Some chocolate manufacturers are attempting to make their supply chains more transparent. Rodrigo Flores

Solar bread, garbage ecosystems and the world’s first climate-resilient country

News to know in our bi-weekly digest

Are we nearing a tipping point for renewable energy? Wind and solar broke new records in 2022, and greenhouse gases from electricity are set to drop for the first time this year.

In this bi-weekly news round-up, find out whether fossil fuels are on their way out, and discover the Pacific’s new plastic ecosystem, the world’s most sustainable buildings, and more.

Even certification schemes for farmed fish can be unreliable at times. Hanson Lu, Unsplash

LANDSCAPE NEWS

How can blockchain help us eat greener? In this piece, we explore how new technologies are transforming food supply chains.

Across the Global South, local communities are going into business with nature. Here’s everything you need to know about community business – what it is, how it works and why it matters.

The AI revolution is here, and it’s helping scientists tackle deforestation with drones. Find out how in this guest op-ed from our partners.

And in our latest podcast episode, we speak with two remarkable women using finance to transform lives in Brazil and Pakistan.

Muğla, Turkey, part of the Turkish Riviera, also known as the Turquoise Coast. Alexander Akimenko, Unsplash

PEOPLE

Meet the six winners of this year’s Goldman Environmental Prize, including this anti-mining Indigenous leader in the Amazon and this man bringing Turkey’s Turquoise Coast back to life.

Sudan is running out of food and water as it descends into civil war. Millions could now face hunger, the UN World Food Programme has warned.

Madagascar faces an even deeper food crisis after three major cyclones in a year, as do parts of West and Central Africa amid conflict, drought and skyrocketing food prices due to the war in Ukraine.

And with half the world’s population facing water scarcity at least part of the year, it’s no wonder water theft is on the rise globally.

Plastic pollution in the ocean. Naja Bertolt Jensen, Unsplash

PLANET

Just how much plastic have we dumped into the ocean? If it’s any indication, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch has grown so huge that it’s turned into its own ecosystem.

Across Southeast Asia, scientists, NGOs and local communities are banding together to save coral reefs from pollution, overfishing and the climate crisis.

Tropical forests are vital allies against the climate crisis, which is why we need to invest at least USD 130 billion a year to protect them. We’re currently spending just USD 2–3 billion.

Back in December, world leaders finally agreed to protect 30 percent of the planet by 2030. Is that target still achievable?

The ice sheets of Greenland are melting three times faster than they did 30 years ago. Tina Rolf, Unsplash

CLIMATE

The world isn’t in great shape. Name any climate change indicator – temperatures, sea levels, disasters, carbon dioxide levels – and chances are, we’ve set new records for all of them in the past year.

Last year saw historic droughts in China, East Africa, the U.S. and countless other parts of the world, while heatwaves killed over 20,000 people in Europe alone.

At the same time, the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica are now melting three times faster than they did 30 years ago.

Brace yourself for worse to come: this year could be the hottest year on record as El Niño returns.

Offshore oil rig. Arvind Vallabh, Unsplash

BUSINESS

A major breakthrough for U.S. climate lawsuits: cities will be allowed to sue oil companies in state courts, the country’s Supreme Court has decided.

Banks are still financing the fossil fuel industry – to the amount of USD 673 billion last year, to be precise.

In Lebanon, hunger is mounting as food prices spiral out of control. One startup is tackling the crisis with this oven powered by the sun.

And from solar-powered safari lodges to factories with built-in public parks, here are some of the world’s coolest sustainable buildings.

The Grohnde nuclear power plant (Kernkraftwerk Grohnde, KWG) was shut down on 31 December 2021. Arnold Middelkoop, Unsplash

POLICY

Australia is building a brand-new ‘sustainable city’ just outside Sydney – in an area that’s highly vulnerable to the climate crisis.

Is this the world’s first climate-resilient country? The tiny Caribbean island nation of Dominica lies in the path of countless hurricanes, but it’s got a plan to keep its people safe.

Germany has shut down its last three nuclear power plants to the ire of some climate scientists. Meanwhile, the E.U.’s climate policy is one step closer to becoming law.

All U.S. federal agencies must now incorporate environmental justice into their missions. Chile will nationalize its lithium industry, but Mexico continues to lag behind on climate action.

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