The latest climate change news from WWF

The latest science on the state of our climate has been laid out in a powerful new report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The Sixth Assessment Report shows how climate change is altering our planet and highlights the many solutions that governments, businesses, cities and individuals can, and must, take to tackle it. These are the report’s key findings: Our climate system is in code red status The science is super clear: our climate system is in crisis, and it’s because of our actions. Climate change is driven by human activities; primarily burning polluting fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) and destroying nature. The last time CO2 levels in our atmosphere were this high was over two million years ago. We’ve already warmed the planet by 1.1°C since pre-industrial times, and this is causing dangerous disruption in nature and impacts on people across the world. And we’re not slowing down. Global greenhouse gas emissions between 2010 and 2019 were higher than any previous decade in human history. Limiting warming to 1.5°C is crucial and we’re way off track 1.5°C is an important number when it comes to our climate. That’s because impacts beyond 1.5°C of warming would get even worse. There would be more frequent and stronger extreme weather events and it would be harder - in some cases impossible - for people and nature to adapt, especially as some changes (like species extinction) are irreversible. Governments across the world agreed to try to limit warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels in the Paris Agreement to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and secure a livable future. The latest science shows that we have to cut emissions much more, and much faster - we need to reduce them by 43% by 2030 (just seven years away!) to limit warming to 1.5°C. We can adapt and be more resilient, but there are limits Our planet and its people are resilient - but some of the impacts are simply hitting too quickly and too forcefully to adapt in time. The longer we delay taking action, the fewer options we have. This is crucial because according to the IPCC, around 3.6 billion people live in contexts that are highly vulnerable to climate change. The climate crisis is a daily reality for so many people. Since 2008, over 20 million people per year have been internally displaced by weather-related extreme events. While communities, governments and businesses around the world are working on solutions to adapt to our warming world, progress is still uneven and insufficient. We already have all the solutions we need There is some really great news in the report too: we already have affordable solutions to limit warming to 1.5°C. Around 20 countries are living proof that it’s possible to reduce emissions, and clean energy is cheaper than ever before - in the last decade, the cost of solar energy and lithium-ion batteries (used for energy storage) decreased by a massive 85%, while wind energy costs dropped by 55%. There has been exponential growth too - like with the roll-out of electric vehicles, which has increased 100 fold. The best thing about all these solutions? They can also benefit lives, livelihoods and nature, allowing us to build our societies and economies in a more sustainable way. We have to quit fossil fuels It’s also clear that while we move towards solutions like renewables, we also have to phase out the polluting energy sources (coal, oil and gas) that are the biggest cause of the climate crisis. We simply can’t keep warming to 1.5°C without changing our energy system - the IPCC confirms that emissions from existing fossil fuel infrastructure alone would blow through our remaining carbon budget for 1.5°C. Nature is our ally The science shows how incredible nature is - it has slowed global warming and helped protect us from more severe impacts of a warming world. The world’s oceans, plants, animals and soils have absorbed 54% of humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions of the past 10 years. Nature is a non-negotiable part of the solution to the climate crisis.
