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The latest climate change news from WWF

Climate change affects oceans and, in turn, marine life. © Pixabay

Governments meet in Monaco over the next week to approve a scientific report outlining climate change impacts on the earth's oceans and snow and ice-covered places - or cryosphere - and our options to respond.

 

Gland, SWITZERLAND (17 September 2019) – Governments are meeting in the Principality of Monaco from Friday to approve a new UN report that outlines the impacts and risks to nature and humans of dramatically changing oceans, polar regions and glaciers. The report will underscore the crisis we face, with already seen climate impacts increasing in scale, frequency and intensity.

 

The science presented in the report is expected to further underline 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.

 

Produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UN body responsible for assessing the science related to climate change, this and other IPCC reports are the authoritative source of information on climate change, and underpin the international community's understanding of climate change and related issues. The report will add to knowledge on how climate change is affecting ocean, coastal, polar and mountain ecosystems, and is also expected to examine how nature and society must respond to the risks this poses to achieve climate-resilient development.

 

This report, as well as other recent IPCC reports, is expected to inject urgency into the process of countries increasing ambition in their national climate plans. 

 

Vanessa Perez-Cirera, deputy leader of WWF's global climate and energy programme, said: "This report should outline the multiple connections between climate change and the food and water for livelihoods and climate regulation which we depend on these areas to provide. The report should also give a robust and integrated assessment of the impact of climate change on these sensitive ecosystems, and what options are open to us to address these. It should also be a clarion call to governments to substantially increase their climate pledges by 2020."

 

Dr Stephen Cornelius, chief adviser on climate change for WWF-UK and head of WWF's delegation in Monaco, said: "We already see accelerated impacts of climate change across the globe and are at a point where we simply cannot ignore the warning signs from our planet any longer. No matter what any sceptic might say, the risks we face in the future are real and, if left unchecked will have disastrous consequences for millions of people and for the planet's most vulnerable ecosystems.

Rapid and deep cuts to global greenhouse gas emissions is crucial to limit many climate risks and will also make adaptation easier and more effective."  

Peter Winsor, Director of WWF'S Arctic Programme, said: "This report will make it very clear that climate change is causing irreversible change and uncertainty for the polar regions. Sea ice is the rainforest of the polar regions. Many polar species rely upon sea ice and that habitat is disappearing. The rapid pace of climate change is also threatening the livelihoods and cultural existence of communities living in the Arctic. Moreover, this is not a localised threat - the world depends on the cooling benefits provided by the polar regions.

 

"Keeping warming to 1.5℃ globally is absolutely critical. Local communities, governments, policy makers and experts all need to come together to protect these special places and the life they support. We have a chance now through immediate and direct action to decide what the future of our unique polar regions will be - and how much of our cryosphere we can retain."

 

John Tanzer, leader of WWF's global oceans programme, said: "This report should erase any doubts about the peril that climate change poses for the health of the ocean and, as a consequence, for human well-being.  From coral reefs and mangroves to fish populations and coastal habitats, climate change and human pressures are rapidly destroying the natural capital that supports the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people around the world. 

 

There can no longer be talk of sustainable development without the massive scaling-up of the restoration of the ocean's own natural defences against the ravages of climate change. We must accelerate action in accordance with the Paris agreement,build healthier oceans and turn to nature-based solutions with unprecedented resolve." 

 

Stuart Orr, leader of WWF's global freshwater programme said: "This IPCC report will shine a spotlight on a critical but under-reported issue - the irreversible impact that climate change is having on the planet's water towers. Across the world's high mountains, glaciers are melting, snow cover is decreasing and permafrost is thawing – contributing to sea level rise and changing river flows. These patterns are threatening the resilience of communities and the survival of species from the mountains all the way downstream to the sea.

 

"Adapting to these changes will require sound water policies, practices, investments and governance that recognize the full value of functioning and healthy rivers and freshwater systems."

 

-- ends--

 

Notes for Editors

1. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change meets to approve the Summary for Policymakers of its Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC) in Monaco on 20-25 September 2019. The report is due to be launched at 11am CEST on Wednesday 25 September 2019. 
 

2. WWF will have a small team of experts in Monte Carlo, who will be able to speak on the thematic areas of climate change, oceans, the polar regions and glaciers. 

For further information, contact:  

Mandy Jean Woods mwoods@wwfint.org  (or whatsapp +49 1511 885 4162)

WWF International media team news@wwfint.org 

Posted: September 17, 2019, 12:00 am
Wind power in the Netherlands. © Leslie Leong
Brussels, Belgium - 16 September 2019

Together with over 50 NGOs, WWF is launching today a statement with ten priority issues on the EU 'taxonomy' for sustainable investments.  

