• This weekly round-up brings you some of the key environment stories from the past seven days, to help keep you up to date.
  • Top stories: Europe sees hottest summer ever; US President Biden calls climate change an 'existential threat'; four tuna species show signs of recovery - but more work is needed.

1. Environment stories from around the world

Environment officials and campaigners called this week for a global moratorium on deep-sea mining and on issuing new exploration contracts unless marine ecosystems can be protected.

The death toll in Lousiana from Hurricane Ida rose to 26 on Wednesday, after 11 additional deaths were reported in New Orleans.

New York has set a goal for all new passenger cars and light-duty trucks to be zero-emission models by 2035.

The world's largest plant that sucks carbon dioxide directly from the air and deposits it underground started operations in Iceland this week.

What’s the World Economic Forum doing about climate change?

Climate change poses an urgent threat demanding decisive action. Communities around the world are already experiencing increased climate impacts, from droughts to floods to rising seas. The World Economic Forum's Global Risks Report continues to rank these environmental threats at the top of the list.

To limit global temperature rise to well below 2°C and as close as possible to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, it is essential that businesses, policy-makers, and civil society advance comprehensive near- and long-term climate actions in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The World Economic Forum's Climate Initiative supports the scaling and acceleration of global climate action through public and private-sector collaboration. The Initiative works across several workstreams to develop and implement inclusive and ambitious solutions.

This includes the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders, a global network of business leaders from various industries developing cost-effective solutions to transitioning to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy. CEOs use their position and influence with policy-makers and corporate partners to accelerate the transition and realize the economic benefits of delivering a safer climate.

Contact us to get involved.

A coalition of more than 1,500 environmental groups called for COP26 to be delayed as the COVID-19 pandemic will make access unequal.

Australia's resources minister said on Monday that coal will remain a major contributor to its economy well beyond 2030, given the growth in global demand. It came a day after a United Nations special envoy had called on the country to phase out the fossil fuel.

The Biden Administration released a report on Wednesday showing that the United States can get 40% of its electricity from solar energy by 2025 - a significant jump.

Four commercially-fished tuna species are showing signs of recovery, according to an updated list of threatened species. But experts warned that lots of work is still needed.

La Niña weather conditions could develop in the coming months with a 70-80% chance those conditions will persist through the Northern Hemisphere winter, a US government weather forecaster said on Thursday.

The La Niña pattern is characterized by unusually low temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, potentially causing drought in the southern United States and heavy rains and flooding in the Pacific Northwest and Canada.

2. 2021 was Europe's warmest summer on record

Data from the EU's Copernicus Climate Change Service has shown that June-August 2021 was the hottest summer period on record in Europe.

Average surface temperatures were close to 1.0C higher than the 1991-2020 average. The previous warmest summers - in 2010 and 2018 - were just 0.1C cooler than 2021.

Copernicus said in a statement that, globally, August 2021 was, together with August 2017, the third-warmest on record at a little over 0.3C warmer than the 1991-2020 average.

Surface air temperature anomaly for August 2021 relative to the August average for the period 1991-2020. Data source: ERA5
Surface air temperature anomaly for August 2021 relative to the August average for 1991-2020.
Image: Copernicus Climate Change Service/ECMWF.

3. President Biden calls climate change an 'existential threat'

US President Joe Biden toured the sites of deadly floods in the country's Northeast on Tuesday and emphasized the risk climate change poses.

He said that the floods and Hurricane Ida show the impact of climate change and he pressed for investments to boost infrastructure and fight climate change.

"Climate change poses an existential threat to our lives, to our economy, and the threat is here. It's not going to get any better," Biden said after touring neighborhoods in New Jersey and New York City's Queens borough that were hurt by the storm. "We can stop it from getting worse."

"Folks, we got to listen to the scientists and the economists and the national security experts. They all tell us this is code red. The nation and the world are in peril. That's not hyperbole. That is a fact," he said.