EU plans to upgrade its Paris Agreement climate target

EU plans to upgrade its Paris Agreement climate target

The European Union plans to raise its target to tackle global warming under the Paris climate agreement, although the upgrade is unlikely to happen in time for this year's U.N. climate summit, according to a draft document seen by Reuters. A draft of the EU's negotiating mandate for the COP27 summit in November, seen by Reuters, said the 27-country bloc intends to update its "nationally determined contribution" (NDC) - the contribution each country makes towards the 2015 Paris accord to prevent disastrous climate change. The EU, the world's third-biggest emitter, has pledged to cut its net emissions by 55% by 2030, from 1990…
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EU plans to build firefighting fleet faster after summer of climate crises

EU plans to build firefighting fleet faster after summer of climate crises

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union and its member states agreed on Monday to speed up plans to establish an EU fleet of firefighting aircraft, after rampaging wildfires across Europe this summer exhausted the bloc's capacity to respond. This summer's wildfires forced thousands of Europeans to evacuate, and razed homes and businesses, part of a worsening trend as climate change increases the hot and dry conditions that help fires spread, burn longer and rage more intensely. Southern European countries such as Portugal and Greece experience fires most summers, but Germany and the Czech Republic also suffered large blazes this year, as…
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Glaciers vanishing at record rate in Alps following heatwaves

Glaciers vanishing at record rate in Alps following heatwaves

MORTERATSCH GLACIER, Switzerland (Reuters) - From the way 45-year-old Swiss glaciologist Andreas Linsbauer bounds over icy crevasses, you would never guess he was carrying 10 kg of steel equipment needed to chart the decline of Switzerland's glaciers. Normally, he heads down this path on the massive Morteratsch Glacier in late September, the end of the summer melt season in the Alps. But exceptionally high ice loss this year has brought him to this 15-square-kilometer (5.8-square-mile) amphitheatre of ice two months early for emergency maintenance work. The measuring poles he uses to track changes in the depth of the pack are at…
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WATCH: Record temperatures scorch Europe, as wildfires rage across south

WATCH: Record temperatures scorch Europe, as wildfires rage across south

Britain was forecast to see temperatures hit 40C (104F) for the first time on Tuesday after logging its warmest night on record, while wildfires raged across parched countryside in France, Spain and elsewhere. As a heatwave that settled over southern Europe last week edged northwards, southern and western Germany and Belgium were also braced for potentially record-breaking temperatures, with many scientists pointing the finger of blame at climate change. While the mercury dipped back towards more normal summer levels in Spain and Portugal, firefighters in both countries were still battling multiple blazes. https://twitter.com/Reuters/status/1548403345852809216 Britain has been put on a state of…
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<strong>Climate change tops priority in Catholic Education’s Secretariat new environmental policy</strong>

Climate change tops priority in Catholic Education’s Secretariat new environmental policy

The Secretariat for Catholic Education has approved its wide-ranging environmental policy, placing climate change as its key priority for the years ahead. Echoing Pope Francis’ belief that the world faces “the challenge of civilisation”, the policy argues that as an educational institution it has a responsibility to support, participate in, and where possible create initiatives that can help restore our ailing Earth. This policy is based on holistic education, a deep sense of ownership and responsibility for the environment, and a strong commitment for the restoration of the environment and the life-sustaining processes that maintain it. Konrad Pirotta, who earlier…
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EU body sets out draft sustainability disclosure standards

EU body sets out draft sustainability disclosure standards

Companies will have to set a much broader range of sustainability targets under draft new European Union reporting standards, environmental impact body CDP said on Tuesday. Authorities across the world are writing reporting standards to combat 'greenwashing' where companies exaggerate their green credentials to attract investors pouring trillions of dollars into sustainable assets. The European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) set out its first draft sustainability standards late on Friday for public consultation. Final standards will be sent to the European Union's executive European Commission by November for adoption. The norms will be used by listed companies across the EU to implement mandatory environment, social and governance (ESG) disclosure…
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No country met WHO air quality standards in 2021 – data

No country met WHO air quality standards in 2021 – data

Not a single country managed to meet the World Health Organization's (WHO) air quality standard in 2021, a survey of pollution data in 6,475 cities showed on Tuesday, and smog even rebounded in some regions after a COVID-related dip. The WHO recommends that average annual readings of small and hazardous airborne particles known as PM2.5 should be no more than 5 micrograms per cubic metre after changing its guidelines last year, saying that even low concentrations caused significant health risks. But only 3.4% of the surveyed cities met the standard in 2021, according to data complied by IQAir, a Swiss…
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<strong>Climate Change: No time and luxury to wait</strong>

