Climate and environment updates

2 days ago

A "once-in-a-generation" music event circled the world on Saturday, with a slew of megastars taking the stage in New York for Global Citizen Live — 24 hours of shows across the planet to raise awareness on climate change, vaccine equality and famine. 

Britain's Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, advocated for COVID-19 vaccine access to be treated "as a basic human right," as the event was broadcast live from New York's Central Park.

"The way you're born should not dictate your ability to survive," the Duke of Sussex said to cheers from the thousands-strong crowd.

NGO Global Citizen wants one billion trees planted, two billion vaccines delivered to the poorest countries and meals for 41 million people on the brink of starvation.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex followed performances by singer Alessia Cara and pop veteran Cyndi Lauper with a rendition of her "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" dedicated to Afghan women. — AFP

4 days ago

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday urges all countries to raise their climate ambitions as the UN Security Council took up the environmental crisis, warning that it is aggravating conflicts.

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Blinken points to recent record rains in New York that contributed to dozens of deaths and said climate has aggravated conflicts in countries including Syria, Mali, Yemen, South Sudan and Ethiopia.

"The climate crisis isn't coming. It's already here and clear patterns are emerging and its impact, the consequences, are falling disproportionately on vulnerable and low-income populations," Blinken says.

"All our nations must take immediate, bold actions," Blinken says, weeks ahead of high-stakes UN climate talks in Glasgow. — AFP

September 20, 2021

Natural disasters sparked by climate change have forced more than 100,000 people to flee their homes in Burundi in recent years, British charity Save the Children says in a new report released on Monday.

It says climate shocks — not conflict — are now the main cause of internal displacement in the landlocked East African country, which has a largely rural population.

"Over 84 percent of all internally displaced people in Burundi... have been displaced due to natural disasters rather than conflict, mostly due to the rise of Lake Tanganyika, Africa's second-largest lake," the charity says. — AFP

September 16, 2021

A new climate change report out Thursday shows that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius will be impossible without immediate, large-scale emissions cuts, the UN chief said.

The United in Science 2021 report, published by a range of UN agencies and scientific partners just weeks before the COP26 climate summit, said climate change and its impacts were accelerating.

And a temporary reduction in carbon emissions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic had done nothing to slow the relentless warming, it found.

The 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, struck at the COP21 summit, called for capping global warming at well below 2 C above the pre-industrial level, and ideally closer to 1.5 C.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the report's findings were "an alarming appraisal of just how far off course we are" in meeting the Paris goals. — AFP

September 16, 2021

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will host a closed-door meeting of world leaders Monday on the sidelines of the General Assembly in New York to boost climate commitments.

The roundtable comes less than six weeks before a major United Nations climate meeting, COP26, in Glasgow, aimed at ensuring the world meets its goal of holding century-end warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

"UNGA is the last big moment in the international calendar ahead of COP26," Britain's UN ambassador Barbara Woodward says in a statement. "Climate change will be the UK's top priority." — AFP

September 13, 2021

The UN rights chief warned Monday that environmental threats were worsening conflicts worldwide and would soon constitute the biggest challenge to human rights.

Michelle Bachelet said climate change, pollution and nature loss were already severely impacting rights across the board and said countries were consistently failing to take the necessary action to curb the damage.

"The interlinked crises of pollution, climate change and biodiversity act as threat multipliers, amplifying conflicts, tensions and structural inequalities, and forcing people into increasingly vulnerable situations," Bachelet told the opening of the 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

"As these environmental threats intensify, they will constitute the single greatest challenge to human rights of our era."

The former Chilean president said the threats were already "directly and severely impacting a broad range of rights, including the rights to adequate food, water, education, housing, health, development, and even life itself".

She said environmental damage usually hurt the poorest people and nations the most, as they often have the least capacity to respond. — AFP 

September 7, 2021

A global network of more than 1,500 climate NGOs called on Britain to postpone the upcoming COP26 climate summit, saying in a statement on Tuesday that a lack of COVID-19 vaccines risked sidelining developing countries.

Rising cases, unequal global vaccine rollout and stringent quarantine requirements for some 60 "red list" nations and territories hoping to attend the 12-day UN climate talks mean that "a safe, inclusive and just global climate conference is impossible," the Climate Action Network said.

"Our concern is that those countries most deeply affected by the climate crisis and suffering from the lack of support by rich nations in providing vaccines will be left out," said Tasneem Essop, CAN's executive director.

