Oil and meat producing countries attempt to weaken UN report

October 22, 2021 by  
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Greenpeace investigative team announced this week that oil, coal, beef and animal feed producing countries have been lobbying to tone down a major United Nations climate report. According to Greenpeace, fossil fuel producers, including Saudi Arabia, Australia, Japan and Iran, want the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to not recommend phasing out fossil fuels. Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members second that. And then there are the meat and dairy kingpins like Brazil and Argentina, who don’t appreciate the UN connecting plant-based diets with climate benefits. In fact, the draft report of the IPCC working group had more than 32,000 comments by corporations, governments and other concerned parties, according to Greenpeace. Related: Leaked report details what must be done to stop climate change “These comments show the tactics some countries are willing to adopt to obstruct and delay action to cut emissions,” said Simon Lewis, professor of global change science at University College London, as reported by Unearthed. “Like most scientists, I’m uncomfortable with leaks of draft reports, as in an ideal world the scientists writing these reports should be able to do their job in peace. But we don’t live in an ideal world, and with emissions still increasing, the stakes couldn’t be higher.” So, do these comments have any weight? Not necessarily. According to Mark Maslin, an earth system science professor at University College London, countries always like to lobby for their interests on IPCC climate change reports. “But it has no effect on the reports,” said Maslin, as reported by The Guardian. “Scientists, social scientists and economists that work on these reports are led by the evidence and what is best for the world and all of its peoples. This is why the public and politicians all around the world trust scientists and the IPCC reports as they know they will not be influenced by petty politics.” Let’s hope he’s right. Via The Guardian Lead image via Pexels

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Oil and meat producing countries attempt to weaken UN report

Fact-checking Bolsonaro’s environmental claims at the UN

September 29, 2021 by  
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When Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro addressed the  U.N.  General Assembly last week, he confused onlookers by boasting about his environmental record. Haven’t we been hearing about how the Amazon rainforest is collapsing on his watch? Science news service Newswise did some fact-checking to get to the bottom of Bolsonaro’s claims. After bragging about  Brazil’s  environmental protections, Bolsonaro claimed that Amazon deforestation was reduced by 32% this August compared to the previous August and that 84% of the forest is intact. Newswire consulted its trusted sources and concluded Bolsonaro’s statement was half true. Related: Annual Amazon deforestation rate hits highest levels in a decade According to The Guardian, the rainforest shrank by 10,476 square kilometers between August 2020 and July 2021. This is 13 times the size of New York City. Brazilian research institute Imazon said destruction in the  Amazon  is moving at its fastest pace in the last decade. Brazilian National Institute of Space Research reported that 80% of the Amazon rainforest remains intact. Carbon offset programs haven’t made up for the gap left by deforestation. Early this year, a study in Environmental Research Letters   demonstrated that new forest growth had offset less than 10% of carbon emissions from Amazon deforestation. Bolsonaro’s Amazon approach has been a mixed bag. The president has been blamed for encouraging development in the Amazon and weakening government environmental agencies that try to stop illegal logging and mining. On the other hand, he’s deployed thousands of soldiers to battle illegal fires and  deforestation . Meanwhile, Bolsonaro’s approval rating continues to tank. In August, a poll found that 54% of Brazilians rated him as “bad, terrible,” while only 23% said he was “good or great.” The previous month, those figures had been 52% and 25%, respectively. By September, protestors across Brazil organized marches against the president. Many Brazilians have not been impressed with Bolsonaro’s handling of the pandemic. The president has denounced masks, vaccines and lockdowns, while more than 580,000 Brazilians have died of the virus. Via Newswise , United Nations Lead image via Anderson Riedel / PR

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Fact-checking Bolsonaro’s environmental claims at the UN

