Record-breaking climate change pushes world into ‘uncharted territory’


The record-breaking heat that made 2016 the hottest year ever recorded has continued into 2017, pushing the world into “truly uncharted territory”, according to the World Meteorological Organisation. The WMO’s assessment of the climate in 2016, published on Tuesday, reports unprecedented heat across the globe, exceptionally low ice at both poles and surging sea-level rise.

Global warming is largely being driven by emissions from human activities, but a strong El Niño – a natural climate cycle – added to the heat in 2016. The El Niño is now waning, but the extremes continue to be seen, with temperature records tumbling in the US in February and polar heatwaves pushing ice cover to new lows.

“Even without a strong El Niño in 2017, we are seeing other remarkable changes across the planet that are challenging the limits of our understanding of the climate system. We are now in truly uncharted territory,” said David Carlson, director of the WMO’s world climate research programme.

“Earth is a planet in upheaval due to human-caused changes in the atmosphere,” said Jeffrey Kargel, a glaciologist at the University of Arizona in the US. “In general, drastically changing conditions do not help civilisation, which thrives on stability.”

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1.7 million Children Die Every Year Due to Environmental Pollution – Says a WHO Report


For every country, the economic development comes with a cost, and most of the time it’s the environment that is affected directly by the activities related to development. A recent report by World Health Organization says  more than 1 in 4 deaths of children under 5 years of age are attributable to unhealthy environments.

The first report, “Inheriting a Sustainable World: Atlas on Children’s Health and the Environment” reveals that a large portion of the most common causes of death among children aged 1 month to 5 years – diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia, are preventable by interventions known to reduce environmental risks, such as access to safe water and clean cooking fuels.

“A polluted environment is a deadly one – particularly for young children,” says Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. “Their developing organs and immune systems, and smaller bodies and airways, make them especially vulnerable to dirty air and water.”

Harmful exposures can start in the mother’s womb and increase the risk of premature birth. Additionally, when infants and pre-schoolers are exposed to indoor and outdoor air pollution and second-hand smoke they have an increased risk of pneumonia in childhood, and a lifelong increased risk of chronic respiratory diseases, such as asthma. Exposure to air pollution may also increase their lifelong risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer.

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Arid Zone Afforestation – Safe Tree


Safe Tree is an innovate, environmentally friendly, tree planting system. It is the result of long research and experiments on plants behaviour, under the conditions we created, and with the materials we selected and processed for this purpose.

Safe Tree is applied via different methods in the following two areas:

  • Areas where periods of rainfall are interchanged by long-drought periods, which are under the threat of desertification.
  • Areas where it rains either very little or not at all, like deserts.

In both cases the system creates favourable conditions at the newly planted plant’s root system, by securing constant moisture, stable temperature, dynamic ventilation and strong fertilization, thus assisting the plant to survive itself and grow very fast indeed.

Safe Tree can only be applied by specialized crews, who have completed the relevant scientific training, to guarantee the effective implementation of the system in every environment. The materials used have been specially processed to obtain the specifications required for the system to adapt and work perfectly under any given weather conditions.

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Cameroon to restore 12 million hectares of forest in species-rich Congo Basin


Cameroon has committed to restoring over 12 million hectares of deforested and degraded land by 2030 as part of the Bonn Challenge initiative. The pledge is the biggest made so far in the species-rich Congo Basin, home to the world’s second-largest tropical rainforest.

The Bonn Challenge, launched in 2011 at an event hosted by Germany and IUCN, is a global effort to restore 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030. With Cameroon’s commitment, the Challenge has reached over 148 million hectares pledged in total.

Cameroon is delighted to join this ambitious movement,” says Cameroon’s Minister of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development, Pierre Hele. “By restoring our unproductive landscapes, we will help local communities develop sustainably, increase their resilience to climate change and contribute to climate change mitigation.”

Deforestation and land degradation are among the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions globally, and the Bonn Challenge pledge brings Cameroon closer to its national goal of cutting carbon emissions by 32% by 2035 – part of the country’s Paris Agreement commitment as announced by President Paul Biya at the COP21 in Paris.

Forty-six per cent of Cameroon is covered in forests that are highly regarded for their biodiversity,” says Cameroon’s Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, Philip Ngole Ngwese. “In recent years, we have seen an upward trend in deforestation and degradation. Restoring these valuable ecosystems will help us protect our natural heritage and contribute to our carbon reduction targets.

Follow the link to learn more about that serious issue, and probably do the same effort,by helping the environment: Article from: International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN):

Five Pacific islands lost to rising seas as climate change hits


Five tiny Pacific islands have disappeared due to rising seas and erosion, a discovery thought to be the first scientific confirmation of the impact of climate change on coastlines in the Pacific, according to Australian researchers.

The submerged islands were part of the Solomon Islands, an archipelago that over the last two decades has seen annual sea levels rise as much as 10mm (0.4in), according to research published in the May issue of the online journal Environmental Research Letters.

The missing islands, ranging in size from 1 to 5 hectares (2.5-12.4 acres) were not inhabited by humans. But six other islands had large swaths of land washed into the sea and on two of those, entire villages were destroyed and people forced to relocate, the researchers found.