Climate Change: No time and luxury to wait

“While raising awareness remains important, we do not have the time and luxury to wait. Climate change is a real, immediate threat and we need to act now.” Konrad Pirotta, Biology Head of Department within the Secretariat for Church Schools, one of Malta’s recently-appointed Climate Ambassadors in the context of the European Climate Pact, does not mince his words when sharing his views on the reality of climate change and the challenges faced by our country. “We need to act decisively, while at the same time ensuring that actions which are implemented serve to continue creating exposure on the challenges…
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EU draft law would require firms to check suppliers for human rights, environmental ethics

EU draft law would require firms to check suppliers for human rights, environmental ethics

The European Commission will unveil on Wednesday a proposal to make large companies operating in the European Union check that their suppliers from around the world do not use slave or child labour and that they respect environmental standards, a draft of the law showed. The proposal, called Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence, will also oblige boards of EU firms to ensure that their business model and strategy align with limiting global warming to 1.5 Celsius, as agreed under the Paris climate treaty. EU firms will have to make sure that their suppliers are not using forced labour, child labour, of…
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75% of people want single-use plastics banned, global survey finds

75% of people want single-use plastics banned, global survey finds

Three in four people worldwide want single-use plastics to be banned as soon as possible, according to a poll released on Tuesday, as United Nations members prepare to begin talks on a global treaty to rein in soaring plastic pollution. The percentage of people calling for bans is up from 71% since 2019, while those who said they favoured products with less plastic packaging rose to 82% from 75%, according to the IPSOS poll of more than 20,000 people across 28 countries. Activists say the results send a clear message to governments meeting in Nairobi this month to press ahead…
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Clean environment could become U.N. human right. Not so fast, say U.S., Britain

Clean environment could become U.N. human right. Not so fast, say U.S., Britain

Britain and the United States are among a few countries withholding support for a proposal brought at the United Nations that would recognise access to a safe and healthy environment as a human right, prompting criticism that they are undermining their own pledges ahead of the Glasgow climate conference. Diplomats say the Geneva-based Human Rights Council is expected to adopt the resolution later this week even if an opposing country calls a vote, as supporters are numerous and include Costa Rica, the Maldives and Switzerland. If adopted, environmental defenders say it will pressure countries to join the more than 100…
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Protecting indigenous people key to saving Amazon, say environmentalists

Protecting indigenous people key to saving Amazon, say environmentalists

Protecting the native inhabitants of the Amazon and their right to ancestral lands is crucial to saving the rainforest because they are its best guardians, environmental activists said on Monday. But their rights to protected lands are being undermined by the far-right government of President Jair Bolsonaro, they said on a panel at  the  Reuters Impact conference on the fate of the Amazon rainforest. "What we are seeing is an attack on indigenous people, on their rights, their lives and territories," said Leila Salazar-Lopez, executive director of Amazon Watch. Ginger Cassady, executive director of the Rainforest Action Network, said the…
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McDonald’s pledges net-zero emissions by 2050

McDonald’s pledges net-zero emissions by 2050

McDonald's says it aims to cut its global greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. The target covers everything from the beef in its burgers to the lights in its restaurants. The burger chain also said it was working with the nonprofit Science Based Targets initiative to revamp its existing climate goals. By 2030 it aims to cut a third off emissions from suppliers and its nearly 40,000 restaurants. United Nations scientists say the world's net emissions must fall to zero by 2050 to limit climate change. McDonald's joins more than 1,000 companies that have signed similar pledges. About 80% of…
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Global Witness reports 227 land and environmental activists murdered in a single year, the worst figure on record

Global Witness reports 227 land and environmental activists murdered in a single year, the worst figure on record

As the climate crisis intensifies, violence against defenders of the earth is escalating. A new report reveals that 227 land and environmental activists were murdered in 2020 for defending their land and the planet. That constitutes the highest number ever recorded for a second consecutive year. As the climate crisis deepens, forest fires rampage across swathes of the planet, drought destroys farmland, and floods leave thousands dead, the situation for frontline communities and defenders of the earth is getting worse. On average, data shows that four defenders have been killed every week since the signing of the Paris Climate agreement…
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Europe just had its warmest summer on record, EU scientists say

