This section serves as a list of brief and important updates related to green transition. Content is collected via open sources, cross-checked and subsequently re-shared here. All content is handpicked by the Green Transition Observatory Team.
At the beginning of March, UN delegates reached a historic agreement on protecting marine biodiversity in international waters. The agreement benefits biodiversity and is an encouraging development as the international community scrambles to tackle the climate emergency, demonstrating the value of multilateral action under the UN. Protecting the ocean is a key element of the global response to climate change. It has long taken the brunt of the impact of human-made global heating, absorbing about one-quarter of all carbon dioxide emissions to date and 90% of the heat generated by greenhouse gas emissions trapped in the Earth’s system.
This has had a substantial influence on ocean and coastal life as well as the lives and livelihoods of coastal inhabitants. These changes include ocean warming, acidification, deoxygenation, and sea level rise. In the interim, governments have firmly entrenched ocean preservation and climate change mitigation within the UNFCCC framework. A number of new Ocean Dialogues were required during the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow in 2021. The UN Climate Change Secretariat released a report after the first Ocean Dialogue last year that emphasized the ocean's critical role in supporting livelihoods, biodiversity, and the climate system.
The research acknowledges that coastal residents continue to be disproportionately impacted by and in the forefront of the fight against climate change. At the same time, seas offer a great capacity to store carbon. Coastal waters are also an ideal place for renewable energy projects, as well as for the preservation and restoration of ecosystems. Governments gathered at the COP27 UN Climate Change Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh last year pledged to take further action by investigating how they might include ocean-based action into their national climate action plans and strategies under the Paris Agreement.
Defra, Forest Research, Scottish Forestry, and the Welsh Government launched on Monday 20 February The Climate Change Hub, which centralizes the most recent resources, information, and guidance on climate change adaptation to support landowners, woodland managers, and forestry practitioners in addressing climate change threats. The expected rate of climate change is unprecedented, resulting in hotter summers and more frequent occurrences of extreme weather conditions like prolonged droughts and excessive rainfall. Now is the time to take action to strengthen the resiliency of forests and woodlands and safeguard the advantages they offer, such as carbon sequestration.
The Climate Change Hub, run by Forest Research, collects and disseminates the most recent knowledge and UKFS (United Kingdom Forestry Standard) recommendations on climate change adaptation to encourage forest and woodland owners and managers to endorse adaptable practices. It offers succinct details regarding the dangers associated with climate change, instructions for choosing appropriate adaptation methods, and illustrations of how other managers are putting adaptive practices into action. Although each woodland has various goals and conditions, there is no one suggested strategy for adjusting to climate change. The Climate Change Hub also offers comprehensive, step-by-step guidance through the decision-making process, as well as details on the online resources available to support risk management and species selection. This information enables managers to make well-informed decisions for their own woodlands.
Forestry Minister Trudy Harrison mentioned: “Trees and tree management are crucial parts of our plan to reach Net Zero by 2050, and resources such as the Climate Change Hub support the forest industry to make better, more informed and ultimately more sustainable decisions when it comes to tree planting and woodland management.”
The World Bank's beleaguered president, David Malpass, said on, Wednesday 15 February, that he would resign by June, or about a year before his tenure ends. Mr. Malpass, who was put forth by President Donald J. Trump in 2019 for a five-year term, has been in charge of an agency that lends billions of dollars annually to underdeveloped nations dealing with health problems, starvation, warfare, and global warming. But in September of last year, he faced criticism for his personal stance on climate change. He resisted when asked if he agreed with the overwhelming body of scientific evidence that the use of fossil fuels was to blame for the increase in global temperatures. He declared, "I'm not a scientist. The discussion, which took place during a live interview at a New York Times event, started a slow-moving PR disaster for Mr. Malpass that culminated on Wednesday when he announced his intention to step down from his position by June 30. Following his resignation announcement to the bank's board of directors and senior personnel, Mr. Malpass, 66, said in a statement, "Having achieved tremendous progress, and after much thinking, I've decided to explore new challenges. Mr. Malpass responded in a text message when asked why he left so early, saying he was "extremely proud of my over four years of hard, successful work here."
