The world’s largest carbon capture facility opens amid calls to postpone COP 26

News to know in our bi-weekly digest

Iceland now contains the world’s largest direct air capture carbon removal plant. Yuan, Flickr
10 September 2021
10 September 2021

At least 30 percent of the world’s tree species are facing extinction – and more than 140 species have already been wiped out.

In this Landscape News bi-weekly digest, we’ll discover some key ways to protect our remaining trees and forests. Plus, carbon capture, leaded gasoline, the largest-ever wildlife bridge and much more.

LANDSCAPE NEWS

Crossing the Amazon River in Brazil. Isaac Quesada, Unsplash
Crossing the Amazon River in Brazil. Isaac Quesada, Unsplash

Save the date: from 21–23 September, we’ll be hosting the GLF Amazonia Digital Conference to explore ways to preserve and restore the world’s largest tropical rainforest.

In the meantime, get briefed on why the Amazon is on the verge of a tipping point, what that means for farmers and traditional peoples, and what we can do about it.

Latin America and the Caribbean, which hold more than a quarter of the world’s forests, are aiming to protect and restore 50 million hectares by 2050.

In Africa, experts are pondering how to better tackle hunger and protect wildlife against poachers and extractive industries.

A new coalition aims to make our global food systems more sustainable and resilient, especially to future pandemics.

AMAZON

Inside a palm oil plantation in Pará, Brazil. Miguel Pinheiro, CIFOR
Inside a palm oil plantation in Pará, Brazil. Miguel Pinheiro, CIFOR

Two years ago, seven South American countries signed a pact to protect the Amazon. They haven’t made much progress since.

Less than half of the Amazon rainforest is currently protected. Indigenous groups want to raise that figure to 80 percent.

This is in part why some 6,000 people have gathered in Brasília, as Brazil’s Supreme Court gears up for a seismic decision to recognize – or deny – Indigenous land claims.

Almost a third of Brazil’s gold production could be illegal and driving deforestation in the Amazon. It’s mostly being sold to rich countries like Canada, the U.K. and Switzerland.

CLIMATE

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has hit record levels. Chris LeBoutillier, Unsplash
The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has hit record levels. Chris LeBoutillier, Unsplash

Greenhouse gas levels are now the highest they’ve been in at least 800,000 years.

The Middle East was a lush savanna 400,000 years ago that may have helped humans migrate out of Africa, but now extreme heat is making it uninhabitable.

Climate disasters are occurring four to five times more often than in the 1970s – and causing seven times more damage.

From heat deaths to skin cancer and from heart disease to mental illnesses, the climate crisis is taking a mounting toll on human health.

PLANET

The ghaf tree is the national tree of the United Arab Emirates and can survive extreme drought. Jin Ring, Unsplash
The ghaf tree is the national tree of the United Arab Emirates and can survive extreme drought. Jin Ring, Unsplash

Dubai planted a million trees in the desert – and then, just a decade later, left them all to die. What went wrong?

Nearly 30 percent of assessed species are at risk of extinction. That includes Komodo dragonsavocados, vanilla, and 37 percent of shark and ray species.

North Atlantic right whales, too, could be wiped out by the climate crisis, which is driving them into the paths of ships and fishing gear.

The world’s largest wildlife bridge is in the making. Its mission: to save California’s heavily inbred mountain lions.

PEOPLE

Medellín, Colombia. Reg Natarajan, Flickr
Medellín, Colombia. Reg Natarajan, Flickr

Air pollution is a bigger killer than smoking, car accidents or HIV/AIDS. In India, it’s reducing life expectancy by up to nine years.

That said, just 1 percent of global development aid is used to address air pollution – less than the amount spent on fossil fuel projects.

Environmental activists are calling for the COP26 climate conference to be postponed, with many in the Global South unable to attend due to vaccine inequity and travel restrictions.

Medellín was once one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Today, it wants to reinvent itself as Latin America’s first ‘eco-city’.

BUSINESS

Aviation is a more difficult industry to decarbonize. Kevin Woblick, Unsplash
Aviation is a more difficult industry to decarbonize. Kevin Woblick, Unsplash

How much does a transatlantic flight cost? In terms of climate impacts, around USD 3,000. Here are six reasons why.

Humanity has finally stopped using leaded gasoline, with Algeria using the world’s last stockpile.

The world’s largest carbon capture plant has launched in Iceland. It will remove up to 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the air each year and store it underground.

Climate denialism is no longer working for the fossil fuel industry. Now, it’s accusing climate advocates of hypocrisy instead.


Leave a Reply