Coal extraction in Poland. Curiouso Photography, Unsplash

Climate blowback, pledges for permafrost, and the deities defending nature

News to know in our bi-weekly digest

Humanity has one last chance to prevent climate catastrophe – by drastically reducing our emissions over the next decade. Will we manage to keep our future livable?

More on the latest IPCC report here on Landscape News, along with wartime mining, a global rewilding map, West Africa’s green buildings, and many more stories from around the world.

LANDSCAPE NEWS

A woman rides her bicycle to collect water in Burkina Faso. Ollivier Girard, CIFOR
A woman rides her bicycle to collect water in Burkina Faso. Ollivier Girard, CIFOR

Next week, starting 18 April, is Africa Week. Join us for a special program of GLF Lives, launches, landscape eye candy and more. Spoiler alert: we’ll be announcing a new partnership with one of the biggest names in dryland restoration.

Speaking of GLF Lives, we hosted one on 14 April addressing the climate cost of war with Ukraine’s deputy environment minister and a conflict expert from the Middle East. We encourage you to re-listen to this important dialogue.

Are ancient gods watching over our planet? Across Asia and Africa, sacred sites are helping protect the biodiversity around them.

These otherworldly islands have been largely spared from Yemen’s brutal war so far – but the climate crisis might not be as kind.

CLIMATE

An oil rig in the North Sea. Philippa McKinlay, Flickr
An oil rig in the North Sea. Philippa McKinlay, Flickr

Time is quickly running out for climate action, warns another new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Global warming is almost certain to exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius, and emissions will have to peak by 2025 to allow any chance of achieving that goal. Despite that, methane emissions are rising faster than ever before.

But we can’t give up, scientists urge. Our actions still count, and we can still prevent some of the worst climate impacts if we act quickly.

It would also be cheaper to act now: the climate crisis could cost up to USD 2 trillion a year in the U.S. alone.

PEOPLE

An artisanal miner in the Amazon. Jeso Carneiro, Flickr
An artisanal miner in the Amazon. Jeso Carneiro, Flickr

The war in Ukraine is a boon for illegal mining thousands of kilometers away in Brazil, pushed by President Jair Bolsonaro in the name of reducing foreign dependency. Indigenous communities are paying the price with a surge in invasions and human rights abuses.

What can West Africa teach the world about green buildings? This Pritzker Prize–winning Burkinabè architect is blending local traditions with low-carbon, climate-proof design.

In the arid south of Spain, this project is bringing back an ancient water system to help local communities adapt to drought.

PLANET

The Przewalski’s Horse, an endangered species of wild horse, has been thriving in the forests of Chernobyl. Dana Sacchetti, IAEA
The Przewalski’s Horse, an endangered species of wild horse, has been thriving in the forests of Chernobyl. Dana Sacchetti, IAEA

Two months ago, Chernobyl was flourishing with wildlife. Now, Russia’s invasion threatens to change all of that.

Nature may be a universal language, but many scientists who publish in languages other than English are finding their work ignored.

Your sunscreen isn’t just harming coral: seagrasses in the Mediterranean are soaking up the chemicals, too.

Is rewilding your thing? Find a project near you with this new global map covering over 1 million square kilometers of land across 70 countries.

BUSINESS

A research team studying how the loss of sea ice affects walruses on St. Lawrence Island. U.S. Geological Survey, Flickr
A research team studying how the loss of sea ice affects walruses on St. Lawrence Island. U.S. Geological Survey, Flickr

Private donors have pledged USD 41 million to the study of melting permafrost, including its greenhouse gas emissions and impacts on Native communities in Alaska.

We could end poverty while using no more energy than we currently use today. Yet demand for electricity is growing faster than ever as the global economy rebounds.

On the flip side, wind and solar now generate a record 10 percent of global electricity and are making swift inroads into Africa.

New ocean shipping routes are opening in the rapidly warming Arctic. They’re also making the problem much worse.

POLICY

An oil well in Russia. Dmitirii Ivanov, Flickr
An oil well in Russia. Dmitirii Ivanov, Flickr

The E.U. has halted funding for Russian science, including climate change research. It will also ban all imports of Russian coal, with an oil embargo potentially next on the cards.

The U.S. military emits as much carbon as Portugal each year, but it also faces blowback in the form of disruption from mounting climate disasters.

Those concerns went unheeded in the U.A.E., which pushed for more investments in fossil fuels at a U.N.-backed climate summit it hosted earlier this month.

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