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The latest climate change news from WWF

The Cerrado savanna in Brazil. © WWF Brazil

GLAND, Switzerland (16 August 2019) - Latin America has a unique opportunity to provide climate solutions to tackle the four great system transformations needed to keep the temperature rise below 1.5°C: land and ecosystem conservation, industry, energy and cities and  infrastructure. This will be highlighted at the second UNFCCC Regional Climate Week, taking place in Salvador, Brazil from 19 - 23 August.  

 

The meeting will enjoy participation by governments and other actors including NGOs, the private sector, local communities and Indigenous Peoples.  The outcomes of the event will be captured in a report of recommendations from the Latin American region and shared with Heads of State attending the UN Secretary General's Climate Action Summit, taking place in New York on 23 September. 

 

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF's global climate and energy practice said: "The governments of Latin America will need help to realise their potential and commit to ambitious climate action. This meeting should reflect on the vast mitigation and adaptation potential the region has to offer, where Governments are ready to lead, and how international support on  finance and technology could be mobilised to raise ambition further.

 

"Already, the impacts from climate change are being felt in every part of the region. So, not only must we increase our collective adaptation efforts, but we must also learn from the experiences of others with a view to taking immediate and exponential climate action.''

 

At the meeting, WWF will launch a new briefing document, The Case for Ambition: Practical lessons for enhancing NDCs in Latin America," highlighting practical case studies from the region.

 

The case studies present learnings from Peru, Colombia, México, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Costa Rica on the implementation of their climate commitments (or Nationally Determined Contributions, NDCs). WWF believes that such experiences can inspire other countries to take domestic action to tackle challenges that are common to countries in the region:

In Peru, Indigenous Peoples are contributing to the reduction of deforestation in the Amazon through an innovative finance mechanism and the establishment of a local strategy to enhance the government's climate commitment in the land use sector.
  • In Colombia, civil society organisations are providing technical support to government to expand and strengthen the management of protected areas.
  • In Mexico and Argentina, local coalitions comprising academic, business and local governments are working to promote climate actions under the banner of the global Alliances for Climate Action initiative.
  • In Brazil, the focus is on an initiative by civil society, environmental organisations and research centres to get companies to adopt and implement effective policies and commitments to eliminate conversion of native vegetation for crop and livestock production in the Cerrado savanna.
  • In Chile, scaling up electromobility in public transportation is a collective effort between government, business and institutions from the transport sector.
  • In Costa Rica, the pioneering commitment to a zero-carbon economy has led the country to be one of the first in the world to enhance electricity production, relying only on  renewable energy.
Fernanda Carvalho, Global Policy Manager of WWF's Climate & Energy Practice, said: "The Latin America and Caribbean region can play a strong role in tackling the climate crisis. This can and must happen through the coordinated efforts of governments at all levels, businesses, academia, civil society, local communities and Indigenous Peoples. Countries in the region will have the opportunity to show their climate leadership both at the Climate Summit in September and at COP25 in Santiago.'' 
 

NOTES FOR EDITORS:
WWF will have a small delegation at the meeting, led by WWF's global climate and energy practice leader Manuel Pulgar-Vidal (he is also former President of COP20 and former Minister of Environment for Peru). Fernanda Carvahlo, WWF's global climate and energy policy manager will also attend. 

The delegation will participate in several events, specifically:

 

Side Event - Monday 19 August 12h30 -13h25 (GMT-3)

Nature at the Heart of the Climate and Sustainable Development Agenda

Location: Room SDG 6 

 

Workshop - Monday 19 August, 14h30 - 18h00 (GMT-3)

Science-Based Targets: Why and How to Engage?

Location: SDG Room 11

 

Thematic Bloc on Infrastructure - Wednesday, 21 August, 10h00 - 12h25 (GMT-3)

Cities & Local Action(Urban Areas & Informal Settlements coordinated by WWF and The Global Alliance for Building and Construction

Location: Room SDG 1

 

Thematic Bloc on Nature-Based Solutions - Wednesday, 2 August, 13h30 -15h55 (GMT-3)

 

Agriculture and Land Management coordinated by UNDP with WWF and others as supporting organisations.

