News Digest | 1-15 May, 2024

Why progress beats perfection in safeguarding nature and biodiversity among ASEAN businesses

Credit: RGE

During Ecosperity Week 2024, M Sanjayan, CEO of Conservation International, emphasized that ASEAN needs to incorporate nature into its strategies to achieve decarbonization. ASEAN has to take the lead in international efforts to mitigate climate change and conserve biodiversity because of its rich biodiversity and rapid growth. Sustainable bioeconomy methods were emphasized by the panel, which included prominent figures such as Theresa Mundita Lim of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity and Bey Soo Khiang of RGE. The bioeconomy is an important sector that employs more than 8% of the global workforce and generates $2.3 trillion yearly. It is based on renewable biological resources. Bey emphasized RGE’s efforts to conserve the environment, which include sustainable land management and a policy against deforestation. In order to ensure ethical investments, financial institutions such as BNP Paribas have begun integrating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards into their operations. There are still issues with appreciating biodiversity and the natural world notwithstanding current laws. Since nature is not fungible like carbon, Sanjayan pointed out that it is more difficult to price. ASEAN has to strengthen regional collaboration, put laws in place to encourage investments in biodiversity, and make use of sustainable finance tools. To achieve sustainability goals and make significant progress in conserving natural resources, a collaborative approach is needed.

Unprecedented flooding displaces hundreds of thousands across East Africa

© UNHCR/Bernard Ntwari

With torrential rains causing catastrophic flooding and displacement, East Africa is facing a devastating climate emergency. Approximately 637,000 individuals have been impacted, with hundreds of thousands being evicted. Despite Africa’s small contribution to global emissions, the UN recognizes this as a harsh reality of climate change and highlights the continent’s acute vulnerability. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) is actively supplying vital aid to the displaced populations in Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia in collaboration with local governments. It helps people who have lost loved ones, homes, and livelihoods including emergency housing, basic supplies, and medical attention. IOM emphasizes that “climate mobility” must be incorporated into the next round of UN climate discussions, which will take place in Germany in June, and the UN Climate Change Conference that follows in November. Although East African officials have previously expressed recognition of the problems and pledged to pursue answers, more tangible steps are needed to bolster these efforts. This includes arguing that future climate change strategies should make climate-induced displacement a central topic of discussion.

In South Asia, heat stress kills without a heatwave

Credit: Frank Holleman, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Unsplash

According to a recent Indian study, there is a hidden risk that poses serious health concerns even on days when there are no official heatwave warnings. Heat stress is still a serious concern because it can raise all-cause death rates in the cities under study by as much as 8.1%. It draws attention to shortcomings in the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) most recent heatwave advisories. These alerts are based on temperature thresholds and do not take into consideration local humidity fluctuations or other elements that may contribute to heat discomfort. A new India Heat Index (IHI) was created by researchers that takes these variables into account and sets comfort level limits unique to India’s various temperature zones. Higher IHI readings were associated with a higher risk of mortality. Heat is a risk factor that aggravates pre-existing medical illnesses and ultimately contributes to fatalities, notwithstanding the claims of certain medical experts that it does not directly cause mortality. The findings emphasize how important it is to develop better heatwave warning systems that take local climate variables into account. More precise risk assessments are possible with the recently created IHI. The results also highlight how crucial it is to customize heat stress reduction plans for certain geographic areas. The IMD and National Disaster Management Authority’s city-level heat action strategies are essential for preserving human life. 

Why are LGBTQ+ people more at risk from climate change?

Credit: Mercedes Mehling, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Unsplash.

According to a recent UCLA study, social inequality puts LGBTQ+ groups at higher risk from climate change. For instance, same-sex couples in the US frequently reside in coastal regions that are susceptible to sea level rise and frequently lack access to the resources necessary to deal with severe weather. The prejudice that exists in society is the source of this vulnerability. LGBTQ+ individuals are disproportionately poor or homeless, which puts them at a disadvantage during emergencies. They may be forced into underdeveloped areas due to discriminatory housing policies. The study provides various instances, including a lack of legal documentation, transgender persons finding it difficult to receive aid, and LGBTQ+ kids in Jamaica who are homeless are forced to reside in dangerous regions. In developing nations that already have severe climate change impacts and restricted LGBTQ+ rights, the impact is worse. Extremely vulnerable are nations like Somalia and Syria, where it is illegal to have sex. Research on the unique needs of LGBTQ+ people is needed, and activists are pushing for inclusion in talks on climate policy. They want legislative protections like marital equality and training to lessen discrimination in relief efforts so that families can be strengthened in times of crisis.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *