By Caleb Stevens, Robert Winterbottom, Sarah Parsons and Carni Klirs*
WASHINGTON DC (IDN | WRI) - Deforestation and other land changes produce about 11 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions globally. A new report reveals an undervalued and often-overlooked strategy for curbing these emissions – strengthening the rights of forest communities.
Governments around the world legally recognize at least 513 million hectares of community forests, land held collectively by either rural populations or Indigenous Peoples. This area stores about 37 billion tonnes of carbon – 29 times the annual carbon footprint of all the passenger vehicles in the world. Securing Rights, Combating Climate Change, a new report from WRI and the Rights and Resources Initiative, shows that by protecting and expanding the amount of officially recognized community forests, national governments can meet their climate goals while also improving citizens’ livelihoods.
By e360 digest | Interview with IPCC Chairman
NEW HAVEN (IDN) - This month, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a report on steps the world can take to avoid the worst impacts of future climate change. The report by the panel’s Working Group III was the final interim report before the IPCC’s major Fifth Assessment Report due to be released in October. Yale Environment 360 asked Rajendra K. Pachauri, who has served as IPCC chairman since 2002, five questions about the latest report and about the prospects that the international community will finally take decisive action to address climate change.
1. The most recent IPCC report suggests that the political will to tackle the climate issue seems to be growing around the world. Can you give some specific examples of that?
There is nothing that I am aware of in the Working Group III report that speaks to the political will to tackle climate change. But I can say that in my personal view I have been encouraged by a growing level of awareness and concern about climate change among senior government officials, including presidents and cabinet ministers, across the globe.
By Martin Khor* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
GENEVA (IDN | South Centre) - The UN Climate Conference held in Warsaw has set up a new international mechanism to help developing countries affected by loss and damage from climate change, such as the Philippines typhoon.
The setting up of a loss and damage international mechanism was the major achievement of the 19th Conference of Parties of the UNFCCC (COP19) that ended on November 23, a full day after its scheduled conclusion.
By Jaya Ramachandran & Anna Rutkowski
BERLIN | WARSAW (IDN) - Coal currently provides 40 percent of the world’s electricity and has been the fastest-growing global energy source since the year 2000, reports the International Energy Agency (IEA). Its most recent World Energy Outlook finds that while renewables and natural gas generation will grow rapidly, coal is still projected to be the dominant source of electricity through 2035.
As the UN climate change conference COP 19 entered second week on November 18, Greenpeace unfurled a banner on the front of Poland’s Ministry of Economy, protesting against the World Coal Association’s International Coal and Climate Summit taking place inside. The banner read: “Who Rules Poland? Coal Industry or the People?”
By Richard Johnson | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
WARSAW (IDN) – They are not in the limelight. But experts are drawing attention to the human health dimension of climate change at the global climate change talks in Poland’s capital Warsaw scheduled to conclude on November 22.
Dr Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum of the World Health Organization (WHO) has delivered “five health messages” for COP 19, the 19th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). A scientist and team leader in WHO’s Climate Change and Health Unit, Dr Campbell-Lendrum says:
By Jutta Wolf | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BERLIN (IDN) - Dangers are lurking all around but appropriate action can help avoid perilous levels of climate change. Much hope is therefore pinned on the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from November 11 to 22 in Warsaw.
By Anna Rutkowski | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
WARSAW (IDN) - “We need to be prepared for nine billion people on this planet, as we all deserve a decent and secure life. By being creative, the world can reduce greenhouse gas emissions while creating jobs, promoting economic growth and ensuring better living standards. Where there is a will, there is a way!” says Marcin Korolec, the Polish Minister of the Environment, who will chair a landmark UN climate change conference from November 11 to 22, 2013 in Warsaw.
A lawyer, career civil servant and negotiator, Korolec wants the global conference to agree on a balance between the needs of the environment and the economy, "in order to seamlessly unite environmental protection and economic growth". Environmental protection, he says, is an interdisciplinary field that directly influences many other policy areas and is strongly influenced by international arrangements and standards.
By Jutta Wolf | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BERLIN (IDN) - The doomsday clock has not yet struck zero hour but it is now beyond scientific doubt that atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), one of the greenhouses gases responsible for climate change, have reached levels that are higher than any time during the past one million years.
As Markus Reichstein, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry (MPI-BGC) in Jena points out, increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases do not only lead to gradual ‘global warming’, but also to changed patterns of rain and snowfall (precipitation), more weather extremes such as heat waves, longer dry spells, variability of growing season length, recurrent heavy rainfall, and storms. And, there is general concern that climate change will have fundamental impacts on our natural environment, our economic activities and life.
By Meena Raman* | IDN-InDepth NewsReport
GENEVA (IDN) - The fourth meeting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change's Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board, which began on June 26 in Songdo, South Korea, concluded on June 28 with the selection of its Executive Director as well as the adoption of decisions on the ‘business model framework', which includes the private sector facility.
A decision was taken to set up three new structures under the private sector facility, to determine the terms of engagement with the private sector, exert due diligence and manage risks, as well as to review investment proposals and instruments.
The GCF Board selected Hela Cheikhrouhou as the Fund Secretariat's first Executive Director (ED), following a global recruitment process.
By Richard Johnson | IDN-InDepth NewsReport
LONDON (IDN) - The world is not on track to limit the global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius, says the World Energy Outlook Special Report, Redrawing the Energy-Climate Map, urging governments to swiftly enact four energy policies that would keep climate goals alive without harming economic growth.
"Climate change has quite frankly slipped to the back burner of policy priorities. But the problem is not going away – quite the opposite," said the International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven launching the report in London on June 10.
By Stephen Leahy* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
UXBRIDGE (IDN) - Around the world scientists are not sleeping well. They toss and turn knowing humanity is destroying the Earth’s ability to support mankind. The science is crystal clear and all of us 'ought to be shaking in our boots', Achim Steiner, the executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme told me last year.
But hardly any of us are shaking in our boots. Why is that?
The most extensive survey about the scientific consensus that humanity is causing global warming was published on May 16, 2013 in Environmental Research Letters (ERL). Researchers looked at 12,000 scientific articles published between 1991 and 2011 on the subject and found that 97.1% of these agreed global warming is primarily caused by human activities.