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This Week in Sustainability News 25.11

Learn about how biodiversity will be incorporated into school curricula in England, decarbonising private markets, illegal tree felling, and more, with our summary of this week's sustainability news.

This past week was filled with interesting sustainability and climate news, we’ve summarised the top stories below.

New initiative will enable schoolchildren in England to learn about biodiversity

  • New partnership between the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), the Natural History Museum (NHM), and the government will enable schools in England to access funding to learn about biodiversity and create green spaces.
  • The initiative aims to help teachers incorporate climate education into the curriculum and develop climate-related lesson plans.
  • Scientists from the Natural History Museum will work with schools on mapping out the biodiversity across their green spaces.
  • The gathered data will later be added to a nationwide database and schools will be able to monitor biodiversity gains in their natural areas.
  • The initiative will also create an award scheme that will recognise schools that are particularly involved and creative in teaching about biodiversity.
  • The amount of funding has not yet been agreed on, but it is expected to be a mix of government funding and corporate sponsorship.

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Heatwave in 2022 was the most impactful since 2003 causing more than 20,000 “excess” deaths

  • A new report states that summer heatwaves in France, Germany, Spain, and Britain led to more than 20,000 “excess” deaths.
  • Scientists from the World Weather Attribution group found that record high temperatures that hit 40 degrees Celsius or above in 2022 would have been “virtually impossible” without climate change.
  • The 2022 heatwave is considered to be the most impactful since 2003 when a heatwave caused over 70,000 excess deaths across Europe.
  • The Copernicus Climate Change Service states that the summer of 2022 was the hottest summer on record.
  • French officials said that about half of the summer deaths during the 2022 heatwaves were reported in Western Europe.
  • Germany reported 4,500 heat-attributable excess deaths, Spain recorded 4,655 excess deaths, and Britain’s Office of National Statistics reported 3,271 heat-attributable deaths during this period.

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Private market investors are called on to take climate considerations into account when investing

  • Members of the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance (NZAOA) are calling on asset managers to take immediate action to decarbonise private markets by taking climate considerations into account in their private market investments.
  • Other expectations towards investment managers include phasing out support for fossil fuels and disclosing progress in line with Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) no later than 2025.
  • UN-convened NZAOA, which consists of over 80 institutional investors, is a global group committed to transitioning their investment portfolios to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
  • In their paper titled Call to Action to Private Market Asset Managers, NZAOA calls on asset management groups to commit to net-zero targets and align their investments with the 1.5 °C pathway.
  • The paper also calls for educational training on climate-related topics for private managers and standardising strategies for closing potential data gaps on financed GHG emissions.

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England: fewer than 1% of illegal tree felling cases resulted in convictions over the past 10 years

  • The Forestry Commission received 4,002 reports of illegal tree felling in England over the past 10 years.
  • The department revealed that only 15 of these cases, which accounts for less than 1% of the total, were prosecuted.
  • The average fine in those 15 convictions was £1,847 in addition to victim surcharges totalling about £500.
  • The Forestry Commission has reported that it received 812 allegations of illegal felling in 2021, 132 of which were determined to breach the licensing regime.
  • The Woodland Trust has called for an increase in resources and capacity in dealing with the enforcement of illegal felling of trees and woods across England.
  • Rebecca Pullinger from The Woodland Trust has also warned that “if individuals feel that they are unlikely to be investigated or that the enforcement via a fine is economically viable for them, then they are likely to carry out the illegal felling”.

Learn more

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