- This weekly round-up contains key nature and climate news from the past week.
- Top nature and climate stories: Most people on the planet exposed to global warming this summer; African leaders call for global taxes at continent's first climate summit; Singapore seeks solutions to protect it from sea-level rise.
1. The first report card for climate action
This long-awaited technical report from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) reviews progress made since the ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015 after a two-year evaluation of thousands of submissions from experts and leaders. The stocktake is designed to spur action, Vox has explained, and is blunt in its assessment that more is needed "on all fronts", as well as its recommendations for steps such as the “phasing out all unabated fossil fuels” and a “radical decarbonization" of the economy. With COP28 this December, the document will shape discussions at the conference and potentially help clarify how much more countries must do for true action.
2. Almost everyone exposed to global warming in hottest summer on record
Higher temperatures due to climate change affected almost everyone across the globe, from June to August, a report has found.
Summer in the Northern Hemisphere broke world records – with the three-month period from June until the end of August the hottest ever.
But even those in the Southern Hemisphere were affected, according to a study of 180 countries by US research group Climate Central, which found 98% of the global population were exposed to higher temperatures made at least twice more likely by carbon dioxide pollution.
"Virtually no one on Earth escaped the influence of global warming during the past three months," said Andrew Pershing, Climate Central's vice-president for science.
Data released on 6 September from the European Union Climate Change Service showed the average temperature over those months was 16.8°C, which is 0.66°C above the average.
To see a larger version of the graphic, click on the image below.
June, July and August were individually the hottest of those months ever recorded, with July the hottest month on record globally.
Copernicus deputy head Samantha Burgess said: "The scientific evidence is overwhelming, we will continue to see more climate records and more intense and frequent extreme weather events impacting society and ecosystems, until we stop emitting greenhouse gases."
Meanwhile, at the Reuters IMPACT conference in London, the UN's Global Heat Officer, Eleni Myrivili, called for world leaders to make firm commitments at COP28 in November to stop global warming.
It comes as the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) found climate change is impacting air quality. WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said the two must be tackled together to break the "vicious cycle".
"Heatwaves worsen air quality, with knock-on effects on human health, ecosystems, agriculture and indeed our daily lives."
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.
3. African leaders call for global taxes to fund climate action
The inaugural African Climate Summit ended on 6 September with a call from African leaders for new global taxes and reforms to international financial institutions, to generate funds for climate change action.
This proposal was outlined in the Nairobi Declaration, which was the result of the three-day summit held in Kenya and will form the basis of the countries' negotiating position at November's COP28 summit.
The event focused on discussions including how to secure financing for adapting to extreme weather, conserving natural resources and developing renewable energy.
Africa is severely impacted by the climate crisis, but it currently only receives about 12% of the nearly $300 billion annual financing it requires.
A joint report from the UN and African Union warned on 4 September that the continent is warming faster rate than the rest of the globe. Africa experiences more severe climate and weather disasters such as droughts, which could cause conflict over limited resources.
The Nairobi Declaration emphasizes the need for major polluters and global financial institutions to contribute more resources and facilitate affordable borrowing for poorer nations.
It also suggests the establishment of a global carbon taxation regime and a global financial transaction tax to generate substantial financing for climate-related investments.
At the start of the summit, hundreds of millions of dollars were pledged for African carbon credits.
4. News in brief: Other top nature and climate stories this week
Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon fell around 60% last month to its lowest level for the month since 2018,reports Reuters.
Developing countries have put forward a proposal for a new UN fund that aims to generate at least $100 billion by 2030 to address the irreversible damage caused by climate change. This proposal comes ahead of discussions at the UN COP28 climate summit, where countries will negotiate the details of the "loss and damage" fund.
Singapore has inaugurated a research centre aimed at combatting the escalating issue of rising sea levels. The Coastal Protection and Flood Resilience Institute seeks to gather expertise and innovation to safeguard the country's low-lying land from the potential risk of inundation caused by climate change.
The country is also set to expand its ocean carbon dioxide removal project in response to scientists' calls for more research in this area. The pilot project, implemented by Singapore's national water agency, PUB, utilizes emerging technologies to enhance the ocean's capacity to absorb CO2 emissions.
A study from the European Central Bank has found speeding up the transition to a greener economy would not only be more cost-effective but also benefit eurozone companies, households and banks.
Invasive species are costing the global economy a staggering $423 billion annually, according to a UN report, with the cost of damage wrought quadrupling every decade since 1970. Invasive species have been responsible for 60% of recorded plant and animal extinctions and are predicted to worsen as a result of the climate crisis.
The UN also warned that the practice of sand dredging is causing irreversible damage to the ocean floor, resulting in the sterilization of marine life. Each year, approximately 6 billion tonnes of marine sand is extracted, making it the second most exploited natural resource in the world after water.
G20 countries' per capita CO2 emissions from coal have increased by 7% since 2015, according to recent research.
5. More on the nature and climate crisis on Agenda
In the run-up to COP28, there's a lot of talk about the phrase nature-positive. But what does it mean? And how can business leaders communicate how they're contributing to it? Taking accountability, avoiding greenwashing and speaking to your critics are just some of the ways communicators can ensure their company's impact is understood.
As president of the G20, India, the world’s most populous country, has the chance to bring the international community closer together in accelerating climate action. Strong public-private collaboration will be critical to supporting these efforts, write the World Economic Forum's President, Børge Brende, Anish Shah, Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Mahindra Group, and Sumant Sinha, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, ReNew Power.
The Inflation Reduction Act has spurred sweeping plans for producing clean-energy technology in the US following its passage last year. The legislation is set to help the country make marked progress on its climate goals, but its promise lies in sparking bolder climate action in other places, writes the Forum's John Letzing.