Global Spotlight Report #24: Recent Significant Climate Change Events

Introduction

For Global Spotlight Report #24 we asked Climate Scorecard Country Managers to report on significant climate change events in their countries that occurred from October 2019 – January 2020. First and foremost on most lists were the disappointing results from UNFCCC’s Conference of the Parties #25. Perhaps jinxed by the last minute move of COP 25 from Chile to Spain, COP 25 failed to advance the mission of the Paris Agreement and the planet’s battle against climate change. The 26,000 conference delegates were unable to reach consensus on most issues, pushing important decisions forward to COP 26 in Glasgow later this year. An unholy alliance of Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and the US succeeded in blocking a commitment to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Around the world many countries struggled to cope with extreme weather events. Brazil and Australia battled forest fires that burned large acreage in the Amazon, killed more than a billion animals, and pushed many species to the brink of extinction in Australia. India and South Korea battled “fine dust” and intense air pollution. Japan was hit by two powerful typhoons. Delta regions in Nigeria were harmed by widespread floods.

Some countries launched impressive initiatives to strengthen their climate policies: China is making serious efforts to re-green its deserts; France has launched an ambitious process to engage stakeholders from different sectors in the development of new climate change policies; Germany has approved a new Climate Protection Law; and state Governors in Mexico have formed an Alliance for Climate Action.

Then there are the climate denier countries such as Australia, whose Prime Minister refuses to concede the connection between climate change and his country’s wildfires and the United States, where President Trump has begun the formal process of withdrawing the US from the Paris Agreement.

2020 will go a long way to determining the ability of countries around the world to work together to meet the challenges of climate change. It is the year when countries are asked to strengthen their pledges to the Paris Agreement and make them compliant with the IPCC global warming goal of a planet that is 1.5 degrees Celsius cooler by 2030. Based on the apparent lack of interest by some major greenhouse gas emitting countries one wonders whether this goal will be achieved.

Ron Israel
Director
Climate Scorecard
www.climatescorecard.org


Country Reports

Australia’s Summer of Bushfire Disaster

Australia’s current fire season is one for the history books. As of mid-January official estimates are that 17 million hectares has been burnt. 80% of the world renowned Blue Mountains and 50% of the Gondwana Rainforest world heritage area has been lost (though, in a rare good news story, groves of prehistoric-age Wollemi Pines have…

Read More
0 comments

Similarities and Differences in the Forest and Bush Fires in Brazil and Australia

Nothing has made Brazil more relevant in recent news and in climate change discussion than the fires in the Amazon Rainforest at the end of 2019. The ongoing crisis shows a stark comparison to other devastating wildfires in recent months. In particular, with the wildfires in Australia gaining a lot of momentum in the news,…

Read More
0 comments

New Ecofiscal Climate Gaps Report Recommends More Rigorous Actions Needed to Meet Canada’s Emission Goals

Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission is a group of independent, policy-minded economists from industry, environment and broad political thought who seek to inform the public and policy-makers of necessary ecofiscal policy reform required for economy and environment to work together for our future. This Commission has long proclaimed the need for cost-effective policy to achieve Canada’s environmental…

Read More
0 comments

China Makes Serious Efforts To Re-Green Its Deserts

With forests and grasslands burning across the planet, the importance of forests as carbon sinks has come back into the world’s focus. China has become the recognized leader in the successful greening of degraded grasslands and deserts, as proven by a number of recent awards. In December 2019, the United Nations recognized China’s Ant Forest…

Read More
0 comments

EU Proposes a Green Climate Deal

Ursula Von der Leyen, the new EU Commissioner, revealed a new set of policy initiatives brought forward by the new European Commission as ‘Europe’s man on the moon moment’. The commission has been in office since November 2019 in order to tackle climate change. The flagship initiative is a climate law which will commit EU…

Read More
0 comments

France Seeks New Ways to Legitimize Climate Measures

In the final quarter of 2019, France embarked on a new venture to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions as the Citizens’ Climate Convention (Convention citoyenne pour le climat) commenced its work on 4 October. Consisting of 150 citizens drawn by lot, the Convention’s task is to draft policy measures that will allow France to reduce…

Read More
0 comments

Germany Decides on Final Climate Protection Law

In November 2019, the German federal government passed the new “Klimapaket” (Climate Packet) to immediately take action to achieve the initial pledges made in the Paris Agreement. Long discussions and revisions have taken place internally among parties and in parliament to reach to the final document of the “Klimaschutzgesetz”, which is the official agreement to…

Read More
0 comments

High Level Meetings Take Place to Address Climate Change; Toxic Pollution Stifles Delhi

India has been taking concrete actions to step up its climate change activities ranging from hosting ministerial meetings, to spurring the private sector, to participating in the climate change movement. The last quarter of 2019 saw several events, meetings, and programs in which private sector, non-governmental organizations, and ministerial groups’ came together to address climate…

Read More
0 comments

Increased Flooding Threatens Indonesia’s Capital

Flood events in Indonesia are becoming increasingly intense and frequent. Two UNESCO biosphere reserve islands, recognized for their natural beauty and biodiversity, were subsumed by the ocean. Betet and Gundul islands are now between 1 and 3 meters below sea level. Four other nearby islands are on the verge of disappearing. The loss of coastline…