"There has always been an inherent power imbalance within the UN climate talks and this is now compounded by the health crisis." — AFP

September 3, 2021

At least 25 people in the New York region have died from flash flooding caused by rainfall brought by the remnants of Hurricane Ida, officials said Thursday.

Twelve people have now lost their lives in New York City, including 11 who were trapped in the basements of their home, the NYPD said.

Ten were known to have died in New Jersey, according to officials there and another three succumbed to heavy flooding near Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. — AFP

September 2, 2021

At least eight people have died in New York after the city was inundated by flash flooding, police said Thursday, as Storm Ida wreaked havoc on the northeast United States, forcing flight cancellations and state of emergency declarations.

Ida slammed into the southern state of Louisiana over the weekend, bringing severe flooding and tornadoes as it blazed a trail of destruction north.

New York state governor Kathy Hochul declared an emergency as the remnants of the storm caused massive flooding in the country's financial and cultural capital, leaving the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens badly hit. 

Police did not say how the eight deaths in the city occurred. — AFP

August 31, 2021

Japan and the United States agreed to press China to further reduce carbon emissions, the Japanese foreign minister said Tuesday after high-level talks in Tokyo.

US climate envoy John Kerry is in Japan to drive international action ahead of November's COP26 summit to combat global warming.

"We discussed our cooperation on efforts to reduce the emissions of major emitter countries, including China," Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told a press briefing after meeting Kerry.

"China is the world's largest emitter of CO2, as it is also the world's second-largest economy... it is important that we call on them to fulfil the responsibility appropriate to their status," he said.

Kerry will meet Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and then travel to China to hold talks with Xie Zhenhua, the country's special envoy for climate change affairs.

The 26th edition of the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties, or COP26, begins on November 1 in the Scottish city of Glasgow. — AFP

August 24, 2021

Climate change made the deadly floods that devastated parts of Germany and Belgium last month up to nine times more likely to occur, according to an international study published Tuesday.

The World Weather Attribution team of experts found downpours such as the extreme rainfall in July are now up to 19 percent heavier due to human-caused warming. — AFP

August 23, 2021

Scores of firefighters backed by water-dropping aircraft battled a forest fire that broke out early Monday on the southern part of Greece's Evia island, less than two weeks after an inferno decimated its northern part.

The fire was burning near the village of Fygia where two neighborhoods have been evacuated and was moving toward the coastal tourist village of Marmari, where authorities were preparing boats to evacuate people if needed, according to Athens News Agency.

Forty-six firefighters were battling flames fanned by high winds — assisted by 20 fire engines, three water-dropping airplanes and two helicopters, the Greek fire brigade said. 

Authorities have boats on standby off Marmari. Evia is northeast of the capital Athens.

The civil protection authorities had announced on Sunday a "very high risk" of fire for many areas of Greece on Monday. — AFP

August 17, 2021

Thousands of people, including tourists in campsites, have been evacuated as a wildfire raged near the plush resort of Saint-Tropez in southern France, the fire service said Tuesday.

Around 750 firefighters and water-droppping aircraft were battling the blaze in difficult conditions, with high temperatures and strong winds.

"Thousands of people have been evacuated as a precautionary measure, but there are no victims," a fire service spokeswoman said, adding that the blaze was "still very fierce".

France is just the latest of a number of Mediterranean countries to be hit by extreme weather and wildfires, which climate scientists warn will become increasingly common because of man-made global warming. — AFP

August 15, 2021

In recent years, the pines had grown so much that the Haniosakis family could no longer see the Acropolis from their charming garden in Drosopigi, a small hamlet overlooking Athens.

"And now there she is again, because everything has gone up in smoke," Betty Haniosakis, 77, acknowledges bitterly, sitting on a bed in a nearby municipal summer camp where her family sheltered from the flames.

When the fire reached her home last week in a wave of blazes that would later engulf the island of Evia in the east and parts of the Peloponnese too, the danger did not seem too imminent at first.

The fire "came very slowly, there was not a bit of wind," recalls American-born Betty.

Residents of the sparsely-populated community had already received warning messages by cellphone from the civil protection authority to evacuate.

The police drove by once, twice. The third time they came over, there was no more time to dither.

"'You need to leave. Now,' they said," recalls Haniosakis' daughter Eleni, a 45-year-old teacher.

"That's when we knew it was very serious."

They were among hundreds forced to abandon their homes that week, unsure of whether they would see them again.

That week, Greece battled around 600 blazes, some of them "mega fires", Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis later explained.

