By Tan Copsey and Bridgette Burkholder
The World Cup starts today, when billions of people around the world are expected to tune in to the greatest show on Earth. Everyone from economists to an octopus (RIP) have tried to predict who will win. Germany, Brazil and Spain are early favorites to take the cup. But we wanted to know, which countries are tackling climate change, kicking out fossil fuels and trying to score a better future? We set out to bracket our predicted winners accordingly.
Working this out is harder than it sounds. How do you judge what makes a champ? One way is simply to look at the greenhouse gas emissions people in each country produce. So we ran the numbers. Nigeria has the best shirts in the tournament, as well as one of the cooler songs, and they are also the per-capita-emissions champions, contributing a tiny 0.55 metric tons GHG per person, according to the World Bank.
But, like all World Cup winners, their route to victory included some controversy. They beat Senegal, a West African nation with similarly low emissions, in the semi-final. But energy wonks and Senegalese fans could point to the fact that Nigeria is a major oil exporter and most of the emissions associated with that oil are not included here. Costa Rica, who Nigeria beats in this low-emissions final, is the first and only country in the world that has said it will ban fossil fuels entirely. Some may call foul on declaring Nigeria the victor.
Our prediction for the per capita emissions champion.
Are per capita emissions the best measure of whether a country is really a climate champion? To decarbonize the economy while improving living standards, deployment of renewable energy may ultimately be more important. So we ran our brackets again, this time using International Renewable Energy Agency stats.
Traditional powerhouses Spain, Germany and Brazil, who have 10 titles between them, all made the semi-finals. Correlation does not equal causation, but deploying more renewable energy is clearly something other nations should get on to immediately. Brazil's victory owes more to a reliance on hydropower than Neymar, but as with the team itself, there are some pleasing signs of diversification away from a single source of energy or goals.
Our prediction for the energy efficiency champion.
The agony suffered by American soccer fans, who saw their team miss out on qualification, will be compounded by the fact that this is one World Cup they could have won. The U.S. has deployed more renewable energy than any of the other nations competing this year. Only China has better stats, and the Chinese have only ever qualified for one World Cup.
Fighting climate change isn't just about greenhouse gas emissions or renewable energy. In soccer, you have to defend as well as attack. The same goes for climate change. We've already seen global temperatures increase by about 1° C since the 1880s, and even with serious action, we're going to see the impacts of climate change increase as well. So who's best prepared for climate change? We used data from ND-Gain to find out.
Unfortunately, our per capita emissions champions were immediately eliminated, along with every African nation present, which should be a wake up call for some of the richer nations at the tournament, who are supposed to be financing efforts to adapt. Instead, the adaptation World Cup is dominated by small, rich European nations. And even then, it's a pretty low scoring affair, most nations simply aren't ready for climate change.
Our prediction for the most climate-prepared champion.
On top of this worrying news, the next World Cup is scheduled to take place in Qatar. A nation of scorching desert temperatures, and the highest per capita emissions in the world. Qatar has a lot of work to do if it wants to be a World Cup climate champion.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Nexus Media.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Naomi Larsson
For centuries, the delicate silver dove has been a symbol of love and fidelity.
Biodiversity and Habitat Loss<p>Their near extinction is a symbol of the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/global-biodiversity-outlook-targets-extinction-summit-new-york-pledge/a-54932895" target="_blank">biodiversity crisis</a> in the UK, largely driven by habitat destruction. Britain is now one of the countries with the most <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/future-of-UK-nature#:~:text=The%20UK%20is%20one%20of,than%20half%20are%20in%20decline" target="_blank">depleted nature</a> in the world according to the World Wildlife Fund. Half its plant and animal species are in decline and more than <a href="https://www.rspb.org.uk/about-the-rspb/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/let-nature-sing-wales/#:~:text=a%20natural%20tragedy.-,Over%2040%20million%20birds%20have%20vanished%20from%20UK%20skies%20in,unaware%20of%20the%20impending%20danger" target="_blank">40 million birds</a> have vanished in just half a century.</p><p>"[Turtle doves] are the canary in the [coal] mine because there are all these other species before it and after it," said Tree. "It's an umbrella for all the other species that are heading that way."</p><p>Turtle doves migrate south through Europe to sub-Saharan Africa between July and September, ending up in dry woodland and farmland areas of countries like Mali and Senegal for winter. </p><p>Droughts in West Africa and the Sahel region are believed to have contributed to the fall in turtle dove species recorded in northern Europe, with low rainfall reducing supplies of the seeds and insects the birds rely on for energy for the long journey home.</p>
Conservation and Farming<p><a href="https://www.operationturtledove.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Operation Turtle Dove,</a> a partnership project of charities including the Essex Wildlife trust, works with landowners and farmers to actively build turtle dove habitat.</p><p>Outten works with <a href="https://www.ebws.org.uk/birdsites/blue-house-farm-ewt-north-fambridge" target="_blank">Blue House Farm</a>, a 660-acre nature reserve in the UK county of Essex, where they have replicated weedy fallow plots. </p><p>"We work on it every year to make sure it's in the condition it needs to be with plants such as clovers and black medic," Outten said. "These plants are native to the landscape and produce the seed the birds feed on." </p><p>The birds eat a wide range of seeds from various plants that would have been abundant 50 or 100 years ago, added Guy Anderson, program manager for species recovery with The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). </p><p>"But it's simply true that with the gradual process of <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/farming-without-pesticides-how-can-we-make-agriculture-greener/a-52216796" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">intensifying our agricultural production</a>, the availability of those seeds has dropped and dropped," said Anderson.</p><p>Part of the project includes supplementary feeding — providing sources of food in the form of seed or grain. Under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme in England, farmers can receive financial support to create a turtle dove habitat. </p><p>Though they haven't recorded an increase in doves across the sites in the four years of working on the project, Outten said they are seeing improvements in how landowners and farmers manage habitat for the birds. </p>
A Turtle Dove Haven<p>The 3,500-acre Knepp Estate in West Sussex is another project taking a different approach and one of the few places where turtle dove numbers are increasing.</p><p>Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell converted their intensively farmed land into a rewilding project almost 20 years ago. They have let the land return to nature.</p><p>Just one year after they'd finished <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/uks-most-talented-architects-are-not-human/a-35952128" target="_blank">rewilding</a> the southern part of their property, they heard turtle doves for the first time. It's now a breeding hotspot for the birds with an estimated 19 pairs. Knepp is also home to <a href="https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/rewilding/rewilding-projects/knepp-estate" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2% of the UK's population</a> of nightingales. </p><p>Tree is critical of supplementary feeding schemes that, in her view, are short term. She questions the chances of turtle doves getting to feed on scattered seeds before other mammals eat them first.</p>
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By Jessica Corbett
Green groups applauded Sen. Jeff Merkley on Wednesday for introducing a pioneering pair of bills that aim to "protect the long-term health and well-being of the American people and their economy from the catastrophic effects of climate chaos" by preventing banks and international financial institutions from financing fossil fuels.