12 environment protection trends

The Nature Conservancy experts identified 12 global trends in environment protection bringing hope for 2018 and beyond.

1. Two-thirds of the world's oceans that cover half the planet don't belong to any one country. The UN resolution for protection of these seas was an unprecedented step backed by 140 countries.

2. A shift in public health practices is underway as policymakers and healthcare providers alike focus on the connections between nature and human health.

3. Major private equity firms start bringing forth their transactions that aggregate deals in several different areas, including food and water security, and climate resilience. If this trend continues, private investments could start to make a dent in the estimated $300-400 billion gap (€240-325 billion) that currently exists in annual funding for global conservation needs.

4. New leaders are emerging to tackle climate change. Six EU countries, including Greece and Hungary, have met their climate change targets early, and China has already met one of its four main climate change goals. Some 50 countries have ambitions to use 100% clean energy by 2050, including Germany, which is already sourcing 85% of its power from clean sources.

5. Nature itself is emerging as the most game-ready carbon storage technology and one of the most important ways to begin reaching international climate goals now. Natural climate solutions could play a bigger role than previously thought, potentially delivering 37% of cost-effective carbon dioxide mitigation needed by 2030.

6. Many scientists and farmers believe the emerging understanding of soil’s role in climate stability and resilient agriculture will prompt a paradigm shift in how we feed the planet. Healthy soil makes it possible to grow nutritious food, filter clean drinking water, soak up carbon from the atmosphere and even generate economic gains by increasing agriculture yields.

7. A focus on investing in and working with natural systems could have significant benefits for conservation efforts. While nations like the Netherlands are long used to living with water and working with nature, climate change is mobilising communities around the world to follow their example.

8. One of the most significant areas of work, unsurprisingly, is in data capture and analysis. "Technologies that have revolutionized so many sectors of the economy have the potential to transform the way we do conservation." - Brian McPeek, President, The Nature Conservancy.

9. Companies know that investing in nature means investing in the future. The private sector’s alignment with global agreements like the Paris Climate Accord and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) signals an important commitment to addressing some of the world’s most urgent environmental challenges.

10. Our clean energy future is arriving faster than we thought. Through larger scale planning efforts and changes in siting and grid development practices we can minimize impact on habitats while potentially accelerating the uptake of clean energy sources.

11. Mayors, planners, architects and others are re-defining the concept of the "sustainable city", expanding the definition from energy efficiency and carbon footprint to include a focus on the functionality and livability of cities for the people.

12. While we’re seeing positive trends, we still have a long way to go on shared global goals. We need to start increasing investment in accountability, scientific research, innovation and real-world solutions in all these fields.

Source: The Nature Conservancy, 1 February 2018. Read the full article.