Location: Room SDG 8

 

High-Level Plenary session - Wednesday, 21 August, from 14h30-15h40 (GMT-3)

Carbon Markets and Pricing (World Bank and IETA are hosts; Manuel Pulgar-Vidal is a guest speaker)

 

For further information, contact:

Bruna Mello brunamello@wwf.org.br (will be at the meeting) (Portuguese, Brazil)

Edgar Reyna Estrada ereyna@wwfmex.org (Spanish, LAC)

Mandy Jean Woods  mwoods@wwfint.org (English, international)

 
Posted: August 16, 2019, 12:00 am
Land © WWF-US / Days Edge

The way we currently use land is both a major contributor to climate change and placing unsustainable demands on the land systems on which humans and nature depend, according to an authoritative new report presented in Geneva today.

 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Special Report on Climate Change and Land, explores the relationship between climate, people and land in a warming world. It warns that climate change is placing additional stress on land, increasing degradation, biodiversity loss and food insecurity.

 

Dr Stephen Cornelius, chief advisor on climate change and IPCC lead for WWF, said: 

"This report sends a clear message that the way we currently use land is contributing to climate change, while also undermining its ability to support people and nature. We need to see an urgent transformation in our land use. Priorities include protecting and restoring natural ecosystems and moving to sustainable food production and consumption.  

 

"Good land choices are fundamental to tackling the climate crisis. A shift to sustainable land management must be accompanied by the necessary rapid and deep cuts to fossil fuel emissions if we are to meet the 1.5°C  goal of the Paris Agreement. Action on one alone is not enough."

 

Humans use approximately 72% of the global ice-free land surface, with land use contributing around 23% of total human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, primarily through deforestation, habitat conversion for agriculture, and livestock emissions. The removal of forests, conversion of peatlands and other natural ecosystems releases carbon, while at the same time contributing to unprecedented biodiversity loss and land degradation. The food sector alone is responsible for 75% of deforestation worldwide, with the greatest pressure on forests taking place in the tropics. It is also a major driver of savannah and grassland conversion.

 

Climate change is already affecting the four pillars of food security - availability, access, utilisation and stability - through increasing temperatures, changing precipitation patterns and greater frequency of some extreme events. 

 

"Delayed action will increase the risk of climate change impacts on food security. Those most at risk are the world's poorest.

 

"Early action to address the climate crisis has the potential to provide multiple co-benefits across the whole range of land challenges, with many options contributing positively to sustainable development and other societal goals," added Cornelius.

 

The report highlights the synergies and trade-offs inherent in our land choices. WWF considers an integrated suite of sustainable land management tools necessary to secure a climate safe future, while supporting food security and nature. Nature-based climate solutions should play a key role. For instance, mangroves help increase climate resilience, while providing a range of ecosystem services to local communities and supporting fish nurseries.

 

The science presented in the report further underlines that climate, people and nature are fundamentally linked. Efforts to mitigate climate change and halt nature loss must go hand in hand, and be fully integrated with climate adaptation and food security considerations.

 

Land-based mitigation options make up to a quarter of total mitigation proposed by countries in their country climate plans, submitted to the UN under the Paris Agreement. 

 

"Countries should make full use of nature-based climate solutions, together with other key measures such as reducing fossil fuel emissions, to enhance their commitments under the Paris Agreement by 2020. The first opportunity to announce such bold plans will be the Climate Summit in New York in September," said Fernanda Carvalho, global policy manager for WWF's climate and energy practice.

Posted: August 8, 2019, 12:00 am
Deforestation from monoculture farming © Central GroupThe EU must tackle deforestation and overhaul farming policy, while slashing emissions

GENEVA, Switzerland (8 August 2019) 

The way we currently use land is both a major contributor to climate change and placing unsustainable demands on the land systems on which humans and nature depend, according to an authoritative new report presented in Geneva today.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Special Report on Climate Change and Land, explores the relationship between climate, people and land in a warming world. It warns that climate change is placing additional stress on land, increasing degradation, biodiversity loss and food insecurity.

Dr Stephen Cornelius, chief advisor on climate change and IPCC lead for WWF, said: 
"This report sends a clear message that the way we currently use land is contributing to climate change, while also undermining its ability to support people and nature. We need to see an urgent transformation in our land use. Priorities include protecting and restoring natural ecosystems and moving to sustainable food production and consumption.  

"Good land choices are fundamental to tackling the climate crisis. A shift to sustainable land management must be accompanied by the necessary rapid and deep cuts to fossil fuel emissions if we are to meet the 1.5°C  goal of the Paris Agreement. Action on one alone is not enough."

