Climate Change (204)

PAMACC News - A new report from West Coast Environmental Law, Net Zero or Net Reckless, warns that technofixes that aim to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere should play only a limited role in Canada’s future climate plans.


The report pushes back against politicians and oil and gas industry leaders who have advocated for large-scale development of industrial “negative emissions technologies” instead of immediate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. West Coast is concerned that Canada’s Emissions Reduction Plan, released yesterday, proposes for the first time using negative emissions technologies to achieve its 2030 target but fails to clarify how and to what extent these technologies will be used.


“Our review of the scientific literature is clear: the world needs reductions in fossil fuel pollution combined with a realistic - and very limited - use of negative emissions technologies.” said West Coast’s Climate Accountability Strategist, Fiona Koza. “The world needs these technologies to help restore the atmosphere and to capture the emissions from a small number of essential but extremely difficult to decarbonize processes, not as an excuse to delay emissions reductions or to continue oil and gas production and use.”


Direct Air Capture and Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage are two technologies used to suck carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Both have only ever been implemented at a very small scale and have massive resource or land demands that severely limit their use. They are cousins to the better-known Carbon Capture and Storage (CSS), which reduces greenhouse gas emissions from industrial sources, rather than removing them from the atmosphere, and which raises some of the same problems.


Canada’s new Emissions Reductions Plan predicts that by 2030, Direct Air Capture in Canada will suck approximately seven hundred thousand tonnes of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere each year, but it says nothing about its role in the climate plan, who will pay for it, or the massive energy, land and water impacts, and potential impacts on Indigenous Peoples that it brings.


The Net Zero or Net Reckless report finds that, depending on the technology used, how it is powered, and what is done with the captured carbon dioxide, even that modest amount of Direct Air Capture could require tens of millions of Gigajoules of energy and millions of tonnes of water, and could even increase greenhouse gas emissions.


“Done right, a small amount of negative emissions technologies can be part of the solution,” said Koza. “But done badly they are a subsidy to the fossil fuel industry that can make climate change worse.”


West Coast Environmental Law will be monitoring implementation of Canada’s new Emissions Reduction Plan to see if technological solutions are limited to the role that science demands.



BELETWEYNE, Somali (PAMACC News) - On the outskirts of Beletweyne town in southern Somalia, Maryam Muse Duale breaks up small sticks in her hands, stoking a fire in the dirt to keep her young children warm at night. Maryam has made a flimsy shelter of sticks and cloth; it doesn’t keep the cold night air out. Her children sit on a mat, waiting for food from humanitarian agencies. When it comes, she shares among the children first. Parents eat whatever is left.


Like many other rural Somalis, Maryam is facing a new reality; it is a far cry from her life as an agro-pastoralist just a few months before. The drought in Somalia, which began in late 2020, has only been spreading and deepening.


Not so long ago, Maryam’s family used to raise goats, collect firewood and do some rain-fed farming to support themselves. But after three failed rainy seasons, the land has dried up, her goats are dead, and her family has been left destitute.


“Before the drought, we had a cart and a donkey, and we used to harvest wood. We had no camels, but we did have goats. Now that is all gone,” she said. With no options left, her family made the tough choice to leave their home and head to the town of Beletweyne in search of help.


“We came to the town here in search of life.”

Maryam’s family has also had to separate as a survival mechanism. The women have taken the children to town for help, while the men search for odd jobs and stay in their village to protect what’s left of their belongings. They don’t know when they will be reunited.


In the Internally Displaced People (IDP) camp where Maryam and her children have found temporary shelter, everything must be provided for them – food, water, medicine. Living amongst strangers and away from the protection of their relatives, displaced women and children are also at a higher risk of gender-based violence and physical harm, not to mention disease outbreak. The decision to flee from home comes with a heavy economic and psycho-social toll.


“There is a big difference between our past and our present because in our past, we were living in our homes, and if we needed anything, we had a place to go,” said Maryam.


She is now entirely dependent on the goodwill of others for her survival and that of her family’s.


Like Maryam, some 667 000 people have already been displaced by the drought, and this number is predicted to rise exponentially in the second quarter of 2022, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).


With other agencies providing support to those in IDP camps, FAO is in the drought affected areas, providing cash transfers, livelihood assets and other support to people in their villages, giving them the option to stay and helping to decrease the massive displacement and pressure on already crowded IDP camps.


