Record drop in carbon emissions in 2020, bison recovering but another 31 species now extinct, and Earth Photo winners announced
Welcome to this week’s news roundup. As always we’ll be mixing it up - there’ll be some good news stories, some not so good news stories, and maybe some stories you won't have seen elsewhere!
Hope you enjoy!
“The global response to the Covid-19 pandemic has driven the biggest annual fall in CO2 emissions since World War Two, say researchers. Their study indicates that emissions have declined by around 7% this year. France and the UK saw the greatest falls, mainly due to severe shutdowns in response to a second wave of infections. China, by contrast, has seen such a large rebound from coronavirus that overall emissions may grow this year. According to the Global Carbon Project team, this year saw carbon emissions decline by 2.4 billion tonnes.”
“British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will pledge to end direct government support for overseas fossil fuel projects at a U.N. summit on Saturday, aiming to spur similar moves by other countries to help tackle climate change, his office said. Britain, which is co-hosting the virtual summit ahead of climate negotiations in Glasgow next year, has faced accusations of hypocrisy from campaigners for continuing to finance climate-warming oil and natural gas projects abroad. “By taking ambitious and decisive action today, we will create the jobs of the future, drive the recovery from coronavirus and protect our beautiful planet for generations to come,” Johnson said in a statement.”
China lays out steps towards climate targets at UN summit (Financial Times)
“US president-elect Biden tweets that his administration will ‘rally the world’ to tackle crisis. China vowed to nearly triple its wind and solar capacity during the next decade, as President Xi Jinping joined other world leaders at a UN climate summit focused on new emissions targets. Mr Xi’s statement was the most consequential at a virtual summit that included more than 70 heads of state, hosted by Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister, and French president Emmanuel Macron to mark the fifth anniversary of the Paris climate accord.”
The not so good:
“Three frog and one shark species have vanished, and Amazonian dolphin and oak trees are threatened. Europe’s biggest land mammal, the European bison, is beginning to recover in numbers thanks to conservation efforts and breeding programmes, according to an update on threatened species. The IUCN red list of species at risk is the most authoritative assessment of animal and plant species that are vulnerable, threatened or close to extinction. The update showed continued losses of key species in vital ecosystems. Freshwater dolphins are now threatened with extinction all over the world, with harmful fishing practices, pollution, river damming and deliberate killing increasing problems for key species, according to the IUCN.”
“The UN secretary general called for all countries to declare a “climate emergency” until global CO2 emissions reach net zero at a key global summit at which the world’s top emitters held back from making ambitious new commitments. Speaking at the start of a 2020 Climate Ambition Summit, Antonio Guterres said the world was “still not going in the right direction” five years on from the historic Paris Agreement. “CO2 levels are at a record high. Today, we are 1.2C hotter than before the industrial revolution,” he said. “Can anybody still deny that we are in a climate emergency?” Both China and India, the world’s largest and third-largest contributors to global emissions respectively, failed to significantly raise their ambition to tackle the climate crisis at the summit.”
And something a bit different:
“A project on abandoned spaces reclaimed by nature has won the 2020 Earth Photo competition. The winning series, by French photographer Jonathan Jimenez aka 'Jonk', includes images of a coffee shop and theatre in Abkhazia, a hotel in Portugal and a swimming pool in Italy. The work was chosen from more than 2,600 submissions. Pulitzer-Prize-winning photojournalist Marissa Roth, who chairs the competition, said of Jonk's work: "We chose Jonk's compelling photographs as the overall winner because of the high degree of skill and vision they represent, and also because they exemplify Earth Photo by straddling the duality of human co-existence with nature." Forestry England and the Royal Geographical Society selected the winners in six categories from a shortlist of 50 photographs and four films. The competition attempts to showcase the best in environmental visual media and aims to encourage discussion about the world and its inhabitants.”