Posts Tagged ‘Climate Change Initiatives’

Amazon Climate Change -Thomas Stelzer

Thomas Stelzer, the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs. Photo: A Critica

“Globally speaking, if the Amazon region lost its ability to capture carbon, it would be more difficult to control climate change, which is the world’s biggest challenge today”, said the United Nations (UN) Official Thomas Stelzer to A Critica, a local newspaper in Brazil.

According to him, this subject affects the environmental arrangements throughout the world, as the Amazon rainforest plays an important role in the global weather regulation for the large amount of carbon it can absorb from the atmosphere. From that, the need to protect the Amazon is essential.

Stelzer visited Manaus, city located in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon, to participate in the celebrations of the 2013 Environment Week. He visited research institutions and debated actions designed to promote sustainability and development in the Amazonas State of Brazil.


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2013 Supplement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories: Wetlands. Photo: A Critica

2013 Supplement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories: Wetlands. Photo: A Critica

Scientists and members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) gathered throughout last week in Manaus with the objective to create a methodology to measure greenhouse gas emissions from wetlands. The team produced a document that should be finalised by July this year and posteriorly sent to the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for approval.

The Wetlands Supplement seeks to expand the methodological guidance on wetlands emissions covered in the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, as it contains gaps in relation to wetlands management. According to the IPCC, the final document will be available to the public at the end of October 2013, when the 37th Session of the IPCC takes place, in Georgia, in the United States.

Nadja da Cunha, member of the National Institute for Amazonian Research (Inpa) who participated in the meetings, says that the developments of this event is particularly important for the entire Amazon Region, as at least 30% of the region is flooded most of the year.

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As cars are one of the biggest air polluters and greenhouse gas producers, the law appears as an initiative to help compensate the damages caused to by these vehicles to the environment. Photo: The Guardian

The law appears as an initiative to help compensate the damages caused by these vehicles to the environment. Photo: The Guardian

A new law approved in Manaus, capital of the Brazilian State of Amazonas, aims to turn the city greener and less polluted. Local car dealerships will have to plant a tree for every brand new car sold, under the penalty of a fine and other binding measures, as determined by the Law 1730, sanctioned on the 15th May this year by the Mayor Arthur Virgilio Neto.

As cars are one of the biggest air polluters and greenhouse gas producers, the law appears as an initiative to help compensate the damages caused to the environment by these vehicles. The new legislation is expected to come into force within 90 days, while the local City Council studies how it must be correctly executed in relation to inspection, monitoring, fines and other measures.

According to the law, the local City Council will be responsible to map and define the areas to receive the trees, but the car dealerships must cover the expenses with the purchase of the seedlings and the planting. Whoever fails to comply with this legislation may be fined with R$ 39, 800 (around € 15,000). In case of repeated violation, the infractors may pay twice this amount and have their activities suspended.

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Natural Capital and Ecosystem Services are provided to us free by nature and contribute invisible or unaccounted for economic value to our global economy, including such simple things as clean air, clean water and the ability to grow crops.

Inspired by the 2006 Stern Review for Climate Change, the TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity) initiative, a G8+5 commissioned project, has taken on the challenge to draw attention to the economic benefits of biodiversity, and highlight the growing cost of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation.

TEEB provides guidance to important policy makers, national governments, local governments and regional decision makers, to help them internalise the value of nature in proper policy making frameworks, in order to properly account for these valuable services.

The top 3,000 businesses are estimated to have externalities of almost $2.1 trillion, which is equivalent to 3.5% of global GDP, every year. These significant externalities can be described as third party (or external) effects arising from the production and/or consumption of goods and services, for which no appropriate compensation is paid.

It is believed that accounting for these externalities and our preciously-limited Natural Capital now, will result in significant cost savings in the future. If we continue our current consumption levels of these valuable services, without accounting for them, the cost of replicating them once they have been exhausted, is almost incalculable.

To find out more, see this video where the TEEB Study Leader and UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) Special Adviser introduces and explains the project.

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Ireland's Countryside. Source: IDB.ie

Ireland’s Countryside. Source: IDB.ie

Ireland is a country that is often thought of as “Green” to the core, owing to its lush green rolling countryside and its affectionate unofficial name abroad, the Emerald Isle. It seems as if Ireland is now determined to not only look green, but actually be green, in a concerted effort to improve their environmental consciousness and sustainability credentials.

Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board confirm this green status, noting that…

“Ireland is a country supremely well suited to sustainability. Our climate is temperate; our lush, green countryside is perfect for farming; ours seas are teeming with fish.

Our dairy industry shares the lowest carbon footprint in the EU with Austria. Our beef industry, the largest net exporter in the northern hemisphere, is also among the lowest. And with our rainfall, in a world facing water shortages, and agriculture requiring 70% of freshwater supplies for irrigation, our water stress index, unsurprisingly is one of the lowest in the world.”

They continue on, explaining that “it is the proper management of these resources now that matters, and which will further enhance and demonstrate our green reputation, around the world.”

This growing reputation and expertise, is also acknowledged in a recent article from The Guardian, which notes that Bord Bia have “developed tools to assess beef farm emissions and also the carbon emissions generated (in the process), to help identify carbon hotspots where potential improvements may be possible.” These tools have been developed during the organisation’s unique sustainability development programme, called Origin Green.

Changing Ireland’s sustainability colours will not be easy, but a determined, collective effort is a necessity in the ongoing global fight against detrimental climate change.

Bord Bia's Origin Green Campaign Logo. Source: Bordbia.ie

Bord Bia’s ‘Origin Green’ Campaign Logo. Source: Bordbia.ie

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The environment is the primary source of the humans needs. Mother Nature provides us with goods and services that play a key role in the development of our society.

The earth’s stock of resources and its natural regulating mechanisms are what we call Natural Capital Assets.

This priceless legacy must be sustainably used in order to guarantee that it will be available for us and for the future generations. In fact, there is a direct survival link between humans and nature.

This video is an encouragement for us to rethink our systems and concepts of growth and give value to these Natural Capital Assets freely given to us.

How much is nature worth to you?

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Forestry as a key element to global development. Source: UN

Wu Hongbo, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, at the UN Forum on Forest, in Istanbul. Source: UN

“Forests play a critical role in global sustainable development. They abate climate change, protect biodiversity, conserve watersheds and land fertility, and preserve livelihoods of forest-dependent people. But let’s be clear. The challenges to maintain this precious gift of nature, and to manage it sustainably, are many, and serious. Moreover, the services provided by forests are still taken for granted, not fully valued or captured by markets.”

                            Stated Wu Hongbo, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, at the opening session of the UN Forum on Forest, this week, in Istanbul.

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