With funding from United States Agency for International Development (USAID), FAO’s Cash+ project provides families with emergency cash transfers and livelihood assistance. Seeds, tools and veterinary care for animals help families to continue their work, while emergency cash assistance helps them cover other basic needs such as food, water and medicine, reducing the need to move away for services and support.


“I’m a farmer, and I will still work here”


Meanwhile, local pastoralist Ali Mohamed Wasuge has decided to stay in his village of Sariirale in central Somalia near the border of Ethiopia, though he says he has never seen the land this dry before. The earth, the trees, the bushes - all different variations of brown.


“The fields are dry and without water everything we planted last season has been wiped out by the drought. Our livestock are starving,” he said.


With nothing to eat, Ali’s weakened animals cannot fight off simple colds and infections and are now dying en-masse. He is watching his livelihood disappear before his eyes.


Despite the challenges, Ali has chosen to stay in his home with his family.


“I have seven children and live here with my wife. I’m a farmer, and I will still work here,” he said.


He knows the risks involved in abandoning their farm and livelihoods, but leaving is something he thinks about every day.


FAO is working to give people options. Ali’s family, along with 1 874 other families in the district, have received cash transfers and livelihood assistance through FAO’s Cash+ project. Ali has so far received USD 180 of direct cash assistance, as well as seeds and tools for planting before the next rainy season.


While only a small amount, this has enabled Ali to pay off debts and keep his family together, and the seeds will help his family bounce back faster after the drought.


Keeping families together


“What we are seeing are rural households facing destitution,” said FAO Representative, Etienne Peterschmitt. “They have exhausted their coping mechanisms and are moving to urban areas in search of assistance. This is what FAO is seeking to prevent,” he said.


FAO’s drought response plan calls for USD 80.4 million to reach 634 800 people in 52 districts. Cash transfers and livelihood assistance helps protect rural livelihoods and prevent a larger humanitarian crisis.  


Investments in livelihoods is much more efficient in the long run. For every USD 1 spent on supporting livelihoods for rural families through FAO’s programmes, USD 10 can be saved in food related assistance for a displaced family in an urban centre. And while it costs USD 40 to buy a new goat, saving a rural family’s goat from drought-related diseases costs as little as forty cents.


While the drought conditions continue to get worse, FAO is working hard to scale up its assistance to rural communities and also help farmers implement practices to be more resilient to droughts, extreme weather and climate change related impacts in the future.


The full story and photos can be found here:


GENEVA, Switzerland (PAMACC News) - Within the next five years, everyone on Earth should be protected by early warning systems against increasingly extreme weather and climate change, according to an ambitious new United Nations target announced today.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has tasked the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to lead the effort and present an action plan to achieve this goal at the next UN climate conference in Egypt this November.

The announcement was made on World Meteorological Day on 23 March, which this year has the theme Early Warning and Early Action.

“Human-caused climate disruption is now damaging every region. The most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change details the suffering already happening. Each increment of global heating will further increase the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events,” said Mr Guterres.


“We must invest equally in adaptation and resilience. That includes the information that allows us to anticipate storms, heatwaves, floods and droughts,” said the UN chief.


However, one-third of the world’s people, mainly in least developed countries and small island developing states, are still not covered by early warning systems.  In Africa, it is even worse: 60 per cent of people lack coverage.


“This is unacceptable, particularly with climate impacts sure to get even worse,” said Mr Guterres.


“Early warnings and action save lives. To that end, today I announce the United Nations will spearhead new action to ensure every person on Earth is protected by early warning systems within five years.  I have asked the World Meteorological Organization to lead this effort and to present an action plan at the next UN climate conference, later this year in Egypt,” Mr Guterres said in a video message to the World Meteorological Day ceremony.

“We must boost the power of prediction for everyone and build their capacity to act. On this World Meteorological Day, let us recognize the value of early warnings and early action as critical tools to reduce disaster risk and support climate adaptation.” 

Climate change is already very visible through more extreme weather in all parts of the world. We are seeing more intense heatwaves and drought and forest fires. There is more water vapor in the atmosphere, which leads to extreme rainfall and deadly flooding. The warming of the ocean fuels more powerful tropical storms and rising sea levels increase the impacts.

