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Top Sustainability News #15

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

Climate emissions shrinking the stratosphere, scientists reveal

A recent study has revealed that the stratosphere is shrinking due to anthropogenic emissions. The stratosphere is the second layer of the atmosphere, which means that it is above the troposphere, where humans live. The stratosphere is mainly known for containing the ozone layer, which is a shield that absorbs most of the sun’s ultraviolet radiations. For decades, scientists believed that the shrinking of the stratosphere was caused by the loss of the ozone layer; however, this hypothesis was counteracted after the Montreal treaty went into effect in 1989, which prohibited the use of chlorofluorocarbon gas (CFC) to address ozone depletion. Since the treaty was signed, the ozone layer started to rebound, but the stratosphere is still shrinking. This report published by the journal Environmental Research Letters also described other consequences from this shrinking, which could affect satellite trajectories, orbital life-times, and retrievals and hinder the overall performance of GPS and other space-based navigational systems.
The outcome of this study is a strong signal that climate change has not just an impact on our ecosystems, but also on our atmosphere. This is a real danger as the atmosphere regulates our climate and natural phenomena.
The report came weeks after the publication of another study by the journal Geophysical Research Letters that presented climate change as the cause of the shifts in the Earth’s axis of rotation since the 1990s. All of these scientific observations describe the Anthropocene era where human activities have become a “geological force” that could affect our Planet.

Spain at last adopts promised law on becoming carbon neutral

Spain has become one of the latest European countries to adopt a climate law that sets carbon neutrality targets. The law is in line with the EU targets to become carbon neutral by 2050 as it stipulates a 23% reduction in emissions by 2030. This vote is a historical accomplishment for Spain as this law had already been presented to Parliament 10 years ago. The law was not adopted before due to political opposition, especially between the conservative Popular Party, the far-right Vox Party, and the leading party.
The Spanish Minister for the Ecological Transition has welcomed the adoption of the law even if she considers that the country has lagged for far too long in its climate legislation. Some Non-Governmental Organizations, including Greenpeace, have criticized the law pinpointing a lack of ambition from the government. 
The law presents key measures, such as a shift in green mobility with the “phase out of combustion vehicles by limiting new car sales to electric vehicles by 2040.” The idea is to promote electrical vehicles as the law also bans fossil fuel mining. Last year, the country already committed to retiring coal fire plants by 2025. Another measure will concern cities with more than 50 thousand inhabitants, which will need to introduce low carbon emission zones.
The EU is struggling to match laws in different European countries in order to reach its ambitious climate goals and carbon neutrality by 2050. 

Nature has enormous potential to fight climate change and biodiversity loss in the UK, according to new report

The British Ecological Society has published a new report that presents the beneficial effects of Nature-based Solutions on biodiversity. This is the first report to clearly outline the benefits of Nature-based Solutions. It shows that NdS could not only protect and enhance our ecosystems, but also offer many positive effects on human wellbeing and our economic model. However, the report states that Nature-based Solutions should be complementary to other conservation actions as we still face a long journey to restore our natural ecosystems.
The report focused on different habitats in the UK and the consequences of applying NdS to those, but it also reminds us that NdS can be applied to every habitat. For example, the priority should be given to peatlands as the country’s 2.6 million hectares of peatlands contain billions of tonnes of carbon, but today some of these are in a degraded state and no longer sequestering carbon emissions, but actually emitting. 
“Restoring degraded peatlands through rewetting and revegetation can reduce and eventually halt these emissions as well as bring benefits in terms of biodiversity conservation and flood protection.”

Nature-based Solutions mainly concern the conservation and the protection of ecosystems to give them back their features. NdS could be a significant tool to fight climate change and engage organizations that want to contribute to the environmental transition. 
To learn more about Nature-based Solutions, check out our article or contact us to learn more about what projects you can support!

Article rédigé par Alexanne Heurtier