CLIMATE CHANGE provides space for lengthy pieces which elaborate IMAGINATIVE ACTION

 

SPRING 2021

Dear Readers,

A call to every one of us, to WAKE-Up, has been The Imagination Acts’ CALL.

Our part in the global call is timely.

THE CRISIS of our time is not the Covid Virus. It is Climate Change.

And it is a stupefying phenomena that the former completely overshadows the latter…in an alarming totalitarian form of “power- over” injunctions.

Anne and Sally are having hopping up- and- down planning wails, as we commit ourselves to firming- up the website’s vision for its role in solidarity with (we trust) myriad voices challenging the Climate Change white-wash in the dominant media.

 

UN CLIMATE CHANGE COP 26

The UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow on 1 – 12 November 2021.  The climate talks will bring together heads of state, climate experts and campaigners to agree coordinated action to tackle climate change.

SEE HERE – UK Government – COP 26

 SEE HERE –  UK COP 26 website – Together for our planet

 Sign up for UK’s COP’s newsletter

 

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”Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  Margaret Mead 

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Major UK pension funds worth nearly £900bn commit to net zero

Major pension funds that own assets worth £870bn, including those of the Church of England, Lloyds Banking Group and the National Grid, have committed to cutting the carbon emissions of their portfolios to net zero by 2050 or earlier, in another sign of big investors’ increasing focus on the climate crisis.

Pension providers Scottish Widows, Royal London and Nest and a clutch of public sector pension funds from the UK to Scandinavia and New York were also among the investors that have pledged to align their portfolios to the Paris climate goals of limiting global temperature increases to 1.5C.

The pledges were coordinated by the London-based Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change as it launched a set of tools that lays out how investors can achieve net zero portfolios following months of work.

The United Nations and the UK government backed the scheme, which is also being adopted by leading investor climate action groups in North America, Asia and Australasia. In a written foreword, Prince Charles said he hoped large investors would publish detailed plans for net zero.

READ MORE HERE – Major UK pension funds commit to net zero

Wed 10 Mar 2021
Photo : Utility providers are among those expected to reduce their emissions to maintain inward investment from climate-conscious asset managers. Photograph: Morris MacMatzen/Getty Images

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Drax scraps plan for Europe’s largest gas plant after climate protests

Green groups argued plan to replace coal burning units with gas at Yorkshire site was inconsistent with emissions goals.

Drax has scrapped its controversial plans to build Europe’s largest gas power plant at its site in North Yorkshire following fierce opposition from climate groups.

The electricity generator confirmed that it would drop plans to build two combined cycle gas turbines (CCGTs) in place of two old coal burning units at the Drax site, weeks after completing the sale of four other gas plants to a subsidiary of Vitol last month.

 

The decision to cancel the plans draws a line under three years of opposition from green groups who argued they were inconsistent with the UK’s ambitions to lead the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The opposition included a legal challenge against the government after ministers overruled the climate change concerns raised by the UK’s planning authority, which said the 3.6GW plant would undermine the UK’s legally binding climate targets. The challenge failed in the court of appeal last month.

READ MORE HERE – Drax scraps plan Yorkshire gas plant climate protests

Photo: Drax power station in North Yorkshire.
Photograph: Lee Smith/Reuters

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How grassroots schemes across UK are tackling climate crisis

Thinktank calls for more support for local initiatives ranging from heating to flood schemes.

Communities across the UK are tackling the climate crisis with hundreds of local schemes ranging from neighbourhood heating to food co-ops, community land ownership projects and flood defences, according to a report.

A study from the IPPR thinktank found that community projects, often set up with the primary aim of reducing poverty and improving people’s day-to-day lives, were also reducing emissions and restoring nature.

Luke Murphy, the lead author of the report, said: “Under the radar there are already flourishing and transformative community initiatives to pool resources and create shared low-carbon energy, housing and natural assets These groups have shown that they can increase community wealth and create thriving places while addressing the climate crisis.”

The report identifies hundreds of initiatives, including social housing schemes, reclaiming derelict land, repair cafes and renewable energy projects.

READ MORE HERE – Highlights under the radar -UK community projects green benefits

Photo: The solar farm at Lawrence Weston in Bristol was one of the initiatives highlighted by the report
Photograph: Chris Speller/Bristol Energy Cooperative

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UK’s Cop26 president calls for world to get on track to hit net zero by 2050

The world must be put on a path to reaching net zero by 2050 if the goal of holding global temperature rises below 1.5C is to be kept within reach, the UK host of this year’s climate talks has said.

Alok Sharma, the president of the UN Cop26 climate summit, said that for the talks in Glasgow in November to be judged a success, governments must urgently set out their targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade including announcing an end to new coal power plants and commitments to phase out existing ones. Sharma is also urging countries to end the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles.

 

The UK’s role as host will be pivotal in the talks, seen as one of the last chances to get on track to meet the goals of the Paris agreement and limit temperature rises to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels, with an aspiration to stay below 1.5C. Current commitments would lead to a rise of more than 3C, which scientists say would be catastrophic.

