The latest climate change news from WWF

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 rharvey@wwfint.org WWF International newsdesk: news@wwfint.org 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.
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 mwoods@wwfint.org
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 www.panda.org/cop27 Contact: WWF International Media Team - news@wwfint.org
Posted: June 16, 2022, 12:00 am
We are at a defining moment when it comes to addressing climate change. The risks of global warming and nature loss are quickly becoming overwhelming as our planet is facing multiple crises. The sad reality is that even if we stopped all emissions today, it would still take hundreds of years for our climate to regulate and start to cool. This is due to the amount of carbon and other greenhouse gasses already in our atmosphere. If we truly want to stop catastrophic climate change, then we need to reduce our emissions, draw down emissions already in the atmosphereand speed up the transition to a low-carbon future. Companies need to go beyond reductions and emissions to restore our climate. WWF’s Beyond Net-Zero guidance highlights what actions companies can take to truly help tackle the climate crisis. In addition to an easy to understand action list, the guidance includes the metrics, practical advice, and best practices to help companies go beyond. The 7 actions A corporate climate leader should strive to maximize its contribution to limiting global temperature increase to 1.5°C. This is done by halving emissions by 2030 and achieving net-zero by 2050 at the latest, as well as financing and supporting additional climate and nature solutions, engaging responsibly and actively in climate policy, collaborating with other companies and stakeholders, and enabling and inspiring customers. The seven actions that are expected from a corporate climate leader are: Account and disclose consistently and transparently according to best available practices and against all commitments. Set climate targets in line with 1.5°C according to the SBTi near-term and Net-Zero criteria. Reduce value chain emission (scope 1-3) in line with the 1.5°C trajectory. Finance and support climate and nature solutions across and beyond the value chain. Engage responsibly and actively in climate policy in line with 1.5°C and ensure internal and external corporate policy alignment. Collaborate with value chain partners, peers, employees, and other key stakeholders. Enable and inspire customers through sustainable products and services, education and campaigns, and transparent and accessible information. Why do we need this? Every day we hear new announcements and ambitions from companies in their efforts to become more sustainable. Not all of these are credible or are in line with the approaches and understanding we have to tackle climate change. With Beyond Net-Zero, WWF is creating a best practice approach to ensure action is in line with science and supports the needed societal shifts to achieve a 1.5°C future. Some companies try to reduce their impact by offsetting their emissions without tackling the underlying problems. But this is not good practice. We cannot offset our way out of a climate emergency. Companies need to make those drastic emissions cuts and restore and protect nature – the best strategy is to limit your impacts and emissions by as much as you possibly can before looking into alternative solutions. What is next? To ensure best practice, these topics will need continued development so that companies can go from the ambition phase of their reduction strategies to concrete and credible action plans in line with the latest science. Our long-term vision of Beyond Net-Zero is to provide more practical guidance to companies and collect and share best-practice examples and solutions. Our Partners We worked with H&M and IKEA to help develop this guidance. They are part of a small but growing group of companies that have clearly understood the science, the benefits of cutting emissions and the risks of inaction. To find out more about the Beyond Net-Zero guidance, please contact: Milan Kooijman (milan.kooijman@wwf.se) and Seán Mallon (smallon@wwf.org.uk).
Posted: April 27, 2022, 12:01 am
Last month, the world took a decisive step towards ending the scourge of discarded plastic. In Nairobi, leaders of 175 countries agreed to work towards an “international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution”. The news is hugely welcome. But, as negotiators begin the two-year process of drawing up a draft agreement, they must now ensure the climate impacts of the production, consumption and disposal of plastics are front and centre of the resulting treaty. Images of marine life choking on discarded plastic have galvanized public opinion around the world. Plastic pollution can now be found in the most remote parts of the world. Microplastics are having as-yet unknown impacts on the health of people and wildlife alike. All these make action urgent and popular. But what is less well understood among the public is the contribution that the plastics industry makes to the climate crisis. At present, plastics production accounts for around 6% of global oil production. This figure is set to rise to 20% by 2050 as we decarbonize other carbon-intensive parts of the global economy. That’s because energy-intensive processes see a considerable proportion of these fossil fuels emitted during plastic production. Plastics also contribute to carbon emissions once they are disposed of. Across much of the developing world, plastic waste is burnt, producing toxic air pollution as well as releasing methane and ethylene – both potent warming gases. Similarly, these gases are emitted when plastic is broken down by sunlight, whether on land or in water. This means that the global plastics lifecycle results in enormous volumes of greenhouse gas emissions. In 2019, production and incineration of plastics added an estimated 850 million metric tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, equal to the emissions from nearly 200 coal-fired power plants. By 2050, these emissions are forecast to account for 15% of total emissions. In addition, there are growing concerns that microplastics could be degrading the ability of ocean ecosystems to absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. Scientists believe that microplastics could affect the growth of phytoplankton and their ability to photosynthesize, undermining a critical carbon sink. It is clear, then, that addressing the contribution of plastics to climate change must be a central element of the plastic pollution treaty that emerges from the UN’s two-year negotiating process. Doing otherwise will make it much harder to keep 1.5℃ within reach. But there will be powerful forces arrayed against any international effort to address the climate impact of plastics production. Indeed, as the world moves to electrify transport, plastics will replace petrol and diesel as the key driver of future demand for oil. The oil and gas sector, facing demand destruction in its traditional markets, is investing heavily in plastics and other petrochemicals. An estimated $400 billion of global investment into additional plastics production capacity is at risk of ‘stranding’ – losing its economic value before the end of its life. That would be the case if there is an ambitious agreement on plastics, according to As You Sow. Oil companies will lobby vigorously against this outcome. Governments and civil society, then, must ensure that, over the next two years, the contribution of plastics to climate change must be a key consideration for negotiators. A failure to do so could risk putting the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature threshold beyond reach.
Posted: April 5, 2022, 12:00 am