Global warming news

Negotiators grab head start on monumental climate challenge

PARIS (Reuters) - Senior negotiators from almost 200 nations on Sunday began thrashing out a new global deal to curb climate change as the president of China, the world's biggest polluter, landed in Paris.

Read more [Reuters]

Negotiators grab head start on monumental climate challenge

PARIS (Reuters) - Senior negotiators from almost 200 nations on Sunday began thrashing out a new global deal to curb climate change as the president of China, the world's biggest polluter, landed in Paris.

Read more [Reuters]

'No Planet B,' marchers worldwide tell leaders before U.N. climate summit

PARIS/PERTH, Australia (Reuters) - More than half a million people from Australia to Paraguay joined the biggest day of climate change activism in history on Sunday, telling world leaders gathering for a summit in Paris there is "No Planet B" in the fight against global warming.

Read more [Reuters]

U.N. climate deal 'quite close': Latvian president

RIGA (Reuters) - World leaders are "quite close" to reaching a deal to fight climate change when they meet in Paris from Monday, Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis, Europe's first Green party head of state, said, adding any deal should be legally binding.

Read more [Reuters]

In 3 steps, here is what Paris can do - and what we need to do afterwards

The last few weeks have seen the best and the worst in terms of climate change.

Victories which pundits told us for years were "impossible" have been coming at a breathtaking pace. Coal demand is in terminal decline worldwide, after a dramatic – if not completechange of course in China. Oil is also in trouble, with Shell and Statoil retreating from the Alaskan Arctic, President Obama rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline and Alberta putting a cap on tar sands oil. Meanwhile, cities and companies are signing up for a 100% renewable future. Many communities hit by extreme weather are rebuilding sustainably and hundreds of thousands worldwide are building people power to push forward with climate action now – and in the future.

At the same time the news is getting worse. This year will be the hottest year in recorded history. And Indonesia´s forest fires were a massive blow for climate action, emitting more than the entire United States of America – a powerful reminder of just how fast hard-won emission reductions can be jeoparized by greed. Also, despite the climate movement´s recent victories, too often polluters are still dictating policy in North and South. The energy revolution, which is now inevitable, is not going as fast as it needs to, if we’re to keep our climate safe.

The meaning of this year´s climate negotiations has been changed by the recent attacks in Paris, the host city. In response to these terrible crimes, the climate marches around the world this weekend are not just a call to action, but an expression of our shared humanity. Governments must hear this call and make the climate negotiations demonstrate that human cooperation can solve our common problems.

In order to do that, the Paris climate conference must be a starting point for faster and more decisive climate action. As Greenpeace, we have three key criteria that governments must meet:

1. Does the Paris climate agreement send a signal that the age of fossil fuels is over?

The world of energy is changing quickly. Governments in Paris must solidify the direction towards renewables that the world is already on, and state clearly that fossil fuels must be completely phased out by 2050. We need a just transition to a world run on 100% renewable energy for all; a world where workers, our health and our children win. This signal must be clear. It must not be stymied by delays. Therefore, we will ask:

2. Does the Paris climate agreement agree to soon – and continuously – improve national climate action?

We already know that the pledges governments are coming to Paris with are not good enough and will still lead to a very dangerous and destructive world (between 2.7 and 3.7 degrees warmer than in preindustrial times – the estimates vary). Governments and companies need to increase their ambition immediately after Paris. We simply cannot afford to be stuck with insufficient targets for the next 10-15 decisive years. The targets must be ramped up before the Paris agreement enters into force in 2020. And governments need to review and enhance their actions every five years after the Paris agreement comes into force in 2020.

3. Does the Paris climate agreement deliver global solidarity and ensure that polluters pay for the damage they cause?

Some impacts of climate change are with us already and we need sufficient and reliable funding and support for those affected. Greenpeace, for example, supports anchoring the "loss and damage mechanism" under the Paris Agreement, to help support the vulnerable. We expect governments to meet the growing adaptation needs. We will also continue to hold polluters accountable, as we are doing with our call on the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHR). We need the culpability of big fossil fuel companies for fuelling catastrophic climate change to be addressed.

If the three criteria above are met, we’ll take an important step towards a world in which energy is clean, cheap and accessible to all. A world where air and water will be cleaner and where global warming avoids truly hazardous temperatures.

But even if governments take us this one step forward in Paris, it is still only one step. We are the ones that have to keep marching to get us to where we need to go. We need to keep up the pressure in the months and years after the Paris summit. The race between renewables and climate change will only be won if we keep winning like we have been doing on Keystone, coal and the Arctic. We must continue to build our power as a climate movement worldwide in 2016. This is how we force politicians across the globe to end the fossil fuel era and deliver a decent environment for all.

Are you in?

Daniel Mittler is the Political Director of Greenpeace International.

Read more [Greenpeace international]

Canada backs U.S.: climate deal should not be legally binding

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada on Friday backed the U.S. approach to major climate change talks in Paris, saying any carbon reduction targets agreed at the negotiations should not be legally binding.

Read more [Reuters]

Microsoft's Gates to start multi-billion-dollar clean tech initiative

NEW YORK/PARIS (Reuters) - Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates will launch a multi-billion-dollar clean energy research and development initiative with heads of state on Monday, the opening day of the U.N. climate change summit in Paris, the French government said Friday.