Life-sized elephant sculptures are roaming London

September 29, 2021 by  
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This past summer, a herd of 100 Asian elephants made their way across The Mall in front of London’s Buckingham Palace. They weren’t live animals , however, but life-sized elephant sculptures that were handmade by Indigenous community members from the jungles of Tamil Nadu in South India. The environmental art exhibition is called CoExistence. It was headed by Elephant Family and The Real Elephant Collective, a British Charity and non profit socio-environmental enterprise aimed at raising awareness for the Indian elephant. Meant as a response to the increasing overlap between humans and animals, the campaign’s goal is to trigger a movement of global empathy for members of the animal kingdom who, like the majestic elephant, have found themselves sharing natural habitats with overwhelming human populations. Related: “Extinction – The Facts” explores the global extinction crisis and its consequences The sculptures were made using an invasive weed called lantana, whose removal coincides with benefits to wildlife in protected areas, and supplemented with fragrance created by Xerjoff perfumes. The scent emitted from the lantana elephants is designed after the Nilgiri Hills of Southern India where the elephants began their migration. Flying alongside the elephant are sculpted flocks of bird species that have been declared extinct or endangered in the UK, such as the nightingale, curlew, dalmatian pelican and turtle dove. The project helps demonstrate this unique time in history where the worldwide reduction in human activity from COVID-19 has had an overall positive effect on certain pockets of wildlife species around the planet. “Today marks the first significant step on the herd’s 13,000 mile migration around the world . Over the past 18 months, many countries have gone into lockdown,” said Ruth Ganesh, Creative at The Real Elephant Collective and Elephant Family Trustee. “Brought about by tragic circumstances, this ‘great pause’ – coined the ‘anthropause’ – is providing crucial guidance on how to best share space with animals in our crowded planet . The elephants are here to tell their story about the inspiring ways we can coexist with all the other living beings that make our world magical – from tigers and orangutans, to nightingales and elephants.” + CoExistence Via My Modern Met Images via Grant Walker

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Life-sized elephant sculptures are roaming London

Climate clock ticks out shame for rich nations

September 22, 2021 by  
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Activists in  New York  are trying to shame rich countries into keeping an expensive promise to the Global South. A new version of a digital “climate clock” displayed in Union Square shows a climate-action timeline along with an amount rich countries still owe. These richer countries promised to invest $100 billion annually in a global  green energy  fund to help developing nations. According to one photo taken of the digital clock, those countries are wondering about the whereabouts of the other roughly $90.5 billion promised this year. Related: NYC Metronome clock now displays deadline for irreversible global warming The climate clock forms part of the backdrop in which the United Nations General Assembly began its meeting in New York on Monday. The U.N. recently labeled the sorry state of our climate as a “code red for humanity.” According to the clock, we have about seven years and 300 days to slash emissions before facing the worst climate  emergency . “The new IPCC report sent a clear, unequivocal message: we are in a  climate  emergency, and without drastic corrective action on track for climate catastrophe,” said Laura Berry, Climate Clock research and advocacy director, in a statement, as reported by Common Dreams. The original climate clock was unveiled last September. Organizers of the display aren’t impressed by the progress made since then. They’re especially irate that the U.S. has failed to honor its  financial  obligations. “ Africa  needs countries like the U.S.—that are the greatest contributors to the problem—to also contribute the most to helping solve it,” said Climate Clock global ambassador Jerome Ringo. “The United States is only 5% of the world’s population but is responsible for 25% of the world’s carbon emissions. We must contribute our fair share to the Green Climate Fund.” A lot of individuals and organizations are pessimistic about whether the richer countries will step up. Oxfam International estimated that “wealthy nations are expected to fall up to $75 billion short of fulfilling their longstanding pledge to mobilize $100 billion each year from 2020 to 2025 to help the most vulnerable countries adapt to the dangerous effects of climate change and reduce their  emissions .” Via Common Dreams Lead image via Pixabay

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Climate clock ticks out shame for rich nations

Failing to curb emissions puts Earth on "catastrophic pathway"

