files series, funded by CDKN.


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