Meatless meat, the next oil glut and a big win for Extinction Rebellion

News to know in our bi-weekly digest

The UNFCCC Climate Change conference, known as COP 25, will be held in Madrid. Michael Hirst, Flickr
11 November 2019
Ming Chun Tang
11 November 2019
Ming Chun Tang

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.

An aerial view of the Amazon Rainforest. Neil Palmer, CIAT
An aerial view of the Amazon Rainforest. Neil Palmer, CIAT

CLIMATE: The tide is high

On the back of the world’s hottest October ever, a group of 11,000 scientists have called for drastic measures to tackle the climate crisis.

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.

Off of England’s southern coast, the Thanet Offshore Wind Farm generates enough electricity for more than 200,000 households annually. Vattenfall Nederland, Flickr

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.

Major oil and gas companies will need to substantially reduce their output to meet global climate targets. Unfortunately, the opposite looks more likely to happen.

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.

Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern. NATO
Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern. NATO

POLICY: Class act

After weeks of anti-government demonstrations, Chile has pulled out of hosting this year’s U.N. COP 25 climate change conference, which will instead take place in the Spanish capital Madrid.

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.

The Northern Territory's sandstone monolith known as Uluru is sacred to Indigenous Australians. Joanna Penn, Flickr
The Northern Territory’s sandstone monolith known as Uluru is sacred to Indigenous Australians. Joanna Penn, Flickr

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.

Local fishers in East Timor. David Mills, WorldFish
Local fishers in East Timor. David Mills, WorldFish

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.


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