Edition for 20 February 2020

Top Stories

Climate campaigners turn their fire on the financial world (FT)

  • The public campaign against JPMorgan Chase has included a full-page advert in the Financial Times, a YouTube video featuring Jane Fonda and a series of protests, including the occupation of a Washington DC Chase bank branch.
  • In October, more than 50 financial institutions, with $2.9tn in assets, said they would disclose the carbon emissions of their loans and investments, while 1,000 organisations have signed up to the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, an initiative led by Mark Carney, outgoing governor of the Bank of England.
  • Peabody Energy, a US coal company, recently failed to secure a refinancing to facilitate a joint venture with ArchCoal.

Fires and climate fears rattle Australia's giant coal lobby (Reuters)

  • As bushfires and floods fuel public concerns in Australia about global warming, the country’s powerful mining lobby is facing increasing pressure from investors to drop support for new coal mines, according to a dozen interviews with shareholders in global mining companies.
  • Nearly a third of shareholders in BHP Group Ltd, the world’s biggest miner, last year voted for resolutions to axe its membership in industry groups advocating policies counter to the Paris climate accord, which aims to limit global warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius.
  • “Emissions-exposed companies face a growing risk not only of Australian policy change, but also of international action,” said Stuart Palmer, Head of Ethics Research at Australian Ethical, a wealth manager invested in BHP.

Fossil fuel use may emit 40 percent more methane than we thought (Science News)

  • The finding could help scientists and policy makers target how and where to reduce these climate-warming emissions, researchers report February 19 in Nature.
  • Methane has about 80 times the atmosphere-warming potential of carbon dioxide — but only on short timescales, because methane only lingers in the atmosphere for 10 to 20 years, while CO2 can linger for hundreds of years.
  • To calculate today’s methane emissions from all geologic sources, scientists first need to establish a baseline for preindustrial methane emissions from natural sources like seeps and mud volcanoes.

President Trump delivers on water pledge for wealthy California farmers (The Mercury News)

  • Climate change promises to only worsen the state’s droughts and water shortages, raising the stakes.
  • Candidate Trump denounced “insane” environmental rules meant to ensure that enough fresh water stayed in rivers and the San Francisco Bay to sustain more than a dozen endangered fish and other native species, which are struggling as agriculture and development diverts more water and land from wildlife.
  • Visiting Bakersfield in the Central Valley on Wednesday, Trump is expected to ceremoniously sign his administration’s reworking of those environmental rules.

Environmental group ranks Bloomberg, Klobuchar last in climate plans (The Hill)

  • Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor, and Klobuchar each received a score of just one out of 10 on the Center For Biological Diversity Action Fund’s updated climate scorecard released Wednesday.
  • The group measured the six candidates set to appear in Wednesday night’s Nevada debate on 10 actions to protect the climate.

The Promise and Potential of Turning CO2 to Stone (Earth Institute)

  • On a planet where global concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide are higher than at any other time in human history, the need for game-changing solutions is escalating.
  • Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies, which remove tons of carbon dioxide from industrial processes and store them away so they can’t add to the climate crisis, are gaining attention and support.
  • A recent review paper details how CCS can contribute to a long-term reduction in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, and work to meet the caps on human-caused global warming written into the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

For The First Time, The UN Creates A Path Forward For Climate Refugees (Slate)

  • By Mekela Panditharatne In a little-noticed case with major implications, a United Nations panel ruled in January that refugees fleeing a threat to their lives or safety from climate change cannot be forced to return home by their adoptive countries.
  • The U.N. Human Rights Committee ruling demolished a long-standing practice of denying the legitimacy of climate refugees’ rights in international law.
  • But the panel made clear that a nation’s forced removal of migrants displaced by the climate crisis could violate their legally protected right to life.

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