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NAIROBI Kenya (PAMACC News) - A team of scientists from the Kenya Markets Trust (KMT) on April 11, 2018 shared all the key research findings of four different thematic studies conducted in Kenya under the Pathways to Resilience in Semi-Arid Economies (PRISE) project.

“The Kenya government is now focusing on the “Big Four” agenda aimed at improving livelihoods, creating jobs and growing the economy by focusing on critical areas of the economy in the next five years,” noted Kamau Kuria, the head of KMT.  

“It is noteworthy that part of the PRISE study, which aimed at strengthening the understanding and knowledge of decision-makers on the threats and opportunities that semi-arid economies face in relation to climate change, will go a long way in helping unlock the potential of semi-arid lands in Kenya and thus enhance  their contribution to the national agenda,” he told delegates drawn from Kenya , Senegal, International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Overseas Development Institute (ODI) during the event to disseminate key research findings in a Nairobi Hotel.

The study, which was commissioned by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Canada and the UK based Department for International Development (DFID) aims at supporting climate resilient economic development in partner countries by identifying opportunities for adaptation that are also opportunities for investment by the public and private sectors.

“These findings from Kenya will help change the narrative in semi-arid areas,” said Dr Eva Ludifrom the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) – which is coordinating the PRISE project at a global level.

According to Dr Evans Kitui of IDRC, direct involvement of government officials both at the county and the national level is a pointer towards implementation of policies that will emanate from the four studies. “In the past, research has not been well appreciated. But now, we can see a lot of government participation,” he said.

One of the studies found that in the past 50 years, temperatures have risen in all the 21 semi-arid counties in Kenya, with five of them recording an increase of more than 1.5oC increase. They include Turkana (1.8oC), West Pokot, ElgeyoMarakwet (1.91oC), Baringo (1.8oC), Laikipia (1.59oC) and Narok (1.75oC).  

This, according to Dr Mohammed Said, one of the lead researchers, has impacted greatly on livestock survival, on one hand presenting a disaster, and on the other hand providing an opportunity that can be exploited

“There were winners and losers,” he told delegates at the forum. “Generally, cattle do not survive the higher temperatures, while at the same time, sheep and goat population increased exponentially,” said Dr Said.

According to the study, whose theme was to harness opportunities for climate-resilient economic development in semi-arid lands and identifying the potential for economic transformation and diversification in semi-arid lands especially in the beef value chain, the overall population of cattle in all the semi-arid counties reduced by more than 26% between the year 1977 and 2016.

However, the study also reveals that goats and sheep population increased tremendously by 76% in the same period, with camels’ population increased by 14%. “This shows that goats, sheep, and camels enjoyed the higher temperatures while cattle could not survive the stress,” said Dr Said.

“We’ve seen great potential for implementing some of the adaptation options and I call upon the stakeholders gathered here today, to pull together so we can build resilience and open up the ASALs for trade, investments and better livelihoods,” said Kuria of KMT.

In Nyeri County, for example, Dr James Gakuo began with buying severely emaciated cattle for fattening at his farm in Kiganjo through intensive system of beef production that focuses on feeding cattle for 90 days on concentrate feeds till they reach the desired weight for the market, thereby creating a market for such animals that would otherwise have died.

In just two years, 14 other farmers have followed in his footsteps, and are in the business of fattening emaciated cattle thus providing more market to pastoralists who are hard hit by tough climatic conditions.

Another study looked at the land tenure with a special focus on Maasai pastoralist community in Kajiado County.

The study found out that 64 percent of the entire Kajiado County is now private land that is not open for grazing.“Though this has provided opportunity because privatisation always leads to greater investment opportunities for those who can secure land, it marginalizes the poor and particularly women in the process,” said Dr Stephen Moiko, one of the lead researchers. 

According to Dr Eva Ludi of ODI, these findings will be presented at the Talanoa Dialogue in Bonn, Germany come May 2018.

The purpose of Talanoa Dialogue is for parties to share climate change related stories, build empathy and to make wise decisions for the collective good.

According to Dr Said, county governments should also take advantage of the research findings and scenario projections to develop their spatial plans.

“These findings will be important in the formulation of new policies and strategies such as the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP 2018-2022), the National Wildlife Conservation and Management Strategy, and the County Development Integrated Plans (CIDPs),” said Joseph Muhwanga, the PRISE project National Coordinator in Kenya.

MIDRAND, South Africa (PAMACC News) - Legislators at the Pan African Parliament are eager to pursue industrialised countries, whose activities have resulted in excess emission of greenhouse gasses that have led to global warming, but the African civil society on climate change has a different message.

