Category Archives: Climate change

Why the government must stop the UK finance industry bankrolling Amazon deforestation

This post is by Jo Blackman, head of forest advocacy and policy at Global Witness

Since 2017, major UK banks and finance institutions have either provided or facilitated more than £500 million to the Brazilian arms of three of the world’s largest beef companies, all linked to deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, as our new Global Witness investigation reveals, and hundreds of millions more have flowed into their subsidiary companies. Drawing largely on publicly available data, our exposé found that a chain of actors from cattle ranchers through to multinational beef traders, their US and European auditors, international financiers and the governments that regulate them, are complicit in deforestation. It also uncovered devastating cases of human rights abuses against indigenous and landless peoples. Unless these issues are confronted, the world’s biggest rainforest could face an irreversible tipping point that might destroy its ecology and the communities that live in and rely on it. 

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Three takeaways from the CCC’s advice that the government really shouldn’t ignore

On Wednesday, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) proposed a level for the UK’s sixth legally binding ‘carbon budget’, its first set of advice aligned with net zero. The budget proposal, for a 78 per cent reduction by 2035, comes together with a detailed route map for how to get to net zero by 2050 and what needs to happen now. This is a critical milestone in the country’s carbon cutting journey, one that, as the CCC chief executive Chris Stark says, “will shape the UK emissions over the next 30 years”. So, what should be the main takeaways from the 1,000-odd pages of advice the CCC has given government? Here are three important messages we think shouldn’t be missed.

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Why the government can’t continue to ignore international aviation and shipping in its climate plans

This post is by Ryan Leung, policy assistant at Green Alliance

The UK is about to set its 2030 climate target (otherwise known as its Nationally Determined Contribution, or NDC) as part of the UN COP process in which countries increase their ambitions on national plans to tackle climate change. 

Currently, emissions from international aviation and shipping are not included in national targets like NDCs and carbon budgets because they are covered by international processes. But there are good reasons for the UK to have domestic targets for international aviation and shipping too, and now is it the time to put them in place.

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The US election and climate action: two very different scenarios for the future

An unprecedented number of mail-in ballots means we could be in for an uncomfortable wait for the result of the US presidential election. The polls suggest that Joe Biden is the frontrunner, although the race is too close to call in many battleground states. The significance of this election for global efforts to tackle the climate crisis cannot be overstated. This year is set to be the warmest year on record, while this summer saw wildfires ravage California and tropical storms hitting the Gulf Coast. The US has contributed more CO2 emissions than any other country and continues to generate the highest emissions per capita. This election is a pivotal moment. So what do the two possible scenarios have in store?

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What history tells us about how we are dealing with climate change

To make climate change real to people, a first order priority rather than an afterthought, we need to tell stories, stories about what is already happening and stories about what will happen as temperatures continue to rise. But for some people, telling the story of what happened in the past when temperatures changed by just a couple of degrees Celsius will do the trick.    

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What the world needs now is…a net zero club

blue_marbleThis post is by Shaun Spiers, executive director at Green Alliance and Thomas Hale, associate professor in global public policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford.

With just over eight months to go, we now have a new COP26 president in place and preparations for the biggest international summit the UK has ever hosted are in full swing. Alok Sharma has no easy task. The eyes of the world will be on Glasgow this November for the UN climate change conference. Read more

Wishful thinking about carbon removal is slowing down climate action

intext-greenhouse-removals-blogWhat if the mere possibility of future greenhouse gas removal technologies (GGRs) could be influencing the perception of climate risk and policy decisions being made today?

This is the premise behind a new body of work by Nils Markusson, Rebecca Willis and Duncan McLaren looking at the possibility of ‘mitigation deterrence’, a concept whereby decarbonisation is put off due to optimism about future possibility of CO2 removal. Read more

Aviation needs a less risky strategy to get to net zero

Kondensstreifen am Himmel - reger LuftverkehrThe aviation industry body Sustainable Aviation has just released a road map to net zero by 2050. While this is a welcome change in ambition from the previous industry-set target of halving emissions by 2050, it rests on a lot of assumptions which don’t stand up to close examination and it has some important omissions which will make it difficult or impossible to keep global heating to 1.5C. Read more

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