The UN Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) 2019, out in September, is the latest significant international science-based synthesis report to call for an urgent transformation of current socio-environmental-economic systems. The report draws on recent advances in the natural sciences and maintains that the negative trends in climate change and biodiversity loss presage the crossing of ecosystem tipping points, which […]
War-games are old hat. Destroying a tank, a battalion, even an army, pales to insignificance compared to laying waste to an entire planet in the global heating game. Let us say, the dial to climate catastrophe is measured in parts of atmospheric carbon per million (ppm). Before the industrial era, the dial stayed at 280 ppm for millions of […]
The Brazilian Amazon is in flames again. At the meeting of the G-7 in late August, France’s President Emmanuel Macron led the way in pledging millions of euros to help put out the fires. Canada, the United Kingdom, and others have followed suit. But what can this unusually generous impulse achieve? Can the floods of international money put out […]
Brazil suffered its worst environmental disaster in November 2015. A dam containing waste from an iron ore mine collapsed, killing 19 people and distributing an estimated 39.2 million cubic metres of brown, toxic mud along the Doce river in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. The village of Bento Rodrigues was completely destroyed. The polluted material travelled through to […]
Green parties were among the main winners in May’s European elections. Indeed, they have become a political force in the new European Parliament, and their success should add significant momentum to the push toward renewable energy transition in an otherwise unsympathetic environment. Yet for this to lead to a real tipping point for renewable energy in the EU, the […]
Carbon pricing has been implemented by more than 50 jurisdictions worldwide, and currently covers more than 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions according to the most recent World Bank report on the subject. The jurisdictions pricing carbon include both developed and developing countries. South Africa approved a carbon tax earlier this year. The most recent addition to […]
Our civilisation is experiencing significant challenges on many fronts. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that we have a little over a decade to turn around our economic system to avoid catastrophic changes to the global climate system (IPCC 2018). The Stockholm Resilience Center published a report stating that we have exceeded the ‘safe operating space’ in three […]
Back in 2015, when the Paris Agreement was signed, just a handful of regulators were engaged with climate change risk, notably the Bank of England and the People’s Bank of China.
But now momentum is growing. March 2019 alone saw three important steps forward. First, the Bank of England’s Mark Carney, one of the first central bankers to take action […]
In the 1960s, there were worries that U.S. economic growth would lead to increasingly dangerous levels of pollution, and that by the year 2000, air pollution would make cities like Los Angeles and New York uninhabitable. Instead, U.S. air quality has improved dramatically since then. Between 1990 and 2008, emissions of the most common air pollutants from U.S. manufacturing […]
Throughout the world there have been efforts to reduce gasoline consumption and carbon emissions by changing the cost per mile traveled. One of the reasons to justify such efforts is the concern that emissions from conventional vehicles, which is the second source of carbon emissions after the electricity sector in the U.S., may have serious consequences for the environment.