Edition for 26 February 2020

Top Stories

Japan to tighten policy on exporting coal power to developing countries (Japan Times)

  • “This is a significant decision that brings Japan one step closer to achieving carbon neutrality,” Koizumi said following a Cabinet meeting.
  • Efforts to tighten the restrictions are part of an ongoing effort to bring Japan in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement and reduce net carbon emissions to effectively zero to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared with preindustrial levels.
  • Environment Minister Koizumi breaks ranks on Japan's financing of Vietnam coal plant Shinjiro Koizumi's remarks on Japan's coal plant exports win praise and brickbats Environmental activists argued that the announcement is not enough.

Winners and losers from Teck's decision to pull the plug on Frontier oilsands project (CBC)

  • There will be significant political, economic and environmental consequences as one of the largest oilsands projects is wiped off the table.
  • In his letter to the federal government explaining the decision, Teck CEO Don Lindsay referred to the environment and climate change nearly a dozen times.
  • He also voiced his support for the federal carbon tax.

VW to appoint “aggressive” climate activist to scrutinize policies (Ars Technica)

  • Volkswagen’s chief executive has pledged to employ a young climate campaigner to “aggressively” challenge the company’s environmental policies, as he acknowledged the world’s largest carmaker was moving too slowly in the race to roll out electric vehicles.
  • The 61-year-old boss, who is overseeing the German group’s €33 billion push into battery-powered vehicles, has been increasingly vocal about the need for a CO2 price—a carbon tax that applies to all industries as opposed to individual sectors—and has called on Brussels to crack down on coal-fired energy plants in Europe.
  • The German auto giant already has a sustainability advisory board, which was established in the wake of Dieselgate, and counts Margo Oge, former director of the US Environmental Protection Agency, and former EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard among its members.

Philips on track to become carbon-neutral in its own operations this year (GlobeNewswire)

  • Royal Philips, a global leader in health technology, is another step closer to becoming carbon-neutral in its own operations in 2020, with its US and Dutch facilities now 100%-powered by renewable electricity.
  • This action on CO2 emissions reduction contributed to a fall in Philips’ operational carbon footprint of 10% compared to 2018, even as the company recorded 4.5% comparable sales growth.
  • Philips is committed to becoming carbon neutral in its own operations and to sourcing all its electricity from 100% renewable sources by the end of 2020.

Zero-emission shipping: What’s in it for developing countries? (World Bank Blog)

  • Photo: World Bank/Flickr Emissions from ships are important contributors to global climate change and local air pollution, putting pressure on the environment and humans.
  • Currently, ships contribute about 2-3% of all global greenhouse (GHG) emissions—more than Germany’s entire annual emissions and thus making shipping the 6th largest emitter worldwide.
  • HFO is a high-carbon, high-sulphur residual substance left over from the process of refining crude oil after the lighter fractions such as kerosene, jet fuel, gasoline and highway diesel have been removed.

Wu: When The Going Gets Tough For Asia’s Energy Transition (BloombergNEF)

  • Much uncertainty and anxiety lingers over the impact of the virus but, at some point, normality will resume and the world will have once again to think about a much more dire threat to human existence, climate change.
  • Accounting for 53% of global emissions, and home to the world’s largest (China) and fastest growing (India and Southeast Asia) emitting economies, Asia’s actions will determine whether we can bend the curve on greenhouse gases and make meaningful progress against climate change.
  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its 2018 report, Global Warming of 1.5°C, noted that decarbonization required “systems transitions [that] are unprecedented in terms of scale…” A full commitment from all of society is needed.

Conservative group hires German teen Naomi Seibt to rival Greta Thunberg’s climate views (The NY Post)

  • “Naomi Seibt vs. Greta Thunberg: whom should we trust?” the Illinois-based conservative and libertarian Heartland Institute asked in a video, referring to the 17-year-old Swedish climate activist.
  • James Taylor, director of the Arthur B. Robinson Center for Climate and Environmental Policy at the institute, called Seibt a “fantastic voice for free markets and for climate realism,” the newspaper reported.
  • During the UN climate conference in Madrid in December, Heartland headlined Seibt at its forum, where Taylor described her as its “star.” And in January, the institute hired her to represent its climate skepticism campaign about global warming, according to the news outlet.

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