Ester Asin, WWF European Policy Office's Director, said:
"Averting climate catastrophe means slashing the carbon we emit, and helping our planet to absorb the rest. Right now, the EU is failing at both.  It must heed the stark warning of the IPCC and kick-start unprecedented action. It must urgently increase its climate targets, end all support to fossil fuels, and enforce ambitious climate action across all land use sectors, from halting deforestation to overhauling farming policy. Doing so would be a win-win, helping restore both our climate and Europe's biodiversity." 

To play its part in tackling climate change and keeping global heating to 1.5°C, the EU must emit zero net greenhouse gases by 2040. The EU must take action in several areas, notably:
  • Agreeing an EU net zero emissions target for 2040, and increasing the 2030 climate target to 65% emissions reductions, as soon as possible.
  • Phasing out coal and fossil fuels in a socially fair manner, including by ending subsidies for them and ensuring a strong decarbonisation strategy for industry, whilst providing support to people in regions in need to make the transition.
  • Turning the recent EU plan on deforestation into powerful legislation which ensures that no product linked to deforestation or ecosystem destruction may enter the EU market.  
  • Reforming the Common Agricultural Policy to encourage farmers to move towards climate- and nature-friendly farming, such as protecting and boosting the carbon content of farmed soils or cutting the EU's production and consumption of animal products.
More information: Humans use approximately 72% of the global ice-free land surface, with land use contributing around 23% of total human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, primarily through deforestation, habitat conversion for agriculture, and livestock emissions. The removal of forests, conversion of peatlands and other natural ecosystems releases carbon, while at the same time contributing to unprecedented biodiversity loss and land degradation. The food sector alone is responsible  for 75% of deforestation worldwide, with the greatest pressure on forests taking place in the tropics. It is also a major driver of savannah and grassland conversion.

Climate change is already affecting the four pillars of food security - availability, access, utilisation and stability - through increasing temperatures, changing precipitation patterns and greater frequency of some extreme events. 

The report highlights the synergies and trade-offs inherent in our land choices. WWF considers an integrated suite of sustainable land management tools necessary to secure a climate safe future, while supporting food security and nature. Nature-based climate solutions should play a key role. For instance, mangroves help increase climate resilience, while providing a range of ecosystem services to local communities and supporting fish nurseries.

The science presented in the report further underlines that climate, people and nature are fundamentally linked. Efforts to mitigate climate change and halt nature loss must go hand in hand, and be fully integrated with climate adaptation and food security considerations.

Land-based mitigation options make up to a quarter of total mitigation proposed by countries in their country climate plans, submitted to the UN under the Paris Agreement. 

Climate Change and Land: an IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems was considered at the IPCC's 50th Session, Geneva, Switzerland. 2-6 August.

Contact:
Scott Edwards  |  WWF International |  sedwards@wwfint.org |  +44 7887 954116
Mandy Jean Woods  |  WWF International |  mwoods@wwfint.org 
Sarah Azau |  WWF European Policy Office | sazau@wwf.eu | +32473573137
Posted: August 8, 2019, 12:00 am
Planting pine trees, Rwenzoni, Uganda © Simon RawlesGLAND, Switzerland - On the eve of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) 50th Session, where its Special Report on Climate Change and Land is due to be approved, WWF urgently calls on governments to recognize that without radical transformation of our land use and food systems, we won't be able to prevent the climate crisis. Currently, agriculture, forestry and other land uses contribute around a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. 

The IPCC will release its special report on the relationship between climate change and land on 8 August. This should provide a robust and integrated assessment of how action in the land sector can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Dr Stephen Cornelius, WWF's chief advisor on climate change and IPCC lead, said:
"We need to see an urgent transformation in how we use land in the future. This includes the type of farming we do, our food system and diets, and the conservation of areas such as forests and other natural ecosystems.  All of which can either help or hinder the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. This new report should bring this home to us."

Science must be the basis for ambition. This report will give countries the latest scientific and policy-relevant information to inform them on how they can increase their climate action pledges required in terms of the Paris Agreement. Land-related initiatives (be these around reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation or improving farming practices) currently provide up to a quarter of pledged climate actions to 2030, and their potential is much greater still. WWF calls on governments to adopt an integrated approach for dealing with land-based emissions and removals. 

"Good land-use choices are central to tackling the climate crisis. We must see a rapid shift in how we manage our land, alongside the necessary deep cuts to fossil fuel emissions, if we are to meet the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement," said Cornelius.

