They’re in: Diocese from several maritime nations will divest their fossil fuel holdings after the Pope roundly criticised Big Oil for threatening human survival | Image credit:

Diocese of major shipping nations pledge fossil fuel divestment

The diocese of several important maritime nations have pledged to divest their fossil fuel holdings as a step towards climate action. The announcement was organised by the Global Catholic Movement and includes diocese from Panama (which has the world’s highest registration of merchant vessels), Greece, Malta, Italy, Australia and the Philippines.

The shipping industry accounts for about 3% of the world’s GHG emissions. The International Maritime Organisation will, however, meet this week to explore emissions reduction strategies. One cost-effective strategy would be to lower ships’ cruise speeds by 10%, which reportedly lowers their engine power by around 27% and fuel consumption by about 19%.

EU posts 2.5% less CO2 emissions for 2018, CO2 conc. hits 800,000-year high

20 of the EU’s 28 member nations together reduced the bloc’s total CO2 emissions by 2.5% for 2018 (over 2017) by burning less coal, oil and natural gas. Portugal and Bulgaria posted the sharpest reductions of 9% and 8.1% respectively, while Poland’s emissions rose by 3.5%.

Earth’s CO2 concentration, in the meantime, has hit an 800,000 year-high of 415 parts per million (ppm) despite repeated warnings by climate scientists to slash emissions.

UK runs for a full week without coal power, Cambridge to divest fossil fuel holdings

The UK has managed to run without coal power for an entire week on the back of plenty of wind power and temperatures that did not call for indoor heating. The National Grid – UK’s power transmission network – has said such instances will be more frequent as more renewable power comes online. The country has already pledged to stop using all coal power by 2025.

Also, Cambridge University has pledged to divest its multibillion-pound holdings in global oil and gas firms and the funds it has received from them. The institution has acknowledged climate change as a “real and present danger” and accepted a grace (motion) to detail the pros and cons of the divestment.

New York’s last coal plants to go by 2020, 40% of US coal capacity already shuttered

The state of New York has adopted a new emissions rule so (deliberately) stringent that it will force its last two coal plants to shut down by 2020. The move has been welcomed by trade unions and city councils despite it already raising NY’s projected power prices for 2021.

For the US as a whole, 289 coal plants have shut down since 2010. That’s 40% of its installed coal capacity and includes 50 plants shuttered under the Trump administration. Coal will now supply only 25% of the US’ power – down 10% from 2015 – as utilities move towards cheaper natural gas and renewables.

Norway’s KLP pension fund divests from thermal coal, sells $366 million in holdings

Another Norwegian pension fund – KLP (Kommunal Landspensjonskasse) – has divested from thermal coal and sold $366million of its holdings in 46 companies. The list includes prominent miners Anglo American and BHP. The fund has $70billion worth of assets under management and its CEO was firm in saying that “coal cannot and should not be part of energy supply in the future”.

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