As disasters wreak havoc all over South Asia, health impacts have increasingly emerged as a major concern for communities and governments in the region. It underscores the need for concerted efforts towards building synergies between the Paris Agreement, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, particularly now, in the post-disaster reconstruction phase, to ensure “building back better” and future disaster prevention.
In the Inner Mongolian county of Horinger, Northwestern China, afforestation efforts have transformed a barren, dusty landscape into a pine forest. Planting trees has diminished the sandstorms, boosted biodiversity and improved the environment generally. As the climate emergency worsens, the potential for planted trees to draw carbon out of the atmosphere is being re-examined. What can the world learn from the Chinese experience with afforestation?
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.
The experience of the Saralbhanga River, which flows from Bhutan to India, shows the power of involving local people in river management.
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.
The EU’s decision to phase out palm oil biodiesel is likely to backfire, with negative repercussions not just on the countries concerned but also on international relations and the climate. The EU should hence invest more heavily in climate diplomacy in order to find a real solution to problems such as deforestation and wildlife loss.
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.
Former UN climate Chief Christiana Figueres, one of the architects of the Paris Agreement, has called on the European Union to step up regulatory action against deforestation in the global south by tackling emissions of imported agricultural goods like beef, soy and palm oil.
France likes to be seen as a leader on climate action, but when it comes to the role of forests, the country’s priorities lie elsewhere.
Acute competition to access valuable resources in forested areas in Myanmar has, amongst other factors, contributed to large-scale deforestation and environmental degradation. This has had disastrous consequences for local communities dependent upon these forests for food, water, fuel, shelter and income.
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.
In May 2011, two weeks before I was scheduled to start research in the region, a Mongol herder named Mergen was hit by a mining truck while protecting his pastureland in Xilingol, Inner Mongolia. He was dragged 140 feet and killed. His death sparked a month of protests.