Antony Froggatt

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Walking under an array of potted succulent plants in the Green Zone of the UNFCCC COP27 climate conference in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Loss and Damage fund is a historic moment

Anna Aberg

COP27 will go down in history as the UN climate change conference where the Loss and Damage fund was agreed. After decades of pushing, this is a momentous victory for climate-vulnerable developing countries.

The shift in the conversation – and in the positions of developed countries – since COP26 is remarkable. It is critical parties continue to build on the positive momentum created in Sharm as challenging discussions on how the new loss and damage fund will work – and who will contribute to it financially – ensue.

Tim Benton

Overall COP27 was a hectic, sometimes chaotic, event that advanced some matters but left others trailing behind where they need to be to drive ambition towards the sort of climate action required to keep alive the possibility of restricting climate change within the envelope of the Paris agreement.…  Seguir leyendo »

Climate protest march in Brussels, Belgium ahead of the start of COP27 in Egypt. Photo by Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images.

Although global attention on COPs fluctuates from year to year, ultimately all of them are important, even those where big decisions are not expected. One of the reasons for this is that the coming together of all parties can act as push mechanisms for new political leadership on climate to emerge, in sometimes unexpected ways.

At COP26, the US turnaround on climate following the election of President Joe Biden provided hope and momentum. For COP27, it appears likely Brazil’s president-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil could be the star attraction, with the potential to inject new urgency into the process.…  Seguir leyendo »

UK Chancellor of The Exchequer, Kwasi Kwarteng, leaves 11 Downing Street on 23 September 2022 to outline the UK government's economic plan as UK Prime Minister, Liz Truss, attempts to combat the cost of living crisis. Photo: Carl Court via Getty Images.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has impacted energy markets around the world and, as winter in Europe approaches, unprecedently high costs threaten to make energy unaffordable for both large portions of society and many businesses in the UK.

One of the first actions of incoming UK Prime Minister Liz Truss has been to announce significant help for domestic consumers for the next two winters and a proposed cap to the amount that consumers pay for the energy they use while a similar approach is proposed for businesses but only for six months. This package is going to be expensive. The Institute for Fiscal Studies suggests the domestic cap alone will cost more than £100 billion just for one year and both schemes will ultimately be funded by the taxpayer.…  Seguir leyendo »

10 Downing Street in London, United Kingdom as seen on 05 September 2022 as Liz Truss was announced as the UK's next prime minister. Photo: Rasid Necati Aslim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.

It says something of the UK that the incoming prime minister has ordered a rewrite of British foreign policy barely 18 months after the last one was published.

Liz Truss, who has become the fourth prime minister in Downing Street in six turbulent years, is not prone to risk aversion or offering bland reassurances. She made clear during the campaign for the Conservative leadership that she wants the 2021 Integrated Review redrawn with a far greater focus on combating the ‘growing malign influence’ of Russia and China. She has also pledged to increase defence spending from its current 2.1 per cent of GDP, to 2.7 per cent, and then to 3 per cent by 2030, which will include more support for the intelligence services and cyber security, a further £10 billion overall at a time when public finances are in dire straits.…  Seguir leyendo »

As the war in Ukraine continues, further shelling of the Zaporizhzhia power plant prompts fresh concerns over nuclear safety in the region.

Zaporizhzhia, one of the world’s largest nuclear power stations, is situated on the southern bank of the Dnipro River and, as of early August, in a region controlled by Russian military forces. Within days of the start of the war, Russian forces sought to take control of nuclear facilities in the north of Ukraine (Chernobyl) and in the southeast at Zaporizhzha. The unprecedented attack on Zaporizhzhia was followed by a military takeover of the facility on the 4th of March.  Despite the military confrontation, Ukrainian staff have continued to operate the plant and continue to do so to this day.

Although the shelling of the station did not result in the release of radiation, Olexiy Kovynyevis, an independent expert and former reactor supervisor, reports that shells hit the turbine buildings as well as the external power supply which was ‘almost completely disrupted’.…  Seguir leyendo »

Harvesting wheat in the Novovodolazhsky district of the Kharkiv region in Ukraine. Photo by Pavlo Pakhomenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

Russia and Ukraine rank 11th and 55th respectively in terms of their national economies but, for the global supply of critical resources such as energy, food, and minerals, these two countries together are far bigger hitters – and both the threat and reality of resource flows from them being reduced have already driven up global prices.

The world is already facing a cost-of-living squeeze coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, so further price spikes or supply constraints have the potential to seriously undermine food and energy security, equitable access to basic goods and services, and social stability around the world – which can then potentially create systemic risks for economies and societies.…  Seguir leyendo »

Environmental activists attach a banner calling on G7 leaders to act on climate change on the beach in St Ives, Cornwall during the G7 summit on 13 June 2021. Photo: Getty Images.

