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Be brave, UK business leaders and say why you're not going to the Saudi Davos

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 18:52

City firms have hardly covered themselves in glory over the Jamal Khashoggi affair

It should be an easy decision for a board of directors to make: after the disappearance of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, it would be obscene to send a corporate representative to next week’s “Davos in the Desert” event in Riyadh. What’s more, it should not be difficult to say so.

The list of high-profile dropouts is growing but, sad to report, the British financial establishment has not led the way to the exit. Big-name chief executives from the US – the likes of Jamie Dimon from JP Morgan – pulled out on Monday but the Brits followed only on Tuesday, leaving the impression they jumped only once it was less embarrassing, or commercially safer, to do so.

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Australia should be 'exporting sunshine, not coal', economist Jeffrey Sachs tells Q&A

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 20:47

US analyst criticises successive governments for defending coal in wake of alarming IPCC report on climate change

Economist Jeffrey Sachs has criticised successive Australian governments for “defending a 19th or 20th century industry” rather than taking decisive action on climate change, saying Australia should be “exporting sunshine, not coal”.

“Make a plan, make a timeline, tell the world how you’re going to decarbonise, and then we’ll all be happy to hear from Australia that there’s really a plan,” Sachs said on the ABC’s Q&A program on Monday night. “All we see is one PM after another falling over this issue.

Related: Australian government backs coal in defiance of IPCC climate warning

Related: Scott Morrison will change the law to ban religious schools expelling gay students

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Categories: Sustainable Living

UK scientists turn coffee industry waste into electricity

Sun, 10/14/2018 - 15:34

Fuel cell could help Colombian farmers by using microbes to eat waste and develop energy

Scientists have turned coffee waste into electricity for the first time, in research that could help farmers and curb pollution in the developing world.

The coffee industry generates a huge amount of liquid waste during the process of turning the raw material of the tree – the coffee cherries – into the 9.5m tons of coffee the world produces each year.

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Forget coal wars, says Alan Finkel – look at emission outcomes

Sun, 10/14/2018 - 03:41

Chief scientist says Australia must use all available technologies

Australia’s chief scientist says the question facing the nation’s energy future is not about renewables versus coal but how best to create “a whole-of-economy emissions reduction strategy”.

In a prerecorded interview with Sky released on Sunday, Dr Alan Finkel responded to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report, which warned that greenhouse gas pollution needs to reach zero by 2050 if the world is to have any hope of stopping global warming at 1.5C.

Related: Australia's climate idiocracy must end – and there's no time to waste | Greg Jericho

Australia’s Chief Scientist Alan Finkel: People paint themselves into an anti-coal corner or a pro-coal corner. The only question of relevance is to look at the atmospheric emissions.

MORE: #SpeersonSunday

Related: In a canter? Climate experts say Australia will not meet emissions targets

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Cuadrilla is to start fracking in Lancashire. But we will not give in | Caroline Lucas

Sat, 10/13/2018 - 06:00

The high court’s decision in favour of the shale gas giant will not deter the mass movement fighting the industry all the way

A whole new fossil fuel industry will launch in the UK on Saturday when energy giant Cuadrilla starts fracking for shale gas. This follows the defeat of Lancashire resident Bob Dennett’s attempt to block fracking in his local area with a court injunction – and comes just six days after a landmark report from the UN’s IPCC warning that we have just 12 years to prevent catastrophic climate breakdown.

I can’t deny the fracking decision is a devastating blow for everyone in the UK who cares about our future and our democracy.

Related: Fracking protesters blockade site where UK work due to restart

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Weatherwatch: the UK's climate is ideal for renewable energy

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 20:30

Britain is a leader in offshore wind but lacks political will to invest in other emerging technologies

A maritime climate with wind, sun and waves and an island surrounded by shallow seas with a high tidal range makes the UK probably the best-placed country in the world to take advantage of renewable energy.

Britain is already a world leader in offshore wind but has been reluctant to invest in other promising technologies. Underwater sea turbines in particular, wave power and various forms of tidal barrage have failed to be given the political support needed to get them into the mainstream.

Related: Fears for future of UK onshore wind power despite record growth

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Categories: Sustainable Living

We must win the battle to limit global warming | Letters

Tue, 10/09/2018 - 17:28
Readers including Fawzi Ibrahim and Caroline Lucas MP discuss ways to combat greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change

The “final tick box” to limit global warming is not just political (Global warming must not exceed 1.5C, landmark UN report warns, 8 October), it is also economic. Capitalism, the cause of global warming, cannot be its remedy. Industrial production came about when commodity production became dominant – an economic system in which commodities are produced for the sole purpose of being sold, upon which they return more money to the investors than their original outlay.