Read More
0 comments

Extreme Weather Events Affect Japan

During September and October, Japan was hit by two powerful typhoons, Faxai and Hagibis. Both were among the strongest storms to hit Kanto, a region in central Japan where Tokyo is located, in decades: the winds sped up to 225 km/h and rain approached to 1 meter within 24 hours in some places [1]. The…

Read More
0 comments

Mexican Governors Launch Alliance for Climate Action

During COP 25 in Madrid, the governor of Jalisco and coordinator of the Committee on the Environment, Water Resources, and Climate Change (Conago), Enrique Alfaro, presented the Mexican Alliance of Governors for Climate, a multi-state partnership of governors for climate action. With the launch of this initiative, Mexican states are showing leadership and willingness to…

Read More
0 comments

Stakeholders Mobilize Climate Change Adaptation Strategies in Nigeria

Nigeria is experiencing adverse climate conditions with negative impacts on the welfare of millions of people with mounting vulnerability. This is evident with the rise in climate change related risks such as high temperatures, erratic rainfall, sea level rise, flooding and drought. For that, the nation is already grappling with many of the most disturbing…

Read More
0 comments

President Putin Admits Climate Change is Happening and the Russian Government Unveils a Climate Adaptation Plan

At his annual press conference on December 19, 2019 the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, admitted that climate change is indeed happening. However, the Russian President also explicitly stated that “nobody knows” what causes climate change, thus casting doubt on the overwhelming scientific consensus that what we are experiencing has direct anthropogenic causes….

Read More
0 comments

Saudi Arabia Joins with Others to Block Progress at COP 25

The UN Climate Change Conference, COP 25, took place this last December 2019 in Madrid, Spain. As part of the Paris Climate Agreement, Saudi Arabia was present and an active participant in discussions that were aimed at negotiating ambitious plans to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees C. Yet again, as in previous conferences, Saudi…

Read More
0 comments

Constitutional Court Rules Against Coal Mining in Mpumalanga Protected Area of South Africa

Earlier in the month of November 2019, the Constitutional Court refused a mining company’s final challenge of a 2018 High Court decision to set aside Ministerial approvals for a proposed coal mine in South Africa. The Constitutional Court had the final say on the approvals for a coal mine inside an Mpumalanga Protected Area and…

Read More
0 comments

National Assembly Declares Fine Dust to be a Social Disaster in South Korea

Nothing is more important than breathing for survival. But even breathing is threatened in Korea. The South Korean National Assembly officially declared the fine dust issue as a ‘social disaster’ in March 2019. And in December 2019, fine dust was selected as the most important environmental issue of 2019 in a vote of citizens. According…

Read More
0 comments

Despite High Expectations, Climate Leaders Fail to Agree at Madrid COP25

2019 was a year of increasing visibility of climate change: motivated global citizens stepped up to the plate and demanded change from global leaders, many 2020 presidential candidates from the U.S. finally put real focus on climate change as one of their top priorities and campaigning strategies, and “climate crisis” was the word of the…

Read More
0 comments

High-Level Policy Dialogue and Workshops Held in December 2019 to Make Thailand’s Water Resources More Climate Resilient

On December 2, 2019, a high-level Inter-Agency policy dialogue was held in Bangkok between the Office of the Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP) and the Office of the National Water Resources (ONWR). The dialogue addressed “the need for cross-agency and multi-level collaboration to make Thailand’s water resources management more climate-resilient in the…

Read More
0 comments

The City of Izmir Announces a 2030 40% Carbon Emissions Reduction Target and a Commitment to Long-Term Sustainable Development

25 district municipalities of the City of İzmir are cooperating in the fields of nature protection, climate crisis, migration, inequality and poverty under the leadership of the Metropolitan Municipality. This initiative seeks to create an exemplary model for Municipalities in Turkey. Many projects are being carried out by the Metropolitan to prepare the city against…

Read More
0 comments

Ukraine Government Puts Forward New Climate Change Policies at COP 25

At the end of 2019 Ukraine had several major events that will affect its climate policy. The new Parliament organized a hearing on “Priorities for Environmental Policy for the Next Five years”. During the hearing the Minister of Energy and Environment of Ukraine, deputies, and researchers presented a vision of the environmental priorities for the…

Read More
0 comments

UK Conservative Party Demonstrates an Interest in Climate Change Post Brexit

The last few months has represented a transition in the UKs climate narrative following the UK general election on the 12th December 2019 and subsequent victory for the Conservative party with a 45% majority. Securing 365 seats in Parliament, they have the largest Conservative majority government since Margaret Thatcher. Many ‘safe’ Labour seats were lost…

Read More
0 comments

Trump Begins Formal Paris Agreement Withdrawal as US Emissions Increase

On November 4, 2019, President Donald Trump officially began the formal process to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement. Although the President had announced his intent in June of 2017, he was unable to formally submit the intent to withdraw until three years after the agreement had entered into force. Climate activists and opponents…

Read More
0 comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

x
x

Climate change is real, and what governments do matters.

Help us work with key stakeholders globally to ensure continued support of the The Paris Agreement.