The world is projected to hold a whopping 9.6 billion people by 2050. Figuring out how to feed all these people—while also advancing rural development, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and protecting valuable ecosystems—is one of the greatest challenges of our era.
So what’s causing the global food challenge, and how can the world solve it? We begin to answer these questions through a series of graphics below. For more information, check out the interim findings of Creating a Sustainable Food Future, a report produced by WRI, U.N. Environment Programme, U.N. Development Programme, and the World Bank.
A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences sheds light on a question that continues to vex industry executives and policymakers alike: How significant are fugitive methane emissions from oil and gas production?
The study claims that U.S. methane emissions may be as much as 50 percent higher than estimates in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) annual Inventory – the equivalent to adding 2.3 million cars to the road. Most significantly, the study’s authors assert that methane that is leaked or vented during oil and gas production—aka “fugitive methane”—may be up to five times greater than current estimates. If these results are correct and applicable to oil and gas development nationwide, it would fundamentally alter the scale of the fugitive methane problem and seriously undermine any climate advantage natural gas possesses over coal.
This year’s climate negotiations in Warsaw, Poland (COP 19) were a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, the summit’s outcomes were dramatically out of step with the level of action needed to solve the climate change problem. A tempting metaphor for the talks was the national stadium in which they were held– one could go around in endless circles in search of the right location.
On the other hand, the Warsaw COP did achieve the incremental outcomes needed to move the process forward. Negotiators put in place a work plan for securing an international climate agreement at COP 21 in Paris in 2015. The COP also made progress on scaling up climate finance and addressing the difficult issue of loss and damage, a process for addressing climate impacts that are difficult or impossible to adapt to. These are small but important steps toward bringing countries out of their repetitive, circular discussions and closer to agreeing collectively on how to address global climate change.