• 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: Call for urgent action on biodiversity; IEA calls for major renewables investment boost; Biden Administration planning new procurement rules to include climate risk.

1. Environment stories from around the world

Research by the Global CCS Institute think tank has shown that carbon capture and storage projects have grown by 50% over the last 9 months.

France is set to ban plastic packaging for nearly all fruit and vegetables from January next year, in a bid to reduce plastic waste.

The European Union is set to seek a ban of its own - on tapping new oil, coal and gas deposits in the Arctic.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that the country will aim to be carbon neutral no later than 2060.

In Indonesia, a new government report has shown the investment needed to reach its own net-zero carbon emission goals by 2060 or sooner: $150- $200 billion per year in low-carbon programmes over the next nine years.

The Asian Development Bank has also announced a boost to investment, with a $20 billion boost to its climate financing goals for the 2019-2030 period. It raises the target to $100 billion.

The Biden Administration has begun a process to require the US government - the world's largest buyer of goods and services - to factor the risks of climate change into its contracts.

2. Countries call for urgent action on biodiversity

More than 100 countries pledged this week to put the protection of habitats at the heart of their government decision-making. However, they stopped short of committing to specific targets to prevent mass extinction.

Chinese Environment Minister Huang Runqiu told delegates to a U.N. Biodiversity Conference in the city of Kunming that the declaration they adopted was a document of political will not a binding international agreement.

The Kunming Declaration calls for "urgent and integrated action" to reflect biodiversity considerations in all sectors of the global economy but crucial issues - like funding conservation in poorer countries and committing to biodiversity-friendly supply chains - have been left to discuss later.

What's the World Economic Forum doing about the transition to clean energy?

Moving to clean energy is key to combating climate change, yet in the past five years, the energy transition has stagnated.

Energy consumption and production contribute to two-thirds of global emissions, and 81% of the global energy system is still based on fossil fuels, the same percentage as 30 years ago. Plus, improvements in the energy intensity of the global economy (the amount of energy used per unit of economic activity) are slowing. In 2018 energy intensity improved by 1.2%, the slowest rate since 2010.

Effective policies, private-sector action and public-private cooperation are needed to create a more inclusive, sustainable, affordable and secure global energy system.

Benchmarking progress is essential to a successful transition. The World Economic Forum’s Energy Transition Index, which ranks 115 economies on how well they balance energy security and access with environmental sustainability and affordability, shows that the biggest challenge facing energy transition is the lack of readiness among the world’s largest emitters, including US, China, India and Russia. The 10 countries that score the highest in terms of readiness account for only 2.6% of global annual emissions.

To future-proof the global energy system, the Forum’s Shaping the Future of Energy and Materials Platform is working on initiatives including, Systemic Efficiency, Innovation and Clean Energy and the Global Battery Alliance to encourage and enable innovative energy investments, technologies and solutions.

Additionally, the Mission Possible Platform (MPP) is working to assemble public and private partners to further the industry transition to set heavy industry and mobility sectors on the pathway towards net-zero emissions. MPP is an initiative created by the World Economic Forum and the Energy Transitions Commission.

Is your organisation interested in working with the World Economic Forum? Find out more here.

3. Massive increase in renewable investment needed - IEA

Investment in renewable energy needs to triple by the end of the decade, if the world hopes to effectively fight climate change and keep energy markets under control, the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday.

"The world is not investing enough to meet its future energy needs... transition‐related spending is gradually picking up, but remains far short of what is required to meet rising demand for energy services in a sustainable way," the IEA said.

The message came as the organization released its annual World Energy Outlook. "Clear signals and direction from policy-makers are essential. If the road ahead is paved only with good intentions, then it will be a bumpy ride indeed," the IEA warned.

Estimated market sizes for selected clean energy technologies by technology and region, 2020-2050
Estimated market sizes for selected clean energy technologies by technology and region, 2020-2050.
Image: IEA