The upcoming taxonomy aims to show which economic activities are sustainable to help guide investors and prevent greenwashing. The criteria on which the taxonomy will be based are being defined by the European Commission's Technical Expert Group on sustainable finance: it ran a consultation on its proposed criteria, which closed on 13 September. 

The next three months are the key period
when the Technical Expert Group will finalise the criteria and then send them to the Commission.
 
NGOs are concerned that this taxonomy must stay science-based.

They have therefore published a statement summarising their ten priority issues here
 
Sébastien Godinot, Economist, WWF European Policy Office said:
"The Technical Expert Group has proposed a proper framework for a science-based taxonomy; however we have made recommendations to improve specific issues like bioenergy. Alarmingly, conservative lobbies like gas and nuclear are trying to weaken this work. We must make sure they fail : policy-makers must 'listen to the science', as the global student strikes will ask this week.''    

Contact:
Sébastien Godinot
Economist, WWF European Policy Office
+32 489 46 13 14
sgodinot@wwf.eu

Sarah Azau
Senior Communications Officer, WWF European Policy Office
+32 473 57 31 37
sazau@wwf.eu 
Posted: September 16, 2019, 12:00 am
Slovak President Zuzana Caputova Meets WWF and Other NGOs © Office of the Slovakian PresidentSeptember 11, Bratislava (Slovakia) - President Caputova highlighted environmental initiatives as a symbol of co-operation. "We need to work together to reach a very big goal," she noted. Director of WWF-Slovakia Miroslava Plassman also agrees with this, and added that she "praises the fact that the President invited not only environmental organisations, but also climate initiatives." According to Plassmann, "The climate crisis is no longer just a technical issue, but concerns the future of the rightly concerned next generations."

In addition to WWF, President Caputova also received Otto Hudec from the Let's Not Waste Time initiative, Radek Kubala from Greenpeace Slovakia, Juraj Melichar from Friends of the Earth Slovakia, Lucia Szabova from the Concerned Mothers initiative, and Emma Zajackova from Fridays for the Future in the Presidential Palace. Fridays for the Future is organising a global climate strike on Friday, September 20, including in cities around the region such as Bratislava and Budapest.
 
"We may be the first generation to experience the effects of climate change, and we may be the last generation to have a chance to reverse this trend. There are big challenges ahead but the sooner we start dealing with them, the better the chance of a positive change," stated the President, referring to Slovakia's commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050. She also called for sensitivity to the social and economic consequences of these changes.
 
Based on an article by TASR, http://www8.teraz.sk/slovensko/caputova-boj-proti-klimatickej-krize/417844-clanok.htm
Posted: September 14, 2019, 12:00 am
2019 September 10 – (Brussels, Belgium) - WWF welcomes the appointment of a Commission Executive Vice President for the European Green Deal who will also act as Commissioner for Climate Change and oversee the work of the Commissioners for Agriculture, Health, Transport, Energy, Cohesion and Reforms as well as Environment and Oceans. Frans Timmermans mandate letter emphasises his responsibility to mainstream biodiversity priorities across all relevant policy areas. However, the proposed One In, One Out Principle* risks limiting increased ambition.
 
"The structure presented by Commission President-elect von der Leyen shows that she is following through on her climate and environmental promises by giving the highest level of attention to delivering on a European Green Deal," said Ester Asin, Director of the WWF European Policy Office. "Frans Timmermans will also hold the climate portfolio, and thus be in a strong position to ensure that climate action and environmental protection is mainstreamed throughout all other relevant sectors, such as agriculture, energy and transport. He will now need to work closely together with all Commissioners to achieve this mission."
 
During the current legislative period, Timmermans has demonstrated his strong commitment to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). WWF calls on him to lead the European Commission to adopt an overarching EU strategy for the domestic implementation of the SDGs, a step that is urgently required in order for the European Green Deal to succeed.
 
Despite his lack of green credentials, Lithuanian Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius has been handed the environment and oceans portfolio. His mission letter emphasises a strong focus on halting biodiversity loss both within Europe and globally, as well as addressing the pressures facing our oceans ranging from overfishing to plastic pollution. It is now up to the European Parliament to ensure in the upcoming hearing that he demonstrates strong leadership on climate neutrality, nature conservation and the protection of our oceans.
 
"Overall, the picture looks good. But the devil is of course in the details. The proposal to develop a 'one in, one out' instrument in order to limit the body of European legislation - including on the environment - risks having a chilling effect on initiatives needed to achieve the European Green Deal. Before approving the new College, Parliament must oppose this principle, or else it will undermine increased environmental and climate ambition," said Ester Asin.