Latest research findings in Kenya for example, show that temperatures have risen in all the country’s 21 semi-arid counties with five of them surpassing the 1.5 °C mark in the past 50 years. This, according to the study, has led to a sharp reduction in livestock population, impacting heavily on livelihoods.

Paris Agreement on climate change calls for international interventions to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.

“The changing climatic conditions is a problem all over Africa, and the first thing we must do is accept that there is a problem that must be tackled immediately before pursuing those who caused it,” said Augustine Njamnshi, a board member of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), which brings together over 1000 African climate-related civil society organisations.

“If a man puts your house on fire, will you start by pursuing the man, or will you try and put out the fire, then follow up with the arsonist thereafter?” asked Njamnshi during a training workshop for African Members of Parliament in Midrand, South Africa.

The Kenyan study, which was conducted by scientists from the Kenya Markets Trust (KMT), commissioned by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Canada and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) – through a project known as Pathways to Resilience in Semi-arid Economies (PRISE) reveals that cattle population has reduced by over 26% between 1977 and 2016.

“Our projections show that the temperatures are going to increase even further in the coming years, and the impact is likely going to be more devastating,” said Dr Mohammed Said, one of the PRISE researchers. 

During the MPs training in Midrand, the lead trainer, Stephen Mutimba pointed out that African continent, especially Sub-Saharan Africa, is exposed to climate variability and extremes at frequencies which exceed normal thresholds, and that such events could significantly erode gains already made in poverty reduction.

There is, therefore, need for different countries to devise coping mechanisms so as to save livelihoods.

Mutimba said that governments can only prepare for disasters that may result from the extreme weather events only if they have access to adequate climate information.

“Climate information and services are key resources for governments and communities to prepare for these changes and when well integrated into policy and practice, they can help reverse this trend and enhance cross-sectoral climate resilient development,” he told the legislators.

According to Mithika Mwenda, the PACJA Secretary General, there is an urgent need for legislators to work hand in hand with the civil society and researchers for climate adaptation and in advancing the climate discourse at the global level.

“We all need to embrace the Talanoa dialogue,” said Mithika. ‘Talanoa’ is a traditional word used in Fiji and across the Pacific to reflect a process of inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue. The purpose of Talanoa is to share stories, build empathy and to make wise decisions for the collective good. The process of Talanoa involves the sharing of ideas, skills, and experience through storytelling. 

Amongin Jacqueline, the Chairperson of the PAP Committee on Rural Economy, Agriculture, Natural resources and Environment agreed with Mithika, saying that the Talanoa dialogue will help in stock-taking of the achievements so far, as well as the challenges, which should inform the way Africa should engage in global climate negotiations.

Studies have shown that Africa is highly vulnerable to climate change, especially in water, agriculture, forestry, and coastal development sectors. 

World Food Programme estimates that about 650 million people live in arid or semi-arid areas where floods and droughts impact lives and productivity.

In the arable land areas within the Sub-Saharan Africa region, scientists say that there will be a decrease of 19% in maize yields and 68% for bean yields. As a result, severe child stunting (leading to higher mortality risk) could increase by 31%–55% across the region by 2050 due to climate change.

“The earlier we start tackling the challenge of climate change, the better for our continent,” said Njamnshi.

The one-day training was organised by the Africa Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) in collaboration with PACJA to enhance MPs' knowledge and understanding of the potential application of Climate Information Service policies in development planning with the aim of catalyzing the uptake and use of climate services by vulnerable communities.

This article was first published on the PAMACC website

Wednesday, 21 February 2018 00:00

Severe drought hits Southern Africa

BLANTYRE, Malawi (PAMACC News) -  Prolonged dry spell experienced across Southern Africa and the invasion of crop- eating worm are said to sharply affect harvests across the region, driving millions of people – most of them children – into severe hunger, warns the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

The warning follows an alert by the regional food security experts that “erratic rainfall, high temperatures and persistent Fall Army Worm infestation, are likely to have far-reaching consequences on access to adequate food and nutrition” over the next 12-15 months.

The alert, by officials from the 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET), UN agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), listed Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Zambia and South Africa as the worst-affected countries.

The dry spell, which started in October, has caused crops to wilt. Pasture has also suffered, threatening the survival of livestock herds.

In Malawi, it is estimated that about 140,000 farming families have been affected by the twin scourges of dry spell and Fall armyworms and in terms of hectares, 375,580 hectares of maize have been damaged across the country.

