Climate change news – latest: Scottish Power goes 100% renewable after government urged to act fast on global warming

The government's climate change advisers have been tasked with setting out a strategy that could see the UK bring its carbon emissions to zero by 2050.

Such a target would be in line with the ambitious targets laid out in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's recent report, which revealed unprecedented changes were needed across society to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

Meanwhile, one of the UK's biggest energy suppliers has completely dropped fossil fuels in favour of wind power - setting the agenda for the nation's future power supply.

Here you can follow the latest climate change news from the UK and around the world after scientists urged nation's to take action last week.

Ministers have declared this week Green GB Week – a celebration of the UK’s achievements tackling climate change. But beneath the surface some major decisions about the country's future as a green power are underway.

To mark the beginning of the week, government advisers the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) have been tasked with establishing whether the UK needs to completely overhaul its current emissions targets, and what needs to be done to achieve this transition. They must consider what emissions reductions would be needed to meet the Paris climate agreement target of a “well below 2C” rise, as well as the 1.5C limit urged in the new report.

Experts agree that 1.5C is a must, and to get there campaigners say we need to cut our carbon emissions to zero before 2050. It is a big task, and the CCC will lay out exactly how big.

Government urged to act fast on climate change after seeking advice on new carbon emissions target

Experts welcome request for advice from Committee on Climate Change, but say 'net zero' target must come soon to avert catastrophe

I'm wrapping up for today, but tune in again for more climate change news tomorrow.

More variable rainfall patterns are likely to compromise the supply of fresh water. Globally, water scarcity already affects four out of every 10 people. A lack of water and poor water quality can compromise hygiene and health. This increases the risk of diarrhoea, which kills approximately 2.2 million people every year, as well as trachoma (an eye infection that can lead to blindness) and other illnesses.

Many have picked up on the far-reaching impacts of the IPCC report as a signal that individuals should be doing more to tackle climate change.

'As the BBC platforms a climate change denier, it's clear our situation is urgent. The answer? Go vegan'

When we moved into our new flat last year, my husband and I were a little taken aback to find the lift covered in graffiti. This wasn't your average poorly drawn phallus or predictable expletive – no, this graffiti declared in proud felt-tip: MEAT IS MURDER!

Yesterday's editorial: "The largest single obstacle to saving the planet’s ecology sits in the White House"

'How can we seriously tackle climate change when one of the biggest barriers to reducing emissions is sitting in the White House?'

We have no choice but to press on, but without the cooperation of countries such as the US and China, the rate of global warming won’t slow down fast enough to make a difference

The Australian government currently has no plans to reduce emissions beyond 2020, and now its ministers have made it clear they have no plans to end the nation's love affair with coal - despite the IPCC's warnings.

The Australian government is still supporting coal, despite warnings of climate catastrophe

Prime minister says nation will not be held to report's conclusion emissions must be cut by nearly half within 12 years

When considering the news about climate change, it is easy to think of it as a vague, abstract entity - but the reality is that this is something that is already affected people's lives. Scientists are increasingly confident attributing the likelihood and intensity of particular events - hurricanes, droughts, heatwaves - to the changing global climate.

This year we have already seen climate change's fingerprints on events from Europe's summer heatwave to Cape Town's drought. In this piece from our Middle East correspondent Bel Trew, she looks at how vanishing water resources could fuel the next war in the Middle East and North Africa:

Iraq water shortages could force four million people to flee their homes

Experts warn the country’s next security crisis could be sparked by the devastation of agricultural lands from chronic water shortages, Bel Trew reports in the second part of her new series, Water Wars

As temperatures change, many species are on the move. Some butterflies, foxes, and alpine plants have migrated farther north or to higher, cooler areas.



This morning a Dutch appeals court upheld a historic ruling that ordered the government to slash the country's greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25 per cent by 2020 from benchmark 1990 levels. The decision means the government will have to accelerate decarbonisation.

The order to increase emissions cuts is particularly pertinent a day after the IPCC report concluded global efforts to reduce greenhouse gases are far from sufficient.


