Edition for 29 March 2020

Top Stories

Meeting Japan’s Paris Agreement targets—more opportunity than cost (McKinsey)

  • Signed in 2016, the Paris Agreement remains the most significant initiative to fight climate change.
  • These goals are ambitious, given that the current trajectory and rate of carbon emissions would result in a warming of 3.5 degrees Celsius by 2100.

Carbon emissions will drop, but experts fear 'revenge pollution' (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • The grounding of much of the world's passenger aircraft is one of the more obvious reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions - at least for the short term.
  • Similarly, though the sudden drop in carbon emissions is real and measurable, few experts who spoke to this masthead believe the economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus will have any lasting positive impact on curbing climate change.
  • Some fear it might eventually even hamper efforts to reduce carbon.

Why There's Never Been a Better Time to Combat the Climate Crisis (Gizmodo)

  • And while it’s certainly not starting the way we all expected with a global pandemic forcing the world into public health and economic crises, that doesn’t mean we can take our eyes off the climate ball.
  • In fact, it’s never been more important to focus on the threat of climate change.
  • The Future We Choose was published late last month and features insights from Christiana Figueres, the climate negotiator who helped guide the Paris Agreement into existence, and Tom Rivett-Carnac, her senior advisor and partner on a new project called Global Optimism.

EPA cites COVID-19 as reason to suspend regulation of polluters (CBSNews.com)

  • The Trump administration introduced this week a sweeping relaxation of environmental laws and fines during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • According to new guidelines from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), companies will largely be exempt from consequences for polluting the air or water during the outbreak.
  • In a letter to all government and private sector partners on Thursday, the EPA's Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Susan Parker Bodine said that the agency does not expect power plants, factories or other companies to meet environmental standards and reporting of pollution during this time — and it won't pursue penalties if companies break the rules.

Fires Where They Are 'Not Supposed To Happen' In Australia's Ancient Rainforest (NPR News)

  • For Graham, who trains people about wildfire for the Nature Conservation Council, an Australian environmental group, it's a signal of how much things have changed.
  • Researchers say human-caused climate change contributed to those conditions, making the fires more likely.
  • Despite the influence of climate change, human land-use, largely the increase of agriculture, has led to great reductions in the amount of savanna and grasslands that burn.

Tackle climate crisis and poverty with zeal of Covid-19 fight, scientists urge (Guardian)

  • Government responses to climate breakdown and to the challenges of poverty and inequality must be changed permanently after the coronavirus has been dealt with, leading scientists have urged, as the actions taken to suppress the spread of the virus have revealed what measures are possible in an emergency.
  • But the climate crisis has been viewed as a “slow-burn” issue and had not elicited such a response.
  • “It would lead to better environmental policy, it would lead to better social policy, it would lead to better healthcare policy and better politics.” Sir David King, who was chief scientific adviser from 2000 to 2008, a period that included the foot-and-mouth epidemic that devastated farming in 2001, said governments were quick to forget about dangers in their quest to save money and must learn lessons from coronavirus.

The Only Thing Green About the COVID-19 Stimulus Bill Is the Money (Mother Jones)

  • And while no climate-friendly provisions made it into the $2 trillion stimulus bill, it wasn’t necessarily bad news for the planet either.
  • The proposals are highly specific and cover everything from creating jobs to reducing emissions to shoring up communities that are vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

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