Hello Nature readers, would you like to get this Briefing in your inbox free every day? Sign up here
It’s been a year since global leaders renewed their climate pledges at COP26, the landmark United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, UK. On Monday, global leaders will convene in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, during COP27 to carry on negotiations aimed at reining in global warming. The short-term outlook is daunting: global energy prices are spiking, spurring fresh investments in harmful fossil fuels. The good news: renewable-energy installations continue to rise globally, and many countries have made new climate commitments this year.What to look out for:
• A key issue at COP27 is ‘loss and damage’ finance — how to pay for the mounting impact of climate change on the countries that did the least to cause it and can least afford the destruction it brings.
• Much of the focus will be on evaluation, assessment and accountability. “We can’t just move on to new commitments without getting a grip on whether the current commitments are being carried out,” says climate-policy analyst David Waskow.
Insecticide-resistant mosquitoes have made their way from Asia to Africa, threatening progress there towards eradicating malaria. In a study in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia — the site of a malaria outbreak — Anopheles stephensi accounted for almost all adult mosquitos found near the homes of participants with the disease. The notorious species can breed in urban environments and persist through dry seasons. It could infect more than 100 million people in Africa if they are not protected by vaccines and other control measures. But “there is no silver bullet” for this fast-spreading vector, says molecular biologist Fitsum Tadesse.
More than one million lives might have been saved if COVID-19 vaccines had been shared more equitably with lower-income countries in 2021, according to mathematical models incorporating data from 152 countries. More even vaccine distribution, and a resulting drop in infections, might also have slowed the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants.
Features & opinion
Military carbon dioxide emissions are huge — per capita, US armed forces put out more CO2 than any nation in the world. But militaries are largely spared from emissions reporting. Eight researchers outline how to hold militaries to account in the global carbon reckoning.
“Imagine making a data-driven plan for the world, but leaving out more than one billion people in Africa,” writes energy researcher Rose M. Mutiso. “That’s the troubling truth behind net-zero emissions proposals.” She argues that we can’t we can't engage meaningfully with the concept of net zero — at COP27 and in general — without Africa-specific data, appropriate models and African expertise.
After a stint at Google, astronomer Oliver Müller is back in academia — and he has learnt some valuable lessons. One of the most important: don’t be a hero. “If a task can be finished only through putting your mental health and even physical health at risk, you are effectively hiding flaws in the system.”