The original June 2015 ruling came from environmental group Urgenda on behalf of 900 Dutch citizens, and has been followed by several similar cases in countries across the world.

Judge Tan de Sonnaville said:


Climate change is a grave danger. Any postponement of emissions reductions exacerbates the risks of climate change. The Dutch Government cannot hide behind other countries emissions. It has an independent duty to reduce emissions from its own territory.

Tessa Khan , co-director of the Climate Litigation Network said:

Today’s judgment is a resounding vindication of all our demands that governments act decisively on climate change. As yesterday’s IPCC report confirmed, time is not on our side and our actions in the next few years will determine our future. The Appeal Court made it clear that if governments fail to urgently reduce emissions, they are knowingly putting their citizens in harm’s way.

This judgment puts governments all over the world on notice. Ordinary people in Ireland, Belgium, Switzerland, Norway and the US are already turning to the courts to protect their human rights in the face of devastating climate change. Governments have no more excuses for inaction after today; they must ramp up their ambition without delay or face the consequences.

If you're still unclear about what the report was all about, how it came about, and what it means for you - fear not! I have assembled a handy explainer to help you out:

What the IPCC report means for the Earth and how you can help beat climate change

Scientists have released what can be seen as the most urgent and far-reaching call yet for world governments to cut their greenhouse gas emissions and stop global warming.

Many have criticised the decision to feature Ebell in light of the guidelines that recently emerged in which the BBC admitted it had got climate change “wrong too often”, advising its journalists they “do not need to include outright deniers” in discussions because scientists accept man-made global warming is a fact.



In response to the criticism, a BBC spokesperson said:


The BBC does not dispute the science. We acknowledge the weight of scientific consensus around climate change and this underpins all of our reporting of the subject. This does not mean, however, that we should never interview someone who opposes this consensus, especially if they are influential in the political debate about how to tackle climate change. There are times when it is editorially appropriate to hear from a dissenting voice.


BBC Director-General Tony Hall spoke last night at the inaugural Society of Editors Satchwell lecture, explaining:

Our impartiality does not mean that we strike some sort of false balance - but that we reflect all contributions to a debate, and give each of them their due weight. So no equivalence between the climate change sceptic - and the overwhelming consensus of scientific . But no exclusion of viewpoints because they’re generally felt to be beyond the pale. We won’t give in to pressure to silence dissenting voices - nor allow those voices to be seen as mainstream.

There are likely to be 25 million more malnourished children under the age of five in 2050 due to climate change – that’s the equivalent of all the children under five in the US and Canada combined.

Morning everyone - and welcome to another day of fallout from the IPCC's massive climate change report.

Last night the BBC faced heavy criticism from the environmental and climate science community following its decision to feature climate change denier Myron Ebell in a debate on Newsnight.

here:

BBC condemned for inviting climate change denier to debate global warming report

'Car-crash television, and a waste of time that could have been used addressing the real questions'

The final word for the day goes to Will Gore: "We may not be able to hold back the tide – and at present the outlook looks pretty bleak: but for goodness sake let’s at least try."

'We have 12 years to act on climate change before the world as we know it is lost. How much more urgent can it get?'

Making myriad small changes to our lives and pressuring politicians to pursue green policies is the only way to lessen the life-threatening damage we’ve already created

The heatwaves that swept across Europe and much of the northern hemisphere this summer were a wake-up call for many. Scientists found that climate change had increased the probability of these hot spells, and predicted that they will become more likely in the future.

The effect climate change will have on weather and natural disasters in the future will vary enormously from place to place, as the Met Office’s Professor Richard Betts pointed out:

Limiting the rise in warming to 1.5C avoids many, but not all of the worst climate impacts seen at 2C or above. For example, vulnerability to food insecurity increases in many countries as our world warms. An increase in global temperature is projected to cause more flooding in some areas and more drought in others. Both increases and decreases in rainfall are generally larger at 2C global warming than at 1.5C.