Posted: March 20, 2023, 1:00 pm
In a remote wildlife park, on Bhutan’s border with India, life has just got a little better for the roughly 50 rangers responsible for monitoring and protecting its populations of forest elephants, spotted deer and Bengal tiger. The installation of a 10kW solar array at the Phibsoo base camp will make power available throughout the day and into the evening, providing lighting, fans to offer relief from the tropical heat, and a huge reduction in the need for expensive diesel to fuel its generator. The installation was undertaken by Bhutan’s Department of Forests and Park Service through the ‘Bhutan for Life’ project, and with support from WWF’s Upfront project, which has installed solar systems at more than 40 WWF offices and national park stations around the world. “They now have electricity from six in the morning until they shut down the system when they go to bed,” says Jean-Philippe Denruyter, WWF Upfront project manager, and who helped tender the project, find a local supplier and install the system together with Department of Renewable Energy. “It’s a pleasure to provide these eco-guards, who don’t have an easy life, with some comfort.” Ecoguards in Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary, Bhutan, with the solar installation that supplies their electricity. Image credit: Department of Forests and Park Services, Bhutan. Leading by example But the WWF Upfront programme has wider objectives. It was launched in 2016 to enable WWF’s operations around the world “to lead by example,” Denruyer says. “We’d been telling everyone that we need to shift to renewable energy, but our offices were at best using grid electricity, while our facilities in national parks often depended on big diesel generators.” Since its launch, WWF Upfront has installed solar systems from Viet Nam to Switzerland and Peru. Those installations are typically preceded by a programme of awareness-raising on energy use and efficiency. “We can easily reduce energy consumption by 25% with simple behaviour change, and by visualising energy use,” he says. He gives the example of a meeting on energy efficiency in an office in Latin America. The smart meter was showing consumption of 20kW on the projector because everyone in the building had left their air conditioning on, despite sitting in the meeting room. The meeting room emptied as they returned to their offices to turn off the A/C. “By the time everyone came back, they’d saved 80% of their consumption at that moment … I don’t think anyone who was there has forgotten that you should switch off your air conditioner when you go to a meeting.” Building local markets The next stage is to install solar systems. Denruyter works with local suppliers and installers to help build local capacity, as well as to gain a flavour of local challenges. These can include sourcing equipment – a challenge made greater by ongoing disruptions to solar supply chains caused by the COVID pandemic. This disruption has pushed up prices and played havoc with delivery schedules, Denruyter says. “Sometimes it can take six months to get the equipment, and that makes it more difficult to plan. That’s what happened in Zambia: I had to troubleshoot the installation remotely as I couldn’t be there when the equipment turned up.” In addition, projects can face economic barriers erected by local regulation. For example, in many countries, small-scale renewable energy systems are not permitted to export surplus power – such as that produced outside of office hours, for example – to the grid. Also, some countries heavily subsidise their electricity markets. Both of these elements can make installing solar systems less economically attractive. This does not deter Denruyter. “The economic aspect doesn’t affect our decision to proceed. These often serve as demonstration projects.” He cites the Bhutan project, where it has spurred interest from other government agencies. QEnergy helped WWF Peru to install solar on their roof. Here, Luis and Jean-Philippe are installing the inverter. Image credit: WWF Peru Regulations under review WWF’s work has also helped prompt regulatory change, Denruyter adds, citing Madagascar, where the law has been changed to enable solar projects to sell power into the grid. That process is also underway in Bhutan, he adds. Although Denruyter insists on working with local experts, existing capacity in many countries remains limited. In response, WWF is partnering with Solar Energy International, a Colorado-based non-profit which offers solar training around the world. “The idea is to develop training courses that are adapted for local people,” with plans to offer training initially in Cambodia followed by Bhutan. Funding remains a perennial challenge, Denruyter notes. “We have a pipeline of projects” ready to go once funding can be found, he says, adding that he is keen to hire an Africa-based engineer to help him manage strong demand from the continent. Denruyter says WWF’s work with its local offices on energy efficiency and solar can help to show the concrete impacts of the organisation’s work on climate and energy. “The work we do on climate and energy policy is hugely important, but it’s nice for our people working in an office in Madagascar or Paris to have something tangible on their roof and to see that solar energy produced. It’s important for their wellness and their motivation,” he says. As of 2022, there are 44 solar installations in countries including Viet Nam, Laos, Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Chile, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Zambia, Madagascar, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Netherlands, UK, Guyana, Kenya, Poland.
