Climate Weekly: Into the storm

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(Flickr/ NASA)


This has to be a record: a study linking an extreme weather event to climate change before the storm even made landfall.

Stony Brook University’s finding that climate change will exacerbate rainfall from Hurricane Florence, based on a forecast, is the latest bid by climate scientists to inject public awareness into breaking news.

It will take a bit longer to assess the robustness of these particular findings, but the key message is consistent: global warming makes tropical storms more dangerous.

Karl Mathiesen is watching coverage in the US and reports that despite constant mentions of unusually high rainfall, the mainstream TV news does not appear to have made the connection.

On the other side of the world, an even worse storm – Typhoon Mangkhut – is headed for the Philippines. They know the dangers only too well.

For Yeb Saño, it brings back memories of 2013, when he was negotiating – and hunger striking – at climate talks in Warsaw while Typhoon Haiyan devastated his homeland. Now as director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, he is on a crusade for climate justice.

Quote of the week

“Every super storm will have the fingerprints of climate change. As such, every life lost, every acre of crops destroyed, every house blown away, every bit of culture forever gone, is partly because of the injustice of climate change” – Yeb Saño, Greenpeace Southeast Asia

Poles apart

This December’s UN climate summit in Katowice is a key moment for taking stock of (in)action on climate change, but whose vision will prevail?

The EU wants to make sure ministers contemplate the findings of a major scientific report on the tougher 1.5C warming limit of the Paris Agreement, due in October.

Reinforcing the bloc’s commitment to raising ambition, European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker threw his weight behind calls for a stronger 2030 climate target.

The Polish hosts have other priorities, planning political declarations on forests, electric vehicles and the “just transition” of workers to a green economy.

Climate conversations

Climate action is written in the stars – James Shaw, climate change minister of New Zealand

Despite Trump, the US is upholding the Paris Agreement – Jerry Brown and Michael Bloomberg

Hotel California

No, we didn’t miss the climate shindig of the week. Karl is in San Francisco for governor Jerry Brown’s big bash. He filed this dispatch on China’s 50-strong delegation. Look out for an extra newsletter on all the action this weekend.

French pragmatist

After Nicolas Hulot quit in a fit of public despair, François de Rugy is promising a more pragmatic approach as France’s new environment minister.

That means less of a rush to phase out nuclear power and a financially restrained green transition.

Brexit papers

The UK government has released a batch of papers outlining its environment and energy plans in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

It sought to reassure that high green standards would be maintained, but some key elements were deferred, with just six months to deadline.

Green Guterres

The UN secretary general set out his stall for a coordinated climate action push on Monday.

“It’s time to get off the path of suicidal emissions,” said Antonio Guterres, who is set to host a global leaders’ summit on the subject next September. Watch his speech in full here.

Read more on: Climate politics