ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (PAMACC News) - Enhanced forest protection, improved forest and agricultural management, fuel-switching and efficient cooking and heating appliances can promote more sustainable biomass use and reduce land degradation in Africa.

The experts pointed this out at the 2019 Africa Climate Risk Conference (ACRC) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, while addressing a team of African journalists at an event organised on the sidelines of the conference to discuss the importance of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change (IPCC) reports to Africa.

The training was organised by Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN).

Dr Tony Knowles and Dr James Kairo who authored the IPCC's Special Report on Land and Climate Change and the Special Report on Oceans and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate respectively, took the journalists through what the report means for the African continent.

Dr Knowles, the Lead Author of the Report on Land and Climate Change said that land was a critical resource that people rely on for food, water, health and wellbeing, yet, it is already threatened by the growing population pressure and climate change.

“The time to act is now; delayed action will increase the costs of addressing land degradation, and can lead to irreversible biophysical and human outcomes,” said Dr Knowles.

In 2016, the IPCC decided to prepare a special report after member states and observer organisations were asked to submit views on potential themes for special reports during the current Sixth Assessment Report cycle. Nine clusters were considered on different themes, including land, cities, and oceans.  

The Special Report on Climate Change and Land represents the second largest cluster and covers seven proposals from member states and observer organisations that related to land.

When it was released in August 2019, the report showed that land is critically important as a source of greenhouse gas emissions and is also a solution to many problems caused by climate change.

According to Dr Knowles, population growth and changes in consumption of food, feed, fibre, timber and energy have caused unprecedented rates of land and freshwater use.

“We, humans, affect more than 70 percent of ice-free land.  A quarter of this land is degraded. The way we produce food and what we eat contributes to the loss of natural ecosystems and declining biodiversity,” said the lead author of the land report.

He noted that whenever land is degraded, it reduces the soil’s ability to take up carbon and this exacerbates climate change. “In turn, climate change exacerbates land degradation in many different ways,” he said.

Today, 500 million people worldwide live in areas that experience desertification, and such people are increasingly negatively affected by climate change.

According to research, desertification and changing climate are projected to cause reductions in crop and livestock productivity, modify the composition of plant species and reduce biological diversity across drylands. Rising CO2 levels will favour more rapid expansion of some invasive plant species in some regions.

So far, drylands cover about 46.2 percent of global land and are home to 3 billion people. As well, food systems, which include food production and processing, transport, retail, consumption, loss and waste, is currently responsible for up to a third of the global greenhouse gas emissions

Of the land degradation processes, deforestation, increasing wildfires, degradation of peat soils, and permafrost thawing contribute most to climate change through the release of greenhouse gases and the reduction in land carbon sinks following deforestation.

Dr Kairo, the author of the Special Report on Oceans and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate pointed out that the IPCC special reports are about issues that merit explicit consideration out of the main reports.

“The special reports are designed to address policy relevant issues that may require input from a wide range of disciplines,” said Dr Kairo.

He said that the world’s ocean and cryosphere have been ‘taking the heat’ from climate change for decades. “Consequences for nature and humanity are sweeping and severe,” he said.

He noted that smaller glaciers found, for example, in Europe, eastern Africa, the tropical Andes and Indonesia are projected to lose more than 80 percent of their current ice mass by 2100 if emissions continue to increase strongly.  
“As glaciers melt and snow cover shrinks, warm-adapted plant and animal species migrate upslope. Cold- and snow-adapted species decrease and risk eventual extinction, especially without conservation,“ said the researcher, noting that the retreat of the cryosphere will continue to adversely affect recreational activites, tourism and cultural assets.

According to Mairi Dupar, the CDKN Technical Advisor and Managing Editor Overseas Development Institute (ODI) overemphasized the critical role played by journalists in disseminating of climate change relate information.  

“CDKN will continue supporting journalists to ensure that they communicate climate science information to the relevant consumers for social and political development on the continent,” said Mairi.

The African Climate Risks Conference was organised by the Future Climate for Africa (FCFA) in collaboration with the UKaid, the Science of the Environment (NERC) under the theme ‘Dismantling barriers to urgent climate adaptation action.’

