Science

UN nature pact nears its ‘Copenhagen or Paris’ moment

Cop15 biodiversity negotiations in Montreal next month will determine how the world halts and reverses nature loss

In numbers: The state of the climate ahead of Cop27

Emissions are still rising, pledges to 2030 put the world on track for 2.5C of warming but fossil fuel demand is nearing its peak

Odd couple bungle nature talks – Climate Weekly

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World leaders not invited to attend critical UN biodiversity summit

Tense relations between the Chinese presidency and host nation Canada put a “Paris Agreement for nature” further out of reach

Researchers push to make polluters put carbon back in the ground

A team from Oxford University is trying to persuade governments to impose carbon capture and storage requirements on fossil fuel producers

Five burning climate issues for the 2022 UN general assembly

Pakistan’s catastrophic flooding and soaring energy bills are shaping the UN agenda – for those leaders who show up

African leaders blast European no-shows at climate adaptation summit

Presidents of Senegal, DRC and Ghana travelled to Rotterdam to talk about adapting to climate change. Only one European leader was there to meet them

Seen from space: Extreme drought dries up rivers across the globe

In China, Lake Poyang is just a quarter of its normal size, while in Germany, the Rhine is running at 45% of its average levels for August

Pakistan struggles to rebuild after deadly flash floods

At least 550 people died as the wettest month in three decades washed away mud houses in rural Balochistan – and international aid is not forthcoming

Between a wolf and its food: as one deep sea miner flops, others eye the prize

The Metals Company is running out of money, but the regulator is still fast-tracking rules to mine the ocean while other prospectors wait in the wings

Climate Science

Adaptation

UN targets early warning systems for all in five years

Building the capacity to alert everyone in time to prepare for droughts, storms and flooding can prevent damage and save lives, at an estimated cost of $1.5 billion

Mapping vulnerability: why the IPCC’s geography of climate risk is contentious

The UN’s climate science panel labelled 3.3-3.6bn people as highly vulnerable to climate disaster – but the definition is disputed

Scientists warn seawalls can make rising waters worse in the long run

Green buffers like mangroves are generally better for protecting coastal communities than concrete defences, although they are not always an option

Under attack: the Ukrainian climate scientist fighting for survival

Svitlana Krakovska had to withdraw from the approval session of the IPCC report as bombs hit Kyiv. She fears for the future of climate science in Ukraine

Revealed: How rich and at-risk nations fought over science of climate impacts

Adaptation finance, nature-based solutions and solar geoengineering were among the contentious topics that sent IPCC talks into overtime

Germany must bring African nations into its G7 ‘climate club’

The new German government must prioritise the climate crisis in its Africa policy, and make climate diplomacy with Africa a core component of its G7 presidency

African nations settled for ‘moral pact’ with US on adaptation finance at Cop26

With the US refusing to budge on the text of the Glasgow agreement, African nations reluctantly accepted a promise of stronger voluntary support

Support for vulnerable nations could ‘make or break’ Cop26 talks

As ministers arrive in Glasgow to broker a political deal, a lack of aid for those on the front lines of climate impacts is a sore point

Adaptation

Antarctic

Dying oceans rising faster than predicted, UN warns in stark report

Accelerating melting in Antarctica coupled with heating and acidification will push world’s oceans into ‘unprecedented’ condition, the UN science panel said

Polar sea ice hits record new low

Northern spring thaw begins with sea ice at a record low. Nasa scientists say the world has lost an expanse of ice larger than Mexico since 1981

Global sea ice at lowest area ever recorded

Scientists mystified by a sudden fall in sea ice around Antarctica, but said there was no evidence it was related to global warming

Antarctic ice shelf collapse pits fishing against science

British scientists want a fishing moratorium while they study newly open waters, but Russia stands in their way

Elephant seals enlisted in Antarctic sea ice study

Marine mammals have been fitted with monitoring devices to gather data in inaccessible parts of the South Pole

The puzzle of Antarctica’s long-term ice loss

Satellite data records reveal that the worrying loss of hundreds of square kilometres of ice along West Antarctica’s coastline has been occurring for decades

Top insurer urges US to stop subsidising climate-risk homes

National scheme encourages irresponsible housebuilding on regions exposed to flooding and storms, warns Lloyds

Antarctic glacier melt could add 3 metres to sea levels – study

A huge glacier in the frozen wastes of East Antarctica, a region previously thought stable, could melt much faster than expected, scientists say.