September 20, 2021 by  
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According to a new United Nations report, the world will face catastrophic weather events unless governments cut greenhouse gas emissions. The report reviewed all the commitments submitted by the Paris accord signatories and found that they would result in a 16% rise in greenhouse gasses by 2030 compared to 2010 levels. Scientists have warned that the world will be uninhabitable if governments do not curb greenhouse gas emissions and keep global warming under a 1.5 degrees Celsius increase. Extreme events such as flooding, disease outbreaks and droughts would lead to massive losses of life if this were to happen. Related: It’s code red for Earth, says new UN study “The world is on a catastrophic pathway to 2.7 degrees (Celsius) of heating,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. “We need a 45% cut in emissions by 2030 to reach carbon neutrality by mid-century.” In 2015, 200 countries made environmental pledges as part of the Paris Agreement . However, most countries have been slow to show serious commitment. In the latest review, the U.N. found that 113 countries had updated their commitments, with the latest submissions made by 30 July. Emission targets, commonly known as nationally determined contributions or NDCs, are vital in determining cumulative emissions. For the countries that submitted targets, the U.N. report found that there would be a 12% drop in emissions by the end of the decade. “That’s the positive side of the picture,” U.N. climate chief Patricia Espinosa said. “The other one is more sobering.” The other side of the picture is that many major emitters did not submit commitments. This includes countries such as China , Saudi Arabia and India. Espinosa has now called for leaders from these countries and more to submit stronger commitments at the U.N. gathering in New York this week. “Leaders must engage in a frank discussion driven not just by the very legitimate desire to protect national interest, but also by the equally commanding goal of contributing to the welfare of humanity,” Espinosa said. “We simply have no more time to spare, and people throughout the world expect nothing less.” Via PBS and The New York Times Lead image via Pixabay

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Failing to curb emissions puts Earth on "catastrophic pathway"

Zip around the city with CAKE’s new electric moped, the Makka

September 20, 2021 by  
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Gasoline-burning vehicles have created enormous environmental problems, and they continue to pollute the air. It’s not just burning the gas that causes issues — it’s the whole industry. But electric vehicles can help provide solutions for these problems. One brand bringing new designs to the electric moped world is CAKE, and its new Makka model is one you have to check out. The Makka moped comes in two versions, the Flex and Range. Both run on an exchangeable lithium -ion battery and weigh in at about 132 pounds, including the battery. Charging that battery will take three hours to reach 100%, or 2 hours to reach 80%. The versions vary in speed and range; the Flex reaches a top speed of 28 mph with a range of 31 miles, and the Range reaches a top speed of 15 mph with a slightly longer range of 37 miles. Related: Crowley to build the US’s first fully-electric tugboat CAKE designed the Makka with efficient transportation in mind. As Stefan Ytterborn, CAKE CEO and Founder, explained, “With cities and urban mobility changing faster than expected with cleaner and more efficient solutions, we have been eager to share the Makka: An urban short-haul vessel, compact in size and price, reaching a wide audience in the process of deciding what their future means of transportation will be.” With an adjustable seat, the Makka can adapt for your comfort. This zero- emission transportation option also accommodates various racks and mounts to store bags and gear. Aimed at commuters in dense, urban areas, the Makka offers a quick, unobtrusive way to get around. Want to include a passenger seat? No problem. The Makka Flex can be outfitted with a passenger seat for whoever you want to bring on an adventure with you. Available in either white or gray and street legal in both the U.S. and Europe (though only the Flex is available in the U.S.), the Makka is part of CAKE’s mission toward “a zero-emission society.” + CAKE Images courtesy of CAKE

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Zip around the city with CAKE’s new electric moped, the Makka

We’re going to need a bigger boat: Climate strategy beyond COP

September 14, 2021 by  
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Let the United Nations process play out, but let’s also work on a separate, bold “grand bargain.”