The conference begun today and ends on Thursday at the United Nations Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

KUMASI, Ghana (PAMACC News) - The European Union Delegation to Ghana has collaborated with the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly to undertake series of events to re-green Ghana, as part of activities marking this year's Climate Diplomacy Week.

 The Climate Diplomacy Weeks are organized all over the world by EU Delegations to create awareness on the impact of climate change in the world.

 They are also meant to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change in the context of sustainable development.

 Last year, the week was dedicated to reducing, reusing and recycling waste. This year, the theme is reforestation, with the slogan #RegreeningGhana.

 Head of the EU Delegation to Ghana, Diana Acconcia, has urged Ghana to sway from the mistakes of advanced economies which relied on the use of coal and rather adopt innovative and cleaner sources of energy to power its industries.

 “We have the duty to leave behind a healthier planet, more stable, fairer societies and more prosperous and modern economies for future generations. Climate change is a direct and existential threat. It spares no country and requires a collective response,” she said.

 A regreening workshop in Kumasi attracted youth organisations, students from local high schools, local professional schools, University students and alumni and other local organisations and youth groups.

 It afforded them the opportunity to engage in a frank but constructive exchange with politicians, businesses and other stakeholders to express their concerns and requests for climate action.

 The purpose of the workshop was to give examples of green initiatives that contribute to make societies more resilient and green.

 In line with this, 30 trees were planted along the Kumasi Cultural Centre, while selected school children planted trees at the Asokwa and Kumasi Municipalities.

The Chief Executive of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), Osei Assibey Antwi, said the partnership and knowledge sharing offered by the EU Delegation to restore the forest cover will strengthen the campaign to grow more trees.

 To mark the EU Climate Diplomacy Week, 240 trees are being planted in Ghana.

 The EU has been at the forefront of international efforts to fight climate change.

 “Under the Paris Agreement, the EU has committed to a cut of at least 40% in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990,” said Diana Acconcia.

 

 

Experts meet to share latest climate research on African climate

The African Climate Risks Conference (ACRC) will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 7 to 9 October 2019. It is an open platform for sharing latest climate research on African climate among researchers, and with policy makers, practitioners and development partners.

First International Africa-China Forest governance Workshop

First China-Africa dialogue workshop on forest governance jointly organized by the African Forest Policies and Politics (AFORPOLIS) and the Global Environmental Institute (GEI) in partnership with the University of Göttingen in Germany, the University of Dschang in Cameroon, the IUFRO, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the CBFP, the CIFOR, and the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife. (MINFOF) - Cameroon.

UN Climate Summit; African Heads of state to reinforce preservation of Congo Basin Forest.

African Heads of State at UN Climate conference in New York present measures to preserve or expand forests in the Congo Basin.  DRC, Gabon, Ethiopia or Congo-Brazzaville, for instance presented short or medium term plans to phase out diesel or coal-fueled power plants and fast-track the transition towards clean energy  in the next ten or twenty years just  like  Djibouti, the Seychelles and Nigeria.

 

Civil Society gears up to  observe special day, 18 Dec. 2019

Civil society organisations are gearing up to observe special forest conservation day come 18th November, 2019. The overall aim is to provide a framework for the members of the said College to take ownership of emerging themes relating to conservation, sustainable forest management, the fight against climate change and better livelihoods for forest communities. This accordingly will permit develop in a participatory manner, standards and indicators for a monitoring and evaluation system to enable each country and the sub-region to assess the impact of the  projects and investments implemented to foster conservation, and for the benefit of the GDF, the fight against climate change and  IPCLs.