Read more [Reuters]

Governments take rose-tinted view of climate projections before summit

OSLO (Reuters) - Before a summit on climate change in Paris next week, many governments are citing scientific studies indicating that their plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions until 2030 will come within 0.7 degrees Celsius of an agreed 2C (3.6 Fahrenheit) target for limiting global warming this century.

Read more [Reuters]

French businesses pledge investment to fight global warming

PARIS (Reuters) - A group of 39 French firms with combined revenue of about 1.2 trillion euros ($1.3 trillion) pledged on Thursday to invest at least 45 billion euros from 2016 to 2020 in renewable energy and low carbon technologies.

Read more [Reuters]

Scientists seek to harvest electricity from algae in green-energy effort

TORONTO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Scientists are making progress in harnessing electricity from algae in what could be a breakthrough in green-energy technology to combat climate change, although mass-market applications are years away, new research suggests.

Read more [Reuters]

Franklin Resources loses bid to skip vote on climate change

BOSTON (Reuters) - In a setback for Franklin Resources Inc that could have implications for other asset managers, a U.S. regulator declined to let the California company skip a shareholder vote over its record on climate change, according to materials provided by activists on Wednesday.

Read more [Reuters]

4 of ExxonMobil’s greatest climate denial hits

In the last few months, exposé after exposé has uncovered how Exxon knew about the dangerous reality of climate change before the media, politicians and just about everyone else. But instead of doing the right thing, or even just sitting on its evidence, Exxon did something much more insidious. It tried to hide the truth from all of us. 

As we approach COP21, a global meeting to address the climate crisis, let's take a look back on four examples of how far Exxon has gone to stop climate action:

1. That time Exxon learned in 1982 that climate change would lead to environmental catastrophe

As early as 1977, Exxon's own scientists were researching human-caused global warming. Exxon dedicated a substantial research budget to studying carbon emissions, developed sophisticated models and published its findings in peer reviewed journals. By 1982, an internal company report told Exxon management "there are some potentially catastrophic events that must be considered… Once the effects are measurable, they might not be reversible."

So Exxon knew. But instead of acting to protect the planet, Exxon acted to protect its profits. It spent the next three decades funding and spreading climate denial. Exxon funded groups like ALEC, the Heartland Institute and the Advancement of Sound Science Coalition — all of which ran successful public climate denial campaigns. The Advancement of Sound Science got its start challenging the dangers of secondhand smoke, so climate denialism wasn't a big stretch. And ALEC — a climate-denying front group that peddles its pro-corporate legislation to US statehouses — spread misinformation so egregious that Shell's investors forced the oil giant to cut ties.

Now, the catastrophic events Exxon predicted are here. But Exxon continues to fund climate denialism to this day.

2. That time Exxon paid for a PR strategy to convince the world climate change wasn't real

Of course, Exxon isn't alone in funding and spreading climate denialism. In 1988, Exxon joined a group of fossil fuel companies and industry front groups organised by the American Petroleum Institute to create the Global Climate Science Communications Plan. The group spent $2 million dollars on a plan to get the average citizens and the media to "understand (recognise) uncertainties" in climate science and for these uncertainties become part of the "conventional wisdom." That "uncertainty" set the planet back decades in terms of climate change policy — and it's one reason people who don't believe in science can run for president in the United States.

3. That time ExxonMobil got the US to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol

For decades, Mobil — and then ExxonMobil — ran a weekly "advertorial" on the opinion page of the New York Times. After the 2000 election, these advertorials practically became a guidebook for the new Bush administration.

In January 2001, an Exxon advertorial called the Kyoto Protocol "unrealistic" and "economically damaging" because of its "fundamental flaws." When President Bush gave his now-infamous June 2001 speech on climate change, he echoed Exxon — calling the policy "unrealistic", "fatally flawed in fundamental ways" and said it would have had a "negative economic impact."

The harm this caused to the planet is undeniable.

4. That time Exxon called the current New York Attorney General investigation into its deception a "distraction"

"I really don't want this to be a distraction." That's ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson talking about the New York Attorney General's investigation into Exxon's "possible climate change lies". Then there's Exxon flack Dick Keil, calling Senator Sheldon Whitehouse's suggestion that Exxon be investigated for corruption "complete bullshit".

Tillerson sounds a lot like Tony "I'd like my life back" Hayward in the midst of the BP Deepwater Horizon spill. We can all sympathise with beleaguered CEOs in the middle of a corporate PR disaster, but the Exxon investigation is more than a distraction. The Attorney General is looking into Exxon's history of misleading statements on climate change, to investors and to the public. California and the Philippines might be next, and the public is clamouring for a federal Department of Justice investigation. Rex Tillerson and Dick Keil might be in denial, but Exxon's woes aren't going anywhere.

The truth is that ExxonMobil and other fossil fuel companies fuelled climate debate for years knowing the harm it was causing. Join us and support an investigation into Exxon and other Big Oil companies now.

Naomi Ages is a Climate Liability Campaigner at Greenpeace USA.

Read more [Greenpeace international]

2015 to be hottest year on record - until next year: WMO

GENEVA (Reuters) - This year will be the hottest on record and 2016 could be even hotter due to the El Niño weather pattern, the World Meteorological Organization said on Wednesday, warning that inaction on climate change could see global average temperatures rise by 6 degrees Celsius or more.

