News Selection – Climate Justice
Recent news chosen to illustrate and update Tread Softly briefings on Climate Justice.
Record-high supply and demand on voluntary carbon markets in 2017
16/8/2018: As governments, companies, and individuals the world over are increasingly seeking to address their contributions to global warming, the use of voluntary carbon markets is starting to accelerate after several years of slow growth. Source: Mongabay
Tread Softly Comment: As the article implies, the rising trend in demand for voluntary carbon offsets is difficult to analyse. And there's no reference here to the price achieved in the voluntary market. As the full report discloses, prices remain exceptionally low, adding to doubts that this model of carbon finance for mitigation is effective. Relevant Briefing: Climate Finance
Domino-effect of climate events could move Earth into a ‘hothouse’ state
7/8/2018; A cascade of melting ice, warming seas, shifting currents and dying forests could tilt the Earth into a state beyond which human efforts to reduce emissions will be increasingly futile, a group of leading climate scientists has warned. Source: The Guardian
Tread Softly Comment: The lead authors of this research, Will Steffen and Johan Rockstrom, also devised the concept of nine planetary boundaries, geophysical benchmarks which may become tipping points if exceeded. This new work explores the idea of merging these risks into a single boundary, beyond which human agency is powerless. The scientists question whether the impacts of 2 degrees of warming, adopted as acceptable in the Paris climate agreement, may transgress the composite tipping point. This finding may influence the forthcoming IPCC report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees due for publication in early October. It also implies that 2 degrees of warming would be equally damaging for all countries, not just the poorer more vulnerable regions. Relevant Briefing: Climate Justice
Supreme court refuses to halt kids climate case
30/7/2018: The US Supreme Court has denied the federal government’s request to halt the youth climate lawsuit Juliana v. United States. The court’s rejection of the defendants’ application for a stay means the case will likely proceed on October 29. Source: Climate Liability News
Tread Softly Comment: For the time being, the US Supreme Court is holding fire against this important climate lawsuit coordinated by Our Children's Trust. It means that the Trump administration will be forced to answer accusations of causing harm to children through negligence of climate change during the week immediately preceding the midterm congressional elections. Not the ideal scenario for Republican candidates. Relevant Briefing: Climate Litigation
Developing countries face rising payments due to climate change
2/7/2018: Developing countries face debt payments of up to $168 billion over the next ten years as a result of their vulnerability to man-made climate change, according to a study by Imperial College. Source: Imperial College London
Tread Softly Comment: International financial markets are doing no favours for climate finance. We recently heard that the Global Climate Fund has lost a billion dollars due to unhedged currency fluctuations; and this important research by Imperial forecasts a climate risk premium of around 10% in debt financing for the 48 member countries of the Climate Vulnerable Forum. The report contains valuable evidence for prioritising adaptation finance. Relevant Briefing: Climate Finance
Why climate change is a security matter
6/7/2018: Rising temperatures could destroy livelihoods, threaten the Malian economy and turn more people towards escape routes – whether to urban slums, migration routes north to Europe or the ranks of AQIM. Source: World Resources Institute
Tread Softly Comment: As this month's Presidential election in Mali shows signs of being disrupted by security issues, this article offers a timely reminder of the sensitivity of the Niger Delta to climate change, threatening its contribution to Mali's economic and political stability. Relevant Briefing: Climate Displacement
UN climate fund chief resigns for personal reasons while board meeting collapses
4/7/2018: In a dramatic conclusion to a meeting that failed to approve any finance for the developing world, Howard Bamsey announced his exit from the Green Climate Fund. Source: Climate Home News
Tread Softly Comment: Climate Home News has also produced a useful analysis: 8 takeaways from the Green Climate Fund meltdown. The most worrying is the inability of the donor and beneficiary countries to compromise their differences, with the US happy to deploy a wrecking ball. The GCF cannot afford to mimic UNFCCC negotiations in this way. Relevant Briefing: Climate Finance
Thousands threatened by melting glacier lake in Peru
29/6/2018: Lake Palcacocha is swollen with glacial meltwater as Peru's ice caps continue to thaw. Elaborate disaster risk measures are being put in place to protect tens of thousands of people, whose own responsibility for global warming is minimal. Source: The Guardian
Leaked IPCC report presents 2 degree warming as unsafe
27/6/2018: Latest version of major UN science report concludes the upper temperature goal of the Paris Agreement does not represent a climate safe zone.
India's recent storms linked with melting Arctic
13/6/2018: Indian scientists believe that the rising incidence of severe storms in India is linked with the hike in temperatures in the Arctic. If they are right, this will be further evidence of disproportionate impact of climate change on poor countries.
Implications of rising seas for US coastal real estate
18/6/2018: New research finds that more than 300,000 US coastal homes are at risk of chronic inundation by 2045. The report considers implications for property values and tax base. Assessment of the coastline of West Africa might have more human concerns.