Posted: January 26, 2023, 12:00 am
The latest science from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that Earth’s natural systems play a central role in regulating the climate – and in protecting us from the worst consequences of our actions. The world’s oceans, plants, animals and soils have absorbed 54% of man-made greenhouse gas emissions of the past 10 years. Critical ecosystems, such as wetlands, mangroves and coral reefs, help to shield us from the worsening hazards of extreme weather and sea-level rise. But these natural systems are under threat and have their own limits, and the continued destrution of nature has huge consequences for us all. Our societies, culture and our economy are fundamentally dependent upon nature – for food and water security, for air quality, for protection against disease, for energy, the list goes on. Many Indigenous Peoples and local communities depend directly on ecosystems for their survival. Our report - Climate’s Secret Ally: Uncovering the story of nature in the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report - draws upon the IPCC’s work to highlight the interlinked emergencies of human-induced climate change and biodiversity loss, threatening the well-being of current and future generations and to make the case for better integrating nature into our response to the climate crisis. It is clear that, without harnessing the ability of nature to store carbon and help regulate the climate, it will be impossible to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and avoid the worst risks of climate change. And without the protections healthy nature provides from climate hazards, more people will be at greater risk.
Posted: November 14, 2022, 10:01 pm
(26 October 2022) - Responding to the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2022 report, published today, Dean Cooper, WWF Global Energy Lead, said:“It is welcome to see that the demand for fossil fuels is declining, but it is still not fast enough. At the current rate of change, temperatures will still rise by at least 2.5°C by 2100, which would be catastrophic for people and the planet. The burning of coal, oil and gas must be rapidly phased-out if we are to have a world worth leaving to our children and grandchildren. “A key trend identified by the report, that where renewable energy policies are being enacted, they are creating huge opportunities for growth and jobs, is great news. But even these current commitments are insufficient to see the structural change to key sectors of the economy that is needed. In the current cost of living crisis, this is key to reducing energy bills and demand for energy. “The economic opportunities provided by a transition to clean energy will also only be realised if we have a just and equitable energy transformation worldwide, with support of all communities affected. We must see a massive increase in investment. And the speed of change has to significantly accelerate, with exponential and transformational progress rather than incremental steps. “COP27 must be the place where developed economies continue showing the importance they attach to these energy issues. They must agree to a Mitigation Work Programme that leverages the energy decision from Glasgow to spur a fossil fuel phase-out (coal, oil and gas), and the promotion of renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean technology worldwide. “We cannot afford to miss turning the unprecedented energy crisis into an opportunity for a comprehensive transformation of the global energy system. Our climate needs this and our planet needs it.” Contact: Robin Harvey, Media Relations Manager, WWF International WWF International newsdesk: Editor’s notes: WWF COP27 Expectations paper is available to read here.
Posted: October 27, 2022, 12:00 am
If left to continue at current rates, biodiversity loss could cost the global economy $2.7 trillion annually by 2030. Reversing this trend will hinge on quick and decisive action by the global financial community, which is uniquely placed to incentivise better market behaviour: money motivates. This 50-minute digital dialogue, in partnership with the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), brought financial regulators, supervisors, central banks, scientists, NGOs and policymakers together to discuss the mobilisation of mainstream finance in support of the transition to a sustainable global economy. Discussion focused on the preventative and preemptive actions central banks and supervisors can take now, the importance of addressing climate change and nature loss simultaneously, and the financial instruments that will incentivise swift and systemic change. Your browser does not support the video tag.
