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The Guardian Climate Change

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Latest Climate crisis news, comment and analysis from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice
Updated: 2 hours 59 min ago

Climate crisis driving exponential rise in most extreme wildfires

June 24, 2024 - 11:00

Scientists warn of ‘scary’ feedback loop in which fires create more heating, which causes more fires worldwide

The climate crisis is driving an exponential rise in the most extreme wildfires in key regions around the world, research has revealed.

The wildfires can cause catastrophic loss of human life, property and wildlife and cause billions of dollars of damage. Scientists say this is climate change “playing out in front of our eyes”.

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Categories: Climate

Fury road: a forlorn hope that, for once, Australia would choose the hard path on climate | Calla Wahlquist

June 24, 2024 - 11:00

Sometimes driving down old and familiar country roads conjures up romantic memories. Or, as after Dutton’s nuclear announcement, it just fills you with anger

There is an element of time travel to driving a road you once knew well. The route along the Olympic Highway, which turns off the Hume Freeway just north of Albury and runs through Wagga Wagga to Cowra and then becomes a series of single-lane roads all the way to Cassilis, is etched into the back of my mind.

We drove it once or twice a year to see my grandparents. I remember when the McDonald’s opened at Cowra – an exciting day for my parents, because Cowra was exactly the halfway point of our drive and an ideal spot for lunch. But it was a devastating day for my sister and me, who had previously been able to wrangle two fast food stops (one at Wagga, before 10.30am to get the breakfast menu, and a second at Wellington for a fried afternoon tea).

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Categories: Climate

Matt Kean criticised by Coalition MPs after Labor appoints him new chair of Climate Change Authority

June 24, 2024 - 05:37

Barnaby Joyce and Matt Canavan lead criticism of former NSW treasurer while Labor declares him ‘best for the job’

The former New South Wales Liberal treasurer Matt Kean has faced criticism for taking a new job as the new chair of the Climate Change Authority after he was appointed by the Albanese government on Monday.

The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, revealed the former NSW Liberal treasurer had been chosen for the “important” role on Monday in a surprise cross-party appointment.

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Categories: Climate

‘Time is life’: the Delhi clinic treating the city’s heat stroke victims

June 23, 2024 - 23:13

Emergency unit opens as much of north India has been battered by relentlessly high temperatures every single day since mid-May

As Dr Amlendu Yadav flicks the switch, the large pipe starts gushing water while he shovels ice into the tub. In two minutes, it is full, ready for the next patient in his newly created emergency heatstroke unit at Ram Manohar Lohia hospital in the Indian capital.

The point, he explains, is speed. Heatstroke patients need to be dunked in the bath the moment they arrive at the hospital if they are to stand a chance of surviving.

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Categories: Climate

Australia politics live: ‘We’ve got sufficient gas’, Plibersek says as energy debate due to dominate parliament winter session

June 23, 2024 - 19:24

Debate over the Coalition’s announcement of its plan for nuclear power plant sites will heat up. Follow today’s news headlines live

David Pocock also spoke to the ABC about his private member’s bill that would see housing treated as a human right. He said it was needed because:

There’s no overarching national plan and this would legislate that these are the objectives, we want to see housing affordable, we want to reduce homelessness and then it would be up to the government to actually work out – how are we going to do that?

What are the policies that we think will address this?

One of my heroes Desmond Tutu used to say ‘don’t raise your voice, improve your argument’.

It’s pretty tragic the major parties tear the opposition down rather than improving their argument and making their plans stand on their own two feet.

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Categories: Climate

Only 60% of Australians accept climate disruption is human-caused, global poll finds

June 23, 2024 - 11:00

Exclusive: French survey of 26 countries finds fewer Australians than global average agree that climate change is the greatest health threat facing humanity

Australians are among the most sceptical around the world that climate disruption is being caused by humans and that the costs of tackling it will be less than that of its impacts, according to polling across 26 countries.

Just 60% of Australians accept that climate disruption is human-caused, a fall of six percentage points from the previous poll 18 months earlier and well behind the global average of 73%, according to the results from French polling company Elabe.

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Categories: Climate

US official warns against dropping 2030 climate targets after Dutton refuses to commit to 43% emissions cut

June 22, 2024 - 16:00

Exclusive: State department official urges politicians to do ‘the right thing’, citing ‘collective responsibility’

A senior US official has urged Australia and other countries not to back away from their 2030 climate commitments, insisting that “we all have a collective responsibility for the planet we live in”.

The message from Australia’s top security ally contrasts with rhetoric from the opposition leader, Peter Dutton, who claimed on Saturday the Labor government was “appeasing the international climate lobby” and “global climate activists”.