A system-wide move to sustainable land management and nature-based solutions is critical to securing a climate-safe future, while also contributing to other societal goals, such as halting nature loss and delivering food security.
The report should also highlight the fact that the climate and biodiversity crises are interlinked. Specific interventions can also provide important additional benefits to people and nature, including restoring crucial ecosystem services and providing resilience to climate change.

Given this, the report needs to be clear on four points, says Cornelius:
  1. Land and climate interact with each other.  The way we use land is driving the climate crisis, adding stress to land systems and so worsens existing risks to people and nature – for example through land degradation and food security.
  2. That current human demands on land are huge and unsustainable. Business-as-usual is not an option as the pressures on the land will only increase unless we change how we use it.
  3. Action on farming and forests is not an excuse for inaction on energy. All sectors must contribute to limit global warming to 1.5°C.
  4. We have hard choices to make on how land is used. Good choices can help mitigate climate change and improve climate resilience, while producing other benefits, such as improving food security and protecting nature.

ENDS
For further information, contact:
Scott Edwards  |  WWF International |  sedwards@wwfint.org |  +44 7887 954116
Mandy Jean Woods  |  WWF International |  mwoods@wwfint.org 

The IPCC's 50th Session is taking place in Geneva, Switzerland, 2-6 August.

About WWF
WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries.  WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.  panda.org/news for latest news and media resources

 
 
Posted: August 1, 2019, 12:00 am
Deforestation © shutterstockThe European Commission issued today its Communication on deforestation and forest degradation, a pivotal step in securing a much-needed plan of action to address the EU's significant contribution to global deforestation. 

EU consumption is a key driver not only of deforestation but also of the destruction of other ecosystems around the world, linked to commodities such as soy, palm oil, cocoa or meat, of which the EU is a top importer - it accounts for as much as 36% of all global imports of crop and livestock products associated with deforestation. Deforestation, forest degradation and the conversion of ecosystems (such as savannahs) are key drivers of the climate emergency [1], and are also known to cause other severe environmental and social impacts. 

Anke Schulmeister, Senior Forest Policy Officer at WWF's European Policy Office, said: 
"Deforestation and forest degradation are happening at breakneck speed. It's clear that the EU needs to radically rethink the way it consumes. Today's Communication is a step in the right direction. The new European Commission must now get the job done: We need powerful legislation to ensure that no product linked to deforestation or ecosystem destruction is allowed to enter the EU market, and we also need to support producer countries to address the challenges and drivers." 

Although this Communication is a step in the right direction, a number of issues should be resolved and/or taken up by the new European Commission:
  • Actions should apply to all ecosystems affected by EU consumption, such as savannahs (which are threatened to be converted into soy fields) should be included to reduce our negative impact and to protect biodiversity.
  • New trade agreements should not only include provisions to conserve or sustainably manage forests and other ecosystems. Trade and sustainability chapters should be made mandatory and accompanied by strict enforcement measures. Regular reviews of existing trade agreements and their impacts on nature and people should also become the norm
  • The key actions in the principle on redirecting finance should not only focus on increasing financing for sustainable actions but also stop funding of measures that are fueling deforestation, forest degradation, and ecosystem conversion. 

WWF is calling on the European Commission to take strong and robust action to effectively tackle the EU's global forest and ecosystem footprint worldwide, including through: 
  • Introducing regulation to ensure that forest and ecosystem risk commodities being placed on the EU market are sustainably produced and not linked to deforestation, ecosystem conversion, or violation of human rights. 
  • Strengthening cooperation with producer and other consumer countries to address the underlying drivers, all the while supporting better governance, respecting the rights of indigenous peoples, smallholders and local communities and enabling balanced multi-stakeholder processes.
  • Fundamentally reform of the EU's bioenergy policies, which both drive deforestation and prevent reforestation and are incentivising things that increase emissions dramatically compared to fossil fuels [2]. 
  • Providing new incentives to reduce the impact of the food system in the EU on nature and people within the EU and beyond. 
  • Introducing measures which ensure that all financial institutions, including banks, investors, insurers and public agencies do not support in any way activities contributing to deforestation, forest degradation, conversion and illegal logging or human rights violations. 
  • Ensuring the EU meaningfully implements the international commitments it has made, as under the Paris Agreement for climate change, the Convention for Biological Diversity or the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development
  • Under the Sustainable Development Goals the EU has committed to halt deforestation by 2020 – the first of January 2020 is less than half a year away. 

