Climate, politics & money – headlines

January 20, 2014

NOTE: Images in this archived article have been removed.

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Get your cash out of fossil fuel backed funds says UN climate chief

Matt McGrath, BBC
The pensions and nest eggs of billions of people around the world are being put at risk by global warming, says the UN’s climate chief.

Christiana Figueres has called on investors to pull their money out of fossil fuel linked funds.

She said institutional investors would be in blatant breach of their fiduciary duty if they ignored the "clear scientific evidence".

Ms Figueres said that they should put their money into green assets instead.

The issue of investing in oil, gas and other fossil fuel-backed funds has provoked a heated debate over the past 12 months…
(15 January 2014)

If You See Something, Say Something

Michael E. Mann, New York Times
THE overwhelming consensus among climate scientists is that human-caused climate change is happening. Yet a fringe minority of our populace clings to an irrational rejection of well-established science. This virulent strain of anti-science infects the halls of Congress, the pages of leading newspapers and what we see on TV, leading to the appearance of a debate where none should exist…

This is where scientists come in. In my view, it is no longer acceptable for scientists to remain on the sidelines. I should know. I had no choice but to enter the fray. I was hounded by elected officials, threatened with violence and more — after a single study I co-wrote a decade and a half ago found that the Northern Hemisphere’s average warmth had no precedent in at least the past 1,000 years. Our “hockey stick” graph became a vivid centerpiece of the climate wars, and to this day, it continues to win me the enmity of those who have conflated a problem of science and society with partisan politics…

If scientists choose not to engage in the public debate, we leave a vacuum that will be filled by those whose agenda is one of short-term self-interest. There is a great cost to society if scientists fail to participate in the larger conversation — if we do not do all we can to ensure that the policy debate is informed by an honest assessment of the risks. In fact, it would be an abrogation of our responsibility to society if we remained quiet in the face of such a grave threat.
(19 January 2014)

Church of England says unlikely to quit fossil fuel investment

Belinda Goldsmith, Reuters
The Church of England pushed back on Friday from calls to get rid of its investments in companies extracting or selling fossil fuels, saying it would mean a financial hit and it was better to use shareholder influence to pressure change.

The church’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG) is reviewing its policy on ethical investment related to climate change, with some church officials calling for disinvestment from such companies to highlight the need to move to a low-carbon economy.

The diocese of Southwark last July passed a resolution for the church to completely divest from fossil fuels, following the lead of other religious organisations globally including Anglican dioceses in New Zealand and the Quakers in the UK.

However, some in the church argue that shareholders should engage with companies to make them reorder their priorities and cut emissions. Others recommend quitting high-emission practices like coal and tar-sands with a proposed time-frame to move to a low-carbon portfolio…
(17 January 2014)

BP study predicts greenhouse emissions will rise by almost a third in 20 years

Fiona Harvey and Terry Macalister, The Guardian
Global greenhouse gas emissions are set to rise by nearly a third in the next two decades, putting hopes of curtailing dangerous climate change beyond reach, a new report by BP has found.

The drastic rise in emissions, despite international efforts to cut carbon, will come despite the predicted enormous growth in the use of shale gas, according to the oil and gas giant…

Proponents of the fuel have argued that shale gas can counteract dependence on coal. But while shale gas use has increased dramatically, particularly in the US, where it brought down gas prices from $12 (£7) to below $3 (£1.80) at one stage, global emissions have continued to rise as the coal that would otherwise have been used has been exported elsewhere.

Christof Ruehl, BP chief economist, said that fuel switching had little impact on overall emissions. Coal use globally had risen to record levels, even as shale gas had risen.
(15 January 2014)

Unfortunately, The World Is Still Barreling Towards Climate Cataclysm

Jeff Spross, Cliamte Progress
As 2014 gets underway, humanity’s carbon emissions remain on course to catastrophically reshape the global climate over the next century or two.

Global carbon emissions increased 1.4 percent in 2012, hitting an historic high of 31.6 billion metric tons released in a single year, according to a recent assessment by the International Energy Agency (IEA). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently pegged the total amount the world can afford to emit at 1,000 billion metric tons of carbon. Beyond that, humanity has little chance of holding the change in global temperatures below 2°C — the threshold after which most scientists agree climate change will become genuinely catastrophic. The world has already blown through 531 billion metric tons of this “carbon budget,” and not using up the rest will require leaving most of the world’s already-proven fossil fuel reserves unused and in the ground.

After several years of decline, America’s total annual carbon emissions ticked back up in 2013, thanks largely to market shifts that left coal once again more economic than natural gas. Meanwhile, the developing world is coming up fast as its economies build up, and it now accounts for 60 percent of global carbon emissions — up from just 45 percent in 2000.

The end result: we’re chewing up that remaining carbon budget at an astonishing — and accelerating — rate, that nothing seems able to slow down:…
Image Removed
(17 January 2014)

Change the politics image via caro2francq/flickr.

Tags: climate change, Divestment, fossil fuel divestment, Fossil Fuels, money, Politics, science