European peatlands could turn from carbon sinks to sources as a quarter have reached levels of dryness unsurpassed in a record stretching back 2,000 years, according to a new study. This trend of “widespread” and “substantial” drying corresponds to recent climate change, both natural and human-caused, but may also be exacerbated by the peatlands being used for agriculture and fuel.
Right-wing populist parties are already part of the governments of seven EU member states and are expected to make up a quarter of MEPs after the European elections in May 2019. In this episode host Martin Wall talks to the authors of an explorative study on the the voices and the weight of right-wing populist parties in the formulation of European climate policy.
Originally planned as a demonstration against fuel tax hikes, the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) revolts have sparked national and global debates. Some view the demonstrations as part of a rising anti-climate movement, while others draw parallels between the protests and demands for more climate action.
French environment minister Nicolas Hulot has resigned live on national radio in a surprise move that will come as a blow to president Emmanuel Macron’s green credentials. Nicolas Hulot had not made the French president aware of his decision to quit, he told radio presenters, adding his time in office had been an ‘accumulation of disappointments’.
The idea of a “new middle” or “third way”—a blend of neo-liberal economic doctrines and social policies that was supposed to overcome the dichotomy between mixed economy and free market paradigms—more or less dominated U.S. and European politics for the last two decades. But today, this centrist consensus has been upended by a wave of populist, nationalist parties. Many have won over their electorates by questioning the benefits of free trade and globalization (as well as the international institutions that espouse them), while pursuing expansionary domestic economic policies.
High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini hosted on 22 June 2018 an unprecedented high level event - Climate, Peace and Security: The Time for Action - which drove home both the urgency and importance of tackling the risks that climate change poses to security and peace. Ministers from around the world, top United Nations officials, and leading experts testified to the many real and potential security threats deriving from climate change.
Achieving Zero Hunger in Europe and Central Asia requires supporting smallholders and family farmers to reduce poverty and, in the face of climate change, managing natural resources in a sustainable way, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said on 16 May 2018.
Starting in 2014, the number of migrants from Central America’s Northern Triangle surged. Experts blame the region’s widespread criminal violence for spurring migration. But the Northern Triangle countries also share similar ecology, staple crops, and vulnerability to climate events. While environmental and natural resource factors are just part of the complex picture, understanding how they intersect with other migration drivers is key to creating and implementing effective policy responses.
EU climate diplomacy is picking up momentum in 2018, focussing on the security implications of climate change. A number of pertinent steps serve to address the climate-security nexus as well as make advocacy efforts more systematic. The flurry of activities includes Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions, the preparation of a parliamentary report on climate diplomacy, and a high-level debate at the initiative of foreign affairs chief Mogherini.
The exhibition “Environment, Conflict and Cooperation”, realized by adelphi and supported by the German Federal Foreign Office, was recently displayed in El Salvador in cooperation with the Central American Commission for Environment and Development (CCAD) as part of the Climate Diplomacy initiative. The exhibition illustrates the dramatic and growing impact of global environmental changes. It was discussed among experts and visitors, continuing to support a broader dialogue on sustainability in Latin America.
Climate finance is supposed to fund projects in developing countries that support the path towards limiting global warming to 1,5°C – a goal that was confirmed in the Paris Agreement in December 2015. For this it needs a paradigm shift to low-emission and climate-resilient development as the statute of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) states. At the same time, projects funded under climate finance should not hamper development or lead to the violation of human rights. Climate finance can therefore not only focus on the environmental aspects of the investments funded, but also needs to be incorporated into the wider context of development, as i.a. the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are reflecting.
Food is inexorably linked to many areas of policy – from climate change to sustainable development to conflict to migration. The EU has become a major player in ensuring global food security, both through its engagement in sustainable development and humanitarian assistance programmes. Daniele Fattibene argues that it should therefore develop its food diplomacy under the aegis of the European External Action Service (EEAS) and its security policy.
After a change at the top, the U.S. stance on the environment is poised to take a drastic step back. In Europe, less liberal leaders are gaining momentum. Populist movements mushrooming all over the continent preach isolationism and reject hard facts as a pivot of the political agenda. Author Lou Del Bello argues that under this new, shifting political landscape, the climate movement needs to reconnect with the grassroots.
Intensive international cooperation is a key prerequisite for successful and ambitious global climate action. Russia, one of the world’s top 5 greenhouse gas emitters and the second largest producer of crude oil and natural gas, has long been regarded as one of the major veto players in international climate politics. Nevertheless, during the last decade climate awareness among Russian policymakers and other relevant stakeholders has increased dramatically. This is illustrated by the fact that the updated Strategy of National Security of the Russian Federation refers to climate change as a threat to national and public security. The Paris Agreement gave the Russian climate policy a new strong impetus.
One of the last biodiversity hotspots in Europe was also backdrop to one of its last violent conflicts and now home to its newest nation states. The Prokletije/Bjeshket e Nemuna Mountains, often referred to as the Southern Alps, are a large expanse of wilderness and stunning alpine landscapes that form the border between Montenegro, Albania, and Kosovo.