[1] According to a recent study deforestation in the tropics, largely caused by expanding forestry and agriculture, is increasingly driven by foreign demand. Between 29% and 39% of deforestation-related emissions were linked to international trade between 2010 and 2014. The study concludes that emissions linked to deforestation constitute around one-sixth (˜15%) of the total carbon footprint of food consumption in EU countries. To reduce GHG emissions from land-use change, the role of international demand therefore needs to be considered, and as a major trading bloc, the EU has a key role to play. (Stockholm Environment Institute, 2019. https://www.sei.org/publications/agriculture-deforestation-emissions/

[2] More information available at http://www.wwf.eu/what_we_do/climate/renewables/eu_bioenergy_policy/

Contact: 
Sophie Bauer
Communications Officer 
WWF European Policy Office
sbauer@wwf.eu       
+32 471 05 25 11

Anke Schulmeister 
Senior Forest Policy Officer 
WWF European Policy Office
aschulmeister@wwf.eu
+32 485 843 144
Posted: July 23, 2019, 12:00 am
Increasingly, companies are aligning their emissions reduction targets to the Paris Agreements' 1.5 degrees Celsius target. © Shutterstock

Ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit, companies commit to set 1.5°C climate targets aligned with a net-zero future, challenging Governments to match their ambition

UNITED NATIONS, New York, 23 July 2019 — Twenty-eight companies with a total market capitalization of $1.3 trillion are stepping up to set a new level of climate ambition in response to a call-to-action campaign ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit on 23 September.

The companies have committed themselves to more ambitious climate targets aligned with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and reaching net-zero emissions by no later than 2050.

First movers include Acciona, AstraZeneca, Banka BioLoo, BT, Dalmia Cement Ltd., Eco-Steel Africa Ltd., Enel, Iberdrola, KLP, Levi Strauss & Co., Mahindra Group, Natura &Co, Novozymes, Royal DSM, SAP, Signify, Singtel, Telefonica, Telia, Unilever, Vodafone Group PLC and Zurich Insurance, amongst others, collectively representing over one million employees from 15 sectors and more than 15 countries.

Of the 28 companies, BT, Levi Strauss & Co. and SAP already have 1.5°C-aligned reduction targets covering greenhouse gas emissions from their operations.

"Climate leadership has never been more important than it is right now, and it is inspiring to see so many diverse companies and brands boldly raising their ambitions," said Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director of the UN Global Compact. "Leading companies are already proving that 1.5°C-compliant climate targets are possible, and I encourage all businesses to seize this opportunity to position themselves at the forefront of this movement and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals."

The commitments of the 28 companies heed the most recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which warned of catastrophic consequences should global warming exceed 1.5°C.

"The UN Secretary-General has called on leaders to come to the Climate Action Summit in September with clear plans for major cuts to emissions on the pathway to a zero-net emissions economy by 2050," said Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba, the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Climate Action Summit. "It is very encouraging to see these climate leaders in the global business community taking action, both to help tackle the climate emergency and because taking climate action presents huge opportunities for early movers. By sending strong market signals, these companies are showing Governments that they need to urgently ramp up their national plans in line with the latest climate science."

Building a prosperous, net-zero carbon economy by 2050 requires both business leadership and ambitious Government policies. By setting policies and targets in line with a 1.5°C trajectory, Governments give business the clarity and confidence to invest decisively in the zero-carbon economies of the future.

The companies raising the bar for corporate climate ambition are committed to setting science-based targets through the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), which independently assesses corporate emissions reduction targets against the latest climate science. To date, 600 of the world's largest businesses are setting science-based greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets aligned with the Paris Agreement. In April 2019, the SBTi released new target validation resources to enable companies to set targets consistent with 1.5°C.

"The science is clear: To limit the catastrophic impacts of climate change, we must ensure warming does not exceed 1.5°C. The ambition is high, but it's achievable — and science-based targets give companies a roadmap for getting there," said Paul Simpson, SBTi Board Member and CEO of CDP. "We urge all companies to seize this chance to align their business with a 1.5°C future and drive forward the transition to a net-zero carbon economy."

The historic call-to-action issued in June came in the form of an open letter addressed to business leaders and signed by 25 global leaders, including María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the UN General Assembly, Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres, Co-Founder of Global Optimism, John Denton, Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Commerce, and SDG Advocate Paul Polman, Co-Founder of IMAGINE.

