IHP news 478 : Planetary health

By on July 13, 2018

Devex – At the UN’s Green Climate Fund, the honeymoon is over


“GCF failed to approve almost a billion dollars in proposed projects during a critical year for climate action with the rule book of the Paris Agreement expected to be finalized by the end of the year. Then its executive director, Howard Bamsey, resigned in a shock…”

Coming up in September: Second “one planet summit” (Sept 26, New York)


In December 2017, the President Macron, the Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres, and the President of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim launched the One Planet Summit to accelerate the implementation of the Paris agreement and engage public and private actors in the race against global warming. Facing the emergency of the ecological, social, and economic impacts of climate change, members of the One Planet Coalition called for concrete initiatives and solutions to address climate change through 12 international commitments. Climate action needs a shared responsibility and requires cooperation between governments, leaders from the public and private sectors and civil society. In a continued effort to spur global leaders on the next steps necessary to avert climate disruptions, the One Planet event 2018 will take place on the afternoon of the 26th of September 2018 in New York City, alongside the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly. On September 26th, Heads of State, business leaders, and other non-state actors, will once again come together to account for the implementation of commitments made at the One Planet Summit and build trust and collaboration for ongoing multilateral climate action. We will celebrate progress made and further engage public and private actors to raise our ambition.”

By way of preparation, “planetary health champion” Macron is flying twice this week to Moscow : )

IISD – Sovereign Wealth Funds Publish Framework to Help Meet Paris Agreement Goals


To help achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change, six sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) representing more than US$3 trillion in assets have committed to only invest in companies that incorporate climate risks into their strategies, and have published a framework to this end. The funds comprise the One Planet SWF Working Group, which was established in December 2017 at the One Planet Summit in Paris, France. These efforts come during a July of record-breaking extreme heat and disastrous precipitation in the northern hemisphere….”

Guardian – Mysterious source of illegal ozone-killing emissions revealed, say investigators


A mysterious surge in emissions of an illegal ozone-destroying chemical has been tracked down to plastic foam manufacturers in China, according to an on-the-ground investigation published on Monday. The chemical, trichlorofluoromethane or CFC-11, has been banned around the world since 2010 and is a potent destroyer of ozone, which protects life on Earth from UV radiation, and strong greenhouse gas. A shock rise in the gas in recent years was revealed by atmospheric scientists in May, but they could only narrow the source to somewhere in East Asia. The Environmental Investigation Agency, a non-governmental organisation, has now identified widespread use of CFC-11 factories in China that make insulating foams. The EIA’s investigators identified factories that sold the chemicals needed for foam-making, then contacted and visited them….”

Global Policy – Catastrophic Climate Change and Forest Tipping Points: Blind Spots in International Politics and Policy

J C Pereira et al; https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1758-5899.12578

Scientists believe that humanity has already crossed the core planetary boundary for climate change, and is closer to crossing thresholds that trigger abrupt and irreversible environmental changes. Consequently, academia and the international political community should not disregard the prospect of a catastrophic environmental event. However, discussions about climate change usually assume the resilience of potentially deteriorating terrestrial‐biosphere carbon sinks and rarely acknowledge catastrophic climate risk. Reviewing the latest scientific evidence on anthropogenic climate change, as well as the current and projected threats to the resilience of key large forest biomes, and combining them with the profound political frailties of the Paris Climate Agreement, this article argues that catastrophic climate risk is much more serious and likely than most of humanity is able to perceive and should thus be seriously considered. It emphasizes the massive gap between science and political action and how cognitive, cultural, institutional, and political limitations hinder our capacity to envisage, prevent, and ultimately manage catastrophic climate change. The article concludes by briefly raising awareness regarding the role that academia should play in catastrophic climate risk reduction.”

Your catastrophic read of the week.

Guardian – Pope Francis warns against turning Earth into vast pile of ‘rubble, deserts and refuse’


If you prefer it in more biblical terms.

Late last week, “Pope Francis urged governments on Friday to make good on their commitments to curb global warming, warning that climate change, continued unsustainable development and rampant consumption threatens to turn the Earth into a vast pile of “rubble, deserts and refuse”. Francis made the appeal at a Vatican conference marking the third anniversary of his landmark environmental encyclical “Praise Be.” The document, meant to spur action at the 2015 Paris climate conference, called for a paradigm shift in humanity’s relationship with Mother Nature. In his remarks, Francis urged governments to honor their Paris commitments and said institutions such as the IMF and World Bank had important roles to play in encouraging reforms promoting sustainable development….”

Global Policy – The Market is Valuing Climate Risk All Wrong

Jeff Colgan; https://www.globalpolicyjournal.com/blog/06/07/2018/market-valuing-climate-risk-all-wrong

Interesting piece. “Economists and policymakers tend to believe that markets are fairly rational in how they evaluate assets and risks. In the case of climate change, that just isn’t so. Climate change creates risks for three distinct asset classes: fossil fuels, insurance, and property values. The market might be correctly valuing any two of the three asset classes, but not all three, creating what we might call the “climate-value paradox.””

Sounds a bit like the Rodrik trilemma, but this one for climate value risks.

Lancet Editorial – Food security in the Middle East and north Africa


Early civilisations emerged in conjunction with agriculture and the food security that crops provided. In Mesopotamia (now Iraq), agriculture and science flourished symbiotically. But the agriculture of Iraq that once nourished thinkers who shaped the ancient world is no longer able to feed the population. Agricultural Outlook 2018–2027, published on July 3 by the OECD and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, explains why. The report focuses on the Middle East and north Africa, where unsustainable farming practices are widespread. When combined with conflict, political instability, and climate change, these practices mean that, overall, half of the food and beverages consumed are imported….”

“Agricultural Outlook 2018–2027 describes farming trends and trade that will influence health and societies over the next decade. The findings provide an opportunity to align agricultural policies more closely with health, including planetary health…”


And a few quick links:

GuardianBurnt out: heatwaves can lead to poor decisions and thinking, studies say

A new study by Harvard researchers found students without air conditioning showed 13% longer reaction times on tests.”

You really need Harvard for breakthrough research.  Still, remarkable, as it seems to affect even supposedly ‘resilient populations’…

GuardianIreland becomes world’s first country to divest from fossil fuels.

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