• 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: World's coral faces 'existential crisis'; EU to back five-year climate targets at COP26; Trio of scientists win Physics Nobel Prize for climate work.

1. Environment stories from around the world

The world's coral reefs are facing an "existential crisis", scientists said in a report on Tuesday, as sea surface temperatures rise. The Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network showed that 14% of the world's coral was already lost between 2009 and 2018.

The fossil fuel industry benefits from subsidies of $11 million every minute, a new analysis by the International Monetary Fund has found.

Indonesian officials and researchers are working to preserve a small pocket of forest on the heavily populated island of Java as the habitat of the Javan gibbon, which they say is endangered by climate change and human encroachment.

Turkey's parliament ratified the Paris climate agreement on Wednesday, making it the last G20 country to do so, after holding off for years due to what it saw as injustices in its responsibilities as part of the agreement.

It came as the European Union agreed to back five-year climate targets at the COP26 climate change conference, where countries will attempt to finalize the rules needed to put the Paris Agreement into effect.

While the Russian government has drafted a new decarbonization strategy that sets a 2060 net zero emissions target and provides for more aggressive measures to tackle emissions than previously, the Kommersant newspaper reported on Wednesday.

energy, mining, metals, blockchain

What is the World Economic Forum doing to help companies reduce carbon emissions?

Corporate leaders from the mining, metals and manufacturing industries are changing their approach to integrating climate considerations into complex supply chains.

The Forum’s Mining and Metals Blockchain Initiative, created to accelerate an industry solution for supply chain visibility and environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) requirements, has released a unique proof of concept to trace emissions across the value chain using distributed ledger technology.

Developed in collaboration with industry experts, it not only tests the technological feasibility of the solution, but also explores the complexities of the supply chain dynamics and sets requirements for future data utilization.

In doing so, the proof of concept responds to demands from stakeholders to create “mine-to-market” visibility and accountability.

The World Economic Forum’s Mining and Metals community is a high-level group of peers dedicated to ensuring the long-term sustainability of their industry and society. Read more about their work, and how to join, via our Impact Story.

Getting the finance industry to think longer-term is critical to addressing the climate crisis, Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nnations Environment Programme, said on Tuesday. She called for COP26 to harmonize rules for the world's carbon markets and set a price for carbon emissions that took their full environmental impact into account.

It came after Pope Francis and other religious leaders made a joint appeal on Monday for COP26 to offer concrete solutions to save the planet from "an unprecedented ecological crisis".

Global water resource management is "fragmented and inadequate" and countries should urgently adopt reforms to ramp up financing and boost cooperation on emergency warning systems ahead of a looming crisis, the UN weather agency said on Tuesday.

Carbon emissions rebound
How carbon emissions rebounded after COVID-19 lockdowns last year.
Image: Statista

2. Climate change set to worsen resource degradation and conflict - report

A vicious cycle linking the depletion of natural resources and violent conflict might have gone past the point of no return in some parts of the world - with climate change likely to make the situation worse.

That's the conclusion of a new report released by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) think-tank. Food insecurity, lack of water and the impact of natural disasters, combined with high population growth, are stoking conflict and displacing people in vulnerable areas, the IEP said.

"With tensions already escalating, it can only be expected that climate change will have an amplifying effect on many of these issues," the report said, with 30 'hotspot' countries, home to 1.26 billion people, identified.

3. Physics Nobel prize won for work on climate change

The Nobel Prize for Physics was won this week by a trio of scientists for their work in building knowledge and understanding of our changing climate.

Syukuro Manabe and Klaus Hasselmann won for work done modelling Earth's climate and reliably predicting global warming. Giorgio Parisi was recognised for his work in the 1980s discovering the 'hidden rules' of seemingly random movements and swirls in gases or liquirds.

Climate change is a 'huge threat' to humanity and it is very important for governments to take action as quickly as possible, Parisi told reporters on Tuesday. "I am very pleased to have this Nobel because it is a recognition of all the field I have been working in."