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Climate

Analysis: Global CO2 Emissions Set to Rise 2% in 2017 After Three-Year ‘Plateau’

By Zeke Hausfather

Over the past three years, global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels have remained relatively flat. However, early estimates from the Global Carbon Project (GCP) using preliminary data suggest that this is likely to change in 2017 with global emissions set to grow by around two percent, albeit with some uncertainties.

Hopes that global emissions had peaked during the past three years were likely premature. However, GCP researchers say that global emissions are unlikely to return to the high growth rates seen during the 2000s. They argue that it is more likely that emissions over the next few years will plateau or only grow slightly, as countries implement their commitments under the Paris agreement.

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Analysis: Which Countries Have Sent the Most Delegates to COP23?

By Robert McSweeney and Rosamund Pearce

For the next two weeks, thousands of negotiators, policymakers, researchers, journalists and campaigners are gathering in Bonn for the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23).

The talks—hosted by Fiji, but held in Germany—are the next installment of UNFCCC international climate negotiations, following on from the landmark Paris agreement at COP21 in 2015 and the steps taken towards implementation at COP22 in Marrakech last year.

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View from the Empire State Building as rain clouds form over New York City. Wordpress / tevypilc

New York City Could Face Damaging Floods ‘Every Five Years’ in a Warmer Climate

By Daisy Dunne

New York City could be struck by severe flooding up to every five years by 2030 to 2045 if no efforts are made to curb human-driven climate change, new research finds.

Floods that reach more than 2.25 meters (approximately 7.4 feet) in height—enough to inundate the first story of a building—could dramatically increase in frequency as a result of future sea level rise and bigger storm surges, the study suggests. Such severe floods would be expected only around once in every 25 years from 1970 to 2005.

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Grass-Fed Beef Will Not Help Tackle Climate Change, Report Finds

By Daisy Dunne

Billed as a more environmentally friendly way to rear cattle, grass-fed beef has been the red meat of choice for many a climate-conscious carnivore.

Indeed, research has suggested that grazing cattle can help offset global warming by stimulating soil to take up more carbon from the atmosphere. This process, known as soil carbon sequestration, is one way of reducing the amount of human-induced greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

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Rice drying in Nepal. foto_morgana / Flickr

World Can Meet Growing Food Demands and Limit Warming to 1.5°C, Study Says

By Daisy Dunne

Agriculture and food production is responsible for around 30 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Slashing the sector's emissions is considered to be key to limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, which is the aspirational target of the Paris agreement.

However, adopting negative emissions strategies, such as soil carbon management, will be essential to help the farming industry reduce its carbon footprint without threatening the global food supply, the lead author told Carbon Brief.

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Media Reaction: Hurricane Harvey and Climate Change

The impacts of Hurricane Harvey continue to be felt in the southern U.S., where at least nine people have died after unprecedented flooding in Houston, Texas.

The events have sparked early debate over the links between the hurricane and climate change. Commentary from scientists suggests that warming is likely to have intensified its impact.

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Agencja Fotograficzna Caro / Alamy Stock Photo

World’s Soils Have Lost 133bn Tonnes of Carbon Since the Dawn of Agriculture

By Daisy Dunne

The world's soils have lost a total of 133bn tonnes of carbon since humans first started farming the land around 12,000 years ago, new research suggests. And the rate of carbon loss has increased dramatically since the start of the industrial revolution.

The study, which maps where soil carbon has been lost and gained since 10,000 BC, shows that crop production and cattle grazing have contributed almost equally to global losses.

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Factcheck: Misleading Headlines About Electric Car Charging While Boiling the Kettle

By Simon Evans

In recent days, a new round of misleading headlines said that homes won't be able to boil a kettle while also charging an electric car. Given how the traditional British cuppa holds near-sacred status, this subject was ready-made for attention.

Today, however, the vast majority of home car chargers are rated at or below seven kilowatts (kW) and can be run alongside kettles, ovens and any other domestic appliances without problems. The source of the headlines, a National Grid "thought piece" published in April, was about problems on home or local electricity circuits, that might arise in the future if they are not addressed.

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An annular solar eclipse in progress graces the sky at Dog Beach in San Diego, California, USA, 1992. N J Gargasz / Alamy

Solar Eclipse: Why the Sun Is Not Responsible for Recent Climate Change

By Zeke Hausfather

With a total solar eclipse sweeping across North America, everyone is suddenly paying attention to the sun. One of the most common skeptical arguments against human-caused climate change is that changes in solar activity, rather than just CO2, is playing the biggest role.

At first glance, it seems to make intuitive sense: The sun is a massive nuclear fusion reactor a million times larger than Earth, it is responsible for almost all the energy reaching our planet, and in the past few decades scientists have learned that solar activity varies significantly over time. Indeed, changes in the distribution of sunlight reaching the Earth clearly change the temperature dramatically on a daily and annual timescale.

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