THE BRIEF [Oct 25-31’21]

China is ramping up coal, COP26 begins, Emissions Gap Report 2021 published and big fossil subpoenaed.

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Weekly Climate 🎉

References: [1], [2], [3], [4], [5] and [6].

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‼️News you can’t miss

Here’s one important scary/bad (🙀), good (😻), interesting (😼) and fossil (💩) news item. 

🙀 China is increasing coal production to deal with threatening power outages

😻 Not really sure if this is good, but we’re finally getting to COP26 this week.

😼 UN’s Emissions Gap 2021 report was published last week.

💩 Big fossil is getting subpoenaed in order to uncover their role in pushing climate denial.


This week’s highlights

[#hearing] — A major congressional hearing took place last week where big oil (Exxon, BP, Chevron and Shell) was on to explain how they have or haven’t lied about the climate impacts of their products. The hearing ended in the chairwoman issuing subpoenas (AR1) to the four companies to get more internal documents revealing their actions in regards to this. This should be interesting to follow.

[#unesco] — A new report from UNESCO on it’s World Heritage Sites lists 10 vital forests that due to human caused degradation have switched from being a carbon sink to a carbon emitter. All 257 UNESCO sites are responsible for sequestrating 190Mt CO2 every year.

COP26 has begun

COP26 started yesterday Oct 31 and will run for the next two weeks. So of course we will follow this one closely with a weekly highlight (assuming there’s something to cover). I’ll kick off our COP26 coverage with a short animated movie about the last three years of protesting for political action centered around Greta Thunberg which also sums up in stark words where we are.

This article in the Guardian sums up what’s at stake by going from ~1.1C where we are now and all the way up to 3C where we’re currently headed.

After reading the last article you might wonder what the COP meetings can do about it. This one is a good introduction to the COP meetings in general. What they are, why they (might) matter and what we can expect and hope for at COP26.

There are many major challenges for this year’s COP, but here are deep dives into two of them: (1) China and (2) making carbon markets work. The two articles linked give a good overview of the challenges here. China is the biggest emitter and it’s ramping up coal production like crazy. It has committed to reducing carbon emissions, but many people question whether that will actually happen. There are some arguments for China having changed for the better when it comes to climate, but we’ll see.

For carbon markets, well, they’re touted as the solution but we have had carbon markets for quite some time now and they’re not really working. So the other article looks at what needs to happen there.

The COP26 conference president Alok Sharma kicked COP26 off by stating that countries (and by countries, he meant particular the rich nations) must abandon the ghosts of the past and come up with new and more ambitious pledges to help curb the climate crisis. Sure those are the right words but..

Finally, here’s a series of pictures from Day 0 at COP26.


That’s it for this week folks! 

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