Climate Crisis it’s time for #ClimateAction #SDG13 Join the #ClimateStrike Friday 24th September #FundOurFutureNotGas #qldpol StopAdani FridaysForTheFuture #auspol

Our message to world leaders:

  1. The Global North needs to cut emissions drastically by divesting from fossil fuels and ending its extraction, burning, and use. We need concrete plans and detailed annual carbon budgets with roadmaps and milestones to ensure we get to net-zero with justice and equity in the time needed to address climate change.
  2. The colonizers of the north have a climate debt to pay for their disproportionate amount of historic emissions and that starts with the increase of climate finance to implement anti-racist climate reparations, the cancellation of debts especially for damage caused by extreme weather events, and providing adaptation funds that serve the communities.
  3. Work towards a genuinely global recovery from COVID-19 by ensuring equitable vaccine distribution worldwide and suspending intellectual property restrictions on COVID-19 technologies. This is an essential step towards a global, green, and just recovery.
  4. Recognize the tangibility of the climate crisis as a risk to human safety and secure the rights of climate refugees in international law.
  5. Recognize the invaluable impact of biodiversity on indigenous communities’ lives and culture, and commit to make ecocide an international punishable crime.
  6. Stop the violence and criminalization against indigenous peoples, small farmers, small fisherfolk, and other environmental and land defenders. Support the work they do. Respect and listen to our defenders.

Our message to everyone:

  1. MAPA (Most Affected Peoples and Areas) are unheard, not voiceless. They’ve been fighting for their present, not just their future. No one should be a prisoner of injustice. Don’t fight FOR MAPA, fight ALONGSIDE MAPA. MAPA are not just sad experiences, we must highlight their rich stories of resistance.
  2. MAPA countries are not “poor,” they are rich with resources but have been historically and systematically oppressed and kept from developing.  The Global North leaders have a climate debt to pay to humanity. Urgent climate action and assisting with adaptation is not an “honorable duty” or “solidarity” it’s reparations for the injustices high income nations and sectors have caused through their exploitation.
  3. MAPA voices must be amplified and centered in our fight for climate justice, otherwise even if we succeeded in limiting global warming to safe levels for life on Earth, marginalized communities would still be sacrificed and left behind, thus only part of the problem would be solved.
  4. Now more than ever, we have to join the masses and follow the lead of environmental defenders, workers, and those most ignored. Join in their struggle for decolonization, justice and autonomy. We must remember that our liberations are tied together.



The climate crisis does not exist in a vacuum. Other socio-economic crises such as racism, sexism, ableism, class inequality, and more amplify the climate crisis and vice versa. It is not just a single issue, our different struggles and liberations are connected and tied to each other. We are united in our fight for climate justice, but we must also acknowledge that we do not experience the same problems; nor do we experience them to the same extent. MAPA (Most Affected Peoples and Areas) are experiencing the worst impacts of the climate crisis and are unable to adapt to it. This is because of the elite of the Global North who have caused the destruction of the lands of MAPA through colonialism, imperialism, systemic injustices, and their wanton greed which ultimately caused the warming of the planet. With both the COVID, climate, and every crisis in history, overexploited countries and marginalized sectors of society are systematically left behind to fend for themselves. The time to join the masses and follow the lead of the environmental defenders and workers has been long overdue. Reparations to MAPA must be paid for the historic injustices of the richest elite, drastic emission cuts in the Global North, vaccine equity, cancellation of debt, and climate finance are only the beginning of these. Together we will fight for a just future where no one is left behind. The historical victories of collective action have proven the need for the youth to stand united with the multisectoral, intergenerational struggle for a better future for all; a future where people and planet are prioritized.

A call to action from Jane Fonda, one of the most inspiring activists of our time, urging us to wake up to the looming disaster of climate change and equipping us with the tools we need to join her in protest 

This is the last possible moment in history when changing course can mean saving lives and species on an unimaginable scale. It’s too late for moderation. 

Our climate is in a crisis. 2019 saw atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases hit the highest level ever recorded in human history, and our window of opportunity to avoid disaster is quickly closing. In the autumn of 2019, frustrated with the obvious inaction of politicians and inspired by contemporary activists, Jane Fonda moved to Washington, DC to lead weekly climate change demonstrations on Capitol Hill. On October 11, she launched Fire Drill Fridays (FDF), and has since led thousands of people in non-violent civil disobedience, risking arrest to protest for action. 

In What Can I Do?, Fonda’s deeply personal journey as an activist is weaved alongside interviews with leading climate scientists, and discussions of issues, such as water, migration, and human rights, to emphasise what is at stake. Throughout, Fonda provides concrete solutions and actions that everybody can take in order to combat the climate crisis in their community. 

As Annie Leonard, Executive Director of Greenpeace US and Fonda’s partner in developing FDF, has declared, “Change is inevitable; by design, or by disaster.” The problems we face now require every one of us to join the fight. The fight not only for our immediate future, but for the future of generations to come.

What Can I Do?

Powering the future by United Nations Development Programme – #ClimateCrisis demand #ClimateAction #SDG13 #SDG7 #FundOurFutureNotGas #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani @NAB @Westpac @HSBC

Powering the future

How a clean energy world must also tackle poverty and inequality

By United Nations Development Programme

The clean energy revolution has begun. How quickly and fairly it happens, and who will benefit from it, is the greatest challenge of our time.

Dirty energy is the leading cause of the climate crisis. And as the most recent IPCC report has warned, climate change is rapid, widespread, and we have just a handful of years left to make lasting, truly revolutionary change.

What we do next will shape the destinies of generations to come. The right actions have at their core our sheer survival—from global food and water security to avoiding the millions of deaths every year from dirty fuel in all its forms.

They must also be just and fair, improve the lives of the most vulnerable and meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

It’s time to go big and bold. The High-Level Dialogue on Energy, the first United Nations global energy summit in 40 years, is a historic opportunity to achieve clean energy for all by 2030 and launch the energy transition aimed at net-zero emissions by 2050.

But a revolution cannot happen at the expense of the poorest.

UNDP has reaffirmed its dedication to ending energy poverty, and is stepping up its energy work to ensure that a clean energy transition is fair for everybody, reduces growth in energy demand, and redirects investments to sustainable energy.

Lack of clean cheap energy is one of the main causes of poverty. UNDP is committed to a UN-wide effort to provide clean and affordable energy to 500 million people by 2025.

Replacing fossil fuels and cooking with bio-fuels will also avoid millions of deaths and illnesses caused by air pollution, which kills one person in five.

The revolution is going to require financial commitment and the energy transition should be planned in a way that doesn’t deepen inequalities and exacerbate poverty. Big emitters will need to do more and follow the leadership of poorer countries to reach net-zero.

The International Energy Agency estimates that clean investments need to more than triple every year—US$4 trillion by 2030. Over the next three decades that represents well over US$100 trillion. It’s estimated that universal energyaccess will require US$40 billion a year between 2021 and 2030.

The good news is the cost of doing the right thing is far less than the cost of inaction.

Tossing out business-as-usual could mean a direct gain of US$26 trillion by the end of 2030. An average investment of US$1 yields US$4 in benefits.

Clean energy creates three times more jobs than dirty energy. And those jobs are more likely to go to women as well as men, and to benefit smaller businesses.

The International Labour Organization estimates that six million fossil fuel jobs will be lost, but with the right policies 24 million new jobs will be created by 2030.

Decentralized renewable energy create jobs in rural communities – the sector employs twice as many workers directly and up to five times as many in indirect jobs, particularly in the informal economies, which are the largest source of employment for least developing countries. 

Clean energy is doubling in capacity every two years, a growth rate faster than any other technology of its size—an average annual increase of 39 percent in the last decade.

Solar power used to be expensive.

Technological advances and new business models have flipped the switch.

The cost of solar has fallen by 89 percent since 2010. It’s now the cheapest in history, a very competitive alternative to dirty fuel such as coal, which is kept artificially low by subsidies.

Wind electricity tells a similar story. Over the last decade prices have fallen by an average nine percent and capacity has grown 17 percent a year.

AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENTS FOSSIL FUEL SUBSIDIES

But where do we find trillions of dollars?

We are throwing money at fossil fuels to the detriment of almost everything. Subsidies gobble up US$423 billion of public funding every year, often at the expense of social infrastructure such as schools and healthcare. In the five years since the Paris Agreement, the world’s 60 largest banks invested an estimated US$3.8 trillion in fossil fuel projects.

Subsidies discourage clean energy investment and favour the rich. Re-directing them to social protection programmes could wipe out extreme poverty and settle the debt we have racked up with the natural world.

Removing them would slash carbon emissions and the numbers of deaths from air pollution. Yet according to the International Energy Agency Sustainable Recovery Tracker, which measures governments’ responses to COVID-19, only two percent of clean energy investment is going to energy transition.

Fossil fuels are high-risk investments, and the signs are clear for many investors.

They are seeing their future profitability and stability aligned to a global economy powered increasingly by clean, sustainable energy.

The share value of fossil fuel related companies dropped by US$123 billion in the last decade, underperforming a key world equities index by 52 percent.

Electricity access has risen from 72 percent of the world’s population in 1998 to 90 percent in 2019.

Clean cooking numbers have grown more slowly—from 50 percent in 2000 to 60 percent in 2019.

Africa has both the lowest rates of clean energy and the potential to become a renewables superpower.

In sub-Saharan Africa, 52 percent of the population doesn’t have electricity.

In the Sahel region 169 million people don’t have electricity and none of the region’s 10 countries have a clean cooking rate higher than 43 percent.

