A Trump win would see Africa (and the world) spiral into climate hell

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent in any way the editorial position of Euronews.

Trump’s election victory would see a return to policies that led to a whopping 110 million Africans facing humanitarian and environmental crises today. But what happens in Africa will not stay in Africa, Nathaniel Mong’are writes.


African policymakers are bracing themselves for the return of Donald Trump. Having swept the Republican primaries, polls consistently put the former US leader neck-and-neck with incumbent Joe Biden in a presidential rematch. 

Yet, a Trump victory could end up guaranteeing climate disaster for Africa and the world, and Europe must take note.

Of course, at the forefront of most African leaders’ minds is Trump’s undisguised racism, embodied in his expletive-filled rant denigrating African nations back in 2018.

He had also gutted practically all climate funding for dedicated USAID programmes in Africa — programmes initiated under Barack Obama that were crucial to promoting climate resilience by arming African governments with tech, funds and support to fight climate change.

The programme’s departure — although it has shown signs of a recent revival under Biden — marked years lost and contributed directly to the deepening humanitarian and environmental crisis that today impacts more than 110 million Africans.

But what happens in Africa will not stay in Africa. Climate change will intensify, not weaken, migration. 

For US patriots who want to see secure borders, they would do well to recognise that the only way to do so is to support African nations in dealing with climate change.

Climate failure will make the exploitation of grievances worse

That’s why Europeans should equally recognise that Trump’s comeback is a warning signal. 

He represents a new and dangerous trans-Atlantic far-right movement exploiting mounting grievances due to economic challenges which are, ultimately, linked to our chronic dependence on fossil fuels — which has locked us into an inflationary economic crisis.

Trumpist tactics are designed to deflect public attention from this reality, but they are being used across the EU by far-right parties ranging from Germany’s AfD to Geert Wilders Freedom Party in the Netherlands. This requires a concerted fightback, not confused appeasement.

Both US and European progressive parties need to help voters realise that climate failure will set their futures ablaze. According to the Institute for Economics and Peace, business-as-usual will create as many as 1.2 billion climate refugees by 2050.

If Americans and Europeans are worried about migrants now, climate change will make this an insoluble challenge. That’s why the EU must not make the same mistakes as President Biden on climate action.

Washington is not taking things seriously anyway

Under Biden, we’ve seen a record-breaking explosion in approvals for more oil and gas drilling permits — even more than Trump — coinciding with a new, mammoth ad campaign promoting the expanded use of fossil fuels launched by the American Petroleum Institute.

This approach has come at odds with US statements during last year’s UN COP28 climate summit in the UAE. 

The US publicly flirted with the idea of a phase-out of fossil fuels and signed up to the historic “UAE Consensus” agreement to transition away from fossil fuels and triple renewable energy capacity by 2030.

The US was also asleep at the wheel when COP28 broke new ground in operationalising a long overdue Loss and Damage Fund for rapid, disaster-relief support to the global South — the US pledged just $17.5 million (€16.1m), paling embarrassingly in comparison to other contributions from Norway ($25m), Denmark ($50m) and the UAE ($100m). 

And of course, Biden himself was conspicuously absent from COP28.

The EU is in danger of following the same road, however, planning €205 billion in new gas investments, while still offering paltry support for climate investments in the Global South. 


We either mobilise trillions or face the same fate

At the International Energy Agency (IEA) ministerial meeting in Paris earlier in February, US and EU policymakers said little about the trillions needed to support clean energy in Africa and elsewhere.

It was only a week later during his first address at the IEA’s Paris headquarters after COP28 that the climate summit’s President Dr Sultan Al Jaber addressed this elephant in the room. 

Urging governments and industries to take “unprecedented action” to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels, he pointed to COP28’s launch of Altérra, the world’s largest private investment vehicle for climate action, as a model to be “replicated many times over … The world must raise the bar to address the challenges we face — mobilising trillions rather than billions”.

He also asked industries to “decarbonise at scale” while also calling on governments to invest heavily in expanding national grids so they can absorb new renewable projects at pace.

This is exactly the entrepreneurial mindset that European policymakers must adopt today. And it must prioritise unlocking trillions of climate finance for the Global South.


A failure to do so would not only throw Africa into the flames of climate disaster but create the foundations for an unprecedented global migrant crisis that could be a gift to the far-right. 

Whatever fate we face in Africa will rapidly arrive on the shores of the US and Europe.

But the reality is that Africans want to prosper in Africa. So it’s time for Western, and European leaders in particular, to create a new unifying vision for a shared future of clean prosperity — or reckon with the demise of the EU experiment.

Nathaniel Mong’are is Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya. He also helped organise the first-ever Africa Climate Week in Kenya in 2023.

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A small shift away from a meat diet could have a big climate impact

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent in any way the editorial position of Euronews.

In addition to the significant benefits to climate, nature and water, the shift to sustainable proteins would help Europeans lead healthier lives and politicians would benefit through lower spending on healthcare, Nico Muzi writes.


Going meat-free for just two days a week in the EU and the UK has outsized environmental benefits. 

Such a moderate shift toward plant-based eating could result in an impressive reduction of 81 million tons of CO2 equivalent per year. 

This has a comparable impact to taking a quarter — or about 65 million — of all cars off the roads of the EU and the UK.

Additionally, as meat production takes up a lot more farmland than protein crop production, this shift would free up an area of land larger than the entire United Kingdom. It would also save 2.2 cubic kilometres of water, equivalent to 880,000 swimming pools’ worth of water annually.

We know and can prove all of this — it’s all in the results of a new study by research consultancy Profundo for Madre Brava.

In a nutshell, by replacing animal proteins with a mix of wholegrain vegetal proteins and novel plant-based meat alternatives, we are making a change that will have an exponential impact on the long-term health and viability of our planet.

