Brexit: Green Industry Fears Break-Up Of Climate Consensus

AntarticaThe financial uncertainty triggered by the UK’s vote to leave the EU has sent shudders through virtually every industry, but Europe’s renewable energy sector faces even greater insecurity. The successful Leave campaign was led by several political figures opposed to tackling climate change by replacing fossil fuel power stations with wind farms and other sources of renewable energy. The campaign’s strategy committee included Lord [Nigel] Lawson, founder of the Global Warming Policy Foundation think-tank which says the science of climate change is “not yet settled”. –Pilita Clark, Financial Times, 4 July 2016

Britain’s decision to leave the European Union frees up the nation to set environmental rules independent of the other 27-nations in the bloc, raising the risk for renewable energy developers that restrictions will be loosened on coal power. –Jessica Shankleman, Bloomberg, 5 July 2016

Climate sceptics are taking advantage of the confusion caused by the EU referendum to attack the UK’s low carbon policy. The Global Warming Policy Forum, a think tank founded by Leave backer Lord Lawson, is hosting an event in the House of Lords on Monday evening. Legal professor David Campbell is set to argue the government should scrap the carbon budget for 2028-32 it approved last Thursday. Noting that the impact assessment was based on the assumption Britain would be in the EU in 2030, the GWPF calls for a review. None of the Conservative leadership candidates have indicated plans to do so, director Benny Peiser told Climate Home. But he added: “If they think the targets are a burden to the economy and undermining British competitiveness, then all of the candidates will be open to revising the targets.” –Megan Darby, Climate Home, 3 July 2016

In view of the shambles engulfing our politics in all directions, it might seem appropriate that last Thursday MPs should blithely have accepted that, within a few years, our lights will go out and our economy will grind to a halt. What they allowed to be nodded through was something called the “Fifth Carbon Budget”, committing us to an energy policy so insanely unworkable that it can only result in Britain committing economic suicide. Apart from the Global Warming Policy [Forum] and 15 Tory MPs, including three former Cabinet ministers, almost no one seems to have pointed out that, whatever happens to Brexit, Parliament has now set us firmly on course for a disaster beyond all imagining. –Christopher Booker, The Sunday Telegraph, 3 July 2016

The recent trend of increasing Antarctic sea ice extent — seemingly at odds with climate model projections — can largely be explained by a natural climate fluctuation, according to a new study led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). The study offers evidence that the negative phase of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO), which is characterized by cooler-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical eastern Pacific, has created favorable conditions for additional Antarctic sea ice growth since 2000. The findings, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, may resolve a longstanding mystery: Why is Antarctic sea ice expanding when climate change is causing the world to warm? —National Center for Atmospheric Research, 4 July 2016

The sun is in the currently in its quietest period for more than a century. Astronomers say this isn’t unusual, and solar activity waxes and wanes in 11-year cycles, and we’re currently in Cycle 24, which began in 2008. However, if the current trend continues, then the Earth could be headed for a ‘mini ice age’ researchers have warned. –Ellie Zolfagharifard, Daily Mail 27 June 2016

There’s a strange paradox in the world of agriculture: farmers are perhaps the segment of the population most affected by climate change, and yet a significant number of them don’t believe in it—especially the notion that it’s man-made. I don’t want to suggest that all farmers reject the concept of climate change. That’s not the case. But here’s what some of the numbers show: A survey conducted by Iowa State Professor J. Arbuckle and Purdue University professor Linda Prokopy of 5,000 Cornbelt farmers—representing about 60% of U.S. corn production and 80% of farmland in the region—found that only 8% believed climate change is taking place and caused primarily by human activity. That 8% figure is significantly lower than the general population. A poll from January found that 27% of the general public primarily blames human activity. –Beth Kowitt, Fortunes, 29 June 2016