Top climate change and environment stories: COP27 is under way; UN chief António Guterres warns delegates it's 'cooperate or perish'; Past eight years have been the warmest on record; and more. Image: Unsplash/ Li-An Lim
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- This weekly round-up brings you key climate change stories from the past seven days.
- Top climate change and environment stories: COP27 is under way; UN chief António Guterres warns delegates it's 'cooperate or perish'; Past eight years have been the warmest on record; WTO chief says tackle trade barriers for low-carbon transition; Finalists for Prince William's Earthshot Prize announced.
1. News in brief: Top COP27 and climate change stories to read this week
Delegates from nearly 200 countries kicked off COP27 on 6 November with an agreement to discuss compensating poor nations for mounting damage linked to global warming, placing the controversial topic on the agenda for the first time since climate talks began decades ago.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres told countries gathered at the start of the COP27 summit in Egypt on 7 November they face a stark choice: work together now to cut emissions or condemn future generations to climate catastrophe. "Humanity has a choice: cooperate or perish,” Guterres told delegates. “We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator.”
It comes as the provisional 2022 State Of The Global Climate report, released by the UN World Meteorological Organization on 6 November, showed that the last eight years have been "the warmest on record, fuelled by ever-rising greenhouse gas concentrations".
Current international finance flowing to developing countries is between 5 and 10 times below what is needed, according to the UN Environment Programme's Adaptation Gap Report 2022. In 2020, just $29 billion from donor nations was set aside for helping poorer countries adapt to climate change – far below the $340 billion per year that could be needed by 2030.
The price of carbon needs to average at least $75 a ton globally by the end of the decade for global climate goals to succeed, the head of the International Monetary Fund told Reuters. Speaking on the sidelines of COP27, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said the pace of change in the real economy is still "way too slow".
Australia will launch a bid with Pacific nations to host the UN climate summit in 2026, its energy minister says, as the new Labour government seeks to position the country as a renewable energy powerhouse on the global stage. The government also reinstated the role of the Ambassador for Climate Change.
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South Africa needs about $84 billion over the next five years for its plans to cut carbon emissions, harness economic opportunities from the energy transition and support affected communities, its president says.
Germany will struggle to meet key climate targets under its current trajectory on cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, a climate expert council that advises the government says. Germany aims to become carbon-neutral by 2045 and cut 65% of emissions by 2030 compared with 1990.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak praised King Charles for his far-sighted leadership on tackling climate change as the monarch hosted a reception on 4 November for more than 200 politicians and business leaders, including US Climate Envoy John Kerry, ahead of COP27.
Canada will introduce refundable tax credits for clean technologies worth up to 30% of investment costs, in a bid to close competitive gaps with the United States in scaling up green technologies.
2. WTO chief calls for attack on trade barriers to low-carbon transition
The World Trade Organization (WTO) should tackle trade barriers for low-carbon industries among other measures aimed at addressing the role of global trade in driving climate change, Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said in a report published on Monday.
The WTO's World Trade Report 2022, launched at the COP27 climate summit in Egypt, says advancing low-carbon technologies is the most realistic way to make deep emissions cuts without reducing living standards in richer countries and harming development prospects in poorer ones.
"The WTO has an opportunity to use the present moment to strengthen its role as a forum for coordination on trade and climate change, to address trade policy barriers holding back the dissemination and use of low-carbon technologies, and to support structural changes needed to decarbonize the global economy," she said in the report's foreword. "I hope we will make the most of this opportunity."
3. Prince William unveils finalists for Earthshot environmental prize
Britain's Prince William has unveiled the finalists for his Earthshot Prize, which awards £1 million ($1.12 million) each to five winners developing solutions to major environmental problems.
The 15 finalists across five categories range from a Kenyan start-up that makes cleaner-burning stoves to a city-wide recycling initiative in Amsterdam. The prize received more than 1,000 nominations.
"They are directing their time, energy, and talent towards bold solutions with the power to not only solve our planet's greatest environmental challenges, but to create healthier, more prosperous, and more sustainable communities for generations to come," William said of the finalists.
William – who became heir to the British throne after Queen Elizabeth died in September – set up the prize in 2020, named in reference to former US President John F Kennedy's ambitious "moonshot" project and his goal for the 1969 moon landings.
4. More on climate change and COP27 on Agenda
Countries at the frontline of climate impacts are demanding increased support to help them become more resilient. Dr Mahmoud Mohieldin, Jennifer Morris and Marisa Drew share their insights on what must move forward for climate finance and adaptation, especially when it comes to the role of the private sector.
This round-up of 5 reasons to be hopeful about the COP27 climate summit and beyond looks at how both investment in renewable energy production and the use of science and technology to provide more sustainable solutions are growing rapidly.
The World Economic Forum's Meet The Leader podcast features the world’s top changemakers. As COP27 gets under way, here are 6 books recommended by climate leaders such as Jane Goodall, Al Gore and more.
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The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.
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