Europe just had its warmest summer on record, EU scientists say

Europe had its warmest summer on record this year, though only by a small margin over two previous highest temperatures for June-August, European Union scientists said on Tuesday. The EU's Copernicus Climate Change Service said the average surface air temperature in June-August was close to 1.0C above the 1991-2020 average, making it the hottest in its dataset. The previous warmest summers, 2010 and 2018, were 0.1C cooler. The 2021 summer temperature marks the latest milestone in a long-term global warming trend as emissions of greenhouse gases change the planet's climate. Copernicus' records go back to 1950 but are cross-checked with other data…
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EU Funds Encouraging Sustainable Waste Practices in Households and Beyond

EU Funds Encouraging Sustainable Waste Practices in Households and Beyond

According to a recent Eurobarometer survey, climate change ranks among the biggest concerns of the Maltese population, with citizens asking for more action to protect the environment. Research shows that citizens want responsibility to be shared by big companies and industry, national governments and the EU, and even themselves. As we become more conscious of the fragility of our Earth, demands increase for  effective ways of tackling environmental problems;‘changing the way we consume’ and ‘changing the way we produce and trade’. EU waste policy aims to contribute to the circular economy by extracting high-quality resources from waste as much as…
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Pandemic recovery to push emissions to all-time high – IEA

Pandemic recovery to push emissions to all-time high – IEA

The global rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic is set to drive emissions of greenhouse gases that stoke climate change to all-time highs, the Paris-based International Energy Agency said in a report on Tuesday. "We estimate that full and timely implementation of the economic recovery measures announced to date would result in CO2 emissions climbing to record levels in 2023, continuing to rise thereafter," it said. Spending plans for clean energy allocated by governments around the world in the second quarter add up to $380 billion, making up just 2% of their total stimulus funds in response to the pandemic, the IEA said. The…
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Net-zero carbon impact on UK debt could be less than pandemic hit

Net-zero carbon impact on UK debt could be less than pandemic hit

The impact on Britain's public debt mountain caused by action to meet the country's net carbon zero target by 2050 could be less severe than that of the coronavirus pandemic, as long as the government moves quickly, the country's fiscal watchdog said. The Office for Budget Responsibility said its early-action scenario added 21% of gross domestic product to public sector net debt in 2050-51, or 469 billion pounds ($650 billion) in today's terms. "That is somewhat smaller than the addition to net debt as a result of the pandemic," the OBR said in a report on the risks facing Britain's…
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Analysis: When do electric vehicles become cleaner than gasoline cars?

Analysis: When do electric vehicles become cleaner than gasoline cars?

DETROIT (June 29): You glide silently out of the Tesla showroom in your sleek new electric Model 3, satisfied you're looking great and doing your bit for the planet. But keep going - you'll have to drive another 13,500 miles (21,725 km) before you're doing less harm to the environment than a gas-guzzling saloon. That's the result of a Reuters analysis of data from a model that calculates the lifetime emissions of vehicles, a hotly debated issue that's taking center stage as governments around the world push for greener transport to meet climate targets. The model was developed by the Argonne National Laboratory in…
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Malta joins EU push for Guinness World Record

Malta joins EU push for Guinness World Record

Malta is taking part in the European Climate Pact Day of Action on June 29, officially launching a drive to reach 141,000 pledges and smashing a Guinness World Record for the greatest number of climate promises recorded in a month. A grassroots initiative, the Climate Pact is empowering EU citizens to act for the planet and build a more sustainable Europe for everyone. The event will be addressed by the Executive Vice-President European Commission Frans Timmermans in an interactive discussion between 9:15 and 11:00, livestreamed on facebook.com/climatepactdayofactionmalta. Inaugurated in December last year, the Climate Pact encourages people and organisations to…
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Liberals say that 2030 climate package is opportunity to turn climate neutrality into EU success story

Liberals say that 2030 climate package is opportunity to turn climate neutrality into EU success story

Renew Europe, the Liberal coalition in the European Parliament, has outlined five flagship messages in a letter to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen and the Executive Vice President of the Commission, Frans Timmermans. The input comes ahead of the Fit for 2030 climate package to be presented by the Commission in mid-July, with a call for the Commission to integrate them in the upcoming proposals in order to ensure a balanced and successful package delivering on our climate objectives while ensuring a just transition. The EU' plans for 2030 Based on a comprehensive impact assessment,…
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Pope launches green initiative, decrying “predatory attitude” toward planet

