The global pandemic hijacked 2020 and reset priorities, but countries now need to regroup and renew their commitment to cap global warming at well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, as agreed in Paris in 2015.
The numbers are staggering— as reflected in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which has triggered a new round of food shortages, famine and starvation.
As the world’s leading economies direct trillions of dollars towards Covid-19 recovery packages, a significant proportion is going to fossil fuel industries without climate stipulations, according to the 2020 edition of the Climate Transparency Report
– which has assessed the climate performance of G20 countries.
Earlier this year, when heavy rains caused massive flooding in Sudan, a three-month state of emergency was declared in September. The floods which began in July, were the worst the country experienced in the last three decades and affected some 830,000 people, including 125,000 refugees and internally displaced people.
On 10 December, representatives for the World Food Programme
(WFP) will in Norway receive the Nobel Peace Prize
at the Oslo City Hall. This is taking place while the COVID-19 pandemic is causing lock-downs and suffering all over world, limiting agricultural production and disrupting supply chains.
The alarms warning against climate inaction have sounded for years. Almost a year into the hardest pandemic and maybe the worst economic recession my generation has seen, expert voices everywhere are claiming this to be the golden opportunity to do something to right our course and even find a silver lining in this unfortunate situation, by funding the economic recovery of COVID-19 with a green stimulus package.
At the beginning of 2020, there were hopes that this would be a ’super year for nature’. It has not turned out that way. Tropical forests, so crucial for biodiversity, the climate and the indigenous communities who live in them, have continued to be destroyed at alarming rates. In fact, despite the shutdown of large parts of the global economy, rates of deforestation globally have increased since last year.
Wealthier countries struggling to contain the widening COVID-19 pandemic amid protests over lockdowns and restrictions risk ignoring an even greater danger out there – a looming global food emergency.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted nearly every facet of our lives and delayed what was slated to be a landmark Conference of the Parties (COP26). This pivotal year marks the first due date for countries to submit revised national climate plans per the five-year cycle required by the Paris Agreement. Remarkably, countries are still moving forward with renewed urgency. And many countries are integrating green recovery into their COVID-19 responses, further contributing to climate action. While many countries have positive stories to tell, both of our nations, Vietnam and Cambodia, are sterling examples of nations taking strong, decisive action, particularly with support through the NDC Partnership. Just last month, the people of Vietnam submitted their updated national climate plan and, in short order, the people of Cambodia will do likewise.
Rural communities on one of the nine islands that make up the Polynesian nation of Tuvalu are anticipating how life will change when they are connected to piped clean water for the first time.
Barry de Maine, the director of Green Cross Pharmacy, lost about $ 7,675 worth of stock when The Mall, the largest shopping centre in Mbabane, was flooded back in 2003. But when the flash floods hit again this year, he had already installed a flange to stop water from coming in.
“This is the best I could do under the circumstances,” De Maine told IPS, adding: “Otherwise since we started experiencing floods at The Mall (17 years ago) nothing has been done.”
Fifteen countries will sign a mega-trade deal at the ASEAN conference this weekend imposing secretive restrictions on how governments help workers through the pandemic, trade union leaders and parliamentarians have warned.
This was the year that Vietnam was poised to make progress on its rise as a regional leader. Under the auspices of Vietnam’s ASEAN chairmanship, a breakthrough in global trade has been achieved despite rising protectionism and a global pandemic.
As if four decades of war were not enough, then came the pandemic.
For each of the past five years, Afghanistan has been identified by the United Nations as the world’s deadliest country for children and, despite progress made in peace talks between the government and the Taliban, child and youth casualties from the ongoing conflict continue to mount in 2020.
I am speaking with Gladys and Raúl about civic space in Paraguay, when Raúl suddenly tells me about the fires. Thick smoke has reached the capital Asunción where he is based. In October, Paraguay became Dante’s Inferno.
When President Luis Abinader arrived at his inauguration in an electrically driven car as a symbolic gesture of his Government’s intentions to make sustainable development one of its main objectives – he signalled the start of addressing climate change commitments in the country.
Women need to be given roles as negotiators, not just offered representation through advisory groups, Agnieszka Fal-Dutra Santos from the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) told IPS.
In West Jakarta, Indonesia, teachers at the private Santo Kristoforus High School are so environmentally conscious they make other schools seem a little bit green when it comes to environmental education.
This year, the United Nations is marking its 75th anniversary – a milestone of extraordinary economic and social progress in Asia and the Pacific. While the Organization enjoys a lifespan almost equal to the world’s improved average life expectancy, the future lies with those who have recently embarked on theirs: our young people.
While struggling to increase the generation and consumption of renewable energy, Latin America is beginning to see the rise of new technologies, such as the capture and storage of carbon and hydrogen from fossil fuels or wind and solar energy.
The European Commission this week pledged $27.8 million in humanitarian support to the Sahel region as floods and the coronavirus pandemic exacerbate the stability in a region deeply in conflict.
While the figure is less than 2 percent of the $2.4 billion that the United Nations has appealed for, Amnesty International researcher Ousmane Diallo told IPS that despite past donations from international development partners to Sahelian countries, the situation hasn’t improved over the years.