Lonjezo Chiguduli, a farmer in Malawi’s Eastern Region district of Zomba expressed sadness at loss of crops and predicted tough months ahead. Chiguduli said his maize farm was severally attacked by Fall Armyworms and the prolonged drought made things worse.

“I managed to contain the worms but I was hopeless and helpless with the dry spell. I don’t think my crops will recover even if the rains come today. It’s done,” said Chiguduli a father of three whose ageing mother also depends on him.

Solomon Makondetsa, a rice farmer also from Zomba said out of four of his rice plots, two of the plots have completely wilted that he had to uproot the crop.

Makondetsa said he invested about K450,000 (about US$623) which he said he will not be able to recover due to the prolonged dry spell.

A ray of hope though shown last week with most parts of the country experiencing rains for days, however, the rains have come with another problem, flooding. So far, there has been flooding in Salima District in the central region and Karonga district in the northern region of Malawi.

In December 2017, Malawi President, Peter Mutharika, declared 20 of the country’s 28 districts as disaster areas following the dry spell and invasion of the worms.

According to the statement released by World Food Programme (WFP), even if there is above-average rainfall over coming months, much of the damage to crops is irreversible.

“Given that the region has barely emerged from three years of very damaging El Niño -induced drought, this is a particularly cruel blow”, says Brian Bogart, WFP’s Regional Programme Advisor. “But it shows how important it is to address the root causes of hunger and malnutrition in the face of changing climatic conditions”.

There are now fears for another rise in the number of people in the region needing emergency food and nutrition assistance—this fell from a peak of 40 million during the 2014-2016 ElNiño crisis to 26 million last year.

The humanitarian community is now working with governments, SADC and other partners to assess the extent of the damage and its likely impact on those most at risk in the region.

This article was first published on the PAMACC website

 

PEMBA, Zambia (PAMACC News) - Grace Moonga harvested 115 by 50 Kg bags of maize last season. And it was enough for family food consumption and sale for income generation to support her second year University student son.

But she is afraid that this year’s farming season is turning out negative—a prolonged dry spell affecting her 3-hectare maize field.

“Just look at this crop,” lamentsMoonga, pointing at her severely wilted crop. “It has been 22 days since it last rained here. This is a serious disaster for a widow like me whose only source of income is farming, I don’t even know what will become of my son at the University.”

Since 2007 when her husband died, Moonga has been supporting her six children through smallholder farming. So far, her firstborn son has completed his teaching course, while the university student was only in primary five when his father died.

However, dependency on rainfall is increasingly becoming a risky business for smallholder farmers as erratic rainfall punctuated with prolonged dry spells has become the norm rather than an exception. For instance, the 2015/16 farming season was characterized by the El Nino induced drought. While 2016/17 season restored some hope with normal to above normal rainfall, the 2017/18 season is turning out negative—a prolonged dry spell which according to the Zambia Meteorological Department, has caused substantial moisture deficits and an increased likelihood for adverse crop production.

According to Zambia Meteorological Department, the prolonged dry spell being experienced over Lusaka, Southern, Western and Southern parts of Central and Eastern Provinces have been largely due to atmospheric systems – the consecutive occurrence of deep low-pressure systems and tropical cyclones over the Mozambique channel and the Indian ocean.

Unfortunately, the forecast up to March 2018 remains negative as abnormal dryness has strengthened and expanded, placing additional moisture stress on crops, especially at critical stages of growth.

Nevertheless, good as this forecast may be, it largely remains generic and scientific for smallholder farmers to easily interpret. It is for this reason that climate change development actors have been advocating for improved climate information and other climate-resilient services such as insurance for smallholder farmers.

In Zambia, one such institution working in this area is the World Food Programme (WFP). Under its R4—Rural Resilience Initiative, WFP has installed automated and manual weather stations in selected project areas to facilitate improved meteorological information for smallholder farmers.

Mosco Hamalambo is a trained rain gauge attendant at Sibajene village, one of the 20 manual rain gauge stations dotted around Pemba district. He believes the weather stations have improved farmers’ knowledge especially on the time to plant.

“With this facility, we now have readily available information when we should plant our crops,” Hamalambo told PAMACC News. “Even as we are experiencing this dry spell, we have the information on how much rainfall we have received and how poorly distributed it has been.”

Hamalambosays such information is helpful for comparison with satellite data on which weather index insurance is based—another component of the R4 project where farmers are enrolled for a possible pay-out if they do not receive required amounts of rainfall in a set and agreed window of the farming season.