Related: Environmental warnings should stop drivers taking the road to ruin | Letters

Related: The time is now for a global pact for the environment | Letter

Related: The need to invest in renewables | Letters

Related: US must play leading role to save planet | Letter

Related: France offers lessons on plastic bags | Brief letters

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Categories: Sustainable Living

The need to invest in renewables | Letters

Tue, 10/09/2018 - 17:24

Feed-in tariff subsidies must not be abandoned, writes Sandra Walmsley, while Gaynor Adey says the UK government should look again at the Swansea Bay tidal project

Nicholas Stern suggests that strong political will is needed if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change (All leaders must recognise the choice: act decisively now or suffer the consequences later, Analysis, 8 October). Unfortunately, there no evidence of such will, and the rollercoaster of policy for renewables means that potentially thriving industries have faced uncertainty.

82% of UK citizens support renewables, yet the management of subsidies has already reduced the number of registered PV installers by more than 60%. Current proposals on abandoning feed-in tariff (FiT) subsidies will cause even more job and skills losses. Maintaining the current export tariff on FiTs is essential. Proposals for all suitable new buildings to have renewable energy systems would have a major effect on carbon emissions for a very small proportion of the costs.

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Categories: Sustainable Living

IPCC climate change report calls for urgent action to phase out fossil fuels – as it happened

Mon, 10/08/2018 - 11:16

UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says coal-fired electricity must end by 2050 if we are to limit global warming rises to 1.5C

12.14pm BST


That is it from the liveblog. For all the news and reaction to the IPCC report please follow our coverage here.

11.31am BST

Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive at UK Green Building Council (UKGBC), said:

This report from the IPCC is a wake-up call for governments and businesses across the globe. One of the goals of the international 2015 COP21 climate deal was to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognising that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change. This latest IPCC report points to the urgency and scale of action required to achieve this, which should be keenly reviewed by every single boardroom. There is no doubt that business leaders need to make bold decisions today to transition to a low/no-carbon economy that can sustain future generations.

The construction and property industry in the UK is an economic juggernaut, and our buildings account for approximately 30% of carbon emissions. It is also the industry with the most cost-effective means of reducing carbon emissions so it will be a vital catalyst for change in the wider economy. At UKGBC we know that built environment businesses can, and must, lead the charge against climate change. Our Advancing Net Zero programme is a collaborative initiative to drive the transition to a net zero carbon built environment by 2050 – which would be commensurate with the 1.5°C limit. Only by all working together to effect change at speed and at scale will we stand any chance of rising to the challenge outlined today.

11.28am BST

According to my colleague Jon Watts, the big question now is whether governments will act on the report or ignore it:

In Britain, the next step will be a meeting in parliament to discuss how to move towards net zero emissions. It will be chaired by Lord Krebs, former member of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), and speakers will include Prof Jim Skea, who was co-chair of an IPCC working group, and Baroness Brown. The government to expected to formally ask the CCC for advice around 15 October.

11.16am BST

Gebru Jember Endalew, the chair of the Least Developed Countries Group, one of the key negotiating blocks in climate talks representing the world’s poorest countries, said:

Communities across the world are already experiencing the devastating impacts of 1C global warming. Each fraction of a degree that global temperatures rise is extremely dangerous.

Limiting global temperature increases to 1.5C means significantly decreased levels of food insecurity, water shortages, destruction of infrastructure, and displacement from sea level rise and other impacts. To the lives and livelihoods of billions, that half a degree is everything.

Governments must increase climate action now and submit more ambitious plans for the future. This includes increasing the level of support to developing countries to enable them to develop and lift their people out of poverty without going down a traditional, unsustainable development pathway.

This IPCC report confirms that loss and damage resulting from climate change will only worsen with further warming with much greater losses at 2C than at 1.5C. It is particularly vulnerable countries like the least developed countries that are worst affected by the devastating impacts of climate change and bear the greatest cost from the damage it causes, despite contributing the least to the problem. This injustice must be addressed by the international community through the provision of support for dealing with loss and damage.

The most important message of this IPCC report is that achieving 1.5C is necessary, achievable and urgent. A safer, more prosperous future is possible with immediate action to implement transformative change across societies. There is a need to take advantage of the increasing availability of affordable, renewable and efficient energy solutions, rapidly reduce the use of fossil fuels, with coal phased out by mid-century, preserve and restore forests and soils, promote sustainable agriculture and implement other real climate solutions that together can bring about a zero-carbon economy.

The IPCC report has made even clearer the need for the Paris rulebook to properly reflect the breadth of action required by all countries to achieve the agreement’s 1.5C goal. Countries must deliver a robust rulebook that will ensure adequate action is taken to cut emissions, adapt to climate change and address loss and damage, and that support is provided to enable poorer countries to do the same.

10.48am BST

Dr Jo House, reader in environmental science and policy at the Cabot Institute, University of Bristol, said today’s report underlines the need “to rapidly replace fossil fuel emissions with low-cost renewable energy technologies that are already widely available”.

