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7 Environment & Development Stories To Watch In 2019

7 Environment & Development Stories To Watch In 2019


Revealed on January 14th, 2019 |
by World Assets Institute

January 14th, 2019 by World Assets Institute 

Initially revealed on World Assets Institute weblog.
By  Sarah Parsons

100 years in the past, 1919 was a very huge yr: Nations signed the Treaty of Versailles to finish World Struggle I, Mahatma Gandhi started his nonviolent resistance towards British rule, the Grand Canyon turned a nationwide park. And on a lighter word, pop-up toasters entered kitchens for the primary time!

A century later, 2019 exhibits indicators of being one other massive yr—and a precarious one, as WRI President and CEO Andrew Steer defined on the Institute’s annual Stories to Watch presentation on January 9 in Washington.

The next seven tales are those to observe this yr with regards to the way forward for the setting and worldwide improvement:

1. Will geopolitics stymie worldwide local weather motion?

Political shakeups in a number of main nations make the way forward for worldwide local weather motion unsure. Brazil’s authorities swung far proper in 2018 with the election of President Jair Bolsonaro, whereas Mexico moved left with new President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Looking forward to 2019, voters in India and Indonesia will forged ballots whereas China faces the problem of an financial slowdown.

International emissions rose in 2017 and 2018, after a three-year plateau.

Two key moments will present how these modifications will have an effect on worldwide local weather motion: on the UN local weather summit in September, will nationwide leaders point out they may step up with formidable local weather commitments? Will they improve funding for the Inexperienced Local weather Fund, which invests in low-emission and climate-resilient improvement, throughout its replenishment interval in October? And can companies outpace governments on daring local weather motion?

2. Will local weather adaptation rise on the worldwide agenda?

The impacts of local weather change have by no means been clearer or extra threatening. The variety of excessive climate-related disasters, like droughts and floods, has doubled because the 1990s. Greater than 150 million extra individuals are uncovered to heat-related well being dangers immediately than in 2000.

<p>The number of extreme climate-related disasters like droughts and floods has doubled since the 1990s. Photo by NPS Climate Change/Flickr</p> The variety of excessive climate-related disasters like droughts and floods has doubled because the 1990s. Photograph by NPS Local weather Change/Flickr

But there’s a scarcity of management, metrics and finance to assist individuals adapt to the outcomes of a altering local weather. “Adaptation has been the poor sister of mitigation,” Steer stated.

That would change this yr. The World Financial institution introduced that half of its local weather investments will now go towards adaptation. A brand new International Fee on Adaptation, led by Kristalina Georgieva, Ban Ki-moon and Invoice Gates, was launched in October 2018 and goals to boost the profile of adaptation and speed up motion all over the world. The Fee, convened by 17 nations, will launch a flagship analysis report in September together with a number of motion tracks to deal with particular adaptation challenges.

three. Will “fast fashion” decelerate?

Shoppers are shopping for 60 % extra garments at this time than they did in 2000, and one rubbish truck of discarded clothes is burned or despatched to a landfill each second of day-after-day. The social and environmental impacts of “fast fashion” are inconceivable to disregard. For instance: One cotton t-shirt requires 2,700 liters (greater than 700 gallons) of water to supply, an quantity that would offer consuming water for the typical individual for two-and-a-half years.

There are very early indicators of an business starting to deal with these challenges, with appreciable progress in clothes reuse and rental corporations like Lease the Runway and The RealReal. Producers are experimenting with extra sustainable materials like lab-grown leather-based and fruit-based fibers. Will these new enterprise fashions be an enduring development or a passing fad?

Later this yr, the Sustainable Attire Coalition will launch a reporting platform the place corporations can share info on their sustainability. The coalition goals to ultimately present efficiency scores for manufacturers, merchandise and factories. Additionally this yr, the Science-Based mostly Targets initiative will launch steerage for attire and footwear, which may also help corporations set emissions-reduction targets according to the newest local weather science.

four. Will commodity corporations comply with by means of on their commitments to curb deforestation?