Over the past 50 years (1970-2019), a weather, climate or water-related disaster has occurred on average every day – taking the lives 115 people and causing US$ 202 million in losses daily, according to a 2021 WMO report on disaster statistics.

The number of recorded disasters increased by a factor of five over that 50-year period, driven by human-induced climate change, more extreme weather events and improved reporting.

But thanks to improved early warnings and disaster management, the number of lives lost decreased almost three-fold over the same period thanks to better weather forecasts and proactive and coordinated disaster management.

“The growing number of disasters due to climate change is endangering implementation of a large number of Sustainable Development Goals. Besides very critical mitigation it is growingly important to invest in climate adaptation. One of the highest returns of investments is reached by improving the weather, water and climate early warning services and related observing infrastructures. There is a need to invest 1.5 B USD during the coming five years to improve the quality of the services and related infrastructures especially in the LDC and SIDS countries,” said WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas.


What is an Early Warning System?

An Early Warning System for floods, droughts, heatwaves or storms, is an integrated system which allows people to know that hazardous weather is on its way, and informs how governments, communities and individuals can act to minimize the impending impacts. 

These systems allow us to monitor the real time atmospheric conditions on land and at sea and to effectively predict future weather and climate events using advanced computer numerical models. The aim is to understand what risks the foreseeable storms could bring to an area that will be affected – which may differ if it is a city or rural area, polar, coastal or mountainous regions. Early warning systems must include agreed response plans for governments, communities and people, to minimize anticipated impacts. A comprehensive early warning system must also include lessons learned from past events, in order to continually improve responses ahead of future weather, climate, water and related environmental hazards.


Early Warnings Work:

The 2019 Global Commission on Adaptation flagship report ‘Adapt Now’ found that Early Warning Systems provide more than a tenfold return on investment – the greatest of any adaptation measure included in the report.

The report also found that just 24 hours warning of a coming storm or heatwave can cut the ensuing damage by 30 per cent and spending US$ 800 million on such systems in developing countries would avoid losses of $3-16 billion per year.

And yet, despite these known great benefits, one in three people globally is still not covered by early warning services, and the proportion of people not covered is almost twice as high in Africa. Vulnerable people are disproportionately affected.

The Glasgow Climate Pact (agreed at the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in November 2021) emphasizes the urgency of scaling up action to enhance adaptive capacity, strengthen resilience and reduce vulnerability to climate change. It also urges developed countries to urgently and significantly scale up their provision of climate finance, technology transfer and capacity-building for adaptation.

The UK government, which was president of COP26, and the Egyptian government, which will preside over COP27 in Sharm-El-Sheikh, recently renewed calls on developed countries to follow through on their commitment to at least double their climate finance for adaptation to developing countries by 2025, aiming at achieving balance between funding adaptation and mitigation.

Ambassadors of both the UK and Egypt are due to speak at the World Meteorological Day ceremony, which included high level panels of speakers illustrating the need for, and success of, early warnings and early action.



Synergies and partnerships:

WMO will spearhead the effort to achieve universal coverage of early warning services, in close collaboration with key partners as a collective contribution towards global adaptation efforts.

It will seek to close observation gaps, to expand the capacity for all countries to issue warnings ahead of a disaster, and simultaneously improve their capacity to act on those warnings, and to respond in a manner that is people-centred, inclusive and accessible.

Following on from Mr Guterres’ announcement, WMO will convene key agencies, countries and groups already active in the field of Hydromet and Risk Informed Early Warning capacity development to build on the excellent existing efforts and create a global plan by COP27. Closing the early warning gap will require inputs from actors throughout the entire early warning to early action value chain.

BERLIN, Germany (PAMACC News) - Human-induced climate change is causing dangerous and widespread disruption in nature and affecting the lives of billions of people around the world, despite efforts to reduce the risks. People and ecosystems least able to cope are being hardest hit, said scientists in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, released on 28 February 2022.

“This report is a dire warning about the consequences of inaction,” said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC. “It shows that climate change is a grave and mounting threat to our wellbeing and a healthy planet. Our actions today will shape how people adapt and nature responds to increasing climate risks.”

The world faces unavoidable multiple climate hazards over the next two decades with global warming of 1.5°C (2.7°F). Even temporarily exceeding this warming level will result in additional severe impacts, some of which will be irreversible. Risks for society will increase, including to infrastructure and low-lying coastal settlements.

The Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC Working Group II report, Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability was approved on Sunday, February 27 2022, by 195 member governments of the IPCC, through a virtual approval session that was held over two weeks starting on February 14.

Urgent action required to deal with increasing risks

Increased heatwaves, droughts and floods are already exceeding plants’ and animals’ tolerance thresholds, driving mass mortalities in species such as trees and corals. These weather extremes are occurring simultaneously, causing cascading impacts that are increasingly difficult to manage. They have exposed millions of people to acute food and water insecurity, especially in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, on Small Islands and in the Arctic.

To avoid mounting loss of life, biodiversity and infrastructure, ambitious, accelerated action is required to adapt to climate change, at the same time as making rapid, deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. So far, progress on adaptation is uneven and there are increasing gaps between action taken and what is needed to deal with the increasing risks, the new report finds. These gaps are largest among lower-income populations. 

The Working Group II report is the second instalment of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), which will be completed this year.

“This report recognizes the interdependence of climate, biodiversity and people and integrates natural, social and economic sciences more strongly than earlier IPCC assessments,” said Hoesung Lee. “It emphasizes the urgency of immediate and more ambitious action to address climate risks. Half measures are no longer an option.”

Safeguarding and strengthening nature is key to securing a liveable future

There are options to adapt to a changing climate. This report provides new insights into nature’s potential not only to reduce climate risks but also to improve people's lives.

“Healthy ecosystems are more resilient to climate change and provide life-critical services such as food and clean water”, said IPCC Working Group II Co-Chair Hans-Otto Pörtner. “By restoring degraded ecosystems and effectively and equitably conserving 30 to 50 per cent of Earth’s land, freshwater and ocean habitats, society can benefit from nature’s capacity to absorb and store carbon, and we can accelerate progress towards sustainable development, but adequate finance and political support are essential.”

Scientists point out that climate change interacts with global trends such as unsustainable use of natural resources, growing urbanization, social inequalities, losses and damages from extreme events and a pandemic, jeopardizing future development.

“Our assessment clearly shows that tackling all these different challenges involves everyone – governments, the private sector, civil society – working together to prioritize risk reduction, as well as equity and justice, in decision-making and investment,” said IPCC Working Group II Co-Chair Debra Roberts.

“In this way, different interests, values and world views can be reconciled. By bringing together scientific and technological know-how as well as Indigenous and local knowledge, solutions will be more effective. Failure to achieve climate resilient and sustainable development will result in a sub-optimal future for people and nature.”

Cities: Hotspots of impacts and risks, but also a crucial part of the solution

This report provides a detailed assessment of climate change impacts, risks and adaptation in cities, where more than half the world’s population lives. People’s health, lives and livelihoods, as well as property and critical infrastructure, including energy and transportation systems, are being increasingly adversely affected by hazards from heatwaves, storms, drought and flooding as well as slow-onset changes, including sea level rise.

“Together, growing urbanization and climate change create complex risks, especially for those cities that already experience poorly planned urban growth, high levels of poverty and unemployment, and a lack of basic services,” Debra Roberts said.

“But cities also provide opportunities for climate action – green buildings, reliable supplies of clean water and renewable energy, and sustainable transport systems that connect urban and rural areas can all lead to a more inclusive, fairer society.”

There is increasing evidence of adaptation that has caused unintended consequences, for example destroying nature, putting peoples’ lives at risk or increasing greenhouse gas emissions. This can be avoided by involving everyone in planning, attention to equity and justice, and drawing on Indigenous and local knowledge.

A narrowing window for action

Climate change is a global challenge that requires local solutions and that’s why the Working Group II contribution to the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) provides extensive regional information to enable Climate Resilient Development.

The report clearly states Climate Resilient Development is already challenging at current warming levels. It will become more limited if global warming exceeds 1.5°C (2.7°F). In some regions it will be impossible if global warming exceeds 2°C (3.6°F). This key finding underlines the urgency for climate action, focusing on equity and justice. Adequate funding, technology transfer, political commitment and partnership lead to more effective climate change adaptation and emissions reductions.

“The scientific evidence is unequivocal: climate change is a threat to human wellbeing and the health of the planet. Any further delay in concerted global action will miss a brief and rapidly closing window to secure a liveable future,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner.

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