Weekly wrap: Climate-stressed Rio gears up for Olympics

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(Pic: UN Photos)


Perched between the mountains and the sea, Rio de Janeiro faces most of the climate threats you can think of.

Beach erosion, favela landslides and tropical diseases – not least the zika virus – all feature in its submission to CDP’s city programme.

It is also as ready as it will ever be to host the world’s most iconic sporting event: the Olympics. Just don’t drink the water.

Athletes hope to smash records in the next two weeks, but only in the arena. Some have lent their voices to a campaign to limit global warming to 1.5C, the critical threshold for those on the front line of climate impacts.

Meanwhile, indigenous activists cautiously welcomed the refusal of an environmental permit to an 8GW megadam in the Amazon.

It could signal a shift away from hydropower, long the mainstay of Brazilian energy policy, controversial for its impacts on the rainforest, wildlife and local communities.

Unesco cover-up

Remember how the Australian government lobbied to omit the Great Barrier Reef from a report on world heritage sites threatened by climate change?

Ministers were concerned the publicity would damage tourism. As critics said at the time, it was unfortunate they were less interested in tackling the root cause.

Well, Karl Mathiesen reports, Unesco blocked the release of email correspondence that would reveal the extent of that lobbying.

Unesco chief Irina Bokova was not involved in either decision, a spokesman said. She was the only woman to place in the top half of the first secret security council ballot to chose the next UN secretary general.

Never Trump

It has been a terrible week for US presidential nominee and climate change dismisser Donald Trump. Gaffe after gaffe has made even his staunchest supporters despair.

Ed King spoke to six-term former congressman Bob Inglis about why green conservatives are seeking refuge in the Libertarian Party.

Green leverage

The EU announced €62 million for wind and solar power under its strategic investment programme, with the aim of attracting multiples of private finance.

That’s great, said analysts at E3G, but its continued support for gas and dirty transport projects undermines climate goals.

Quick hits

Science: Artificial leaves turn CO2 and sunshine into fuel
UN: climate-friendly flying could cost $60 billion a year
Atomic shambles: UK nuclear plans need urgent rethink

Read more on: Climate politics