Pope launches green initiative, decrying “predatory attitude” toward planet

Pope Francis launched an initiative on Tuesday to make Catholic institutions ranging from families to universities to businesses environmentally sustainable in seven years, saying a "predatory attitude" toward the planet must end. The Laudato Si Action Platform takes its name from the pope's landmark 2015 encyclical on the need to protect the environment, reduce wasteful lifestyles, stem global warming and protect the poor from the effects of climate change. At a news conference announcing the initiative, Cardinal Peter Turkson, head of the Vatican's development office, said the pope has been invited to attend the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November in Glasgow, Scotland. Turkson indicated…
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Malta launches national campaign on climate change

Malta launches national campaign on climate change

Malta is at high risk for impacts of climate change, and this requires ambitious action and collective change. This is not a simple educational campaign, but a call for a change towards more sustainable lifestyles. There is a need for tangible change towards better quality of life for everyone.  In this context, Government today launched the first national campaign on climate change: #ClimateOn.  Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning Aaron Farrugia, said that “through this campaign, we need to create a more resilient society which is better prepared and capable of adapting to the irreversible conditions brought about…
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Carbon emissions from trawler fishing on a par with aviation, say ocean researchers

Carbon emissions from trawler fishing on a par with aviation, say ocean researchers

Trawling of the ocean floor by fishing fleets releases roughly the same amount of carbon emissions into the water as aviation puts into the atmosphere each year, researchers said, calling for greater protection of the planet’s seas. In a study published in the journal Nature, a team of 26 scientists and conservationists said marine protected areas (MPAs) are an effective tool for restoring biodiversity, expanding seafood supplies and storing climate-heating carbon. But at present, only 7% of the ocean has been designated or proposed as an MPA, with less than 3% under full or high protection from fishing, mining and…
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Bill Gates warns that manufacturing could challenge climate goals

Bill Gates warns that manufacturing could challenge climate goals

Bill Gates exudes optimism in discussing the world’s ability to tackle climate change – until he hits on manufacturing. About that, he is worried. There is currently no way to make steel or cement without releasing climate-warming emissions. Yet, neither governments nor investors are looking hard to solve that problem, Gates said. “That’s the sector that bothers me the most,” Gates said in a video interview with Reuters ahead of the publication this week of his book, “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster.” The software-developer-turned-philanthropist has invested some $2 billion toward the development of clean technologies. But those investments are…
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India’s arrest of activist tied to Greta Thunberg’s movement sparks outrage

India’s arrest of activist tied to Greta Thunberg’s movement sparks outrage

Indian politicians and activists on Monday condemned the arrest of a 22-year-old climate campaigner accused of sedition for helping edit an online document that Sweden's Greta Thunberg had promoted in support of farmers protesting in the country. Thunberg had shared a "toolkit" or an action plan on Twitter which listed ways to help Indian farmers, who have been protesting agricultural reforms. Over the weekend, police brought Disha Ravi, a leader of the Indian arm of Thunberg's climate crisis-related Fridays for Future movement, to the capital from her home in the southern city of Bengaluru to question her. Thunberg said she had no…
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U.S. “proud to be back” in climate fight, Kerry tells leaders

U.S. “proud to be back” in climate fight, Kerry tells leaders

The United States is "proud to be back" in international efforts to tackle global warming, Washington's new special climate envoy John Kerry told a summit of world leaders on Monday. U.S. President Joe Biden is this week expected to release more policies to tackle climate change after rejoining the 2015 Paris climate agreement that predecessor Donald Trump quit saying it was too costly to the U.S. economy. "We're proud to be back. We come back with humility for the absence over the last four years and we will do everything in our power to make up for it," Kerry told the virtual…
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Photo Story: One Planet Summit

Photo Story: One Planet Summit

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech at the end of One Planet Summit, part of World Nature Day, at the Reception Room of the Elysee Palace, in Paris, France, 11 January 2021. The One Planet Summit, a largely virtual event hosted by France in partnership with the United Nations and the World Bank, will include French President, German Chancellor, and European Union chief. EPA-EFE/LUDOVIC MARIN
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Largest Arctic Ozone hole has now closed – CAMS

Largest Arctic Ozone hole has now closed – CAMS

Scientists monitoring the "unprecedented" hole at the Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS) announced the closure of the largest Arctic ozone hole ever recorded. https://twitter.com/CopernicusECMWF/status/1253273035248975873 Ozone columns over large parts of the Arctic have reached record-breaking low values this year, and the ozone layer over the Arctic is severely depleted at altitudes of around 18 km. The last time similarly strong chemical ozone depletion was observed over the Arctic was during spring 2011, and ozone depletion in 2020 seems on course to be even stronger. The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS*) has been closely following the rather unusual ozone hole that has formed over…
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From floods to locusts, ‘climate breakdown’ cost rich and poor in 2020