In terms of amounts of rainfall, 400 mm of rainfall received in the area is enough for optimum production of maize according to Stanley Ndhlovu,

WFP Zambia R4 Coordinator. However, “the challenge has been distribution, it has been very erratic.”It is however not yet clear whether the index would trigger for a pay-out. Close to 4000 farmers are enrolled on the R4 project weather index insurance scheme. 
In the meantime, Grace Moonga is hoping and praying for some heavy downpour as she still believes something could be salvaged from her wilted crop—thanks to Conservation Agriculture (CA) which she practices. Under CA, minimum tillage and mulching practices help to retain moisture for crops to withstand prolonged dry spells.

Considering the elongated dry spell experienced, Moonga knows that what could be salvaged would still not be enough, hence placing her last hope in weather insurance. “From what we were taught about how this insurance works, I am hopeful that we might receive a pay-out this year,” she says enthusiastically.

PAMACC News

UNEA-3's Opening plenary UNEA-3's Opening plenary Over 4,000 stakeholders today (December 4) converged on the green terrains of the UN office in Nairobi, Kenya to witness the opening ceremony of the 3rd United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA3).

This year’s edition of the assembly, which is the highest –level decision-making body on the environment, aspires to consider new policies, innovations and financing capable of steering the world “Towards a Pollution-Free Planet.”

The UNEA-3 brings together governments, entrepreneurs, and activists who will share ideas and commit to taking positive action against the menace of pollution. UNEA-3 aims to deliver a number of tangible commitments to end the pollution of air, land, waterways, and oceans, and to safely manage chemicals and waste, including a negotiated long-term programme of action against pollution that is linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The High-Level Segment of UNEA-3, which will take place from 5-6 December, is also expected to endorse a political declaration on pollution, aimed at outlining policy measures for, inter alia: addressing pollution to protect human health while protecting the developmental aspirations of current and future generations.

The ministerial segment will debut the interactive ‘Leadership Dialogues,’ aimed at providing participants with an opportunity for high-level engagement and discussion on how to achieve a pollution-free planet. Other UNEA-3 outcomes will include voluntary commitments by governments, private sector entities and civil society organizations to address pollution, and the ‘#BeatPollution Pledge,’ a collection of individual commitments to clean up the planet.

Discussions at UNEA-3 will draw on a background report by the UNEP Executive Director, titled ‘Towards a Pollution-Free Planet.’ The Report explores the latest evidence, as well as responses and gaps in addressing pollution challenges, and outlines opportunities that the 2030 Agenda presents to accelerate action on tackling pollution.

Welcoming delegates to the assembly, Prof. Judy Wakhungu, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources, declared that the assembly’s focus on beating pollution is very timely as pollution increases with every effort to provide services to our citizens.

“It is time, the world addressed this challenge without delay and agree on a common goal as a pollution-free planet cannot be achieved without working together,” she said. The environment is our responsibility; it is the source of our well-being. The fate of our world depends on the quality of the care we give it,” Prof Wakhungu added.

“Our collective goal must be to embrace ways to reduce pollution drastically,” said Dr. Edgar Gutiérrez, Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica and the President of the 2017 assembly. “Only through stronger collective action, beginning in Nairobi this week, can we start cleaning up the planet globally and save countless lives.”

New report on the environment

According to a new UN Environment report, everyone on earth is affected by pollution. The report entitled “Executive Director’s Report: Towards a Pollution-Free Planet” is the meeting’s basis for defining the problems and laying out new action areas.

The report’s recommendations – political leadership and partnerships at all levels, action on the worst pollution, lifestyle changes, low-carbon tech investments, and advocacy – are based on analysis of pollution in all its forms, including air, land, freshwater, marine, chemical and waste pollution.

Overall, environmental degradation causes nearly one in four of all deaths worldwide, or 12.6 million people a year, and the widespread destruction of key ecosystems. Over a dozen resolutions are on the table at the assembly, including new approaches to tackle air pollution, which is the single biggest environmental killer, claiming 6.5 million lives each year.

Over 80% of cities operate below UN health standards on air quality. The report reveals that exposure to lead in paint, which causes brain damage to 600,000 children annually, and water and soil pollution are also key focus areas.

Also, over 80 percent of the world’s wastewater is released into the environment without treatment, poisoning the fields where we grow our food and the lakes and rivers that provide drinking water to 300 million people. According to the recently published report by the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, welfare losses due to pollution are estimated at over US$4.6 trillion each year, equivalent to 6.2 percent of global economic output.

