By Graham Lawton Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesWELCOME to 2020, the year that began with Australia in flames and its leaders in denial, and could end with the whole world facing the same predicament. To say that this is a pivotal year for the environment is no exaggeration. To borrow a sporting analogy, it is crunch time,…


                        <figure class="article-image-inline" data-method="replace-inline-image"><img src="https://images.newscientist.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/ns-logo-for-featured-image.jpg?width=800" data-src="https://images.newscientist.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/09141952/gettyimages1.jpg?width=300" data- class="image lazyload" alt="New Scientist Default Image"><div class="image-details"><p class="credit font-sans-serif-xxxs--regular">Drew Angerer/Getty Images</p></div></figure>WELCOME to 2020, the year that began with Australia in flames and its leaders in denial, and could end with the whole world facing the same predicament.

To say that this is a pivotal year for the environment is no exaggeration. To borrow a sporting analogy, it is crunch time, with three knife-edge fixtures that will establish the direction and scope of global action for years to come – and with it, maybe the habitability of the planet.

The first big one is the biodiversity convention in Kunming, China, in October, where the UN and heads of government …

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