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Top Sustainability News #18

Alexanne Heurtier
You don't want to miss out on the latest news related to carbon markets and sustainable development. Find out our Top Sustainability News! 

Arctic sea ice thinning twice as fast as thought, study finds

A new study has been published on the European Geosciences Union website about the ice in the Arctic. It has revealed that sea ice is thinning twice as fast as previously thought. Calculating and monitoring the thickness of the ice in the Arctic sea is complicated as it needs precise satellite radar data, which takes into account different amounts of snow cover levels. Previous data was provided by Soviet expeditions at the end of the 20th Century; thus, there was a significant need to update these measures to adjust the numbers. 
The main danger of melting ice is due to its vicious circle where melting ice is caused by rising temperature, but also contributes to heating the planet as there is less snow that reflects the sun’s heat. Moreover, it contributes to the extinction of species living in these areas that see their living ecosystem shrinking. Finally, melting ice influences extreme weather and natural disasters, such as storms or eroded coasts as newly exposed waters hit coastal lands.
However, some see new opportunities from Arctic loss that could enable the creation of a new natural shipping passage between China and Europe. Experts believe that it could reduce the time of transportation of goods and thus, reduce the carbon emissions of shipping.

Major drop in EU's greenhouse gas emissions in 2019, official data confirms

The European Environment Agency (EEA) has published the latest official data on the EU carbon emissions for 2019. The report submitted to the UNFCCC unveils optimistic news that the EU Member States have managed to reduce by 3.8% their carbon emissions. For the moment, the EU has achieved a 24% reduction in emissions compared to 1990 levels without including emission reductions from land use or forestry. A large part of the reductions, almost 80%, occurred in the heat and power sector, which is covered by the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). However, the transport sector continued with its increasing trend in 2019, especially from emissions tied to road transportation. These differences show visible patterns. For instance, the EU Emission Trading System (ETS) that covers the heat and power sectors seems to be efficient as prices have increased making gas and renewable energy relatively cheaper. Nevertheless, more needs to be done in the transport sector. As a result, the implementation of CORSIA for the civil aviation sector could help accelerate the transition towards greener modes of transport and lead to innovative solutions. 
As a reminder, the EU has committed to achieve net zero by 2050 and create a climate-resilient society. The first step is to cut its emissions by 55% by 2030. Even if the targets seem far for the moment, the EU continues to implement actions and laws in line with its ambitions. 

Conférence de Bonn sur le climat : reprise de la diplomatie climatique onusienne

Six mois avant la Conférence des Parties (COP 26) à Glasgow, des sessions ont été organisées par les Nations Unis pour réunir des pays signataires à partir du 31 Mai et ce jusqu’à mi-juin. Les réunions ont été reportées une première fois avant d’être finalement organisées en ligne. L’objectif de ces sessions est de préparer la COP 26 qui se tiendra en novembre prochain et qui est très attendue par les décideurs politiques mais surtout par les organisations engagées dans la lutte contre le changement climatique. En effet, les mesures prises lors de précédentes COP, telles que celle de Madrid en 2019, ont été largement critiquées car jugées insuffisantes.
Aucun engagement ni décision majeure ne doivent être pris à l’issue de ces réunions mais Patricia Espinosa, la responsable pour le climat à l’ONU, a déclaré attendre beaucoup de cette conférence étape et elle a notamment appelé les signataires à faire en sorte que la COP 26 soit “un succès” pour assurer la “crédibilité” des actions menés par les organisations mondiales. 
Le programme de la COP 26 n’a toujours pas été dévoilé mais des sujets tels que le fonctionnement du marché du carbone ou le calendrier des objectifs nationaux seront au cœur de la conférence. En attendant le lancement officiel de la conférence, l’Ecosse se prépare à devenir le centre de l’attention en matière climatique. Le pays a par ailleurs annoncé que 18 millions d’arbres seront plantés aux alentours de Glasgow, la ville hôte, dans les 10 années à venir pour accroître la surface forestière de la région de 17% à 20%.

Article written by Alexanne Heurtier

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