“Given the grim statistics on how we are poisoning ourselves and our planet, bold decisions from the UN Environment Assembly are critical,” said head of UN Environment, Erik Solheim. “That is as true for threats like pollution as it is for climate change and the many other environmental threats we face.”

Corroborating the report, Ibrahim Jibril, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Environment in his statement at the plenary averred that “pollution affects the air, soil, rivers, seas, and health of Nigerians in an adverse way even though the actual cost has not been determined. Trans-boundary pollution, according to Jibril, “accounts for 28% of disease burdens in Africa.” The UNEA-3 will run from 4-6 December.

BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) - The 2017 UN Climate Change Conference opens on Monday, with the aim of launching nations towards the next level of ambition needed to tackle global warming and put the world on a safer and more prosperous development path.

The Conference, coming just two years after the landmark adoption of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, will also further fuel momentum among cities, states, regions, territories, business and civil society in support of national climate action plans, the internationally-agreed temperature goal and the wider objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

However, representatives from the African Civil Society Organisations under the umbrella of Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) have called on all the parties to commit beyond their current level of emission targets in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) to tackle the devastating climate change.

"All parties must pursue a low carbon development pathway to achieve the desired results," said Mithika Mwenda, the Secretary General - PACJA.

Extreme Weather Brings Fresh Urgency

Presided over by Frank Bainimarama, the Prime Minister of Fiji and the first small island developing state to hold this role, the conference comes against a backdrop of extreme weather events that have devastated the lives of millions of people in places like Asia, the Americas and the Caribbean.

“The human suffering caused by intensifying hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, floods and threats to food security caused by climate change means there is no time to waste,” said Mr Bainimarama, who takes over as President of the COP23 conference from Morocco during the opening.

“We must preserve the global consensus for decisive action enshrined in the Paris Agreement and aim for the most ambitious part of that target – to limit the global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees above that of the pre-industrial age,” he said.

“Wherever we live, we are all vulnerable and need to act. Fiji is helping build a Grand Coalition for decisive, coordinated action by governments at every level, by civil society, the private sector and all citizens on earth. That’s why we installed an ocean-going Fijian “drua” canoe in the entrance here to remind everyone of the need to fill its sail with collective determination to make COP23 a success and confront the biggest challenge humanity has faced,” he said.

COP23 in Bonn will respond to that call with new progress and initiatives in the two critical and inter-linked areas of action:

•    Governments working to increase climate action under the terms of the Paris Agreement and the UN Climate Change Convention

•    Showcasing, fostering and launching new and expanding global climate action initiatives by all actors with a view towards better coordination that aligns efforts in more efficient, effective and transformative ways.

Patricia Espinosa, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, said: “COP23 in Bonn will show to the world the two faces of climate change—firstly positive, resolute, inspiring momentum by so many governments and a growing array of cities and states to business, civil society leaders and UN agencies aligning to the Paris Agreement’s aims and goals”.

“Secondly, the reality check. The thermometer of risk is rising; the pulse of the planet is racing; people are hurting; the window of opportunity is closing and we must go Further and Faster Together to lift ambition and action to the next defining level, “she said.

Anticipated Highlights of COP23

The conference is itself a welcome mirror of international cooperation and coordination.  

COP23 is organized by Bonn-based UN Climate Change, presided over by Fiji and organizationally and logistically supported by the Government of Germany, the region of North-Rhine-Westphalia and the City of Bonn.

Speakers reflect the broad spectrum of action. Those already confirmed include Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine, Arnold Schwarzenegger, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, California Governor Jerry Brown, UN Special

Envoy Michael Bloomberg, Astronaut Thomas Pesquet, Unilever CEO Paul Polman, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, and Solar Impulse Explorer Bertrand Piccard.

Close to 20 country leaders are expected to attend, including President Emmanuel Macron of France and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Various transformative initiatives are anticipated including one from the UN on health and small islands; a platform to support engagement with Indigenous Peoples; a wide-ranging Gender Action Plan and the ramping up of a global risk transfer project that aims to deliver affordable insurance cover to an extra 400 million poor and vulnerable people.

Urgent Action to Stay Away from Tipping Points

The Paris Agreement is underpinned by national climate action plans known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) whose ambition needs to be collectively advanced over time to get on track to the Agreement’s temperature goal.

The Agreement’s goal is to keep the global temperature rise well below 2 degrees C and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees C.
Faster, immediate action is urgent because recorded pledges and efforts so far still have the world on track towards a 3C degree rise, maybe higher.