Contact:
Irene Lucius
Regional Conservation Director,
WWF Central and Eastern Europe
ilucius@wwfcee.org, Tel: +43 1 52 45 470 19

Angelika Pullen
Communications Director,
WWF European Policy Office
apullen@wwf.eu
+32 473 947 966
 
 *"Every legislative proposal creating new burdens should relieve people and businesses of an equivalent existing burden at EU level in the same policy area. The Commission will also work with Member States to ensure that, when transposing EU legislation, they do not add unnecessary administrative burden." (source)
Posted: September 11, 2019, 12:00 am
Close up of mangrove, Antenina in Ambaro Bay, Ambilobe, Madagascar © Nick Riley / WWF-Madagascar

GLAND, Switzerland (10 September 2019) - Nature offers solutions to mitigate against the impacts of rising sea levels, floods, droughts, and heat waves. So, a new report that says nature must be our first line of defence to adapt to the climate crisis is very welcome, says WWF.

 

The report was released today by the Global Commission on Adaption (GCA). The GCA is led by former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

 

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF's global climate and energy practice, said the world is not on track to adapt to the climate crisis, and the most vulnerable communities are bearing the brunt of the consequences. "Through immediate adaptation action, the world can continue to make progress on social, economic and environmental goals while avoiding the costs of anticipated losses. But without bolstering the natural systems on which the world depends, we face an unfathomable future," he said.

 

Deploying nature-based solutions to help the world adapt to the climate crisis must become a clarion call for world leaders at the Climate Action Summit in New York on 23 September, Pulgar-Vidal said.

 

Vanessa Pérez-Cirera, deputy leader of WWF's global climate and energy practice said moving forward, it will be crucial for the GCA to establish a robust nature-related action track in its work. "The report already discusses an action track for natural solutions and a global resilient basin initiative. These merit the highest political support from the Commission, as well as the backing of an increasing number of country champions," she said.

 

As we make choices about how to adapt food, water, infrastructure and cities to the changing climate, it is imperative that we avoid further degrading the natural environment. "If we rely on nature to provide adaptation and mitigation benefits for people, it is critical that we help nature itself adapt to the changing climate. For this reason, we invite the GCA to also adopt a principle of addressing climate risks on nature," Pérez-Cirera said.

 

"The GCA must prioritize green infrastructure wherever possible. While it's often not only economically competitive compared to traditional infrastructure options, it helps in storing carbon and improving ecosystems health and their ability to provide further ecosystem services to our societies," she said.

 

Notes for editors

1. For WWF, nature-based solutions for climate change are those that intentionally utilize nature to deliver tangible and traceable climate adaptation and/or mitigation benefits that also have direct positive implications for human development.

 

2. WWF ́s 5 principles for good nature-based solutions are: (i) must contribute to climate ambition, (ii) are synergistic, (iii) are co-designed with local stakeholders, (iv) are scalable or replicable and (v) traceable.  

 

For further information, contact

Mandy Jean Woods mwoods@wwfint.org
Posted: September 10, 2019, 12:00 am
Gas power station, Scotland © Global Warming Images / WWFBrussels, Belgium - 6 September 2019

What's happening?
The European Investment Bank (EIB) board - made up of Member States and the European Commission - is due to discuss the EIB's draft energy lending policy on 10 September. The draft policy is also on the agenda of the meeting of EU finance ministers (the ECOFIN Council) on 14 September. While the draft is mostly very progressive, there is a risk of its being significantly weakened by the European Commission and some Member States who support gas.

Why does it matter?
The EIB has traditionally funded fossil fuels - giving oil, gas and coal projects more than €2.4bn in 2018. Its new draft policy, however, proposes ending fossil fuel funding from the end of 2020. If the new policy gets adopted and its loopholes tightened, without getting weakened at the upcoming meetings, it will be a major step towards a climate neutral EU, which in WWF's view must be reached by 2040. 

Quote from Sébastien Godinot, Economist at WWF European Policy Office: 
"Getting our financial system right is key to tackling the climate emergency, and the huge EU public bank becoming fossil-free could be a game-changer. 

"By pulling the plug on many fossil fuel projects and their emissions, it would send a major signal globally, while supporting a Europe-wide move to a zero-carbon economy. 