Yet the region has vast, largely untapped renewable energy potential which could power economic growth and improve the lives of millions. UNDP will work to bring clean electricity to 1.1 million people and clean cooking to one million over the next five years.

Seventeen UN agencies have joined forces as part of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel.

In a separate initiative, the Africa Minigrids Programme is promoting renewables in 18 countries. It’s one of the biggest off-grid programmes in the region and has the potential to reach 302 million of the 789 million people worldwide who don’t have electricity.

The scientific evidence is clear; there is only one way forward. The High-level Dialogue on Energy and COP26 makes way for ambitious plans that can keep the world on track regarding greenhouse gas emissions.

The moral imperative is also clear; we won’t achieve these bold goals without a clear focus on equity.

Closing the energy access gap and ending energy poverty are crucial to ensure that the revolution promotes equality, raises people out of poverty, and powers us forward to the SDGs.

They are seeing their future profitability and stability aligned to a global economy powered increasingly by clean, sustainable energy.

The clean energy revolution has begun. How qu
— Read on stories.undp.org/powering-the-future

We need biosphere stewardship that protects carbon sinks and builds resilience | PNAS #ClimateCrisis demand #ClimateAction #SDG13 #auspol #qldpol

Opinion: We need biosphere stewardship that protects carbon sinks and builds resilience | PNAS

By Johan Rockström, Tim Beringer, David Hole, Bronson Griscom, Michael B. Mascia, Carl Folke, and Felix Creutzig

Earth’s biosphere, its extraordinary and complex web of species and ecosystems on land and in the oceans, drives the life-sustaining cycles of water and other materials that enable all life on Earth to thrive. The biosphere is also a principal driver of immense negative feedback loops in the Earth system that stabilize atmospheric CO2 concentrations and thereby global climate—including carbon sequestration by vegetation, soils, and the oceans. As such, Earth’s ecosystems have played a central role in keeping our planet’s climate system unusually stable throughout the last 11,700 years (i.e., the inter-glacial Holocene). During this epoch, global mean temperatures have oscillated only about 1 °C around the pre-industrial average, providing the unique conditions that allowed human civilizations to flourish. Today, ocean and land ecosystems remove around 50% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions from the atmosphere each year (1), an extraordinary biophysical feat, given that these emissions have risen from approximately 4 gigatonnes of carbon (GtC) per year in 1960 to around 11 GtC per year today. Put another way, half our “climate debt” is removed, for free, by the biosphere every year—a vast subsidy to the world economy.

Safeguarding the biosphere from further degradation or collapse is an existential challenge for humanity. There are important steps we can take to contain the damage. 

The recent Working Group 1 report of the sixth assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirmed this major nature contribution to climate stability, estimating the cumulative carbon sequestration by land and oceans to be 56% of all human-caused emissions between 1850 and 2019 (2). All major global climate models whose simulations give us hope of meeting the target of the Paris Climate Agreement—to keep warming well below 2 °C—take the continued provision of this gigantic biosphere endowment for granted, merely concluding, as in the recent IPCC report, that the efficiency of nature’s carbon sink may reduce slightly for high emission pathways. This means that the ability of intact nature to continue to sequester carbon is already factored into the climate models and thus in the estimate of the remaining carbon budget to hold to the Paris climate target. Yet this fundamental assumption relies on terrestrial and marine ecosystems remaining sufficiently intact and resilient to human pressures, even as climate change progresses (3). It is therefore concerning that the IPCC now concludes that Earth’s temperature is slightly more sensitive to rising CO2 concentrations than previously thought (4)—meaning our remaining carbon budget to achieve the Paris target may have effectively shrunk. If we were able to more accurately simulate feedbacks in the global carbon cycle, such as tipping points in forest ecosystems (5) and abrupt permafrost thaw (6), the estimated remaining budget could disappear altogether. Hence, safeguarding the biosphere from further degradation or collapse is an existential challenge for humanity.

A Crucial Role

Today, major carbon sinks exist in remaining intact tropical, temperate, and boreal forests, absorbing around 0.7, 0.7, and 0.5 GtC per year, respectively (Fig. 1A). Forests regrowing after past disturbances take up another 1.3 GtC per year. Grasslands and rangelands sequester about 0.6 GtC per year; peatlands 0.1 GtC per year; and mangroves, seagrasses, and marshes around 0.2 GtC per year. Total net ocean uptake is around 2.5 GtC per year. In total, ecosystems on land store almost four times the current atmospheric CO2 content of 880 GtC. Of this amount, humanity has contributed around 255 GtC by burning fossil fuels and changing land use since 1850 (1).

Are we at risk of losing the biosphere carbon sinks and thereby the safe operating space for humanity provided by nature? The latest evidence is not encouraging. The land carbon sink has shown increasing interannual variability since the 1950s, indicating rising instability in the land–atmosphere carbon exchange (SI Appendix, Fig. 1). More than 75% of the land surface has been altered by humans, removing 50% of vegetation biomass, whereas less than 5% of the oceans remain free from our interference (7). Yet to date, the world’s relatively intact ecosystems and forested areas have not only proved remarkably resilient to climate change but have also increased the overall land carbon sink in response to elevated CO2 levels—most notably the northern hemisphere forests (8).

We may, however, be approaching a tipping point. Human activities driving deforestation and degradation have already turned the Brazilian Amazon into a carbon source (9), and other tropical biomes may be moving toward a similar fate, compounded by the effects of higher temperatures and increased frequency of droughts on tree growth and mortality (10). Global warming also increases risks of wildfires in temperate and boreal forests, which could flip Northern hemisphere ecosystems from sink to source in coming decades (11). This has led to rising concerns that human activities risk triggering biosphere feedbacks that could set the planet on a trajectory away from Holocene conditions toward a much warmer state, with potentially catastrophic effects for societies and ecosystems (12, 13).

What if ecosystems on land had already lost their capacity to remove and store CO2? Using the reduced complexity climate model MAGICC6 (“Model for the Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Induced Climate Change Version 6”), we examined changes in global mean temperature up till now and in the future under the RCP2.6 emission scenario—the only emission pathway that aligns with the Paris agreement—but assumed that ecosystems on land had stopped absorbing CO2 from 1900 onwards. In such a world, global temperatures would have risen much faster (Fig. 1C, red line). In fact, we would have already crossed the 1.5 °C threshold, demonstrating that terrestrial ecosystems have reduced warming by at least 0.4 °C since 1900. Furthermore, if ecosystems on land cease to be a net carbon sink, this would lead to a dramatically higher rate of global warming compared with the standard RCP2.6 climate simulation that assumes intact land (and ocean) carbon sinks during the 21st century (Fig. 1C, blue line). By 2100, global mean temperature would be moving decisively toward 3 °C warming, even if the rapid decarbonization actions assumed in the RCP2.6 scenario pathway were fully implemented—and this is without even considering that rising temperatures would begin to release the vast biosphere carbon stocks themselves.

We have reached a new risk landscape. For the first time in human history, we face a planetary emergency. Not only have human pressures on Earth reached dangerously high levels, but we see signs that humanity may no longer be able to count on the capacity of the biosphere to continue dampening greenhouse gas emissions and hold onto its carbon stocks. The question therefore is how can we safeguard and enhance the ecological functions in the living biosphere that regulate its carbon sinks to have a chance of maintaining a stable and manageable planet that can equitably support humanity?

Toward Biosphere Stewardship

Avoiding a climate catastrophe requires at least three global transformations, unprecedented in both magnitude and speed: a transformation of the energy system that cuts emissions by half each decade to reach net-zero by 2050; a transformation of the agriculture and forestry sectors from greenhouse gas sources to sinks within 30 years; and a transformation of our relationship with nature to one that conserves, restores, and enhances its benefits for people and planet. Each must begin immediately and occur simultaneously to have a chance of achieving the Paris climate target, as well as broader global sustainability targets embedded in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the Convention on Biological Diversity. To be clear: Maintaining and enhancing carbon sinks in the biosphere is a prerequisite to hold global warming well below 2 °C—and vice-versa. The more global warming exceeds 1.5 °C, the more likely we are to experience major impacts on ecosystems, triggering feedbacks that will accelerate warming and further harm people.

We argue that biosphere stewardship—the pursuit of social-ecological sustainability, from local to global scale, that ensures the health and resilience of Earth’s life support systems—is an indispensable guiding principle and building block for the successful implementation of these transformations (14). In operational terms, biosphere stewardship implies a fundamental shift in governance from reducing human pressures only, to managing nature actively to promote multigenerational human wellbeing. This suggests that critical biomes should be recognized as global commons in service of humanity (15) and managed in ways that connect local authority, nation state integrity and culture, with collective governance by the world community (16). Indeed, the combination of local and indigenous knowledge with international technical and financial support is vital for enabling effective stewardship (17).

Strategic Considerations

First, evidence is rapidly growing that a wide range of land management practices that conserve, restore, or sustainably manage natural ecosystems and working lands, collectively termed Natural Climate Solutions (NCS), constitute a vital toolbox for practical biosphere stewardship that could deliver a third of global CO2 emission reductions needed by 2030 (18). Turning again to the MAGICC6 model, we estimate that full implementation of NCS, in conjunction with the broader Paris-compatible decarbonization across all sectors embedded in RCP2.6, would limit warming by an additional 0.3 °C by the end of the century (green line in Fig. 1C). To deliver on the full potential of NCS, however, a roadmap is needed that specifies the stewardship actions—connecting key actors to strategies and places—to catalyze an exponential decline in CO2 emissions through 2050 (19, 20). The roadmap’s long-term goals are already clear: 1) rapidly safeguard irrecoverable carbon stocks in vulnerable terrestrial and coastal ecosystems [i.e., stocks that, if lost, cannot be recovered by 2050 (21)]; 2) achieve a net carbon absorbing land use sector; and 3) restore and regenerate degraded native ecosystems as carbon sinks. The latter goal requires resilience-building strategies, including disturbance management, in contrast to restoring carbon sinks through single species and simplified ecosystem that are vulnerable to climate shocks like fires or droughts.

