Greenland’s untouched oil, the emissions of the space race, and China’s new carbon market

News to know in our bi-weekly digest

A 2020 launch of a SpaceX rocket in the night sky. Katie Darby, Flickr
23 July 2021
23 July 2021

As deadly floods ravage Western Europe and wildfires burn across North America, the message is clear: not even the world’s richest countries are safe from the climate crisis.

This week on Landscape News, we look at ways to mitigate and adapt to a warming world, including tree planting, carbon markets, sustainable fashion and much more.

LANDSCAPE NEWS

Rural women in Guatemala diversify their incomes by growing and making organic food products. UN Women
Rural women in Guatemala diversify their incomes by growing and making organic food products. UN Women

Many farmers in the Global South grow organic food by default – but is certification always worth the cost?

In the foothills of Mount Kenya, local communities are setting up tree nurseries to bring degraded forests back to health.

And in Brazil, this young eco-feminist is harnessing the power of stories to drive climate action.

CLIMATE

Germany's recent floods, linked to climate change, are the worst in decades. Gerda Arendt, Wikimedia Commons
Germany’s recent floods, linked to climate change, are the worst in decades. Gerda Arendt, Wikimedia Commons

Yakutsk is known as the coldest city on the planet – but it’s now choking on smoke from wildfires caused by a heatwave across Siberia.

Last month’s North American heatwave would have been virtually impossible without the climate crisis, which is also likely to blame for the unprecedented floods in Germany.

Unless we drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, around three-quarters of the world’s population could be at risk of malaria and dengue fever by 2080.

While it may be too late to prevent many of these impacts, here are 15 ways that cities can adapt to climate risks.

PEOPLE

Elon Musk, the world's richest man and SpaceX Chief Engineer, participates in a SpaceX Demonstration Mission 2 launch briefing. NASA HQ Photo
Elon Musk, the world’s richest man and SpaceX Chief Engineer, participates in a SpaceX Demonstration Mission 2 launch briefing. NASA HQ Photo

Almost 80 percent of households in crisis-hit Lebanon cannot afford to eat. One NGO hopes to change that by revitalizing the country’s farming sector.

From Washington state to Oaxaca, Indigenous tribes and local fisherwomen are restoring ecosystems, securing their livelihoods and breaking down systems of oppression.

But as climate disasters multiply, many Pacific Islanders have sought refuge in the continental U.S., only to be caught up in an endless cycle of heatwaves, wildfires and drought.

Meanwhile, billionaires Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are engaging in a new space race that could make matters worse for the climate.

PLANET

A starfish off the west coast of Canada, where temperatures have been hitting record highs, inducing vast kill-off of marine life. Brian Uhreen, Flickr
A starfish off the west coast of Canada, where temperatures have been hitting record highs, inducing vast kill-off of marine life. Brian Uhreen, Flickr

The Amazon rainforest is no longer a carbon sink: it’s now emitting 1 billion tons more carbon than it absorbs each year.

Canada’s west coast is littered with boiled mussels, clams and starfish following a heatwave that might have killed more than a billion marine animals.

A deadly new conflict is brewing in disputed Kashmir. This time, it’s between humans and wildlife.

The Vjosa is one of Europe’s last unaltered rivers, but how long can it hold up against a hydropower boom in the Balkans?

BUSINESS

The 1982-built offshore oil rig in Scotland, equipped for drilling in water depths up to 366 meters. Mustang Joe, Flickr
The 1982-built offshore oil rig in Scotland, equipped for drilling in water depths up to 366 meters. Mustang Joe, Flickr

Fashion brand Lululemon is trialing a new way to cut carbon emissions: turning them into fabric.

Sustainable investments now make up over a third of global assets. However, the G20 countries are still funneling trillions of dollars into fossil fuels.

And despite claiming to support climate action, the oil industry is lobbying hard behind the scenes to weaken legislation. Meet the trade organization that does its dirty work.

POLICY

Though revenue from potential oil reserves could help Greenland achieve independence from Denmark, the current government led by the Inuit Ataqatigiit party says it will forego oil exploration because of the climate crisis. Steve Weston, Flickr
Though revenue from potential oil reserves could help Greenland achieve independence from Denmark, the current government led by the Inuit Ataqatigiit party says it will forego oil exploration because of the climate crisis. Steve Weston, Flickr

China has launched its first-ever carbon trading market. Here’s how it’ll work.

The E.U. has unveiled plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. In the blueprint: an expanded carbon trading scheme, a carbon border tax, and a ban on diesel and gasoline cars by 2035.

The U.K. will slash its foreign aid budget by GBP 4 billion, which could expose millions of people to preventable tropical diseases across the Global South.

Greenland could have more than 17 billion barrels of oil lying undiscovered – but as the climate crisis deepens, it won’t be searching for them after all.


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