Throughout his tenure, Mr. Malpass guided the bank through the world economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus outbreak and Russia's conflict in Ukraine. A fresh sense of urgency will likely be added to the significant changes that the World Bank was already undergoing as a result of Mr. Malpass' departure. Also, it will allow President Biden, who took office with a bold climate policy agenda, to appoint a leader whose term will last until 2028. The bank has been in criticism for years for failing to adequately respond to the needs of nations that have been harmed by increasingly extreme weather made worse by climate change and for using a lending model that places a large debt burden on developing countries. Many of the World Bank's main shareholders, including the United States, France, and Germany, called for change last year as calls for reform at the organization and its sibling, the International Monetary Fund, gained momentum. The possibility of reforming the two organizations became a point of emphasis for the world leaders in attendance at the United Nations climate negotiations in Egypt in November.
One of the most important issues of our time is climate change, and NATO has been actively including specialists, members of civil society, and other groups in discussions about how climate change and security are related. The NATO-Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) Regional Centre in Kuwait conducted the first-ever conversation with experts from allies and partners on new climate issues and how to address them jointly on Monday, January 30. Approximately sixty civilian and military participants from NATO, Allied countries, partner countries, as well as officials from international organizations, attended the hybrid event.
The Head of the NATO Office at the NATO-ICI Regional Centre in Kuwait, Nora-Elise Beck, emphasized in her opening remarks that "climate change is a danger multiplier that effects our security, our infrastructure, our equipment, and the environments in which our soldiers operate. NATO Allies can take advantage of occasions like this one to collaborate with others to address these concerns. Discussions centered on how NATO and its allies, particularly those to the South, might address the new climate change concerns that are arising in the Gulf region and their effects, including on water security. Participants talked on the advantages of sustainable development.
Dr. Alanoud Al Sabah, the acting director of the NATO-ICI Regional Centre, noted that "our region is seeing rising heat, dust, and floods. The immediate effects of climate change are already being felt, particularly in relation to human security but also in terms of logistics, transportation, food security, and water scarcity. In order to create a network of regional stakeholders interested in climate change and security for future collaboration, we at the NATO-ICI Regional Centre value and encourage both regional and NATO efforts to promote awareness. A partnership conference involving NATO and non-NATO nations was founded in 2004 as the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI). Currently, the Initiative is supported by Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. NATO intends to become the leading international organization when it comes to comprehending and adjusting to the impact of climate change on security, as stated in the new Strategic Concept for NATO.
Governments and the international scientific community are seriously considering a UN-led strategy to combat climate change by drastically upgrading the way heat-trapping air pollutants are tracked worldwide, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on 1 February. In the following five years, the WMO effort would establish a network of ground-based measuring stations that can independently confirm alarming air quality data that has been detected by satellites or aircraft.
The UN agency urged "improved (international) collaboration" and data exchange to support the 2015 Paris Agreement, which offers a roadmap for reducing carbon emissions and increasing climate resilience. "At present, there is no comprehensive, timely international exchange of surface and space-based greenhouse gas observations," the agency stated. Dr. Oksana Tarasova, a Senior Scientific Officer at WMO, said "It's not just manmade emissions (that will be monitored), but what the forests are doing, what the oceans are doing." We have no time to waste, thus we need this information to support our mitigations. Dr. Tarasova continued, "The reasons for this increase are still unknown, so one of the functions of this new proposed infrastructure would be to help fill in the gaps which we have in our knowledge regarding the observations and regarding the use of these observations." In 2022, WMO reported the largest-ever observed increase of methane. In order for the planned Global Greenhouse Gas Monitoring plan to be successful, cooperation between countries, international organizations, and the private sector will be crucial, the WMO has emphasized.
