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State of Climate Action 2021: Systems Transformations Required to Limit Global Warming to 1.5°C

October 28, 2021

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C requires far-reaching transformations across power generation, buildings, industry, transport, land use, coastal zone management, and agriculture, as well as the immediate scale-up of technological carbon removal and climate finance. This report translates these transitions into 40 targets for 2030 and 2050, with measurable indicators.Transformations, particularly those driven by new technology adoption, often unfold slowly before accelerating after crossing a tipping point. Nearly a quarter of indicators assessed new technology adoption, with some already growing exponentially. This report considers such nonlinear change in its methodology.The transitions required to avoid the worst climate impacts are not happening fast enough. Of the 40 indicators assessed, none are on track to reach 2030 targets. Change is heading in the right direction at a promising but insufficient speed for 8 and in the right direction but well below the required pace for 17. Progress has stagnated for 3, while change for another 3 is heading in the wrong direction entirely. Data are insufficient to evaluate the remaining 9.This report also identifies underlying conditions that enable change—supportive policies, innovations, strong institutions, leadership, and shifts in social norms. Finance for climate action, for example, must increase nearly 13-fold to meet the estimated need in 2030.

Closing the gap: the impact of G20 climate commitments on limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C

September 16, 2021

Under the Paris Agreement, Parties agreed to limit global temperature rise to well below 2°C, and pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C. While some progress has been made in strengthening national climate targets and policies, current nationally national for reducing emissions are still insufficient to meet the Paris Agreement's temperature goal. Strengthened 2030 and mid-century commitments are urgently needed. The G20—a group collectively accounting for around 75 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, 80 percent of global GDP, and two-thirds of global population—has an outsized role to play in addressing climate change.This paper presents a set of scenarios that simulate different climate commitments made by G20 countries for 2030 and mid-century and the resulting impacts on global temperature rise. The analysis finds that if all G20 countries set ambitious, 1.5°C-aligned emission reduction targets for 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2050, global temperature rise at the end of the century could be limited to 1.7°C, keeping the 1.5°C goal within reach. 

The Future of Food from the Sea

January 1, 2019

This paper considers the status and future trends of food production through fisheries and aquaculture at regional and global scales; the opportunities of ocean-based food in achieving SDG 2 (Zero Hunger); and recommendations for how current barriers might be overcome to transition to more sustainable and abundant food production from the ocean.

Legal Limits on Single-Use Plastics and Microplastics: A Global Review of National Laws and Regulations

December 6, 2018

This report provides a global overview on the progress of countries in passing laws and regulations that limit the manufacture, import, sale, use and disposal of selected single-use plastics and microplastics which have a great impact in the production of marine litter.

The Business of Planting Trees: A Growing Investment Opportunity

January 1, 2018

In recent years, hundreds of companies have entered the restoration industry. They represent a wide range of business models that deliver financial returns for investors while restoring forests and agricultural lands. This report profiles 14 businesses that are part of an emerging restoration economy. It highlights four promising investment themes in land restoration: technology, consumer products, project management, and commercial forestry.

Climate Benefits Tenure Costs: The Economic Case for Securing Indigenous Land Rights in the Amazon

October 1, 2016

A new report offers evidence that the modest investments needed to secure land rights for indigenous communities will generate billions in returns—economically, socially and environmentally—for local communities and the world's changing climate. The report, Climate Benefits, Tenure Costs: The Economic Case for Securing Indigenous Land Rights, quantifies for the first time the economic value of securing land rights for the communities who live in and protect forests, with a focus on Colombia, Brazil, and Bolivia.

Climate Benefits Tenure Costs: The Economic Case for Securing Indigenous Land Rights in the Amazon, Executive Summary

October 1, 2016

A new report offers evidence that the modest investments needed to secure land rights for indigenous communities will generate billions in returns—economically, socially and environmentally—for local communities and the world's changing climate. The report, Climate Benefits, Tenure Costs: The Economic Case for Securing Indigenous Land Rights, quantifies for the first time the economic value of securing land rights for the communities who live in and protect forests, with a focus on Colombia, Brazil, and Bolivia.