From floods to locusts, ‘climate breakdown’ cost rich and poor in 2020

Disasters fuelled by weather and climate extremes brought “catastrophic results for millions” across rich and poor nations in 2020, causing thousands of deaths and tens of billions of dollars in losses, charity Christian Aid said this week. In a report, the aid agency identified 15 of the most destructive climate disasters of the year - from wildfires to floods and storms and locust swarms - nine of which led to damage worth at least $5 billion each, based on insured losses. Financial costs tend to be higher in richer countries as they have more valuable property, it noted, but some…
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WTO fails to agree rules to stop over-fishing, but will try again

WTO fails to agree rules to stop over-fishing, but will try again

World Trade Organization negotiators have failed to reach a deal by a year-end deadline to cut the subsidies that have helped decimate the world's fish stocks, but will try again next year, the chairman of the talks said on Monday. The failure is a significant blow to the world's fish stocks, which environmentalists say could be replenished by a deal, and to the WTO, which faces questions about its ability to strike multilateral agreements. Colombia's Santiago Wills said the talks had been hampered by delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic, though sources who attended a closed-door meeting said he had also told delegates that "major…
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EU-wide ban would save nature from 500,000 tonnes of microplastics

EU-wide ban would save nature from 500,000 tonnes of microplastics

Banning the use of microplastics in products such as cosmetics and detergents across the European Union would prevent 500,000 tonnes of microplastics from polluting the environment over 20 years, the EU Chemicals Agency ECHA said on Wednesday. The tiny bits of plastic that end up in waterways and oceans are causing growing concern among scientists about their effect on marine ecosystems. In 2019, the Helsinki-based agency proposed that European lawmakers should ban the use of intentionally added microplastics and has now concluded its scientific and technical assessment of the ban's socio-economic impact. Over 20 years, "the total cost of the…
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EU greenhouse gas emissions fell in 2019 to the lowest level in three decades

EU greenhouse gas emissions fell in 2019 to the lowest level in three decades

The EU has registered important progress in cutting greenhouse gas emissions in 2019. Greenhouse gas emissions in the EU-27 decreased by 3.7 % year-on-year, while GDP grew by 1.5%. This means that emissions have now been reduced by 24% compared to 1990 levels, according to the Commission's annual EU Climate Action Progress Report. Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, said: “The European Union is proving it is possible to reduce emissions and grow your economy. However, today's report again confirms we need to step up our efforts across all sectors of the economy to reach our common…
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Exposure to air pollution may accelerate Covid-19 deaths

Exposure to air pollution may accelerate Covid-19 deaths

Exposure to air pollution may be linked to some 15% of Covid-19 deaths worldwide, according to research published Tuesday that highlights the health risks posed by greenhouse gas emissions. Previous research had shown how air pollution from exhaust fumes takes two years off the life expectancy of every man, woman and child on Earth. In a recent study, scientists from Germany and Cyprus said they have found a direct correlation between deaths from coronavirus that can be linked to air pollution. Their study, published in the journal Cardiovascular Research, investigated health and disease data from the US and China relating…
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Study finds air pollution killed nearly half a million new-borns in 2019

Study finds air pollution killed nearly half a million new-borns in 2019

Some 476,000 infants across the world died from the adverse effects of exposure to air pollution in 2019, a new global study has found. The State of Global Air study released Wednesday said nearly two-thirds of those deaths were related to the burning of poor-quality fuels for cooking.  Some 236,000 new-born infants are estimated to have died of air-pollution related causes in sub-Saharan Africa and more than 116,000 in India. Pakistan also had more than 50,000 neonatal deaths attributable to air pollution, the study said. According to the study, when mothers are exposed to high levels of air pollution, it can bring a higher…
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UN calls Development Banks to stop backing fossil fuel projects

UN calls Development Banks to stop backing fossil fuel projects

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday urged development banks to stop backing fossil fuel projects, raising the pressure on the state-backed lenders ahead of a climate change summit France is hosting next month. Environmental campaigners have for years been demanding publicly-listed commercial banks in Europe, the United States and Asia stop financing new coal-fired power stations, oil exploration or natural gas infrastructure. But the world's development banks, whose backing is often crucial in determining whether such projects are viable, are also facing calls to starve the fossil fuel industry of finance. Guterres urged a virtual meeting of a coalition…
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‘Real and imminent’ extinction risk to whales

