The Future of Climate Change: 5 Highlights of March 2021

March 31, 2021
Avely Pütsep

“Future of Climate Change” is a monthly series: we choose 5 beautiful things that shaped the future of climate action and ecosystem protection in the past month.

If it makes the world a better place, we want to talk about it.

News on halting biodiversity loss, reducing carbon footprints, becoming carbon neutral, cleantech innovations, and everything in between. 🌿

Plus, there’s so much happening, we just had to include a Biodiversity Bonus at the end.

So… let’s go!

Future of Climate Change EU “right to repair” laws mean technology must last a decade

EU “right to repair” laws mean technology must last a decade

If something breaks, you wouldn’t just throw it out, right? You won’t have to under the new EU “right to repair” act.

Companies selling consumer electronics like refrigerators, washers, hairdryers, or TVs must now ensure these electrical goods can be repaired for up to 10 years. That is if you’re in the EU and the UK. After leaving the EU but still wanting trade to continue, the UK’s manufacturing standards have to match those of the 27-nation bloc.

This is a result of legislation from the European Parliament that recently voted in favor of establishing stronger “right to repair” laws. 70% of Europeans prefer to repair rather than replace a faulty product. However, sellers tend to push product replacement.

What’s the outcome of the “right to repair” rules? Reducing electrical waste that is often not recycled Repair manuals and spare parts must be available

"This is a really big step in the right direction,” said Daniel Affelt, who runs several “repair cafes”, where people can get help fixing items. He further commented that people want to repair their appliances, but there are often no spare parts for devices only a few years old or appliances being glued or riveted together. This is one part of the solution to the problem of e-waste.

We agree: it is a big step in the right direction!

Future of Climate Change There are as many corals in the Pacific as trees in the Amazon

There are as many corals in the Pacific as trees in the Amazon

A world-first estimate of corals in the Pacific Ocean has been made! There are about half a trillion reef-building animals in there!

Analysis of more than 900 reef sites uncovered that there are as many corals in the Pacific as there are trees in the Amazon.

Why is this amazing?

It suggests that the risk of extinction of individual coral species is lower than international assessments say. This helps retain the species richness of our oceans and contributes to carbon offset.

“The findings did not undermine concerns about the impacts of global heating on reef habitats but did suggest concerns about the survival of individual coral species needed to be reconsidered. There was still a risk of extinction occurring locally and these could have devastating ecological impacts, ” said Dr. Andy Dietzel, who led the study.

Along with preserving forests, let’s protect coral reefs in California and beyond!

Future of Climate Change United Nations adds natural resources to economic reporting

United Nations adds natural resources to economic reporting

Single.Earth has been envisioning a future where wealth is tied to the health of the ecosystem. What seemed like a utopian fantasy to some and a brave new world for others is coming to life in front of our eyes with the UN’s historic decision.

The UN has adopted a landmark framework to integrate natural capital in economic reporting.

What does this breakthrough decision mean?

  • The UN is making considerable effort to put the economy and environment into the same equation.
  • Ecosystem Accounting was brought to life. This takes into account the value of forestry projects and sustainable wood sources.
  • For the first time since World War II, GDP - which historically governs economic accounting -  has received a counterpart to reflect the economy’s impact on nature.
  • Single.Earth’s digital carbon and biodiversity instruments are in perfect sync with the UN’s EA monetary assets.
Future of Climate Change The survival of Antarctic ice sheets can be predicted by snowfall

The survival of Antarctic ice sheets can be predicted by snowfall

A satellite made a discovery helping us determine how quickly enormous ice sheets are melting due to global warming. This time, new climate change knowledge came from space, rather than here on Earth!

What did the satellite see?

Atmospheric rivers of moisture can cause huge amounts of snowfall in Antarctica.

Wait, what are atmospheric rivers?

Essentially atmospheric rivers are huge sums of water in the sky that move around and deliver snow or rainfall.

They form over tropical and subtropical oceans, then ride the wind that circles the planet, and deliver rain and snow!

OK, what’s the discovery then?

Atmospheric rivers are a major driver of precipitation (mostly snow) that helps replenish lost ice sheet mass. Warming seas are expected to send bigger, longer-lasting atmospheric rivers to Antarctica’s shores., This research points to an understudied and little-understood process that could help to slow the ice sheet’s meltdown.

Simply explained: Antarctica weather, including snowstorms from atmospheric rivers, can help predict the decrease in ice sheets.

We’re already adept at predicting snowfall. Now, we can use that to predict ice sheet decline.

Global warming in Antarctica is a complex but interesting subject. We recommend reading about it (after you finish this article!). Check out this National Geographic piece on snowfall and predicting ice sheet survival.

Future of Climate Change Align helps businesses be smarter in biodiversity measurement

Align helps businesses be smarter in biodiversity measurement

Protecting biodiversity is very important as high biodiversity is seen as an indicator of a healthy ecosystem, which directly impacts human health.

What’s the Align project?

Align is a business-focused project that launched on March 10, 2021. It’s for businesses and other stakeholders in the field of natural capital accounting and corporate biodiversity measurement, valuation, and disclosure. It’s hoped this will help businesses see the value of biodiversity.

What is the goal of Align?

Align works to develop sector-specific guidance. The end goal is to provide businesses and financial institutions a standardized approach to biodiversity-inclusive natural capital management accounting practices that are supported by a broad range of stakeholders.

Why is Align working to standardize the approach taken towards biodiversity loss?

To maximize the synergy between the work from consortium members (EU B@B Platform; Aligning Biodiversity Measures for Business collaboration; TRANSPARENT project) and other initiatives.

To a future full of biodiversity! 🌿

Future of Climate Change Biodiversity Bonus

Biodiversity Bonus!  

  • Quebec’s Magpie River is the first in Canada to be granted legal personhood, giving it 9 rights. These include the protection of its natural evolution and prevention of habitat loss.
  • A new test has reinforced the need to never underestimate animal intelligence: a cephalopod (marine animal) passed a cognitive test designed for human children!
  • Jamaica has banned single-use plastic! Just last month, the Maldives had the same idea.
  • Scientists found glow-in-the-dark sharks in New Zealand!
  • “Seaspiracy” was released and rocked the world. Why? Environmental destruction: habitat and biodiversity loss is a major problem in oceans. After the filmmaker sets out to document harm done to marine species, he uncovers alarming global corruption. Need we say more.
  • Philadelphia will dim lights to protect migratory birds as they fly.
  • The climate change page is back up on the Environmental Protection Agency website! Not only is climate change a priority again, but the site delivers information on how it’s changing Americans’ lives.
  • An extremely rare black leopard was spotted in India, revealing yet more species richness in the country. Click the link, you won’t be sorry!
  • Hawaii is close to banning sunscreens harmful to coral reefs.
  • For the first time in 3000 years, Tasmanian devils are back in the wild of mainland Australia.

Author note about the “Future of Climate Change” series: climate change has become an inevitable part of our everyday lives, making it easy to get lost in Doomsday thoughts. In reality, attempts to halt climate change are happening all the time. The key is to notice them. That's what this series is about. Will you come back next month to read the new one?

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