Read more [Reuters]

Canada's Ontario sets 2050 goal for cut in greenhouse gases

(Reuters) - Canada's most populous province, Ontario, said on Tuesday it would aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, although it offered only hints of how it hopes to slow climate change.

Read more [Reuters]

Oil firms have gap big gap between plans and climate pledges

OSLO (Reuters) - The fossil fuel industry is still laying plans for long-term investments and growth that are at odds with many companies' commitments to cut greenhouse gases to slow climate change, according to a study released on Tuesday.

Read more [Reuters]

India opposes deal to phase out fossil fuels by 2100 at climate summit

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India would reject a deal to combat climate change that includes a pledge for the world to wean itself off fossil fuels this century, a senior official said, underlying the difficulties countries face in agreeing how to slow global warming.

Read more [Reuters]

Canada to tell world it's serious about climate change, says PM

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada will tell a green summit next week that it is finally ready to tackle climate change, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday after a meeting with the country's provinces to work out a national strategy.

Read more [Reuters]

Alberta addresses battered environmental reputation with climate plan

CALGARY (Reuters) - The Canadian province of Alberta, holder of the world's third-largest oil reserves, has proposed a new climate change plan that will give efficient oil-producing companies room to grow while cutting carbon emissions, experts and stakeholders said on Monday.

Read more [Reuters]

World on brink of global climate deal

Gland, Switzerland - Next week, world leaders will meet in Paris where a global climate deal is expected to be agreed.
Leaders are under pressure to ensure that they conclude a deal that meets the demands of science and reduces greenhouse gas emissions sufficiently to keep global warming below 1.50C. Scientists agree that this is the upper limit for the survival for many communities and ecosystems, particularly coral reefs, Arctic ice regimes, and Pacific Island states among many others.
The urgency of concluding an ambitious deal was underscored with recent news that global temperatures had risen to 10C above pre-industrial levels, reaffirming scientists' predictions that 2015 will be the hottest year in recorded history.
Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International, said: "Science is telling us that we need to act quickly on climate change and Paris is our moment. We need a strong climate plan that will cut carbon, promote renewable energy, provide promised finance and protect powerful carbon sink ecosystems like forests and the ocean. Only strong action in Paris can help meet the scale and pace needed to avoid runaway climate change and secure a safer future for us all."
Samantha Smith, leader of WWF's Global Climate and Energy Initiative, said: "We are now in a race against time and the relentless logic of climate change. Everyone understands that and our sense is that all parties want an agreement. They now need to turn difficult issues into concrete decisions that match the demands of science and are fair to everyone.  Actions before 2020 – especially in growing renewable energy and energy efficiency, and providing finance and technology – are essential if we are to keep global warming to less than 1.50C," she said.
Tasneem Essop, head of WWF's delegation to COP21 said: "There can be no compromise on the level of ambition we need to address the climate crisis. The UN climate negotiations in Paris will be the most important global moment for progress on climate action since COP15 in Copenhagen (2009). So it has to set us up for the next phase of our work. We need decisions that will set the current level of efforts as the floor so that climate action will get stronger and stronger on a regular basis to close any remaining gaps in ambition."
The climate agreement that comes out of the Paris talks needs to be fair, ambitious and transformational with science and equity at its heart. Governments need to act with urgency to ensure that emissions peak before 2020, deliver the promised US$100 billion per year in climate finance by 2020, and bring down emissions through concrete actions by governments, cities, private sector and individual citizens.
The Paris meeting is an important opportunity to protect the vulnerable people and natural systems that are disproportionately impacted by climate change. To be effective, the climate deal should include a global goal for adaptation and provide strong solutions to address loss and damage due to climate change.
 "Political leaders represent ordinary people across the world who are facing the devastating impacts of climate change. They must be bold and decisive in putting the world on a path that is safer for people and planet," said Smith.

Read more [WWF]

Canada PM Trudeau faces split at national climate change summit

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday met the country's provinces to hammer out a national climate change strategy, but two major players signaled they had reservations about the idea.

Read more [Reuters]

Alliance of 78 big firms urges carbon pricing to slow warming

OSLO (Reuters) - Leaders of 78 major companies urged governments on Monday to include the pricing of carbon emissions as part of policies to curb global warming, as world leaders prepare for a summit on climate change in Paris next week.

Read more [Reuters]

Climate change sends Chile's wine industry southward

VALLE DE CASABLANCA, Chile (Reuters) - Well into their drive to make Chile's wines less about bang-for-your-buck and more about premium vino, vintners in the world's fourth largest wine exporter are watching some of their promising vines wither with climate change.

Read more [Reuters]

China says keeping leaders away is key to climate talk success

BEIJING (Reuters) - Keeping state leaders away from the negotiations will play a major role in ensuring that crucial talks on a new global climate deal in Paris next week proceed smoothly, China's top climate change negotiator said in an interview on Monday.

Read more [Reuters]

Climate change root cause of Syrian war: Britain's Prince Charles

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Prince Charles has pointed to the world's failure to tackle climate change as a root cause of the civil war in Syria, terrorism and the consequent refugee crisis engulfing Europe.

Read more [Reuters]

Canada's Alberta to introduce economy-wide carbon tax in 2017

CALGARY (Reuters) - The Canadian province of Alberta, home to the country's controversial oil sands, said on Sunday it will implement an economy-wide tax on carbon emissions in 2017, addressing long-standing criticism it is not doing enough to combat climate change.