This risks the loss of the Greenland ice sheet, more sea level rise, significant damage to massive natural systems like the Amazon and the predictability of ocean circulation systems.

Currently, temperatures have already risen by around one degree Celsius over pre-industrial times.

This story was first published by PAMACC on its website

GENEVA,  Switzerland (PAMACC News) – Governments and non-state actors need to deliver an urgent increase in ambition to ensure the Paris Agreement goals can still be met, according to a new UN assessment.

The eighth edition of UN Environment’s Emissions Gap report, released ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, finds that national pledges only bring a third of the reduction in emissions required by 2030 to meet climate targets, with private sector and sub-national action not increasing at a rate that would help close this worrying gap.

The Paris Agreement looks to limit global warming to under C, with a more ambitious goal of 1.5°C also on the table. Meeting these targets would reduce the likelihood of severe climate impacts that could damage human health, livelihoods, and economies across the globe.

As things stand, even full implementation of current unconditional and conditional Nationally Determined Contributions makes a temperature increase of at least 3°C by 2100 very likely – meaning that governments need to deliver much stronger pledges when they are revised in 2020.

Should the United States follow through with its stated intention to leave the Paris Agreement in 2020, the picture could become even bleaker.

The report does, however, lay out practical ways to slash emissions through rapidly expanding mitigation action based on existing options in the agriculture, buildings, energy, forestry, industry and transport sectors. 

Strong action on other climate forcers – such as hydrofluorocarbons, through the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, and other short-lived climate pollutants such as black carbon– could also make a real contribution.

“One year after the Paris Agreement entered into force, we still find ourselves in a situation where we are not doing nearly enough to save hundreds of millions of people from a miserable future,” said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment. 

“This is unacceptable. If we invest in the right technologies, ensuring that the private sector is involved, we can still meet the promise we made to our children to protect their future.But we have to get on the case now.”

CO2 emissions have remained stable since 2014, driven in part by renewable energy, notably in China and India. This has raised hopes that emissions have peaked, as they must by 2020 to remain on a successful climate trajectory. However, the report warns that other greenhouse gases, such as methane, are still rising, and a global economic growth spurt could easily put CO2emissions back on an upward trajectory.

The report finds that current Paris pledges make 2030 emissions likely to reach11 to 13.5 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) above the level needed to stay on the least-cost path to meeting the 2oCtarget. One gigatonne is roughly equivalent to one year of transport emissions in the European Union (including aviation).

The emissions gap in the case of the 1.5oC target is 16 to 19 GtCO2e, higher than previous estimates as new studies have become available.

“The Paris Agreement boosted climate action, but momentum is clearly faltering,” said Dr. Edgar E. Gutiérrez-Espeleta, Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica, and President of the 2017 UN Environment Assembly. “We face a stark choice: up our ambition, or suffer the consequences.”

Investing in technology key to success

To avoid overshooting the Paris goals, governments (including by updating their Paris pledges), the private sector, cities and others need to urgently pursue actions that will bring deeper and more-rapid cuts. 

The report lays out ways to do so, particularly in agriculture, buildings, energy, forestry, industry, and transport. Technology investments in these sectors – at an investment cost of under $100 per tonne of CO2 avoided, often much lower – could save up to 36 GtCO2e per year by 2030. 

Much of the potential across the sectors comes from investment solar and wind energy, efficient appliances, efficient passenger cars, afforestation and stopping deforestation. Focusing only on recommended actions in these areas – which have modest or net-negative costs – could cut up to 22 GtCO2e in 2030.

These savings alone would put the world well on track to hitting the 2°C target and unlock the possibility of reaching the aspirational 1.5°C target.

Non-state action and other initiatives 

Actions pledged by non-state and sub-national bodies (such as cities and the private sector) could reduce the 2030 emissions gap by a few GtCO2e, even accounting for overlap with Nationally Determined Contributions. The world’s 100 largest emitting publicly traded companies, for example, account for around a quarter of global greenhouse emissions, demonstrating huge room for increased ambition.

The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol aims to phase out the use and production of hydrofluorocarbons – chemicals primarily used in air conditioning, refrigeration and foam insulation. If successfully implemented, it kicks-in too late to impact the 2030 gap but can make a real contribution to reaching the longer-term temperature goals.

By mid-century, reductions in short-lived climate pollutants, such as black carbon and methane, could help reduce impacts that are based on cumulative heat uptake and help to ensure a steady and lower temperature trajectory towards the long-term Paris goals.

