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White House: climate change impacts on health worse than polio, affects mental health

The White House has put out a report on climate change and health as part of Obama’s continued legacy push on climate change and generally being the voice of reason as the side show of the presidential nominee race continues.

The report says climate change is seriously dangerous for human health – and the impacts on human health will accelerate as the climate changes.

Consequences include: more deaths from heat, worse water and air pollution, diseases caught from insect bites spreading further and more rapidly – and increasing strain on mental health related to extreme weather.

Economically and socially disadvantaged groups will be at a greater risk, as well as children and pregnant women.

Meanwhile in Pakistan, people are suffering water rationing in Karachi – with some people unable to replenish supplies of fresh water for two weeks – and there have beenfloods in northern Pakistan in which 200 people have died. Both the drought and floods have been linked to climate change.

Climate change could cost $2.5 trillion in assets

A new study published in Nature Climate Change has put a figure on the losses to global financial assets if we keep global warming at 2.5 degrees this century, and it’s $2.5 trillion. In the worst case scenarios climate change wipes out $24 trillion – or 17% – off financial assets. If we were to stay under 2 degrees, this would reduce to $1.7 trillion.

This follows a warning from the Financial Stability Board last week that firms are leaving their investors exposed by not properly looking into their vulnerability to climate change.

The Nature study is the first to model the impact of climate change on financial assets, but think tank Carbon Tracker have long raised the red flag over the likelihood of “stranded assets”. On top of this, many financial institutions and scholars have warned of the impact of climate change on the global economy, including Lord Stern, the Bank of England, The World Bank, World Economic Forum.

Also last week, a separate paper alerted investors to the climate risks of investing in new coal or gas after next year if we want to stay under two degrees.

Meanwhile, ratings agency Moody’s says European banks’ €270bn of energy exposure is “manageable” and made up of less risky assets than those held by US rivals.

Tech ‘miracle’ already here, says BNEF boss

The transformation from a fossil fuel-based global economy, to one that is powered by a decentralized mix of renewables is happening far faster than anyone anticipated, Michael Liebreich, the founder and chairman of the advisory board at Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) said on Tuesday.

This seems to be borne out by an analysis of BP data showing 35 countries (out of 67 we have the number for) have decoupled economic growth and emissions.

Two strong voices – US SoS Kerry and an ex-Shell boss – have called for companies to move away from fossil fuels and towards clean energy, with the latter suggesting the time is now ‘ripe’ for such a move.

In other news

UK energy: UK could save £40 billion if replaces Hinkley with renewables – report

Oil & gas impacts: Over half of World Heritage sites including the Great Barrier Reef, Grand Canyon National Park and China’s Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries are at risk from oil, gas and mining industries

Energy diplomacy: US and Israel sign new energy co-operation agreement

Gas leak: Southern California braces for summer blackouts due to Porter Ranch gas leak

Asia coal protest crackdown: Coal protesters shot by police in Bangladesh, four killed

Oil price: Oil futures jump on output freeze hopes but glut hurts physical prices

Renewables: Scotland generated more than half its electricity from renewables last year

ScienceScientists claim ‘game changing’ reverse photosynthesis could provide pollution-free energy