Read more [Reuters]

Canada's Alberta to introduce economy-wide carbon tax in 2017

CALGARY (Reuters) - The Canadian province of Alberta, home to the country's controversial oil sands, said on Sunday it will implement an economy-wide tax on carbon emissions in 2017, addressing long-standing criticism it is not doing enough to combat climate change.

Read more [Reuters]

India backs 2 degree global warming limit - French ministry source

PARIS (Reuters) - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi clearly backs the goal of limiting global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels, a source close to French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Saturday.

Read more [Reuters]

Kiribati leader takes push for climate change action to Australia

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - The president of Kiribati on Thursday said he was disappointed by the Australian government's decision to approve a giant coal mine, as he urged the major exporter of the commodity to take action on climate change ahead of a key summit in Paris.

Read more [Reuters]

China expects consensus to be reached at Paris talks

BEIJING (Reuters) - China expects world leaders at upcoming climate talks in Paris to be able to reach consensus, the country's climate change special representative Xie Zhenhua said on Thursday, adding Beijing wants a legally binding treaty.

Read more [Reuters]

Canada's Alberta making credible shift to reduce emissions: federal minister

CALGARY (Reuters) - Canada's oil-rich province of Alberta is making a credible shift toward a low carbon economy, Canadian Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna said on Wednesday, as her government prepares for the upcoming Paris climate talks.

Read more [Reuters]

U.S. senators vow to block climate aid, scrutinize Paris deal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senate Republicans on Wednesday said Congress would not approve the Obama administration's $500 million request for its first payment into a United Nations climate fund, a move they said would undermine the upcoming climate change summit in Paris.

Read more [Reuters]

Getting that sinking feeling in tortuous U.N. climate talks

BONN, Germany (Reuters) - Abdullahi Majeed was a young delegate for the Maldives when low-lying island states warned for the first time in 1989 that climate change and rising seas could "threaten the very survival" of some nations.

Read more [Reuters]

WWF & IUCN announce new partnership to expand and strengthen protected areas

Gland, Switzerland – WWF and IUCN have joined forces to enhance and promote the role of protected and conserved areas in achieving sustainable development over the next 10 years.
Under the new partnership, WWF and IUCN will:

  • Expand the number of protected areas reaching IUCN Green List quality standards to at least 1,000 protected areas in 50 countries, by ensuring that these areas meet the Green List criteria;
  • Seek the application of $2 billion of new investment finance in the enhanced performance and sustainability of these protected areas;
  • Generate at least 20 new ambitious protected area commitments for biodiversity and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from communities, governments and other organisations. 
"This partnership will help ensure that critical forests, wetlands and marine habitats are protected for future generations. Stronger efforts to create and maintain protected areas are crucial to achieving the new Sustainable Development Goals and securing a climate resilient future," said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International.
The partnership was announced on the first anniversary of the IUCN World Parks Congress, which took place in November 2014 in Sydney. The congress culminated in the Promise of Sydney, which included the commitment to invest in protected areas. Protected areas can help halt biodiversity loss, mitigate and adapt to climate change, reduce the risk and impact of disasters, improve food and water security, and promote human health and dignity.  
"One year on, the Promise of Sydney continues to push the protected areas agenda from strength to strength. By combining the complementary efforts of IUCN and WWF, this commitment brings us a step closer towards achieving the SDGs and other ambitious global goals," said Inger Andersen, Director General of IUCN.
"The Promise of Sydney calls for a rebalancing of the relationship between human society and nature. The new partnership between WWF and IUCN responds to this call in its drive for stronger, fairer and better financed protected area systems on land and sea," said Rod Taylor, Director, WWF Global Forest Programme.
The 10-year partnership aims to make the case for direct investment in protected areas and protected area systems that demonstrate enhanced conservation outcomes. The partnership will look at how challenges faced by protected areas such as poaching, illegal logging and other destructive activities can be addressed through new financing and investment.
For further information, contact:
Alexander Belokurov, Manager, Landscape Conservation, WWF, +41 79 4773566,

Trevor Sandwith, Director, Global Protected Areas Programme, IUCN, +41 799427668,
Read more [WWF]

A growing tide in Europe says again: "GMOs, no thank you!"

Despite years of pressure and efforts by the European Union political elite in favour of genetically engineered (GE) crops, European citizens (all of you) and national governments from a broad range of political backgrounds have won a major victory: 17 European countries and 4 European regions have chosen to ban GE crops. For those in the rest of the world who are fighting large-scale industrial and chemical agriculture – and the GE crops that abet it – this victory gives hope. Now they see hope for equitable and sustainable solutions such as ecological farming.

These 17 European countries and 4 regions have now clearly decided with legal determination that no GE crops will be planted in the foreseeable future in their territories. Together these countries comprise over two-thirds of the arable land of Europe and represent 65% of EU population. This decisive majority demonstrates how public opposition to GE foods is a growing tide in Europe and around the world.

There are many reasons for Europe and the world to remain sceptical about GE crops as outlined in our most recent report: Twenty Years of Failure: Why GM crops have failed to deliver on their promises.

The European opposition to GE crops is a huge victory over the corporate control of our food production. It is the explicit and strong reaffirmation of the right for people everywhere in the world to choose the food they want to eat and the type of agriculture they want to encourage. In essence, it is about ecological farming, food sovereignty and healthy and nutritious food.  