READ MORE HERE – UK COP 26 Alok Sharma- World get on track net zero by 2050

Fiona Harvey  Environment correspondent
Photo – Wind turbines near an open-cast mine in western Germany.
Photograph: Ina Fassbender/AFP/Getty Images

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UK urged to take lead in helping poor countries fund climate action

UN development chief says access to finance is vital if upcoming Cop26 climate talks are to be a success

Boris Johnson’s government must take the lead in giving poor countries access to the finance they need to tackle the climate crisis, to make vital climate talks a success, the UN’s development chief has said.

Ministers from around the world will meet virtually this week at a conference hosted by the UK to discuss the needs of developing nations struggling to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, as their economies have been left reeling by the Covid pandemic.

The UK will need the support of more than 130 developing countries to make a success of the Cop26 UN climate summit, to be hosted in Glasgow this November. But relationships with poor nations have been hit by the government’s decision to slash overseas aid by billions of pounds.

Achim Steiner, the administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), urged governments to show the same will to tackle climate breakdown as they were showing with the recovery from the pandemic. He said: “We need to arrive at a mindset like the Marshall plan, a bigger vision that we need to recover [from Covid-19] together, a new investment paradigm for a global economy, not an aid or charity paradigm.”

READ MORE HERE – UK urged take lead helping poor countries fund climate action COP26

Fiona Harvey  Environment correspondent
Photo: A boy runs past a large pool of putrified water in Bargny, Senegal. Developing economies have been left reeling by the Covid pandemic.
Photograph: John Wessels/AFP/Getty Images

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The fight for the Galápagos: race to expand reserve as fishing fleets circle

Ecuador’s president to decide on proposal to expand islands’ marine reserve, seen as vital to protect world heritage site from fishing industry

Getting up close to the natural world without disturbing it seems as refreshingly easy on the Galápagos Islands today as when Charles Darwin visited on HMS Beagle in 1835. Isolated from the mainland, the archipelago’s unique endemic species – from giant tortoises to finches – helped Darwin set out his theory of evolution in On the Origin of Species.

One of the reasons the islands are such a hotbed of life is that the shallower, nutrient-rich waters around the volcanic atolls are fed by a confluence of cold and warm currents.

This provides a refuge for an array of migratory ocean-going species, from scalloped hammerhead sharks to leatherback turtles.

But it’s also why industrial foreign fishing fleets lurk at the edge of the Ecuadorian archipelago’s territorial waters. Nearly 250 vessels – 243 of them Chinese flagged, including vast fishing boats and refrigerated container ships – have logged an astounding 73,000 hours of fishing a month and pulled up thousands of tonnes of squid and fish.

READ MORE HERE – Galapagos marine reserve plan – Ecuador fishing industry

Dan Collyns in the Galápagos Islands
Fri 12 Mar 2021
Photo: A sea lion hunting sardines in the Galápagos. As industrial fishing has increased off the archipelago, 14 species have become more endangered.
Photograph: Andrea Izzotti/Alamy

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Church fund urges other ExxonMobil investors to sack board over climate – last April 2020

The Church of England’s investment arm has urged shareholders in ExxonMobil to vote against re-electing the oil company’s entire board for failing to take action on the climate crisis.

The Church Commissioners and New York State Common Retirement Fund have written to fellow ExxonMobil investors ahead of an annual shareholder meeting on 27 May, hoping to support for the protest votes, which include forcing ExxonMobil to disclose its lobbying activities and their cost. “Our voting intentions are, again, a measure of our profound dissatisfaction with ExxonMobil’s approach to climate change risks and the governance failures that underpin it,” the letter said.

A report released last year found that ExxonMobil would need to slash its oil production by 55% by 2040 to meet global climate targets and avoid driving temperatures 1.5C higher than pre-industrialised levels.

 

The C of E holds a small stake in Exxon, worth about £7m compared with the oil company’s market value of more than $183bn (£146bn). However, the Church Commissioners have proven to be influential shareholders regardless of their size.

Fri 24 Apr 2020
Photo: The Church Commissioners group, along with the New York State Retirement Fund, wrote to other ExxonMobil investors to rally support behind the protest votes.
Photograph: Richard Drew/AP

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Destruction of world’s forests increased sharply in 2020

Calls for forests to be high on Cop26 agenda after loss of 42,000 sq km of tree cover in key tropical regions.

The rate at which the world’s forests are being destroyed increased sharply last year, with at least 42,000 sq km of tree cover lost in key tropical regions.

According to data from the University of Maryland and the online monitoring platform Global Forest Watch, the loss was well above the average for the last 20 years, with 2020 the third worst year for forest destruction since 2002 when comparable monitoring began.

The losses were particularly severe in humid tropical primary forests, such as the Amazon, the Congo and south-east Asia. These forests are vital as carbon sinks in the regulating the global climate, as well as for their irreplaceable ecosystems.

 

Losses from this type of forest alone amounted to 4.2m hectares (10.4m acres), equivalent to the annual carbon dioxide emissions of more than 575m cars, according to the World Resources Institute (WRI), which compiled the report.

READ MORE HERE – Destruction of world’s forests 

Fiona Harvey Environment correspondent

Photo: Smoke billows from a fire in the Amazon rainforest in Oiapoque, Amapa state, Brazil, last October 2020

Photograph: Nelson Almeida/AFP/Getty Images

 

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