Posted: October 13, 2022, 12:00 am
WWF welcomes the announcement today of the new Forests and Climate Leaders' Partnership by the COP26 Presidency. The Partnership aims to accelerate implementation of the Glasgow Leaders' Declaration by paving the way for governments and partners to work together to protect, conserve and restore the world’s forests, support sustainable development and promote inclusive rural transformation. Fran Price, Lead, WWF Global Forest Practice, said: "WWF appreciates the action-oriented approach proposed through the Forests and Climate Leaders' Partnership. It’s critical that deforestation is taken up at the highest level of government and that coordinated and targeted actions and partnerships are formed to address the global challenge to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030. The Partnership should also help provide solutions to channel and grant access to the finance promised in the Glasgow Leaders' Declaration. Deforestation is rising at alarming rates in some geographies with devastating impacts globally, from fires to floods. In the Brazilian Amazon alone, the number of fires hit a 12-year high in August. Actions by governments are just not fast enough to keep up with the scale and speed of forest loss. Despite the positive momentum around forest conservation, and more financial commitments, the reality is that in most places, business-as-usual has not changed and the drivers of deforestation like unsustainable agriculture and forestry, and mining, are only expanding. In this context, it’s critical that the Partnership clearly states its goal, how it will complement or be aligned with other global initiatives, and what actions will be taken to move from promises to accountability, implementation and impact. This process must include consultation and collaboration with civil society and especially Indigenous People and local communities, who will play a critical role in implementation.” The first meeting of the new Partnership will take place at UNFCCC COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. We urge the Partnership to collectively push and help implement demand-side legislation to halt the imports of commodities linked to deforestation and related human rights violations, recognizing the landmark vote in the European Parliamentfor a strong deforestation law. WWF also urges the Partnership to take action on illegal logging and timber trade, a critical but neglected component in addressing global deforestation. An estimated 15-30% of all timber traded globally is illegal, and up to 90% in some tropical countries.
Posted: September 21, 2022, 12:00 am
The Call to Action, co-signed by organisations including the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative, the European Environment Bureau, Nature Finance (formerly Finance for Biodiversity), NRDC and New Economics Foundation, sets out tangible steps for central banks and financial supervisors to take to limit environmental and climate impacts, protect against future risks, and use their market-shaping role to influence broader change. The Call to Action emphasises that today’s environmental impacts generate tomorrow’s risks, and therefore it is in the mandate of central banks and financial regulators to take precautionary action. This Call to Action comes as international economic policy makers are due to meet for several critical gatherings over the next few months, including the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting and G20 Heads of State Summit, Climate COP27 and Biodiversity COP15. The signatories of the Call to Action urge central banks and financial supervisors to: Adopt ​​nature positive by 2030, limit global warming to 1.5ºC, and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 as key anchors for their mandates. ​​ ​​ Encourage economic transformation by ensuring monetary policies and financial regulatory instruments better reflect the economic cost and financial risk of ‘always environmentally harmful’ economic activities, companies and sectors’ as these assets represent the highest financial risks. Require all regulated financial institutions to publish credible transition plans for biodiversity and climate change. Monetary policy and financial regulation instruments need to address the significant financial and price instability that is caused by biodiversity loss and global warming that will continue to increase, according to the Call to Action. In particular, WWF argues that the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting taking place in Bali on October 13-14, presents a key opportunity for countries to translate commitments into concrete action and: Treat biodiversity loss and climate change as a single twin crisis and recognize the massive destabilizing effects it has on financial and price stability Use a precautionary approach, and work proactively and decisively to prevent future risk Recognise that today’s impacts are tomorrow's risks and adapt financial regulation and supervision to a longer time horizon (10-30 years). The global economy and finance system are deeply embedded in nature, but nature is being lost at unprecedented rates. By absorbing greenhouse gases, healthy ecosystems could provide 37% of the mitigation needed to limit global temperature rises to 1.5ºC. But climate change, human-caused habitat and biodiversity loss such as deforestation and land conversion, and other key drivers of nature loss undermine this process and release more CO2 than can be absorbed. New evidence on the impact of very high temperatures on prices also finds that extreme temperatures have noticeable effects on price developments. Central banks and financial supervisors have acknowledged the threat environmental crises pose to financial stability and overall price levels and have committed to tackle climate change, biodiversity loss and support the transition to a low-carbon economy. The Call to Action highlights that current actions - like climate-related disclosure - are not sufficient to protect against the risks posed by the twin crisis: Current rates of nature loss could cost the global economy $2.7 trillion annually by 2030 Up to $24 trillion worth of assets could be at risk from 2.5ºC warming Unabated global warming could create an ‘uninsurable’ world due to climate risks and impacts WWF´s Finance Practice Leader Margaret Kuhlow: “Central banks and financial supervisors exist to provide financial and price stability. Without urgent action to better understand and manage climate- and nature-related risks, these risks will have significant macroeconomic impacts.” Jessica Smith, UNEP Finance Initiative Nature Lead: “It's encouraging how much leadership we are seeing from the private sector on this topic, for example in the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures and the Finance for Biodiversity Pledge. Now it’s critical that central banks and regulators step up to the plate on biodiversity and nature - and go beyond disclosure - to ‘bake in’ what’s increasingly done on a voluntary basis across the industry. They must act rapidly so that we can turn the tide of nature loss by 2030 and bring our economies into harmony with nature by 2050.”
