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The approval of set of space sustainability guidelines by a United Nations committee has been widely endorsed by the global space community.
Nations can quit coal in a rapid, just and orderly manner, but they need a coordinated mix of policies, writes John Wiseman. Coal-dependent countries around the world face two wickedly interlinked challenges: accelerating the phase-out of coal to prevent catastrophic global warming, while sustaining economic prosperity and political support. As UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres recently said, keeping global warming close to 1.5C requires all new coal investments to stop now with coal phased out in OECD economies by 2030 and everywhere else by 2040. Energy supply and economic impacts of the war in Ukraine have clearly made these tasks even tougher. But the war has also provided a powerful reminder of the huge strategic and environmental risks of fossil fuel addiction. Quitting coal need not end in economic crisis, nor energy shortages. Not quitting coal will certainly end in climate – and therefore economic – disaster. Researchers have systematically reviewed the policies of nations well down the path of transitioning away from coal, providing guidance on what works.
Environment Minister Sussan Ley says Australia has been “blindsided” by a draft recommendation to list the Great Barrier Reef as “in danger”, suggesting the decision was politically motivated. The World Heritage Committee, which sits under UNESCO, has proposed moving the reef to the list because of the impact of climate change, and will consider the decision at a meeting in China, which is the chair, next month. Ms Ley described the decision as a “backflip” and said United Nations officials had assured the government the reef would not face this kind of recommendation before the July meeting. “We were blindsided by a sudden late decision,” she said.