Second, we must translate the overall framing of biosphere stewardship into actionable paths for all sectors and actors in society. Governments must establish and deliver on targets for NCS within their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Climate Agreement—a huge current gap.*Similarly, cities and businesses should adopt and deliver on the growing momentum to set science-based targets for a safe operating space for critical Earth system functions (including biosphere carbon sinks), such as those being developed through the Science-Based Targets Network (SBTN). Local communities, faith-based organizations, and civil society groups all have vital roles in conserving, restoring, and better managing the biosphere, none more so than Indigenous peoples, just 5% of the global population, but stewarding more than 25% of the Earth’s land surface (22).

Third, we need to implement policies and financial mechanisms tailored to catalyze action at scale. These include governments and businesses adopting full costing of environmental externalities and natural capital accounting, along with regulations to underpin fit-for-purpose sustainability principles to guide financial and investment decisions. Such efforts are rapidly gaining traction with key financial actors, including the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TFCD) and incipient sister Task Force on Nature-Related Financial Disclosures (TNFD). Current direct subsidies to the fossil fuel industry totaled US$320 billion in 2019,§ with a cost to society exceeding US$5 trillion annually when their social and environmental externalities are included.|| These subsidies must be replaced by policy measures guiding sustainable investments, such as a global price on carbon aligned with the latest estimates of the social cost of carbon of more than 100 US$ per ton of CO2. Strategically designed carbon pricing offers a pathway toward mutually reinforcing climate mitigation and biosphere stewardship (23); a tropical carbon tax, as low as US$15 per ton of CO2 (24), could support the finance required to avoid most tropical deforestation, estimated at 141 billion US$ per year (18).

Alongside top-down actions such as carbon pricing, biosphere stewardship necessitates deep partnership with local actors. Combining international finance streams with local pay-outs for protecting land carbon sinks, for example, via payments for ecosystems services (PES), holds promise in reducing deforstation (25). Prioritizing local and indigenous communities in forest landscape restoration, and affording people tenure rights to manage their lands, aligns global biosphere stewardship with local stewardship and environmental justice (26).

Scaling and Accelerating

The moment for such transformative actions is now, with recent economic, social, and technological developments opening an historic window of opportunity for driving sustainable change. Social movements, many youth-led and focused on climate justice and equity, have helped transform global public opinion in the past few years, with almost two-thirds of respondents of the largest global survey to date now citing climate change as an “emergency” that demands action.# Governments are being forced to respond—in April 2021, a lawsuit brought by the “Fridays for Future” movement ordered the German government to significantly tighten its climate protection law because it was judged as violating the constitution by delaying action, thereby placing too large a share of the mitigation burden and climate risks on future generations.** The speed of social change is mirrored in the pace of technological innovations creating the foundation for necessary shifts in consumer behavior; for example, in the United States sales of plant-based foods grew almost two-and-a-half times faster than total food sales between 2018 and 2020.††

A call to action from Jane Fonda, one of the most inspiring activists of our time, urging us to wake up to the looming disaster of climate change and equipping us with the tools we need to join her in protest 

This is the last possible moment in history when changing course can mean saving lives and species on an unimaginable scale. It’s too late for moderation. 

Our climate is in a crisis. 2019 saw atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases hit the highest level ever recorded in human history, and our window of opportunity to avoid disaster is quickly closing. In the autumn of 2019, frustrated with the obvious inaction of politicians and inspired by contemporary activists, Jane Fonda moved to Washington, DC to lead weekly climate change demonstrations on Capitol Hill. On October 11, she launched Fire Drill Fridays (FDF), and has since led thousands of people in non-violent civil disobedience, risking arrest to protest for action. 

In What Can I Do?, Fonda’s deeply personal journey as an activist is weaved alongside interviews with leading climate scientists, and discussions of issues, such as water, migration, and human rights, to emphasise what is at stake. Throughout, Fonda provides concrete solutions and actions that everybody can take in order to combat the climate crisis in their community. 

What Can I Do?

Finally, out of the world’s COVID-19 nightmare comes an unprecedented opportunity: As of August 2021, the world’s 50 largest economies had announced $19.74 trillion in spending in response to the pandemic, including $3.38 trillion (some 17%) for long-term economic recovery.‡‡ Although biosphere stewardship is a prerequisite to avoid a climate disaster, it is also a vital tool to prevent the next pandemic given the increasing risk of zoonotic virus spillovers resulting from unsustainable human exploitation of wildlife habitats and irresponsible management of wildlife and domestic animals in a hyper-connected, globalized world (27). Aligning this immense stimulus with biosphere stewardship principles would provide the financial muscle to drive the transformations we identify above—a once-in-a-generation opportunity to catalyze resilient post-COVID revitalization that accelerates integrated action toward a manageable climate future.

We see elements of such strategies emerging, with countries like Denmark, Germany, France, and South Korea leading on “green” recovery. Most countries, however, risk missing this golden opportunity; of the $3.38 trillion of proposed longer-term recovery investments, only 15% is currently “green”, and even that is primarily focused on cutting greenhouse gas emissions or air pollution, with just 3% directed toward stewardship of nature. It is vital, therefore, that the world uses the UN Climate Change Conference and the UN Biodiversity Conference at the end of this year to rebuild momentum toward truly “building back better.”

Time is not on our side. Within this decade we must bend the global curves of greenhouse gases emissions and of biodiversity loss. And let us not fool ourselves. Biosphere stewardship for Earth resilience puts stringent boundaries on “net-zero” targets for climate that have already been adopted by more than 100 countries to date. The “net” in net-zero targets for climate, therefore, must not result in delayed action to rapidly drive down fossil fuel emissions. Carbon markets, increasingly relied on to efficiently finance climate solutions, must follow strict science-based standards, such that net-zero targets are genuinely achieved.

In policy terms, an integrated climate–nature agenda is gaining momentum. A consensus is emerging that if climate science translates to net-zero emissions by 2050, then ecological science translates to net-zero loss of biodiversity and ecological functions from 2020 onwards. Setting the reference point for halting nature loss to 2020 is a reflection of the exceptional risks taken by humanity in the current phase of global mass extinction of species. From this point onwards, loss of biodiversity must be halted, as fast as possible (recognizing that a certain level of continued loss cannot be avoided) and reaching net-positive (in relation to 2020) by 2030, through the combined efforts of halting loss and investing in restoration and regeneration of ecosystems.§§

Whether the world can make good on the many promises of a resilient recovery after the coronavirus crisis remains to be seen. Successfully doing so may well determine whether we have a chance of keeping the planet in a stable state able to provide adequate life support for coming generations on Earth. Biosphere stewardship is essential for this endeavor.

— Read on www.pnas.org/content/118/38/e2115218118

‘Tipping point’ for climate action: Time’s running out to avoid catastrophic heating | | UN News #ClimateCrisis Demand #ClimateAction #SDG13 #auspol #qldpol #FundOurFutureNotGas #StopAdani @HSBC @jpmorgan

The temporary reduction in carbon emissions caused by global COVID-19 lockdowns did not slow the relentless advance of climate change.

Greenhouse gas concentrations are at record levels, and the planet is on path towards dangerous overheating, a multi-agency climate report published on Thursday warns.  |

According to the landmark United in Science 2021, there “is no sign of growing back greener”, as carbon dioxide emissions are rapidly accelerating, after a temporary blip in 2020 due to COVID, and nowhere close to the targets set by the Paris Agreement.

 “We have reached a tipping point on the need for climate action. The disruption to our climate and our planet is already worse than we thought, and it is moving faster than predicted”, UN Secretary General António Guterres underscored in a video message. “This report shows just how far off course we are”, he added.

A world in danger

According to scientists, the rising global temperatures are already fueling devastating extreme weather events around the world, with escalating impacts on economies and societies. For example, billions of working hours have been lost due to excessive heat.

“We now have five times the number of recorded weather disasters than we had in 1970 and they are seven times more costly. Even the most developed countries have become vulnerable”, said the UN chief.

Mr. Guterres cited how Hurricane Ida recently cut power to over a million people in New Orleans, and New York City was paralysed by record-breaking rain that killed at least 50 people in the region.

“These events would have been impossible without human-caused climate change. Costly fires, floods and extreme weather events are increasing everywhere. These changes are just the beginning of worse to come”, he warned.

A bleak future

The report echoes some of the data and warnings from experts in the last year: the average global temperature for the past five years was among the highest on record, and there is an increasing likelihood that temperatures will temporarily breach the threshold of 1.5° Celsius above the pre-industrial era, in the next five years.

The picture painted by United in Science is bleak: even with ambitious action to slow greenhouse gas emissions, sea levels will continue to rise and threaten low-lying islands and coastal populations throughout the world.

“We really are out of time. We must act now to prevent further irreversible damage. COP26 this November must mark that turning point. By then we need all countries to commit to achieve net zero emissions by the middle of this century and to present clear, credible long-term strategies to get there”, urged the UN chief.

