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Damian Carrington's Posts

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Divestment campaign against fossil fuels growing, says study

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A campaign to persuade investors to take their money out of the fossil fuel sector is growing faster than any previous divestment campaign and could cause significant damage to coal, oil, and gas companies, according to a study from the University of Oxford [PDF].

The report compares the current fossil fuel divestment campaign, which has attracted 41 institutions since 2010, with those against tobacco, apartheid in South Africa, armaments, gambling, and pornography. It concludes that the direct financial impact of such campaigns on share prices or the ability to raise funds is small but the reputational damage can still have major financial consequences.

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The Maldives, a fledgling democracy at the vanguard of climate change

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On Friday, Sept. 27, the low-lying island nation of the Maldives will be given the date of its extinction; notice of a death by drowning. It will come in the form of a prediction for future sea-level rise in a landmark report on global warming by the world's climate scientists. On current trends, anything more than three generations will feel like a reprieve.

On the packed streets of Male', the mini-Manhattan that serves as the Maldives' island capital, there is a political clamor. But, perhaps surprisingly, the cause is not worry about the existential threat posed by the rising seas but over accusations of corruption and vote-buying in the presidential election.

Mohamed Nasheed, the nation's first freely elected leader and darling of the west for his warnings about climate change, was expected to be restored to the presidency in this month's elections. However, the vote that was supposed to restore Nasheed to the presidency is currently suspended following a complaint from the candidate who came third in the first round of polling.

Mohamed Nasheed.
Mohamed Nasheed.

The issue of climate change -- even given the credentials of Nasheed, the first round poll leader -- was as invisible during the country's election campaign as the carbon dioxide that drives it.

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Cleaner air from tackling climate change would save millions of lives, says study

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Tackling climate change would save millions of lives a year by the end of the century purely as a result of the decrease in air pollution, according to a new study.

The study is published as scientists from around the globe gather in Stockholm to thrash out final details of a landmark assessment of climate science. Their final report is due to be released this Friday and will set out projections of wide-ranging impacts of global warming from droughts to floods to sea-level rise.

The research suggests that the benefits of cuts to air pollution from curbing fossil-fuel use justify action alone -- even without other climate impacts such as more extreme weather and sea-level rise.

"It is pretty striking that you can make an argument purely on health grounds to control climate change," says Jason West, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, whose work was published in Nature Climate Change.

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Unsure about nuclear power? Here are the five questions you must answer to decide

Chernobyl begs a lot of questions 25 years later.Photo: Pedro Moura PinheiroCross-posted from The Guardian. Containing the elemental forces that rage inside a nuclear reactor is one of the great achievements of science, but losing control, as happened 25 years ago today at Chernobyl, is one of its greatest failures. So what to think of nuclear power? People often ask me if I support or oppose the building of new nuclear power stations, presuming that because of my job, I'll know the answer. If only it were that easy. Until the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant, I would say I was 51 percent …