Welcome to the Landscape News bi-weekly digest on landscapes, climate and sustainability. From what’s on your shelves to what’s in the atmosphere, here’s the news to know.
LANDSCAPE NEWS: Paying the price
From artists to entrepreneurs and farmers to policymakers, delegates from across Africa convened at GLF Accra to explore ways to restore the continent’s landscapes.
But wait – who’s paying for it? Learn how green finance works, how it relates to restoration, and all the terminology to know therein. What’s the difference between a green bond and a climate fund? We’ve got you covered.
Luckily, restoration could just as well pay for itself: the benefits of biodiversity amount to as much as one and a half times global GDP.
CLIMATE: The tide is high
Forests are crucial part of the solution – and pristine, intact tropical forests in particular. Those degraded between 2000 and 2013 had a much larger carbon impact than previously thought.
A recent analysis finds that the vast majority of Paris agreement pledges won’t be sufficient to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Only the E.U.’s pledges were deemed sufficient and are – thankfully – nearly on track to be achieved.
Regardless, sea levels are set to keep rising for at least another 300 years, finds another study.
BUSINESS: Winds of change
Both offshore wind energy and carbon capture and storage could soon become major industries, lowering the cost of climate mitigation – but the former would make a far more worthwhile investment.
Global warming is starting to hit the bottom lines of many U.S. firms, which are losing market value during spells of hot weather.
And as plant-based meat takes off in the U.S., meat producers are starting to develop their own.
POLICY: Class act
The U.S. has formally announced its withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, which will take effect in November 2020. Meanwhile, New Zealand has committed to reducing its carbon emissions to zero by 2050.
In Italy, public schools will soon be required to teach climate change and sustainability, though as in many other European countries, climate action risks being thwarted by far-right parties.
Nonetheless, E.U. countries are hoping to stop the European Investment Bank from funding fossil fuels – and new E.U. rules on socially and environmentally responsible investing will likely take effect from 2021.
PEOPLE: Rocking it
Climate activists have won a major victory in London, where a police ban on Extinction Rebellion protests has been struck down by the High Court. Their counterparts in Australia face a similar battle, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison threatens to outlaw their efforts.
Also in Australia, Indigenous communities have welcomed the closure of Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) to climbers. The rock formation, which is sacred to the local Aṉangu people, had been climbed by visitors against their wishes for decades.
Protesters in Indonesia are rallying against a new land-use law that, they argue, could threaten rural land defenders with prosecution and make it easier for private firms to take over lands that belong to communities without formal tenure rights.
FOOD: Fish out of water
Healthier food often has lower environmental impacts, a new study reveals.
One food source that has a relatively high impact is fish, not helped by the fact that discarded fishing gear makes up most of the plastic pollution in the ocean, according to Greenpeace.
That’s partly because the fishing industry is poorly regulated – and better regulation can help depleted fish stocks recover, finds a case study on an Indonesian marine park.