2019 has only just begun, but it is already hard to imagine that there will be other extreme weather events with disastrous consequences such as cyclone Idai happening again this year. In all likelihood, such events will continue to occur as 2019 rolls on. Idai is, once more, proof of how devastating and toxic the mix of climate change, extreme weather events and poverty can be: Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe – countries that rank low in human development but contribute very little to global greenhouse gas emissions – suffer from some of the worst impacts of climate change.
With the UN climate summit in New York at the end of September 2019 coming closer, the question of whether all countries are fully aware of the need for more immediate and additional efforts still remains. While at the very least some attention is being paid to this urgency (such as the ‘Fridays for Future’ movement), there are other risks which warrant more attention to prevent future humanitarian crises.
Thanks to the UN Environment Frontiers series, there is now a fresh and timely look on new scientific insights into the trends and challenges which may cause potential environmental and climate-related risks that we may otherwise neglect today. Among these risks (and sometimes promises) are, for example, gene-editing techniques which are advancing rapidly, the impacts of further degradation of climate-critical permafrost peatlands, and the risks of maladaptation to climate change. All these risks require policymakers to engage proactively and foresightedly to develop sustainable, long-term policy and governance planning for future generations.
To that end, the interactive ECC platform has been providing the most recent and sound information for more than 15 years. Part of these efforts has been the touring exhibition "Environment, Conflict and Cooperation", which has been displayed more than 50 times throughout since 2005in five different languages! The updated and expanded online version of the exhibition is now available online, and we hope that you will use it as actively as the other sections of the platform.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous parallels have been drawn between this health crisis and the climate crisis. Science plays an important role in advising decision makers on how to ensure sustainable crisis management and a precautionary approach to avoid harmful repercussions, particularly where we do not yet know all the consequences of our actions. [...]
Decarbonisation won’t come as fast as the pandemic. But if fossil fuel exporters are not prepared for it, they will face an enduring crisis. The EU can help.
Stories of clear skies and wildlife conquering urban areas might provide much needed comfort during these uncertain times as the health crisis unfolds. But in Brazil, where climate and environmental issues already lack attention and resources, the pandemic underscores the next crisis.
Solutions to the current COVID-19 crisis need to be aligned to those of the climate crisis for a global transformation towards more sustainability, resilience, equity, and justice. Climate diplomacy has the tools to achieve these objectives simultaneously.