This moderate shift to plant proteins makes sense from a health viewpoint. As it stands, citizens in Europe and the UK consume 80% more meat than the global average. 

More worryingly, Europeans consume four times more red meat than the recommended intake levels according to health experts at the EAT-Lancet Commission, led by 37 world-leading scientists from 16 countries from various disciplines, who have defined targets for healthy diets and sustainable food production.

The plant switch also makes climate sense. The excessive consumption of animal products plays a substantial role in driving emissions in the EU’s food sector, contributing to 70% of all emissions linked to food consumption in the bloc. 

Furthermore, meat and dairy production are the single largest sources of methane emissions in the EU, and the most potent contributor to climate change. If Brussels doesn’t address livestock emissions, agriculture is set to become the bloc’s largest climate-polluting sector by 2040.

What does Europe need?

Climate scientists agree that the only way to achieve the Paris Agreement goals is to significantly reduce the total production and consumption of meat globally. 

In Europe, the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) explored what it would take for the EU agriculture sector to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. 

Different scenarios leading to significant greenhouse gas emission reductions with a mix of different sustainable farming methods all require a 75% reduction of EU meat consumption by 2050 compared to 2010.

Europe needs diet shifts to decarbonise agriculture. Thus, the UK and the EU need to pay greater attention to the protein transition, alongside exploring sustainable intensification and methane mitigation technologies.

The good news is that consumers are, slowly but surely, coming along for the journey. 

The number of Europeans who reportedly are cutting down on meat (known as flexitarians) is growing, every year. In some countries — the salient case being Germany — meat consumption has been falling consistently for the past five years.

While this is progress, dietary changes are not happening at the rate needed to bring down emissions in line with those needed to keep planetary heating within a safe threshold (1.5C). 

Moreover, the onus for this transition should not rest on consumers’ shoulders. Systemic problems require systemic solutions.


What should happen?

Currently, meat and dairy production receive significant subsidies, lower value-added tax and funding for promotion and advertising, which puts plant-based foods and alternative proteins at a disadvantage.

Subsidies, taxes, public procurement and corporate strategies must be realigned to incentivize vegetal and alternative proteins, making them the cheapest, healthiest, and most convenient option for consumers.

Policymakers across Europe should also level the playing field between animal and plant-based products by removing funding for meat promotion and realigning taxes that favour animal-based products.

More importantly, the EU should go big with novel sustainable proteins. As it has done with hydrogen and batteries, the European Commission should come up with a big investment plan for the nascent novel sustainable protein industry to ensure Europe can lead (not follow) in the next food innovation.

Food retailers should chip in too. For decades, the food industry has played a significant role in shaping consumer attitudes and preferences. 


Thus, it is only fitting that the food industry takes a leading role in encouraging better and more available choices of pulses, legumes, whole grains and alternative proteins. 

There’s initial movement, with some supermarkets in Germany and The Netherlands setting up targets to increase the share of plant-based proteins in the overall protein portfolio. We need more ambition and more supermarkets in other European countries to follow suit.

Who would benefit from the shift to plants?

In addition to the significant benefits to climate, nature and water, the shift to sustainable proteins would help Europeans lead healthier lives and politicians would benefit through lower spending on healthcare. 

Most importantly, the transition to plant-based diets could also offer more income and improved livelihoods for EU farmers. 

If, on top of that, the EU decides to go big on novel sustainable proteins, the bloc could build an entirely new economic sector, creating thousands of new jobs.


European governments and food retailers should play a catalytic role in ensuring that sustainable proteins are the cheapest, healthiest and easiest choice for consumers when doing their food shop.

Nico Muzi is the managing director and co-founder of Madre Brava, a science-based advocacy organisation working to bring in line the food system with the 1.5C climate target.

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Western nations could derail COP28 by usurping Loss and Damage Fund

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent in any way the editorial position of Euronews.

Loss and damage might end up in the dustbin of failed climate efforts — and with it, any hope of the support much of the world needs to contend with climate change and keep our planet within 1.5 degrees, Nik Nazmi bin Nik Ahmad writes.


My nation, Malaysia, is among those on the frontlines of climate change. But today I write not only as a representative of Malaysia but also as a voice for countless others across the Global South who find themselves in a similar predicament.

That’s because just two weeks ago, one of the most important climate meetings since COP27 took place — one that could potentially derail the most important COP Summit to date.

The Fourth Transnational Committee on Loss and Damage in Egypt ended in a deadlock over how the Loss and Damage Fund would work. 

Malaysia itself supported the decision at COP27 to make the operationalisation of the fund a permanent agenda item at COP28, especially given the incredible potential the fund has to transform how vulnerable nations adapt to climate change.

Unfortunately, last week, the US and other wealthy nations proposed the World Bank oversee the implementation of the Fund, which — rightfully — ignited a firestorm of outrage among the G77 nations.

After all, the US-headquartered World Bank is renowned for being sluggishly slow in responding to climate-related crises and natural disasters. 

But there’s also an undeniably political dimension lurking beneath this proposal. 

Establishing a fund under the World Bank’s purview, whose presidents are appointed directly by the US, would grant donor countries disproportionate sway over the fund and could potentially mean exorbitant fees for recipient nations.

It also enables Western nations to shirk their responsibility towards meaningful climate financing — allowing them to conveniently pass the buck to an institution with a track record of delays and inadequacies.

Eyes of the world on the West?

The understandable frustration towards developed Western nations was apparent even in COP President Dr Sultan Al Jaber’s comments when he reminded committee members, that the “eyes of the world” were on them. 

In his words, “billions of people, lives and livelihoods who are vulnerable to the effects of climate change, depend upon the successful delivery” of appropriate measures.