‘Real and imminent’ extinction risk to whales

More than 350 scientists and conservationists from 40 countries have signed a letter calling for global action to protect whales, dolphins and porpoises from extinction. They say more than half of all species are of conservation concern, with two on the "knife-edge" of extinction. Lack of action over polluted and over-exploited seas means that many will be declared extinct within our lifetimes, the letter says. Even large iconic whales are not safe. "Let this be a historic moment when realising that whales are in danger sparks a powerful wave of action from everyone: regulators, scientists, politicians and the public to…
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Prince William launches global environment prize

Prince William launches global environment prize

Britain’s Prince William will on Thursday launch a multi-million-pound global prize aimed at solving some of the world’s greatest environmental problems. The Earthshot Prize will award five one-million-pound ($1.29-million) prizes each year for the next 10 years under the categories of protecting and restoring nature, cleaner air, reviving oceans, waste-reduction and climate change. Nominations open on Nov. 1 ahead of the first awards ceremony in the autumn next year. William, grandson of Queen Elizabeth and second-in-line to the throne, said change was critical in the next decade to help protect and restore the environment. “By 2030 we really hope to…
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David Attenborough leads call for world to invest $500 bln a year to protect nature

David Attenborough leads call for world to invest $500 bln a year to protect nature

British broadcaster David Attenborough led a call from conservation groups on Wednesday for the world to invest $500 billion a year to halt the destruction of nature, warning that the future of the planet was in "grave jeopardy." Attenborough, whose new film "A Life on Our Planet" documents the dangers posed by climate change and the extinction of species, issued the call hours ahead of a U.N. summit aimed at galvanising action to protect wildlife. "Our natural world is under greater pressure now than at any time in human history, and the future of the entire planet – on which…
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Brazil’s Bolsonaro blames indigenous people for Amazon fires in U.N. speech

Brazil’s Bolsonaro blames indigenous people for Amazon fires in U.N. speech

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro told the United Nations that indigenous people in the Amazon were to blame for fires in the rainforest this year and attacked the media for spreading panic about the coronavirus pandemic. In a pre-recorded speech to a remote session opening the U.N. General Assembly, the far-right leader rebutted international criticism of his environmental policies and his handling of the world’s second-most deadly coronavirus outbreak after the United States. He said the rainforest’s humidity prevents fire spreading, countering experts who say ranchers use fire to clear newly deforested land for pasture, which in dry years can burn…
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France plans for airline environmental tax to be put on hold

France plans for airline environmental tax to be put on hold

France is preparing to put plans for new environmental taxes on the airline sector on hold, officials said on Friday, despite a government push to speed up moves towards a greener economy. Before the coronavirus crisis brought air traffic to a standstill and many airlines to their knees, the sector had been fighting a losing battle against emissions taxes in Europe. New taxes on air travel were among proposals from a Citizens' Climate Council in response to the "yellow vest" movement, which began as a protest at the cost of living and became a rebellion against President Emmanuel Macron himself.…
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Global net zero emissions goal would require $1-2 trillion a year investment -study

Global net zero emissions goal would require $1-2 trillion a year investment -study

Achieving net zero emissions by mid-century would cost an estimated $1 trillion-$2 trillion a year of additional investments, or 1-1.5% of global gross domestic product, a report by the Energy Transitions Commission (ETC) said on Wednesday. To limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius this century, global greenhouse gas emissions will need to reach net zero. When this is achieved, the reduction in 2050 living standards in developed and developing countries would amount to less than 0.5% of global GDP, the report said. The ETC is a global coalition of 40 energy producers, industrial companies and financial institutions, including ArcelorMittal,…
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More masks than jellyfish in the sea –  Opération Mer Propre

More masks than jellyfish in the sea – Opération Mer Propre

The French association Opération Mer Propre (Operation Clean Sea) has estimated that the sea is populated "more by masks than by jellyfish". A strong signal came from Ancona, where the pelican - the sweeping boat that cleans the harbor water of waste - began to extract more and more masks that floated on the surface and the president of the Port Authority, Rodolfo Giamperi, had to take note of the increasingly massive presence of "masks and gloves, which were previously non-existent".
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European Commission to propose more ambitious 2030 climate goal

