Maitland Green: Our weekly update – 17 March 2017

17th March 2017

Global goings on

The Philippines—one of the world’s most vulnerable nations to extreme weather—were the latest country to ratify the Paris Agreement this week, with a unanimous Senate vote. Thirty cities across the US have also been busy ramping up climate action, as a nationwide initiative to boost green vehicle production has called for 114,000 electric public service vehicles. In Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is due to suffer under its upcoming mass bleaching event, with calls from scientists to do more to address long-term conservation efforts and global warming overall. In the UK, the Committee on Climate Change found that the average consumer saved £115 a year due to Government renewable energy initiatives, combatting scepticism that subsidies contribute more costs than benefits.


Must reads

 Philippines senate unanimously votes to ratify Paris climate deal

After last year claiming that he would not honour the Paris Agreement, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has signed the landmark climate deal and the Filipino Senate has unanimously voted to enter into the agreement. His cabinet – and former US secretary of state John Kerry – reportedly convinced him to finally agree to back the deal. Senator Loren Legarda, chair of the senate subcommittee on the Paris Agreement, said joining the accord would be remembered as one of the government’s “shining achievements”.

Climate Home, 14 March

Cities Shop for $10 Billion of Electric Cars to Defy Trump

Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles, said that thirty cities across the US, including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, have jointly asked automakers to determine the cost and feasibility of delivering 114,000 electric vehicles, including police cruisers, street sweepers and trash haulers. That would amount to about 72% of total US electric vehicle sales last year. Automakers say that there aren’t enough buyers for electric vehicles, so cities are aiming to show that there is a viable market for clean vehicles in the US. “No matter what President Trump does or what happens in Washington, cities will continue leading the way on tackling climate change,” Matt Petersen, Los Angeles chief sustainability officer said.

Bloomberg, 15 March

Environmental policies are driving down consumer energy bills, experts say

The Committee on Climate Change has found that the average UK consumer has saved £115 a year on their energy bills, thanks to Government commitment on legally binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Although subsidies for renewable electricity had added about £9 a month to typical bills in 2016, this was more than off-set by a saving of more than £20 a month as a result of energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances. Lord Deben, Chairman of the CCC said, “The UK’s progress to reduce emissions, and its comparative advantage in important areas such as the automotive sector, offer opportunities for future growth and employment while delivering vital action to tackle climate change.”

Independent, 16 March

World’s largest investor to vote out directors failing to act on climate risks and mitigation

BlackRock, with assets totalling £4.2trn, has announced engagement priorities for the next two years that include governance, corporate strategy and climate change. The firm has said that will base certain directors’ re-election decisions on a company’s ability to mitigate associated risks. “For directors of companies in sectors that are significantly exposed to climate risk, the expectation will be for the whole board to have demonstrable fluency in how climate risk affects the business and management’s approach to adapting and mitigating the risk,” a company statement reads.

Edie.net, 16 March

Stopping global warming is only way to save Great Barrier Reef, scientists warn

New research has warned that the Great Barrier Reef is facing an uncertain future as an upcoming cycle of mass bleaching is due to damage the coral significantly, without firm action being taken against global warming. The study, which was unable to take in the effects of the latest mass bleaching event, warned of a fourth mass bleaching event “within the next decade or two”, and gave northern section of the reef a “slim” chance of recovering to its former state. The Australian government’s long-term conservation plans for the reef have been called into question, as the study outlines “Securing a future for coral reefs, including intensively managed ones such as the Great Barrier Reef, ultimately requires urgent and rapid action to reduce global warming.”

The Guardian, 15 March


Events

18th Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty

Washington DC, USA

20-24 March

Fifth Mediterranean Forest Week

Agadir, Laayoune, Morocco

20-24 March