Joint FAO-Arab League : climate change poses serious risk to water availability

 

Photo credit: FAO

A farmer harvesting water from a well for his goats and sheep.

Water use innovations crucial to face climate change in Arab countries

Joint FAO-Arab League event hears climate change poses serious risk to water availability

Arab states must continue to seek innovations to overcome water scarcity in the face of climate change, said UN Food and Agriculture Organization Director-General José Graziano da Silva at an event co-hosted by the Arab League on the sidelines of FAO’s biennial Conference.

In the Near East and North Africa region, the per capita renewable water availability is around 600 cubic metres per person per year – only 10 percent of the world average – and drops to just 100 cubic metres in some countries.

The Director-General praised Near East and North African countries’ progress, despite the challenges, in areas such as desalination, water harvesting, drip irrigation and treating wastewater.

“It is fundamental to promote ways for agriculture, and food production in general, to use less water, and use it more efficiently,” he said. “Population growth and the impacts of climate change will put more pressure on water availability in the near future. Climate change, in particular, poses very serious risks.”

Farmers and rural households should be at the center of strategies to address water scarcity, Graziano da Silva said. “Not only to encourage them to adopt more efficient farming technologies, but also to secure access to drinking water for poor rural households. This is vital for food security and improved nutrition.”

Read the full article: FAO

Zero deforestation, deforestation free, carbon neutral, climate smart and a host of other terminologies

 

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“Slash-and-burn land clearing of old rubber agroforest – such practices can continue under ‘deforestation-free’ claims. Photo credit: Meine van Noordwijk/ICRAF

Attention to detail is necessary for zero deforestation intentions to succeed, say scientists

With the realization that climate change is real, consumers are demanding products that come from responsible manufacturing processes. But do market branding terms such as zero deforestation, deforestation free, carbon neutral, climate smart have any meaning? A new book by the European Tropical Forest Network investigates if deforestation-free claims are genuine or simply designed to influence purchase decisions.

Consumers worldwide are becoming aware of how manufacturing processes contribute to deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions, and in the long term lead to climate change. With this knowledge, they are demanding products that come from responsible value chains, right from the point of the production and extraction of raw materials to delivery at retail points. Manufacturers have responded to this call by consumers by using labels such as zero deforestation, deforestation free, carbon neutral, climate smart and a host of other terminologies.

Methods used by UNFCCC to account for emissions focus on the supply side, based on country land area and production systems and nationally determined contributions (NDCs). However, a new study suggests that by using demand-side accounting, looking at human population and per capita emissions based on lifestyle, individually determined contributions to climate mitigation can complement nationally determined contributions.

“Labelling products as ‘deforestation-free’ as an attempt to satisfy consumers’ demand only takes into consideration one side of the production chain without consideration for the connection with other drivers of deforestation,” said Dr. Meine van Noordwijk, a scientist at the World Agroforestry Centre and lead author of an introductory paper.

Making the connection between deforestation and the economy

The study explored this connection from seven perspectives: when, how and why zero deforestation claims arise in global trade; how forest definitions relate to zero deforestation claims; the degree of variation in ‘footprints’ of equivalent products; tracking products that go through multiple market transactions as opposed to easy-to-follow vertically integrated value chains; interaction of all participants in totality in a value chain without isolation of those that are responsible producers; personal consumer decisions in relation to lifestyle choices, dietary changes and waste reduction that may have a bigger effect than simply choosing products with smaller carbon footprints; and how improved productivity and value chains can contribute to green economies.

Read the full article: Agroforestry World

Climate change alters rainfall patterns, potentially destroying even forested peatlands that remain undrained.

 

Source: http://news.mit.edu/2017/peatlands-already-dwindling-could-face-further-losses-0612

Climate Change Could Destroy Forested Peatlands, Causing Major Carbon Emissions

Written by AZoCleantech

Tropical peat swamp forests, which once occupied large swaths of Southeast Asia and other areas, provided a significant “sink” that helped remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But such forests have been disappearing fast due to clear-cutting and drainage projects making way for plantations.

Now, research shows peatlands face another threat, as climate change alters rainfall patterns, potentially destroying even forested peatlands that remain undrained.

The net result is that these former carbon sinks, which have taken greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere, are now net carbon sources, instead accelerating the planet’s warming.

The findings are described this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in a paper by MIT Professor Charles Harvey, research scientist Alexander Cobb, and seven others at MIT and other institutions.

“There is a tremendous amount of peatland in Southeast Asia, but almost all of it has been deforested,” says Harvey, who is a professor of civil and environmental engineering and has been doing research on that region for several years. Once deforested and drained, the peatland dries out, and the organic (carbon-containing) soil oxidizes and returns to the atmosphere. Sometimes the exposed peat can actually catch fire and burn for extended periods, causing massive clouds of air pollution.

