The Global Climate Action Hub| Photo by Esra Sergi, UN DPI

Coal phase-out?

The IPCC report suggests that any chance of limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require a phase-out of coal by 2050. However, the German NGO Urgewald issued a report today showing that the number of coal-fired power stations operating in the world is still growing. Since the Paris Agreement was adopted in late 2015, 92,345 MW of new coal power plants have started operating. Another 670,000 MW are currently planned or under construction in 59 countries. While not all of these coal plants will ultimately be built, the Urgewald officials say financing is still abundant for construction. The good news is that a number of major insurance and finance companies have completely eliminated coal financing from their portfolios.

Feeding a Hungry World in 2050

How is the world going to feed 10 billion people in 2050 without destroying the planet? A new report by the World Resources Institute with UNDP and the World Bank says it can be done. It would require 50 per cent more food, producing this food without any new land for agriculture and reducing the greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. Presently, agriculture accounts for about a quarter of all emissions, and about half of that comes from livestock.  All this can be done at the same time, by reducing the size of demand by shifting diets (it calls for 40 per cent beef reduction, but does not advocate a vegetarian diet), producing more food on the same land, and stabilizing the world’s fish supply.

School Strike for Climate

You are never too young to make a difference. Greta Thunber is 15, and her climate journey began six years ago at the age of 9 when she started learning about climate change. She has stayed on topic ever since: Now, she is a vegan and has stopped flying on airplanes.

Inspired by US students who demanded better gun control following school shootings and concerned about the lack of action on climate change, Greta started protesting outside of Sweden’s parliament building, headlined discussions on the topic, and people began to pay attention.

“I was alone on the first day but then people started joining me,” Greta said. The fact is “action to fight global warming is coming whether world leaders like it or not.”

In a meeting with youth representatives, in which Greta was present, UN Chief António Guterres said: “Our younger generations will have to help drive, and complete, the work we start today. We need to harness their energy, invention and political power to raise climate ambition.”

Empowering the “Climate generation”

Do not underestimate the power of young people. Empowering youth, a.k.a. the “climate generation”, can bring the much-needed change, and Governments cannot do it alone, say youth leaders. In particular, youth needs to be involved in addressing the problem of failed harvests, shortage of clean water, and the lack of coordination. From Canada, France, Indonesia and Mexico, young leaders at COP24 demanded that Governments allow young people to participate in making decisions, and to fund youth-led research and innovative projects to beat climate change.

Linking action on Climate Change and the SDGs

UN’s senior officials Liu Zhenmin and Patricia Espinosa, announced today that they will host a conference in Copenhagen, Denmark next year to highlight the links between the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement. With the motto of “stronger by working together,” the conference will forge stronger action that serves both agendas.