Greenpeace believes in a system of farming based on science, innovation, knowledge and biodiversity. We call this eco farming. Eco farming allows us to confront modern challenges, such as climate change, while preserving environmental integrity and protecting health.

GE is the wrong approach to food and agriculture because it encourages monocultures, intensification, and chemicals-use while undermining biodiversity. GE also shifts the power away from small and medium-size farmers to the major corporations and their patented genetic materials. These are all elements of the broken food system we fight against. A new farming system with people and farmers at its heart is the way to go.

Timothy Eden is a Greenpeace Volunteer.

Read more [Greenpeace international]

U.S., Canadian leaders to discuss climate change and energy: White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The senior adviser to U.S. President Barack Obama on climate, Brian Deese, will meet with Canadian leaders about energy and climate change in Ottawa, Canada, on Monday, according to the White House.

Read more [Reuters]

Here's why I'm celebrating Russia's fire ban

Today the Russian government has banned the burning of dry grass on agricultural land and conservation areas. This might sound somewhat trivial, perhaps for those who have never witnessed a forest fire or had a chance to stand in line with firefighters. Let me tell you my story of lending a small hand in a big fight.

Dry Grass Fire in the Astrakhan Nature Reserve © Igor Podgorny / Greenpeace

In the summer of 2010 when the smog from burning peatlands reached my home in Moscow, I could hardly make out a house across the street. When 50,000 premature deaths became the cost of the fire disaster, I was a lawyer by profession. I didn’t know anything about Greenpeace; I didn’t know that Greenpeace Russia was knocking on all the governmental doors foreseeing the looming catastrophe. The Government instead chose to call Greenpeace “alarmists” and officials were convinced that the situation was under control. But hell no…

Every spring, Russian people living in rural areas start burning dry grass — a traditional practice to clear the land whilst working on fields. This practice causes thousands of forest fires every year and turns into a real disaster with dire consequences: human casualties and environmental devastation. At the same time, climate change is dramatically aggravating wildfires... During the the last few years the potential for blazes got significantly worse.

Back in 2010, news articles gave the impression of war reports, with villages burnt and lives lost. Thousands of people were stocking up on goods, food and money for the fire victims. Me and a friend decided that we needed to clean up our karma and go for a day or two to fight fires as volunteers. Then my life took a hefty turn…

Volunteers try to extinguish dry grass fires in Astrakhan Nature Reserve 12/03/2015 © Igor Podgorny / Greenpeace

In 2011 and by chance, I joined the Greenpeace Wildland Fire Program as a volunteer and in 2012 I became a Greenpeace employee. Volunteers are the backbone of this program. They fight fires, drive our cars, they repair and upgrade the equipment. More than 300 volunteers (including foreigners) were trained by Greenpeace Russia. Those people spend their vacations and days off to wake up at 5am and travel a few hundred miles in a rusty van to be on guard and extinguish wildland fires. They live in tough conditions for weeks on end, watching over the borders of the Atstrakhan Biosphere Reserve. They fight flames twice as large as their height.

For six long years, the Greenpeace Russia Wildland Fire Program worked hard to accomplish the ban of dry grass. We calculated that in the spring 90% of forest fires happen because locals burn dry grass, 5-6 million hectares of forest burn every year. Over the last six years, the Greenpeace Russia firefighting team spent 660 days of fieldwork fighting fires. 300 volunteers helped us during our expedition, 500 donors made our work possible. We covered 300,000 kilometres and put out 300 fires. We also ran awareness programmes such as 'Spring without fire', to support farmers to shift to safer methods of clearing the land — like cutting rather than burning grass. More than 200,000 people supported us by sending letters to President Putin asking him to ban the burning of dry grass. This popular support for the Greenpeace demands finally brought victory.

From now on, local authorities and police have the right to prevent any kind of grass burning. Now the ban is in place, anyone who causes a wildfire will be treated as an arsonist. We expect that this new law will help to alter age-old behaviour. A critical step to help save our forests.

Astrakhan Nature Reserve 2/03/2015 © Igor Podgorny / Greenpeace

I expected this blog to be a personal story of a lawyer turned firefighter. I can recall more than few memorable stories about fires I fought. But to be honest, the story of this victory is not personal. It’s a story of thousands of people who made this victory possible. Thank you.

Anton Beneslavsky is a Forest Campaigner and Firefighter with Greenpeace Russia.

Read more [Greenpeace international]

Canada's Alberta pledges to do more to price carbon and reduce emissions

CALGARY (Reuters) - Canada's oil-rich western Canadian province of Alberta said its recent decision to double its price on carbon emissions was only a first step in its efforts to tackle climate change, Premier Rachel Notley said on Thursday.

Read more [Reuters]

Paris climate talks not just hot air, France tells U.S.

PARIS (Reuters) - Any global climate change agreement reached in Paris next month will be legally binding and have a concrete impact, France's president and foreign minister said on Thursday, reacting to U.S. comments that questioned the status of the accord.

Read more [Reuters]

5 things you need to know about the Paris climate talks, COP21

1. What is COP21?

Between 30 November and 11 December 2015 a bunch of politicians and global leaders from over 190 countries will be involved in the United Nations 21st Conference of the Parties ('COP21', as it's known). They're meeting in Paris to try and agree a global legally binding climate treaty.

