The UN Environment Programme named seven young scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs and activists from across the globe as its 2020 Young Champions of the Earth. With solutions to harvest water from the air, recycle plastic into paving slabs, and motivate fishing boats to haul tonnes of plastic out of the ocean, these change-makers show how innovative ideas coupled with ambitious action can help solve some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. They’ll receive seed funding, mentoring and communications support to amplify their efforts.
Young Champion of the Earth is a forward-looking prize designed to breathe life into the ambitions of brilliant young environmentalists aged 18 – 30. Shortlisted finalists from every region have been selected following an open call for applications. A Global Jury will then choose seven winners. Each winner is expected to implement their big idea and keep UNEP updated on their progress by producing videos and blogs. Winners will also be given funding to support their communication efforts throughout the year, so that they can produce high-quality materials to share with our audiences.
For over a decade, the UNEP Emissions Gap Report has provided a yearly review of the difference between where greenhouse emissions are predicted to be in 2030 and where they should be to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The report finds that, despite a brief dip in carbon dioxide emissions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is still heading for a temperature rise in excess of 3°C this century – far beyond the Paris Agreement goals of limiting global warming to well below 2°C and pursuing 1.5°C.
Crop Certification: Going green unlocks global markets for farmers
The UNEP report conducts a rigorous assessment of the contribution of material efficiency in residential buildings and light duty vehicle to greenhouse gas abatement strategies.
UNEP’s novel World Environment Situation Room provides real-time data on fine particulate matter in the atmosphere from fires, informing scientists, policy-makers and citizens alike. The platform is a collaboration between the UN and Swiss firm IQAir, which operates its own air quality monitoring platform. At maximum zoom-out, it shows a map of the planet, with arrows depicting wind patterns and air quality areas represented by a shading system; green is good, yellow moderate, orange is unhealthy for sensitive groups.
To build knowledge on how nature functions to deliver goods and services to humanity, UNEP Wild for Life 2.0 campaign will bring users on a journey to 4 ecosystems, including peatlands.
Biodiversity is essential for people through its provision of nutritious food, clean water, medicines, and protection from extreme events.
All you need to know about air pollution
Some 330,000 premature deaths in the Americas are caused each year by pollution from open landfill dumpsites where waste is usually burned. In Latin America and the Caribbean there are thousands of dumpsites which are health hazards and which also contribute to climate change.
Late last year, flights were diverted from Delhi, thousands of schools were closed and people in the Indian capital were advised to stay indoors or wear masks. Now, India is gearing up for another surge in toxic air. In autumn, farmers across the northern part of the country will burn their fields to make way for a new crop. During the blazes, air pollution in Delhi can be 14 times greater than what the World Health Organization considers safe, with much of the country blanketed in a haze so thick, it can be seen from space.
While national and local interventions are largely focused on protecting lives and economies during COVID-19, management of hazardous waste is also essential to minimize long-term risks to human and environmental health. A UNEP new publication - Waste Management during the COVID-19 Pandemic: from response to recovery - reviews current practices for managing waste from healthcare facilities, households and quarantine locations accommodating people with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19.
2020 marks the third anniversary and is a milestone year for The Minamata Convention on Mercury.