#NatureNow wrap up — Monday 23rd September

News 23.09.19


Monday 23rd September

Pledges and action for nature on first day of UN Climate Action Summit

Nature made a special guest appearance in Time Square in New York on Sunday night as a preview to the official kick-off to the UN Climate Action Summit and Climate Week. Projections onto a large screen saying Nature Now and Protect, Restore, Fund became part of the larger backdrop for the week ahead.

On Monday, the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres did not mince his words opening the first event of the day. “Our world’s forests are on fire; fires are still raging in the Amazon, in the Congo Basin, and even the Arctic Circle was ablaze this summer. As the atmosphere fills with smoke and ash, our future grows dark. This is a global threat,” he said.

Special guest Harrison Ford decried the lack of action particularly on tropical forests and announced that youth were indeed a force of nature and we need to get out their way.

A new alliance for forests was announced by President Macron along with Colombia’s Ivan Duque and Chile’s Sebastian Piñera, to protect the Amazon and other tropical forests with support from Germany, Norway, Peru and Conservation International. The plan, officially launched on the margins of the UN General Assembly, includes aid by international donors, such as $100 million (90.7 million euros) from the French government and $20 million from Conservation International.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced up to £1bn of funding to develop new technologies aimed at tackling climate change in developing countries, as well as £175m to help protect 1bn people around the world from the effects of extreme weather. Johnson has also trailed plans for a new £220m fund to save endangered animals such as the African elephant and Sumatran tiger from extinction.

The High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy revealed how four ocean-based strategies, if undertaken by the world’s countries, can give us 21% of the greenhouse gas reductions needed to meet the 2015 Paris agreement and keep global temperatures below 1.5 degrees Celsius. Covering both mitigation and adaptation approaches to reducing climate change impacts, the report lays out in detail opportunities to enhance ocean-based renewable energy activities and reduce emissions from ocean transport and fisheries.

Outside of the UN Monday evening, the Amazon Sacred Headwater Initiative called to permanently protect 30 million hectares of rainforest. Costa Rica, the Seychelles, Mozambique, Gabon, the UAE and Monaco commited to a new High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People to protect 30 percent of the planet’s natural systems by 2030. The Just Rural Transition initiative was launched to support a shift to fairer food and land use systems and transform investment to support ecosystem services and rural and coastal livelihoods. The Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG), Republic of Indonesia, announced two new rural business zones in Sumatra and Kalimantan for sustainable and inclusive investment in Indonesian peatland.

Grabbing headlines, one of the boldest actions to date by the world’s largest investors to decarbonize the global economy, was an announcement by the alliance of the world’s largest pension funds and insurers. Responsible for directing more than US$ 2.4 trillion in investments, they committed to carbon-neutral investment portfolios by 2050.

This commitment by the newly launched, United Nations-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance brings together governments, companies and civil society to strengthen commitments and accelerate the implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said, “There are no short-cuts to decisive climate action. We need to take a long-term view. Their commitment sends a strong signal that financial markets and investors are listening to science and moving us to a path of resilience and sustainability.”

Danone’s CEO Emmanuel Faber describe the current food system as a dead-end for the future.  “We thought that our science could change the cycle of life; that we could engineer the life we needed. The resulted mono-cropping means that we depend on only 9 plants. We have broken the cycle of life.”

He announced the launch of the OP2B – 20 of the largest agri-businesses to put nature-based solutions at the heart of our strategies, processes and supplies.

“When it comes to nature and climate, it takes courageous leadership. I would ask you to beg you to listen to our youth. They are demanding this regenerative culture. We have been killing life and now we need to restore it.”

We will we provide a full round-up of the Summit’s nature-based announcements in tomorrow’s bulletin.