She added:

The report also highlights the urgent needs to protect forests and peatlands – these store more carbon than fossil fuel reserves, but also suck it out of the atmosphere, removing nearly a third of our current carbon dioxide emissions. Planting new forests can remove carbon from the atmosphere, as can using plants’ biomass for energy with carbon capture and storage technology. Some scenarios rely on planting up to 700Mha of land to bioenergy crops – that’s twice the size of India. To avoid relying on land for bioenergy mitigation, competing with food and nature, we have to address fossil fuel and industrial emissions. The IPCC will produce a special report on climate change and land next year to look further into land based mitigation and the co-benefits and tradeoffs.

10.35am BST

This is a good video from climate campaigner Bill McKibben (thanks for highlighting, @jessthecrip).

He says although individual choices about how we live are important, it is only by coming together and forcing through real systemic change (100% renewable towns and cities, keeping carbon in the ground and divestment from fossil fuels) that climate breakdown can be avoided.

10.16am BST

There is no shortage of political opposition to meaningful climate action, from the US president, Donald Trump, to Brazil’s far-right populist Jair Bolsonaro. And this morning Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, has put himself firmly in that category.

Speaking before the IPCC report was released he said there was no money for “global climate conferences and all that nonsense”.

9.49am BST

George Monbiot has written a powerful thread about the threat we face and what needs to be done:

1. Because the lobbying power of fossil fuel-based businesses outweighs that of any other faction. The fossil fuel industry uses its profits to lobby for continued extraction and use. Its tactics are highly sophisticated.

3. This campaign of denial resonates with an innate resistance to change, reinforced by a tendency known as System Justification: a fundamental human weakness.

5. Perpetual growth was impossible until coal was widely used: before then, industrial expansion led to agricultural depression, breaking the cycle of accumulation (see EA Wrigley, Energy and the English Industrial Revoliution). So we came to see progress = growth = fossil fuel

7. This shift will not occur through buying different products or reducing the use of plastic bags, or any other form of voluntary consumer action, valid as these may be. It will occur only through political action.

8. What does this mean? Mobilisation on a massive scale, through groups such as, to put environmental breakdown at the front and centre of political life. We need to break through vested interests, denial and System Justification to force government action

10. We need to get embarassing about it, to overcome our own reticence, even when we are labelled Jeremiahs or Cassandras, and risk upsetting people in alerting them to what is happening and what we need to do.

9.38am BST

More from Labour’s Rebecca Long-Bailey on Labour’s commitment to tackling climate breakdown:

Because it is not lack of knowledge which is preventing action on #ClimateChange 2/

And it is not lack of technology that is preventing action on #ClimateChange 4/

9.30am BST

Caroline Lucas, MP for and former leader of the Green party, said:

This report couldn’t be written in stronger terms: we are at a tipping point on the edge of complete climate breakdown, and governments around the world are failing to prevent it.

Our own government is pushing us towards that tipping point with carbon intensive and ecologically destructive projects like airport expansion, fracking and HS2 – while slashing support for renewables and continuing to subsidise fossil fuels.

9.27am BST

It is worth revisiting this piece from last week by my colleague George Monbiot, who argues that unless we kick our addiction to economic growth we can not meet the challenge posed by the unfolding climate breakdown.

Given that economic growth, in nations that are already rich enough to meet the needs of all, requires an increase in pointless consumption, it is hard to see how it can ever be decoupled from the assault on the living planet.

9.21am BST

The Aldersgate Group, which represents some of the of the UK’s leading businesses, said the report sets out clear opportunities for a zero-carbon economy.

Nick Molho, executive director, said:

This report from the world’s leading climate scientists is clear that there are compelling environmental, economic and social benefits to limiting the increase in global temperatures to 1.5C as envisaged in the Paris agreement. Whilst achieving such a target will require challenging emission cuts across the economy, important progress has already been made and an increase in ambition would unlock a significant innovation and investment opportunity.

With strengths in areas such as offshore wind and electric vehicle manufacturing, energy efficient building design and green financial and legal services, UK businesses have a strong basis from which to accelerate emission cuts and be at the forefront of the development of the new clean technologies and services which the world economy will increasingly demand.

Major economies now need to increase their existing emissions reduction pledges under the Paris agreement and adopt net zero-emissions targets in line with the conclusions of the IPCC report. The prime minister made the right call when she announced at the UN general assembly that the UK will be joining the Carbon Neutrality Coalition, especially as this follows growing public backing and cross-party support for a net zero target.

9.07am BST

Claire Perry, minister for energy, has put out a brief statement.

This report should act as a rallying cry for governments around the world to innovate, invest, and raise ambition to avert catastrophic climate change. The UK has already shown carbon abatement and prosperity can go hand-in-hand and we lead the world in clean growth, slashing emissions by more than 40% since 1990 while growing our economy ahead of the G7. There is now no excuse and real action is needed.