Antarctic

Arctic

Norway eyes expansion of oil and gas industry under policy proposal

The government wants to hand out more exploration licences – ignoring modelling that shows fossil fuel expansion must end now to meet global climate goals

How the shipping industry can halve climate-warming black carbon in the Arctic

Switching to cleaner shipping fuel would prevent Arctic warming and deliver an easy win for the climate

Russia resists tougher climate targets in dash for Arctic gas

Russia has no plans to end its contribution to climate change before the end of the century and is aggressively expanding Arctic gas production for the Asian market

Loopholes in Arctic heavy fuel oil ban defer action to the end of the decade

In concessions to Russia, the International Maritime Organisation has watered down draft rules to protect the Arctic from oil spills and black carbon pollution

‘Nature doesn’t trust us any more’: Arctic heatwave stokes permafrost thaw

Record permafrost temperatures are transforming the Arctic, especially for indigenous peoples, whose hunting livelihoods are at risk as ground melts

Greenpeace takes Arctic oil lawsuit to Norway’s supreme court

After losing at two lower courts, campaigners are taking the fight to ban new oil exploration licences to the top, where it will be heard by all 19 justices

Climate Home News launches front line climate justice reporting programme

We want your story ideas about how communities – especially women, youth and indigenous peoples – are building resilience to climate change

Coronavirus side effect – Climate Weekly

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Arctic

Corals

Maldives greenlights destructive dredging to build housing and luxury resorts

The president is approving a $147 million land reclamation project on Addu atoll, despite warnings of “irreversible damage” to the environment

Women and youth are leading Kenya’s coral reef revival

A programme to restore Kenya’s damaged coral reefs is creating jobs and boosting the fish catch in economically vulnerable communities

Mauritius oil spill compensation could be limited by maritime law technicality

Experts warn payouts for an oil spill that has devastated Mauritius’ fishing and tourism industries may not match the scale of the damage

Next UN climate science report to consider lessons from coronavirus

UN climate science reports due in 2021 will examine the links between pandemics and human pressures on the natural world to guide policymakers

Australian emissions rise as LNG production soars

Emissions from gas extraction cause carbon pollution to continue to rise, while agency issues warning about health of Great Barrier Reef

Chile’s ‘Blue Cop’ will push leaders to protect oceans to heal climate

Hosts of UN climate talks push ocean health up political agenda in year when IPCC scientists will deliver major report on climate link

EU: Breaching 1.5C would trigger cascade of negative effects

Confidential comments on a draft UN report show the EU calling for scientists to discount scenarios where temperatures temporarily overshoot the Paris goal

Ecosystems across Australia are collapsing under climate change

The Great Barrier Reef has become a notorious victim of climate change. But it is not the only Australian ecosystem on the brink of collapse

Corals

Glaciers

Fatal Himalayan glacial lake outburst highlights destabilising effect of warming

More than 200 people are dead or missing after floods gushed through mountain gorges in Uttarakhand, India, in a disaster linked to climate change

Green Climate Fund talks ‘hijacked’ by India-Pakistan conflict

After objections by the Indian representative, the Green Climate Fund has kept on hold a project to reduce the risk of glacial lake outburst floods in northern Pakistan

Rapid glacier melt threatens Bolivia water supplies, homes

Area of the Bolivian Andes covered by ice has shrunk 43% in a generation, study finds, with alarming implications

Human-caused warming postpones next ice age by 50,000 years

NEWS: Scientists forecast long delay to return of glaciers as carbon emissions screw the Earth’s climate systems

Greenland ice melt speeds up sea level rise

NEWS: Scientists have found evidence suggesting that melting icecap water from the interior of Greenland is adding to sea level rise faster than previously realised

Glacier melt hits record levels, report Zurich-based monitors

NEWS: Scientists say many glaciers are melting faster than ever − and many will continue to do so even if climate change can be stabilised

Too few scientists track loss of Himalayan glaciers

NEWS: Millions rely on meltwater from Asia’s water towers, but lack of expertise and manpower hampers the study of climate impacts

Alaska glaciers melting faster as planet overheats

NEWS: Climate change rather than natural causes is the main driver of state’s glacier loss, which is set to speed up, US scientists say

Glaciers

Research

A rush to mine the deep ocean has environmentalists worried

Tiny Nauru is behind a push to fast-track talks on mining rules for the deep seabed, which could see fragile habitats opened to exploitation as early as 2023

Cop26 must urgently get specific on carbon removal in net-zero pathways

The last IPCC report overlooked the technical, financial, and political limitations of carbon removal techniques and risks informing poor policy choices

Study suggests China’s crackdown on illegal CFC gases is working

Levels of the banned CFC-11 in the atmosphere have fallen over east Asia after the Chinese government cracked down on illegal producers in the foam industry

On the ticket – Climate Weekly

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Coronavirus pandemic threatens climate monitoring, WMO warns

Data for weather forecasts and climate monitoring provided by in-flight sensors and manual observations have decreased significantly since the Covid-19 outbreak

Coronavirus: in Hawaii’s air, scientists seek signs of economic shock on CO2 levels

Ralph Keeling estimates that global fossil fuel use would have to decline by 10% for a full year to clearly impact CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere

Carbon taxes are key to stop deforestation

In Colombia and Costa Rica, where governments have imposed carbon taxes, deforestation rates are down, while revenues to fund forest restoration efforts are up

Kerala shows how floods are changing

Across the world, cities and communities are underprepared for the new flooding regime that climate change is ushering in

Research

Nature

It’s time to put Indigenous Peoples first at the UN biodiversity talks

As talks on a global deal to protect nature begin in Nairobi, Kenya, countries need to create a new conservation designation for Indigenous Peoples’ land

Russia, China oppose ‘human rights’ in nature talks, amid slow progress to a deal

The draft biodiversity agreement references indigenous peoples’ rights but a proposal to streamline the text could strip more specific language from the targets

Amazon indigenous community restores giant freshwater fish and thrives

Through control of their territory, the Deni people sustainably manage stocks of pirarucu, boosting their numbers 425% in 11 years

WWF-UK ends sale of NFTs after backlash, angering the crypto community

The conservation charity cancelled its “tokens for nature” experiment within 48 hours, offering refunds to dismayed buyers

WWF-UK faces backlash over plan to sell NFTs to fund conservation work

On Twitter, WWF donors threatened to cancel their subscriptions, accusing the nature charity of greenwashing Ethereum and Bitcoin

‘Nature-based solutions’ prove divisive at Glasgow climate talks

While advocates want to link the climate and biodiversity agendas, critics say nature should not be commodified and human rights safeguards are needed

Xi Jinping announces biodiversity fund to help developing nations protect nature

The Chinese president called on other donor countries to contribute to the $230 million fund for biodiversity at Kunming talks

Conservationists set out ‘nature positive’ vision for global biodiversity deal

The IUCN Congress has come up with a blueprint for a “transformative” deal to protect plants and wildlife, which members hope governments will embrace in Kunming

Nature

Water

German minister backs Middle East ‘peace through water’ plan

The proposals aim to harness solar power to bring drinking water to Palestinian territories but Israel’s support is needed

Drought-hit town hopes Chile’s new leader will take back water from Big Avocado

Leftist Gabriel Boric won a landslide to become Chile’s president and backs reform to improve water rights and access for communities like Petorca

Afghanistan at risk of hunger amid drought and Taliban takeover

As the Taliban seizes control of Afghanistan, experts warn severe drought could worsen the humanitarian crisis triggered by an exodus of western forces

Fatal floods expose gaps in Germany’s disaster preparedness

While heavy rain was forecast, infrastructure was overwhelmed and many residents did not get the message about the dangers

Chileans look to new constitution to return water to communities

Rural communities hope the drafting of a new constitution will dismantle water privatisation in Chile and recognise the right to access water

Ocean fire exposes weak regulation of Mexico’s oil and gas sector

After ‘eye of fire’ footage goes viral, Pemex denies its ruptured gas pipe caused environmental damage and campaigners demand an investigation

An outbreak of ‘sea snot’ is killing Turkey’s fishing industry

Fishing in the Marmara Sea has become impossible as marine mucilage blankets the water, blamed on rising sea temperatures and pollution

Lost to sea: The Ivory Coast villagers saving their ancestors from rising waves

As rising sea levels slowly engulf the ancestral graves of a fishing community in Ivory Coast, residents are moving their relatives before their bodies are lost forever

Water

IPCC

As 1.5C overshoot looms, a high-level commission will ask: what next?

Fifteen former leaders and ministers are set to address sensitive questions on the role of CO2 removal and geoengineering in climate action

War in Ukraine is triggering a food crisis – and climate change has more in store

Governments must fund humanitarian relief and prioritise cropland for feeding people, not livestock or cars, to guard against future shocks

Leading scientists pitch for annual IPCC reports to keep climate on the agenda

Corinne Le Quéré is among a group of authors proposing the IPCC publish updates on key climate indicators every year amid an “explosion” of scientific literature

Global hub launched to help countries slash methane emissions

Chilean ex-minister Marcelo Mena will lead the hub, urging governments to tackle methane from fossil fuel, waste and farming sectors in updated national plans

Saudi Arabia dilutes fossil fuel phase out language with techno fixes in IPCC report

The Kingdom pushed for a stronger emphasis on carbon capture and storage as a climate solution that keeps the oil industry alive longer

Five takeaways from the IPCC’s report on limiting dangerous global heating

The world is on track to overshoot 1.5C warming. Leaving fossil fuels in the ground, changing lifestyles and removing CO2 from the air are needed to fix the climate

IPCC report spotlights mental health impacts of climate change

Mental health risks are predicted to increase as temperatures continue to rise and people experience more extreme weather events, the report warns

High-risk geoengineering technologies won’t reverse climate breakdown

Techno fixes like carbon dioxide removal and solar radiation management are no substitute for exiting coal, oil and gas – whatever polluters would like you to think

IPCC