The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, is scheduled to be held in the city of Glasgow, Scotland between 31 October and 12 November 2021. The pivotal meeting is expected to set the course of climate action for the next decade.

We must urgently secure a breakthrough on adaptation and resilience, so that vulnerable communities can manage these growing (climate) risks…I expect all these issues to be addressed and resolved at COP26. Our future is at stake”, Mr. Guterres emphasized.

“We are not yet on track towards the Paris 1.5 to 2 degrees’ limit, although positive things have started to happen and the political interest to mitigate climate change is clearly growing but to be successful in this effort, we have to start acting now. We cannot wait for decades to act, we have to start acting already in this decade”, added Prof. Petteri Taalas, World Meteorological Organization’s secretary general.

The report also cites the conclusions of the most recent IPCC report: the scale of recent changes across the climate system are unprecedented over many centuries to many thousands of years, and it is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.

Notable findings

Concentrations of the major greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2 O) continued to increase in 2020 and the first half of 2021.

According to WMO, reducing atmospheric methane (CH4) in the short term, could support the pledges of 193 Member States made in Paris. This measure does not reduce the need for strong, rapid and sustained reductions in CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

Meanwhile, the UN Environment Program (UNEP), warns that five years after the adoption of the Paris Agreement, the emissions gap (the difference between where emissions are heading and where science indicate they should be in 2030) is as large as ever.

Although the increasing number of countries committing to net-zero emission goals is encouraging, to remain feasible and credible, these goals urgently need to be reflected in near-term policy and in significantly more ambitious actions, the agency highlights.

“Last year, we estimated that there was 5.6 per cent drop in emissions and since the lifetime of carbon dioxide is so long, this one year anomaly in emissions doesn’t change the big picture. We saw some improvements in air quality, these short-lived gases, which are affecting air quality. We saw positive evolution there. But now we have returned more or less back to the 2019 emission levels”, further explained the WMO chief.

A warmer future

The report explains that the annual global average temperature is likely to be at least 1 °C warmer than pre-industrial levels (defined as the 1850–1900 average) in each of the coming five years and is very likely to be within the range of 0.9 °C to 1.8 °C.

There is also a 40% chance that the average temperature in one of the next five years, will be at least 1.5 °C warmer than pre-industrial levels. However, it is very unlikely that the 5-year average temperature for 2021–2025 will pass the 1.5 °C threshold.

High latitude regions, and the Sahel, are likely to be wetter in the next five years, the report also warns.

Rising sea level will be tomorrow’s global economic and humanitarian crisis–if we don’t start adapting now.

Around the world, rising sea level threatens coastal communities. It is unstoppable, requiring bold planning to avoid catastrophe.

Though often seen as an environmental issue, it’s more about our security and economy–and the impacts on our homes and communities.

In his previous book, the bestselling High Tide on Main Street: Rising Sea Level and the Coming Coastal Crisis, renowned oceanographer John Englander clearly explained the science.

In Moving to Higher Ground: Rising Sea Level and the Path Forward, he updates the latest scientific information and presents a visionary outlook for what we need to do–showing the world how to survive, and even thrive, for ourselves and future generations.

Englander explains: -Why sea level will rise regardless of efforts to reduce CO2 emissions -How high the sea could rise in the coming decades and the effects on assets and infrastructure -What you need to know to prepare and adapt for long-term sea level rise and short term flooding events -Why rising sea level and the massive adaptation required could be the greatest economic engine of this century.

Moving to Higher Ground

Sea level rise is inevitable

“We don’t know what’s going to happen to the Antarctic glacier, where we have the biggest mass of ice worldwide and in the worst case, we could see up to two meters of sea level rise by the end of this century if the melting of the Antarctic glacier happens in a speedier manner”, cautioned Prof. Taalas.

Global sea levels rose 20 cm from 1900 to 2018, and at an accelerated rate from 2006 to 2018.

Even if emissions are reduced to limit warming to well below 2 °C, the global average sea level would likely rise by 0.3–0.6 m by 2100 and could rise 0.3–3.1 m by 2300.

Adaptation to the rise will be essential, especially along low-lying coasts, small islands, deltas and coastal cities, explains WMO.

World’s health also at risk

The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that rising temperatures are linked to increased heat-related mortality and work impairment, with an excess of 103 billion potential work hours lost globally in 2019 compared with those lost in 2000.

Moreover, COVID-19 infections and climate hazards such as heatwaves, wildfires and poor air quality, combine to threaten human health worldwide, putting vulnerable populations at particular risk.

According to the UN health agency, the COVID-19 recovery efforts should be aligned with national climate change and air quality strategies to reduce risks from cascading climate hazards, and gain health co-benefits.

“We had this temperature anomaly in western Canada and the United States, where we were up to 15 degrees warmer temperatures than normally. And that led to a record breaking, forest fires and major health problems, especially amongst elderly people”, highlighted WMO Secretary General.

The United in Science 2021 report, the third in a series, is coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), with input from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Global Carbon Project (GCP), the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and the Met Office (UK). It presents the very latest scientific data and findings related to climate change to inform global policy and action.

— Read on news.un.org/en/story/2021/09/1099992

News reports on climate change often neglect an essential component—the ocean – Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists SDG14 Life Below Water #StopAdani Demand #ClimateAction #SDG13 #FundOurFutureNotGas #auspol

Youth advocate: News reports on climate change often neglect an essential component—the ocean – Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

By Mark Haver

The Sunday before I started my first year of college, my mom and I visited my hometown’s downtown neighborhood, Old Ellicott City in Maryland. When it started to rain, we left and returned to our own neighborhood. Within two hours, water was pooling in our basement, and family and friends across the country were calling us to make sure we were still alive.

They told us to turn on the television. There we watched cars float down Main Street in Old Ellicott City, some with people still inside. Even people who had taken shelter indoors were panicking, afraid that the buildings wouldn’t be high enough to escape the rising water. Where we had been two hours earlier was suddenly submerged in 10 feet of floodwater. In a matter of hours, flash floods took two lives and washed away stores that had been there for decades.

People said the flood was the kind that only came once in 1,000 years. I will never forget how much hope my community had as they rallied to restore downtown. But two years later, after millions of dollars invested and a lot of hard work by small business owners to reopen, another “thousand-year flood” ransacked the city and smothered any hope of getting things back to the way they were.

My generation is no stranger to stories about seasonal rains that became floods, dry spells that became droughts, or an occasional hurricane that became an annual evacuation. Our climate is changing, and these changes aren’t expected to stop anytime soon.

While the climate conversation often makes headlines, ocean news is neglected. Even though the ocean is our best tool for climate regulation and mitigation, most people don’t know it yet. As climate change makes some regions drier or wetter than in the past, understanding how a degraded ocean impacts coastal communities is more important than ever. More than a third of the world’s population lives within 100 kilometers of a coastline, so climate impacts on these communities may be more apparent than region-specific floods or droughts.

When young people who are concerned about the ocean reflect on its current health, we see formerly vibrant, biodiverse coral reefs bleached white by rising ocean temperatures. We feel slimy plastic bags brushing past our bodies when we go to the local beach. We hear once-distant waves crash closer and closer to our homes as sea level rises. While we may not see the ocean in the news, we sense the changes. When we think about the commitments being made for a “green transition,” we also need to think blue.

The Human Footprint

In the face of an ecological emergency, my experiences, and those of many of my peers and friends around the world, have motivated me to speak up for my generation’s rights to enjoy the same opportunities that previous generations have experienced. I will not stand to see communities like mine washed away for lack of political will to stabilize the climate.

In 2019, events like the Global Climate Strikes and Fridays for Future protestsshowcased predominantly young voices calling for policymakers to step up to rescue a dying Earth. This activism led to revolutionary policy frameworks, like the Green New Deal. Policy like this has completely reshaped the global climate conversation to include the demands of young people who want to build a more equitable future.

JOIN THE GLOBAL CLIMATE ACTION NEXT FRIDAY

International organizations and sovereign governments have now translated the Green New Deal into frameworks and policies of their own. It’s clear that environmental policies demanded by young activists have energized the discussion about global decarbonization and the social impacts of climate change.

However, the Green New Deal only mentioned the ocean once.

Bringing blue into the Green New Deal. As governments coalesce around plans to literally save the world, humanity must recognize that there is no future without a healthy ocean. Not only does the ocean support life on Earth, but the ocean economy supports livelihoods. The annual economic value of the ecosystem services, jobs, and cultural services provided by the ocean is estimated to be between $3 trillion and $6 trillion. Fisheries and aquaculture alone contribute $100 billion per year and more than 250 million jobs.

As youth, my peers and I need to advocate for progress in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. These goals identify 17 global challenges for countries to solve together to promote peace and prosperity. Two of the UN goals address climate change and ocean health, respectively. Young people, the greatest stakeholders in the future health of the environment, need to hold the global community accountable to achieving these goals and other climate commitments, like the Paris Agreement.

And climate change is not the only threat to our ocean.

The ocean is overfished, rife with plastic, and exploited for non-renewable resources like minerals and fossil fuels. This perpetuates a cycle of generational injustice, leaving people my age to inherit an increasingly degraded environment with less and less time to restore it. The most vulnerable global communities, who contribute the least to global emissions, will feel the effects of this degradation the most severely.

My young friends and I recognize the crucial role the ocean plays in regulating climate and providing food, oxygen, and ecosystem services essential to our well-being. By ensuring that we are prioritizing environmental health as we recover from the pandemic, and by building a sustainable blue economy, future generations may appreciate the greater equity that comes from sustainably balancing ocean, human, climate, and economic health. The only future is one that ensures the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth while also preserving the health of ocean ecosystems.