9.01am BST

Jagoda Munić, director of Friends of the Earth Europe, said the message from the report was stark, and warned that Europe was not doing enough:

The fossil fuel age has to end ... To have any chance of avoiding the chaos, droughts and rising tides of 1.5C or more of global warming, we must massively and speedily transform our society to kick our fossil fuel addiction.

The EU must do its fair share, beginning with completely stopping funding for fossil fuels and switching to 100% renewables by 2030. Currently the EU is far off track. Going to ‘net zero’ by 2050 is simply too late for Europe to stop burning carbon – and still it does not represent zero fossil fuels. Europe needs a completely fossil-free energy system by 2030.

This is a climate emergency – for many around the world preventing climate catastrophe and temperature rises exceeding 1.5C is a matter of life and death. Only radical system change offers a pathway towards hope and out of despair. We want a just transition to a clean energy system that benefits people, not corporations.

8.57am BST

The Aldersgate Group, an alliance of leading business groups committed to sustainable economy, has welcomed the report.

Here’s a selection of what some of its prominent members have said:

Keeping global temperature increases to 1.5C will help safeguard our investment portfolios and protect our customers savings. The long-term negative financial consequences of climate change are far, far greater than the short-term financial risks of transitioning to the Paris agreement. Today’s report reiterates the need for policymakers to accelerate action to reduce carbon emissions and meet the agreed aims of the Paris agreement.

Our target is to reduce the carbon emissions intensity of our operations by 87% by 2030 against a 2016/17 baseline.

We will contribute by decarbonising our energy use including electricity and heating, using zero-emissions deliveries, moving to a circular business model and enabling millions of customers and co-workers to take climate action in their everyday lives.

We have already cut our operational emission intensity by nearly 70% since 2010 and over the coming months we will be unveiling the next stage in our plans to reduce our environmental impact and emissions even further. Waitrose and Partners continues to lead in its commitment to truly sustainable agriculture, while John Lewis and Partners is pioneering circular economy solutions that will lessen humanity’s impact on the environment.

We need to take bolder, faster action and shift our mind-set to one of embracing the inevitability and opportunity of the low-carbon economy.

8.50am BST

More from the Labour party on today’s IPCC report.

Rebecca Long-Bailey, Labour’s shadow business, energy and industrial strategy secretary, who seems to be fronting a lot of the party’s climate breakdown agenda, said the report makes clear that avoiding dangerous climate change will require “a transformational effort”:

That is precisely what Labour is offering – a plan to rapidly decarbonise our energy system as part of a green jobs revolution, and a long term target of net zero emissions before 2050. This would make the UK one of the few countries in the world on track to meet the Paris agreement goals.

The Tories are way off course to meeting our existing climate targets, and every day this government remains in power the window of opportunity to tackle the climate crisis shrinks. It is a cruel irony that today we were also expecting the first horizontal shale fracking in the UK – an industry the government has pushed at the expense of local communities, air quality and our climate.

8.48am BST

Ben Backwell, chief executive of the Global Wind Energy Council, welcomed the report.

He said:

The IPCC report lays out the scale of the challenge and the opportunity ahead for the wind industry: renewables should supply 70-85% of electricity by 2050.

We need to shoulder the responsibility and make this a reality along with our partners in solar photovoltaics and storage.

8.45am BST

Mary Robinson, former Irish president and a UN special envoy on climate, insisted the ambitious recommendations in the report are “doable”.

The richer parts of the world now have to really take seriously and do it the climate justice way.

This puts the responsibility on all governments to have an intense dialogue now and to explain that we have 11 years until 2030 to safeguard the world for our children and grandchildren.

8.12am BST

Barry Gardiner, shadow minister for international climate change in the UK, described the report as a “wake-up call”.

7.49am BST

‘Trump can’t tear up international agreement on climate change’

7.24am BST

A key point the IPCC has made before but which is underlined this time around: to address global warming we are going to have to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

If the world is to limit global warming to 1.5C, it is estimated somewhere between 100 and 1,000 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide will need to effectively sucked from the sky.

7.07am BST

A landmark UN report from the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) has delivered a dramatic and extraordinarily serious warning: We have little more than a decade to get global warming under control or the world is at risk.

6.43am BST

Government and corporate leaders must show they understand the science and step up to the challenge set today, Greenpeace says, but it’s also up to the individual.

“Every person has to do everything in their power to change course and follow the plan that is included in the IPCC report. Will we get there in time? Nobody knows,” says Kaisa Kosonen, senior policy adviser at Greenpeace Nordic.