Greater coordination between surface-based, aerial, and space-based monitoring networks will be crucial. We will comprehend our changing atmosphere better with more precise and long-term data, according to the UN organization. We will be in a better position to decide and determine whether our efforts are having the desired impact. In support of the establishment of a solitary and globally coordinated atmospheric monitoring body, WMO explained that although some governments and international organizations already conduct specific atmospheric monitoring and maintain datasets, "there is no overall steering mechanism and there is undue reliance on research funding." Although nitrogen and oxygen make up the majority of the Earth's atmosphere, there are numerous other trace gases and particles that have a significant impact on life and the environment. Emissions of greenhouse gases have significantly altered the composition of the atmosphere since industrialization. In particular, WMO has frequently cautioned that rising concentrations of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane are fueling climate change and contributing to global warming. Accurate measurements of the air we breathe are crucial because these and other pollutants are also influencing the air quality for people, agriculture, and ecosystems, according to climate scientists. The UN agency stated that having accurate, trustworthy information about pollution levels and atmospheric deposition levels "also helps us to better understand their impacts on the environment, human health, biodiversity loss, ecosystems, and water quality, and to either mitigate those impacts or put protective measures in place."
Over 150 delegates from the NATO Allies and industry attended the first Industry Symposium on Climate Change and Capabilities that NATO held on Monday, January 23, 2023. The attendees talked about how to build new military capabilities while keeping in mind NATO's goals for security and combating climate change. The use of cutting-edge and environmentally friendly technology in capability requirements, the self-sustainability of forces and infrastructure, and the creation of sustainable fuels for capabilities in the air, land, and maritime domains were some of the topics highlighted.
"The Alliance is working hard to accomplish our objectives on climate change and security," said Wendy Gilmour, Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment. While ensuring that military capabilities are prepared for the future, we must also closely collaborate with business, both in the defense and civilian sectors, to account for the impact of the defense sector on the environment. I find it encouraging that our business partners are interested in discussing these concerns with NATO, and I look forward to our relationship growing. The threat multiplier effect of climate change on NATO operations, missions, and security is acknowledged by allies. In order to develop its Climate Change and Security Agenda, which was approved by NATO leaders in 2021, the Alliance actively engaged experts, members of civil society, and the commercial sector. This was done as part of the NATO 2030 agenda. NATO is including climate change issues into its work on capability building as part of this Agenda. The Secretary General established an annual High-Level Dialogue on Climate Change and Security at the NATO Summit in Madrid in 2022.
Managing the massive sequence of shocks that have rocked the global economy has been a major topic of discussion at the annual World Economic Forum (WEF), which is taking place in Davos, Switzerland, this year. Chief executives and government officials from all over the world are in attendance. Nonetheless, the greatest collective action challenge of our time for leaders is to confront climate change and the demise of our ecosystems. Moreover, the possibility of a transatlantic green trade war casts a large shadow on this. The purchase of electric cars will be eligible for £300 billion in subsidies under Joe Biden's proposed plan, but only if they are mostly made in North America. Some European businesses are moving their factories to the US as a result of the Inflation Reduction Act, which also has an impact on a wide range of other manufacturing and production. Even the producers of fertilizer are scratching their heads and wondering why European authorities aren't enacting regulations along the same lines.
On 17 January, the European Union reacted to American efforts to speed up its energy transition by announcing measures to ease the way for the region's green economy. The EU also announced that it will deploy state aid and a fund to deter businesses from transferring to the US. Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, stated at the annual gathering of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos that the actions will be a part of the EU's Green Deal industrial plan to make Europe a hub for clean technology and innovation.
"To help make this happen, we will put forward a new Net-Zero Industry Act," she said. "The aim will be to focus investment on strategic projects along the entire supply chain. We will especially look at how to simplify and fast-track permitting for new clean tech production sites," she said. "To keep European industry attractive, there is a need to be competitive with the offers and incentives that are currently available outside the EU," von der Leyen added.