Creating the Global Blue New Deal. As chair of the Sustainable Ocean Alliance’s Youth Policy Advisory Council, which brings together 15 early-career ocean professionals under the age of 35 from nine global regions, I have immense appreciation for the stories of my fellow council members who are working to combat environmental changes that threaten their quality of life. Our homelands include island nations and countries where there is little water at all, and our experiences and passion for building a better future have unified us. Together, we are committed to address the far-reaching ecological and social impacts of an imbalance between ocean, human, climate, and economic health. We understand that we must use policy to rectify that imbalance and promote a better future.

It soon became clear to our Council that a set of clearly defined priorities must be part of a global ocean policy platform. After the Sustainable Ocean Alliance distributed more than 100 surveys in 38 countries and five languages, to better understand the ocean policy priorities of young people, my team and I synthesized these survey responses into a youth-led, crowdsourced ocean policy framework that we call the Global Blue New Deal.

The United Nations has declared 2021-2030 as a Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development to gather global ocean stakeholders behind a common framework to deliver “the ocean we need for the future we want.” I hope to lead the Sustainable Ocean Alliance’s Youth Policy Advisory Council to do the same. We, as youth, have the opportunity to contribute to the success of the Ocean Decade; that’s why we must call on the international community to recognize our Global Blue New Deal as a collection of ocean crisis priorities with respective solutions.

Our future must be built with resilience in mind. While Ellicott City may serve as a precautionary tale, the downtown still bustles with teenagers eating ice cream and new shops opening. Young people must not give up hope. Let’s use this opportunity to build a healthy ocean and a just future for all.

— Read on thebulletin.org/2021/09/climate-conversations-neglect-an-essential-component-of-a-healthy-planet-the-ocean/

Coal exports to plunge 80pc if world stays below 1.5 degrees, RBA says #ClimateCrisis #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #FundOurFutureNotGas @Nab @Westpac

While the impact on mining communities will be “significant”, the overall hit to GDP from global decarbonisation will be modest, RBA economists predict.

By

The Reserve Bank of Australia says the coming collapse in coal shipments as Australia’s biggest customers pivot to net zero would impose only a relatively modest hit on economic growth, even as they warn of an “uncertain outlook” for the renewable energy exports that are meant to soften the blow.

Officials at the bank said in a research paper published on Thursday coal exports and, to some extent, gas shipments could plunge by as much as 80 per cent if China, Japan and South Korea take an aggressive approach to decarbonising their economies by mid-century.

That figure would be consistent with keeping the planet’s temperatures from heating by more than 1.5 degrees, the level at which scientists say the effects of climate change become irreversible and catastrophic.

RBA economists estimate the collapse in fossil fuel exports would take about 0.1 percentage points from annual gross domestic product after accounting for positive “opportunities in other sectors” they anticipate will emerge. These include exports such as green hydrogen and green steel, as well as rising global demand for Australian critical and rare earth minerals at the heart of electrification.

“One example is the renewable energy market, where investment has begun to support activity and employment, particularly in regional areas where large-scale renewable generators tend to be located,” the Reserve Bank economists wrote.

The report highlights both the costs and opportunities to Australia of the pledged shift away from fossil fuels by the world’s biggest emitters, as well as huge question marks about the different potential trajectories.

Using climate scenarios that have been developed by a consortium of central banks trying to improve climate risk management, the Reserve Bank’s analysis maps out four possible worlds.

The impact of a decline in fossil fuel exports would be significant for certain communities and regions, especially those in which mining accounts for a large share of employment.

 RBA analysis

They are: net zero where global warming is limited to 1.5 degrees; a world in which warming is allowed to reach 2 degrees; a scenario in which all the pledges to cut emissions by countries as of December become reality; and the current set of policies of countries around the globe.

Australian coal exports would rise by 17 per cent by 2050 under the last scenario, or business as usual. They would fall under the other three options.

The most dramatic collapse would be if the world managed to keep the rise in the average temperate of the planet below 1.5 per cent. Under that scenario, coal exports collapse by 80 per cent by mid-century. Two-thirds of that fall would be due to China, Japan and South Korea.

LNG exports would fall by 50 per cent in a net zero world, they said.

“The renewables export market is still at an early stage and the outlook is uncertain,” they wrote. “More broadly, it is difficult to estimate the extent to which activity in other sectors could eventually offset a decline in activity related to fossil fuel production.”

“Whatever happens, the impact of a decline in fossil fuel exports would be significant for certain communities and regions, especially those in which mining accounts for a large share of employment.”

In a separate research paper, the Reserve Bank warned of “significant uncertainty” for Australian banks about the risks to balance sheets from climate change.

“This is because of the uncertainty about how climate change will alter future weather patterns, how policies will change globally and how economies adapt.

“A small share of housing in regions most exposed to extreme weather could experience price falls that might subsequently result in credit losses, but the overall losses for the financial system are likely manageable.

“Banks are also exposed to transition risks from their lending to emissions-intensive industries, but their portfolios appear to be less emissions-intensive than the economy as a whole.”

— Read on www.afr.com/policy/energy-and-climate/coal-exports-to-plunge-80pc-if-world-stays-below-1-5-degrees-rba-says-20210916-p58s8v

On The Cusp – George Monbiot #ClimateCrisis – Tipping Points – Demand #ClimateAction #SDG13 #StopAdani #FundOurFutureNotGas @NAB @Westpac #StopEcocide

On The Cusp – George Monbiot

Earth systems could tip before 2050. We urgently need more stringent climate targets.

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 9th September 2021

If there’s one thing we know about climate breakdown, it’s that it will not be linear, smooth or gradual. Just as one continental plate might push beneath another in sudden fits and starts, causing periodic earthquakes and tsunamis, our atmospheric systems will absorb the stress for a while, then suddenly shift. Yet everywhere, the programmes designed to avert it are linear, smooth and gradual.

Current plans to avoid catastrophe would work in a simple system like a washbasin, in which you can close the tap until the inflow is less than the outflow. But they’re less likely to work in complex systems, such as the atmosphere, oceans and biosphere. Complex systems seek equilibrium. When they are pushed too far out of one equilibrium state, they can flip suddenly into another. A common property of complex systems is that it’s much easier to push them past a tipping point than to push them back. Once a transition has happened, it cannot realistically be reversed.

The old assumption that the Earth’s tipping points are a long way off is beginning to look unsafe. A recent paper warns that the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation – the system that distributes heat around the world and drives the Gulf Stream – may now be “close to a critical transition”. This circulation has flipped between “on” and “off” states several times in prehistory, plunging northern Europe and eastern North America into unbearable cold, heating the tropics, disrupting monsoons.

Other systems could also be approaching their thresholds: the West and East Antarctic ice sheets, the Amazon rainforest and the Arctic tundra and boreal forests, which are rapidly losingthe carbon they store, driving a spiral of further heating. Earth systems don’t stay in their boxes. If one flips into a different state, it could trigger the flipping of others. Sudden changes of state might be possible with just 1.5 or 2°C of global heating.

A common sign that complex systems are approaching tipping points is rising volatility: they start to flicker. The extreme weather in 2021 – the heat domes, droughts, fires, floods and cyclones – is, frankly, terrifying. If Earth systems tip as a result of global heating, there will be little difference between taking inadequate action and taking no action at all. A miss is as good as a mile.

So the target much of the world is now adopting for climate action – net zero by 2050 – begins to look neither rational nor safe. It’s true that our only hope of avoiding catastrophic climate breakdown is some variety of net zero. What this means is that greenhouse gases are reduced through a combination of decarbonising the economy and drawing down carbon dioxide that’s already in the atmosphere. It’s too late to hit the temperature targets in the Paris Agreement without doing both. But there are two issues: speed and integrity. Many of the promises seem designed to be broken.

So why did Labor vote with LNP to support new gas projects?

At its worst, net zero by 2050 is a device for shunting responsibility across both time and space. Those in power today seek to pass their liabilities to those in power tomorrow. Every industry seeks to pass the buck to another industry. Who is this magical someone else, who will suck up their greenhouse gases?

Their plans rely on either technology or nature to absorb the carbon dioxide they want to keep producing. The technologies consist of carbon capture and storage (catching the carbon emissions from power stations and cement plants then burying them in geological strata) or direct air capture (sucking carbon dioxide out of the air and burying that too). But their large-scale use is described by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as “subject to multiple feasibility and sustainability constraints”. They are unlikely to be deployed at scale in the future for the same reason that they’re not being deployed at scale today, despite 20 years of talk: technical and logistical barriers. Never mind: you can keep smoking, because one day they’ll find a cure for cancer.

So what’s left is nature: the capacity of the world’s living systems to absorb the gases we produce. As a report by ActionAid points out, there’s not enough land in the world to meet the promises to offset emissions that companies and governments have already made. Even those who own land want someone else to deal with their gases: in the UK, the National Farmers Union is aiming for net zero. But net zero commitments by other sectors work only if farmland goes sharply net negative. That means an end to livestock farming and the restoration of forests, peat bogs and other natural carbon sinks. Instead, a mythical other will also have to suck up farming’s emissions: possibly landowners on Venus or Mars.

Even when all the promised technofixes and offsets are counted, current policies commit us to a calamitous 2.9°C of global heating. To risk irreversible change by proceeding at such a leisurely pace, to rely on undelivered technologies and non-existent capacities: this is a formula for catastrophe.

