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UK defeats EU proposals for tighter fracking legislation

Today’s top five climate change stories chosen by RTCC
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Source: WWF

Source: WWF

1 - UK defeats EU proposals for fracking regulation
The UK has defeated European Union attempts to set legally binding environmental regulations for the continent’s fledgling shale gas industry. Leaked documents from the European commission, obtained by the Euractiv news service and seen by the Guardian, show that attempts to safeguard the environment with a new legally binding directive have been defeated. Instead, a set of non-binding “recommendations” covering protection against water contamination and potential earthquakes will be published on 22 January.

2 - Antarctic glacier in ‘irreversible’ retreat
Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier could now be in a state of irreversible retreat, making it likely to become an even more significant contributor to the global sea level rise during the next two decades, scientists have warned. The Independent reports that the research, published in Nature Climate Change, found that in recent years, the grounding line, which separates the grounded ice sheet from the floating ice shelf, has retreated by tens of kilometres.

3 - Danish pension funds will finance overseas climate projects
Danish pension funds and the government will invest in a state fund to finance projects to fight climate change in developing countries, reports Reuters. PensionDanmark said it had committed 200 million Danish crowns ($37 million) to the fund, while a further 1 billion crowns will come from pension funds PKA and PBU, private investment fund Dansk Vækstkapital, the Investment Fund for Developing Countries and the Danish government. A further 200 million crowns are expected to come from private investors.

4 - Tar sands will cause Canada’s emissions to soar by 38%
Canada’s carbon emissions will soar 38% by 2030 mainly due to expanding tar sands projects, according to the government’s own projections. In a new report to the United Nations, the Harper administration says it expects emissions of 815million tonnes of CO2 in 2030, up from 590Mt in 1990, reports the Guardian. Worse, Canada is likely under-reporting its emissions. An investigation in 2013 found that Canada’s reported emissions from its natural gas sector, the world’s third largest, could be missing as much as 212Mt in 2011 alone.

5 - Chinese power plants exceed national emissions standards
Steel factories and thermal power plants in eastern China that provide real-time emissions data frequently exceed national standards, a study led by the Beijing-based Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs said. Bloomberg reports that companies from those industries based in the provinces of Shandong and Hebei were in “serious breach” of discharge standards even during periods of severe air pollution.

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