Newsdesk Sept. 15

Possibly the strongest storm ever in North Carolina could devastate my home state.  Climate change means Hurricane Florence will dump 50% more rain. An attribution study by scientists ahead of Florence’s landfall found that the storm will be about 50 miles larger in diameter than it would be if human activity had not warmed the planet. “Dangerous climate change is here, it’s not a problem for future generations,” said Michael Wehner, staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. “The idea we can’t attribute individual events to climate change is out of date, it’s just no longer true . . . We’ve reached the point where we can say this confidently.” – Guardian  Millions in Philippines braced for super-typhoon MangkhutBBC

Pages updated this week:  EcosystemsDivestmentPlastic in the OceansForests

  • Florence: Dozens of toxic coal ash piles across Southeast U.S. are at risk of spills or collapsing – InsideClimateNews
  • Air pollution is ‘biggest environmental health risk’ in Europe – Guardian
  • An international tribunal rules in favour of Chevron in $9.5 billion Ecuadorean lawsuit – BBC
  • Subsidy-free solar farms popping up from Britain to Italy – RenewableEnergyWorld
  • Pipeline spills 8,000 gallons of fuel into Indiana river- TheHill
  • New York and London mayors call on all cities to divest from fossil fuels – Guardian 
  • EU climate law which counts energy from burning trees as carbon neutral could cause catastrophic deforestation – Guardian (See Biomass page)

Climate change: Protests held ahead of California summit. Environmentalists have held protests around the world demanding stepped up measures against climate change, ahead of a summit in California. Politicians, business leaders and celebrities will attend the Global Climate Action Summit, (Sept. 12-14). The demonstrations have been organised by the group In all, more than 900 protests were held in 95 countries, the group said. In Bangkok, environmentalists demonstrated outside a building where climate experts were discussing the 2015 Paris accord. Environmental groups accuse the US of using UN talks to reduce the contributions of developed countries to the Green Climate Fund, which was set up to help countries deal with the effects of global warming – BBC

California’s climate goals sound good, but need analysis. As Governor Brown signs bill enacting 100% zero carbon electricity by 2045, electricity only accounts for 16% of the state’s emissions. As the world’s 5th largest economy, what happens in California is significant. Brown’s executive order would commit the state to doing something about the other 84% – transportation, building heating and cooling, industry, all the many and varied energy services that rely on direct fossil fuel combustion, but until it is backed up by law, it remains aspirational –

Green power to surge report: It will not be enough. Electricity is set to dominate energy demand by mid-century, doubling to a 45% with shift away from fossil fuels. Increased electrification bodes well for renewable power sources, but the anticipated surge falls well short of meeting the Paris Agreement’s goals for limiting climate change. Global energy demand is expected to peak in the mid-2030s. Renewables, with solar leading the way, are projected to hit an 80% share of total power supply by 2050, while oil and coal are halved – ClimateChangeNews

Poland plans to leave its mark on climate talks. Poland will use its position as host of this year’s UN climate conference to launch a series of global declarations that echo its key domestic interests. Cop24 president and Polish deputy energy minister Michał Kurtyka said the government was drafting political statements on electro-mobility, carbon forestry projects and a policy to ensure that the shift to green energy does not hurt the workers and communities that rely on outmoded industries, such as coal. One goal is to put one million electric vehicles on Poland’s roads by 2025 – ClimateChangeNews