Ambitious CEOs who commit their companies to a 1.5°C trajectory in support of a net-zero future will be recognized at the UN Global Compact's Private Sector Forum as part of the UN Climate Action Summit on 23 September.

To learn more about the Business Ambition for 1.5°C — Our Only Future campaign, please visit: unglobalcompact.org/OurOnlyFuture

To see the full list of companies, visit: https://www.unglobalcompact.org/take-action/events/climate-action-summit-2019/business-ambition/business-leaders-taking-action

For further information contact: Mandy Jean Woods mwoods@wwfint.org 

Posted: July 23, 2019, 12:00 am
Report from WWF and AB InBev © WWFWith cities and communities around the world reeling from extreme droughts, floods and worsening water shortages, WWF and Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) today published a report highlighting the central role of healthy rivers in adapting to climate change and building more resilient societies, economies and ecosystems.

Launched today in New York ahead of the UN High Level Political Forum's review of the Sustainable Development Goal on climate, Climate Change and Water: Why valuing rivers is critical to adaptation outlines how climate change will exacerbate the world's current water crises. By altering river flows, climate change will impact access to water, food production, freshwater fisheries, energy generation and business operations – and potentially drive mass migration.

Climate change will also increase the pressure on freshwater species populations, which have already crashed by 83% on average since 1970. 

Despite this, our planet's water resources and soils are continuing to be stretched worryingly thin. In Europe alone, 60% of rivers, lakes and wetlands currently fail to meet the "good status" requirement of the EU's water legislation, the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD), despite evidence showing that freshwater ecosystems which are not healthy - for instance, due to pollution, changes to shape or flow, or the pressures of over-abstraction (excessive use of water, such as for the purposes of irrigation) - are those hardest hit by the impacts of climate change, like drought, heat and floods. 

But the report shows how a collective commitment to better management of our freshwater resources, particularly by relying on nature-based solutions, can drive global efforts to tackle the most serious climate risks.

Andreas Baumüller, Head of Natural Resources at WWF's European Policy Office, said: "Climate change is placing a serious question mark over the future availability of water but, in Europe, we have a tool which can help us tackle this challenge head on. The EU Water Framework Directive recognises that, when healthy, freshwater ecosystems can not only adapt better to climate change, but can help us battle and mitigate the impacts. We urge EU Member States to translate the worrying trends highlighted in today's report into meaningful action - and make the EU water law work!" 

Today's report details how climate change will impact freshwater ecosystems by changing the quantity, quality and timing of water supplies, including variations in rainfall patterns and snowpack melting.

Along with shifting seasons and temperatures, these changes will have a major impact on food security since rivers currently irrigate 190 million hectares – accounting for about a quarter of total global food production. Healthy freshwater ecosystems are also crucial for the survival of freshwater fisheries, which provide vital protein for hundreds of millions of vulnerable people.

Climate-related droughts, floods and changes to river flows will also affect electricity generation since reliable water supplies are needed to cool power stations and fuel existing hydropower plants.

Innovative policies will be needed, including a global switch to more nature-based solutions, which must be at the heart of efforts to make infrastructure more resilient to climate impacts and reduce water risk. Meanwhile, the private sector must also take collective action to mitigate climate change and water-related risks.

"Investing in better management of rivers and wetlands is not only good for our freshwater resources but will also ensure that we become more resilient to climate impacts," said Stuart Orr, Freshwater Practice Lead, WWF International. "Climate is water: healthy freshwater systems will underpin more climate resilient communities, economies and ecosystems."

This report is a part of AB InBev's larger partnership with WWF to champion global water stewardship.

Contact:

Global: 
Richard Lee
Freshwater Communications
WWF International
rlee@wwfint.org
+31 654 287956 

Europe: 
Sophie Bauer
Communications Officer
WWF European Policy Office
sbauer@wwf.eu    
+32 471 05 25 11
Posted: July 15, 2019, 12:00 am
Male roe deer with Siberian irises, Slovakia © Wild Wonders of Europe /Konrad Wothe / WWFWhat's happening?

EU Member States and the European Commission will be gathering in Helsinki on Thursday for an Informal Meeting of Environment and Climate Ministers (11-12 July) to discuss three key topics: the circular economy, biodiversity and climate change. 

With the biodiversity and climate crises reaching fever pitch, this meeting will be a critical space to gauge whether the EU is truly willing to tackle these challenges head on and outside of the limelight of international agreements. 

