Carbondioxide emissions are being outsourced by rich countries to rising economies

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CO2 emissions are being ‘outsourced’ by rich countries to rising economies
Greenhouse gas output of China and elsewhere is increased by making goods that are then used in the US and Europe

The world’s richest countries are increasingly outsourcing their carbon pollution to China and other rising economies, according to a draft UN report.
Outsourcing of emissions comes in the form of electronic devices such as smartphones, cheap clothes and other goods manufactured in China and other rising economies but consumed in the US and Europe.
A draft of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, obtained by the Guardian, says emissions of carbon dioxide and the other greenhouse gases warming the planet grew twice as fast in the first decade of the 21st century as they did during the previous three decades.
Much of that rise was due to the burning of coal, the report says. And much of that coal was used to power factories in China and other rising economies that produce goods for US and European consumers, the draft adds.
Since 2000, annual carbon dioxide emissions for China and the other rising economies have more than doubled to nearly 14 gigatonnes a year, according to the draft report. But about 2 GT a year of that was produced making goods for export.
The picture is similar for other rising economies producing goods for export, the report finds.
“A growing share of CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion in developing countries is released in the production of goods and services exported, notably from upper-middle-income countries to high-income countries,” the report says.
Other middle income countries, with smaller exports, saw a more gradual rise in emissions. For the poorest countries in the world, however, emissions have flatlined since 1990.
Factories in China and other rising economies now produce more carbon pollution than industries in America and Europe.
“A growing share of global emissions is released in the manufacture of products that are traded across international borders,” the draft says.
The newly wealthy elites of China, India and Brazil are flying more, buying more cars and otherwise fuelling the consumption that is drivingclimate change.
But their per capita greenhouse gas emissions are still below those in America and Europe – a gap that China and India regularly cite at climate talks to deflect pressure to cut emissions.
In addition, a large and growing share of the carbon pollution attributed to China and those rising economies was generated in the production of goods that ended up in America and Europe.
The outsourcing of those emissions has skewed efforts to account for all global emissions, which typically was conducted on a national basis. Those accounting efforts are no longer accurate, according to analysts.
“If we are just looking at our national inventory to understand the emissions trends, it is just not telling the full picture of our impacts,” said Cynthia Cummis, an expert on greenhouse gas accounting at the World Resources Institute. “We need to understand the full life cycle of all the goods and services that we are purchasing and selling.”
There is now growing debate about how to assign responsibility for emissions generated producing goods that were made in one country but ultimately destined for another.
“The consumers that are importing those goods have some responsibility for those goods that are happening outside of our boundaries,” Cummis said.
The 29-page draft, a summary for policy makers, was dated 17 December. An edited version is due to be published in Germany in April.
The report is the third in a series by the IPCC, summing up the state of the climate crisis since 2007 and prospects for solutions. The first part was released in September. It is stark about the chances of avoiding dangerous climate change – especially if deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are pushed back beyond 2030.
Temperatures have already risen by 0.8C since the dawning of the industrial age, the report says.
Unless there are deep cuts in emissions – up to 70% of current levels by 2050 – or a near-quadrupling of renewable energy, governments may have to fall back increasingly on experimental technologies for sucking carbon dioxide from the air to avoid dangerous warming, the report says.

SOURCE: UN report.


How Africa can feed in the face of climate change the solution lies itself

Climate smart agriculture is one of the way Africa can cope with climate change problems. Engaging in this technology helping farmers to cultivate in small area and get enough crops for their families and for selling so as poverty can be reduced.

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climate change and food insecurity

Climate-Smart Agriculture(CSA) is a triple win.

 The World Bank believes climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is a “triple win” for agriculture, the climate and food security

  • Climate-smart farming techniques would increase farm productivity and incomes, and make agriculture more resilient to climate change, while also contributing to mitigation. CSA includes proven practical techniques, such as mulching, intercropping, conservation agriculture, crop rotation, integrated crop-livestock management, agro-forestry, improved grazing, and improved water management.  CSA also includes innovative practices such as better weather forecasting, drought- and flood-tolerant crops and risk insurance.
  • Leading scientists from 38 countries agree.  At a November conference in the Netherlands, experts were united in calling on the negotiators in Durban to recognize and support the potential that climate-smart agriculture offers.