With conditions on the ground bone-dry in the worst heatwave in decades, a fire in the forest of Varibobi near Athens roared back to life after being nearly subdued and spread to neighbouring Drosopigi.

Betty wanted to take refuge in the basement, shutting the doors and hiding under soaked blankets.

But her daughter persuaded her to flee alongside their three cats and three dogs. Her elderly husband Giorgos, 89 and in a wheelchair, had already left a day earlier.

The family found temporary lodgings in a summer camp for children that had been closed owing to the pandemic, and there they remain. — AFP

August 10, 2021

China insists Tuesday it is implementing its climate commitments, while signalling no new policies following a UN report warning much more urgent action was needed to fight global warming.

Many world leaders responded to Monday's report, which said climate change was occurring faster than estimated, by calling for decisive and immediate moves to curtail fossil fuels.

When asked for a response to the report, China's foreign ministry emphasised the government's current policies and commitments.

"China has insisted on prioritising sustainable, green and low-carbon development," a spokesperson tells AFP in a statement. — AFP

August 10, 2021

A bombshell climate science report "must sound a death knell" for coal, oil and gas, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Monday, warning that fossil fuels were destroying the planet.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that the 1.5C temperature goal of the Paris Agreement would likely be breached around 2030 — a decade earlier than it itself projected just three years ago.

Guterres called the IPCC's assessment, the most detailed review of climate science ever conducted, "code red for humanity". — AFP

August 10, 2021

The capacity of forests, soil and oceans to soak up more than half of all manmade CO2 pollution is projected to weaken with further emissions, threatening efforts to cap global warming at liveable levels, the UN warned Monday.

So-called land and ocean sinks have consistently pulled 56 percent of CO2 generated by human activity from the atmosphere over the last six decades, but that percentage is set to diminish, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report said. -- AFP

August 10, 2021

Climate impacts such as rising sea levels and the melting of Earth's frozen spaces are now "irreversible for centuries or millenia" even if mankind radically curbs its carbon pollution, a UN scientific report warned on Monday.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said the greenhouse gases humans had already emitted meant it was inevitable that oceans would continue to rise due to heating and ice melt, "and will remain elevated for thousands of years". — AFP

August 10, 2021

All but a tiny fraction of the 1.1 degrees Celsius of global warming since the mid-19th century is "unequivocally caused by human activities," the UN said Monday in its first comprehensive assessment of climate science since 2014.

"It has been clear for decades that the Earth's climate is changing, and the role of human influence on the climate system is undisputed," Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group 1 co-chair Valerie Masson-Delmotte said in a statement. — AFP

August 10, 2021

Global heating is on track to hit 1.5 degrees Celsius around 2030, a full decade earlier than projected in 2018, according to a bombshell UN climate science report released Monday.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment said the 1.5C warming threshold — a cornerstone goal of the Paris Agreement — would be surpassed by 2050 no matter how aggressively humanity draws down fossil-fuel driven carbon pollution. — AFP

August 9, 2021

As heart-stopping images of fires and floods dominate news cycles worldwide, the UN's climate science panel will unveil on Monday its much-anticipated projections for temperature and sea-level rises less than three months before a crucial climate summit in Scotland.

After two weeks of virtual negotiations, 195 nations approved the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) comprehensive assessment of past and future warming on Friday in the form of a "summary for policymakers".

The text — vetted and approved line by line, word by word — is likely to paint a grim picture of accelerating climate change and dire threats on the horizon. — AFP

July 28, 2021

The global economy's business-as-usual approach to climate change has seen Earth's "vital signs" deteriorate to record levels, an influential group of scientists said Wednesday, warning that several climate tipping points were now imminent.

The researchers, part of a group of more than 14,000 scientists who have signed on to an initiative declaring a worldwide climate emergency, said that governments had consistently failed to address the root cause of climate change: "the overexploitation of the Earth". 

Since a similar assessment in 2019, they noted an "unprecedented surge" in climate-related disasters, including flooding in South America and Southeast Asia, record-shattering heatwaves and wildfires in Australia and the US, and devastating cyclones in Africa and South Asia. 

Of 31 "vital signs" — key metrics of planetary health that include greenhouse gas emissions, glacier thickness, sea-ice extent and deforestation — they found that 18 hit record highs or lows. 

For example, despite a dip in pollution linked to the pandemic, levels of atmospheric CO2 and methane hit all-time highs in 2021.