2. Why is it important?

The talks are about agreeing a plan to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, such as more severe droughts, floods and storms. In practice, that means getting us on track to keep global warming below 2°C – this is the agreed threshold that we must not let the planet's warming exceed if we are to avoid catastrophic effects of climate change.

Some nations are already feeling the impacts of climate change even now, at the current level of just under 1°C of warming on average. There are already people seeking to be official climate refugees; conflicts exacerbated by climate change and extreme weather caused by climate change is on the increase. The COP is also about supporting vulnerable countries and communities in adapting to the impacts of climate change that are happening right now.

Some nations, including an alliance of small islands, think the 2°C threshold is too high and are advocating that we should stay within 1.5°C of warming, which is the level of warming we may already be locked into.

3. So what do we hope to come out of the talks?

An internationally legally binding treaty. Not a declaration or other empty promises, but something that legally binds nations and holds them to their commitment.

In order to achieve this, UN diplomats asked for more preparation to be done before the COP conference, and a contribution from all states is required.

That's where Intended Nationally Determined Contributions – or INDCs – come in. These are the pledges that countries responsible for over 80% of emissions have made towards emissions reductions in advance of the talks.

However, these aren't legal commitments – they are more like indications of intentions for the 155 countries that have submitted them. But one of the aims of COP is to try and get parties to agree a level of legal "bindingness" at Paris.

While the INDCs submitted currently don't add up to us staying within 2°C of warming (according to a UNFCCC analysis), they are a good start. That's because the INDCs signify what the biggest polluters – including the US, China, Europe and India – are willing to do to tackle global climate change. But the important thing is that there will need to be a mechanism that reviews INDCs and ratchets up climate ambition after Paris, which will need to be agreed at the talks.

4. That's all great but surely it all depends on the political will of states, right?

Absolutely. But the political landscape is looking a lot more promising than it has at previous meetings.

The most significant thing has got to be the historic China-US climate agreement announced last November, in which the world's two biggest carbon emitters and global superpowers indicated their commitment to moving away from fossil fuels.

Obama has made a global climate deal a priority for his legacy while the G7  – Canada, France, Germany, UK, Italy, Japan and US – have agreed to decarbonise over the course of the century, aiming for zero emissions by 2100.

Meanwhile, countries that were previously seen as barriers to a global agreement, including China and India are driving renewable energy in a big way (though India also wants to double coal production by 2020).

In the business sector, business leaders have pledged to support the Paris talks, while governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney gave investors an incentive to act when he warned that they will face huge climate change losses.

There also appears to be a buildup of pressure from civil society ahead of the COP, and it's expected that hundreds of thousands will attend mass climate marches in the days before the COP starts.

Overall, things are looking promising but it's important to remember that each country will be looking for a deal that fits best with its own national issues and planning processes.

5. Great, so is there anything I can do?

Yes! It's important for our leaders to know that we want real and tangible action on climate now. That's why hundreds of thousands of people will be marching for the climate in cities around the world on 29 November. Find out how to join the march wherever you are.

Want to know more?

There is lots more detail about what is being discussed at COP, and what is happening when, in our guide.

And for regular updates and more analysis, follow @Greenpeace @Greenpeace100RE or @Energydesk on Twitter. While the talks are actually going on in December we will have hot-off-the-press news and updates live from Paris.

Christine Ottery is the Energydesk Deputy Editor and Ruth Davis is a Political Advisor for Greenepace UK.

This blog first appeared on Greenpeace UK.

Read more [Greenpeace international]

U.N. climate deal must unlock private funding for forests: experts

BARCELONA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A new global deal to curb climate change due in Paris next month must "switch on" forest protection schemes by allowing the carbon credits they produce to help meet country pledges to cut planet-warming emissions, forest experts said.

Read more [Reuters]

G20 spends four times more on fossil fuel output than on renewables, think tank says

ANKARA (Reuters) - The G20 countries spend almost four times as much to prop up fossil fuel production as they do to subsidize renewable energy, calling into question their commitment to halting climate change, a think tank said on Thursday

Read more [Reuters]