6.37am BST

Love to be twenty years away from an actual apocalypse and the main political response is “science isn’t real”

6.18am BST

“Burying our heads in the sand cannot be contemplated as an option any longer,” says Glen Klatovsky, deputy chief executive of

“The climate crisis is here and already impacting the most vulnerable and the least responsible for creating it. The only way to achieve it is to stop all fossil fuel extraction and redirect the massive resources currently spent on the fossil fuel economy towards the renewable energy transition.”

6.00am BST

The full report has the word "Australia" more than 30 times in body text, not including the mentions of all the Australia scientists - more than a dozen - who contributed. #SR15 #IPCC

5.44am BST

It’s a “critical moment”, says Jonathan Watts. In that press conference earlier was the looming reality that there is a growing gap between what scientists are urging and what politicians are willing to do.

We already know the US wants to pull out of the Paris agreement. Brazil has thrown support behind a presidential candidate who wants to do the same. Australia’s prime minister has rejected calls from his party colleagues to join them but at the same time claims the country is on track to meet targets (spoiler: it’s probably not).

Related: World leaders told they must act over climate change 'cliff-edge'

5.15am BST

Pep Canadell, the executive director of the Global Carbon Project, makes a good point – that this is likely to be the last reminder that the temperature rise can be limited to 1.5C if there is sufficient will.

The report finds there are no biophysical or technical roadblocks to doing it, though he says the IPCC has misstepped by talking about what needs to be achieved decades down the line given governments don’t respond to those timescales.

4.54am BST

That’s certainly one way of putting it.

When the BBC sounds like the Onion

4.41am BST

The Conversation has put together a great simplified explainer on the report “at a glance”.

Along with some handy graphs and charts, the article notes the world will need to be carbon-neutral by the year 2047 if we are to have a 66% chance of limiting warming to 1.5C. That chance drops to 50% if we take until 2058.

4.36am BST

The Australian Academy of Science has put together a video about the report.

4.22am BST

Low-lying island nations, such as those across the Pacific, have been raising their concerns for many years as they are among the first to feel the “life and death issue” of rising sea levels.

“Pacific Island nations have long maintained that we need “1.5 to stay alive’,” said Maria Timon Chi-Fang, Pacific outreach officer for the Pacific Calling Partnership.

“My home country of Kiribati is only two metres above sea level, and sea level rise is a life-or-death issue for us. Already with 1C of warming, we are seeing more frequent and damaging storms, the loss of our crop-growing lands and freshwater resources, and our homes flooded.

“Many I-Kiribati are already resigned to having to leave home as life on the islands becomes untenable, and we know many of our Pacific neighbours are facing the same crisis.

“We call on Australia and other big carbon polluters to give us a fair go at preserving our culture and having the dignified, safe and secure future that we deserve.”

4.09am BST

Still in Australia, which I earlier noted was reportedly among nations to push back on elements of the report about a coal phase-out (the government denies this):

Prime minister Scott Morrison – under fire for having recently abandoned a policy to cut emissions from electricity – said his government would “look at the report carefully” but claimed “only a year ago the same report said that the policies Australia has was right on the money”.

There are a lot bigger players than us out there ... emissions per capita in Australia are at their lowest level for decades ... but at the end of the day we want to ensure electricity prices are lower.

3.56am BST

There’s an interesting part of the report which relates to coral, and specifically the large-scale bleaching events which hit the Great Barrier Reef, off Australia’s north-east coast, in recent years.

The bleaching events were predicted, but came far sooner than expected, leading the report to conclude the research community had possibly underestimated the impact of global warming on coral.

Interesting admission in full #IPCC #SR15 report on impacts of warming on corals. ".. the research community has under-estimated climate risks for coral reefs."

Related: Great Barrier Reef faces dire threat with 2C global warming, UN report says

3.35am BST

I am keeping one ear on the press conference as I bring you the international reaction to this report.

The panel has just been asked if the fossil fuel industry was represented.

While we are still reviewing the draft, the World Coal Association believes that any credible pathway to meeting the 1.5C scenario must focus on emissions rather than fuel. That is why [carbon capture and storage] is so vital.

Forecasts from the [International Energy Agency] and other credible experts continue to see a role for coal for the foreseeable future. Going into COP24, we will be campaigning for greater action on all low emissions technologies including CCS.

Q: How soon do coal, oil, and natural gas need to be phased out entirely?

IPCC: "The report is quite clear ... all pathways require quite significant changes in the pattern of fossil fuel use. ... Coal will have to be reduced very, very substantially by mid-century."

3.20am BST

Ban Ki-moon, former United Nations secretary general:

Equity, inclusivity and cooperation must underpin our collective response to meet the 1.5°C target, with states acting in the same spirit that led to the Paris agreement and the sustainable development goals. Climate change respects no borders; our actions must transcend all frontiers.

This report is not a wake-up call, it is a ticking time bomb. Climate activists have been calling for decades for leaders to show responsibility and take urgent action, but we have barely scratched the surface of what needs to be done. Further failure would be an unconscionable betrayal of the planet and future generations.