As the Group of Seven (G7) convened for its first summit since the pandemic began last year, there were a series of interlinked crises that required resolving, from insufficient climate action and a fitful global economic recovery, to grappling with an ever-changing landscape of power, including the rising influence of China.

Building on the Climate Leaders’ Summit, hosted by US President Joe Biden in April, during which many countries, including countries from the G7, pledged more ambitious carbon reduction plans, the G7 released a joint communiqué determined to put ‘climate, biodiversity and the environment at the heart of COVID-19 recovery strategies.’…  Seguir leyendo »

Cars and cyclists in Times Square in New York. More than 300 corporates are pushing the Biden administration to almost double the US' target for cutting its greenhouse gas emissions in 2021. Photo: Getty Images.

In his first 100 days, US President Joe Biden has taken laudable steps to address climate change including establishing a ‘whole of government’ approach, rejoining the Paris Agreement and embedding climate experts to take action across the administration.

But now the real challenge looms. In order for the US to affirm its legitimacy on climate in a politically divided landscape at home, Biden needs to simultaneously prioritize domestic policy action, while rebuilding international alliances to show that his administration can deliver on its long-term commitments.

Specifically, the US needs to get three things right during the Leaders’ Summit on Climate that Biden is hosting this week: demonstrate its commitment to federal-level action that will ensure long-term policy change, validate the durability of transatlantic relationships while expanding partnerships and deftly manage cooperation-competition dynamics with China.…  Seguir leyendo »

Six Aspects of Daily Life Rapidly Changed by COVID-19

When the pandemic struck, many countries were quick to close their borders, turning inward in the scramble to protect lives and livelihoods. Sadly, the crisis has done little to bond nations against this shared, invisible foe – in some cases, blame for the outbreak and rows over responses actually exacerbating geopolitical tensions.

However, some effects of COVID-19 may yet unite us, in the profound ways the disease has impacted almost every part of life across the planet, giving us a rare opportunity to pause and consider how we live. News of an effective vaccine makes the prospect of a ‘return to normality’ more hopeful but have these dramatic accelerations in existing trends already changed how we travel, work, and consume, and the face of our cities for good?…  Seguir leyendo »

Students gather to protest inaction on climate change in front of the parliament building in Oslo, Norway on 22 March 2019. Photo: Getty Images.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, it was clear that the world is undergoing a transition away from fossil fuels and carbon-intensive sectors, towards renewable energy and clean growth. The collapse of oil demand and prices have simply compounded the challenges that oil and gas producers already faced.

What happens next will have significant implications for Norway, as one of the world’s largest exporters of both energy and capital, and for the UK, as it plans its recovery and looks ahead to its hosting of the next major climate change summit in 2021 - COP26.

While the speed and scale of the transition has always been uncertain and contested, an accelerated transition with deep implications for future oil and gas demand looks plausible.…  Seguir leyendo »

The slogan '1.5 Degrees' is projected on the Eiffel Tower as part of the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) on 11 December 2015 in Paris, France. Photo by Getty Images.

The existing rules of engagement within the international climate framework – the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – are proving inadequate for delivering the emissions reductions needed, and at the pace necessary, to meet recognized climate objectives.

The 2015 Paris Agreement established national adaptation and mitigation plans, or Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), in which countries committed to decarbonize their economies over the coming decades. While procedural elements of this framework are legally binding, the crucial NDCs are voluntary.

Working within this essentially constrained rules-based order in climate policy, and given countries’ reluctance to date to translate targets into structural reforms, what can be done to uphold NDCs and raise future climate ambition?…  Seguir leyendo »

This week, state officials in China came together with celebrities and campaign groups to trumpet the launch by the Chinese Nutrition Society, the official source of dietary advice in China, of its latest guidelines. The revised guidelines, published last month, advise that individuals limit their meat consumption to between 40g and 75g a day, half of current consumption levels, and reflect the government’s desire to avert a looming public health crisis driven in part by rapidly shifting diets. Rising per capita meat consumption in China – coupled with falling levels of physical activity, a growing appetite for high-protein, high-calorie and high-fat foods – is contributing to rising incidence of overweight, obesity and non-communicable diseases.…  Seguir leyendo »

The UK’s energy market is deeply integrated with that of its European neighbours, so the forthcoming referendum on its membership of the EU has major implications for energy and climate policy. In our new research paper, we examined five models of post-Brexit UK-EU relations, ranging from the ‘Norway’ and ‘Swiss’ models to free trade agreements such as Canada has negotiated, membership of the Energy Community and finally a ‘no deal’ option. Our conclusion is that while each option involves trade-offs for energy and climate policy, remaining inside the EU offers the best balance for Britain’s interests. We see three areas where this is particularly important: market integration, energy and climate diplomacy, and the costs and disruption caused by leaving.…  Seguir leyendo »