According to a "evolution roadmap" seen by Reuters, the World Bank is seeking to significantly increase its lending capacity to address climate change and other global crises and will negotiate with shareholders ahead of April meetings on proposals that include a capital increase and new lending tools. The roadmap document, which was given to shareholder nations, is the first step in a negotiating process to change the mission and financial resources of the bank and move it away from the country- and project-specific lending model it has employed since its founding towards the ending of World War II. According to the document, the World Bank administration hopes to have concrete suggestions to alter the organization's goal, operational structure, and financial capacity ready for consideration by the combined World Bank and International Monetary Fund Development Committee in October.
Since developing countries have been under increasing pressure from inflation, energy and food shortages brought on by Russia's war in Ukraine, slowing growth, increasing debt loads, and growing vulnerability to climate shocks, the reform of multilateral development banks has become a hotly debated issue. The strains exposed the inadequacy of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) systems, which were created at the aftermath of World War II with the goal of concentrating on the reconstruction of peacetime economies, to deal with the current global catastrophes.
In relation to the document, the development lender will investigate options such as a potential new capital increase, adjustments to its capital structure to enable more lending, new financing tools like guarantees for private sector loans, as well as other approaches to mobilize more private capital. The World Bank Group (WBG) has a longstanding AAA credit rating, but some non-profit organizations have urged it to be dropped in order to increase lending. According to the WBG, "Management will explore all options that increase the WBG's capacity while maintaining the AAA rating of the WBG entities."
A year of significant advancements in the climate story comes to a close with what UN Secretary-General António Guterres praised as a "peace pact with nature." The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, as it is officially known, was adopted on December 19th by practically all nations in the world with the exception of the United States. Similarities between the agreement and the Paris Agreement, which has governed climate action since 2015, scream for media inquiry in 2023 and beyond. The Montreal Framework is a significant accomplishment that, like the Paris Agreement, raises troubling issues. The Paris Agreement, which was signed in 2015, dramatically increased the goal of limiting temperature rise to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius and ideally to 1.5 degrees Celsius. By safeguarding 30% of Earth's land and sea area by 2030, the Montreal Framework also promises to "halt and reverse biodiversity loss." The Framework's support for Indigenous peoples' rights, which, according to peer-reviewed science, offer the best protection for biodiversity, is particularly noteworthy, if long overdue.
However, neither the Paris Agreement nor the Montreal Framework provide any guarantees about enforcement or funding, and both agreements are essentially aspirational. Making such goals a reality is the difficult part. For instance, the Montreal Framework proposes for allocating $200 billion annually for environmental preservation through 2030. The richest nations in the world, the same nations that routinely fall short of providing the $100 billion in annual climate aid mandated by the Paris Agreement, are meant to supply that funding. Along with the rest of civil society, the news media has a crucial role to play in this.
The first-ever Climate Change and Security Roundtable was conducted at NATO Headquarters on 15 December 2022. At this gathering, leaders of NATO Allies and eminent climate specialists discussed how climate change could affect security. The most recent developments in climate change and security in the Euro-Atlantic region, the effects of climate change on NATO's operational environments in the future, and best practices from NATO Allies and other international organizations with regard to climate adaptation and mitigation were among the topics covered.
The World Meteorological Organization, the World Bank Group, the UK Met Office, the International Military Council on Climate and Security, the US Department of Defense, the UN Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and of Operational Support, Natural Resources Canada, and the international integrated technology group Rheinmetall were among the speakers at the Climate Change and Security Roundtable. The Roundtable is meant to become a yearly occasion, emphasizing how important it is for NATO and other players to collaborate in order to tackle the challenge of a changing climate. Additionally, it helps NATO achieve its goal of becoming the foremost international body in terms of comprehending and adjusting to the effects of climate change on security.
