Weekly wrap: Bonn briefing, food and farming

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(Pic: Flickr/UNFCCC)

(Pic: Flickr/UNFCCC)

By Megan Darby

August is nearly over, which means it’s the next round of interim climate talks in Bonn next week.

Negotiators need to pick up the pace, the bigwigs say, with lots to thrash out on the legal structure of a deal and only 10 working days before the Paris summit.

Want an audio briefing? Listen to our new podcast, The Emissions Factor. Ed King asks veteran climate watchers Richard Black and Farhana Yamin whether optimism in a Paris deal is justified. Lisa Friedman reports from Washington DC and former EU climate chief Connie Hedegaard gives her perspective.

Field to plate

It’s harvest time here in the UK, and this week at RTCC we’ve been looking at food and farming.

Alex Lockwood kicked things off with a blistering attack on the meat industry, which is responsible for anywhere between 18 and 51% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

From bacon-flavoured seaweed to GM rice, Freya Palmer suggests eight ways to cut the carbon footprint of your dinner.

Restoring degraded land is crucial to the climate, argues Simone Quatrine, founder of a UN fund to do just that, and SOAS climate policy expert Harald Heubaum.

And farmers on four continents tell us their stories of dealing with drought, flooding and storms.


600 million tonnes – increase in emissions as a result of poorly regulated carbon offsetting projects, mostly in Russia and Ukraine

Western Balkans

Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia want to join the EU – and leaders from Brussels assured them on Thursday they wanted the same.

While the summit in Vienna focused on migration, there was a brief mention of energy cooperation.

But CAN Europe argued the six countries must clean up their coal habits and get in line with the bloc’s climate policy.

OMG sea levels!

Oceans are rising faster than expected, NASA warned this week, and there are big uncertainties about the future.

Help is at hand with its Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) project, which aims to improve understanding of how ice sheets break down.

Meanwhile, this video shows how much sea levels have risen or fallen across the globe in the last two decades.

INDC watch

No more countries have submitted their climate pledges to the UN this week, but we have fresh analysis on Australia’s contribution.

The verdict from Climate Action Tracker is pretty damning: not only is Australia’s emissions target inadequate, Tony Abbott’s government lacks the policy to meet it.

India, meanwhile, is reportedly considering a 300GW target for renewable energy installations by 2030. Its plan is expected next month.


“To exclude civil society is to exclude every Filipino who has lost a loved one, a home, a livelihood for every strong typhoon that has come our way” – young activist Renee Juliene Karunungan accuses the Philippines government of failing to consult on its climate plan

Bolivia summit

Think the Paris climate summit is in hock to big business? Bolivia has the answer.

President Evo Morales is planning his own grassroots conference on “climate change and the rights of Mother Earth” in October. Expect anti-capitalist themes.

Mexican lethargy

Lawmakers are stalling the passage of an energy reform package, key in meeting its Paris commitments.

Heady targets for renewables to provide 35% of Mexico’s electricity needs should have been written into law last year. They might take some time – and damp its wind and solar potential, reports Alex Pashley.

Forest fight

The Asheninka community of Saweto, Peru, have won the title to their ancestral lands after a campaign spanning more than a decade.

Four of their leaders were murdered last year, allegedly by illegal loggers. The men’s widows took the fight to Lima, where the last round of UN climate talks was held.

The government is supporting indigenous land rights as part of a strategy to prevent deforestation, yet another 1,600 communities are still waiting.

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