Edition for 18 May 2020

Top Stories

Australia's climate future to evolve as economy is rebuilt (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • In November, world leaders were to meet in Scotland for the 2020 United Nations Climate Change Conference to set even more ambitious emissions targets and outline concrete plans on how to meet them in the effort to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees.
  • Rather than lose the momentum that had been growing, scientists and activists groups around the world are focusing on a campaign to ensure that economic stimulus packages being adopted around the world are green.
  • On Friday, the World Economic Forum released a statement in support of the European Union’s “Green Deal”, declaring that it must become the “cornerstone” of Europe’s pandemic recovery.

Is the Covid-19 crisis the catalyst for the greening of the world's airlines? (Guardian)

  • Rescue packages need to come with green strings, such as reduced carbon footprints and frequent flyer levies, they warn, or the sector will return to the path that has made it the fastest rising source of climate-wrecking carbon emissions over the past decade.
  • Old passenger jets also need to be rapidly retired or cheap oil prices will encourage budget airlines to run services almost empty, which could push up emissions even if passenger numbers stay low, they say.
  • Until the pandemic, governments were so focused on keeping airlines globally competitive that they largely gave the sector a free ride in terms of emissions cuts and contributions to public revenues.

HCM City launches motorbike emission testing programme (Viet Nam News)

  • A pilot programme to monitor emissions from motorbikes has been launched by the HCM City Department of Transport.
  • Locals participating in the voluntary programme can have their motorbikes' emissions tested for free at eight vehicle maintenance agencies until September.
  • Owners of bikes whose gas emissions are within the national criteria can receive vouchers for changing engine oil.

Carmakers press for EU and UK subsidies after slump in demand (Guardian)

  • Carmakers are negotiating with the EU and UK for subsidies to help boost demand for new vehicles, but campaigners are concerned that the stimulus could end up paying for pollution unless emissions restrictions are imposed.
  • Environmental campaign groups have said giving subsidies to all cars would be a missed opportunity to promote a green recovery and to help carmakers move towards all-electric cars with zero carbon dioxide exhaust emissions.
  • Any financial support for the car industry should also be conditional on the sector taking concrete steps to rapidly end its growing impact on climate breakdown and our health.” A rise in SUVs has meant average car emissions have risen even as combustion engines have become much more efficient.

Middle East second most popular region for renewable energy investment: Report (AlArabiya.net)

  • The report gathered data from over 2,000 senior business people in the Group of 20 countries that either work for energy companies, are investors in energy, service providers to energy companies, or have responsibility in energy decision making for other sector companies.
  • “With large solar projects underway, like those in the UAE and planned in Morocco and Algeria, as well as the much discussed interconnectors to Europe, it is clear that global investors appreciate the low-carbon potential in the region despite it being the center of the world’s oil and gas trade,” Charlier added.

Extreme flood risk: New report outlines potentially disastrous scenario for Ho Chi Minh City (Channel News Asia)

  • "At the same time, there has been a gradual erosion of green areas in the city and no new green areas have been introduced in decades." Climate change will make the city’s existing problems worse.
  • Its Paris Agreement target is an unconditional 8 per cent reduction of greenhouse emissions on business as usual levels by 2030 - a pledge considered critically insufficient by Climate Action Tracker, an independent consortium that tracks government action on climate.
  • "Estimates on climate change’s impact are based on one unlikely scenario: we do nothing."

BP chief says Covid has deepened commitment to net-zero emissions (EHN)

  • This raises serious questions over the business models of major oil companies, which are already under pressure due to tougher climate action and the rise of renewable energy.
  • Looney began his tenure as BP boss by promising that the oil company would invest more in clean energy and less in fossil fuels over the next three decades as part of an ambition to become a carbon neutral business by 2050.
  • The plan will use carbon offsets, such as tree-planting and emissions capture technology, to mitigate the fossil fuels it will continue to produce by the middle of the century.

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