European Commission to propose more ambitious 2030 climate goal

The European Commission will propose that the European Union sets a 2030 target of cutting its net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% against 1990 levels, according to an internal document seen by Reuters. Already well on the way to meeting its current climate target of a 40% cut by 2030, the EU wants to set a more ambitious near-term target in order to achieve its goal of net zero emissions by 2050 and cement its status as a global leader in efforts to curb catastrophic climate change. The document, which could still be amended before publication, says the Commission will propose a target for the EU's net…
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Scientists warn wildlife in ‘catastrophic decline’ due to human destruction

Scientists warn wildlife in ‘catastrophic decline’ due to human destruction

Wildlife populations have fallen by more than two-thirds in less than 50 years, according to a major report by the conservation group WWF. In its Living Planet report, the charity said this "catastrophic decline" shows no sign of slowing. And it warns that nature is being destroyed by humans at a rate never seen before. Wildlife is "in freefall" as we burn forests, over-fish our seas and destroy wild areas, says Tanya Steele, chief executive at WWF. "We are wrecking our world - the one place we call home - risking our health, security and survival here on Earth. Now…
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Brazil’s Amazon fires worsen in September

Brazil’s Amazon fires worsen in September

Fires in Brazil's Amazon rainforest worsened in the first week of September and are increasingly spreading into areas of untouched forest, satellite data showed as of Wednesday, after the number of fires likely reached a 10-year high in August. Brazil reported 8,373 fires in its portion of the Amazon rainforest for the first seven days of September, more than double the number of fires in the same period a year-ago, according to data from Brazil's national space research agency Inpe. A pressing concern is that 27% of the major fires so far in September have been in virgin forest, rather…
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Tackling pollution and climate change in Europe will improve health and well-being, especially for the most vulnerable

Tackling pollution and climate change in Europe will improve health and well-being, especially for the most vulnerable

Air and noise pollution, the impacts of climate change such as heatwaves, and exposure to dangerous chemicals cause ill health in Europe. Poor quality environments contribute to 13 % (one in every eight) of deaths according to a major assessment on health and environment released by the European Environment Agency (EEA). Improving the health and well-being of European citizens is more important than ever, with attention currently focused on addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic provides a stark example of the complex links between the environment, our social systems, and our health. A significant proportion of the burden of disease…
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Poland could become carbon neutral by 2056

Poland could become carbon neutral by 2056

 Poland, the only European Union country that has not pledged to be carbon neutral by 2050, could reach that goal by 2056, a study by the state Polish Economic Institute (PEI) showed. Poland generates almost 80% of electricity from burning coal and the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has said it needs more time and significant funds to switch to a zero-emissions economy. That goal also faces a strong opposition from powerful coal mining trade unions, whose leaders deny global warming and have recently blocked a plan to close more mines as part of an industry restructuring. Analysts at…
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Britain to introduce legally binding environmental targets

Britain to introduce legally binding environmental targets

Britain said it would bring in legally binding targets on air quality, waste reduction, biodiversity and cleaner water as part of efforts to combat climate change, improve the environment and rebuild the economy. The targets will form part of the environment bill, introduced last year and set to resume its passage through parliament soon, which will force the current and future governments to focus on environmental improvements. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised to “build back greener” as the country tries to recover from the coronavirus pandemic which caused its economy to shrink by a fifth in the second quarter.…
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Amount of plastic in the Atlantic Ocean has been ‘massively underestimated’

Amount of plastic in the Atlantic Ocean has been ‘massively underestimated’

Estimates for the amount of plastic dumped in the Atlantic Ocean have been "massively underestimated", experts have said. There are 12-21 million tonnes of tiny plastic fragments floating in the Atlantic Ocean, scientists have found. A study, led by the UK's National Oceanography Centre, scooped through layers of the upper 200m (650ft) of the ocean during a research expedition through the middle of the Atlantic. Such an amount of plastic - 21 million tonnes - would be enough to fully load almost 1,000 container ships. The findings are published in the journal Nature Communications. Dr Katsia Pabortsava, from the National…
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Study finds Greenland ice has shrunk beyond return

Study finds Greenland ice has shrunk beyond return

Greenland’s ice sheet may have shrunk past the point of return, with the ice likely to melt away no matter how quickly the world reduces climate-warming emissions, new research suggests. Scientists studied data on 234 glaciers across the Arctic territory spanning 34 years through 2018 and found that annual snowfall was no longer enough to replenish glaciers of the snow and ice being lost to summertime melting. That melting is already causing global seas to rise about a millimeter on average per year. If all of Greenland’s ice goes, the water released would push sea levels up by an average…
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Japan to send team to Mauritius to assist in oil spill

