Climate change was one of the most important issues in 2022, both for the promises made to curb its impact and for the catastrophic effects it had on the planet.
At COP27, significant progress was made with loss and damage financing for vulnerable countries. And at the COP15 biodiversity conference, nations agreed a historical agreement for nature.
But the immediacy of the climate emergency was also made brutally clear by the devastating floods, fires and storms that battered communities around the globe.
As we enter 2023, these are the big climate issues facing the world.
Where will Europe get its energy supply?
As conflict and geopolitical tensions continue, there will be increasing pressure fossil fuels supply and cost for Europe.
Oil and gas prices in particular look set to rise in the new year, meaning the challenging winter is far from over.
The positive side is that this will lead to greater investment in green energyaccording to the nonprofit coalition We Mean Business.
The group, which aims to accelerate the transition to a net zero economy, says companies that choose not to make the switch will be left behind.
Can the world eliminate the use of all fossil fuels?
At the COP27 climate change conference, the final text stated that coal use would be reduced.
Many environmental groups now want policymakers to change this to a phase-down of all of them fossil fuels.
“Without this we cannot limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius,” says the We Mean Business Coalition.
How can we protect the world’s water resources?
water will be one of the top environmental issues in 2023, and next year will see the first global UN water conference in almost 50 years.
The summit will be held in March 2023.
“It will be a vital milestone to drive action on water, which is critical to mitigating the climate crisis, embedding resilience and strengthening communities,” says Emma Wilkinson of Greenhouse, a digital communications agency that drives impact social and environmental.
How can we have a positive impact on nature?
This year ended with the UN conference on biodiversity COP15, which highlighted the urgent actions needed to fighting the loss of nature.
For the We Mean Business Coalition, 2023 will see businesses making high-quality investments in nature as well as reducing emissions in their activities.
The travel industry is also encouraging concrete, positive action to protect and rebuild nature.
For example, hotels are required to ensure that water and food supplies are sustainable and to limit the use of vehicles to reduce noise pollution.
Can the travel industry be decarbonised?
Throughout 2022, there has been an increase in the popularity of rail travel.
Travelers have chosen to take the train carbon heavy flights and railway companies have launched dozens of new lines.
Meanwhile, some EU countries have taken small steps to limit unnecessary air travel, with France AND Belgium jetting private jets and short-haul flights.
Next year will see a continuation of this trend while the aviation industry continues to work on decarbonizing the sector.