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‘Climate shocks’ threaten over half of Earth’s children

August 25, 2021 by  
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As every day brings us new stories of climate-related horror, there’s never been a better time to be old. Because the children are the ones who will grow up to face increasingly extreme and bizarre climate disasters in the decades ahead. Sure enough,  UNICEF ‘s first-ever  Children’s Climate Risk Index  shows that almost half of the world’s children fall into the extremely high-risk category for facing what UNICEF described in a  tweet  as “climate shocks.” Developing countries tend to have both more  children  and harsher climate impacts. The new report cited disease, drought, food shortages and extreme heat as some of the impacts these kids will face. The billion vulnerable children live in dozens of high-risk developing countries, including Nigeria, India and the Central African Republic. Related: Extinction Rebellion protests take over London “For the first time, we have a complete picture of where and how children are vulnerable to  climate change , and that picture is almost unimaginably dire,” said Henrietta Fore, executive director of UNICEF, in a  statement . For the study, UNICEF analyzed high-resolution maps showing climate impacts. It considered poverty, access to clean  water  and other factors that make children less likely to survive extreme weather events and other catastrophes. But privileged children in more developed countries aren’t safe, either. The report concluded that nearly every child in the world is at risk for one or more types of climate-related impact, such as air  pollution , flooding rivers and heatwaves. “Virtually no child’s life will be unaffected,” Fore said. The report posits that kids should be included in policy discussions affecting their future, including the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) taking place in Glasgow,  Scotland  this November. Leaders attending COP26 plan to strategize for global net-zero carbon emissions no later than 2050. “Children and young people need to be recognized as the rightful heirs of this planet that we all share,” Fore told The Guardian. Via Common Dreams Lead image via Pixabay

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‘Climate shocks’ threaten over half of Earth’s children

Dietary shifts must be part of ‘game-changing’ food systems solutions

August 5, 2021 by  
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The United Nations Food Systems Summit is set for the fall but the pre-summit in Rome proved what’s not going to be on the menu.

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Dietary shifts must be part of ‘game-changing’ food systems solutions

UN outlines biodiversity plan to reverse climate change

July 13, 2021 by  
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The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (U.N. CBD) has set out a plan to reverse ecological destruction, cut down extinction rates and promote human coexistence with nature. The plan will also protect at least 30% of the world’s oceans and land to achieve significant climate crisis mitigation by 2030.  The latest draft arrived after extensive financial and  scientific negotiations  in May and June. The draft considers science, financial implications and nature conservation . However, it is still subject to scrutiny by governments and decision-makers before the U.N. summit to be held in Kunming China. The summit has been postponed twice due to the coronavirus pandemic and is expected to be rescheduled a third time for early 2022.  Related: UN launches program to reverse “triple environmental emergency” Besides the 2030 targets, the U.N. also aims to reduce the current rate of extinctions by 90%. The plan seeks to enhance the overall integrity of ecosystems and provide financial resources to achieve the vision. The U.N. also aims to reverse $500 billion (£360 billion) in government subsidies that support harmful environmental practices.  Basile van Havre, co-chair of the CBD working group that drafted the agreement, says that the set goals are based on the latest scientific data. He adds that the draft aims to introduce a significant shift in agriculture and other land use purposes that affect the ecosystem. “Change is coming,” van Havre said. “There will be a lot more of us in 10 years and they will need to be fed so it’s not about decreasing the level of activity. It’s about increasing the output and doing better for nature .” One of the targets is to cut the use of harmful pesticides and reduce the effects of such harmful chemicals in the ecosystem. “Cutting nutrient runoff in half, reducing pesticide use by two-thirds and eliminating plastic discharge: those are big. I’m sure they’re going to raise some eyebrows as they present significant change, particularly in the agriculture.” Scientists warn that human activities are driving the current mass extinction of species, making it the sixth mass extinction in the planet’s history. However, scientists also say that humans still have a chance to save the earth and promote an ecosystem that supports the coexistence of humans and other species.  “We don’t control what is happening on the climate change agenda but science is telling us this is what we can bring to the issues,” van Havre said. Via The Guardian Lead image via Pixabay

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