With cities continuously more threatened by climate change-induced disasters, urban planning’s reflex response is to protect cities against nature. But what if the solution lies in working with nature instead against it? Architect Kongjiang Yu invites readers to imagine what cities could look like if they took into account ancient wisdom on spatial planning.
China’s vision of a global energy system overemphasises the benefits of connectivity. Planners and investors also have to consider the potential impacts on biodiversity and local community livelihoods from different power generation methods and find ways to prevent them.
A new report analyses how the transition to a low-carbon economy – and the minerals and metals required to make that shift – could affect fragility, conflict, and violence dynamics in mineral-rich states.
As the world's biggest polluter, what China decides to do with its energy policy matters to the whole planet. And while progress on the domestic front has rightly won Beijing praise from climate scientists, China is the world's largest funder of coal plants overseas. Is the country employing double standards?
EU and island leaders are calling for more ambition at the International Maritime Organization, while major emerging economies resist a tough cap on emissions. Negotiations over a long-term climate strategy for the global shipping industry are growing fractious as countries battle over the level of ambition.
Representatives from around the world are meeting in Bonn this week to discuss progress towards the goals of the Paris climate agreement. A large part of this challenge involves rapidly scaling up the deployment of renewable energy, while curbing fossil fuel use – but little attention has been paid to the minerals that will be needed to build these technologies.
Climate change is no longer a niche issue, but is now part of broader political and economic agendas. In the U.S., for example, those supporting climate action face a broad alliance of opposition extending beyond climate change across many issues, as well as dysfunctions in the U.S. policy making process. For these reasons, Paul Joffe argues that climate diplomacy requires a strategy that goes beyond climate change to address the full range of these drivers.
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.
Climate change remains a serious threat to mankind despite the moment of hope after the successful conclusion of the COP21 last December with the Paris Agreement. Promises given at COP21 to implement mitigation and adaptation measures are based on non-binding proposals causing doubt about what the signatory countries will really do about reducing their greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions. There are several ways to tackle climate change, and break business-as-usual patterns through new technologies, a global carbon tax and greening the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements.
The Earth’s front-line defenders are disappearing at an astonishing rate. On average three environmental activists were killed each week in 2015, according to a recent report from the United Nations special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. Global Witness, an international NGO that documents natural resource extraction, corruption, and violence, reports a 59 percent increase in deaths last year compared to 2014. In total, 185 killings of environmental defenders were recorded by Global Witness in 2015.
Plastics have boosted our economy because they are versatile, cheap and durable. Yet, thanks to these same traits, in the course of establishing a US$750 billion global industry, we have also created a massive problem. Rivers are filled with plastic garbage. Plastic bottles soil beaches. Masses of plastic are floating in the ocean. Birds become entangled in plastic pieces, and whales’ stomachs fill with plastic debris. Plastics can harm humans, too, by releasing toxic additives.
California has been at the forefront of the modern environmental movement that, in its most iconic form, we associate with hippies and alternative lifestyles. In the following decades, Silicon Valley - the mecca of tech-companies and engine of technological innovation and progress – also became another widely known Californian export. It is thus fitting that the Californian think tank The Breakthrough Institute held its annual Dialogue in Sausalito, CA, - close to Berkeley and Mountain View - bringing together scientists, journalists, activists, and entrepreneurs from across the world to discuss how to overcome societal and technological hurdles for a brighter future for humankind and nature.
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.
"If you think current conflicts are all-consuming, imagine what happens when we add food shortages, water shortages, stronger storms, longer droughts, steady rises in sea-levels, which are already being predicted, and entire countries swallowed by the sea. […] We don’t have to sit here and wait for this to happen. If we accelerate the transition towards clean energy solutions – we have the technology, we have the knowledge.”