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
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
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)
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
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
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
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
Photo credit: The World Bank
They found that trees like baobab and acacia shade 467 million more hectares of land than previously thought – an area roughly equal to half the size of the United States – increasing estimates of global forest cover by at least nine percent.
The discovery allows for more accurate assessments of how much greenhouse gases are absorbed from the atmosphere by the world’s vegetation, FAO experts said.
“Drylands absorb more carbon than we thought and they can actually help mitigate climate change,” Eva Muller, director of FAO’s forestry policy and resources division told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.
The analysis, published in journal Science, would also help forestry experts better identify areas suitable for restoring trees and vegetation in a bid to slow down desertification, added Jean-Francois Bastin, one of the study’s authors.
In Africa only, some 60 million people could be forced to leave their homes within five years and two thirds of arable land could be lost by 2025 as land progressively turns into desert, according to the United Nations.
Read the full article: The World Bank