Tropical peatlands may contain as much carbon as the amount consumed in nearly a decade of global fossil fuel use, and raging peat fires in Indonesia alone have been estimated in some years to contribute 10 to 40 percent as much greenhouse gas to the atmosphere as all the world’s fossil fuel burning. Tropical peatlands, unlike those in temperate zones that are dominated by sphagnum moss, are forested with trees that can tower to 150 feet, and peat fires can sometimes ignite forest fires that consume these as well. (Peat that gets buried and compressed underground is the material that ultimately turns to coal).

Read the full article: AZO Cleantech

 

Effects of dust on climate change

 

Photo credit: Daily Bruin

Jasper Kok, an assistant professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences, is helping elucidate the role dust plays in climate change. He said dust can have either a net cooling or net heating effect on the atmosphere depending on the size of the particles. (Owen Emerson/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Professor works to clear up effects of dust on climate change

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Dust in the air can alter climate change in unpredictable ways, according to UCLA researchers.

Jasper Kok, an assistant professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences, published a paper in April detailing how aerosols such as desert dust can cause temperature and precipitation levels to fluctuate, accelerating climate change.

Kok said aerosols, or particles in the air, are important to consider in modeling climate change because the specks can scatter and absorb sunlight like greenhouse gases.

Additionally, aerosols can often act as the scaffolding upon which clouds can condense. Clouds regulate the temperature of the atmosphere by deflecting incoming sunlight or preventing heat from escaping into space.

“I think (studying desert dust) is the coolest because it’s a natural process, but it’s very much affected by human activity,” Kok said.

Kok said the Salton Sea, a saline lake in California’s Coachella Valley, shows how human actions can cause desertification. Changes in land use and irrigation led the Salton Sea to shrink in size, leaving behind a desert-like landscape that stirs dust up into the atmosphere, he said.

As a desert grows, the dust it produces leads to the atmosphere heating up, leading to more desertification and more dust in the air, Kok said.

“The abundance of particles in the atmosphere affects climate, but climate also affects the abundance of particles,” he said.

Kok said he was able to detect the highest concentrations of desert dust in the atmosphere by using satellite imagery. He added graduate students assisted in data collection by venturing into dust storms to measure the emission, size and quality of dust particles.

He said extraneous variables such as soil moisture and human activity can make it difficult to determine the impact of atmospheric dust on climate change.

“What will happen in the future is very unclear,” Kok said. “It depends on many different factors.”

Read the full article: Daily Bruin

Climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security,

 

IPCC Special report on climate change and land: Call for experts- Outline of the Special Report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems.

IPCC Special report on climate change and land: Call for experts

At its 45th Session (Guadalajara, Mexico, 28 – 31 March 2017), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) approved the outline for “Climate Change and Land: an IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems”. For this special report he IPCC has now opened a call for nomination of authors and review editors.

Applications should be submitted via the IPCC national focal point latest by Wednesday, 17 May 2017 (midnight CEST) using the online portal.(list of IPCC focal points) (call for authors and review editors)

The 45th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC-45) concluded with the adoption of several decisions that will significantly shape the outcomes of the sixth assessment cycle, including the outlines of two special reports. The meeting’s achievements were somewhat overcast by funding concerns, and the IPCC established and adopted the terms of reference for an Ad Hoc Task Group on Financial Stability of the IPCC.

IPCC-45 convened from 28-31 March 2017, in Guadalajara, Mexico, and brought together approximately 320 participants from over 100 countries. Having adopted the outline of the special report on global warming of 1.5°C at its previous session, IPCC-45 turned its attention to the special reports on climate change and land, and on oceans and cryosphere in a changing climate. Delegates adopted the outlines for both of these reports.

Read the full article: Knowledge. UNCCD

International Summit of non-state actors on land degradation and climate change

 

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This Summit will be a stimulating and unprecedented moment to share experiences; and a collective and concrete act to refuse the fatality of climate.”

Roland Ries, Co-President of UCLG and Mayor of Strasbourg

International Summit of non-state actors on desertification

In partnership with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and the Climate Chance association, Mr. Roland Ries, Co-President of UCLG and Mayor of Strasbourg, will host the International Summit of non-state actors on land degradation and climate change in local territories “Désertif’actions”, on 27 and 28 June 2017.  

One year after the adoption of the 2030 Development Agenda and the Paris Agreement on Climate, the challenges of food security, forced migrations, international security and stability are being made worse by the intensification of land degradation, climate phenomena and multiple inappropriate practices that increase pressure on land.

The Summit will aim to demonstrate the engagement of non-state actors, including local authorities and civil society, to adapt to climate change and discuss initiatives led at the local level addressing the sustainable management of land and the development of territories, starting with target 15.3 of the 2030 Development Agenda on land degradation neutrality.

The summit will bring together 300 non-state actors and the outcome of the Summit will be brought to COP13 on Desertification and COP23 on Climate Change. The event will include the presence of the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) – to be confirmed – and the Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Read the full article: CITIES