If Earth systems cross critical thresholds, everything we did and everything we were, the learning, the wisdom, the stories, the art, the politics, the love, the hate, the anger and the hope, will be reduced to stratigraphy. It’s not a smooth and linear transition we need. It’s a crash course.

http://www.monbiot.com

— Read on www.monbiot.com/2021/09/15/on-the-cusp/

Whitehaven Coal – Market Forces #ClimateCrisis demand #ClimateAction #SDG13 Join the #RaceToZero #COP26 #auspol #qldpol #CoralNotCoal #FundOurFutureNotGas #StopAdani @NAB @Westpac

We are very concerned that your bank has been a major lender to Whitehaven Coal, whose business plans are consistent with the failure of the Paris Agreement. I am also concerned that your institution may soon be asked to provide further finance to Whitehaven, as it pursues several new coal projects. I want you to confirm that your bank will not fund any of these coal projects and confirm you will not provide any more financial support to Whitehaven Coal, or other companies expanding the coal industry and relying on the failure of the Paris Agreement.

Any expansion of the coal industry is incompatible with the climate goals of the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels. It is also incompatible with the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Net Zero by 2050 modelling, which sees “no new coal mines or mine extensions”. Yet Whitehaven Coal is pursuing massive new coal mining projects–like the Vickery and Winchester South mines–when the world desperately needs to transition to clean, renewable energy sources.

Whitehaven has repeatedly justified its expansion plans by referring to coal demand projections that are consistent with almost 3°C of warming. Even 2ºC of warming would expose 37% of the world’s population to extreme heat, destroy 99% of the world’s coral reefs (including the Great Barrier Reef) and result in massive biodiversity loss. At 3ºC of warming, global GDP losses could be more than 25% by 2100. Put simply, Whitehaven’s business model depends on catastrophic ecological, social and economic collapse.

Whitehaven’s Vickery coal mine–a major new coal expansion–could soon obtain its federal regulatory approval. The company has stated its intention to raise AU$600 million to finance this development. The Vickery mine would be a climate disaster, unleashing almost 370 million tonnes of CO2-e between now and 2047, when emissions from mining and burning the coal are considered. Meanwhile, Whitehaven’s proposed AU$1 billion Winchester South mine would unleash almost 550 million tonnes of CO2-e over its 30 year lifespan. These new mines are estimated to produce at least 40% thermal coal. They are completely inconsistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement and the goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

Not only is Whitehaven wrecking our climate, it also has a long history of destroying the local environment and communities that it operates in. Whitehaven has repeatedly broken environmental conditions put in place to govern its operations, including by contaminating nearby streams and excessive air pollution. In December 2020, Whitehaven pleaded guilty to 19 charges brought against it by the New South Wales resources regulator for unauthorised vegetation clearing, unauthorised drilling of bores and failing to rehabilitate drill sites.

For years, local farmers have raised concerns that Whitehaven’s coal mines have been unlawfully taking water without a licence, including during severe drought. In July 2021, Whitehaven pleaded guilty to taking one billion litres of water at its Maules Creek coal mines. Even where Whitehaven has lawfully obtained its water, it has sometimes done so at the expense of local farmers by outbidding them on the water trading market.

I want you to confirm to me personally, and announce publicly, that you will not finance any of Whitehaven’s proposed climate-wrecking coal mines including Vickery and Winchester South. I also want you to confirm that you will not provide any more financial support to Whitehaven Coal, or other companies pursuing plans consistent with the failure of the Paris Agreement.

Further information about Whitehaven Coal can be found on the Market Forces website: http://www.marketforces.org.au/whitehaven-coal

Sincerely,

— Read on www.marketforces.org.au/campaigns/companies/whitehaven-coal/

UNPRECEDENTED CRIME

In 2017, the heat waves, extreme wild fires, and flooding around the world confirmed beyond doubt that climate disruption is now a full-blown emergency. We have entered Churchill’s “period of consequences”, yet governments have simply watched the disasters magnify, while rushing ahead with new pipelines and annual trillions in fossil fuel subsidies. Governments simply cannot say they did not know. The events we are seeing today have been consistently forecast ever since the First Assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was signed by all governments back in 1990, and which has been described as the best evaluation project ever designed. Unprecedented Crime first lays out the culpability of corporations, governmental, political and religious bodies, and especially the media through their failure to report or act on the climate emergency. No emergency response has even been contemplated by wealthy high-emitting national governments. Extreme weather reporting never even hints at the need to address climate change — even though it is producing wars and migrations among the world’s poorest, those who have contributed the least to global warming. Yet, independently of governments, scores of proven zero-carbon game changers have been coming online all over the world. These exciting technologies, described in the book, are now able to power both household electricity and energy-dense heavy industry. We already have the technical solutions to the CO2 problem. With these solutions we can act in time to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to near-zero within 20 years. These willful crimes against life itself by negligent governments, the oblivious media and an insouciant civil society are crimes that everyday citizens can readily grasp — and then take to the streets and to the courts to protest on behalf of their children and grand-children. This thoroughly researched and highly-documented book will show them how. Co-author Dr. Peter Carter is an expert reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Shareholder Resolutions to Origin Energy Ltd on climate-related lobbying and Paris-aligned capital expenditure. – ACCR #ClimateCrisis Demand #ClimateAction #SDG13 #FundOurFutureNotGas #auspol #qldpol

Supporting investor brief to our shareholder resolutions to to Origin Energy Ltd on climate-related lobbying and Paris-aligned capital expenditure.

AGM date and location: Wednesday 20 October 2021, Sydney, Australia

Contact: Dan Gocher, Director of Climate and Environment

Other key links: Resolutions and Supporting Statements.

Background

ACCR has engaged regularly with Origin Energy (Origin) on its decarbonisation commitments and lobbying related to climate and energy policy for several years.

In 2020, ACCR filed a shareholder resolution with Origin calling on the company to review the advocacy of its industry associations during the COVID-19 pandemic. That resolution was supported by 25.3% of Origin shareholders.

ACCR has filed two shareholder resolutions for consideration at Origin’s forthcoming AGM, on climate-related lobbying and Paris-aligned capital expenditure.

Ordinary resolution on climate-related lobbying

Shareholders request that our company strengthen its review of industry associations to ensure that it identifies areas of inconsistency with the Paris Agreement.

Where an industry association’s record of advocacy is, on balance, inconsistent with the Paris Agreement’s goals, shareholders recommend that our company suspend membership, for a period deemed suitable by the Board.

Nothing in this resolution should be read as limiting the Board’s discretion to take decisions in the best interests of our company.

You mention that a deep transformation is required for CSR and society, as we move toward stakeholder capitalism and away from shareholder capitalism. Where is Australia on this journey?

Compared with other developing countries, Australia is falling behind, especially with the roll out of the SDGs for all stakeholders by 2030. We have seen a cognitive shift in some sectors, but the Australian government is behind on delivery with even the basic issues. In particular their human rights issues for migrants and the gap in Indigenous and non-Indigenous equality alongside other noted inequalities such as gender. Frowned upon the world over, is also their slowness to discontinue fossil fuel production and commit fully to carbon zero by 2050. The cognitive mind shift I refer to, has not yet reached the highest levels of Australian government. The direction is murky and doesn’t currently include any real acknowledgement of an existential manmade climate crisis, past greed, current inequalities and documented future ecological extinction. This after all is the “Decade to Deliver” – that’s right now please.

 We must all play our part in the future we wish to see.

CSR for purpose

Reasons to support this resolution

Origin has committed to develop “more ambitious emissions reduction targets consistent with a 1.5-degree pathway”.[1] Given this commitment, it is a reasonable expectation that Origin assess its industry associations for consistency with a 1.5°C scenario, and to suspend membership where that is not the case.

The International Energy Agency’s recently published report, ‘Net zero by 2050’ concluded that no new coal, gas or oil developments could proceed beyond this year, in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C.[2]

In 2015, Origin adopted all seven of the ‘We Mean Business Coalition’ initiatives, which included a commitment to “undertake responsible corporate engagement in climate policy”.[3] There is little evidence to suggest that Origin has lived up to this commitment.

The suspension of membership is a credible response to a lack of progress from industry associations. In October 2020, Origin suspended its membership of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC),[4] following its anti-Greens Party advertising campaign during the Queensland state election.

There is a clear rationale for shareholders to support this resolution, as per the following reasons:

  1. Origin’s industry associations have clearly sought to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic to further their own interests.
  2. Origin’s transparency and annual reviews of industry associations alone is insufficient.
  3. Origin does not assess its industry associations’ advocacy for consistency with the Paris Agreement, it narrowly focuses on policy positions and cosmetic support.
  4. Origin has committed to develop targets consistent with a 1.5C pathway.
  5. Australia’s approach to climate policy is has been heavily influenced by Origin’s industry associations, including:
  • Lack of ambition to 2030;
  • ‘Gas-fired recovery’ prioritises gas expansion;
  • ‘Technology not taxes’ is intended to prolong the use of coal and gas.
  1. Origin has had years to change these organisations with little effect—it remains a member of at least six groups with climate lobbying practices that are misaligned with the Paris Agreement.[5]

Origin’s industry association review

In August 2021, Origin published its third industry association review.[6] The review is fundamentally flawed, as it assessed “formal written policies” and public statements “in relation to climate change and alignment to the goals of the Paris Agreement”.[7] Advocacy relating to new or expanded coal and gas projects, climate, energy and transport policy was not assessed. In short, if an industry association stated that it supports the Paris Agreement, then it was considered “aligned”.