Also, while the G20 is collectively on track to meet its Cancun climate pledges for 2020, these pledges do not create a sufficiently ambitious starting point to meet the Paris goals (see attached analysis of Cancun pledges). Although 2020 is just around the corner, G20 nations can still carry out actions that lead to short-term reductions and open the way for more changes over the following decade.

Avoiding new coal-fired power plants and accelerated phasing out of existing plants – ensuring careful handling of issues such as employment, investor interests and grid stability – would help.There are an estimated 6,683 operating coal-fired power plants in the world, with a combined capacity of 1,964 GW.  If these plants are operated until the end of their lifetime and not retrofitted with Carbon Capture and Storage, they would emit an accumulated 190 Gt of CO2.

In early 2017, an additional 273 GW of coal-fired capacity was under construction and 570 GW in pre-construction. These new plants could lead to additional accumulated emissions of approximately 150 Gt CO2. Ten countries make up approximately 85% of the entire coal pipeline: China, India, Turkey, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, Egypt, Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Republic of Korea.

The report also looks at CO2 removal from the atmosphere – through afforestation, reforestation, forest management, restoration of degraded lands and soil carbon enhancement – as an option for action.

Additionally, a new report released by the 1 Gigaton Coalition on the same day shows that partner-supported renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in developing countries can cut1.4 GtCO2e by 2020 – provided the international community meets its promise to mobilize US$100 billion per year to help developing countries adapt to climate change and reduce their emissions.

“As renewable energy and energy efficiency bring other benefits – including better human health and jobs – I urge the international community to deliver on the funding they promised to support developing nations in their climate action,” said Ms Ine Eriksen Søreide, Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. “Partner-supported renewable energy and energy efficiency projects and policies are vital for global decarbonization, as they provide key resources and create enabling environments in critical regions.”

The 1 Gigaton Coalition is supported by UN Environment and the Norwegian Government. 

The benefits of a low-carbon society on global pollution – by, for example, cutting the millions of air pollution-related deaths each year – are also clearly illustrated in Towards a pollution-free planet, a report by the UN Environment Executive Director that will be presented at the upcoming United Nations Environment Assembly. The report lays out an ambitious framework to tackle pollution, including through political leadership, moving to sustainable consumption and production and investing big in sustainable development.

 

This article first appeared on the PAMACC Website.

The Pan African Media Alliance on Climate Change (PAMACC) is an initiative facilitated by PACJA aimed at motivating and encouraging journalists to consistently engage in climate change and environmental reporting. PAMACC is one of Africa’s associations of environment journalists whose aim is to support journalists to improve their reporting on climate change.

ABUJA, NIGERIA (PAMACC News) - As the UN General Assembly convenes in New York, the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group calls on heads of state and government to reaffirm their pledge to tackle climate change by committing to fair and concrete climate solutions that will protect all people and the planet. The theme of this year's UN General Assembly debate - 'Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet' - is a timely and vital reminder of the importance of safeguarding a liveable world for ourselves and future generations. 
 
Mr. Gebru Jember Endalew, Chair of the LDC Group, said: "the urgent need for serious climate action has never been clearer. Over the past months we have seen devastating events exacerbated by climate change, from deadly hurricanes and flooding, to wildfires and heatwaves. No corner of our planet is safe from climate impacts. Global temperatures have already risen 1.1°C and the frequency and severity of these events will only worsen with further warming."
 
"Collective commitments by the global community to date are woefully inadequate in the face of our shared challenge of climate change. Current pledges under the Paris Agreement put the world on course for 3.5°C of warming by the end of the century. This is a death sentence for many communities across the world, particularly in poor and vulnerable countries. Humanity cannot afford to delay."
 
"There is a widening gulf between the climate finance that is provided and mobilised and the reality of finance received and needed. Without adequate climate finance and support to developing countries, mainly LDCs and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are left without a lifeline. Many trillions of dollars are required to implement the Paris Agreement."
 
"The LDCs are committed to being at the frontline of the clean energy revolution. The LDC Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Initiative will deliver sustainable climate action and lift communities out of poverty. If we are truly to set the planet on a safe course, all countries, and particularly those who contribute the most to climate change, must follow suit. Renewable energy has the power to place us on a path to a cleaner, fairer and more prosperous world for all."
 
