Three great stories we found on the internet this week.

Climate promises 

For decades, developing countries have asked for financial assistance to deal with the effects of climate change. A new agreement paves the way for that tab to be picked up by wealthier nations — whose advanced industrialization is behind most of the carbon emissions that have warmed the planet. 

On Sunday, nearing the end of the annual UN climate meeting (COP 27), the United States and the European Union pledged support for a “loss and damage fund” to shoulder developing nations’ costs from destructive storms, heat waves and droughts. The promise isn’t legally binding yet, and a small group of UN members will spend the next year hammering out the details. But Pakistan’s minister for climate change told The New York Times that “the announcement offers hope to vulnerable communities all over the world who are fighting for their survival from climate stress.”

With little progress made at COP 27 toward an accord on curbing carbon emissions worldwide, UN watchers generally agreed that the loss and damage fund was the biggest step forward. But, according to Al Jazeera, there was another bright spot for many who attended the Egypt-hosted conference: Brazil President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva pledged to stop deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. The forest plays a critical role in absorbing CO2. 

“There is no climate security for the world without a protected Amazon. We will do whatever it takes to have zero deforestation and the degradation of our biomes,” Lula said in a COP 27 speech.

Read more at The New York Times and Al Jazeera

Coral comeback 

Marine biologists and volunteer divers’ Great Barrier Reef restoration efforts have paid off on Australia’s Fitzroy Island. In 2018, the Reef Restoration Foundation planted several species of branching and bushy corals in an underwater “nursery.” Those corals recently spawned for the first time — which could lead to a healthier reef, at least in that small pocket of the ocean. 

Turtle, swimming Fitzroy Island
A sea turtle swimming at Fitzroy Island. Credit: Shutterstock

The deterioration and mass bleaching of vibrantly colored coral was an early harbinger of how climate change, and the resulting ocean temperature rise, was damaging the Earth. Some think reversing the trend is impossible — but there’s a promising detail in the Reef Restoration Foundation’s project. The planted corals came from fragments that already survived a mass bleaching event, so the newcomers could be resilient to future heatwaves.  

Read more at The Guardian

Happy birthday 

The German government might be paying for some residents to see Harry Styles’ concert in Munich next year. The country’s culture ministry announced in mid-November that residents will receive a €200 (around US$204) “culture pass” gift for their 18th birthdays. Recipients can use the money for museums, concerts, movies and theater performances. 

Spain, France and Italy have similar initiatives. The German government estimates 750,000 residents will turn 18 in 2023. It has put €100 million into the program, which is expected to help the cultural economy recover from pandemic losses.

Read more at Artnet