The Solomon Islands, a nation made up of hundreds of islands and with a population of about 640,000, lies about 1,000 miles north-east of Australia. However, the study raises questions about the role of government in relocation planning, said a Solomon Islands official.

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The Role of Food and Beverage Packaging in Limiting Climate Change


The Paris Climate Change Agreement one year later

It has been almost a year since the Paris Climate Change Agreement was adopted in December of 2015.  The agreement set out a goal and initiated a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C. 

It took most of 2016 for the Agreement to be signed and ratified and the Agreement did not enter into force until November 4, 2016.  Key to this process was a joint ceremony on April 22, 2016 in which President Obama of the United States, and President Xi Jinping of China signed and ratified the Agreement on behalf of their respective countries.  The US and China are the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases on the planet.

So now the hard work begins – turning aspirations of the Paris Climate Change Agreement into action.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is in the process of investigating the environmental footprint of a variety of foods, understanding that food production, processing, distribution, and wastage are responsible for significant impacts.  The foods to be considered in these reviews include tomatoes, wine, pork, beer, coffee, citrus fruit and juices, and fish from freshwater aquaculture.  So far the DEQ’s contractor, the University of Michigan Center for Sustainable Systems, has conducted literature reviews and produced draft summaries for two foods, tomatoes and wine, and the results show that:

1. Packaging contributes to the overall environmental impacts of the food and beverage industry; and

2. Packaging choices can make a significant difference in greenhouse gas impacts of the food and beverage industry.

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Strategies for Combatting Deforestation


The impact of deforestation has its own set of social, environmental and ecological consequences. Deforestation not only disrupts communities and ancient homelands for indigenous peoples, it also destroys the complex natural ecosystems that thrive in them.

Trees also take water out of the atmosphere and in doing so, regulate the water cycle. By cutting trees down, the soil is deprived of this water causing it to become arid (ironic given that 80% of deforestation is to make way for farmland). Chopping down vast tracts of forests also destabilises soils which form a natural barrier against flooding.

Here some strategies for tackling deforestation. The potential effectiveness of each is of course open to interpretation and there is obviously a lot of overlap in, and interdependence between them. Their individual effectiveness can be greatly boosted by an approach that utilises multiple strategies.

  • Leveraging the Power of the Market
  • Political Activism
  • Consumer Pressure
  • Strengthening Existing Institutions
  • Planting new forests
  • Promoting sustainable practices

Check this out, for more details:

Smoggy Beijing, under alert, orders factories to shut or cut output

Buildings are seen in heavy smog in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, December 17, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer

Beijing’s city government ordered 1,200 factories near the Chinese capital, including a major oil refinery run by state oil giant Sinopec, to shut or cut output on Saturday after authorities issued the highest possible air pollution alert.

On Friday, China’s environmental watchdog issued a five-day warning about choking smog spreading across the north and ordered factories to shut, recommended residents stay indoors and curbed traffic and construction work.

Red alerts are issued when the air quality index (AQI), a measure of pollutants in the air, is forecast to break 200 for more than four days in succession, surpass 300 for more than two days or overshoot 500 for at least 24 hours.

The Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Centre showed an air quality reading of 297 by Saturday afternoon as haze started to envelop the capital, after an earlier reading of around 120. Levels in the 301-500 band are considered hazardous to health.

Traffic on the city’s roads was lower than usual as residents complied with limits on car use and many of the city’s 22 million residents sat out the haze at home.

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Renewed Push to Boost Agriculture Investments in Kenya


The Kenyan Government launched a critical phase of its ambitious agriculture development strategy yesterday as influential public and private sector partners joined senior officials from the African Union Commission (AUC) and major development partners to agree on a roadmap for making crop and livestock production a powerful engine for economic growth in Kenya.

The focus of the three-day meeting—organized in partnership with the AUC and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency— is to evaluate and refine Kenya’s National Agriculture Investment Plan (NAIP), the core blueprint for revitalizing crop, livestock and fisheries production in Kenya. Agriculture employs 75 percent of Kenyans but has yet to reach its potential to boost food security, nutrition and incomes—particularly for the country’s poorest people.

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Real Christmas Trees Or Fake Ones — Which Are Better For The Planet?


The Christmas tree: it’s a quintessential part of the holiday season. But it turns out not all festive trees are made equal, at least not when it comes to environmental friendliness.

So, which is better for the planet — a freshly cut tree or a fake one?

The short answer, which may come as a surprise to some, is a real tree. But it’s actually more complicated than that. It ultimately depends on a variety of factors, including how far you drive to get your evergreen and how you dispose of it at the end of the holidays and, if you choose an artificial tree, how long you end up using it.

Here’s an explainer on how to make the more Earth-friendly choice this Christmas season:

  1. If you choose an artificial tree, you need to use it for a very long time
  2. Most fake trees are made from toxic, non-recyclable materials
  3. If you’re going to buy artificial, choose domestic
  4. Similarly, if you’re buying a real tree, go local
  5. Real Christmas trees are grown specifically for that purpose
  6. Christmas tree farms can serve as a habitat for local wildlife
  7. Real trees can be composted or recycled

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