Two events in August 2019 underlined the complexity of paving the way to a climate-neutral world: the publishing of the new IPCC report and the Amazon fires. Both events demand that climate diplomats move beyond a narrowed focus on energy in decarbonisation debates.
First, the IPCC landmark report stresses that it will not be possible to keep global warming at safe levels unless there is a transformation in food production and land management, given that agriculture, forestry and other land use account for nearly a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. Among the action areas are the restoration of peat lands and the need for drastic reductions of meat consumption. Secondly, the political disputes between Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro and the EU regarding the Amazon further underline the need for better climate diplomacy, and quite literally looking at what is actually on the plate.
The Amazon forest fires and their (mis)management by the Brazilian government have sparked intense debate about the treatment of the world's largest rainforest. This discussion also reached the negotiation tables of the G7 summit as well as the EU trade negotiations with Mercosur. According to EU's Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service the forest fires already emitted nearly 25 megatons of CO2 by mid-August – in addition to all the other negative impacts on the environment and societies.
In this edition of our newsletter, Adriana Abdenur, Coordinator of the Peace & Security Division at the Igarapé Institute, examines the potential of the EU-Mercosur trade deal for ensuring sustainable trade – and highlights a need to extend the EU’s climate diplomacy tool-box. One of her recommendations is to encourage the EU to decide what it accepts to be on its plates and what it does not. In other words, the EU must reassert its leadership role in paving the way for global decarbonisation.
South Asia’s vulnerability to climate change and associated fragility risks calls for a regional approach to climate services. Different actors need to cooperate to share actionable climate information—the security architecture in the region would benefit.
With cities continuously more threatened by climate change-induced disasters, urban planning’s reflex response is to protect cities against nature. But what if the solution lies in working with nature instead against it? Architect Kongjiang Yu invites readers to imagine what cities could look like if they took into account ancient wisdom on spatial planning.
During the past two weeks, Antigua & Barbuda, Nicaragua and Panama ratified the Escazú Agreement, giving a major boost to the unprecedented and innovative Latin American pact that seeks to reduce social conflicts and protect frontline communities in the world’s deadliest region for environmental defenders.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres outlined priorities for the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 26) during a briefing at UN Headquarters. The briefing was hosted by the UK, which will be assuming the COP 26 presidency in partnership with Italy. COP 26 is scheduled to convene from 9-20 November 2020, in Glasgow, UK.