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8 Environmental developments in 2020

Updated: Mar 5, 2021

1. The pandemic put less pressure on the environment since energy consumption and fossil fuel use was reduced. This led to the improvement of air quality, according to the National Statistics Institute (INE).

2. Endangered species were immensely aided. For instance, the last known 14 Loa water frogs (Telmatobius dankoi) produced 200 tadpoles this October in Chile. The captive population of Burmese roofed turtles (Batagur trivittata) grew to nearly 1,000 turtles. Other animals that were thought to be extinct like the New Guinea singing dog, devil-eyed frog, satyr butterfly and many more were found and helped.

3. The beginning of the year marked seven months of bushfires in Australia wich continued for the next three months. Before the year was out, fires had burned across tens of millions of hectares of forest in Russia’s Far East and Siberia, the Amazon, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Western U.S., from California to Colorado.

4. 2020 is the third warmest year after 2016 and 2019 on record according to WMO's annual climate report. Specifically, November 2020 has had the highest temperatures on record globally. According to the Copernicus Climate Change Service, the average temperature was 0.1 C warmer than the previous warmest November in 2016 and 2019.

5. A third of the food intended for human consumption (around 1.3 billion tons) was wasted or lost. This is enough to feed 3 billion people.

6. In December 11th EU leaders decided to cut greenhouse emissions by 55% by 2030. Also, the European Union strives to become carbon neutral by 2050.

7. The Trump administration decided to pull out of the Paris climate agreement.

8. Joe Biden aims to reverse some of the Trump administration’s environmental policies. His campaign’s theme was climate change (and pandemic recovery efforts).The president-elect pledged to rejoin the Paris Agreement.

PARIS AGREEMENT= “The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 Parties at COP 21 in Paris, on 12 December 2015 and entered into force on 4 November 2016. Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.”


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