From climate activists’ ‘biggest compliment yet’ to a call for a global system to detect and halt the spread of crop disease

Climate Emergency Activist Greta Thunberg says climate activists being labelled the fossil fuel industry’s ‘greatest threat’ by the secretary general of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is ‘our biggest compliment yet’.

Related: US philanthropists vow to raise millions for climate activists

 

Researchers at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) are calling for governments to build a ‘global surveillance system for crop diseases’ to detect and stop the spread of crop diseases in the same way countries collaborate to catch human pandemics.

 

UN delegates in climate talks in Bonn, Germany have agreed a ‘compromise’ on how to address last October’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. Fossil fuel producing countries, led by Saudi Arabia, have been pushing back against any acknowledgement of the findings of the report since its publication, forcing delegates to agree to a compromise which would see delegates agree the report represented the ‘best available science’ while setting no emissions targets to try to keep global temperatures from rising above the 1.5C limit, a move some of the smaller island delegates called a ‘surrender to fossil fuel producers’.

Related: Harvard says fighting climate change is a top priority. But it still won’t divest from fossil fuels.

 

The board of Green Climate Fund (GCF) has agreed a change to its rules so that no country will have the power to unilaterally veto GCF projects. While consensus remains the preferred option, the new rules allow for decisions to be made with an 80% majority if the board is unable to come to a unanimous decision on a project.

Related: African ministers lobby UK for control of climate aid

 

Observers and officials in global development say the Trump Administration’s ‘weaponised’ use of foreign aid is backfiring, tarnishing the US’s brand and putting lives at risk. While foreign aid has always been used as a political tool to shape the US’s image around the world, previous administrations have tried to avoid ‘taking sides’ when distributing aid to ensure it reached those who needed it most. Officials and analysts say Trump Administration officials have intervened to an exceptional degree to direct funds in ways designed to benefit one side in a conflict which experts say makes it much harder for aid to get through.

Related: U.S. Ban On Aid To Foreign Clinics That ‘Promote’ Abortion Upped Abortion Rate

 

The KfW Group, Germany’s development bank, has announced it will no longer finance the exploration or mining of coal or lend to coal power plant projects.

 Related: Kenya’s first coal plant construction paused in climate victory

 

The UK says it will have an ‘ethical’ development policy that puts the climate emergency and environmental protection at the heart of overseas aid. The UK government announced more than £190 million will be spent directly on climate-related issues in the first initiative, a figure international development secretary Rory Stewart said he hoped would soon be doubled and ‘run to billions’ within a few years.

Related: What does the commitment to green UK aid mean in practice?

 

French President Emmanuel Macron told G20 leaders at the organisation’s summit in Japan he will not sign any joint statement that did not address climate change, calling it a red line. Macron’s ultimatum comes amid reports the US wants to remove any reference to climate change from the G20 joint statement.

Related: France announces tax on air travel in climate push

 

Climate scientists say the record-setting heat wave hitting Europe is a sign of things to come, warning the frequency and intensity of such extreme weather events are only likely to increase in coming years as a direct result of climate change.

Related: One climate crisis disaster happening every week, UN warns

 

Moody’s Analytics says climate change could inflict USD $69 trillion in damage to the global economy by 2100 if global temperatures rise by two degrees Celsius. Moody’s found that even if the world managed to limit warming to the 1.5 degrees Celsius target climate scientists have been urging world leader’s to try to meet, global warming would cause USD $54 trillion in damages by the end of the century.

Related: Listed UK companies and pensions face mandatory climate reporting

 

A new study led by researchers at ETH Zurich says the planet could support nearly 2.5 billion additional acres of forest for carbon capture without shrinking cities or farms. The researchers estimated the additional trees could absorb 200 gigatons of carbon, though some critics have questioned that figure, arguing that about half the amount of carbon the scientists said the trees would remove from the atmosphere would be absorbed by the soil or the sea regardless.

 

The UK has pledged £1.4 billion to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a move advocates will encourage other donors to give generously as the Fund looks to a USD $14 billion replenishment to support its work over the next three years.

 

Global development researchers say a ‘success cartel’ of major donor agencies is exaggerating their impact in the world’s poorest countries. Writing in the journal BMJ Global Health, academics raised serious concerns about the independence of evaluations of such projects, warning that funders maintain a high degree of confidentiality and control over the results.

Related: French aid boss hits out at USAID’s ‘perverse’ self-reliance strategy

 

The Brookings Institute has published a report looking at the state of the impact investing sector in India.

Related: Social stock exchange idea highlights India’s move away from foreign aid

 

Leaders from the family planning and conservation sectors have joined together to launch the Thriving Together Campaign, to support the idea that improving access to family planning can serve both to benefit women and girls by giving them more control over their bodies and help biodiversity conservation efforts by reducing the pressure on local environments.

Related: How UNFPA rebounded from US funding cuts

 

Rockefeller Foundation President Raj Shah discusses the role of philanthropy in the modern world as a growing number of critics argue philanthropy is just another way for the wealthy to exert their influence on society without really addressing the root inequalities that brought them their wealth in the first place.

 

With the Nature Conservancy’s leadership in upheaval in the wake of a damning independent report into discriminatory treatment of staff, particularly women at the organisation, Politico spoke to dozens of current and former staff members to get a picture of how the organisation ended up in its current predicament.

Related: More People Named Jeffrey Got Top CEO Jobs Than Women Last Year

 

The UN’s global poverty index shows conditions for the world’s poorest 40% are improving faster than for those just above them. The progress is largely driven by improvements in South Asia with 271 million fewer people in India in poverty in 2016 than in 2006 and 19 million fewer people in poverty in Bangladesh between 2004 and 2014.

Related: Unprotected: Crisis in Humanitarian Funding for Child Protection