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Categories: Climate

'More birds, more trees': thousands march for nature in London – video

June 22, 2024 - 12:34

Thousands of people marched through central London to urge political leaders to take more decisive action in tackling the UK’s wildlife crisis. For the first time, mainstream organisations including the National Trust and the RSPB stood beside hunt saboteurs and direct action activists in the Restore Nature Now march, as campaigners called on the next government to take 'bold' steps to tackle the biodiversity crisis

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Categories: Climate

Thousands march in London to urge leaders to tackle wildlife crisis

June 22, 2024 - 11:38

Protest features 350 environmental groups demanding more robust action on UK wildlife loss

Thousands of people marched through central London to urge political leaders to take more decisive action in tackling the UK’s wildlife crisis.

The protest on Saturday culminated in a rally outside Parliament Square with speeches from prominent figures including the naturalists Chris Packham and Steve Backshall, and poetry readings and performances from Billy Bragg and Feargal Sharkey.

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Categories: Climate

‘Multiple disasters all in one day’: New Mexico’s brutal week of fire and flood

June 22, 2024 - 09:00

Burning slopes are now battered by golf ball-sized hail and 8in of rain, creating a grim mix of extreme weather events

It’s been a harrowing week of fire and flood in New Mexico. Just days after a pair of fast-moving fires roared across drought-stricken landscapes and into communities, a tropical storm swirled north, unleashing downpours and golf ball-sized hail over scorched slopes that had only just burned.

As the dueling dangers of two weather extremes converged, charred debris flowed into neighborhoods, crews were temporarily evacuated from the firefight as emergency officials pivoted from fire support to flood rescues, and strong winds swept up dried soils to create one of the largest dust storms the state has ever seen.

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Categories: Climate

The week around the world in 20 pictures

June 21, 2024 - 14:17

War in Gaza, Putin in Pyongyang, wildfires in California and nude solstice swimming in Hobart: the last seven days as captured by the world’s leading photojournalists

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Categories: Climate

Our incredible win could change the future of oil and gas in the UK | Sarah Finch

June 21, 2024 - 11:46

Thanks to the tireless work of campaigners in Surrey, fossil-fuel development must now take into account ‘downstream’ emissions

  • Sarah Finch is a climate campaigner and a member of the Weald Action Group

This week I found out what it feels like to go beyond your wildest dreams. A case I fronted won at the supreme court, with potentially huge positive impacts for the climate. For almost five years, I had been mounting a legal challenge to fossil-fuel production at Horse Hill in the Surrey countryside. A group of residents, activists and lawyers had been pursuing a routine legal review of a council planning decision that had given an oil company the green light to drill four new oil wells and produce oil for 20 years.

The supreme court ruling means it will now be much harder for new fossil-fuel projects to go ahead as their full climate impact will need to be factored in from the start. Our challenge centred on the fact that the oil produced by the Horse Hill site would inevitably be burned, throwing carbon into the atmosphere and heating the planet. We expected it to be a routine legal procedure lasting six months. But as the case came together, its wider significance for the climate and the fossil-fuel industry at large became clearer, and months turned into years as it worked its way through the courts.

Sarah Finch is a climate campaigner and a member of the Weald Action Group

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Categories: Climate

Climate engineering off US coast could increase heatwaves in Europe, study finds

June 21, 2024 - 05:37

Scientists call for regulation to stop regional use of marine cloud brightening having negative impact elsewhere

A geoengineering technique designed to reduce high temperatures in California could inadvertently intensify heatwaves in Europe, according to a study that models the unintended consequences of regional tinkering with a changing climate.

The paper shows that targeted interventions to lower temperature in one area for one season might bring temporary benefits to some populations, but this has to be set against potentially negative side-effects in other parts of the world and shifting degrees of effectiveness over time.

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Categories: Climate

Climate activists bemoan scant progress on finance as Cop29 looms

June 21, 2024 - 05:18

UN says finding funds to tackle climate crisis is ‘a steep mountain to climb’, as talks end with little agreement

Finding the finance needed to stave off the worst impacts of the climate crisis will be “a very steep mountain to climb”, the UN has conceded, as two vital international conferences failed to produce the progress needed to generate funds for poor countries.

With less than five months to go before the Cop29 UN climate summit in Azerbaijan in November, there is still no agreement on how to bridge the near-trillion dollar gap between what developing countries say is needed and the roughly $100bn a year of climate finance that flows today from public sources in the rich world to stricken developing nations.

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Categories: Climate

Restore Nature Now: thousands to march in London calling for urgent action

June 21, 2024 - 03:00

Mainstream groups including National Trust and RSPB will join hunt saboteurs and direct action activists for first time

Crabs, badgers and scores of dragonfly wings will be among the fancy dress worn by thousands of people joining more than 350 environmental groups marching through London on Saturday to demand the next government does not “recklessly” ignore the nature crisis.

For the first time, mainstream organisations including the National Trust and the RSPB will stand beside hunt saboteurs and direct action activists in the Restore Nature Now march, as campaigners call on the next government to take “bold” steps to tackle the biodiversity crisis.

