We have revised the Reports section of the magazine. In the past we used the Reports section to provide digests of generally long, complex and usually technical discussions of environmental issues or developments. The authors of these reports were typically environmental agencies, non-government organizations (NGOs), or academics. The intent was to make these reports more accessible to a wide, general audience so readers could get a sense of what the reports covered and what they concluded. Readers then could connect to the link for the reports and delve further into the details and findings.
Over the past dozen years publications of technical reports have included executive summaries, often written in simpler language than the reports themselves. At the same time here has been a rapid growth in environmental studies across the globe and just finding relevant or interesting reports through the internet is a challenge.
So we have converted the Reports section to a list of ten of the most interesting, long form examples of writing on key environmental issues and developments. We will include the information necessary to find the writing — authors, title and link to publication — and we will add a short subheading to provide more clues about what is covered in the writing, much like a subheading expands on the headline for a newspaper article. We interpret the term “reports” liberally to include almost any format that provides us with data, information, and opinion on environmental matters. For instance, in the first of these new reports, we include a website, The Geography of Future Water Challenges, derived from a written report by the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency with the same name and found at bit.ly/3fgSK0n
On one level this list of reports will do for long-form writing what our News section does for newspaper articles.
With the explosion of information across the internet, just finding what’s out there can be difficult. We hope this new version of the Reports is helpful.
As with the other material in the irish environment magazine, the focus is on environmental matters on the island of Ireland, and that necessarily requires coverage of developments in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the European Union. We will also continue to include material from across the globe as developments everywhere can inform developments anywhere.
Ten Environmental Reports
Alexandra Talty, “New Yorkers fled to the Hamptons in 2020 – and sparked a major sewage crisis.” The Guardian (25 June 2021). bit.ly/3dk6Tc2
A water quality crisis has been hiding in the ritzy Hamptons, but the pandemic pushed it over the edge. Will clean-up efforts be too little too late?
Haley Dunleavy, “An Indigenous Group’s Objection to Geoengineering Spurs a Debate About Social Justice in Climate Science,” Inside Climate News (7 July 2021). bit.ly/3BP20SY
The Sámi people of Northern Sweden say blocking out the sun with reflective particles to cool the earth is the kind of thinking that produced the climate crisis in the first place.
Geoff Summerhayes and Laura Waterford, “Biodiversity loss is a risk to the global financial system,” The Guardian (3 July 2021). bit.ly/3jKSnxO
The world’s biodiversity is declining faster than at any other time in human history, and an estimated 1 million species are at risk of extinction.
David Roberts, “Transmission fortnight: burying power lines next to rail & roads to make a national transmission grid,” volts (1 Feb 2021). bit.ly/3xqK8el
A national energy grid composed of underground HVDC lines running along existing rail and road infrastructure, with Voltage Source Converters (VSC) stations in every state.
David Roberts, formerly of Grist and Vox, is now on his very best own blog
Katie Surma, “Indigenous Leaders and Human Rights Groups in Brazil Want Bolsonaro Prosecuted for Crimes Against Humanity.” inside climate news (24 June 2021). bit.ly/3x6tO2w
The Brazilian leader’s “state policy” to deforest and “plunder” the Amazon, they’ve told the International Criminal Court, threatens tribal communities and constitutes what should be a new crime, “ecocide.”
Patrick Grenfield, “UN sets out Paris-style plan to cut extinction rate by factor of 10,” The Guardian (12 July 2021). bit.ly/36v25wJ
Eliminating plastic pollution, reducing pesticide use by two-thirds, halving the rate of invasive species introduction and eliminating $500bn (£360bn) of harmful environmental government subsidies a year are among the targets in a new draft of a Paris-style UN agreement on biodiversity loss. It also includes protecting at least 30% of the world’s oceans and land and providing a third of climate crisis mitigation through nature by 2030.
Andrea Capurro, Florence Colleoni, Rachel Downey, Evgeny Pakhomov, Ricardo Roura, Anne Christianson, Climate Change and Southern Resilence, in Polar Perspectives (June 2021). bit.ly/3l6NM9Z
Shifts in Antarctic processes, driven by human-caused climate change, are impacting wider earth systems, with profound implications for human and ecological communities far from the icy continent.
Alice Bell, “Sixty years of climate change warnings: the signs that were missed (and ignored),” The Guardian (5 July 2021). bit.ly/3kYOcPK
The effects of ‘weird weather’ were already being felt in the 1960s, but scientists linking fossil fuels with climate change were dismissed as prophets of doom
E. M. Fischer, S. Sippel, R. Knutti, “Increasing probability of record-shattering climate extremes,” Nature Climate Change (26 July 2021). go.nature.com/3rB7JXB
Models project not only more intense extremes but also events that break previous records by much larger margins. These record-shattering extremes, nearly impossible in the absence of warming, are likely to occur in the coming decades.
PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, The geography of future water challenges. themasites.pbl.nl/future-water-challenges/ A website.
Water is a precious resource, but it can also be a threat. We can have too much of it, or too little, or it may be too dirty to use. These issues affect the lives of many millions of people today. Water-related risks are increasing in many regions across the globe. Main drivers are rapid population growth and climate change. This storyboard aims to increase the awareness of the urgent need to tackle the challenges ahead.
The storyboard on the website is derived from a request from three Dutch Ministries —the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy— to the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency to provide a global overview of development scenarios and pathways forward, within the context of the water-related challenges up to 2050. Captured in a series of informative infographics and background documents, this results in an inspiring storyboard.
The PBL report, The Geography of Future Water Challenges can be found at: bit.ly/3fgSK0n