The IPCC report starkly sets out the challenges of securing a just transition to a 1.5C world, and the urgency with which this needs to be accomplished. This can only be done by a people-centred, rights-based approach with justice and solidarity at its heart. The time for talking is long past; leaders need to step up, serve their people and act immediately.

The threats posed by climate change to planetary health cannot be understated. The time for stating the scale of the problem has passed, and we now need to move to urgent, radical action to keep temperature rises to 1.5°C. It cannot be left to climate scientists and activists alone – it is a battle that must be joined by all those with an interest in our future survival.

If we allow temperatures to rise above 1.5°C then all the progress on prosperity, growth and development risks being wiped out. Our economic paradigm needs to shift to promote zero-carbon, climate-resilient policies. This means putting a price on carbon and investing in new, sustainable technologies, but also giving those most affected a voice in developing new growth models.

The report shows that we only have the slimmest of opportunities remaining to avoid unthinkable damage to the climate system that supports life as we know it. I have no doubt that historians will look back at these findings as one of the defining moments in the course of human affairs. I urge all civilised nations to take responsibility for it by dramatically increasing our efforts to cut the emissions responsible for the crisis and to do what is necessary to help vulnerable people respond to some of the devastating consequences we now know can no longer be avoided.

3.15am BST

The Trump administration is a “rogue outlier”, says the former US vice president Al Gore.

Responding to the IPCC report, Gore said the Paris agreement was “monumental” but now nations had to go further, and time was running out.

3.07am BST

The IPCC report is a wake-up call for slumbering world leaders,” says Andrew Steer, president and CEO, World Resources Institute.

“The difference in impacts between 1.5 and 2C of warming is large, and potentially game changing. And, the devastation that would come with today’s 3-4C trajectory would be vastly greater. Each tenth of a degree matters – and tragically it’s the poor who will be most affected.”

The consequences of #climate change in a 2˚C world are far greater than with 1.5˚C of warming. But the world is far off track from either. #SR15 #IPCC

3.04am BST

So is the 1.5C target feasible? That’s the big early question.

Professor Piers Forster from the University of Leeds is one of the lead authors of the Special Report chapter, which looks at the different “pathways” that governments could take. He tells me he is “exhausted but elated” the report was finished on time (one of the sessions went for 30 hours straight).

2.58am BST

There is an absolute mountain of reaction coming through to the report. I’ll bring it to you shortly.

Here’s a piece written by Nicholas Stern, IG Patel professor of economics and government and chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Human activities are currently emitting about 42bn tonnes of carbon dioxide every year, and at that rate the carbon budget – allowing us a 50-50 chance of keeping warming to 1.5C – would be exhausted within 20 years.

Even 1.5C of warming would have brutal consequences, according to the report. Poor people, in particular, would suffer as the threat of food and water shortages increase in some parts of the world.

Related: We must reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero or face more floods | Nicholas Stern

2.51am BST

Question: What did it feel like personally, as humans, compiling this report?

“It’s a tremendous collective endeavour.”

2.40am BST

Some pretty direct statements coming from the panel towards the end of the press conference.

The report shows we are at a crossroads, and what happens between now and 2030 is critical, especially for Co2 emissions. If we don’t act now and have substantial reductions in emissions over the next decade we are making it very challenging to impossible to keep global warming to just 1.5C.

2.36am BST

One of the key questions repeatedly coming up is whether world governments will act on the report’s warnings and recommendations.

This observation is from our global environment editor, formerly Latin America correspondent.

World scientists say forests are essential if global warming is to keep to 1.5C on the same day that 46% of Brazilians vote for a presidential candidate who has vowed to open the Amazon to agribusiness.

2.34am BST

Question: What consumer aspects does the report tackle? What lifestyle changes can people make?

Answer: The report is also clear that everyone has the means to act relating to daily choices. Energy demands and diets are both key parts of the pathways to reductions.

2.24am BST

The presentation is done, I’ll now bring you some key Q&As from the floor.

Question: Every IPCC report suggests greenhouse gases need to be reduced urgently. What’s new about this report?

Question: How optimistic are you on a scale from one to 10?

Question: What about the US pulling out of Paris?

2.18am BST

We earlier heard from the co-chairs of the report a summary of the differences between 1.5C and 2C temperature rises. Here’s more from Adam Morton.

A major point of the report, obviously enough, is to illustrate the difference between limiting warming to 1.5C and 2C by 2100.

2.16am BST

However, these limits require changes on an “unprecedented scale”.

Rapid progress is being made in some areas but needs to be picked up in transport and land management.

2.14am BST

More from the co-chairs:

2.08am BST

Limiting warming to 1.5C is not impossible but will require unprecedented transitions in all aspects of society, says Hoesung Lee.