Andreas Baumüller, Head of Natural Resources at WWF's European Policy Office, said: 

"The EU has strong legislation to halt biodiversity loss, but Member States must walk the talk if they are to be credible champions for nature in the international context. The discussions need to result in concrete action at the global, EU and national level. We need a Global Deal for Nature and People which will reflect the level of ambition required to tackle the biodiversity crisis, but also ensure all actions are made to work on the ground, including through full implementation of the EU Birds and Habitats Directive and EU Water Framework Directive." 

Imke Luebbeke, Head of EU Climate and Energy Policy at WWF's European Policy Office, said: 

"EU leaders hit pause on a climate neutral target last month, despite support from 24 Member States. This means the EU risks turning up at the UNSG summit this September empty handed. Environment ministers and the Finnish Presidency need urgently to work out how to break the impasse  and commit to the climate neutral goal as soon as possible. Reaching net zero emissions by 2040 in the EU is essential if we are to uphold the Paris Agreement and limit devastating climate change." 

Why does this meeting matter? 

Biodiversity: 
  • Biodiversity is declining at breakneck speed - freshwater biodiversity alone has depleted by more than 80% worldwide in the last 50 years. According to the recent IPBES report, 1 million species are currently threatened with extinction, and freshwater biodiversity continues to be the most threatened. 
  • The EU is currently set to fail its own target of halting biodiversity loss by 2020, as laid out in the EU Biodiversity Strategy. To change this, a strong political commitment for a "New Deal for Nature and People" is needed to put society on a pathway to restoring nature by 2030.
  • The post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework - which Environment Ministers will be starting to discuss on Thursday - is a critical component of this new deal and it is vital that the EU shows ambition as these discussions will lay the groundwork for the Council Conclusions under the Finnish Presidency (December 2019). 

Climate change: 
  • We could pass 1.5°C temperature rise in as little as twelve years; this is the level that scientists say would avoid catastrophic climate change, and which countries committed to aim for under the Paris Agreement. This is now a global emergency.
  • For WWF, the EU needs to reduce its net emissions to zero by 2040 to play its part in averting disaster. Although 24 Member States supported a 'net zero' goal for 2050 at the June EU summit, agreement was blocked by Poland, Estonia, the Czech Republic and Hungary. 
  • This means the EU - unlike many other countries - will probably not bring a higher climate pledge to the UN Secretary General's climate summit in September. 
  • A commitment to reaching zero net emissions by 2040, and an update of the EU's 2030 climate target, must be included in the EU's updated climate pledge to the UN. WWF is calling on the Finnish EU Presidency and the new EU Commission president to help make that happen urgently.
What will WWF be looking for? 

Biodiversity:
  • At international level, WWF calls for an ambitious Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework with strong implementation and accountability mechanisms and achievable, science based targets to protect natural spaces, drive sustainability and prevent further, human-caused loss of species. 
  • WWF proposes the following three headline targets by 2030 that indicate where action is needed and what is at stake:
  1. Zero loss of natural spaces
  2. Zero extinction of species
  3. Half the negative ecological impact of production and consumption
  • At EU level, WWF calls for the post 2020 Biodiversity Strategy to contain strong targets to better implement and enforce key legislation which safeguards nature in Europe - especially the EU Birds and Habitats Directive and the EU Water Framework Directive - with a particular emphasis on the restoration of ecosystems to unlock climate change mitigation and adaptation potential. 

Climate change:
  • Environment ministers must acknowledge that the EU's climate targets are incompatible with  the 1.5C target enshrined in the Paris Agreement. The EU must:
  • commit by 2020 to substantially increase its 2030 target , to 65% from 40%;
  • agree to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 at the latest 
  • Environment ministers must call on the Finnish EU presidency to make the commitments above happen.
  • Environment ministers must call on the EU Commission to prepare a ramped up commitment on climate finance to bring to the UNSG summit in September, to support vulnerable countries in climate mitigation and adaptation.
Contact:

For climate: 
Sarah Azau 
Senior Communications Officer
WWF European Policy Office
sazau@wwf.eu 
+32 473 573 137

For biodiversity:
Sophie Bauer
Communications Officer
WWF European Policy Office
sbauer@wwf.eu 
+32 471 05 25 11
 
Posted: July 8, 2019, 12:00 am
The mid-year sessions of the UN climate talks are held in Bonn every year. © IISD

BONN, Germany (28 June 2019) - The annual mid-year meeting of climate negotiators in Bonn, which finished yesterday, was largely procedural as expected. Key issues in the negotiations – on carbon market trading and loss and damage - progressed sufficiently towards the next round of talks in Santiago, Chile in December.