"Spread across Africa, southern Asia, the Pacific and Caribbean, the 47 LDCs all face immense challenges in adapting to climate change and addressing the loss and damage it unleashes. LDCs are taking ambitious domestic action to lead by example, and call on the rest of the world to do the same in line with their capability to respond and responsibility for the problem. State, city and business leaders from around the world have just met in New York for climate week, and the LDC Group urges leaders at the UN General Assembly to carry the conversation forward and inspire real action from all nations across the globe."

This story first appeared on the PAMACC website

ABUJA, Nigeria (PAMACC News) - Ms Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, says Nigeria is steadfastly committed to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Orelope-Adefulire stated this at Nigeria’s side event at the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly tagged: `Localising SDGs Through Partnership Innovation and Resource Mobilisation’.

The presidential aide enumerated several progress made by the various arms and tiers of the Nigerian Government to the attainment of the global goals by 2030.

The SDGs, otherwise known as the Global Goals, are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

The successor programme to the Millennium Development Goals, has a set of 17 global goals with 169 targets, which implementation commenced on Jan. 1, 2016 to Dec. 31, 2030.

Orelope-Adefulire said: “In order to strengthen the institutional mechanism for SDGs implementation, the Presidential Council on SDGs was recently inaugurated with President Muhammadu Buhari as the Chairman.

“This signifies unwavering commitment at the highest level of Government to the Global Goals.

“The Presidential Council will provide direction and support the overall implementation of the SDGs Agenda.

“To deepen stakeholder engagement, Nigeria has already established standing committees at both the upper and lower chambers of the National Assembly to provide an oversight function for SDGs implementation.

“The Private Sector Advisory Group on SDGs, as well as the Donors' Partnership Forum on SDGs, has since commenced work after their inauguration.

“Synergies are also being built with sub-national Governments to ensure that global policy translates to action at the grassroots.
“Similar partnerships are being envisaged for other groups within the Nigerian development space in order to leverage resources and mobilize the critical mass needed for the successful implementation of the SDGs”.

She said Nigeria’s affirmation of the SDGs Declaration was backed with action as government provided the leadership required to ensure the agenda delivers the intended impact without leaving anyone behind.

According to her, the SDGs align with Nigeria’s development priorities, having been integrated into its planning and budgeting frameworks through its “robust mainstreaming” into Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

“Nigeria has defined a clear path to the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda as succinctly underscored in the MDGs End-Point Report, the Country Transition Strategy on SDGs and its Implementation Plan.

“Nigeria has made significant strides in meeting data requirements needed to benchmark progress by mapping existing SDGs data and by establishing baseline statistics for more than 126 SDGs Indicators.

“In view of the magnitude of the resources needed for success, Nigeria is expanding the fiscal space for SDGs implementation.
“This is by conducting a Needs Assessment and Costing exercise in order to provide evidence for effective resourcing of the 2030 Agenda,” she said.

Orelope-Adefulire said as the world marked the second anniversary of the SDGs, it has now become urgent to scale up implementation efforts for success.

The presidential aide stated that there was no effort too great to spare in the drive to attain the SDGs.
She warned that failure to achieve the SDGs had dire consequences for the current generation and for those yet unborn.

“We are thus the generation at the threshold of history saddled with the responsibility of bringing about the change that will alter our development trajectory for the benefit of people and planet.”

This article first appeared on the PAMACC Website

By Atayi Babs

ABUJA, Nigeria (PAMACC News) - Following suggestions that Donald Trump could only consider remaining a signatory of the Paris Agreement if new terms were reached, President of France, Emmanuel Macron has declared that the landmark Paris climate deal will not be renegotiated.

The French President's comments came during his address to the UN General Assembly amidst renewed hopes that the world's second largest polluter would remain tied to the accord's carbon emission targets.

Macron also told his audience at the United Nations General Assembly that "the door will be open" for the United States to return to the agreement if it so wishes.

"This agreement will not be renegotiated." "We will not retreat" he added.

Macron noted that the international community had so far fallen short of successfully addressing major threats such as climate change. Now more than ever before, we need common efforts to tackle environmental challenges and other global issues, Macron said, including war and terrorism.

"We can only address those challenges through multilateralism, not through survival of the fittest."

Macron also hit back at US President Donald Trump on Tuesday by staunchly defending the Iran nuclear deal at the UN General Assembly, speaking soon after Trump called the deal an "embarrassment to the United States".

“Renouncing it would be a grave error, not respecting it would be irresponsible, because it is a good accord that is essential to peace at a time where the risk of an infernal conflagration cannot be excluded,” Macron said.

The French president added that he had made his position clear to both Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani when he met with them on Monday.

This article first appeared on the PAMACC website.

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