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Oak Environment Programme – reflecting on this past year

Environment Programme / Blog

Photo by Jon Flobrant from Unsplash

The year 2018 will be remembered for new things.

‘Single-use’ has entered the lexicon as a result of the growing global movement to ban plastics.

Carbon dioxide levels have reached a new record high that has not been seen for millions of years.

There is a new urgency around the need to rapidly reduce global emissions by half over the next twelve years if we are to achieve the target of capping rising temperatures by 1.5 degrees Celsius.

This will require new innovations, new people-powered movements and a renewed political will to avert climate catastrophe.

As I write, delegates gathering for the UN climate conference in Europe’s coal capital – the Polish city of Katowice – will be discussing how climate pollution has risen again this year – by nearly three per cent. The main driver of this growth has been the increased use of coal.

At a time when drastic emissions cuts are needed, we find ourselves with one foot over the precipice.

In such challenging times, it would be easy to surrender to an inevitable fate. But as a team, we find strength and resolve in the knowledge that we have the technology and roadmaps to avert disaster. We also have the partnerships to deliver a climate-safe future.

In China, a Bloomberg report calculates that China adds about 9,500 electric buses to its fleets every five weeks – the size of London’s entire fleet – which collectively will make a dent in the oil industry.

We are reaching a global tipping point for clean transportation.

In June of this year, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee removed the Belize Barrier Reef from the list of endangered World Heritage Sites. The reef, once described by Charles Darwin as “the most remarkable reef in the West Indies” has been under threat from offshore oil drilling and the indiscriminate clearance of mangroves.

This decision demonstrates the power of collective action as both the Government of Belize and several of Oak’s partners collaborated to achieve this outcome.

Finally, in the area of wildlife conservation and trade, we have launched our new security approach called the Virtus Initiative. This intelligence-based project is a collective response to changing threats in the wildlife conservation and trade sector. It is about putting the safety and wellbeing of our partners on the frontline first.

Source: Written by Nathan Argent, Climate Change programme officer, Environment Programme.