The window of opportunity to keep the average global temperature from breaking through the ceiling of 2°C — or preferably 1.5°C — as set out in the UN’s Paris Agreement is closing fast. But for parts of the Kalahari, a vast semi-desert in southern Africa, the battle to stabilise the regional temperature is already lost. Botswana is expected to reach an average warming of 2°C in less than five years. At a time when the science warns that countries need to keep their fossil fuels in the ground, conservationists here have expressed alarm at the news that oil and gas prospecting licenses have been issued for large parts of Botswana and Namibia, including in the ecologically and water-sensitive Okavango Delta and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Leonie Joubert reports
As inspiring as it is to see Fridays for Future on the streets again, its enforced downtime during the pandemic has wrought changes in the climate movement, in Germany and beyond. Can it bounce back to have the global presence it had in 2019? And if so, how does it intend to make its voice count in the new context? Paul Hockenos has the story.
In much of Europe, this April is proving one of the driest in history. In Germany, wildfires are blazing, forests and farmlands are bone dry, and river depth in some areas is a half of what it should be. According to climate scientists, this could be the new normal as global warming enhances the frequency of severe droughts. Farmers though could do more to secure stable harvests: by growing more diverse crops. Paul Hockenos takes a closer look.
Recent months have brought a series of signs of change on the horizon of Polish climate politics – some clearer than others. It is negligible how much such change is being forced by external circumstances and how much stems from genuine reflection. The climate crisis and its consequences are now so clear that the most hardened climate sceptics have been silenced. It is too soon to speak of an environmental breakthrough in Poland, but one can no longer definitively say that the right-wing remains completely indifferent to the ubiquitous signs of crisis. Michał Olszewski summarises the development.
Faced with dwindling oil reserves, Columbian politicians are worried about energy security and state funds. The country is looking into whether it will allow fracking if it’s ‘sustainable’ – ignoring the possibility of expanding renewables instead, says Rebecca Bertram.
Why should individuals refashion their lifestyles to cut down on emissions when the real battlefield is the political arena? Critics say environmentalists focus too much on personal choices rather than fighting for systemic change. Paul Hockenos says he’s on board with the larger goal, but there are valid reasons to start decarbonizing at home.
The results of the European elections can be seen as a new green wave and as a response to concerns about climate change. The striking school children, a movement known as ‘Fridays For Future’, strongly influenced this development, Paul Hockenos takes a look.
But they aren’t necessarily voting for pro-climate parties. There’ll be a bump for environmentally minded parties, but it probably won’t offset the far right’s gains, says Paul Hockenos.
Brexite is a major threat to Europe’s climate targets. The energy supply would also change – to the detriment of the British population. Nina Locher asks whether energy poverty and economic injustice could be prevented by stable British-European cooperation.