Nearly 200 nations are meeting in Montreal between the 7 -19 December while leading scientists predict that the Cop15 UN biodiversity summit will decide the "fate of the entire living universe." It is said that the international summit is "vastly more important than COP27," the most recent high-profile UN climate conference. This claim was made in light of the several aspects of anthropogenic global change. The loss of biodiversity is the most pressing, complicated, and difficult issue, according to academics. Many scientists believe that the current rapid extinction of species and natural areas is the beginning of a sixth mass extinction, and it is ruining the ecosystems that provide clean air, water, and food for humans. In order to solve the climate emergency, it is also essential to protect the natural environment, including rainforests.
The COP15 UN summit is considered as an opportunity to achieve for biodiversity what the Paris agreement has achieved for the battle against climate change, raising the stakes significantly. The two areas are linked, and there are worries that failing to achieve a favorable resolution on safeguarding nature will make combating climate change much more difficult.
By 2030, COP15 wants to safeguard 30% of the globe and redirect $500 billion in agriculture subsidies that support environmental damage. The main contributors to biodiversity loss are overharvesting of wild plants and animals on land and at sea, pollution, and the destruction of wild areas for mining and farming. Additionally, the global invasive species dilemma and the climate catastrophe are factors that have been referred to as "the five horsemen of the biodiversity apocalypse" by the UN's environment chief, Inger Andersen. The conference began with a sobering statement from UN Secretary General António Guterres: "Without nature, we are nothing. Our life depends on nature, yet people seem hellbent on destroying it. Humanity has evolved into a weapon of mass extinction, he claimed, with our insatiable thirst for unrestrained and unequal economic expansion. Our chance to put a stop to this orgy of destruction and transition from discord to harmony comes in [Cop15]. Along with the "30x30" target, other proposed COP15 agreement objectives include a 50% decrease in the rate of invasive species introduction, a reduction of at least two-thirds in pesticide use, a halt to the flow of plastic pollution, and a requirement that large corporations disclose their environmental impact.
The Washington Post recently announced a significant increase of its climate coverage, making this a watershed week for climate journalism. Sally Buzbee, the executive editor of the Post, wrote in a statement to readers, "We have nearly tripled the size of our Climate team — totaling more than 30 journalists — part of a newsroom-wide commitment to reporting potentially the largest story of the century." This initiative by the Wahington Post has been applauded by several agencies (e.g., Covering Climate Now) in hopes that other newsrooms will take note of its approach. Since the Post is owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos, not every news outlet has the financial resources that the Post possesses. However, as Buzbee pointed out, every media can acknowledge that climate change is a topic relevant to every journalism beat and warrants daily coverage.
This lesson is particularly important following the COP27 climate meeting. The establishment of a "loss and damage" fund was a historic accomplishment for COP27, but the absence of stronger measures to keep temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels was an unquestionable failure. Journalists must now investigate both themes.
As a recognition that the nations whose emissions have disproportionately contributed to climate change should compensate the nations that are experiencing its most severe effects, the decision to establish a loss and damage fund is a triumph for climate justice. But precisely which nations will contribute? What will they be paying? Journalists should follow any developments on these and other relevant issues as they are negotiated in the months leading up to the next COP. The loss and damage fund was established to aid individuals and communities in recovering from devastating weather catastrophes, and climate reporting should serve as a reminder to audiences of this. But if the world doesn't do much more to keep temperature rise to the 1.5-degree-C goal supported in the 2015 Paris Agreement, the loss and damage fund "will become a money pit," as the Los Angeles Times editorial board noted in a column. However, Fatih Birol, the director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), stated in an interview with the Guardian that this setback categorically does not mean that the international community should lose up on the 1.5 degree C target. In addition to being politically improper, it is factually erroneous, according to Birol. He continued, saying that although the likelihood of 1.5C is decreasing, it is still possible, and cautioned that fossil fuel industries "would be the beneficiaries if the obituary of 1.5C is written."
