Global greenhouse gas emissions need to peak soon and be reduced practically to zero in the second half of this century in order to not exceed the climate targets adopted in the Paris Agreement. However, there are currently numerous coal-fired power stations around the world at different stages of construction and planning that could be completed in the next decade. If all these plants are actually built, their expected future emissions will make it very difficult to reach these targets, even in an optimistic scenario with the deployment of carbon capture and storage technologies. Policy makers around the world need to react quickly and help to redirect investment plans for new coal-fired power stations towards low-carbon technologies
Ecosystem recovery from anthropogenic disturbances, either without human intervention or assisted by ecological restoration, is increasingly occurring worldwide. As ecosystems progress through recovery, it is important to estimate any resulting deficit in biodiversity and functions. Here we use data from 3,035 sampling plots worldwide, to quantify the interim reduction of biodiversity and functions occurring during the recovery process (that is, the ‘recovery debt’). Compared with reference levels, recovering ecosystems run annual deficits of 46–51% for organism abundance, 27–33% for species diversity, 32–42% for carbon cycling and 31–41% for nitrogen cycling.
Monetary valuation of the environment is increasingly embedded in policy. Despite broad claims that valuation is policy-relevant, there is widespread frustration that it has not widely improved environmental outcomes, that it obscures many other types of values, and presents unintended consequences. We argue that this is, in part, because of a tendency to overlook the mechanics of how valuation tools and data are embedded into the institutions (regulations, norms, rules, schemes) that mediate decision-making.
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