Greenland and Antarctica both recently showed all-time low levels of ice mass, and glaciers are melting 31 percent faster than they did just 15 years ago, the authors said.  — AFP

July 27, 2021

Thousands of US firefighters are battling a blaze in California that has grown so big it is generating its own weather system, with authorities warning on Monday conditions could worsen.

The flames have grown large enough to create clouds that can cause lightning and high winds, which in turn fan the fire, according to experts.

Around 5,400 firefighters have been struggling to contain the inferno, which was just 22 percent contained late Monday, the California fire and forestries department reported.

"If these clouds get tall enough they do have the potential to produce lightning," warned Julia Ruthford, a government meteorologist assigned to the blaze. — AFP

July 23, 2021

Piles of cars were strewn across a central Chinese city Thursday as shocked residents picked through the debris of a historic deluge that claimed at least 33 lives, with rescue efforts ongoing and hundreds seeking to find their relatives.

An unprecedented downpour dumped a year's rain in just three days on the city of Zhengzhou, weather officials said, instantly overwhelming drains and sending torrents of muddy water through streets, road tunnels and the subway system.

Hundreds of thousands of people in the area were also affected by the floods, with farmland inundated and road and rail links severed.

In worst-hit Zhengzhou, grim images of horror inside the subway system were relayed in real-time over social media, showing water rising during Tuesday's rush hour from the ankles of passengers to their necks.

At least a dozen people died before rescuers were able to cut survivors free from carriages. — AFP

July 22, 2021

Thousands of residents fled blazes in western Canada on Wednesday with several hundred soldiers scheduled to deploy to fight this year's virulent and early fires, which are wreaking havoc across portions of western North America.

"I have a holiday trailer that is my new home," said Margo Wagner, head of a district in the western province of British Columbia, who has found herself among the evacuees.

The fire marks the second time in four years that her home in the province's central Canim Lake rural area has been threatened by a blaze.

South of the border, a number of communities in the United States are being threatened by wildfires, creating conditions so extreme that the blazes have generated their own weather, according to experts.

Nearly 80 huge fires are currently ravaging hundreds of thousands of acres (hectares) in California, Oregon, Montana and Nevada.

The largest among these is still the Bootleg Fire in Oregon, which has burned through a section of land the same size as the city of Los Angeles, in just two weeks.

"The fire got so big and it creates so much energy that it started to create its own weather," Marcus Kauffman, a specialist with the Oregon Department of Forestry, told AFP, adding that the blaze "feeds on itself" and has even been making its own lightning. — AFP

July 21, 2021

Twelve people died after torrential rains flooded the subway in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou, authorities said Wednesday, as shocking images of passengers struggling against neck-high water inside a train carriage emerged on social media.

The city "has experienced a series of rare and heavy rainstorms, causing water to accumulate in Zhengzhou metro", city officials said in a Weibo post, adding 12 people died and five were injured. — AFP

July 21, 2021

Canada's western province of British Columbia declared a state of emergency Tuesday, with wildfires expected to grow even larger in the coming days due to high heat and winds.

"We have reached a critical point," said provincial public safety minister Mike Farnworth.

"Based on the advice of emergency management and wildfire officials, and my briefing last night on the worsening weather, I am declaring a provincial state of emergency."

The decision empowers officials to organize mass-scale evacuations and to provide emergency accommodation for evacuees, he added.

Some 5,700 people were under evacuation orders in the province Tuesday — more than double the previous day's tally, as the threatened region grew in size.

Around 32,000 more residents have been placed on alert. — AFP

July 8, 2021

Colombia lost more than 1,700 square kilometers of forest in 2020, an area the size of the capital Bogota and an eight percent increase on the previous year, the environment ministry said Wednesday.

Some 64 percent of wildfires and deforestation affected the Amazon, the world's largest tropical rainforest that is shared with eight other countries and territories.

"That's where we have to make the most efforts," said Environment and Sustainable Development Minister Carlos Correa. 

Francisco Cruz, the deputy environment minister, said the 2020 increase is due to the influence of armed groups that encourage illegal logging by farmers.

Leftist guerrillas, drug-traffickers and smugglers all operate in the Amazon.

Deforestation has soared since a 2016 peace accord between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) leftist rebels.

The very next year it reached a record level of 2,170 square kilometers. — AFP

July 6, 2021

New Zealand recorded its hottest June on record as temperatures continued to soar in a pattern consistent with global warming, a government scientific agency said Tuesday.

Daily temperatures averaged 10.6 Celsius (51.1 Fahrenheit) — 1.9C above average despite a cold snap late in the month, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) said.

