Copper test sample with shielding frames at the nuclear research organization Centrum výzkumu Řež. Courtesy of Centrum výzkumu Řež

A nuclear fusion breakthrough, COP15 proceedings, and the mysterious deaths of the Caspian seal

News to know in our bi-weekly digest

Just weeks on from the climate-focused COP27, country delegations are convening in Montreal for the COP15 biodiversity summit – a potential make-or-break moment for nature.

Here’s all you need to know about the summit, its main themes, and why past negotiations failed. Plus, drought-resistant pasta, angry birds, ‘cheaper’ climate disasters and more in this final Landscape News bi-weekly digest of 2022.

LANDSCAPE NEWS

What does biodiversity have to do with human rights? An Indigenous leader explains, to inform discussions at COP15.

Earlier this year, we asked you to show us what the climate crisis looks like to you. Now, meet the winners of the GLF Climate 2022 photo competition.

How can companies help build more sustainable food systems? That was the topic of a session at GLF Climate on Scope 3 emissions in food value chains, as well as a new set of guidelines for investing in livestock and aquaculture.

Over at our Landscape Academy, we aired a special training on carbon accounting standards. Here’s the summary, if you want to learn too.

BUSINESS

The UN Convention on Biological Diversity hosted its negotiations this year in Montreal, Canada. Samuel Charron, Unsplash
The UN Convention on Biological Diversity hosted its negotiations this year in Montreal, Canada. Samuel Charron, Unsplash

A major breakthrough for nuclear fusion: U.S. scientists have finally managed to produce a net energy gain by fusing two atoms together.

The planet needs USD 384 billion a year by 2025 to protect against climate change and resource depletion, and investors especially need to do more against deforestation.

At COP15, negotiators are hoping to pass a measure that would require businesses to disclose their harm to the planet.

Renewables are set to become the world’s largest source of electricity by 2025. Meanwhile, a U.S. congressional committee has accused oil companies of lying about their climate pledges.

CLIMATE

Greenland’s ice sheet could cause seven meters of sea level rise if it melted entirely. Tina Rolf, Unsplash
Greenland’s ice sheet could cause seven meters of sea level rise if it melted entirely. Tina Rolf, Unsplash

Is the climate crisis getting cheaper? Not quite: This year’s climate disasters caused ‘just’ USD 268 billion in damage, which is a 12 percent decrease from 2021 but still substantially more than a decade ago.

Greenland’s ice sheet could cause 7 meters of sea level rise if it melted entirely – and its major ice streams can change much more quickly than previously thought.

At least two regions are suffering their worst droughts in decades, wiping out harvests in Argentina and pushing elephants, birds and people to starvation in northern Kenya.

Fungal infections are increasingly spreading beyond their endemic areas. Is the climate crisis to blame?

PEOPLE

The Brazilian Amazon has become a thoroughfare for drug trafficking and organized crime. Alexander Gerst, Flickr
The Brazilian Amazon has become a thoroughfare for drug trafficking and organized crime. Alexander Gerst, Flickr

Conservationists want to protect 30 percent of the world’s waters by 2030, but will that have consequences for Indigenous Peoples and fishing communities?

The latest news out of the Amazon is that illegal gold miners have carved a road through Brazil’s largest Indigenous reserve. Brazil is also at risk of losing control over its enormous portion of the biome to organized crime and drug trafficking, says one of the country’s top judges.

On a lighter note, pasta! Farmers and scientists have developed a new drought-resistant variety of durum wheat, which is used to make many of our favorite carbohydrates, from pizza to pastries.

The Netherlands is set to shut down thousands of farms by 2030 to achieve its climate goals. Here’s how Dutch farmers ended up the darlings of right-wing conspiracy theorists.

PLANET

Robins get more aggressive when exposed to traffic noise. Jan Meeus, Unsplash
Robins have been found to get more aggressive when exposed to traffic noise. Jan Meeus, Unsplash

Almost 10 percent of all marine life is now threatened with extinction. One of these species is the Caspian seal – nearly 2,500 of which have mysteriously washed up dead on Russia’s Caspian Sea coast.

The black-footed ferret is one of North America’s most endangered species. These Native American communities are working to restore its place in their local ecosystem.

What did Greenland look like when it was actually green? Scientists think they’ve finally found the answer hidden in the world’s oldest known DNA.

Robins get road rage, too: These renowned singing birds have been found to become more aggressive when exposed to traffic noise.

POLICY

Soy is among the commodities that will face scrutiny under new EU deforestation rules. Fiston Wasanga, CIFOR-ICRAF
Soy is among the commodities that will face scrutiny under new EU deforestation rules. Fiston Wasanga, CIFOR-ICRAF

COP15 co-host Canada has committed CAD 800 million (USD 586 million) to Indigenous-led conservation projects and is urging other major countries to expand protected areas.

The E.U. has become the first major economy to impose a “carbon border tariff” on imported goods. The bloc will also ban the sale of products linked to deforestation through their supply chains and phase out free carbon permits by 2026.

Negotiators have met for the first time to forge a global treaty on plastic pollution but without agreeing on whether efforts should be mandatory or voluntary, or global or country-led.

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