COP24 climate conference: World facing 'greatest threat in thousands of years'

2:27 p.m. ET, December 11, 2018

A trillion trees to capture carbon

As we sign off for the day, we leave you with an ambitious project from youth initiative Plant For The Planet.

The group hosted a COP side event today and outlined its goal of planting a trillion trees by 2030 – which it says could capture 25% of global carbon emissions.

Speaking at the event, Mette Wilkie, chief of forestry policy and resources with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, said: “We need all the tools in our toolbox to help us to get to the target we have of 1.5 degrees and planting trees is definitely one of them.”

She added: “We need to plant additional trees, and protect the forests that we have and make sure we manage them.”

L-R:  Rita Schwarzeluhr-Sutter, Secretary of State, Ministry for the Environment, Germany; Nassirou-Ba, UN Economic Commission for Africa; Mette Wilkie, chief of forestry policy and resources, UN FAO.
L-R: Rita Schwarzeluhr-Sutter, Secretary of State, Ministry for the Environment, Germany; Nassirou-Ba, UN Economic Commission for Africa; Mette Wilkie, chief of forestry policy and resources, UN FAO.

11:47 a.m. ET, December 11, 2018

Arctic warming influencing extreme weather in US and Europe, says report

Human-caused climate change is transforming the Arctic, both physically and biologically, according to a peer-reviewed report released today from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The annual Arctic Report Card found temperatures in the Arctic are warming more than twice as fast as the overall planet's average temperature, and the last five years have been warmer than any other years in the historical record, which goes back to 1900.

"What starts in the Arctic isn't confined there," Thomas Mote, a research scientist at the University of Georgia who authored part of the report, told CNN Meteorologist Brandon Miller.

"Changes in sea ice influence ocean currents and the jet stream in ways that can affect weather in lower latitudes, including the United States and Europe."

The report highlighted several of these events over the past year as an example of how Arctic warming can influence day-to-day weather.

Read the full story here.

9:55 a.m. ET, December 11, 2018

Travel and tourism sector responds to climate challenge

How can the travel and tourism sector take steps to attain a carbon neutral world?

This was up for discussion at COP24 today where the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) presented a pathway for the sector to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Gloria Guevara, President and CEO of WTTC announced the creation of an annual “State of the Climate” report to evaluate, monitor and share progress toward this goal.

Ahead of the event, Fiji’s Minister for Defence and National Security, Inia Seruiratu said Pacific Island countries are already experiencing the impacts of climate change.

“The tourism sector is a major revenue earner for our country. Unfortunately, the attractions that drive this sector – our reefs, sandy beaches, clear seas, and forest biodiversity – are under threat from the impacts of climate change.

"I am very encouraged that the sector is eager to engage in such initiatives and strengthen public-private partnerships in the fight against climate change.”

8:19 a.m. ET, December 11, 2018

Carbon capture and storage a "vital lifeline to beat climate change," says report

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) -- technologies that remove carbon dioxide from the air -- must be deployed alongside other clean technologies to stave off the consequences of global warming, according to a new report launched at COP24 today.

The report by the Global CCS Institute tracks the worldwide progress of CCS technologies as well as where and how it can be more widely deployed.

'Our lives depend on it'

Acclaimed teen polar explorer Jade Hameister and proponent of CCS, supported the report:

“Carbon capture and storage is one of the stand-out technologies that exists today. It will form part of the solution and must be pursued as if our lives depend on it – because they do.”

Related: Can this carbon capture technology save us from climate change?

6:39 a.m. ET, December 11, 2018

Climate change a suspected driver of migrant "caravan"

CNN's John Sutter went to Honduras to investigate the origins of the migrant "caravan" moving toward the United States that's caused much controversy.

The CNN investigation shows Central Americans have left their homes after a years-long drought that has shriveled crops and put 2 million people at risk for hunger.

Read the full story.

McKenna Ewen
McKenna Ewen

An estimated 17 million people in Latin America could be forced to relocate within their countries because of climate change by 2050 under the worst-case scenario, according to the World Bank's "Groundswell" report on climate migration.

4:59 a.m. ET, December 11, 2018

Recap: What's happened at COP24 so far

Tensions are running high as the world's representatives hash out a "rulebook" to help ensure the viability of humanity.

US fossil fuels "sideshow"

A US-led discussion to "showcase ways to use fossil fuels as cleanly and efficiently as possible" was temporarily halted by a group of protestors shouting "shame on you!" and "keep it in the ground!" -- a reference to fossil fuels that they say should be left unearthed.

Demonstrators disturb the speech of P. W. Griffith, advisor to US President Trump, at the Department of Energy at COP24 on December 10.
Demonstrators disturb the speech of P. W. Griffith, advisor to US President Trump, at the Department of Energy at COP24 on December 10. Monika Skolimowska/picture alliance

US refuses to "welcome" major climate report

Over the weekend, the United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait stood in the way of a statement to "welcome" the dire assessment of climate science from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Read the full story here.

12:55 p.m. ET, December 10, 2018

Signing off for today...

Our live coverage of COP24 has ended for the day. Scroll through the posts below to see the highlights of the conference so far.

12:29 p.m. ET, December 10, 2018

Countries not doing enough on climate change, says new report

None of the countries evaluated by a new report are doing enough to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5°C. 

The Climate Change Performance Index 2019, published by NGOs Germanwatch, the NewClimate Institute, and the Climate Action Network, compares the climate performance of 56 countries and the EU, which are together responsible for more than 90 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

It ranks countries by determining their performance in four categories: GHG emissions, renewable energy, energy use and climate policy.

In this year's index, no country performed well enough to reach the “very high” ranking – that is, doing enough to keep temperatures within 1.5°C of pre-industrial levels. 

Sweden was the highest-ranked country, followed by Morocco and Lithuania.

Medium-performing countries include France, Mexico, Germany and the Czech Republic.

The bottom five are Saudi Arabia, the United States, Iran, South Korea and Taiwan.

Speaking at COP24 today, Niklas Höhne of the NewClimate Institute said:

"Now is the time to raise ambition for all of these countries and we hope that next year we (will) see more countries moving up the ladder." 

11:20 a.m. ET, December 10, 2018

Investors demand more action on climate change

A group of 415 global investors managing assets worth $32 trillion have called on governments to take serious steps to cut emissions.

The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change issued a statement today warning of an "ambition gap" between steps governments have promised to take, and the actions needed to limit global warming.

The statement has been endorsed by financial heavyweights including HSBC, Nomura Asset Management and UBS Asset Management.

Protesters pictured during a march for the climate on December 8 in Katowice, Poland.
Protesters pictured during a march for the climate on December 8 in Katowice, Poland. JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images

The group urged governments to phase out thermal coal power and fossil fuel subsidies, and set a price for carbon emissions.

"Much more needs to be done by governments to accelerate the low carbon transition and to improve the resilience of our economy, society and the financial system to climate risks," the group said in a statement.

Read the full report here.