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Week in Review: Top Climate News for June 12-16

by Earth.Org Americas Asia Global Commons Jun 16th 20234 mins
Week in Review: Top Climate News for June 12-16

This weekly round-up brings you key climate news from the past seven days, including a weak outcome at key climate talks in Bonn, Germany, the US first youth climate trial in Montana, and yet another worrisome UN report on delays to achieve most climate targets. 

1. Negotiators Disappointed at Bonn Climate Talks’ Weak Outcome Ahead of COP28

Negotiators wrapped up ten days of talks at the Bonn climate summit on Thursday, as tensions over the COP28 hosting nation and its president’s link to the fossil fuel industry continue to build.

Delegates gathered in the German city to discuss two major points: A plan to accelerate emissions reductions in the upcoming summit’s agenda and a clear message from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – this year’s COP host – on its stand in climate negotiations. At last year’s COP27 in Glasgow, the oil-rich nation reiterated that oil and gas are key to a smooth energy transition and assured that it will keep providing fossil fuels to countries around the world “for as long as the world needs it.”

Another big point of conflict in Bonn was the prominence of climate finance – financial support wealthy countries provide to support developing countries in climate change mitigation and adaptation actions. Despite approving a draft agenda, negotiators from industrialised and developing nations could not reach an agreement on how to finance mitigation efforts in the latter.

Read more here.

2. First US Youth Climate Trial Begins in Montana

The first youth climate trial in US history kicked off on Monday in Helena, Montana, where 16 young residents accuse state officials of violating their constitutional right to a healthy environment, hoping to set an important precedent and encourage legal action elsewhere in the country.

The plaintiffs, aged between 5 and 22, filed the lawsuit in 2020. Grace Gibson-Snyder, a 19-year-old plaintiff, described the case as “one big opportunity for the state to become a leader in preserving a safe, beautiful and prosperous future for Montana.”

“We’ve seen repeatedly over the last few years what the Montana state Legislature is choosing. They are choosing fossil fuel development. They are choosing corporations over the needs of their citizens,” she said.

Read more here.

2. About 90% of Top-Polluting Countries’ Net-Zero Targets Unlikely to Be Achieved: Report

The world remains far from delivering a safe climate future, as an overwhelming majority of countries are underdelivering on net-zero targets and their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), a new study has found.

Researchers behind a paper published last week in the scientific journal Science assessed net-zero targets for 35 major emitters, including the European Union, which together accounted for about 82% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2019. Three factors were taken into account in the credibility and confidence assessment rating: whether or not a country’s net-zero targets are legally binding, whether they are accompanied by a published implementation plan, and whether a country’s current policies are already contributing to lower emissions by at least 10% by 2030 compared to 2020.

Researchers found that about 90% of the assessed net-zero plans are unlikely to be achieved, with confidence levels of “lower” or “much lower.” India, Australia, Brazil, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates – this year’s COP28 host, are among the countries most behind in terms of achieving their targets.

Read more here.

3. Seven Dead and Thousands Evacuated as India and Pakistan Brace for Cyclone Biparjoy

Seven people died on Tuesday, including four boys who drowned in rough seas off the coast of Mumbai, as India and neighbouring Pakistan begin evacuating thousands of people from coastal areas ahead of Cyclone Biparjoy.

Classified as a “very severe cyclonic storm”, Biparjoy is expected to make landfall between Mandvi in India’s western state of Gujarat and Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, on Thursday evening, with wind maximum sustained wind speed of 125-135 km/h (78-84 mph) gusting to 150 km/h (93 mph).

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Pakistan’s minister of climate change Sherry Rehman said the government has so far evacuated about 65,000 people from an area that has “barely recovered from the last climate-induced disaster.”

Read more here.

4. Puerto Rican Organisations Blast Public Electric Utility PREPA Bankruptcy Plan

Residential electric bills in Puerto Rico could skyrocket following plans to restructure the staggering debt held by the country’s public electric utility, forcing customers to leave the grid or the territory altogether, dozens of organisations have warned in a letter.

The utility debt restructuring plan would address Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority’s (PREPA) more than US$10 billion in debt obligations. In a statement, the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico (FOMB), a government entity created by Congress in 2016 to assist in restructuring the country’s debt, said the plan would “cut PREPA’s unsustainable debt by almost 50%” and “should provide the financial stability necessary to invest in modern, resilient, and reliable energy system for Puerto Rico.”

The plan to save PREPA was met with harsh criticism. In an open letter published last week, 50 Puerto Rican organisations and dozens of community advocates, economists, conservationists, and energy experts said these charges, combined with ongoing high fuel costs and defection from the grid, would dramatically increase the already high energy prices to unaffordable levels, forcing many to leave the grid or the island altogether.

Read more here.



Read more here.

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