Edition for 04 April 2020

Top Stories

Coronavirus presents us with terrible climate risk - and opportunity (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • You could hardly conceive of a more potent metaphor for the blow coronavirus has dealt to the world’s fight to reduce carbon emissions and stave off the worst impacts of climate change.
  • As governments around the world switched focus from what was to have been the most important international climate conference in half a decade, British authorities converted Glasgow's Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre, where the conference was to have been held, into a field hospital for up to a thousand pandemic victims, complete with testing facilities, laboratories and a morgue.
  • Workmen erect fencing around Glasgow's Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre as it is turned into a field hospital.Credit:Getty Images The now-postponed conference known as COP26 was seen by scientists - and many world leaders - as the last best chance for governments to set in place critical carbon emissions reduction targets.

Coronavirus could trigger biggest fall in carbon emissions since World War Two (Reuters)

  • Carbon dioxide emissions could fall by the largest amount since World War Two this year as the coronavirus outbreak brings economies to a virtual standstill, according to the chair of a network of scientists providing benchmark emissions data.
  • Rob Jackson, who chairs the Global Carbon Project, which produces widely-watched annual emissions estimates, said carbon output could fall by more than 5% year-on-year — the first dip since a 1.4% reduction after the 2008 financial crisis.
  • “I wouldn’t be shocked to see a 5% or more drop in carbon dioxide emissions this year, something not seen since the end of World War Two,” Jackson, a professor of Earth system science at Stanford University in California, told Reuters in an email.

Climate revolt rocks Santos as shareholders fire up emissions push (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • Santos, one of Australia's largest oil and gas companies, has been hit with an unprecedented investor push on climate change, with nearly half of its shareholders demanding a commitment to tougher emissions-reduction targets and an immediate review of its associations with fossil fuel lobbyists.
  • More than 43 per cent of shareholders at Santos' annual investor meeting on Friday defied the board and backed a resolution for the company to set harder targets to curb emissions from its operations and those caused by the end consumers of its products, known as "Scope 3" emissions.
  • A push for Santos to set hard targets for direct and indirect emissions received was supported by nearly half of its investors.Credit:Brendan Esposito The resolution, put forward by ethical investment group the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, won the backing of large superannuation funds and influential proxy firms in Australia and overseas.

Russia’s Leading Climate Change Expert Gives Sober Prognosis (The Moscow Times)

  • Russia’s top climate scientist Dr. Vladimir Kattsov is confident that serious environmental changes lie in store this century.
  • “Among the most obvious and dangerous consequences will be an increase in high-impact weather events.” The government has tasked the Voeikov Observatory, which Kattsov heads, with forecasting the effects of climate change across Russia.
  • Kattsov is also a regular contributor to government policy papers on climate change and the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Africa: Climate Disasters Increase Conflict Risk in Large Countries (AllAfrica News)

  • Even small-scale disasters can increase the risk of conflict in vulnerable places, according to the research paper, published in the journal Global Environmental Change this week.
  • Co-author Jonathan Donges said it was the first time scientists had conducted such a broad study of conflicts preceded by climate disaster, combining statistical analysis, observation data and regional case study assessments.
  • "Based on this case analysis, we are able to show that in many of the identified disaster-conflict events, the climate disaster is likely to have causally contributed to increasing the risk for the conflict outbreak," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

'People will make a sacrifice for the common good': How the fight against COVID-19 could extend to climate (CBC)

  • This is our weekly newsletter on all things environmental, where we highlight trends and solutions that are moving us to a more sustainable world.
  • In recent years, there has been significant momentum in the private sector to confront climate change.
  • Andre Mayer spoke to Tom Rand, the Toronto-based author of the new book The Case for Climate Capitalism: Economic Solutions for a Planet in Crisis, about environmental action at a time when the world is preoccupied with a more immediate threat.

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