Every bit of warming matters, he says, before handing over to co-chairs.

A huge degree of difference. New #IPCC #SR15 report spells out difference in harms between another 0.9 and 1.8 dF of warming. Lost lives, coral & maybe ice sheet. But it is unlikely world can limit warming to lower goal.

2.06am BST

The current global state-of-play as described in the report:

2.05am BST

The chair of the IPCC, Hoesung Lee, is now addressing media on what he calls “one of the most important reports” produced by the IPCC, and “certainly one of the most keenly awaited”.

He says previous reports gave governments a clear understanding of the implications of 2C warming, but there was “relatively little” about 1.5C.

2.02am BST

The report is public.

“It’s a line in the sand and what it says to our species is that this is the moment and we must act now,” says Debra Roberts, a co-chair of the working group on impacts.

1.59am BST

The IPCC press conference will start in a few minutes, and I’ll bring you updates. We’ll also have extensive reporting and analysis on the report itself.

In the meantime, here’s a recent piece on the possibility of the Earth becoming a “hothouse”.

We’re already at 1C of warming, so the extra half a degree isn’t far away – many scientists will say it’s already locked in, while others say there are plausible ways to stabilise temperatures at that level.

But in August, one of the world’s leading scientific journals – the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences – published a “perspective” article that has become known as the “hothouse Earth” paper.

Related: Earth's climate monsters could be unleashed as temperatures rise | Graham Readfearn

1.35am BST

Some information on the report itself, outlined by chair of the IPCC, Hoesung Lee, in a speech last week (pdf).

It was commissioned as part of the Paris agreement in 2016, the IPCC was invited to prepare a report assessing the impacts of 1.5C warming and related emissions pathways.

At that time, relatively little was known about the risks avoided in a 1.5C world compared with a 2C warmer world, or about the pathway of greenhouse gas emissions compatible with limiting global warming to 1.5C.

1.21am BST

Politically, the issue of global warming and how to address it is in a much more precarious situation than when this report was commissioned in 2016.

Donald Trump has pledged to withdraw the US from the Paris accord. The Australian government – currently coming through another bout of leadership instability – has also flagged withdrawing. It was already failing its targets.

1.11am BST

In a little under an hour, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will be releasing its highly anticipated special report on global warming of 1.5C.

The news is not good, with the report – based on more than 6,000 scientific works – expected to warn that the world is nowhere near on track to reach its targets unless there is drastic, world-changing action immediately.

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Categories: Sustainable Living

First commercial flight partly fuelled by recycled waste lands in UK

Wed, 10/03/2018 - 12:39

Virgin Atlantic flight from Orlando to Gatwick powered by blend of jet fuel and ethanol

The first commercial flight to use jet fuel partly made from recycled industrial waste has landed at Gatwick.

The Virgin Atlantic plane, travelling from Orlando to London, was powered by a new blend of normal jet fuel and ethanol produced from waste gases, which the airline says could significantly lower aviation’s carbon footprint.

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Australia's emissions data would shame the Coalition, if such a thing were possible | Greg Jericho

Mon, 10/01/2018 - 18:00

The government consistently buries the quarterly figures, and no wonder

Late on Friday, under the cover of the release of the first interim report from the Hayne royal commission into the financial sector and the day before a weekend of AFL and NRL grand finals, the government released the latest quarterly data showing greenhouse gas emissions had once again risen.

You can call this government many things – a bunch of dolts deluded into believing climate change is a global conspiracy, a bunch of feckless cowards lacking the intellectual ability or political acumen to stand up to those climate change-denying fools occupying positions on the backbench and in cabinet – but you can’t call them subtle.

Related: Australia's emissions record is terrible. It's time for this government to stop pretending | Greg Jericho

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Categories: Sustainable Living

PM claims Australia will meet Paris target 'in a canter' despite emissions climbing

Sun, 09/30/2018 - 03:38

Morrison says rate of increase not as high as previous years and renewables investment will ensure Australia meets commitment

Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions have continued to rise, but Scott Morrison seized on the silver lining, maintaining Australia would meet its Paris commitment, despite the government having no legislated instrument to help it get there.

Figures released on Friday showed Australia’s emissions increased 1.3% in the year to March 2018, up all sectors – except land use and electricity, where renewable technologies were having an impact on the latter.

Related: Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions climb again amid climate policy vacuum

Related: Business council faces negative ad blitz over criticism of 45% emissions target

Related: Steep emissions reductions targets won't drive up power bills, modelling shows

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Business council faces negative ad blitz over criticism of 45% emissions target

Wed, 09/26/2018 - 18:00

Australia Institute will launch advertising campaign debunking assertion that 45% target would wreck economy

The Business Council of Australia will find itself the target of a negative advertising campaign for declaring that an emissions reduction target of 45% would wreck the Australian economy.