The Economic Case for Landscape Restoration in Latin America

October 1, 2016

Degraded lands—lands that have lost some degree of their natural productivity through human activity—account for over 20 percent of forest and agricultural lands in Latin America and the Caribbean. Some 300 million hectares of the region's forests are considered degraded, and about 350 million hectares are now classified as deforested. The agriculture and forestry sectors are growing and exerting great pressure on natural areas. With the region expected to play an increasingly important role in global food security, this pressure will continue to ratchet up. In addition, land degradation is a major driver in greenhouse gas emissions in the region. Forest and landscape restoration can offer a solution to these increasing pressures.

Protecting Drinking Water at the Source: Lessons from United States Watershed Investment Programs

October 1, 2016

Watershed investment programs offer promising pathways to securing safe drinking water. But what does it take to establish and grow a successful watershed investment program? Program investors and practitioners are looking for guidance and ideas on how to build a program that works for their own context.This report addresses this need by compiling experiences and lessons from 13 watershed investment programs from across the United States. Based on a 3-year comparative case study analysis, it serves as a roadmap to guide utilities and communities as they work together to protect precious source waters.

Towards a More Equal City: Framing the Challenges and Opportunities

October 1, 2016

Cities are growing differently today than before. As much as 70 percent of people in emerging cities in Asia, Africa and Latin America is under-served. Furthermore, cities face challenges in four areas:Highest rates of urbanization are in sub-Saharan Africa, South and Southeast AsiaUrbanization is now happening in more low-income countries than in the pastThe share of poor people living in urban areas is on the rise worldwideCities in the Global South have the fewest public resources per capitaWe need a new approach that will benefit all urban residents and create sustainable, productive cities for the 21st century. The World Resources Report (WRR) examines if prioritizing access to core urban services, we can create cities that are prosperous and sustainable for all people.This first installment of the WRR developed a new categorization of cities into emerging, struggling, thriving, and stabilizing cities. It focuses on solutions for struggling and emerging cities—over half the cities included in the analysis—because they have the greatest opportunity to alter their development trajectory.

WRI's Governance Strategy, 2016-2020

September 1, 2016

Transparent, effective, accountable governance is critical to ensuring that development benefits people and the planet. The Governance Center of Excellence works with civil society, governments, development agencies, businesses, and other institutions to improve decision-making processes and legal frameworks. Our goal is to empower people and strengthen institutions to foster environmentally sound and socially equitable decision-making.In many countries, citizens and communities face social and environmental injustices that can leave them without a say in the development decisions that affect their lives and the resources they depend on.As a global leader on environmental governance, the Governance Center uses data and research to institutionalize fundamental democratic principles - such as transparency, participation, and accountability - into decision-making processes, policies, and legal frameworks. The Governance Center is divided into five practice areas—climate resilience, environmental democracy, energy governance, natural resource governance and urban governance— where our work is concentrated on six priority issues: climate, energy, food, forests, water, and cities.

Making Women's Voices Count in Community Decision-Making on Land Investments

July 1, 2016

The adverse impacts of commercialization and largescale land acquisitions in the global South are often disproportionately borne by women. The loss of access to farmland and common areas hit women harder than men in many communities, and women are often excluded from compensation and benefit schemes. Women's social disadvantages, including their lack of formal land rights and generally subordinate position, make it difficult for them to voice their interests in the management and proposed allocation of community land to investors. While the development community and civil society have pushed for standards and safeguard policies that promote the meaningful involvement of rural communities generally in land acquisitions and investments, strengthening the participation of women as a distinct stakeholder group requires specific attention.This working paper examines options for strengthening women's participatory rights in the face of increasing commercial pressures on land in three countries: Mozambique, Tanzania, and the Philippines. It focuses on how regulatory reform—reforms in the rules, regulations, guidelines, and procedures that implement national land acquisition and investment laws—can promote gender equity and allow women to realize the rights afforded by national legal frameworks and international standards. The paper stems from a collaborative project between World Resources Institute and partner organizations in the three countries studied.