The world was not kind to the environment over the past decade, the warmest in recorded history. Superstorm Sandy caused more than $70 billion of damages in the United States. Cities like Cape Town, South Africa nearly ran out of water. Record floods killed 1,300 people in India and Pakistan. Fires burned more than 22 million acres (9 million hectares) in California, Amazonia and most recently, Australia, destroying forests, homes and human lives.
New global targets — including the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals, both adopted in 2015 — were notable bright spots. But it’s unclear if the world will be able to deliver on these ambitions in the coming years.
Key moments and decisions to be made in 2020 will be critical for putting the world on a more sustainable trajectory. “The overwhelming story for the year won’t be if 2020 will be a turning point,” WRI President and CEO Dr. Andrew Steer. “Instead, it is whether 2020 will be a turning point for the better or for the worse.”
Steer offered insights at WRI’s annual Stories to Watch event in Washington, D.C. about the issues and actors in 2020 that could make or break the coming decade. Here’s what to watch this year:
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