With Labor planning to go to the federal election with an emissions reduction target of 45%, and the Coalition spoiling for a partisan fight, the progressive thinktank the Australia Institute will invest campaign resources in debunking a claim from the BCA that the proposed target is “economy-wrecking”.

The emissions target of 26% is appropriate and achievable. 45% is an economy wrecking target. #auspol

Related: Energy minister's electorate backs higher emissions reduction target, poll shows

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Abandoning nuclear power plans 'would push up carbon emissions'

Wed, 09/26/2018 - 17:07

Report due to be published on Thursday warns of ‘folly of technological tribalism’

Abandoning the UK’s ambitions for a number of new nuclear power stations would cause carbon emissions to spike and push up energy costs, according to lobbyists led by a former Conservative MP.

The New Nuclear Watch Institute warned against what it called the “folly of technological tribalism” of pursuing a future powered by renewables and gas-fired power stations, rather than any new nuclear plants.

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Corbyn vows to end 'greed-is-good' capitalism in UK

Tue, 09/25/2018 - 21:30

In conference speech Labour leader to lay out plans to change direction of economy

Jeremy Corbyn will on Wednesday attack the “greed-is-good” capitalism that he claims has resulted in large swaths of the UK being left behind, promising a raft of new policies including a “green jobs revolution” that will create 400,000 new positions.

The Labour leader will attempt to reset the theme of the Labour conference which has so far been dominated by deep divisions over its Brexit stance and return to his core argument about the failure of the broken economic system.

Related: Labour delegates back Keir Starmer push for public vote on Brexit

Related: Has Labour's stance on Brexit changed?

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Arlene Foster: Martin McGuinness knew of 'cash for ash' warnings

Tue, 09/25/2018 - 18:41

DUP leader claims deputy first minister at time was aware of concerns about energy scheme

Arlene Foster, the Democratic Unionist party leader, has claimed Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness knew of warnings about a botched green energy scheme that cost the taxpayer hundreds of millions of pounds.

A public inquiry into the “cash for ash” scandal heard evidence from Foster on Tuesday that she had told the late deputy first minister about a note from a whistleblower that claimed people were abusing the system for financial gain.

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Labour wants green energy to power most UK homes by 2030

Mon, 09/24/2018 - 21:00

Party committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero by middle of the century

Almost all of Britain’s homes and businesses would be powered by wind, solar and nuclear power by 2030, under bold new green energy plans being outlined by Labour.

Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary, will declare on Tuesday that the party is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero by the middle of the century. The UK’s current goal is an 80% cut by 2050.

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Only 20% of rich Britons hold ethical assets, study finds

Wed, 09/19/2018 - 05:01

UBS says Britons were second-least likely to buy into sustainable investments after Americans

Only one in every five of the UK’s super-rich have even a tiny fraction of their assets held in sustainable investments, according to research which reveals that wealthy Britons are lagging behind Chinese and Brazilian millionaires in investing their money ethically.

Research by UBS Global Wealth Management found that just 20% of British high net worth individuals (HNWIs) – classed as those with more than $1m (£760,000) in investable assets – hold at least 1% of their fortunes in sustainable investments. This compared with an average of 39% of HNWIs across the world.

Related: Investing: It’s not that difficult to get the big things right

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Energy minister's electorate backs higher emissions reduction target, poll shows

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 18:00

ReachTel poll of Angus Taylor’s voters finds 42.3% want Australia to cut emissions more deeply

More voters in the electorate of the new energy minister, Angus Taylor, support an emissions reduction target for electricity and a higher national target than the Paris commitment than oppose those positions.

A ReachTel poll of 690 residents across the federal electorate of Hume, which reaches from Boorowa in the southern tablelands of New South Wales to Camden on Sydney’s southern fringe, was commissioned by the Australia Institute. It found the sample was divided over a range of climate and energy questions, but more people supported stronger action on emissions reduction than opposed it.

Related: Coalition won't replace renewables target after it winds down in 2020

Related: Scott Morrison cancels Coag premiers meeting amid policy upheaval

.@AngusTaylorMP in #qt "the (RET) target reaches a peak in 2020 and we will not be replacing that with anything." Extraordinarily confirmation the Liberals will have no energy policy! He's the Minister for higher power prices and anti-renewables #auspol

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Coalition won't replace renewables target after it winds down in 2020

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 06:39

‘We will reach the 26% emission reduction target without additional intervention,’ minister says

The energy minister, Angus Taylor, says the Morrison government will not be replacing the renewable energy target “with anything” after it winds down in 2020.

Taylor confirmed there would be no policy to reduce emissions in the electricity sector during an answer to the Greens MP Adam Bandt in question time on Tuesday.

Related: Steep emissions reductions targets won't drive up power bills, modelling shows

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Categories: Sustainable Living