The longer World waits to address climate change, the higher the cost
In September, the world’s top scientists said the human influence on climate was clear. Last month, they warned of increased risks of a rapidly warming planet to our economies, environment, food supply, and global security. Today, the latest report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) describes what we need to do about it.
The report focused on mitigation, says that global greenhouse gas emissions were rising faster in the last decade than in the previously three, despite reduction efforts. Without additional mitigation efforts, we could see a temperature rise of 3.7 to 4.8 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times by the end of this century. The IPCC says we can still limit that increase to 2 degrees, but that will require substantial technological, economic, institutional, and behavioral change.
Let’s translate the numbers. For every degree rise, that equates to more risk, especially for the poor and most vulnerable.
Source: Rachel Kyte.
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Africa needs about $675 billion by 2030 to achieve low-carbon sustainable growth; the current carbon market for mitigation is not sufficient to address this. The Clean Development Mechanism, the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation program, and the voluntary offset program are not fully utilized. Africa’s total ecological footprint is set to double by 2040. Ten African nations have pledged to include the economic value of natural resources in their national accounts. The regional focus will be on adaptation to climate change rather than mitigation
Price and weather-indexed insurance schemes will help Africa stabilize prices in domestic markets and help farmers adapt to climate change. Southern Africa could lose more than 30% of its maize crop by 2030 due to climate change. Sudan planted cotton for the first time in 2012, making it the fourth country in Africa to commercialize a biotech crop after South Africa, Burkina Faso and Egypt. Re-afforestation, saltwater agriculture along the coasts, and solar energy in the Sahara could be massive sources of sustainable growth. Mayors in Mali are now required to have couples plant trees as part of their marriage registration process.
Source: NOAA National Climatic Data Center with Millennium Project estimates
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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.
This policy analysis in relation to climate change adaptation, mitigation, agriculture and Reduced Emission in Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) has been conducted within the framework of the project “climate change, agriculture and poverty alleviation: putting small- scale farmers at the heart of policy and practice”. The project is implemented in Kilosa and Chamwino districts by ActionAid in collaboration with the Tanzanian Community Forest Conservation Network (MJUMITA), the Farmer’s Network of Tanzania (MVIWATA), the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG) and the Tanzania Organic Agriculture Movement (TOAM).
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