Transparency of industry associations alone is insufficient. If Origin is genuinely committed to limiting warming to 1.5°C, it must curtail advocacy that promotes fossil fuel expansion. According to Fiona Reynolds, the CEO of Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI):[8]
“Australia is fast becoming an outlier in the world when it comes to taking the steps needed to meet the challenges of dealing with the climate crisis. This is in part due to the significant influence of the mining and energy sectors over the country’s policy debate.”

In March 2021, the Climate Action 100+ initiative published its first Net-Zero Company Benchmark. Origin only partially met its assessment of climate policy engagement, as it has not made an explicit commitment that it (and its industry associations) “lobby in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement”.[9]

Unconstructive influence on climate policy

In February 2021, Bloomberg ranked Australia’s climate policies as the weakest of the largest developed economies.[10] In June 2021, Australia received the lowest score awarded to any of the 193 UN member states for climate action.[11]Australia’s commitment to reduce emissions by 26-28% by 2030 (from 2005 levels) has been deemed inadequate by a range of experts.[12] Australian government forecasts suggest that emissions will decline by just 22% by 2030.[13]

Despite improved transparency of Origins governance of industry associations, UK think tank InfluenceMap rates its climate policy footprint ‘C’ (scale A-F), suggesting it has a very mixed record on climate and energy policy,[14] and in 2020 ranked Origin in the top 20 most oppositional companies on climate and energy policy in Australia.[15]

Origin remains a member of at least six industry associations with climate lobbying practices that are misaligned with the Paris Agreement (ranked D or below, see Table 1).[16]

On balance, the impact of Origin’s industry associations on Australia’s climate and energy policy remains overwhelmingly negative, and there has been little improvement since 2017.

Exploiting the pandemic: Australia’s ‘gas-fired recovery’

In September 2020, the Australian government announced it would pursue a “gas-fired recovery” from the COVID-19 pandemic, by incentivising the development of multiple new gas basins.[17] In the 12 months since that announcement, the Australian government has committed more than $2.2 billion in subsidies to the gas industry (see Appendix, Table 2).

Throughout 2020-21, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) lobbied extensively for a “gas-fired recovery”. A key pillar in APPEA’s advocacy throughout 2020, were the following three reports:

  • Australia Oil and Gas Industry Outlook[18]: advocated for government assistance to develop “uneconomic” basins in order to extend the life of LNG terminals;
  • Powering Australia’s Recovery[19]: advocated for government incentives for further gas exploration, streamlining regulation and fast-tracking approvals for new development;
  • Australia’s oil and gas industry – kickstarting recovery from COVID-19[20]: advocated for policies to streamline regulation and advance the development of multiple new basins with estimated capital expenditure of $350 billion over the next 20 years.

APPEA’s advocacy was hugely successful, and in its 2020 annual report, APPEA took full credit for the government prioritising new gas developments in its pandemic response:[21]

  • “Advocated successfully for natural gas to be recognised as a critical fuel for many decades to come… including by the Australian Government as a part of its post-COVID-19 pandemic economic recovery plan.”
  • “Advocated on the role of natural gas in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and for this to be recognised as part of Australia’s efforts to address climate change… This is now a core part of the Australian Government’s narrative on the role of the industry.”

The QRC was also very supportive of the “gas-fired recovery” throughout 2020. The QRC published its “Resource Industry Recovery Agenda”[22] in June 2020, which called for government subsidies for new gas pipelines and incentives for coal and gas exploration.

Like APPEA, APGA[23] and Gas Energy Australia[24] have consistently promoted the long-term use of fossil gas in Australia’s energy mix. In a jointly published report in late 2020, APGA, APPEA and Gas Energy Australia argued for fossil hydrogen to be introduced into gas networks, and opposed electrification of domestic cooking and heating.[25] The Australian Government subsequently announced significant subsidies for fossil hydrogen development.[26]

The exploitation of the pandemic by APPEA, APGA, Gas Energy Australia and the QRC is clearly at odds with the significant vote against Origin’s management on the resolution relating to climate-related lobbying in 2020.

In addition to exploiting the pandemic, Origin’s industry associations undertook a range of other advocacy at odds with the Paris Agreement.

Other misaligned advocacy

In early 2021, APPEA updated its Climate Change Policy Principles, confirming its support for net zero emissions by 2050, while concurrently calling for the expansion of the gas industry.[27]

APPEA has steadily increased its advertising spend in recent years, primarily through the Bright-r campaign,[28] which promotes the use of fossil gas, especially for domestic cooking and heating.

In July 2021, APPEA called for amendments to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to allow it to invest in carbon capture and storage (CCS) in order to enable fossil hydrogen.[29]

Despite Origin suspending its membership of the QRC in October 2020,[30] it appears to have rejoined following minor policy changes. Prior to[31] and following[32] the Queensland state election in October 2020, the QRC lobbied for further coal and gas exploration and the fast-tracking of new and expanded coal and gas projects. This advocacy was framed in terms of recovery from the pandemic. In April 2021, the Queensland Government launched its ‘Resources Industry Development Plan’,[33] delivering many of the QRC’s demands.

Conclusion

Origin has committed to developing emissions reduction targets consistent with a 1.5°C pathway, yet its industry associations are not lobbying for the same outcome.

Our company has had several years to affect change within its industry associations with limited success. It can and must do more to ensure that its industry associations advocate positively for climate action.
Despite publishing annual reviews of its industry associations for the last three years, Origin has failed to identify any advocacy with which it disagrees, and rejoined the QRC despite only cosmetic improvements to its climate position.

As one of Australia’s largest companies, and its third largest emitter, Origin occupies a unique position of leadership. It must use that position to advocate for ambitious emissions reductions before 2030, and ensure that its industry associations do the same.

ACCR urges shareholders to support this proposal.

In 2017, the heat waves, extreme wild fires, and flooding around the world confirmed beyond doubt that climate disruption is now a full-blown emergency. We have entered Churchill’s “period of consequences”, yet governments have simply watched the disasters magnify, while rushing ahead with new pipelines and annual trillions in fossil fuel subsidies. Governments simply cannot say they did not know. The events we are seeing today have been consistently forecast ever since the First Assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was signed by all governments back in 1990, and which has been described as the best evaluation project ever designed. Unprecedented Crime first lays out the culpability of corporations, governmental, political and religious bodies, and especially the media through their failure to report or act on the climate emergency. No emergency response has even been contemplated by wealthy high-emitting national governments. Extreme weather reporting never even hints at the need to address climate change — even though it is producing wars and migrations among the world’s poorest, those who have contributed the least to global warming. Yet, independently of governments, scores of proven zero-carbon game changers have been coming online all over the world. These exciting technologies, described in the book, are now able to power both household electricity and energy-dense heavy industry. We already have the technical solutions to the CO2 problem. With these solutions we can act in time to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to near-zero within 20 years. These willful crimes against life itself by negligent governments, the oblivious media and an insouciant civil society are crimes that everyday citizens can readily grasp — and then take to the streets and to the courts to protest on behalf of their children and grand-children. This thoroughly researched and highly-documented book will show them how. Co-author Dr. Peter Carter is an expert reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Unprecedented Crime

Ordinary resolution on Paris-aligned capital expenditure

Shareholders request that our company commit to align all material future capital expenditure with the Paris Agreement’s objective of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

Nothing in this resolution should be read as limiting the Board’s discretion to take decisions in the best interests of our company.

Reasons to support this resolution

Origin has committed to develop “more ambitious emissions reduction targets consistent with a 1.5-degree pathway”.[34] It is a reasonable expectation that Origin’s allocation of capital is consistent with that pathway.

There is a clear rationale for shareholders to support this resolution, as per the following reasons:

The exploration and appraisal of additional oil and gas reserves is not consistent with a 1.5°C pathway.

The latest IPCC sixth assessment report warned that warming of 1.5°C and 2°C will be exceeded unless “deep reductions in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions occur in the coming decades”[35].

In addition to the urgent need to reduce CO2 emissions, the IPCC specifically highlights the need for “strong, rapid and sustained reductions”[36] in methane emissions. The fossil fuel industry accounts for ~35% of anthropogenic methane emissions, with onshore gas extraction, such as Origin’s current and planned projects, being one of the largest sources for the oil and gas sector.[37]

The recently published International Energy Agency (IEA) ‘Net Zero by 2050’ scenario explicitly excluded the approval of new oil and gas fields from its 1.5°C pathway[38] and recent research published in Nature found that 35% of proven natural gas reserves in Australia cannot be extracted to have just a 50% chance of limiting warming to 1.5°C.[39]

As stated in the recent World Benchmarking Alliance oil and gas benchmark, to be deemed credible on climate change Origin“needs to clarify how it will transition away from gas operations through a detailed low-carbon transition plan”.[40] Alignment of capital expenditure is central to the execution of such a plan.

Aligning its capital expenditure with a 1.5°C pathway would be consistent with Origin’s own commitments.

Origin is a signatory to the ‘We Mean Business’ coalition, which seeks to “catalyze business and policy action to halve global emissions by 2030 in line with a 1.5°C pathway”.[41] As a coalition member, Origin is committed to the Science-based targets initiative (SBTi) and it has committed to update its “existing science-based target to a 1.5°C pathway when the guidance is available from SBTi.”[42] This is necessary due to evolving investor expectations and because our company’s existing 2°C aligned target no longer meets SBTi standards.[43]

Origin’s commitment to an updated 1.5°C aligned target is commendable, however it must accompany a commitment to align capital expenditure with that pathway.