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Categories: Climate

I was a Tory minister – but I think we need a Labour government | Chris Skidmore

June 20, 2024 - 14:00

Rishi Sunak’s decision to side with climate deniers isn’t just wrongheaded: it’s costing our environment and our economy

In 2019, the UK became the first G7 country to legislate for net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. At the time, I was the cabinet minister who signed this into law. We did so knowing that taking action to tackle the climate crisis was supported by all the major political parties. We had no time to waste. It had been the Conservative party in opposition under David Cameron that had backed the Climate Change Act more than a decade earlier because we argued that climate action was more important than political divisions. As a result, the UK’s internationally renowned framework of carbon budgets has seen our emissions more than halve since 1990.

Britain has long been viewed as a clean energy leader across the world. We pioneered the first successful emissions trading scheme, followed by the contracts for difference model for funding renewable energy projects that made the North Sea into one of the largest windfarms in the world. A few weeks after delivering the net zero bill, I helped to secure the UK’s bid to host Cop26 in Glasgow. There, more than 80% of countries followed our lead and committed to a net zero target.

Climate and clean energy leadership has created jobs, growth and regeneration. The impact has been transformative. For the first time, wind power now makes up the largest source of our electricity. Coal, which used to make up more than 40% of our power when I was first elected as an MP in 2010, will from next year be consigned to the history books. Our economy has grown by 80% since 1990, and at the same time our emissions have halved. When I signed net zero into law, I always viewed our plan as a mainstream, even conservative, vision. One of the legacies of Cop26 is the growth in clean energy markets across the world. Elsewhere, the Inflation Reduction Act in the US and the green deal in Europe have committed to at least a decade of support for green industries.

Yet the UK now risks falling ever further behind in the net zero race. We have seen Rishi Sunak decide to prioritise new oil and gas expansion at a time when our fossil fuel industries are in rapid decline and will become stranded assets within decades. His decision to renege on net zero means the UK has scaled back on measures that would have saved households £8bn a year in lower energy costs. It has cost us the ability to lead in new technological markets and risks losing Britain the greatest economic opportunity in a generation.

Chris Skidmore is a former Conservative energy minister

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Categories: Climate

The Guardian view on the climate and the election: a gulf divides science from policy | Editorial

June 20, 2024 - 13:39

Politicians must raise their ambitions. The rising threat from high temperatures means the green transition cannot be delayed

There are voters for whom the climate crisis is the most pressing issue in this general election. But for most people, immediate cost of living pressures and concerns about the health service come first. Last week, more than 400 climate scientists wrote a letter to party leaders in which they said it was disappointing that global heating, and policies to tackle it, are not more prominent in the campaign. They called for much stronger action, including a clear path to net zero in 2050 and a halt to new fossil fuel development in the North Sea.

They are right that politicians should raise their ambitions. The disconnect between climate science and climate policy grows more and more alarming. Last month, a Guardian survey of hundreds of leading researchers found that 77% expect global temperatures to reach at least 2.5C above preindustrial levels – a dangerous level of heating pointing to massive disruption and conflict. A report this week revealed that last year saw the highest-ever fossil fuel consumption globally, as well as record wind and solar power generation.

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Categories: Climate

Record high temperatures sweep US north-east as tropical storm hits Texas

June 20, 2024 - 12:20

Heatwave leads to record daily highs in New York and Maine, as US south-west sees wildfires and excessive rainfall

The United States continues to suffer extreme weather as a heatwave baked millions across the upper midwest and north-east and a tropical storm soaked Texas and northern Mexico.

The National Weather Service said the heatwave was expected to peak in the eastern Great Lakes, New England, the Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic over the coming weekend.

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Power bills could rise by $1,000 a year under Coalition plan to boost gas until nuclear is ready, analysts say

June 20, 2024 - 11:00

Experts predict major electricity price hikes if opposition proposal to slow rollout of large-scale renewable projects goes ahead

Australians could face an increase in annual household power bills of up to $1,000 under a Coalition plan to slow the rollout of large-scale renewable energy and use more gas-fired electricity before nuclear plants are ready, analysts say.

As Peter Dutton faced cross-party resistance to his announcement that he would go to the next election promising to eventually build seven nuclear plants, energy market analysts warned the Coalition’s proposal would probably lead to a significant rise in prices over the next decade, before a nuclear industry came online.

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Categories: Climate

‘What if there just is no solution?’ How we are all in denial about the climate crisis

June 20, 2024 - 07:19

In his new book, Tad DeLay suggests there is no rosy roadmap to go forward – but there are things we can do

You are in denial about the climate crisis. We all are, argues the American scholar Tad DeLay. Right-wing climate deniers are not the only ones with a problem, he says when we speak in early June after the release of his book, Future of Denial. For denial doesn’t only amount to rejecting the evidence, he argues – it also consists of denying our role in the climate crisis; absolving ourselves through “carbon offsets, hybrid cars, local purchases, recycling”. And in this, far more of us are implicated.

In some ways, this argument might not seem all that new. Multiple authors have pointed out that green capitalism, not rightwing deniers of the crisis, is our greatest obstacle to properly confronting the problem. DeLay agrees. The difference is the lens he brings to it – using psychoanalysis to explain the mechanisms behind denial.

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Categories: Climate