 

CNN-Gabon receives $150 million to preserve its rainforest

In an effort to fight climate change, the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI) has announced that Gabon will be paid $150 million in international funds to preserve its rainforest. Through the initiative, Norway will support Gabon with the funds to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and battle deforestation. The announcement was made at the Climate Action Summit in New York, where world leaders gathered to discuss how to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions

 

NEW YORK, USA (PAMACC News) - A meeting of ministers and high-level representatives of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) on September 22 agreed to accelerate efforts to significantly reduce short-lived climate pollutants by the end of the next decade in order to put the world on a "pathway that rapidly reduces warming in the near term and maximizes development, health, environmental, and food security benefits". These efforts, they noted, must be complementary to aggressive carbon dioxide mitigation and a transition to a zero-carbon economy by mid-century.

Meeting a day before the United Nations Secretary-General's Climate Action Summit, the Coalition's High-Level Assembly put forward a 2030 Vision Statement that aims to ensure the earth's atmosphere continues to enable people and the planet to thrive by limiting warming to 1.5˚ Celsius and drastically reducing air pollution.

In a message to the Assembly, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö reiterated the urgency required: "Climate change impacts the Arctic faster than any other region in the world. Reducing black carbon emissions is the most immediate way to limit further damage. As a partner of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition Finland is committed to this work on a global scale. Because this is not just a regional emergency. If we lose the Arctic, we lose the globe."

Short-lived climate pollutants like methane, black carbon and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) – also known as super pollutants – are many times more powerful than carbon dioxide at warming the planet but because they are short-lived in the atmosphere, preventing emissions can rapidly reduce the rate of warming. Many are also dangerous air pollutants and reductions will benefit human health and ecosystems.

Miguel Arias Cañete, the European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, reminded delegates that mitigation efforts must be urgently stepped up across the entire global energy sector, and called on countries to work with the Coalition to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas production.

"We need a swift transition to a low-carbon and a more resource efficient economy to meet these goals. This also requires more action on short-lived climate pollutants," he said. "Given the scale of the challenge, the European Commission is exploring further ways to better measure and report methane emissions across all hydrocarbon industries and reduce methane emissions from energy production and use. There is still a significant potential to reduce emissions with low costs."

The Coalition's goal is to reduce short-lived climate pollutants beyond the recommendations made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its special report Global Warming of 1.5˚C. According to the report, there need to be considerable cuts in emissions of black carbon (35 per cent by 2030), methane (37 per cent by 2030) and HFCs (70 per cent to 80 per cent by 2050) if we are to keep warming below 1.5˚C. The control measures that the CCAC is working on can deliver all recommended methane mitigation, and substantially more with new research for agricultural methane, as well as a 60 per cent reduction in black carbon emissions by 2030 – with up to 80 per cent possible – a 90 per cent reduction in HFC emissions by 2050, and greater energy efficiency in the cooling sector.

Increasing action on short-lived climate pollutants can avoid an estimated 2.4 million premature deaths from outdoor air pollution annually by 2030, prevent as much as 52 million tonnes of crop losses per year, and slow the increase in global warming by as much as 0.6°C by 2050. It can also prevent the climate tipping points that can exacerbate long-term climate impacts and make adapting to climate change harder, especially for the poor and most vulnerable.

Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which hosts the CCAC's Secretariat, said the Coalition was tackling two of the world's most serious threats – air pollution and the climate crisis – at the same time.

"We need to urgently tackle climate change and keep temperatures from exceeding dangerous thresholds. Reducing short-lived climate pollutants is an essential ingredient of our strategy," she said. "Polluted air is killing millions of people around the globe prematurely and severely impacting their quality of life. The CCAC is addressing these two issues together. Action on either front contributes to the goals of the other."

The benefits of integrating efforts on climate change and air quality by taking a whole-of-government approach was reiterated by Xie Zhenhua, China's Special Representative for Climate Change, as he launched a new report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Tsinghua University and the CCAC called Synergizing Action on the Environment and Climate Change. The report shows how policies that address both air pollution and climate change can effectively rally national, local and societal support for a low-carbon climate strategy because people can see immediate benefits to air quality, urban infrastructure and clean energy development.

"By killing multiple birds with one stone, co-governance of the climate, environment and development is cost-effective and achieves greater economic, social, environmental and climate benefits. It works in China, and I am sure it will work in other countries," Mr. Xie said.

