Citing climate change as a major threat, one of the world’s largest insurance companies has pledged to drop its remaining investment in coal assets while tripling its investment in green technologies.
At a business and climate change conference held this week in Paris, AXA — France’s largest insurer — announced that it would sell €500 million ($559 million) in coal assets by the end of 2015, while increasing its “green investments” in things like renewable energy, green infrastructure, and green bonds to €3 billion ($3.3 billion) by 2020.
During the announcement on Friday, AXA’s chief executive Henri de Castries spoke about the threat that climate change poses to the environment, and the responsibility of insurance companies to deal with those threats. Last year, AXA paid over €1 billion ($1.1 billion) globally in weather-related insurance claims, citing climate change as a “core business issue” already driving an increase in weather-related risks.
Conservative climate champions are often laughed off or ignored. But what's happening within the American political right could change everything, and fast.
Each year since 1989, the JFK Library bestows its Profile in Courage award to a public servant who takes a principled but unpopular position. This year, the award went to Bob Inglis, a former congressman from South Carolina who's turned into America's best hope for near-term climate action. Oh, he's also a Republican.
As you might expect, Inglis wasn't always a climate campaigner. In his acceptance speech last week at the JFK Library in Boston, he described how and why he changed his mind on global warming.
On Wednesday morning, four-term California Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order that aims to reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. Brown called it the most aggressive GHG target by any North American government to date.
Under Brown’s guidance, California has made ambitious steps to confront climate change, which has contributed to the state’s current water woes. But this is his boldest gambit yet. His carbon reduction target is even more aggressive than the Obama administration’s, which aims to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
The largely secular climate movement is about to get what some predict will be a historic boost from an intriguing source: Pope Francis.
Francis is putting the final touches on what may be the most authoritative papal teaching ever on the environment, a topic bound up with economics, global development and politics and thus very controversial. Even though no one outside Francis’s inner circle has seen the document — called an encyclical — it’s already being lambasted by some religious and political conservatives and held up by environmentalists as a potential turning point in their movement.
The United States Department of Agriculture plans to announce a set of voluntary initiatives aimed at helping farmers, ranchers, and forest land owners respond to climate change by increasing carbon storage, reducing carbon emissions, and supporting resilience in the face of extreme weather.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is expected to make the announcement Thursday during a visit to Michigan State University, where President Obama signed the 2014 Farm Bill. The initiative is based off of ten “building blocks” that cut across the agricultural sector and seek voluntary action from farmers, ranchers, and forest land owners to reduce their carbon emissions. Through these voluntary programs, the USDA hopes to reduce net emissions related to agriculture by 120 million metric tons per year by 2025 — the equivalent of taking more than 25 million passenger vehicles off the road.
Earth has had a remarkably hot first quarter of the year, with the January through March period coming in as the warmest such period on record, according to information released Friday.
Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) confirms information from NASA and the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), which indicated that 2015 was off to an unusually toasty start.
According to NOAA, March was the warmest such month on record, at 1.53 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, beating out 2010 by 0.09 degrees Fahrenheit. The JMA also found March was the warmest such month in its database, whereas NASA ranked the month in third place. Each center uses different methods to gather and analyze global temperature information, resulting in different rankings.
The White House is getting serious about tackling the health impacts of climate change, announcing Tuesday a suite of initiatives aimed at educating Americans about how climate change affects their health and addressing the most pressing impacts of a warming world.
The announcement includes a range of new public and private sector initiatives and projects, including health-related projects from companies like Microsoft and Google, the creation of a coalition to educate health care professionals on the risks climate change poses to health, and the release of two government reports on health and climate change.
On a press call, senior adviser to President Brian Deese said that though the White House has stressed the link between climate change and health in the past, these new initiatives are meant to “step up that effort.” He also said that tying climate change to health is an effective way to educate Americans about the threat.
The White House just pitched to the United Nations a detailed statement of its goals for cutting climate pollution and how it expects to meet them.
Here’s what you need to know.
By the end of the day, developed countries were supposed to issue reports on all their climate-friendly activities—what the bureaucrats call an “intended nationally designated contribution.” Just six governments have submitted plans so far: the U.S., Russia, the EU, Switzerland, Mexico, and Norway. Ideally, all the policies together will add up to an agreement at talks in Paris at the end of the year to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, the UN’s goal.
Scientists agree that an increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases causes the Earth’s temperature to rise, but they’ve also noticed that relationship seems to swing both ways: warmer temperatures also seem to correspond with an increase in greenhouse gases. But drawing conclusions about the nature of the relationship is tricky, because though scientists have seen a correlation, they haven’t been able to show causation.
Now, scientists believe they’ve untangled the relationship. In a paper published Monday in Nature Climate Change, researchers from the University of Exeter claim to have found direct evidence that as global temperatures rise, so does the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases, creating a positive feedback that in turn warms the Earth even more — basically, global warming creates more global warming.
A new poll finds an overwhelming majority of Americans support an international agreement to cut planet-warming emissions.
The poll found 72 percent of likely 2016 voters said they support the United States signing on to an international agreement on climate change.
The Benenson Strategy Group conducted the polling for the environmental organizations Sierra Club and Union of Concerned Scientists, and surveyed 1,000 expected voters.
Sixty-five percent of respondents said they thought the United States “should take the lead and make meaningful reductions in its carbon emissions and other gases that may cause global warming.” Even a majority of Republican respondents -- 52 percent –- expressed support for the U.S. joining an international agreement on climate change. A much stronger percentage of Democrats, at 88 percent, supported it, as did 73 percent of independents.