The renewable energy industry is predictably welcoming of the IPCC’s conclusion that the world needs to massively invest in clean power.
Executive director of trade association RenewableUK Emma Pinchbeck said:


This report warns that the dangerous effects of climate change will hit us sooner than most people had thought, unless we take much faster, much deeper action to limit potentially devastating global temperature rises by slashing carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.


The report also calls for annual investment of around $2.4 trillion in the global energy system between 2016 and 2035. This is a great economic opportunity for our country and for consumers.


The success of renewable energy in the UK is the result of political leadership to encourage investment in technologies such as offshore wind, in which we lead the world. But we can’t rest on our laurels. As well as generating more clean electricity using cheap technologies like onshore wind, and fully commercialising our innovative wave and tidal industries, we need to see much greater progress on decarbonising the heat and transport sectors

I'm signing off for the day, but stay tuned for a few more responses to today's report. I hope everyone is feeling suitably invigorated to go out and take on climate change.

The day of the report was seen protesting against fossil fuels by groups such as Greenpeace and Fossil Free UK, who took the opportunity to point out how incompatible many fossil fuel policies are with the guidance scientists have produced.



Labour's Barry Gardiner says this government is standing in the way of emission reductions

Malaria, diarrhoea and malnutrition are diseases are water borne diseases that have caused more than three million deaths since 2005, one third of these deaths are in Africa.

Britain could lead the world in reducing emissions – here's how the government is standing in the way

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has concluded that by 2050, the world must be carbon neutral. Sadly, this government's record on climate change is dismal and it is refusing to do anything to correct our course

Scientists broadly welcomed the IPCC's findings, describing the report as "frightening", "revolutionary" and "extremely important".

Professor Euan Nisbet , an earth scientist at Royal Holloway University of London, said:


The report shows the frightening consequences of allowing global warming to go more than 1.5C above pre-industrial norms. There are very strong reasons to try as hard as we can to keep below this level. If warming goes further, the implications both for the biosphere and for human economies are very dangerous.

Professor William Collins , a meteorologist at the University of Reading, said:


This report is extremely important in showing the need to restrict climate change to 1.5 degrees, and showing that it is possible to do so provided very significant steps are taken to reduce our emissions. Reducing CO2 alone won’t be enough to achieve the 1.5 degree climate target; the IPCC show that it is essential also to reduce other strong greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide that have large sources from agriculture and waste treatment.

Professor Corinne Le Quéré , Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia, said:


For the UK, this means a rapid switch to renewable energy and electric cars, insulating our homes, planting trees, where possible walking/cycling and eating well (more plants/less meat), and developing an industry to capture carbon and store it underground. It also means adapting to the growing impacts of climate change that are felt here, particularly to the increasing flood risks from heavy rainfall and from sea level rise along our coasts. The solutions are already here.

There has been some uncertainty about how shipping and aviation - two massive sources of greenhouse gas emissions - are affected by the Paris climate agreement of 2015. According to experts the new IPCC report should clear up any doubts, as the authors make clear that every emissions source must be dealt with if we are to stave off 2C warming.

Carlos Calvo Ambel, manager for analysis and climate with European NGO federation Transport & Environment, said:

Without cutting aviation emissions there is no way the world can avoid dangerous climate change. We've been ignoring this issue for too long. ICAO has proposed letting aviation off the hook by allowing it to buy so-called offsets. The scheme is not only incredibly weak, it is also fundamentally at odds with the Paris Agreement which requires all sectors to decarbonise. Europe urgently needs to take measures to put the sector onto a decarbonisation pathway. The time for greenwashing is over.

If you're interested in reading the IPCC report, it can be found below. The headline figures can be found in the Summary for Policymakers, a 33-page document that is intended to lay out the facts as simply as possible to inform those in power about the potential risks of climate change.

The world has seen maximum rise of CO2 in 800,000 years. The increasing level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has set up a record for the first time in 800,000 years. Sad, but true that the catastrophic effect of global warming is going to impact human health and the planet itself. From this we figure out that the atmosphere we are living in and the air that we breathe has never had as much carbon dioxide in it as it does today.



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