As the world warms, demand for refrigeration and cooling will soar. The Coalition launched its Efficient Cooling Initiative this year to ensure that as the world phases down HFCs that replacement cooling technology is also highly energy efficient.

Shinjiro Koizumi, Japan's Minister of the Environment said, Japan was committed to not just reducing the production of HFCs but was also investing heavily in helping countries recover HFCs from discarded cooling equipment.

New Zealand called on countries to spur action by incorporating ambitious and directed inclusion of agriculture and food systems in enhanced nationally determined contributions (NDCs), ideally by 2020. Agriculture is one of the largest manmade sources of methane; changes to the global agriculture and food system are necessary if we are to address climate change, eliminate hunger and halt biodiversity loss.

Aupito William Sio, New Zealand's Minister for Pacific Peoples, said: "We need to achieve the needed level of transformation in ways that support small-scale farmers, improve the productivity of farms, build resilience, and significantly reduce emissions, particularly of methane and black carbon, across the entire agricultural system. There needs to be a much greater level of targeted investment in the sector, I urge you all to consider how we can make this happen."

Oil and gas production and distribution is another large source of methane and black carbon – a climate problem that can be solved this decade. Fred Krupp, President of the Environmental Defense Fund, called on gas producing and consuming countries to commit to action and reduction targets of 45 per cent by 2025 and 60 per cent to 75 per cent by 2030, or to a near-zero methane intensity target for new developments.

"These targets are realistic and achievable, especially in a sector where technology and financing are largely available, and innovation supports even larger reductions," Mr. Krupp said. "Every oil and gas producing and consuming country can act and benefit. Countries' Nationally Determined Contributions need to become explicit about oil and gas methane emissions."

Patrick Pouyanne, CEO of Total, said: "We cannot do this alone. Involvement of government is essential to send the appropriate regulatory and economic signals to all concerned players. Strong and long-term policy support and regulations are critical to enable the oil and gas industry to invest in technologies and solutions."

Sweden's Deputy Prime Minister, Isabella Lövin, introduced the Coalition's Vision 2030, saying that the contributions of all countries "are key to us reaching our climate and other sustainable development targets". By adopting its Vision 2030 the Coalition acknowledges that its mission must be completed in the 10 years in order to keep warming to 1.5˚C and protect people and ecosystems from air pollution.

Closing the meeting, Carolina Schmidt, Chile's Minister of Environment and COP25 President Designate, said that the science shows that the world needs to work on both non-carbon pollutants and greenhouse gases to ensure the world prevents climate change.

"We must people first when it comes to climate change. Climate action is not about cost it is about opportunities to make a better life. In Chile we know there is a strong link between air pollution and climate action. Santiago currently has the second largest fleet of electric buses in the world after China and people are celebrating this by choosing electric buses over all other transport systems," Ms. Schmidt said. "We wait for all of you in Chile because now it is time for action."

NEWYORK, USA (PAMACC News) - Millions of people have taken to the streets today Friday September 20,2019 demanding their governments take greater climate action, in what  has been described as the largest climate protest in history.

On the eve of the UN climate Summit , record numbers of youth climate campaigners joined by parents, workers, trade unions, businesses and organisations in a global strike ramping up pressure on political leaders to respond to the climate crisis.

Rights groups including participants of the People' s Summit on Climate and human Survival organised by Amnesty International joined the youth protest today Friday September 20th.The protest rights groups say is also going on World wide, with picket lines and marches simultaneously going on from Russia to Johannesburg and Turkey to New Delhi.

One of the largest demonstrations took place in New York, where UN secretary general António Guterres has convened world leaders to, as he put it, “put climate action into higher gear” over one the most important climate Summit starting on Saturday September 21,2019.

What is the UN Summit AllAbout?

According to the UN secretariat the summit has been billed as a critical moment for political leaders to show their willingness to increase their climate plans, in a bid to bridge the ambition gap to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C – the tougher goal of the Paris Agreement demanded by vulnerable countries and backed by Guterres.

From Monday September 23, climate campaigners in Washington are expected to stage a protest against the lack of action of Donald Trump’s administration.