China's biodiversity declines as human demands grow

Beijing, China – Since 1970, China's terrestrial vertebrates have declined by half, while the nation's Ecological Footprint has more than doubled, reveals WWF's Living Planet Report China, 2015, a flagship research report on the country's demand on nature.
The fourth issue of the report, themed "development, species and ecological civilization", tracked 2,419 representative populations of 682 vertebrates' species in China and found that almost half of China's terrestrial vertebrates have vanished in the last 40 years.
Habitat loss and nature degradation by human activities and development are the most significant threats to biodiversity in China. Over-hunting and climate change are also significant threats to amphibians, reptiles and mammals.
"WWF believes that better solutions do exist, and that together we can reverse the trend if we make better choices that ensure China's development, without destroying nature," said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International. "As the world's largest emerging economy, China plays a vital role in global sustainability and environmental conservation. We are all connected, and collectively, we have the potential to find and adopt the solutions that will safeguard the future of our one and only planet."
Encouragingly, China's resident bird populations stabilized between 1970 and 2000, following a dramatic decline in earlier years. Furthermore, thanks to the growing number of protected areas and protective laws, resident bird populations have recovered strongly since 2000, growing by 43 per cent.
"With the ecological civilization become national strategy, China's economy has entered an era where a balance between ecological protection and economy development is a new normal. How China deals with its growing environmental challenges in its way towards industrialization and urbanization is now a most essential question in promoting China's ecological civilization." said Mr Xu Qinghua, Vice Secretary General of CCICED. "We hope the release of the report can inspire China's efforts on ecological civilization to realize the Chinese dream."
Rapid development and urbanization is driving China's Ecological Footprint
Living Planet Report China 2015 also shows the Ecological Footprint, which is a measure of humanity's demands on nature. The report states that China accounts for one-sixth of the global ecological footprint, ranking the nation ahead of all other countries in the world. Though China's per capita footprint is lower than the global average, the nation is already consuming more than double its biocapacity, causing significant impact on the environment, including, forest degradation, drought, soil erosion, water shortages, increasing carbon dioxide and biodiversity loss. The carbon footprint remains the largest and fastest growing component, accounting for 51 per cent of China's Ecological Footprint in 2010.
"With its vision of an ecological civilization, in which humans live in harmony with nature, China has the opportunity to lead the world in global sustainability and ensure a resilient future for our entire planet," said Mathis Wackernagel, co-creator of the Ecological Footprint framework and president and co-founder of Global Footprint Network. "The Ecological Footprint can play an important role in guiding leaders in China to make strategic investments and set policies to turn their vision into a reality."
Footprint and biodiversity differ significantly by province. Nine provinces together contribute to half of China's biocapacity, while five provinces alone account for 35 per cent of the nation's total footprint. Since the last issue, four additional provinces (Inner Mongolia, Yunnan, Hainan, Xinjiang) now show ecological deficits. Only two provinces (Qinghai and Tibet) have ecological reserves. A nation has an ecological deficit when its Ecological Footprint exceeds its biocapacity, and holds a reserve when its biocapacity exceeds its Ecological Footprint.
The report points to rapid urbanization being a major factor in China's growing footprint.
"Economic growth in China, beyond its environmental capacity and ecological biocapacity is unsustainable," said Li Lin, programme executive director of WWF China. "WWF believes China can do more to move towards a green economy and proposes that the nation manage natural capital better by using natural resources more efficiently, consuming energy more sustainably and responsibly growing its footprint in rural and urban areas."
Sustainable solutions for a living planet
Living Planet Report China 2015 also introduces a series of cases presenting WWF's "One Planet Perspective", which demonstrates how WWF is working with partners in the field to preserve, produce and consume more wisely, within the limits of nature that one Earth can provide. 
"We hope that China can detach economic growth from ecological degradation and incorporate biodiversity protection into its going global strategies such as 'one belt on road' strategy and ''south-south' cooperation strategy, to contribute to the global sustainable development within one planet's limits," Li added.
In a number of villages in southwest China, which are close to giant panda habitats, thousands of energy efficient stoves were built, reducing the amount of firewood cut. This initiative protects pandas from further habitat loss and villagers from the impact of unhealthy smoke.
In Shanghai, WWF is helping a leading local dairy reduce its water footprint through a better water stewardship programme.
In central China, along the Yangtze River, WWF is working with farmers on a sustainable agriculture project to reduce pollution and protect the natural habitat of Yangtze finless porpoises and David's deer.
Surrounding the wetlands of northeast China, where the biggest corn fields in China are planted, WWF is introducing more sustainable and innovative cultivation technologies to protect the wetlands and secure the habitat and food for millions of migratory birds passing through the territory.

Read more [WWF]

Top economies must act quickly on climate and sustainable development at G20 summit

GLAND, Switzerland – The world's 20 largest economies must advance key policies to support an upcoming climate deal and the new sustainable development goals at the G20 Leaders Summit beginning 15 November. G20 countries represent the vast majority of global GDP, trade and population, and can only ensure economic and financial stability by investing in the environment.
The two-day meeting in Antalya, Turkey provides the chance for G20 countries – responsible for most of the world's greenhouse gas emissions – to take immediate action to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies and work toward providing clean and renewable energy access for all. Getting rid of subsidies would save billions of dollars annually that can be better invested in renewables and energy access for the poor.
"Ahead of crucial climate negotiations in Paris, and following the historic approval of new sustainable development goals, it is critical that the G20 make good on pledges to take action on climate change and sustainable development," said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International. "Fulfilling G20 pledges on climate finance, fossil fuel subsidy reform and energy efficiency would provide strong momentum for the upcoming climate talks."
Critical to reaching established climate goals, leaders should follow through on their commitment to further fund and operationalize the Green Climate Fund by mobilizing US$100 billion per year on climate finance by 2020. By comparison, governments spend an estimated US$600 billion per year in fossil fuel subsidies.
Many of the same G20 leaders will meet in Paris later this month to finalize a new global climate agreement. To have any chance at preventing the worst impacts of climate change, decisions taken in Paris must help further reduce global carbon emissions before the next agreement enters into force in 2020. The Paris agreement should also provide a mechanism for countries to improve commitments already made toward emissions reductions in the period after 2020.
"Turkey's G20 presidency is a unique opportunity for the country to assert leadership in fighting climate change," said Tolga Baştak, CEO of WWF-Turkey. "Through phasing out its fossil fuel subsidies and initiating the transition to rapid uptake of its vast renewable energy and energy efficiency potential, Turkey can lead by example and be a model in achieving just transition for developing country economies."
In addition to ongoing efforts against climate change, the G20 should voice strong support for the recently agreed 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The new sustainable development plan created goals to eliminate poverty; create food, energy and water security; establish sustainable production and consumption; protect biodiversity; and build green cities.
"The natural environment is essential to human well-being and livelihoods, yet it is under unprecedented strain from climate change and over-exploitation," said Lambertini. "The G20 must fulfil its mission of ensuring economic and financial stability by conserving the planet's natural systems through climate action and securing sustainable access to natural resources."
The G20 is a critical forum to drive political momentum around reforming economic and financial incentives to a sustainable world. Leaders in Antalya should commit to integrating the sustainable development agenda into the group's work plan and decision-making.

