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Week in Review: Top Climate News for April 29-May 3, 2024

This weekly round-up brings you key climate news from the past seven days, including deadly heatwaves in India and Thailand and a new report on the risks faced by climate reporters around the world.

1. COP29 Host Azerbaijan ‘Will Defend its Right’ to Continue Fossil Fuel Investments and Production at Climate Talks

Azerbaijan, host of this year’s UN COP29 climate summit, will continue to invest in gas production in order to meet European Union demand for energy in what its president called a “sign of responsibility.”

Citing an agreement between Azerbaijan and the European Commission, Azeri President Aliyev said his country will increase its gas production and continue exporting its gas supplies to the EU “for many more years,” as the bloc seeks to break reliance on Russian gas. In 2023, Azerbaijan exported nearly half of its gas supplies to the EU, around 12 billion cubic meter. In December, the country said it was on track to nearly double that amount by 2027. 

Read more here.

2. G7 Countries Agree to Exit From Coal by 2035

The Group of Seven (G7) reached an agreement to exit coal in the first half of the 2030s, marking a significant first step toward the international pledge made at COP28 last year.

Energy ministers from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US met last weekend in the Italian city of Turin for the first time since the UN climate summit, which ended with an unprecedented deal to “transition away” from fossil fuels and phase out unabated coal power, by far the most polluting fuel.

With the exception of Japan, all G7 countries have a domestic coal phaseout commitment and are committed to net-zero by no longer than 2050. Combined, the seven economic superpowers accounted for 21% of global power sector emissions in 2022. While coal represents a very small proportion of the energy mix of France, Italy, Canada and the UK, Germany, the US, and Japan still rely on the planet-warming fuel for 27%, 19%, and 34% of their total energy, respectively.

Read more here.

3. Attacks on Environmental Reporters and News Outlets Up 42% in Past 5 Years, Report Finds

Released on World Press Freedom Day, the Press and Planet in danger report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) unveiled that at least 749 journalists or news media reporting on environmental issues were targeted with murder, physical violence, detention and arrest, online harassment, or legal attacks in the past 15 years around the world. 305 of these attacks occurred between 2019 and 2023, representing a 42% increase compared to the previous five-year period.

“Without reliable scientific information about the ongoing environmental crisis, we can never hope to overcome it… On World Press Freedom Day, we must reaffirm our commitment to defending freedom of expression and protecting journalists worldwide,” she said.

Read more here.

4. Northeast India Sees Hottest April on Record While South Suffers Under Prolonged Dry Spell 

At least nine people have died in India during a record-breaking heatwave that scorched the country in April, with the weather office warning that above-average temperatures will continue throughout the first week of May.

Last month, eastern India recorded their highest minimum and mean temperature (28.2C) since records began in 1901, making April the hottest on record in the region. The eastern states of Odisha, West Bengal, and Jharkhand, registered 18, 16, and 10 heatwave days, respectively. 

According to Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) chief, last month’s heat wasn’t “entirely unexpected.” Speaking with Times of India, Mohapatra said the conditions were partly to blame on El Niño, a weather pattern associated with the unusual warming of surface waters in the Pacific Ocean, as well as on an anti-cyclonic circulation in central Bay of Bengal associated with hot and dry conditions in eastern India.

Read more here.

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