Japan to send team to Mauritius to assist in oil spill

Japanese Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi said on Saturday Tokyo planned to send a team of officials from the ministry and other specialists to Mauritius to assess the damage from an oil spill. A Japanese bulk carrier struck a coral reef off Mauritius on July 25, spilling about 1,000 tonnes of fuel oil and triggering a state of "environmental emergency" in what some scientists call the country's worst ecological disaster. Removing the ship will be a delicate operation and is likely to take months. France, which once ruled Mauritius as a colony, has said it will assist with the cleanup. Koizumi…
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Wind and solar produced 10% of global electricity

Wind and solar produced 10% of global electricity

Wind turbines and solar panels produced a record 10% of the world’s electricity in the first half of 2020 as coal-power declined, but steeper change is needed to meet targets set under the 2015 Paris climate agreement, a report this week said. Scientist say huge cuts to greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector are required over the next decade to limit global warming and curb the worst impacts of climate change such as floods, droughts, and loss of species. Generation from wind and solar rose by 14% during the first half of 2020 compared with the same period in…
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Microsoft commits to achieve ‘zero waste’ goals by 2030

Microsoft commits to achieve ‘zero waste’ goals by 2030

Recognizing the urgent need to protect the world’s ecosystems and reduce the carbon emissions that come from the creation, distribution and disposal of waste, Microsoft announced its goal to achieve zero waste for Microsoft’s direct operations, products and packaging by 2030. The zero waste goal is the third sprint in Microsoft’s broad environmental sustainability initiative launched earlier this year focusing on carbon, water, ecosystems and waste. Microsoft will reduce nearly as much waste as we generate while reusing, repurposing or recycling our solid, compost, electronics, construction and demolition, and hazardous wastes.   It will do this by building first-of-their-kind Microsoft…
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Record temperature trajectory threatens to breach 1.5°C global heating threshold

Record temperature trajectory threatens to breach 1.5°C global heating threshold

New climate data from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) predicts that the annual mean global temperature is likely to be at least 1.0°C above pre-industrial levels (1850-1900) in each of the coming five years (2020-2024) and there is a 20 per cent chance that it will exceed 1.5°C in at least one year. 1.5oC is the point where global warming linked consequences become increasingly severe and more difficult and expensive to adapt to, protect ourselves from, and control further temperature increases. Scientifically documented consequences of breaching 1.5oC include 70% loss of corals and loss of half the habitat of insects, including food pollinators,…
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Smog causes an estimated 49,000 deaths in Beijing, Shanghai in 2020

Smog causes an estimated 49,000 deaths in Beijing, Shanghai in 2020

Air pollution has caused an estimated 49,000 deaths and $23 billion in economic losses in the cities of Beijing and Shanghai alone since Jan. 1, 2020, according to a "clean air counter" launched by environmental groups on Thursday. The online tool launched by the Helsinki-based Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), Greenpeace Southeast Asia and IQAir Air Visual, measures smog in 28 major cities worldwide and uses models devised by the Global Burden of Disease research programme to estimate the health impact. Higher levels of smog are associated with a wide range of diseases such as chronic…
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Microplastics found in fruit and vegetables

Microplastics found in fruit and vegetables

Microplastics have been discovered in fruits and vegetables, with apples and carrots found to be the most contaminated, studies show. Campaigners have called for an urgent investigation into the tiny pieces of plastic on health following the results of the research. A study in the journal Environmental Research found microplastics had been absorbed into commonly eaten types of produce, with apples the most contaminated fruit and carrots the most contaminated vegetables. The research highlighted "worrying" estimated daily intakes of plastic particles in adults and children, but were lower in fruit and veg than from drinking mineral water from plastic bottles.…
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Maersk heads zero-carbon drive in shipping sector with $60 million research center

Maersk heads zero-carbon drive in shipping sector with $60 million research center

The world's largest container shipper, A.P. Moller-Maersk, will team up with industry majors to set up a research center in Denmark with the aim of reducing carbon emissions in the shipping industry. Denmark's Maersk, which aims to be carbon-neutral by 2050, said on Thursday the research center would combine knowledge from industry, academia and regulators towards "decarbonizing" the industry by developing carbon-neutral fuel and technologies. The shipping industry, which carries around 80% of global trade and accounts for around 3% of global carbon emissions, pledged last year to have ships and marine fuels with zero carbon emissions ready by 2030.…
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