Can yet another dispendious world gathering find a way to halt the ongoing suicidal war on Nature, which is leading to the destruction of all sources of life?
A few days before the international community gathers for COP26, widely considered the most important climate conference since the 2015 gathering which resulted in the Paris Climate Agreement, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is reporting that despite global hits in trade and travel by the COVID-19 pandemic, the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a new high in 2020.
COP26 is almost upon us, and dire warnings abound that it’s boom or bust for a greener future. Meanwhile, everybody boasts about what they will do to cool down our planet, but there is a disjuncture between talk and action. Even Queen Elizabeth II of the host country, the United Kingdom, has grumbled publicly that not enough action is taking place on climate change.
Latin America and the Caribbean are heading to a new climate summit with a menu of insufficient measures to address the effects of the crisis, in the midst of the impact of the covid-19 pandemic.
The global food system is facing more demands from society than ever before in modern times – and rightly so.
From responding to the climate crisis to dealing with rising malnutrition and ensuring the sustainable use of natural resources and protection of biodiversity, the responsibility of our food systems is no longer just to “feed the world.”
Tuvalu, a small atoll island nation in the Central Pacific Ocean, is one of few countries in the world to have so far evaded the pandemic. But, while it has achieved a milestone with no recorded cases of COVID-19, its population of about 11,931 continues to battle food uncertainties and poor nutrition. These challenges, present long before the pandemic emerged, have been exacerbated by lockdown restrictions and economic hardships during the past year and a half.
Smelly, boggy, and full of bugs, mangroves’ superpowers are well hidden. However, there is rising confidence that mangroves are the silver bullet to combat the effects of climate change.
Sepesa Curuki and his community are coming to terms with the prospect of relocation from Cogea village on Fiji’s second-largest island of Vanua Levu. Their village, which lies between two rivers that flow into the Pacific Ocean only 2km away, has been battered by intense and frequent cyclones, flooding and erosion, threatening their very existence.
When the NDC Partnership, the alliance which helps governments to determine and achieve their climate goals, held its first-ever Global Youth Engagement Forum in July, several segments were underpinned by Jamaica’s model of engaging young people and sustaining youth interest in climate initiatives.
As incidents of drought and extreme rainfall increase, farmers in Southeast Asia are partnering with experts to develop targeted weather forecasts to work around the threats and, when adaptation becomes too costly, buy specially designed insurance to protect their livelihoods.
The UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP) CommonSensing is led by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) through the United Nations Satellite Centre (UNOSAT), which is working with selected partners including the Commonwealth Secretariat, to improve resilience to the effects of climate change in Fiji, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
Less than halfway into the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season, Jamaica and its Caribbean neighbours were already tallying the costs of infrastructural damage and crop losses from the passage of three tropical storms - Elsa, Grace and Ida. And after a record-breaking 2020 season, the region is on tenterhooks as the season peaks.
This November, five years after signing the Paris Agreement and pledging to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, with a further target of below 1.5 degrees Celsius, world leaders will meet in Glasgow, UK amid COVID-19 pandemic shocks, rising hunger and an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that warns of more extreme temperature, droughts, forest fires and ice sheet loss due to human activity.
Among the COVID-19 pandemic’s many damaging impacts, could a halt to international progress on environmental issues be added to the list?
2021 is going to be critical, not only for curbing the rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic, but also for meeting the climate challenge.
But as Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) was clear to point out, the climate challenge is essentially an energy challenge. And as large polluters continue to commit to targets of net zero emissions by 2050, the world could -- in theory -- potentially address the climate challenge.