This global climate report next week will be the worst yet

Source: SeppFriedhuber / Getty Images

By David Callaway, Callaway Climate Insights

As the European energy crisis begins to spiral with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, climate advocates are girding for what is expected to be the worst assessment yet by international scientists next week when a major report comes that for the first time will detail the short-term dangers to many cities and regions.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will on Monday publish the second of three multiyear reports, following a report last November ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow. Rather than focus on how countries and cities can cut emissions in the future, it is expected to focus on short-term crises around the world in places under immediate threat and with no funding to act.

The report will also detail what scientists believe the major road signs along the way to climate disaster will be, such as the melting of the ice shelves and the expansion of wildfires to every continent. A separate report this week from the United Nations said wildfires will increase by 30% worldwide in the next 30 years and become one of the dominant natural threats to civilization.

It’s a lot of bad news to absorb and will unfortunately receive less attention than needed by global governments preoccupied with Russia and Ukraine. The BBC said there will be a section on potential solutions, such as carbon removal and storage, but that scientists are on the whole less confident in technology to solve the climate crisis as they are on just convincing countries to cut emissions.

As oil leaps above $100 a barrel and natural gas prices surge because of Russia’s invasion and expected Western sanctions, it will be difficult and frustrating for those seeking to curtail usage. But as we noted on Tuesday, Putin’s gamble that he can control Europe’s energy with his existing oil and gas pipelines is foolhardy as the invasion will energize the continent’s renewable transition with wartime urgency.

The IPCC report on Monday will serve as a further reminder of what ultimately is at stake.

More insights below . . . .

EU notebook: Gas and electricity prices to remain tied until at least 2030

. . . . European gasoline and energy prices will remain tied together until at least the end of this decade and the latest energy crisis is expected to last until at least next year, writes Alisha Houlihan from Dublin. That’s the bleak assessment of the European Commission as it weighs the impact of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine and the current pace of the renewable energy transition. A more urgent pace in the adoption of electric vehicles and wind and solar energy is required.

From the desk of our European Bureau Chief Stephen Rae: We’re pleased to announce the second annual Dublin Climate Summit, set for May 12 in Dublin, Ireland. This year it will be a hybrid conference, opened in person by Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin and featuring Eurozone Group President Paschal Donohoe, head of the group of finance ministers. A group of top investors, venture capitalists and bankers will also be speaking. Details to come! . . .

Read the full EU notebook

Looking for ESG stocks that rose in January? Try Latin America

. . . . Metals, mining and gold stocks might not rush to mind when thinking about environmental, social and governance (ESG) plays, but a look at Latin America’s solid performance in January — courtesy of high oil prices and inflation — reveals a handful of companies that benefit AND have respectable ESG ratings, writes Michael Molinski. While some might howl “greenwashing,” it’s hard to find a better-performing region in the world right now, which includes a list of ESG haves and have nots. Especially with most U.S. stocks in correction territory. . . .

Read the full article

Thursday’s subscriber insights: All eyes on NY offshore wind lease auction as bids soar

. . . . With the U.S. way behind Europe and other places on offshore wind power, all eyes are on an auction of sites off New York and New Jersey this week that could result in 500 turbines next to the nation’s biggest conurbation. But will local, state and federal regulations slow things down, as they have in other places? And who are the players going to be? U.S. firms or the Europeans who have dominated so far? Read more here. . . .

. . . . Here’s something that many have probably not thought of: What happens when gas tax revenues — both at state and federal levels — decline due to adoption of electric vehicles? Should EV owners expect extra charges at their chargers? Some states, such as Ohio, are already putting contingencies in place, and they won’t be cheap. Read more here. . . .

. . . . H&M. Uniqlo. Forever 21. They pile ‘em high and sell ‘em cheap. And in many cases, the people who buy their clothes wear them just a few times. And increasingly they use polyester, which is made from oil. The result: A big hit on the environment. In fact, fashion accounts for up to 10% of global carbon dioxide output — more than international flights and shipping combined. Read more here. . . .

. . . . Supply chain woes and politics have hindered the solar industry. But maybe no more, because a Philippines student has invented panels made from waste crops — and they don’t need full sunlight. Read more here. . . .

Editor’s picks: Earthships, mail trucks, drought woes for California farmers

Post Office opts to ‘modernize’ with mostly gas trucks

The United States Postal Service said Wednesday that it will go ahead with a plan to buy 50,000 to 165,000 new trucks, with “at least” 10% of the trucks being battery electric vehicles. USPS said this plan is “the most achievable given the Postal Service’s financial condition.” The White House and the EPA have called for all federal vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035. A report from MSN notes that earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency sent a letter to USPS calling on the agency to conduct a new environmental review and hold a public hearing on its plan to modernize the fleet. The letter also claimed that USPS’s greenhouse gas emissions calculations for the proposed new fleet were inaccurate, the report says.

Feds can’t open tap for California farmers

Federal officials said this week they won’t be able deliver any water to farmers in California’s major agricultural region, according to a report from The Associated Press. The report quotes Ernest Conant, regional director for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, as saying, “It’s devastating to the agricultural economy and to those people that rely on it. But unfortunately we can’t make it rain.” The federal government operates the Central Valley Project in California, a complex system of dams, reservoirs and canals. It’s one of two major water systems the state relies on for agriculture, drinking water, and the environment. The other system is run by the state government. The AP notes that “Water agencies contract with the federal government for certain amounts of water each year. In February, the federal government announces how much of those contracts can be fulfilled based on how much water is available. The government then updates the allocations throughout the year based on conditions.”

Rethinking how to measure methane’s climate impact

By focusing on the climate impact of methane over a 100-year timeframe, international climate negotiators have underestimated the importance of this short-lived greenhouse gas for achieving Paris climate agreement goals, a new Stanford University study finds. According to a report from Stanford Earth Matters magazine, greenhouse gasses lose their warming impact at different rates. “So, to compare gasses’ climate changing potential to the most common greenhouse gas — carbon dioxide — international negotiators often use a metric that measures their influence on global warming over a 100-year timeframe.” A Stanford University study published earlier this month in Environmental Research Letters “indicates that approach underestimates methane’s importance in achieving the Paris Agreement climate goals by up to 87%. Instead, the scientists propose using a 24-year timeframe, consistent with the goal of keeping global temperature increases below 1.5°C. above pre-industrial levels. Read more about the research.

Words to live by . . . .

“Climate change is no longer a long-term problem. We are confronted now with a global climate crisis. The point of no return is no longer over the horizon. It is in sight and hurtling towards us.” — Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General.

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