By Stuart Orr, WWF Global Freshwater Lead, and Henk Ovink, International Water Envoy of the Government of the Netherlands.
The global response to climate change — as slow and inadequate as it has been — has always been two-pronged. On the one hand, we have sought — and fought — to reduce emissions to mitigate its severity. We have also increasingly recognised that we will have to adapt to its inevitable impacts, building social, economic and environmental resilience in the face of extreme weather and rising seas.
When the impacts of climate change felt like a threat for the future, the emphasis was on mitigation. But even though we have failed to live up to our commitments and cut emissions fast enough to rein in climate change, global mitigation efforts have still been considerably greater than those focussed on adaptation. Indeed, for years, adaptation was largely absent from the global conversation, despite the fact that climate change exacerbates the impact and deepens the linkages between worsening global crises — water, food, poverty, inequality, migration, conflict and nature loss. …
By Alexis Morgan, WWF Global Water Stewardship Lead, and Francesco Curto, Global Head of Research, DWS
Over the past year, COVID-19 has fundamentally re-shaped our global economy, social ties and the environment. Most of the world was totally unprepared even though pandemics had been consistently highlighted in the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Risk Reports, including last year’s which ranked infectious diseases as the 9th greatest risk by impact. This underlines how identifying a risk is not enough, what matters is preparation and management.
With the exception of a few countries, we can safely argue that the ‘risk’ has been poorly managed. Along with the huge human loss of life, the Economist estimates that COVID-19 will result in US$10 trillion in forgone GDP over 2020–21. Proper preparation would have cost a fraction of that price. But infectious diseases are not alone among the list of high impact risks that companies, investors and countries remain unprepared for: there is also water. …
As we enter a new decade, we need to make sure it is a ‘decade of action’ for nature and people to bring a nature-positive, carbon neutral and equitable future for all life on the Earth. It is time to re-evaluate our targets, and put nature on the road to recovery, by halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030 to achieve a nature-positive world. 2021 has to be the new ‘Super Year for Nature’.
Mind if I call you Elon? Thanks. Along with the rest of the world, I spotted your tweet and feel your pain. How can we really make a difference? How much money does it take, and where does that money go? How can we measure impact?
Let me help you out. You CAN make a difference. You will need to donate your brain power. And wield your influence. The impact will be tangible, joyful and touch the lives of so many.
Interested? Read on.
The answer is in the water. Seriously. Have you heard about the world’s water crisis?
By Gavin Edwards, Global Coordinator, New Deal for Nature & People
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
― Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
Charles Dickens’ classic 1859 novel A Tale of Two Cities ruminates on oppression and violence in the 18th century, and the choices made by its main characters which lead to resurrection and transformation. Mankind’s current treatment of our natural world offers a useful corollary: the world we face today with escalating climate change, with the collapse of wildlife populations and biodiversity and ever-more inequitable, must be vanquished and replaced with a nature-positive world, where humanity’s relationship with the natural environment is transformed. …
New World Bank data in the WWF Water Risk Filter tool will help companies assess and act on the invisible water crisis of water quality
By Ariane Laporte-Bisquit (Project Lead, WWF Water Risk Filter); Rafael Camargo (Technical Lead, WWF Water Risk Filter); Esha Dilip Zaveri (Economist, World Bank); Jason Daniel Russ (Senior Economist, World Bank)
When it comes to water crises grabbing the headlines, they’re usually about water quantity. From this year’s historic floods in China and Viet Nam to widespread drought in the US and billions facing water shortages across the world, it’s stories of too much or too little water that invariably burst into the public consciousness. However, analysis of the largest global database of water quality by the World Bank warns that the “invisible crisis of water quality” is an equally, if not even more, serious threat to human and environmental well-being. …
By Josefina Braña Varela and Brittany Williams, WWF-US
Of the many events that have marked 2020 — from a devastating fire season to a fraught-but-momentous US election to a raging pandemic — an important anniversary warrants reflection and calls for action. December 12 marks five years since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015. The agreement directs each of the 195 country signatories and the European Union to develop their own emission reduction targets and the strategies by which they endeavor to achieve them. It is the first truly global commitment to fight the climate crisis.
The notable achievement will be commemorated this Saturday with the virtual Climate Ambition Summit cohosted by the United Nations, the United Kingdom, and France in partnership with Chile and Italy. It is expected that enhanced national climate actions will be announced at the event. …
The year-long delay must be an opportunity to reinvigorate global efforts to reduce emissions in line with science, writes Manuel Pulgar-Vidal.
If things had been different, we would be in Glasgow this year, engaged in the annual UN climate talks. While this delay became inevitable once the pandemic took hold, it is one that we can ill afford as we face the climate crisis. But it does give us the time and opportunity to re-evaluate what success at COP26 looks like and to ensure we have the processes and political will needed to deliver that success.
The COP26 presidency, held by the UK government, is working hard to ensure momentum and political will builds towards the COP, now scheduled for 1–12 November 2021. Some of the world’s biggest producers of CO2 emissions have made announcements which, together with the US President-Elect Joe Biden’s pledge to rejoin the Paris Agreement, have the potential to break the political climate log-jam. …
The Mekong river is dying. Everyone knows it — but it is not reflected in the agenda of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) gathering its members and development partners today for its 27th Council meeting.
Just ask the fishing communities around Tonle Sap who’ve seen their catches collapse as water levels in the river fall to historic lows. Or families in the delta who’ve watched their lands and livelihoods crumble as the riverbanks erode. And the scientific evidence is just as alarming. …
By Simone Niedermueller, WWF Mediterranean Marine Initiative Regional Projects Manager.
Anna Maria, aka “the Bride of the Sea” as she’s known in her tiny coastal Italian village, was born into a fishing family, and went out on boats with her father from the age of four, but it was not until she was 30 when the laws regarding gender equality were passed in Italy, that she was able to apply for a fishing license and become an independent fisherwoman. Even today, 50 years later, attitudes to gender equality have a lot further to go than we may realise.
Globally, women’s fishing activities amount to an estimated 3 million tonnes of marine fish and other seafood per year, with an estimated economic value of $5.6 billion per year — about 12% of the landed value of all small-scale fisheries catches. …