Posted: September 7, 2022, 12:01 am
Your Excellencies, As the Africa Adaptation Summit organized by Global Center on Adaptation is approaching, we wanted to highlight the importance of this event and the need for scaling up adaptation finance as a key outcome of COP 27.This year presents a unique opportunity for supporting the host continent in adapting to climate impacts. Last December in Glasgow, you noted with concern that the current provision of climate finance for adaptation remains insufficient to respond to worsening climate change impacts in developing country Parties. As developed country Parties, you agreed to urgently and significantly scale up the provision of climate finance, technology transfer and capacity-building for adaptation. You have also recognized the importance of the adequacy and predictability of adaptation finance. Most importantly, you have agreed to at least double your collective provision of climate finance for adaptation to developing country Parties from 2019 levels by 2025, in the context of achieving a balance between mitigation and adaptation in the provision of scaled-up financial resources (Glasgow Climate Pact, Decisions 1/CP.26 and 1/CMA.3) Climate impacts are worsening day by day even at 1.1°C of warming above pre-industrial levels. This is not going to slow down. The drought in the horn of Africa, tropical storm Ana impacting Malawi, Mozambique, and Madagascar are just some of the signs of worsening climate catastrophe already witnessed in 2022. The IPCC Working Group 2 report highlighted that current adaptation measures are insufficient, progress is uneven, and we are not adapting fast enough. Even more concerning, only 4% - 8% of all climate finance has been allocated to adaptation. Annual climate finance support for adaptation in Africa alone is billions of euros less than the lowest estimations of what is needed to address near term climate change impacts - many of which are already locked-in. As it is well known, the African continent is extremely vulnerable to the climate crisis, and faces strong social challenges, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine crises. Africa’s contribution to the climate crisis is negligible - 2%-3% of global emissions – but it is a fast-growing region both from a demographic and an economic perspective. We urge you to deliver the much-needed support and solidarity to your African counterparts on implementing adaptation activities in this region. Sincerely, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal Global Lead, Climate and Energy WWF International Alice Ruhweza Africa Regional Director WWF International
Posted: September 1, 2022, 11:00 pm
(24 June 2022) - In the face of mounting global crises, the G7 leaders must show bold climate leadership at its meeting starting on Sunday. The G7 is a grouping of countries representing the world’s seven most advanced economies - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. The meeting will take place from 26 to 28 June, under the leadership of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. In this pivotal moment, as the world grapples with possibly the worst energy crisis ever, it is deeply concerning that the world’s richest economies are responding by focusing only on their energy security, deepening fossil fuel commitments and infrastructure. Viviane Raddatz, Director Climate & Energy Policy, WWF Germany said: “G7 countries must prioritize accelerating renewables and energy efficiency over fossil fuel supply diversification as they seek to secure energy security. The temptation and pressure to find quick solutions could see Germany, and other governments, further deepening their long-term dependence on fossil fuel infrastructure, subsidies and commitments. “It has never been more critical for the G7 countries, led by Germany this year, to show climate leadership in the face of daunting global disruption and disorder. These disruptions will only increase if we do not tackle the climate crisis head on. This is not the time to retreat into the old fossil fuel ways.” Raddatz said the G7 must implement their commitment to end all international public fossil fuel finance by the end of this year, and scale up finance urgently needed to support developing countries in their transition to a clean and sustainable energy future. “It is the time for bold leadership that accelerates the energy transition to a sustainable future, and the G7 must show the way. We have no other choice,” she said. In a letter sent to Chancellor Scholz earlier, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF global climate and energy lead, called on Germany to ensure that G7 energy security concerns are addressed with increased focus on renewables and energy efficiency, rather than short-sighted support for fossil fuels. Pulgar-Vidal said volatility in energy prices disproportionally affects vulnerable countries. “The climate crisis demands urgent and effective global responses more than ever. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report reminds us that to avoid the most devastating climate change impacts, deep cuts in emissions are needed immediately. The science is clear: every tenth of a degree counts, and time is ever more of the essence.” Without immediate and deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in all sectors and regions going beyond current Nationally Determined Commitments (NDCs), the temperature goal of the global Paris climate accord cannot be met. “We also risk passing critical tipping points in the climate system that could trigger catastrophic runaway climate change.” This already does and will continue to affect the lives and livelihoods of the most vulnerable communities more than anyone else, he noted. The G7 must bind their climate commitments, including their clean and sustainable energy strategies, by resubmitting stronger NDCs that include or strengthen sectoral targets, other greenhouse gases like methane, or stringent implementation measures. All these energy and NDC commitments must be reinforced in the G7 Leaders Communiqué, if they are to be credible about their climate leadership in this time of energy and climate crises. Notes for Editors: A recently published WWF report, G7 Climate Crossroads: State of Play, takes stock of emissions trajectories, climate policies and complementary policies in G7 countries, and summarizes policies to enable just energy transitions, protect consumers against energy poverty, establish climate finance commitments and energy partnerships to facilitate energy transitions in other countries as well as makes proposals to introduce carbon border adjustment mechanisms. For further information, contact: Mandy Jean Woods
Posted: June 24, 2022, 12:00 am
(BONN) 16 June 2022 - Stubborn blocking of progress on loss and damage, and financing shortfalls across the board from wealthy countries in the UN climate talks in Bonn, held up climate action desperately needed to tackle the climate crisis. This again highlights the disconnect between what is said and done in negotiations, and what is happening and needs to happen on the ground. The Bonn meetings kicked off a new phase of negotiations post-Glasgow COP26, with an increased focus on implementation. Parties are designing processes and agendas, and getting options and proposals on the table for discussion now, said Mark Lutes, WWF Head of Delegation. “Parties advanced work on a wide range of complex and difficult items. We did not expect concrete outcomes at this stage. But it is already clear that the general lack of a sense of urgency, and the perennial conflicts and fault lines between Parties, threaten the rapid progress we need this year and this decade. Process must lead to action, and urgency must be at the centre of all actions and processes. “Broken promises and unfulfilled commitments on climate finance and action by rich countries stand in the way of progress for all. Countries are falling back into old habits of holding one issue hostage to further another issue dear to them. So when some countries block progress on loss and damage finance and respond to increasing impacts of climate change, others block progress on mitigation. “As a consequence, developing countries are deeply concerned that the burden of fighting climate change is increasingly being pushed onto them, without sufficient financial and other support, while many of them are also bearing the brunt of the impacts the world is already feeling,” said Lutes. Politicians will have to show more political will to advance the implementation of their climate commitments, and opportunities are on the horizon with upcoming global political meetings at the G7 Summit, the Petersberg Climate Dialogue, the G20 Summit and at COP27. Viviane Raddatz, Director Climate & Energy Policy, WWF Germany said: “Instead of closing it, the ambition gap looms over us. Meanwhile, the climate crisis is worsening. The Bonn intersessional negotiations showed that much remains to be done to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C. Parties must finally live up to the urgency of the situation. Mitigation action and ambition enhancement must be expedited, this must be reflected in the climate negotiations. Pressure is now on Germany: it must use its G7 Presidency and the summit in June as well as the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in July to put these issues higher on the agenda and also build trust by raising its finance commitments before COP27.” Notes for Editors: Read the WWF COP27 Expectations Paper. All WWF reports, statements, issue papers and briefing notes will be published on our COP27 webpage at Contact: WWF International Media Team -
Posted: June 16, 2022, 12:00 am