The strike is modelled on Swedish activist Greta Thunberg’s own weekly protests, demanding her government take action commensurate to the findings of the science and a landmark report on 1.5C.

The ‘Fridays For Future’ movement she inspired has dramatically increased public pressure on governments to listen to people’s demands for more ambitious climate action.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Guterres said the leadership and initiative showed by youth around the world was “remarkable”.

“The youth has been showing an enormous leadership, and I hope that that leadership will have a very strong impact on the societies as a whole, on their families and, based on that, on their governments of their countries,” he said.

Young people are due to play a key role throughout the high-level meeting, starting with a youth summit on Saturday.

Of governments that were not taking action, Alexandria Villaseñor, co-founder of US Youth Climate Strike and founder of Earth Uprising, said on Thursday: “They can listen to us now, or they can listen to us later… because our voice is going to continue getting louder as the climate crisis gets more urgent.”

“The audacity of simply asking for leaders to lead is extraordinary and we are indebted to young people the world over for pushing us to this place,” Guterres’ special representative for sustainable energy Rachel Kyte told journalists on Thursday.

The strike has also been supported by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), which boasts 200 million members globally.

“Your standing up to governments, demanding action around climate has in fact been a game-changer,” said Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the ITUC, addressing the youth. “The solidarity of the trade union movement globally is behind you.”

Dozens of trade unions and rights groups globally including the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Irish union Fórsa, the South African Federation of Trade Unions and the UK’s Trade Union Congress, which is calling for employers to grant workers some 30 minutes to also join in the Protest.

The UK is also preparing for its largest climate protest yet, with hundreds of thousands of people expected to join more than 200 events on Friday.

John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said: “The school strikers have led the way in waking the world’s leaders up to the climate crisis,” which he said has “shown people power can move governments”. “It’s time for the rest of us to stand with them in solidarity,” he said.

In total, more than 4,600 strikes are registered in cities around the world on both Friday and 27 September, with and 1,240 actions being planned in Europe alone,reports say.



PAMACC News - Joseph Mithika Mwenda, a Kenyan climate activist and the head of the Pan Africa Climate Justice Alliance has received the prestigious Earth Care Award by the Sierra Club at a colourful ceremony held in the Marriott Oakland City Centre in Oakland, California.

The award comes just a few months after Apolitical, a global network for governments announced him among the 100 most influential persons especially on climate policy, nominated by hundreds of public servants from around the world, including experts at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Harvard University, Oxford University, Bloomberg Philanthropies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

The Sierra Club is the most enduring and influential grassroots environmental organisation in the United States which brings together 3.5+ million members and supporters who fight and defend everyone’s right to a healthy world.

“This is not a singular honour but the recognition of the work by thousands of PACJA members and partners in Africa and elsewhere who have sacrificed all what they have to ensure we reach this level,” said Mwenda soon after he was nominated in June “With profound humility, I accept this Award that will no doubt energise my resolve to continue fighting to accord voice to those at the frontline of climate crisis.”

Mwenda has been steadfast in the fight for climate justice from the country level in Africa, to the international conferences through the Pan Africa Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA).

The alliance is a consortium of more than 1,000 organisations from 48 African countries, and brings together a diverse membership drawn from Faith-based Organisations, Community-Based Organisations, Non-Governmental Organisations, Trusts, Foundations, Indigenous Communities, Farmers and Pastoralist Groups with a shared vision to advance a people-centred, right-based, equitable, just and inclusive approach to climate change response.

PACJA is implementing a variety of projects that traverse direct programming, policy and advocacy, sub-granting and capacity building, mainly focusing on the most vulnerable groups that are “unreachable” in traditional development paradigms.

The Alliance plays a central role in key African processes spearheaded by African Union, UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and African Development Bank (AfDB), among them, the flagship Climate for Development in Africa (ClimDev) Programme. It is a Partner in Adaptation of African Agriculture on Climate Change Initiative (AAA), whose main goal it to build resilience for the mainly smallholder agriculture from climate shocks.

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