"It seems the European Commission - despite claiming that Europe is a climate leader - is trying reintroduce gas into future EIB policy through the back door. Together with forward-looking Member States, the Commission must defend EIB policy against the gas lobby. Financing polluting gas with public money when we face a climate crisis is scandalous.. " 

What are national positions? 
Many Member States do not have an official position yet on the policy. However, so far it appears that:
- France supports the ambitious draft policy as it stands.
- The European Commission and a group of countries including Latvia and Italy, and potentially Spain and Malta, want to include gas in the draft. 
- Germany is currently split, but likely to reach a government position today

More information:
What is good in the draft policy:
- the proposed phase-out of fossil fuel support by end 2020 (with exemptions)
- the integration of the Energy Efficiency First principle, coupled with a new building renovation initiative
- a new energy transition package, with the EIB proposing to give up to 75% financing to projects in Member States or regions with a 'more challenging transition path'.

What can be done to improve the draft policy: 
  • Tighten the exemption criteria for fossil fuel financing.  
  • Set a stronger Emissions Performance Standard (EPS) at a level of 100 g CO2/kWh, to align with the forthcoming EU sustainable taxonomy.  
  • End financing for utilities and oil & gas companies that don't commit to Paris Agreement alignment.  
  • Ensure that climate-dangerous non-fossil gases are excluded.
  • Set up a test to establish whether a supply-side investment in energy efficiency could be replaced by a demand-side investment.  
  • Tighten EIB criteria for bioenergy: limit support to fast-decaying wastes and residues with no other uses (excluding stumps and stemwood) 
  • Tighten EIB approach for hydropower: focus on retrofitting or dismantling existing hydro.  
  • Accordingly, commit to update the EIB climate strategy in 2020, including its climate spending target - as proposed by future Commission's President von der Leyen in her European Green Deal proposal.
Read WWF's recommendations in full here

Contact:
Sébastien Godinot
Economist, WWF European Policy Office
+32 489 46 13 14
sgodinot@wwf.eu

Sarah Azau
Senior Communications Officer, WWF European Policy Office
+32 473 57 31 37
sazau@wwf.e
Posted: September 6, 2019, 12:00 am
The Amazon rainforest. © Michel Roggo  WWF Canon

Biarritz, France, 26 August 2019 - As leaders at the G7 Summit in Biarritz today announced an aid package for the Amazon, currently dealing with the impacts of unprecedented deforestation, WWF underlines the importance of leaders tackling the root causes of the planet's nature and climate emergencies through concrete, long-term measures rather than stop-gap responses. 

 

In addition to the longer term initiative against Amazon deforestation the G7 nations are expected to unveil in New York next month, WWF calls on their leaders to deliver on substantially enhanced climate commitments that would help safeguard the Amazon and other natural planetary resources.

 

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF's global climate and energy practice said: "While we are encouraged to see leaders reacting to unprecedented forest fires in the Amazon, they must recognize that much more is needed on the Amazonia tragedy and that this is just the tip of the iceberg. It is disappointing that they did not take the opportunity to agree on concrete measures to respond meaningfully to the full extent of the nature and climate emergencies the planet is facing. 

 

"We are not on track to tackle these emergencies - the world's collective ambition is insufficient, and the momentum to raise that ambition is faltering. That is the sobering scientific and political context in which the G7 conclude their annual Summit.

 

"The leaders gathered in Biarritz had a critical opportunity to send a clear signal to the world, in advance of the UN Secretary General's Climate Action Summit in New York in September, on the need for greater climate ambition. 

 

The G7 nations have a critical role to play in tackling the underlying causes of deforestation that has led to destructive forest fires worldwide, by taking action and implementing policies to eliminate imported deforestation from forest-risk commodity supply chains and revisiting deforestation- free trade agreements. 

 

Other key climate topics such as ramping-up the phase-out of the continued amounts of fossil fuels ́ subsidies remain at the heart of what G7 could do to tackle the climate emergency. In particular, WWF urges G7 nations to present revised domestic commitments in the lead-up to CoP25 in Chile aligned with a 1.5°C temperature threshold and double their contribution to the Green Climate Fund.

 

In spite of the final declaration failing to mention climate and nature, the G7 also made some limited progress on biodiversity, particularly the collective G7 adoption of the Metz Charter on Biodiversity, as part of ongoing negotiations to halt biodiversity loss in the lead up to the Biodiversity Conference in China next year, the CBD CoP15.

 

The CBD CoP15 is just one of the series of key intergovernmental meetings on the environment over the coming months, including the Climate Summit, the High-Level Political Forum and United Nations General Assembly in September and the UNFCCC CoP25 and CoP26 in December 2019 and 2020, where global leaders will decide the future of the planet.


"It's not too late. The world is looking for an environmental leader and the G7 has an opportunity, before 2020, to collectively and individually pick up this mantle and act decisively to save nature, and tackle the climate crisis with meaningful action based on existing science, and we urge them to do so," added Pulgar-Vidal.
Posted: August 26, 2019, 12:00 am
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