Nature and Biodiversity

G7 agrees to phase out use of unabated coal power plants, and other nature and climate stories you need to read this week

Published · Updated
A coal power plant.

Top nature and climate news: G7 agrees to phase out use of unabated coal power plants by 2035 and more. Image: Unsplash/Andreas Felske

Meg Jones
Writer, Forum Agenda
  • This weekly round-up contains key nature and climate news from the past week.
  • Top nature and climate stories: G7 agrees to phase out use of unabated coal power plants by 2035; Landmark conservation study; World's estuaries at risk.

1. G7 agrees to phase out use of unabated coal power plants by 2035

Energy and climate ministers from the G7 group have agreed to phase out the use of coal power where the emissions have not been captured by 2035.

“It is a very strong signal from industrialized countries. It is a big signal to the world to reduce coal,” Italian minister and meeting chair, Gilberto Pichetto Fratin told The Guardian.

By referring to the unabated use of coal, the pledge leaves room for countries to keep burning coal to generate electricity, but only if power plants are fitted with carbon-capture technology to stop emissions.

This historic agreement was published just days after the US Environmental Protection Agency outlined a new directive that will require US coal-fired power plants to capture emissions or shut down.

Electricity production from coal 1985-2022.
Electricity production from coal in the G7 countries. Image: Our World in Data

2. Global conservation efforts are saving species and protecting biodiversity

Conservation measures are effective in halting the rapid loss of global diversity, a major international study has found.

Covering over a century of conservation action, the research team conducted the first-ever meta-analysis of 186 studies to compare the impact of global conservation interventions to what would have happened without them.

Conservation actions improved the state of biodiversity or slowed its decline in 66% of cases, compared with no action taken at all.

The positive impact of conservation action concluded that scaling conservation interventions up will be transformational in reversing biodiversity loss and reducing the effects of climate change. "Our results clearly show that there is room for hope", said study co-author and University of Oxford Associate Professor Joseph Bull.


What is the World Economic Forum doing on natural climate solutions?

3. News in brief: Other top nature and climate stories this week

Often described as the "nurseries of the sea", the world's estuaries are disappearing fast. Almost half of today's estuaries have been directly altered by humans, a new study finds.

Meanwhile, negotiations made slow but steady progress in the latest round of UN talks for a Global Plastics Treaty, in Ottawa, Canada. Delegates agreed on an advanced draft text of the legally binding instrument and on intersessional work to catalyse convergence on key issues. The final and fifth session of negotiations will take place in November this year in Busan, the Republic of Korea.

Scientists from the University of California San Diego, La Jolla. have developed a "self-digesting plastic" that could help reduce pollution. Self-eating bacteria spores are placed within the plastic, remaining dormant until exposed to nutrients in compost.

Recognized for her role in a group that won a landmark legal case in Queensland to block a major coalmine, Murrawah Maroochy Johnson, an Indigenous Wirdi woman and Traditional Owner from the Birri Gubba Nation, is one of seven winners of the 2024 Goldman Environmental Prize for climate activism.

A fossil fuel tax on companies in the wealthiest nations could raise $720 billion by the end of the decade and support a just climate transition, finds the latest Climate Damages Tax report.

Globally, marine heat waves have spread across nearly 30% of the planet’s oceans, a surface area equivalent to all of North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Multiple studies have found that increasingly frequent pulses of extreme heat are doing the most damage to marine ecosystems.

An international team of scientists has concluded that the recent drought in the Panama Canal was driven not by global warming, but by below-normal rainfall linked to El Niño.

Indonesia's Ruang volcano erupted on 30 April, prompting authorities to evacuate more than 12,000 people. The Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation has issued a potential tsunami warning as volcanic material is collapsing into the ocean.

4. More on the nature and climate crisis on Agenda

The climate crisis could expose 2.4 billion workers to health hazards like cancer, cardiovascular illness, kidney dysfunction and physical injury, finds new ILO report. Discover more about how the climate crisis will impact the global health landscape over the next 20 years.

Cambodian mangroves are home to more than 700 wildlife species. A comprehensive study shows just how vast ecosystems are, showcasing the urgent need to protect these sanctuaries and the rich biodiversity they house. Find out more.

Severe rainstorms and floods swamped the Gulf countries in April, with damage thought to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars to homes and businesses. Learn more about why investing in climate mitigation is becoming an urgent need for countries across the globe.

1. G7 agrees to phase out use of unabated coal power plants by 20352. Global conservation efforts are saving species and protecting biodiversity3. News in brief: Other top nature and climate stories this week4. More on the nature and climate crisis on Agenda

About Us



Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum