A fundamental change in how we think about and approach economics is needed if we are to reverse biodiversity loss and protect and enhance our prosperity, according to an independent, global review on the Economics of Biodiversity which was virtually launched by the Royal Society on 2 February. Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta’s review presents the first comprehensive economic framework of its kind for biodiversity. It calls for urgent and transformative change in how we think, act and measure economic success to protect and enhance our prosperity and the natural world.
Temperature data released by the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) shows that the climate crisis continued unabated in 2020, with the joint highest global temperatures on record, alarming Arctic heat, record wildfires and record a record 29 tropical Atlantic storms. Despite a 7% global fall in carbon of 2.4bn tonnes reduced emissions from fossil fuels to about 34bn tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2020, due to coronavirus lockdowns, heat-trapping carbon dioxide continued to build up in the atmosphere, also setting a new record. The average surface temperature across the planet in 2020 was 1.25C higher than in the pre-industrial period of 1850-1900, dangerously close to the 1.5C target set by the world’s nations
Current Government plans add up to less than a quarter of the emissions cuts needed to achieve 2030 climate target, according to an end of year report by the independent think tank and charity Green Alliance. Despite the enormous challenge of battling a pandemic, the government made bold promises throughout 2020 to reduce emissions ahead of hosting next year’s UN climate summit in Glasgow. These included the ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, new plans for sustainable land management, ending the financing of fossil fuel projects abroad and the new target (nationally determined contribution) to reduce emissions by at least 68 per cent by 2030 compared with 1990 levels. This puts the UK ahead of other countries in setting targets for carbon emissions reduction, including the EU which has committed to a 55 per cent reduction by 2030. These ambitions need equally bold policies and the funding to succeed the report states.
A study published in the journal Science Advances and reported in this weekend’s press, shows that the US and UK produce more plastic waste per person than any other major country. The study, published in the journal Science Advances, used World Bank data on waste generation in 217 countries. It focused on the US and used additional data on littering and illegal dumping within the country and on contamination by exported plastic, which is likely to be dumped rather than recycled.