- This weekly round-up brings you some of the top environmental stories from the last seven days.
- Headlines: Arctic is warming seven times faster than global average; Heatwaves Trigger Record Energy Consumption Worldwide; Australia steps up action on climate change.
1. News in Brief: Top Environment and Climate Change stories to read this week
The Arctic is warming seven times faster than the global average — between 2.7C and 4C per decade — according to a new reported study The guardwhich found that the islands in the northern Barents Sea are the fastest warming place on the planet.
More than 9 million people have been abandoned in Bangladesh and northeastern India, and at least 54 people have died after heavy monsoon rains. “The floods in the Sylhet region are the worst in 122 years,” said Atiqul Haque, director-general of the Bangladesh Disaster Management Agency.
Heavy storms and summer rains in China have triggered urban flooding and rural mudslides. Single-storey houses were swept away in at least two counties in southwest China’s Guizhou province on June 18, according to videos circulating on Chinese social media. Rainfall in some areas was the heaviest in 60 years.
US President Joe Biden has called on China and other major economies to redouble their efforts to tackle climate change and improve energy security, warning that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has heightened the need for urgent action. At a virtual gathering of the Major Economies Forum on June 17, Biden urged countries to accelerate action to reduce methane emissions, adopt ambitious targets for zero-emission vehicles and work to make global shipping cleaner.
Climate change is an urgent threat that requires decisive action. Communities around the world are already experiencing increasing climate impacts, from droughts to floods to rising sea levels. The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report continues to rank these environmental threats high on the list.
In order to limit global temperature rise to well below 2°C and as close as possible to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, it is imperative that businesses, policymakers and civil society advance comprehensive short- and long-term climate action in line with the goals of the Paris climate protection agreement.
The World Economic Forum’s Climate Action Initiative supports the expansion and acceleration of global climate action through public-private sector collaboration. The initiative works across multiple workspaces to design and implement inclusive and ambitious solutions.
These include the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders, a global network of business leaders across industries developing cost-effective solutions for the transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy. CEOs are using their position and influence with policymakers and corporate partners to accelerate the transition and realize the economic benefits of creating a safer climate.
Contact us to get involved.
Firefighters struggled to control wildfires in Spain on June 18 as an unseasonably heatwave pushed temperatures near record highs. Dry and windy conditions have sparked wildfires in several areas, with Zamora, near the border with Portugal, among the worst-hit.
At a Reuters conference on June 15, energy sector leaders pushed for shorter-term solutions like efficiency and energy conservation during the current fuel shortage and said companies must make efforts to meet 2030 climate targets.
The federal cabinet has approved plans to require its 16 states to allocate a minimum area for onshore wind farms, according to a ministry statement, as Berlin strives to meet its renewable energy targets. Legislators stipulate that 2% of the area in Germany should be reserved for wind farms by 2032, up from the current 0.8%, with an interim target of 1.4% in 2026.
2. Heat waves trigger record-breaking energy demand worldwide
Heatwaves from Texas to China have pushed electricity demand to record levels as homes and businesses turn up the air conditioning to try to stay cool.
Energy demand has hit an all-time high in Texas, with temperatures expected to break 100 Fahrenheit this week. Electricity use rose to a tentative 75,124 megawatts on June 16, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which said it had enough resources to meet the demand.
One megawatt can power about 1,000 homes in the US on a typical day, but only about 200 homes on a hot summer day in Texas.
Meanwhile, electricity consumption also rose in major Chinese provinces north of the Yangtze River amid warmer-than-average weather, with regions like Henan, China’s third most populous province, facing record electricity demand.
The maximum power demand load in Henan, home to nearly 100 million people, set a new record at 65.34 million kilowatts on June 19, state television reported.
And in parts of Europe, particularly France and Spain, an early summer heatwave has put pressure on energy systems as demand for air conditioning will push prices higher and increase the challenge of building inventories to protect against further cuts in Russia’s gas supply to protect .
3. Australia steps up action on climate change
Australia’s new Labor government has raised its target for reducing carbon emissions by 2030, bringing the country closer in line with the Paris climate agreement commitments of other developed countries.
She pledged to the United Nations to cut carbon emissions by 43% by 2030 from 2005 levels, down from the previous Conservative government’s target of 26% to 28%. The country is one of the world’s highest CO2 emitters per capita.
It comes as Western Australia announced plans to shut down its coal-fired generators by 2030, costing A$3.8 billion ($2.63 billion).