More pandemics, more often, and spreading more rapidly, warns major new IPBES report

Future pandemics will emerge more often, spread more rapidly, do more damage to the world economy and kill more people than COVID-19 unless there is a transformative change in the global approach to dealing with infectious diseases, warns a major new report on biodiversity and pandemics by 22 leading experts from around the world.

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IMF’s WEO 2020 on climate mitigation: important, impractical, and naive

The fact that the International Monetary Fund recognises the urgency of addressing anthropogenic induced climate change and the importance of reducing carbon emissions from human activity by 2050 must be seen as a welcome step. But the report is impractical and naïve in some respects. The next step needs to go beyond the high level of abstraction that smooths over the diversity of economic, political and climate impacts in local situations.

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Multilateral climate action: assisting emerging economies and developing countries is right and smart

Without assistance, emerging economies and developing countries (EEDCs) will continue to add increasing amounts of greenhouses gases to the atmosphere for decades, preventing the curbing of global warming and adversely impacting all countries. While EEDCs were always going to require substantial assistance from the advanced economies, the need for strong multilateral action has become more urgent.

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Increase in climate-related disasters sees number of severe natural disasters double in 20 years (UNDRR)

A new UNDRR report shows that natural disasters caused by climate-related events have doubled in the past twenty years, affecting billions of people and costing trillions of dollars. The report highlights the need for governments to plan to spend more to deal with the impact and consequences of natural disasters.

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The bathtub is nearly full: Australia’s extraordinary energy plan

The urgent need to reduce carbon emissions can be usefully compared to filling a bathtub without a drain. Until the emissions tap is turned off completely, the bath keeps filling. And even when the tap is turned off, the bath is still filled to an undesirably high level. If the tap is never turned off, or turned off too late, in time the bath overflows disastrously. The Australian government’s extraordinary new fossil-fuel centred energy plan ensures the emissions tap will continue to flow.

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One per cent of humanity displaced: UNHCR Global Trends report

The UNHCR’s Global Trends report brings together important information about the scale and changing nature of forced displacement. The Report describes a reality that solutions for refugees are in decline, at the same time that “we are witnessing a changed reality in that forced displacement nowadays is not only vastly more widespread but is simply no longer a short-term and temporary phenomenon”.

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Earth may temporarily pass dangerous 1.5℃ warming limit by 2024, new WMO report says

The Paris climate agreement seeks to limit global warming to 1.5℃ this century, a target likely to be exceeded by 2024. This first overshoot would be temporary – but it casts new doubt on whether Earth’s climate can be permanently stabilised at 1.5℃ warming. Modelling shows that if emission reductions are large and sustained, the Paris goals can still be met, and the most severe damage to the natural world, economy and people may be avoided. But worryingly, we also have time to make it far worse.

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Scientists and capitalists agree on climate. When will governments act?

A new set of reports highlight the failure of governments to deal with the coming climate disaster. The unsurprising news is that current emissions of both CO2 and CH4 are not on track to limit global warming to the levels which were the goal of the Paris Agreement. None of this is a revelation to anyone following climate issues. However, what continues to amaze is the apparent repeated inability of this alarming information to have an impact on policy makers.

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Science, solidarity and solutions needed on climate change (UN)

Concentrations of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere are at record levels, and emissions that saw a temporary decline due to the pandemic are heading towards pre-COVID levels, while global temperatures continue to hit new highs, according to a major new UN report. UN Secretary-General António Guterres emphasized that there is “no time to delay” if the world is to slow the trend of the devastating impacts of climate change.

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The impact of COVID-19 on critical global food supply chains and food security (SIPRI)

By the end of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic risks doubling the number of people who face acute hunger from around 135 million to around 265 million people. The pandemic may have a more severe impact on the number of hungry than the global food crisis of 2007–2008, potentially constituting a ‘hunger pandemic’.

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Surviving and thriving in the 21st century: the harder reality of humanity’s road to the future

The report ‘Surviving and thriving in the 21st century’ from Australia’s Commission for the Human Future sets out clearly and with insight the major and inter-dependent challenges that will persist beyond the pandemic – including global warming, food insecurity, biodiversity loss, environmental degradation, resource scarcity and wealth inequality. Action is vital, but how to respond seems as elusive as ever.

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