A follow-up pre-COP meeting has been scheduled for this Friday. That meeting may well be the global community’s last opportunity to agree on crucial details for loss and damage — one that if not capitalised upon, would fracture the global cooperation and foundation necessary to meet the crucial 1.5-degree target the world depends upon.

This is why the Loss and Damage Fund is too important to become a tool of political influence.

What this week’s follow-up meeting should be discussing is how to actualise an independent body, operating under international law, to oversee the Loss and Damage fund. 

This body should include the implementation of The Santiago Network, which facilitates technical assistance to address loss and damage, especially in vulnerable developing countries. 

Such an arrangement would grant Global South nations the autonomy to access vital funds swiftly and without the uncertainties associated with the World Bank.

Not allowing access to the Loss and Damage Fund could cause further damage

Yes, critics argue wealthy nations should control these funds on the basis of vulnerability criteria, but that is a flawed approach. 

Middle-income countries, like Malaysia and Bangladesh, are far from immune to climate-related catastrophes. 


Excluding us from access to the Loss and Damage Fund threatens to create divisions within the Global South. 

Instead, we should be directed by the Common But Differentiated Responsibility and Respective Capability (CBDR-RC) rule which states that all countries should tackle climate change, wealthier industrialised nations that have contributed most to global emissions (and also profited most) carry a heavier financial burden.

After all, my nation alone needs hundreds of billions of euros over the next 50 years to confront the climate crisis. And developing nations overall will need trillions. 

As such, the Loss and Damage Fund is a lifeline that should not be subject to the whims and bureaucracy of distant institutions.

The dustbin of failed climate efforts

There is, however, real hope that we can reverse course. This COP presidency has tabled one of the most pro-climate financing agendas to date. 


According to an analysis by Turkey’s Üsküdar University, COP28 aims to fulfil all previous COP financing commitments, including doubling adaptation finance by 2025, securing the $100 billion (€93.9bn) already pledged, and reforming the international financial architecture to unlock further trillions of low-cost investments.

Ultimately, we must operate not within existing archaic and politically compromised structures but be bold enough to create entirely new structures capable of meeting the unprecedented needs of vulnerable nations struggling against climate change.

This is why the COP Presidency’s support of the Bridgetown Initiative calling for a more inclusive and equitable global financial system is so promising.

This would mean reforming the Bretton Woods institutions, creating a new global development bank, and establishing an entirely new global financial transaction tax.

But for it to become reality requires the support of industrialised Western nations and a radical departure from the norm. 


The survival of our planet calls for it. The alternative? Loss and damage might end up in the dustbin of failed climate efforts — and with it, any hope of the support much of the world needs to contend with climate change and keep our planet within 1.5 degrees.

Nik Nazmi bin Nik Ahmad serves as the Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change of Malaysia. He is a Member of Parliament for Setiawangsa.

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People power must be at the core of all clean energy plans

By Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All; Co-Chair, UN-Energy

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent in any way the editorial position of Euronews.

Governments worldwide must put consumer empowerment into national energy plans, in a fair and inclusive manner, and help them understand how to benefit from clean energy consumption, Damilola Ogunbiyi writes.


In the race against climate change, the move to carbon-free energy has taken centre stage. To ensure everyone benefits from fair and affordable clean energy, people power must be at the heart of this transition.

Everywhere today, consumers face unprecedented price pressures caused by our continued dependence on fossil fuels. 

Tackling the climate crisis by enabling affordable clean energy is now more important than ever. The technology exists to put people in direct control of their energy, helping cut their costs and carbon emissions. 

Yet what is still needed is the political will of global leaders to empower consumers to drive this transition.

People have the right to know

Nearly 3 in 4 people in Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific are concerned about climate change. However, only half understand the actions and investments they can make to facilitate change. 

The global average energy-related carbon footprint is almost five tonnes of CO2 per person — the equivalent of two round-trip flights between Singapore and New York, or driving an average SUV for 18 months. This is a huge untapped potential for positive climate action.

To enable citizens to act, they need information on how they can best reduce emissions and cut costs; high-quality data about their energy consumption to help change behaviour; and policies designed to help them participate in and benefit from clean energy systems.

The demand for this is clear. Almost 50% of people say they could reduce their energy consumption with the right information and financial support — and the impact is already being proven. 

To give one example: in Malaysia, the leading utility gave home energy reports to 450,000 consumers with simple and actionable consumption data, resulting in a 3% average reduction in household energy demand without needing new technology or government incentives.

It is a matter of access

With the right guidance, people are able to adopt energy-saving practices, cut their costs and reduce their carbon emissions. 

However, only the European Union and Australia mandate such consumer access to energy data. This simple action by governments would make a massive positive impact – without cost.

The next step is to provide granular data about energy consumption to every household. When consumers have access to real-time insights on their energy usage, evidence shows they understand their environmental impact better and make conscious choices to reduce it — again, cutting costs and emissions.

The technology already exists. Smart metres equipped with real-time data monitoring provide consumers with detailed insights into their energy use. 

More importantly, they enable dynamic pricing, allowing consumers to take advantage of cheaper and cleaner electricity at different times of day.

Advanced economies such as China and the US are leading the way, with almost 100% and 70% of consumers using smart metres. Yet, this has not translated to developing economies, with only 3% of homes in Latin America or 2% in India having access to them. 

Progress is happening, but far more needs to be done to invest in smart metre rollouts for those who could benefit the most.

Those usually on the sidelines could finally take control

Putting the consumer at the heart of the clean energy transition gives every person a stake and opportunity to benefit, increasing social support and accelerating the decarbonisation of our energy systems. 

Making this a reality needs more than information and technology. Policies and incentives such as tax breaks, subsidies, and rewards for adopting renewable technologies, combined with innovative business models, are needed to give people greater access to clean energy, especially in developing economies.


The Rwanda Cooling Initiative’s Green On-wage financing mechanism is one example of a new business model which puts people in the driver’s seat. 

Consumers can take out interest-free loans, repaid through salaries, to purchase energy-efficient cooling technology, lowering the risk and cost of financing. 

By doing so, people who would otherwise be left on the sidelines are able to take control of their energy use, benefit from cheaper, cleaner energy and participate in the fight against climate change.

A system that’s fair and just for all

The climate crisis is an undeniable reality that demands immediate attention and collective action. We must urgently move away from fossil fuels to build a healthier and cleaner future for citizens everywhere. 

By empowering people to adopt energy-efficient practices and make informed choices about energy consumption, we can make a substantial positive impact on the transition to accessible and affordable 24/7 carbon-free energy in a way that is fair and just for all.


To make this happen, governments worldwide must put consumer empowerment into national energy plans, in a fair and inclusive manner, and help them understand how to benefit from clean energy consumption.

However, citizens alone taking action is not enough. To make the change at the scale and pace we need, governments worldwide must be bold and commit to achieving 24/7 carbon-free energy. 

Unlocking the benefits requires the right regulatory frameworks, investment in renewables and grid infrastructure, and commitment to phase out fossil fuels.

There is no time to waste. We must act now, and act together, to make clean energy work for all.

Damilola Ogunbiyi is CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy.


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We share a common destiny. It’s our duty to shape it for the better

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent in any way the editorial position of Euronews.

Let us ensure that climate justice prevails, honouring our duty to the generations that will inherit the world we leave behind, Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo writes in an exclusive op-ed for Euronews.


In the small fishing villages along the Ghanaian coast, generations have relied on the ocean for their livelihoods. 

But as our planet heats up, the seas warming up and extreme weather combine to devastate their way of life.

A World Bank report found that climate change alone could reduce Ghana’s potential fish catch by 25% or more by 2050, threatening a way of life and key food source when much of Africa already scrambles to feed its people.

This is the Ghanaian experience — but it is a story repeated in developing countries across the world.

Another report, by Groundswell West Africa, found that up to 32 million people across the region — the equivalent of Ghana’s population — might be displaced by 2050. 

The people who are the least to blame for climate change find themselves the first victims of an incoming disaster they did not cause.

Ghana, thankfully, has managed to keep developing rapidly. Our economy has grown at an average annual rate of around 6% over the past two decades – from a GDP of just below $5 billion (€4.74bn) 20 years ago to more than $77bn (€73bn) now. 

We have invested in infrastructure, diversified our production base and modernized the country’s agricultural sector, which employs a large part of the population. 

And we are working tirelessly to do our bit in the global fight against climate change.

‘Fair share’: A small phrase, yet deceptively simple

Ghana is a founding partner of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), and the first country in the world to include short-lived climate pollutants — such as methane and black carbon — into our Paris Agreement emissions reduction efforts. 

We have committed to reducing our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to accelerating climate adaptation in several priority sectors as a part of our effort to deliver the Paris Agreement.

But as drought, floods and heat waves continue to set new records across the world, we do not know how long we can keep up our efforts both to lift our population out of poverty and deliver nationally on global targets like the Sustainable Development Goals.

As we do our bit, we are asking those countries that have polluted the most, and that have the greatest means to take action, to do their fair share. 

This small phrase, “fair share”, is deceptively simple. But it is the core of any effort that would see the world join together to protect our shared home.

Those who polluted the most in the past need to do more now

The major economies, especially in the West, have spent the past century growing rich off the back of fossil-fuel-powered industrialisation. 

As vulnerable nations, we are convinced it is only fair that those, who polluted the most in the past, must make a greater effort to tackle climate change, especially when they are also the richest and most capable to act.

Indeed, if those most responsible fail to own up to their fair share, it means we are counting on marginal polluters, the poor and vulnerable who are most impacted, to deliver the bulk of further efforts needed to avoid a planetary breakdown.

This would not only be fundamentally unjust, but also unrealistic: despite over one billion people calling our continent home, ultimately, all 54 of the African countries’ emissions amount to less than 4% of today’s global total.


Compare this with the G20’s 80% share. Or take the G7, who, with a smaller population than Africa, are responsible for close to half of all climate pollution since 1950.

An asymmetric relationship at the core of the issue

By asking countries to do their fair share, we are calling on them to set and deliver emission targets which take into account their past emissions, as well as their share of wealth and the global population.

Today, most major economies look only at their current pollution levels and assume every country will cut emissions at the same rate, regardless of how rich or populous they are.

To highlight this asymmetric relationship, the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), which I chair, commissioned the Traffic Light Assessment.

It evaluates the 2030 Paris targets of every country on the same basis looking at their past pollution, wealth or development level, and share of the global population. 


It awards a green light to nations who are doing their fair-share to stay within a 1.5 degrees Celsius world, an orange light for a 2 degrees Celsius world and a red light for anything beyond that.

Its findings show that the vast majority of the world’s nations — mainly developing countries — are already doing their fair share. This includes, on aggregate, Africa, the Least Developed Countries, the CVF and nearly all small island developing states.

The sense of distance is misleading

On the other hand, only a handful of developed countries, including the UK and Switzerland, come anywhere close to a fair share effort from among the rich. 

Of the major emerging economies, India, home to one-fifth of the world’s population, pollutes below 2 tonnes of CO2 per person compared to the G7 average of 13. 

Both the G7 and G20 have been given a red light, as most have climate targets that are nowhere near what would constitute them doing their fair share.


That has to change. With such an alarming gap between what is being done and what must be done, the red light is flashing, and it now falls on those most responsible and capable to step up and deliver.

The fate of fishing villages that could be underwater in a few decades’ time, like Fuveme here in Ghana’s Volta region, might feel distant to those shielded from these threats for now. 

But that sense of safety is false — we share a common destiny, and it’s our responsibility to shape it for the better. Let us ensure that climate justice prevails, honouring our duty to the generations that will inherit the world we leave behind.

Nana Akufo-Addo is the President of Ghana.

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This is why Europe can’t afford to forget the summer heat

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent in any way the editorial position of Euronews.

Just because summer is now over, we cannot afford to shy away from this challenge — long-term changes implemented now are the most effective means to rethink how we build and live in cities before it’s too late, Dima Zogheib writes.


Heat records were smashed across Europe, tourist attractions were closed, red alerts were placed in 23 Italian cities and 1,200 children were evacuated from a Greek summer camp to escape wildfires.

Heatwaves are set to become even more frequent and severe, with the number of cities exposed to extreme temperatures estimated to nearly triple by 2050, and certain groups including those on lower income, older adults, infants and people with underlying health issues.

European cities have been pioneering heat resilience in many ways — with Athens being one of the first in the world to appoint a Chief Heat Officer and cities like Seville naming heatwaves to boost public awareness.

However, Europe can’t leave it to state and city leaders to tackle urban heat. The issue of urban heat islands needs to also be addressed at a street and neighbourhood level, by those shaping the built environment. And nature needs to be at the heart of the solution.

Europe’s urban heat island problem

The built environment is a huge contributor to increasing city temperatures. We’ve pushed out nature, concreted our streets and built high in steel and glass, creating what is known as the urban heat island (UHI) effect — where urban temperatures are far higher than their rural surroundings.

We recently launched our Urban Heat Snapshot to encourage city leaders, urban designers, and all those shaping the built environment to better understand how their designs can mitigate urban hot spots, particularly for the most vulnerable communities. 

The snapshot maps the most extreme “hot spots” in six major cities — from Madrid to Cairo — around the world. It found Madrid’s urban centre has the most extreme UHI “hot spot”, with temperatures 8.5°C hotter than its rural surroundings.

And importantly it highlights that not everyone within cities experiences heat in the same way. 

There can be big differences from one neighbourhood to the next, with Madrid’s built-up downtown experiencing temperatures almost 8°C hotter than El Retiro Park a short distance away. In the majority of cities, the coolest spots were found always in parks, away from residential and commercial areas.

The good news is that urban heat can be tackled, and there are several things cities can do right away.

Use every space possible for nature and increase tree cover

Prioritising and investing in the value, quality and quantity of nature in cities is a must to reduce urban heat. In many European cities, greenery is confined to small spaces, with people questioning how much room there is to add different forms of green infrastructure.

But old, established European cities have much more available space than you’d think to add nature. 

In fact, more than half of the space in cities — including roofs and streets — is open space, providing a large canvas for deploying green and blue infrastructure to build resilience. Urban designers and planners need to think creatively to deploy nature strategically and equitably throughout our cities.

Trees have been proven to lower temperatures in cities and reduce heat-related mortality. In fact, a recent study found increasing tree coverage in European cities to 30% could have prevented 2,644 excess deaths. 

Advanced technologies now allow designers to understand exactly the type and number of trees that are required. 

Create more permeable surfaces and establish cool islands

Permeable surfaces, such as bare or planted soil, tend to absorb less heat compared to impermeable surfaces like concrete or asphalt. 

Sustainable urban drainage schemes are not only slowing down water runoff during heavy rainfalls, but also increasing areas of green space, and cooling neighbourhoods during hot temperatures.

We need to create a network of cooling spaces in cities for people to take refuge from the heat. 


For example, in London, we worked to map cool spaces where locals could find opportunities to shelter during hot days in a bid to reduce the risk to health from hot weather. 

Something as simple as bringing back drinking water fountains to cities could improve the health of citizens, becoming the main access point to water during a drought.

Encourage behaviour change and deploy digital tools

Design can only do so much. Fundamentally, people will need to change the way they live in cities within the next decade. 

Hot countries around the world have been adjusting their lives to this for centuries, and it’s time to learn from them — Northern European cities can learn from changes already established in the South such as siestas and shop and restaurant closures over peak heat.

We now have the digital capabilities to bridge the gap between what’s causing the UHI effect in cities and the impact of our designs on urban heat and we need to be using these in all projects. 


Adapting European cities to extreme heat requires a vision and urgent implementation. 

We should be designing at a street and neighbourhood level, bringing back nature throughout cities, not just confined to parks and existing green areas, to build more resilient and more inclusive cities for everyone.

Just because summer is now over, we cannot afford to shy away from this challenge — long-term changes implemented now are the most effective means to rethink how we build and live in cities, before it’s too late.

Dima Zogheib is Nature Positive Design Lead at Arup, specialising in sustainable, resilient and inclusive design.

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It is high time we helped the Global South deal with loss and damage

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent in any way the editorial position of Euronews.

If we as a global society are committed to climate justice, it is vital that we address the chief injustice of Global South communities experiencing the devastating impacts of a crisis they did not cause, Heather McGray writes.


Loss and damage, a phrase which once upon a time was relegated to fringe events of major climate gatherings around the world, was last week sitting at the top of the agenda for the UN’s Climate Ambition Summit in New York — a major event within the UN General Assembly (UNGA).

Rightly so. Loss and damage refers to the negative impacts of climate breakdown on humans, societies and the natural environment. 

It is countries in the Global South for whom loss and damage is most significant. 

Alongside untold levels of destruction to land, property and infrastructure — all of which have significant economic implications — these countries are put at a distinct disadvantage in terms of adaptation and mitigation efforts thanks to a complex series of financial challenges, including unsustainable debt, spiralling inflation and currency fluctuations. 

The situation is exacerbated by the fact that Global South countries have contributed the least to the historic emissions that have fuelled our current predicament.

Imperial College London’s Grantham Institute estimates that depending on global efforts to mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis, loss and damage costs, which go beyond adaptation, “could cost developing countries a total of $290-580 billion (€275.5-551bn) in 2030 and reach $US1-1.8 trillion (€950bn-1.7tn) in 2050.”

At COP28 this December, discussions of the Transitional Committee to operationalise a new fund for loss and damage will conclude, with every hope that finance for a raft of new initiatives can help empower communities across the Global South who are currently stuck between a rock and a hard place. 

As discussions progress, addressing non-economic loss and damage will be key.

Not all losses are financially quantifiable

Non-economic loss and damage (NELD), sometimes called invaluable loss, refers to the harm caused by climate breakdown on human and natural systems that is difficult to put a price tag on. 

NELD includes biodiversity loss, the loss of traditional knowledge and ways of living, and the trauma people experience when they’re forced to leave their homes or ancestral lands.

Take, for example, the devastating floods in Pakistan that took place last year. In economic terms, the floods cost the country around $40bn (€38bn) in damages. 

However, the floods affected 33 million people and cost 1,600 lives. It destroyed over 2 million houses and damaged 13,000km of roads and 18,000km2 of cropland. 

The impact of the displacement, the lives lost, the livelihoods destroyed, the education disrupted and the emotional toll that these events will have had on communities across Pakistan is unquantifiable in monetary terms.

The most vulnerable face the greatest challenges

Those facing the most severe non-economic loss and damage are often communities that face — or have long faced — injustices like discrimination, colonisation, or displacement from traditional lands. 

Further, the most vulnerable people within these communities — often women, children, elders, or people with disabilities — face the greatest challenges.

Indeed, the most recent IPCC report mentioned for the first time the impact that loss and damage caused by the climate crisis has on mental health, outlining that those most negatively affected by climate breakdown are often the most vulnerable populations, such as Indigenous Peoples and people with disabilities.

The Climate Justice Resilience Fund (CJRF) works specifically with these marginalised groups, including women, youth and Indigenous Peoples, helping them create, share, and scale their own solutions for climate resilience.

Global South leaders must follow Scotland’s example

Just before the UN Climate Ambition Summit launched last week, the Scottish government announced it would renew its partnership with us at CJRF to program £5 million (€5.8m) in grants, technical assistance and advocacy, to address non-economic loss and damage for marginalised groups within communities across countries in the Global South who, like Pakistan, have been subjected to the devastating impacts of the climate crisis.


Funding from the Scottish Government will enable CJRF to continue its participatory approach to supporting activities to address loss and damage.

We’ll partner with organisations that have close connections to the communities across the Global South that they support. 

Interventions will be community-led to ensure that the communities and individuals themselves are assessing their loss and damage and are empowered to identify how they want to address it. 

The work that Scotland’s funding enables CJRF to do will help build a body of practical learnings. 

These will be essential to the new L&D Fund, and to the global community as a whole, as we work together to address all forms of loss and damage affecting communities in the Global South.


We have to recognise all the impacts of climate breakdown

In a keynote speech at New York Climate Week, Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf stated that no community on Earth will be left untouched by the effects of the climate crisis, but that suffering will not be equally divided. 

We urge leaders of developed nations to recognise all the impacts that climate breakdown is having on communities around the world — both economic and invaluable.

As COP28 approaches, leaders in the Global North must do all they can to stand up the Loss and Damage Fund, and to establish funding arrangements that enable communities to effectively address L&D, including NELD. 

If we as a global society are committed to climate justice, it is vital that we address the chief injustice of Global South communities experiencing the devastating impacts of a crisis they did not cause.

Heather McGray serves as Director of the Climate Justice Resilience Fund, a grantmaking initiative supporting women, youth, and Indigenous Peoples in places severely impacted by climate change.


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Why aren’t there more women in EU’s offshore renewable energy sector?

By Helena Rodrigues, Ocean Policy Officer, and Larissa Milo-Dale, Senior Communications Officer, WWF European Policy Office

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent in any way the editorial position of Euronews.

Improving gender balance in the EU’s fastest expanding maritime industry is crucial to ensure that the fundamental human right of gender equality is upheld in Europe’s fight against life-threatening climate change, Helena Rodrigues and Larissa Milo-Dale write.

In April 2023, at the WindEurope annual event in Copenhagen, entering a room filled with men in navy suits seemed to confirm the state of play of sectors “known” for low gender diversity. 


While by no means a new anecdote, stories like these are ringing heavier in our ears after so many decades of awareness of the problem, and they fly in the face of initiatives like the EU Gender Equality Strategy. 

We can’t help but wonder, to paraphrase Beyoncé, where are the girls “who run the world?”

The renewable energy sector is growing, and women are technically equipped to contribute. Studies show that companies with at least 30% of women engaged in high-level positions consistently perform better at all levels. 

Women also now make up half of all EU university graduates, indicating their potential as catalysts for change at decision-making levels. Yet data on gender diversity continue to show women as the odd ones out.

Still no seat at the table

Today, the gender wage gap across the EU energy industry is nearly 20%. Further, women only occupy up to 20% of senior roles in some sub-sectors; in fossil–fuel–related ones, it’s only up to 15%.

At the EU decision-making level, just four women sit in the European Council. In the European Parliament, less than 10% of climate and energy legislative files are led by women, despite women making up 40% of Members of the European Parliament.

Women are actively missing from the discourses that decide both their immediate and long-term socioeconomic realities. 

This includes not having an equitable say in the energy mixes available in their communities, and thus the price of energy and how this trickles down into the price of food. 

Women are thus also absent from decisions about how to improve their employment opportunities in energy and policy. 

Similarly, given that women are more heavily impacted by climate change than men, having an equal voice in decision-making arenas to reduce energy-related emissions is essential to their long-term well-being.

Gender parity for carbon neutrality

Offshore wind is fast becoming a key player in Europe’s blue economy. EU Member States have pledged to reach at least 116 GW by 2030 — a 625% increase from 2022 levels. 


And no time is being wasted: just this summer, Germany announced the results of its biggest auction to date, with €12.6 billion pledged for 7 GW of new projects.

However, a transition from fossil fuels to renewables does not necessarily mean a more diverse and equal future for all. 

Many of the companies currently leading investment in offshore wind have a background in oil and gas (BP and TotalEnergies won the German auction), a historically male-dominated sector. 

And targets set by the industry to improve diversity are woefully inadequate: 30% of women across management levels by 2025 is a far cry from equality.

During the 2023 State of the EU address, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen emphasised the Commission’s commitment to the EU Gender Equality Strategy and announced the development of a “European Wind Power Package”. 


These are excellent opportunities for policymakers, offshore wind project developers and civil society to ensure gender-responsive investments in new technologies and skills training that will see more women enter the industry.

Building the winds of change

If our leaders are to make good on their energy transition promises, it’s time to deeply challenge the social and cultural norms that affect our perceptions — both women’s and men’s — of what roles women can play. 

As long as key stakeholders remain absent from the decision-making table, climate action falls radically short of being truly sustainable.

The EU and its member states should radically increase efforts to promote the entry of more women into the renewable energy sector by improving their involvement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. 

Further, gender-balanced stakeholder participation should be legally required in all renewable energy project consultations, as well as in the development of community compensation schemes designed to mitigate any negative impacts of new developments.


Gender equality must also be firmly embedded in all EU renewable energy policy forums.

But, as we’ve seen, the proof lies in the numbers, and we need a different story than the one being told so far. 

A common framework to collect gender-specific data is needed to monitor progress towards gender equality across all energy sub-sectors. 

The knowledge gained from these datasets will also support the EU in empowering women to actively and effectively participate in the carbon-neutral transition.

It’s time to set the EU apart

Proactively raising the roles and profiles of women in the global fight against the climate crisis would set the EU apart, providing a positive example for countries all over the world to follow.

Ultimately, though, the shift to a clean, renewables-based energy system should simply affirm the social values we want for our society, including the fundamental human right of gender equality. 

Offshore wind is clearly the EU’s way forward, and women need to be an equal part of it.

Helena Rodrigues is Ocean Policy Officer and Larissa Milo-Dale is Senior Communications Officer at the WWF European Policy Office.

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Industry-led innovation could help resolve the energy trilemma

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent in any way the editorial position of Euronews.

Forward-looking companies within the energy and related industries must lend their resources and expertise to developing and integrating practical and impactful technologies that support the global energy transition, Lorenzo Simonelli writes.

Multiple recent energy outlooks have projected that the world will not meet the ambitious emission reduction targets set for 2050, with oil and natural gas still likely to meet more than half of the world’s energy needs. 


This news reflects a growing focus on energy security, as countries around the world are reluctant to sacrifice the stability of their energy supply and economic situation in order to dramatically reduce their emissions.

Balancing the Paris Accords commitment to stay within the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold with our responsibility to provide a steady and secure supply of energy is undoubtedly a challenging task. 

However, the energy industry must not be daunted or discouraged by the obstacles it faces. Instead, we must focus on what we are best equipped to provide, which in the case of industry, is the advancement of lower-emissions technologies and solutions.

Low-hanging fruit first

By breaking down the technology development and implementation process into three broad focus areas – leveraging available low-carbon technologies, investing in the development of new cleaner energy technologies, and piloting promising new concepts and solutions to make them market-ready – we can target our efforts to make significant headway in the journey towards net-zero. 

Within this framework, we can ensure we continue our momentum towards a lower-carbon economy to achieve the energy transition in a sustainable and productive manner.

Firstly, we must look to harvest the already low-hanging fruit of existing technologies that can make our current energy system more sustainable. 

As one example of the opportunity, McKinsey has reported that deploying the available technologies could deliver about 60% of the emissions abatement that will be needed to stabilise the climate by 2050. 

Electrification is an obvious way to reduce emissions, as is being witnessed with the expansion of electric vehicles, heat pumps, and electric and plasma arc furnaces.

However, we will still have to rely on hydrocarbons for at least the next few decades, particularly as we move away from coal and replace it with natural gas.

New technologies should fill the remaining gaps

In this context, we must ensure the oil and gas industry is reducing its emissions as much as possible. 

This can be done by integrating smart technologies to reduce emissions, improve the energy efficiency of hydrocarbons so less is used to achieve more and reduce the impact of hydrocarbon use. 


Smart flaring systems can be deployed at oil and gas fields to monitor, reduce, and control emissions associated with flaring. Such systems can reduce the leakage of methane, minimise costs from flaring operations, provide steam savings and improve transparency for flare operations.

In conjunction with this, we need to push investment into developing new energy technologies to fill the remaining gaps in the energy system. 

The major areas where we still need to invest in research and development include carbon capture, storage and usage (CCUS), hydrogen production, transportation and usage, and emissions management. 

By intelligently channelling investment into the new clean energy system, we can be prepared to meet the clean energy needs of tomorrow. I am proud that investment is taking place in this area today, with Baker Hughes investing more than $2 billion (€1.86bn) in new energy technologies through partnerships, acquisitions, and ecosystems. 

This trend must continue, as our actions in the first half of this decade will set the pace of change as we head into the next.


Scaling up and identifying gaps

Lastly, we need to ensure that the promising new technologies and systems that are being ideated are not just left on the drawing board or in the lab. 

The International Energy Agency has estimated in previous reports that nearly half of the emissions reductions required to achieve net zero by 2050 will be achieved by technologies that are not yet commercially viable. 

New technology concepts and designs need to be identified and tested through piloting, to see how they scale up to the required size and to identify the gaps that appear when they are deployed in the real world.

Fortunately, our industry is making a concerted effort to promote the continued development of cutting-edge climate technology that can accelerate our transition to clean energy. 

Major industry events, such as the upcoming ADIPEC exhibition and conference in Abu Dhabi, are showcasing the leading innovations in decarbonization, hydrogen, and biofuels. 


These events offer promising technology the exposure needed to attract while providing a much-needed forum for key stakeholders to align on investment priorities.

We can develop clean tech together

The journey to net zero will require many different technologies and an energy mix that will continue to evolve and change. 

Forward-looking companies within the energy and related industries must lend their resources and expertise to developing and integrating practical and impactful technologies that support the global energy transition. 

Together, we can develop the clean technologies the world needs to reach net zero, and in doing so, ensure a balanced response to the energy trilemma while driving momentum towards the energy transition.

Lorenzo Simonelli is Chairman and CEO of Baker Hughes, one of the world’s largest companies providing oil field services.

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Wealthy nations must pay their fair share in climate adaptation

If rich countries do not drastically improve their record on climate finance commitments, communities in Malawi and elsewhere will continue to pay the price, Twapashagha Twea writes.

Malawi is no stranger to climate shocks, with four major cyclones hitting the country in only the last five years. 


Droughts and floods are also increasing in frequency and severity, with serious consequences for the population that largely depends on agriculture. It’s a similar story around the world, with floods, storms and wildfires seemingly never out of the headlines.

Meanwhile, conversations about how much climate finance should be paid to developing countries, and who specifically should pay it, rumble on. 

When negotiations are in the spotlight, as they will be later this year at COP28, it’s easy to lose track of the impact that chronic underfunding is having in countries that are not only among the least prepared for climate-related disasters, but also are the least responsible for the crisis.

Cyclone Freddy: The case for adaptation

In March of this year, Cyclone Freddy brought six months’ worth of rainfall to Malawi in just six days, resulting in devastating floods and mudslides. 

Over 1,000 people were reported dead or missing, with a further 500,000 displaced. Close to 205,000 hectares of farmland were destroyed, along with homes, schools, markets and hospitals.

What made Freddy particularly devastating was the fact that the country is yet to address the damages caused by two previous cyclones: Ana in February 2022, and Gombe the following month. 

Plus, let’s not forget the impact that Cyclone Idai had on Malawi — along with Zimbabwe and Mozambique — in 2019.

Inadequate investment for preparedness and risk reduction, as well as shortfalls in recovery actions, have resulted in an increase in loss and damage after each disaster. 

Substantial support from the international community is urgently needed if the impact is to be minimised when the next extreme weather event inevitably occurs. 

Simply put, the example of Malawi makes the case for properly-funded climate adaptation initiatives all too clear.

Prioritise adaptation for a more resilient future

At COP26 in 2021, the Glasgow Climate Pact called on developed countries to at least double their adaptation finance provision from 2019 levels by 2025. 


While adaptation finance had been increasing even before the agreement was made, the data suggests that the target of $40 billion per year is highly unlikely to be met.

Some countries are meeting their “fair share” of the goal — based on the sizes of their economies and populations, as well as their track record on carbon emissions — yet others are way off the pace. 

At the time of signing the pact, Australia, Canada, Spain, the UK and the US were all contributing less than two-thirds of what they should.

If the adaptation finance target is indeed missed, it will be all too familiar a story. At COP15 in 2009, the same countries agreed collectively to be paying at least $100 billion (€93bn) in climate finance each year by 2020. 

Despite re-confirming the arrangement in 2015, and again in 2018, the target has been missed year after year. While it may finally be reached in 2023, that’s three years late.


Climate finance as a whole remains woefully underfunded

The situation would look even worse had eight countries not provided more — and in some cases, substantially more — than their fair share. Meanwhile many of the world’s largest economies are among the worst performers. 

The US, for example, should have contributed $43.5bn (€40.5bn) in 2021, but only provided $9.27bn (€8.6bn) — barely a fifth of its fair share. 

Once you factor in the other fourteen countries coming up short, some of which owe billions more than they currently contribute, it paints a grim picture.

“In 2021, Malawi received only $130 million (€120.8m) in climate finance, of which $87m (€80.8m) was for adaptation — certainly not enough to meet the needs,” says Tony Kamninga, a climate finance data expert for ODI, and a Malawian. 

As he pointed out, “Despite being responsible for less than 0.5% of global carbon emissions, Malawi is paying a heavy price for the failure of developed countries to mitigate the climate crisis.” 


Restoring trust is vital

Another consequence of chronic underfunding is the fuelling of political tensions that undermine trust in international cooperation efforts. 

It does the COP process no favours to see the same group of wealthy nations consistently failing to honour the commitments that they themselves made – especially as they are most responsible for the climate crisis in which Malawi, and similarly climate-vulnerable countries, find themselves.

Issues of transparency and accountability must be addressed, and new and additional finance confirmed to avoid double-counting and the inflation of reported numbers. 

Better data, combined with more consistent mechanisms for pledging and reporting, will help to bolster faith in the process.

Furthermore, countries whose commitments are heavily skewed towards the provision of loans rather than grants must change course, and prevent an additional (and wholly unacceptable) debt burden from falling on developing countries.

Time to unlock the power of adaptation

In our work with the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance in Malawi, we’ve seen how timely adaptation measures such as early warning systems and natural resource management can significantly reduce the impact on communities at risk of floods and other weather-related hazards.

However, as long as the current huge shortfall in adaptation finance persists, many communities around the world will remain exposed. 

Both the quantity and quality of climate finance must be improved to help vulnerable nations and communities adapt to the climate emergency, before it’s too late.

Twapashagha Twea is a Policy and Advocacy Manager for Concern Worldwide, based in Malawi.

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