To meet growing global demand for energy services while averting the worst consequences of climate change, the world must accelerate clean energy innovation. Western Europe contributes most to this global process. The United States has faltered. And China has a long way to go.
While the evidence linking greenhouse-gas emissions to climate change has been clear for some time, public engagement with the issue remains low. But showing the link between emissions and extreme weather could motivate more people to demand that governments and companies reduce the use of fossil fuels.
On 21 September 2021, China’s President Xi Jinping announced to the UN General Assembly that China would stop building new coal power plants abroad. The commitment aligns China with a global trend away from international financing of coal and is a significant step towards greening the Belt and Road Initiative.
Given that global greenhouse gas emissions are likely to continue to rise in the coming decades, we must invest in resilience. We have three different adaptation strategies. We can invest in self-protection to reduce our risk exposure; this includes migrating away from areas that are prone to hazards or taking proactive steps such as putting a home on stilts to reduce risk exposure. The second is to rely on government investment in spatial protection strategies such as seawalls and levees. A third strategy would be to purchase insurance to guarantee that we receive a payment if a disaster occurs.
The three-day UN Sustainable Transport Conference, which opened on Thursday, will examine how transportation can contribute to climate response, economic growth and sustainable development.
With the crucial United Nations COP26 climate-change summit fast approaching, recent positive developments in green-energy technologies provide grounds for hope. But two caveats point to the need to intensify multilateral cooperation.
The Kunming Declaration, adopted at the end of the UN Biodiversity Conference’s latest High Level Segment, which took place in Kunming, China, calls on the States Parties to act urgently on biodiversity protection in decision-making and recognise the importance of conservation in protecting human health.
Addressing members of the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action, he highlighted their critical role as the conference date fast approaches.
“Your decisions and actions in the coming weeks will determine whether the global economic recovery will be low-carbon, resilient and inclusive or whether it will lock-in fossil fuel-intensive investments with high risks of stranded assets,” he added.
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday said China will take the lead by investing 1.5 billion yuan ($233 million) to establish the Kunming Biodiversity Fund, marking the latest effort by the world’s second largest economy to address the increasing biodiversity degradation.