 We are putting CSA into practice

  • Innovative approaches supported by the World Bank (pdf) are already in place in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Niger and Rwanda, as well as in Yemen, China, Brazil and Mexico.  Below are some examples:
  • African farmers who have adopted evergreen agriculture are reaping impressive results without the use of costly fertilizers. Crop yields often increase by 30 percent and sometimes more. In Zambia, for example, maize yields tripled when grown under Faidherbia trees.
  • In China, a major reforestation program to protect watersheds and control erosion has returned the devastated Loess Plateau to sustainable agricultural production, improving the lives of 2.5 million people and securing food supplies in an area where food was sometimes scarce.  An estimated 20 million more people in China have benefited from the replication of this approach in other areas.
  • In Rwanda, a hillside erosion project is having dramatic results.  Through terracing, improved soil cultivation, better water run-off management, and irrigation systems, farmers reported an immediate increase in yields and income.


Word Bank.

What next for Climate-Smart Agriculture?


What Next for Climate-Smart Agriculture?

 In this guest post, Rachel Kyte, Vice President for Sustainable Development at the World Bank, reflects on the lack of progress made in getting agriculture on the agenda at the recently concluded UN climate talks, and she looks to the newly launched Alliance on Climate-Smart Agriculture as a possible channel for building consensus and fostering collaborations.

I have recently returned from the United Nations climate talks that were held in Warsaw, Poland, and I have both good and bad news.

The bad news is that delegates opted to delay again, discussions of agriculture.

This decision, given agriculture’s substantial and well-documented contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, reveals the discomfort negotiators still feel around the science and priorities of what we consider “climate-smart agriculture”.

The decision to postpone is short-sighted when we consider the potential role that agriculture can play globally. Agriculture is the only sector that can not only mitigate, but also take carbon out of the atmosphere.  It has the potential to substantially sequester global carbon dioxide emissions in the soils of croplands, grazing lands and rangelands.

The good news is that there are steps we can take to make agriculture part of the solution. Importantly the discussions with farmers on how to improve incomes and yields, to serve the nutritional content of the food we grow, are our key focus. But we can at the same time improve resilience of food systems and achieve emissions reductions.

At the World Bank Group, we are deeply committed to supporting climate-smart agriculture, which is an approach with three core goals that together point the way towards a “triple win”:  increasing productivity and incomes, building resilience while reducing vulnerability, and reducing emissions – potentially capturing carbon as well.

To have real impact, we must apply these principles and act across landscapes – that means crops, livestock, forests, and fisheries. Otherwise progress on farms will come at the expense of forests, streams and biodiversity – the loss of which will impact farmers’ productivity and resilience down the line.

The potential is enormous.

When I visited Kenya last month, I met a farmer who embodies the triple win promised by climate-smart agriculture. John Obuom and Poline Achieng’ Omondi plant trees that sequester carbon and transfer nitrogen to the soil. They grow improved crops that are more resistant to drought and disease. And they keep livestock breeds that are better adapted to a changing climate. This model works for John and Poline: they have improved soil fertility, restored degraded land, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions— while providing more food and income for their family.

John and Poline are beneficiaries of a CGIAR Research Program that is working with communities to develop Climate-Smart Villages. The idea is to test agricultural interventions to gain a full understanding of the benefits and effects they might have.

Clearly, some of these models show great promise.  But John and Poline’s farm is one hectare.  We now need to replicate successful approaches on a much larger scale.

In Costa Rica, farmers have benefited from more than a decade of payments for ecosystem services.  Those payments, nationwide, have shifted behaviors toward better livestock and crop management practices that protect natural water sources and take advantage of trees on farms to fix nitrogen in the soil, provide shade for cows and coffee and sequester carbon. These practices are good for the environment; the reason they stick is because they’re also good for the farmers’ wallets.

Part of what makes Costa Rica so unique is the strong multi-stakeholder approach and commitment.  In Costa Rica’s agroforestry program, for instance, the country’s National Forestry Financing Fund is working together with farmers and farmer organizations like CoopeAgri and the BioCarbon Fund to achieve the successful results we’ve seen. Innovative partnerships will be critical moving forward, as many different skills are needed to achieve systemic change in how countries address the challenge of providing food security in the face of climate change.

Support is growing.  This week, innovative farmers, scientists, government officials and representatives from private sector and civil society – are coming together at the Global Conference on Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Security and Climate Change in Johannesburg, South Africa, to launch the Alliance on Climate Smart Agriculture.  The conference will provide a platform to discuss and share experiences on successes, as well as lessons learned, to deliberate the challenges and threats to food and nutrition security under the impact of climate change and to start identifying and advancing solutions for action.

This Alliance could become a key forum for collaboration.  Working together, I believe we can move climate-smart agriculture to the next level, identifying common goals and fostering new working partnerships that deliver systemic change on the ground.

Pursuing climate-smart agriculture is not a luxury – it’s an imperative.  Let’s make this a groundbreaking move towards real advances in sustainable agriculture. We need to act now.


Rachel Kyte,

Vice President for Sustainable Development at the World Bank.