The IEA came to the conclusion last year that no additional fossil fuel development is possible if the 1.5 degree Celsius target is to be attained. But the reverse is taking place. Numerous "carbon bomb" projects are being planned by oil and gas companies around the world, as the Guardian investigation earlier this year found. New fossil fuel projects in 48 African countries are listed in a new study by the climate campaign group Reclaim Finance, along with the investors supporting them. Journalists and news organizations from throughout the world need to examine these programs closely and hold them accountable. As UN Secretary-General António Guterres stated at the opening of COP27, the world is currently "on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator." By enabling the populace to demand better from leaders before it is too late, diligent and outspoken news coverage of the kind The Washington Post promises can help reverse this trend.
A contentious agreement was achieved on the establishment of a loss and damage fund to compensate developing nations for the catastrophic and irreparable damages brought on by climate change as the UN climate conference COP27 came to a conclusion in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
The breakthrough happened on the final day of the two-week summit, after the US decided to change its position about the establishment of such a fund. The most climate-vulnerable poor nations have been battling for wealthy nations to foot the bill for damage brought on by severe storms, heat waves, and droughts linked to rising temperatures for decades.
Although many diplomats and environmentalists applauded the historic agreement, which is anticipated to be finalized in the upcoming year, the summit's outcome was widely seen as a failure on attempts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, according to the Guardian. UN Secretary-General António Guterres declared that "our planet is still in the emergency room." "We urgently need to cut emissions, and this COP did not address this issue. In terms of climate ambition, the world still needs to make a huge leap."
Justin Worland explores the "ground-breaking shift" that the new loss and damage fund symbolizes for TIME magazine. According to his writing, the agreement marks the beginning of a new era in climate policy, in which compensating developing nations for climate impacts "receives top billing in international climate discussions—and questions of how to pay for it enter the conversation in capitals of developed countries around the world."
The Washington Post: The editorial board of the newspaper sees a "good moral argument" for establishing loss and damage financing, but adds that getting legislative approval from the US and other developed countries for the fund will be difficult, especially given the fact that rich countries have not yet fulfilled their $100 billion commitment to assist poorer countries with climate change adaptation. The board requests that the UN "maintain its principal focus on persuading major countries to meet their present emissions promises and to enhance their ambition."
On the 20th November, the 27th UN Climatic Change Conference (COP 27) came to an end with the historic decision to create a loss and damage fund for weaker nations who have been severely affected by climate calamities. Nonetheless, despite expectations that the high-level summit would establish a more aggressive schedule for shipping to decarbonize, the progress on climate ambition was largely viewed as being insufficient.
The Conference brought together more than 45,000 people in the Egyptian coastal city of Sharm el-Sheikh from November 6 to 20, including more than 100 Heads of State, government representatives, scientists, policymakers, and activists. The purpose of the conference was to discuss the future of climate action globally and across various sectors.
"We have treated some of the symptoms but not cured the patient from its fever." President Von der Lyen stated for the outcomes of COP27. The COP27 has established the framework for a new system of solidarity between those in need and those in a position to assist, as well as opened a new chapter on financing loss and damage. The 1.5C target was preserved but it hasn't followed through on pledges to phase out fossil fuels or new commitments to combat climate change made by the world's major emitters.
Some most important outcomes were firstly that there is still no consensus on how and where the financing should be obtained, also a rise of 1.5C marks the point at which global warming becomes extremely dangerous. However, there has been significant concern that the idea's support would be weakened, particularly because India and China were concerned that it was no longer scientifically possible. Moreover, The provision to promote "low-emissions energy" was included in the final version of Cop27. That could refer to a variety of things, including wind and solar farms, nuclear power plants, and coal-fired power plants with carbon capture and storage systems. It might also be taken to indicate gas, a major fossil fuel while having fewer emissions than coal.
Finally a pledge to gradually reduce the usage of coal was made last year in Glasgow. During the 30 years of climate change conferences, it was the first time a resolution on fossil fuels had been included in the final text. Some nations, led by India, sought to go farther at Cop27 and include a pledge to phase out all fossil fuels. Intense debate continued on that topic far into Saturday night, but it ultimately came to naught, and the resolution included was the same as that in Glasgow.