"It's huge. There's only been 13 times since 1909 that we've had such an anomaly," NIWA scientist Chris Brandolino told public radio.

"What's alarming is that over the past 10 years that's happened six times." — AFP

June 23, 2021

For thousands of years, people have built their great metropolises right up against the contours of coasts, in estuaries and deltas, confident of the ebb and flow of the tides. 

Domination of the seas allowed many coastal cities to become trading powerhouses and cultural melting pots. 

But now that strength is becoming a liability as climate change swells the oceans, redrawing the map and putting hundreds of millions at risk.

That's the warning of an unpublished draft report by the UN's climate science advisory panel, seen exclusively by AFP, which outlines the vast and urgent climate threats facing the planet. — AFP

June 16, 2021

A financial exchange offering carbon credits and investments in conservation projects is set to launch in Singapore, but it may struggle to convince sceptics of the value of controversial carbon offsets. 

Climate Impact X (CIX), backed by the Singapore stock exchange, the city-state's main investment fund and biggest bank, aims to help the growing number of firms seeking to cut greenhouse gas emissions. 

From oil majors to tech giants and airlines, companies are lining up to make net-zero pledges, but face challenges to hit their targets. — AFP

June 2, 2021

"Now, when there's smoke here, everybody panics," said Steve Crowder, mayor of the small town of Paradise that was almost wiped off the map by California's deadly 2018 wildfires.

The former police officer still struggles to hold back tears when talking about the blaze that claimed dozens of lives and engulfed 95 percent of his community's buildings.

"It's still hard to get over the 85 people that didn't get out," he told AFP.

"It's the most horrific thing that I've ever experienced in my life... I think fire terrorizes everybody here."

Across California, deadly infernos have only expanded in size since that traumatic year — in 2020, some 4.3 million acres went up in smoke.

Now, the western US state is bracing for the worst as yet another dry summer approaches. Already five times more vegetation has burned this year compared to the same time last year. — AFP

May 31, 2021

For the first time since 2019 and following a flurry of net-zero pledges from the world's largest emitters, UN climate negotiations resume Monday in a virtual format just six months before the crunch COP26 summit.

The talks, nominally hosted by the United Nations climate change programme in the German city of Bonn, will all be informal, meaning that no decisions will be taken during the three-week dialogue.

But with increasingly dire warnings from scientists that the pace of global warming is already outstripping humanity's best plan to cut emissions, the pressure for progress to be made on a number of thorny issues is high.

In 2018, countries agreed to many elements of the Paris agreement "rulebook", governing how each nation implements its goals.

But several issues remain unresolved, including rules about transparency, carbon markets, and a unified timeframe for all countries to ratchet up their emissions cuts. — AFP

May 27, 2021

Three Indian vessels on Thursday joined the battle to contain a major fire on a container ship off the Sri Lanka coast amid fears that it could break up and spew out hundreds of tons of oil.

The X-Press Pearl has been blazing out of control for a week and with heavy winds battering the Singapore-registered vessel, authorities fear a new oil disaster on Sri Lanka's beaches.  

The Indian coastguard ships have joined a Sri Lankan navy ship and four private tugs spraying water on the X-Press Pearl, which has 25 tons of nitric acid in its cargo.

A military helicopter was deployed to drop bags of fire retardant chemicals on the ship Wednesday.

But the fire has weakened the 186-meter long vessel and it could break up and spill oil, according to Sri Lanka's Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) — AFP

May 27, 2021

Indigenous Brazilians of the Mundurucu ethnic group on Wednesday said their leaders were attacked following a police operation aimed at kicking out miners squatting on native land in the far northern state of Para.

Brazil's Supreme Court this week ordered the government to protect members of the Mundurucu and Yanomami indigenous groups who are threatened by wildcat miners in their communities deep in the Amazon rainforest.

"Criminals are terrorizing the leaders of the Mundurucu people for opposing illegal mining," tweeted Sonia Guajajara, a leader of the Association of Brazil's Indigenous Peoples (APIB).

"In an act of terrorism they torched the home of (Mundurucu leader) Maria Leusa Kaba and are continuing to threaten other people in reprisal for the Federal Police operation in the region to kick out invaders," said Guajajara, one of the main spokespeople for indigenous Brazilians. — AFP

May 14, 2021

Climate summit COP26, due to take place in Glasgow in November, is "our last hope" of preventing runaway temperature increase, the president of the event was to say in a major speech on Friday.