Regardless of commitments from almost 500 multinational corporations to scale back deforestation in provide chains by 2020, 2017 noticed the second-highest quantity of tree cowl loss since 2001, after 2016. (2018 numbers gained’t be out there till later this yr.) Commodities like timber, soy, palm oil and beef are largely accountable. “We are in a crisis situation, and it’s also a human problem,” Steer stated. “More than 200 environmental defenders lost their lives last year.”

Will corporations that set 2020 targets persevere? And can extra governments interact and help these efforts?

Watch for an anti-deforestation roadmap from the European Fee; whether or not Indonesia continues to sluggish its deforestation; and whether or not President Bolsonaro opens the Amazon to commodity improvement. Search for public-private collaboration [AF1] on the Tropical Forest Alliance Meeting in Might and whether or not rising consideration to biodiversity provides strain.

5. Will the Belt and Street Initiative help inexperienced progress?

China’s Belt and Street Initiative is a serious international improvement endeavor, involving the development of roads, ports and different infrastructure in additional than 100 nations. But whereas Chinese language leaders advocate “eco-environment protection” in all elements of the Belt and Street, analysis exhibits that a lot of the initiative’s power investments at present favor fossil fuels over renewable power.

This yr can be key for evaluating whether or not China is critical about making the mammoth enterprise extra environmentally sustainable. A serious 2019 discussion board is an effective second for crafting sustainability tips for the initiative’s tasks. Different indicators of progress shall be whether or not China ramps up renewable power investments overseas, because it has already achieved domestically, and whether or not nations’ local weather plans start informing Belt and Street investments.

 6. Micromobility: A fad, or the longer term?

Shared bikes and scooters are taking off in cities all over the world. Working example: Fowl, an electrical scooter rental firm, is the quickest startup ever to succeed in “unicorn status,” a $1 billion valuation.

But this shared micromobility revolution has a draw back: Some bikes and scooters are low high quality, resulting in breakdowns and waste, whereas others pile up on sidewalks, crowding out pedestrians. There are additionally security considerations.

So will shared scooters and bikes be a fad or a fixture in city landscapes?

<p>Shared scooters in Moscow, Russia. Photo by MaxPixel</p> Shared scooters in Moscow, Russia. Photograph by MaxPixel

Selections made this yr might assist guarantee it’s the latter. Ford, Uber, Lyft and Basic Motors are already getting into the micromobility area. Will different corporations be a part of? Watch how cities regulate shared bikes and scooters, together with relating to permits, pricing and security. The forthcoming New City Mobility Alliance (NUMO) will help present steerage. The large query is whether or not city leaders and planners will focus extra on designing streets to favor individuals and micromobility over automobiles.

7. Is U.S. local weather motion at a turning level?

The Trump administration has tried to roll again greater than 70 environmental safeguards, and counting. However U.S. local weather motion isn’t lifeless. In reality, states, cities and companies are pushing ahead, increasing renewable power targets and carbon pricing.

The 2018 midterm elections ushered in a brand new batch of local weather leaders, together with 10 new governors with clear power plans and extra members of Congress who help local weather motion. The Inexperienced New Deal is injecting extra enthusiasm into the local weather debate than has been seen in recent times.

Watch for brand spanking new carbon pricing initiatives, further states becoming a member of the 29 that have already got clear power plans, and approaches by states and companies to deal with emissions from transportation, the nation’s largest-emitting sector. Will Congress help carbon pricing, launch a brand new infrastructure deal, or present extra funding for clear applied sciences? And what stance will 2020 presidential hopefuls tackle local weather?

“Unlike the last presidential election, when climate change was basically nowhere, will we see it being pretty central?” Steer requested. “This time we believe that’s very likely indeed.”

For extra info, watch the recording of WRI’s Stories to Watch 2019 occasion. 


Tags: Amazon, Belt and Street Initiative, local weather motion, local weather adaptation, deforestation, quick style, geopolitics, international agenda, Micromobility, the Tropical Forest Alliance Meeting, U.S. local weather motion

Concerning the Writer

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