Aligning its capital expenditure with a 1.5°C pathway would be consistent with investor expectations.

The Climate Action 100+ Net Zero Company Benchmark indicators set out expectations for capital allocation, including:

  • Explicitly committing to align future capital expenditures with the Paris Agreement’s objective of limiting global warming to 1.5° Celsius;[44]
  • Disclosing a methodology to align future capital expenditure with decarbonisation goals, including the share of future capital expenditures that are aligned with a 1.5° Celsius scenario, and the year in which capital expenditures in carbon intensive assets will peak.[45]

This resolution is wholly consistent with the expectations laid out by CA100+ signatories.

This resolution is complementary to Origin’s ‘Say on Climate’ vote in 2022.

ACCR acknowledges that Origin has committed to providing its shareholders with a vote on its climate transition plan at the 2022 Annual General Meeting.[46]It is expected that investors will be assessing that plan against the Paris Agreement goals, along with the CA100+ benchmark indicators. On that basis, supporting this resolution is complementary to the 2022 vote as it provides investors with an opportunity to formally and publicly signal their expectations to the Origin board and executive prior to the development of their climate transition plan.

Why is Origin’s capital allocation a concern?

In March 2021, the Climate Action 100+ initiative published its first Net-Zero Company Benchmark and Origin did not fully satisfy any of the indicators.[47]Notably it failed its assessment against the decarbonisation strategy and capital allocation alignment indicators by:

  • Not having a strategy for meeting its long term emissions targets; and
  • Not committing to align its capital expenditure with that strategy or with the Paris Agreement’s objective of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

A material proportion of Origin’s capital expenditure is allocated to sustaining fossil fuel generation and petroleum exploration and appraisal, averaging 45% of capital expenditure between FY18 and FY21, excluding Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG).

Figure 1: Capital expenditure including APLNG share FY2018-21 ($m)

On average, 24% of Origin’s capital expenditure between FY18 and FY21 was allocated to productivity/growth, and only a fraction of that was spent on low or zero carbon technologies.[48] Origin’s investments in Octopus Energy ($128 million) and OC Energy ($14 million) were accounted for separately.[49]

When Origin’s equity share of APLNG capital expenditure is included, capital spend on fossil fuel assets and expansion sits at an average of 71% of total from FY18 to FY21, as demonstrated in Figure 1.[50]

Origin’s planned and potential oil and gas capex

Origin has significant oil and gas interests: 37.5% of Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG), the Beetaloo Basin, the Cooper and Eromanga Basin, the Canning Basin and Poseidon (Browse Basin). CarbonTracker found that 94% of Origin’s potential future oil and gas capital expenditure is inconsistent with keeping warming well below 2°C.[51] This analysis excluded the Beetaloo Basin and Poseidon, due to their high costs being deemed beyond the scope of any IEA scenario.

In FY2021, Origin spent $46 million[52] on exploration and appraisal (E&A), primarily on the Beetaloo Basin (exclusive of APLNG). This is lower than the $85 million spent on E&A in FY2020[53] however FY2022 guidance suggests a return to $75-$85 million[54] expenditure in the Beetaloo and Canning Basins. Additionally, over the last five years APLNG has spent an average of $72 million per annum[55] on E&A.

Origin’s investment in oil and gas expansion comes at the cost of investing in alternatives to decarbonise its business in line with its climate commitments. The IEA ‘Net Zero by 2050’ roadmap concluded that from 2021, no new oil and gas fields can be approved if we are to limit warming to 1.5°C.[56]

As previously stated, recent research published in Nature found that 35% of proven natural gas reserves in Australia must be left unextracted by 2050 to just have a 50% chance of limiting warming to 1.5°C.[57] Origin’s proven reserves (1P) are dominated by unconventional gas in the Surat and Bowen basins that is intended as feed gas for the APLNG plant.[58] Based on this research, at least 35% of these reserves should not be extracted and Origin should not be seeking to prove any more oil and gas reserves if it is genuinely committed to a 1.5°C pathway. It is also important to note that this is an underestimate of the proportion of gas that should be left unextracted, since the study only uses a carbon budget associated with a 50% probability of limiting warming to 1.5 °C.[59]

Electricity generation fleet

Origin’s owned and operated electricity generation portfolio is dominated by coal and gas-fired assets. Of its 5,850MW capacity, 50% is Eraring’s coal generation and 46% is gas generation.[60]

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C[61] and the IEA Net Zero by 2050 roadmap[62]determined that advanced economies, such as Australia, should phase out all unabated coal generation by 2030. The IEA also states that all electricity supply in advanced economies should be net zero emissions by 2035,[63] inferring that unabated gas generation post 2035 is not compatible with limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

The closure date for Eraring is 2032, however Origin is planning a staged exit, with the first 720MW unit to close in 2030.[64] Market conditions are poor for coal generators, as demonstrated by the significant losses Origin incurred from Eraring in FY2021[66]. This could force even earlier closures, which would better align with a 1.5°C warming trajectory, however Origin has voiced support[65] for the proposed capacity payments for coal generation in the National Electricity Market, which may reduce the likelihood of earlier closure.

ACCR acknowledges that ensuring a safe workplace in ageing generation assets is essential and that this may well necessitate capital expenditure. However any funds that are directed towards prolonging the life of Origin’s fossil generation fleet past key milestones will conflict with a 1.5°C warming trajectory.

Conclusion

Ahead of the advisory vote on its climate change reporting in 2022, it is imperative that Origin develops a strategy that is consistent with the Paris Agreement. For this to be deemed credible, Origin’s capital allocation must align with that plan.

ACCR urges shareholders to vote for this proposal.

Appendix

Table 2. Federal government subsidies announced as part of the “gas-fired recovery”, 2020-21.

— Read on www.accr.org.au/news/investor-briefing-shareholder-resolution-to-origin-energy-ltd-on-climate-related-lobbying-and-paris-aligned-capital-expenditure/

Most agricultural funding distorts prices, harms environment: UN report  | | UN News #Act4SDGS #ClimateCrisis Demand #ClimateAction #SDG13 #SDG7 #SDGs Sustainable Development Goals

Around 87% of the $540 billion in total annual government support given worldwide to agricultural producers includes measures that are price distorting and that can be harmful to nature and health.  

That is the main finding of a new UN report calling for repurposing these incentives to achieve more of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and realize the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration

The report, A multi-billion-dollar opportunity: Repurposing agricultural support to transform food systems, was launched on Tuesday by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). 

Switch investments 

Global support to producers in the form of subsidies and other incentives, makes up 15 per cent of total agricultural production value. By 2030, this is projected to more than triple, to $1.759 trillion. The OECD defines agricultural support, as the annual monetary value of gross transfers to agriculture, from consumers and taxpayers, arising from government policies. 

Current support mostly consists of price incentives, such as import tariffs and export subsidies, as well as fiscal subsidies which are tied to the production of a specific commodity or input. 

The report says these are inefficient, distort food prices, hurt people’s health, degrade the environment, and are often inequitable, putting big agri-business ahead of smallholder farmers, many whom are women. 

Last year, up to 811 million people worldwide faced chronic hunger and nearly one in three people in the world (2.37 billion) did not have year-round access to adequate food. In 2019, around three billion people, in every region of the world, could not afford a healthy diet. 

Change, don’t eliminate 

The reports note that, even though most agricultural support today has negative effects, around $110 billion supports infrastructure, research and development, and benefits the general food and agriculture sector.  

It argues that changing agricultural producer support, rather than eliminating it, will help end poverty, eradicate hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition, promote sustainable agriculture, foster sustainable consumption and production, mitigate the climate crisis, restore nature, limit pollution, and reduce inequalities. 

Wake-up call 

The Director-General of FAO, Qu Dongyu, said the report “is a wake-up call for governments around the world to rethink agricultural support schemes to make them fit for purpose to transform our agri-food systems and contribute to the Four Betters: Better nutrition, better production, better environment and a better life.” 

Agriculture is one of the main contributors to climate change. At the same time, farmers are particularly vulnerable to impacts of the climate crisis, such as extreme heat, rising sea levels, drought, floods, and locust attacks. 

According to the report, “continuing with support-as-usual will worsen the triple planetary crisis and ultimately harm human well-being.” 

Meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement requires shifting support especially in high-income countries for an outsized meat and dairy industry, which accounts for 14.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. In lower-income countries, governments should consider repurposing their support for toxic pesticides and fertilizers or the growth of monocultures. 

For the Executive Director of UNEP, Inger Andersen, “governments have an opportunity now to transform agriculture into a major driver of human well-being, and into a solution for the imminent threats of climate change, nature loss, and pollution.” 

From India to the UK 

The report shares several case studies, such as the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, that adopted a policy of Zero Budget Natural Farming; or the Single Payment Scheme, in the United Kingdom, that removed subsidies in agreement with the National Farmers Union (NFU).  

In the European Union, crop diversification has been incentivized through reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and in Senegal a programme called PRACAS incentivizes farmers to cultivate more diverse crops. 

UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner, believes repurposing agricultural support “can improve both productivity and environmental outcomes.” For him, this change “will also boost the livelihoods of the 500 million smallholder farmers worldwide, many of them women, by ensuring a more level playing field.” 

The report is being launched ahead of the 2021 Food Systems Summit convened by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, due to take place on 23rd September in New York.  

The Summit will launch bold new actions to deliver progress on all 17 SDGs, each of which relies to some degree on healthier, more sustainable and equitable food systems. 

|
— Read on news.un.org/en/story/2021/09/1099792