"I have faith that world leaders will rise to the occasion and not be found wanting in their tryst with destiny," British MP Alok Sharma was set to say, according to extracts of his speech released to the media.

COP26 will bring together climate negotiators from 196 countries and the EU, along with businesses, experts and world leaders. — AFP

May 10, 2021

Climate change is set to devastate Kenya's tea production as the world's largest exporter faces rising temperatures, erratic rainfall and insect infestations, according to analysis released on Monday.

Tea is the world's most consumed drink after water and disruption in supply from the east African nation is predicted to have a global impact. 

A report from the charity Christian Aid outlined the various threats Kenya faces to its key black tea crop, as well as the dangers that other countries are likely to encounter as the planet continues to warm.

Citing a peer-reviewed study, the report said that the quadruple threat of rising temperatures, erratic rainfall, droughts and new insect infestations are forecast to destroy 26.2 percent of the country's optimal tea growing areas by 2050.  

And climate change is expected to reduce the areas with medium quality growing conditions by nearly 40 percent in the same time frame. 

"For generations we have carefully cultivated our tea farms and we are proud that the tea that we grow here is the best in the world," said Richard Koskei, a tea farmer from Kenya's western highlands.  — AFP

April 22, 2021

US President Joe Biden opened an international climate summit Thursday saying that the United States "isn't waiting" to lead on an issue of "moral and economic imperative."

"The cost of inaction keeps mounting. The United States isn't waiting," he said in the opening address of the two-day summit being hosted virtually by the White House. — AFP

April 21, 2021

A group of 43 international banks including sector heavyweights have joined a UN-convened pact to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, the world body said Wednesday.

Bringing together household names like Barclays, HSBC, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas, the "Net Zero Banking Alliance" members vowed to make greenhouse gas emissions from their lending and investment portfolios "align with pathways to net-zero by 2050 or sooner" with regularly updated intermediate goals.

"All targets will be regularly reviewed to ensure consistency with the latest science," the United Nations' finance for the environment initiative UNEP FI said in a statement.

HSBC boss Noel Quinn said it was "essential" for banks to finance the green transition, adding that "we have to establish a robust and transparent framework for monitoring progress... and we want to set that standard for the banking industry."

The group will also be a founding member of a sector-wide initiative — the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) — from former Bank of England governor Mark Carney, the UN special envoy for climate action and finance. — AFP

April 21, 2021

The European Parliament and EU member states have agreed a target to cut carbon emissions by "at least" 55 percent by 2030, the EU Commission said in a statement released early Wednesday.

"The European Climate Law enshrines the EU's commitment to reaching climate neutrality by 2050 and the intermediate target of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels," read the statement. —  AFP

April 14, 2021

New Zealand will force banks to reveal the impact their investments have on climate change under world-first legislation intended to make the financial sector's environmental record transparent, officials say.

Commerce Minister David Clark says the law would make climate reporting mandatory for banks, insurance companies and investment firms.

"Becoming the first country in the world to introduce a law like this means we have an opportunity to show real leadership and pave the way for other countries to make climate-related disclosures mandatory," he says. — AFP

March 25, 2021

Decades of poaching and shrinking habitats have devastated elephant populations across Africa, conservationists said Thursday, warning one sub-species found in rainforests was a step away from extinction.

In an update of its "Red List" of threatened species, the International Union for Conservation of Nature said the African forest elephant population had shrunk by more than 86% in three decades and it was now considered "critically endangered".

The population of the African savanna elephants had meanwhile decreased by at least 60% over the past 50 years, IUCN said, with the Red List now listing that species as "endangered". — AFP

March 19, 2021

As part of its commitment to environmental protection and conservation, Globe joins the world in calling for consistent global recycling efforts, proper waste disposal, ban of single-use plastics and other sustainable initiatives during the worldwide celebration of Global Recycling Day.

It continues to encourage positive consumer behavior through its numerous environmental sustainability programs like E-waste Zero and ‘Wag Sa Single Use plastic or WasSUP that call for the extended lifespan of electronic gadgets, plastics and endorse responsible recycling.

“We introduced our E-waste Zero program back in 2014 as a way to raise funds to put up new classrooms in Aklan which were devastated by typhoon Haiyan. Since then we were able to scale the program by partnering with the rest of the AC Group, corporate clients, schools, and NGOs,” says Yoly Crisanto, Globe Chief Sustainability Officer and SVP for Corporate Communications.

Follow this page for updates about climate change and information on current environmental issues. Main photo by Efigenio Toledo IV

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