 

But how to respond to the alarming science of climate change  was the subject of heated discussions among Parties. As temperature records fell across Europe this week, tempers flared at times in the discussions on the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, . One of the main conclusions of the report, is the big difference in negative impact on vulnerable people and nature between warming of 1.5°C and 2°C, but in Bonn Parties could not even agree on referring to 1.5°C as a goal. 

 

WWF's senior advisor on global climate policy Mark Lutes said: "There was some action outside of the UN climate talks this week – with the UK putting net-zero emissions by 2050 into law, Denmark committing to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 70 per cent by 2030 – but inside things were more procedural as expected.

 

"What did catch attention at the meeting were heated exchanges about how Parties will respond to the IPCC's Special Report on 1.5°C. The dispute is a sign of what's at stake in responding to the climate crisis and the science of 1.5°C. Parties have to take on board the content of the report in revising their national climate plans."

 

Many developing countries, including some of the poorest and least responsible for the climate crisis, have stated they are revising their national climate plans. There is, so far, less movement from developed and emerging economies. "But without the EU, Japan, Canada and other advanced G20 countries getting on board with zero emission goals before 2050 and revised 2030 targets in line with 1.5C°C, along with scaled up support for poorer countries, we won't make much of a dent reducing warming and adapting to the increasingly severe climatic disruptions", says Lutes.

 

Countries were feeling the pressure to deliver an outcome on the Paris Agreement's Article 6, which deals with market and non-market measures, by COP25. They worked hard to refine the concepts throughout the text and come up with bridging proposals that will be further discussed in Chile. From a legal perspective, countries can begin transacting and using mitigation outcomes starting in 2020 on the basis the Paris Agreement already provides.

 

Although revision of national climate plans was not explicitly on the agenda in Bonn, it was certainly hanging over the session and a subject of many conversations and meetings. The call for decisive action on the climate crisis from youth and citizens marching in Aachen, just west of Bonn earlier in the week, contrasted sharply with the pace and lack of ambition shown by many Parties inside the conference.

 

WWF's global climate policy manager Fernanda de Carvalho said: "The discussions in Bonn have shown us that there is still a lot to be achieved before COP25 in Santiago, Chile in December. While impacts are escalating, a growing number of citizens and youth are demanding climate action, but political momentum is slow, and not moving at the pace that is needed."

 

"The UN Secretary General's 2019 Climate Action Summit presents a unique opportunity for ambitious commitments to be made this year. Countries must respond to the crisis and demands 'with plans, not speeches,' as the UN Secretary General has said. We couldn't agree more.'

 

For further information, contact Mandy Jean Woods mwoods@wwfint.org 

Posted: June 29, 2019, 12:00 am
The Matsuura Power Plant in Japan © Creative CommonsGLAND, Switzerland (27 June 2019) - Japan, the world's third largest economy, failed to step up as a global climate leader by keeping coal in its long-term low carbon strategy submitted to the UN yesterday.
Japan commits to decarbonisation as early as possible in the second half of this century, but ignores necessary short-term actions. Especially, it still intends only phasing out 'inefficient' coal power plants and 'trying to reduce' its dependency on thermal power plants.  It will, instead, rely on non-commercialized future technology innovation such as carbon capture and storage and usage; hydrogen reduction in the manufacture of iron.
 
Manual Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF's global climate and energy practice said: "In the Paris Agreement era, phasing out coal as soon as possible must be a priority for every country. It is the worst of all fossil fuels. Coal emits at least double the amount of CO2 emissions compared to gas which has the least emissions of all fossil fuels. The latest IPCC 1.5°C Special Report shows that even at a temperature rise of 1.5°C, the world will experience significant climate risks, including flooding, heat related deaths and loss of biodiversity.  The world cannot bear any more coal. Japan should immediately reconsider its coal plan."
 
Pulgar-Vidal said it is encouraging that Japan intends to contribute towards achieving the Paris 2°C goal, including efforts toward 1.5°C.  'To realize its intention, Japan should reconsider its nationally determined contribution and announce updating it at UN Secretary General's Climate Action Summit planned for 23 September in New York."
 
For further information, contact Mandy Jean Woods mwoods@wwfint.org
Posted: June 27, 2019, 12:00 am