Corporate climate risk, unsustainable filmmaking, transforming ecosystems: 3 stories you may have missed

© Conservation International/Sterling Zumbrunn

Editor's Note: News about conservation and the environment is made every day, but some of it can fly under the radar. In a recurring feature, Conservation News shares three stories from the past week that you should know about.

1. As climate warms, companies scramble to calculate the risk to their profits 

The climate models that scientists use to predict future environmental conditions could be adapted for use by the corporate sector.

The Story: The growing number of businesses experiencing the negative impacts of climate change on their revenues has given rise to a new demand for “climate risk services,'' reported Dan Charles for NPR. Using climate modeling — computer simulations that predict how climate change will affect a region — scientists could help companies assess how rising levels of greenhouse gases, ocean shifts and melting Arctic ice may put corporate commodities, such as corn and coffee, at risk.

The Big Picture: Conservation International and coalition organizations recently published an open letter to “the CEOs of Corporate America,” calling for corporations to use their influence to lobby governments for science-based policy to address climate change. As major contributors to the climate breakdown — just 20 companies are responsible for more than one-third of all global emissions — the corporate sector could play a powerful role in pushing forward climate policy. 

Read the full story here.

2.) Behind every film production is a mess of environmental wreckage 

The excess waste that is ubiquitous within the film industry is harming the environment and wildlife.

The Story: The majority of movie and television productions around the world produce massive quantities of plastic waste and endanger wildlife habitats during filming, reported Kyle Raymond Fitzpatrick for Vice News. Film production crews have been caught dumping chemical waste into oceans, harming endemic species and damaging protected areas through deforestation

The Big Picture: “Every set that’s made comes with an impact, a carbon footprint, a supply chain, a lot of human resources,” said Zena Harris, the founder of Green Spark Group, a consulting company that helps make movie sets more sustainable. Other organizations with the same mission as the Green Spark group are collaborating with the film industry to reduce waste, with the Producers Guild of America even creating a Green Production Guide to advise producers on operating an environmentally-conscious set. 

Read the full story here.

Ecosystems are experiencing significant species turnover in the midst of climate breakdown, a new study reveals. 

The Story: According to a recent survey published in the journal Science, plant and animal species are being replaced at a rapid rate in ecosystems across the globe, reported Sarah Kaplan for the Washington Post. This large-scale reorganization of more than a quarter of wildlife and plants each decade is likely driven by climate change and could have drastic impacts on the productivity of ecosystems, from a coral reef’s ability to filter water to a forest’s capacity to absorb carbon. 

The Big Picture: “We know that species move to more suitable habitat as the climate changes, and that migration results in entire ecosystems being torn apart and reassembled,” said Lee Hannah, senior scientist for climate change biology at Conservation International, in an interview with Conservation News. “That means we have to anticipate where species will be moving and be ready with conservation efforts already in place when they get there.” Establishing new protected areas in places that will be hit hardest by climate breakdown is one such effort that has proven effective.

Read the full story here.

Kiley Price is a staff writer for Conservation International. Want to read more stories like this? Sign up for email updates here. Donate to Conservation International here.

Cover image: A forest in North Sumatra, Indonesia. (© Sterling Zumbrunn/Conservation International)