Edition for 15 April 2020

Top Stories

European politicians, CEOs, lawmakers urge green coronavirus recovery (Reuters)

  • European politicians, companies, lawmakers and activists called on Tuesday for green investment to restart growth after the coronavirus pandemic, saying fighting climate change and promoting biodiversity would rebuild stronger economies.
  • “The transition to a climate-neutral economy, the protection of biodiversity and the transformation of agri-food systems have the potential to rapidly deliver jobs, growth ... and to contribute to building more resilient societies.”
  • Signatories included ministers from 10 countries from Italy to Luxembourg, 79 EU lawmakers, and chief executives from L’Oreal’s Jean-Paul Agon to IKEA’s Jesper Brodin and Danone’s (DANO.PA) Emmanuel Faber.
  • Calling fallout from the coronavirus pandemic a shock worse than the 2008 financial crisis, the signatories said rescue measures should advance the EU’s landmark Green Deal policy package, which aims to bring the 27-nation bloc to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Fighting climate change would boost economy, study finds (CBSNews.com)

  • One of the main arguments against taking action on climate change has always been that it's too expensive.
  • A study published Tuesday in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Nature finds that if nations fail to rein in greenhouse gas emissions sufficiently, as agreed upon in the international Paris Agreement, the global economy stands to lose at least $150 trillion to as much as $792 trillion by the end of the century.
  • A co-author of the study, Biying Yu, from the Beijing Institute of Technology, said the general consensus in the international academic community is that "climate change may lead to a global catastrophe," and thus inaction could result in "substantial socio-economic losses."

Strengthen worldwide climate commitments to improve economy, study finds (Guardian)

  • Global economy could lose out by $600tn by end of century on current emissions targets.
  • Every country in the world would be economically better off if all could agree to strengthen their commitments on the climate crisis through international cooperation, new research has found.
  • The global economy would lose out by as much as $600tn (£476tn) by the end of the century, on current emissions targets, compared with its likely growth if countries meet the Paris goals, according to a paper published in the journal Nature Communications.
  • They calculated the potential benefits by including the social welfare aspects of cutting emissions and of economic growth, which gives more weight than some other models to developing countries with large populations of poor and vulnerable people.

The Environment and the Economy Are Not in Opposition (The Aspen Institute)

  • It is a common misnomer that climate initiatives stifle a bustling economy.
  • These temporary reductions will not save us from the climate crisis, but they do give us reason to pause for a more thorough consideration of the relationship between our economy and on our planet.
  • Can positive environmental momentum be maintained with a high-functioning global economy or is noteworthy progress only made during a downturn?

How coronavirus concerns completely shut down talk of climate change (Financial Post)

  • Near the top of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii, 3,400 metres above sea level, a gleaming observatory surrounded by dark lava rocks measures carbon dioxide levels every second of every day.
  • It is the birthplace of modern climate science, because it was here, using these records, that chemist Charles Keeling first established the link between carbon dioxide and rising fossil fuel use.
  • The result of his research, known as the “Keeling curve”, shows how concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have been ticking up ever since records began in 1958.

Coronavirus shutdowns can't save the planet from climate change. Here's what could (LA Times)

  • Last week, Reuters published a rather remarkable look at how coronavirus shutdowns are affecting climate emissions.
  • The piece claimed 2020 could see the “biggest fall in carbon emissions since World War Two,” when gas rationing was the norm.
  • More specifically, it quoted Stanford professor and Global Carbon Project chair Rob Jackson saying global carbon output could fall by 5% this year.

Planet imagery reveals source of Beijing’s ongoing pollution (Space News)

  • Air pollution has fallen dramatically in many areas of China as activity slows due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some parts of Beijing, though, have experienced little relief because work continues at nearby power plants and steel mills.
  • That was the conclusion of a Finnish Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) study that relied on imagery from Planet’s constellation of Earth observation satellites.
  • CREA obtains the Planet imagery through Satellites for Climate Action, a partnership announced at the 2019 Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York.
  • Satellites for Climate Action is backed by Bloomberg Philanthropies, Planet and the State of California.
  • Satellites for Climate Action currently supports two organizations: CREA and Carbon Tracker, a financial think tank based in London.

Amazon fires two employees who called for climate change reform and better warehouse conditions (Geekwire)

  • by Monica Nickelsburg on April 14, 2020 at 8:54 amApril 14, 2020 at 10:01 am Amazon fired two highly visible employee activists who regularly criticize the company’s position on climate change and conditions inside its fulfillment centers.
  • User experience designers Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa, two leaders of the Amazon Employees for Climate Justice group, were let go Friday.
  • “We terminated these employees for repeatedly violating internal policies.” Cunningham spoke during Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting last year, addressing CEO Jeff Bezos directly and calling on the company to implement a more aggressive strategy for reducing its carbon footprint.

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