Read more [WWF]

Global warming has been good to Champagne makers, so far

REIMS, France (Reuters) - Climate change is a touchy subject in Champagne.

Read more [Reuters]

Obama, India's Modi discuss climate change ahead of Paris conference

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke by phone on Tuesday to discuss climate change and other global issues, the White House said.

Read more [Reuters]

Kerry: panel to integrate climate threats into foreign policy plans

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Saying climate change's threat is not just to polar bears but to people, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday he is convening a task force to integrate climate and security analysis into broad foreign policy planning.

Read more [Reuters]

Saudi Arabia says will diversify oil economy to slow climate change

OSLO (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia, the world's largest crude oil exporter, plans to diversify its economy to help combat climate change in a move that could reduce expected carbon emissions by up to 130 million tonnes a year by 2030, the government said on Tuesday.

Read more [Reuters]

Carbon emissions fall in 11 of G20 members, in turning point

OSLO (Reuters) - Greenhouse gas emissions per capita are falling in 11 of the Group of 20 major economies, a turning point for tackling climate change, a study showed on Tuesday.

Read more [Reuters]

Climate change tied to lower birth rate in U.S.: researchers

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Climate change has likely been contributing to a steady decline in the U.S. birth rate, researchers said, predicting as many as 100,000 fewer babies born each year by the end of the century.

Read more [Reuters]

Renewables: the smart way out of crisis in Southern Europe

Even though autumn is in full, colourful swing and we’re slowly getting ready for winter in Europe, Greenpeace is turning up the heat and not letting go of summer just yet.

I still have a picture in my mind of hundreds of volunteers, tourists and local residents heading to the most popular beaches of Croatia, Greece, Italy and Spain, demanding that their governments protect their beloved holiday destinations from dirty energy and make use of what these countries are never lacking: sun and wind.

One would think that in Southern Europe, where sun and wind are so abundant, clean energy sources would be the obvious choice for energy solutions. However, the reality is quite the opposite, and most Southern European governments are responding to economic struggles with plans for new coal power plants and offshore oil-drilling. All this in spite of irrefutable scientific proof that we need to keep the fossil fuels in the ground to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. 

The transition to clean energy is not only possible, but it is the best way to go. It’s a way out of the economic crisis and towards a fresh clean future where renewable energy ensures new jobs, enhances a new sustainable economy, protects ecosystems and mitigates climate change.

To show that this transition is possible, we commissioned expert studies in Spain, Greece, Italy and Croatia to prove the potential and economic added-value of renewable energy and energy savings projects in those countries.

So what did the numbers show?

  • In Croatia, we proved the multiple positive effects of adopting clean energy solutions at hotels, camps, schools and farms on the Croatian coast, islands and mainland. The transition towards 100% renewable energy would create several thousands of new jobs and help the country save € 4 to € 5 billion annually by ending expensive energy imports.

  • In Greece, despite the tough economic situation and strict austerity regime, our experts are showing that it is still possible to cut electricity costs, reduce energy poverty and provide clean energy. Following the energy efficiency and solarization plan that Greenpeace is suggesting, the Greeks would save billions of Euros and create thousands of new jobs every year!

  • Similarly, in Italy, on 20 small islands that are not connected to the grid, electricity is produced through dirty and expensive diesel systems. And since many islands around the world are facing similar conditions, the Italian study could be seen  as a model that can be used in other islands to calculate their own pathway to 100% renewable energy.

  • ​​In Spain, we focused on a possible renewable energy transition in the Canary Islands, which are far from mainland Spain. The entire archipelago is currently powered by expensive, dirty diesel generators. With our Energy [R]evolution scenario for the Canaries we proved that a switch to 100% renewable energy by 2050 is possible. We showed that up to € 42 billion could be saved by investing € 20 billion in renewable energy.

The sun is not good only for our summer holidays. It creates opportunities to revive economies and it’s a resource that can be locally produced and owned. It can also create thousands of jobs. It is time the Mediterranean countries show the rest of Europe the true power of energy from the Sun.

Join the climate movement

With only a few weeks left before the international climate conference in Paris we want to say loud and clear that fossil fuels must stay in the ground and be replaced by renewable energy.

Join the movement for a just energy transition and demand our political and business leaders make the big switch from dirty energy such as oil, coal and nuclear to 100% renewables. We can power our lives with energy models that protect the environment, are in harmony with our health as well as environment and are socially just and economically viable. Nothing stops climate change faster than our actions.

Tina Peternel is the Coordinator of the Solutions for Mediterranean Project with Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe.

Read more [Greenpeace international]

The following articles are automatically syndicated feeds about global warming (climate change) from other sites.


XML feed