Underwater melting of Antarctic ice far greater than thought, study finds

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Hidden underwater melt-off in the Antarctic is doubling every 20 years and could soon overtake Greenland to become the biggest source of sea-level rise, according to the first complete underwater map of the world’s largest body of ice.

Warming waters have caused the base of ice near the ocean floor around the south pole to shrink by 1,463 square kilometres – an area the size of Greater London – between 2010 and 2016, according to the new study published in Nature Geoscience.

The research by the UK Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling at the University of Leeds suggests climate change is affecting the Antarctic more than previously believed and is likely to prompt global projections of sea-level rise to be revised upward.

Until recently, the Antarctic was seen as relatively stable. Viewed from above, the extent of land and sea ice in the far south has not changed as dramatically as in the far north.

But the new study found even a small increase in temperature has been enough to cause a loss of five metres every year from the bottom edge of the ice sheet, some of which is more than 2km underwater.

“What’s happening is that Antarctica is being melted away at its base. We can’t see it, because it’s happening below the sea surface,” said Professor Andrew Shepherd, one of the authors of the paper. “The changes mean that very soon the sea-level contribution from Antarctica could outstrip that from Greenland.”

The study measures the Antarctic’s “grounding line” – the bottommost edge of the ice sheet across 16,000km of coastline. This is done by using elevation data from the European Space Agency’s CryoSat-2 and applying Archimedes’s principle of buoyancy, which relates the thickness of floating ice to the height of its surface.

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The greatest declines were seen in west Antarctica. At eight of the ice sheet’s 65 biggest glaciers, the speed of retreat was more than five times the rate of deglaciation since the last ice age. Even in east Antarctica, where some scientists – and many climate deniers – had previously believed ice might be increasing based on surface area, glaciers were at best stable and at worst in retreat when underwater ice was taken into account.

“It should give people more cause for concern,” said Shepherd. “Now that we have mapped the whole edge of the ice sheet, it rules out any chance that parts of Antarctica are advancing. We see retreat in more places and stasis elsewhere. The net effect is that the ice sheet overall is retreating. People can’t say ‘you’ve left a stone unturned’. We’ve looked everywhere now.”

The results could prompt an upward revision of sea-level rise projections. 10 years ago, the main driver was Greenland. More recently, the Antarctic’s estimated contribution has been raised by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. But its forecasts were based on measurements from the two main west Antarctic glaciers – Thwaites and Pine Island – a sample that provides an overly narrow and conservative view of what is happening when compared with the new research.

The study’s lead author, Hannes Konrad, said there was now clear evidence that the underwater glacial retreat is happening across the ice sheet.

“This retreat has had a huge impact on inland glaciers,” he said, “because releasing them from the sea bed removes friction, causing them to speed up and contribute to global sea level rise.”

Source: theguardian.com

(Dipla Katerina)

Land degradation pushing planet towards sixth mass extinction

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More than 100 experts from 45 countries have published a three-year study of the Earth’s land degradation, calling the problem “critical” and saying that worsening land conditions undermine the well-being of 3.2 billion people.

The report was published by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) on March 26. Providing the best-available evidence for the dangers of land degradation for policymakers, the report draws on more than 3,000 scientific, government, indigenous and local knowledge sources.

Rapid expansion and unsustainable management of croplands and grazing lands is the most extensive cause of land degradation, creating significant loss of biodiversity and , which include food security, water purification, energy sources and other contributions essential to people, the report says. The problem is so critical that a co-chair of the report said, “The degradation of the Earth’s land surface through human activities is pushing the planet towards a sixth mass species extinction.”

Land degradation is also an underappreciated factor contributing to global conflict and migration, among other problems, according to study co-author Matthew Potts, UC Berkeley associate professor in forest economics in the College of Natural Resources.

“Land degradation presents unique and persistence challenges to humanity,” Potts said. “This assessment shows that we are at a crossroads and must take urgent action to combat and restore if we want to create a happy and healthy planet for all humanity.”

Source: phys.org

(Dipla Katerina)

Land degradation threatens human wellbeing, major report warns

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Land degradation is undermining the wellbeing of two-fifths of humanity, raising the risks of migration and conflict, according to the most comprehensive global assessment of the problem to date.

The UN-backed report underscores the urgent need for consumers, companies and governments to rein in excessive consumption – particularly of beef – and for farmers to draw back from conversions of forests and wetlands, according to the authors.

With more than 3.2 billion people affected, this is already one of the world’s biggest environmental problems and it will worsen without rapid remedial action, according to Robert Scholes, co-chair of the assessment by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). “As the land base decreases and populations rise, this problem will get greater and harder to solve,” he said.

The IPBES study, launched in Medellín after approval by 129 national governments and three years of work by more than 100 scientists, aims to provide a global knowledge base about a threat that is less well-known than climate change and biodiversity loss, but closely connected to both and already having a major economic and social impact.

The growing sense of alarm was apparent last year when scientists warned fertile soil was being lost at the rate of 24bn tonnes a year, largely due to unsustainable agricultural practices.

Cattle shelter from the sun under a small tree in Mato Grosso, Brazil.

The new assessment goes further by looking at vegetation loss, forest clearance, wetland drainage, grassland conversion, urban sprawl and pollution, as well as how these changes affect human health, wealth and happiness.

Drawing on more than 3,000 scientific, government, indigenous and local knowledge sources, the authors estimate land degradation costs more than 10% of annual global GDP in lost ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration and agricultural productivity. They say it can raise the risks of flooding, landslides and diseases such as Ebola and the Marburg virus.

There are also geopolitical implications. The authors cite evidence of a strong association between land degradation, migration and instability. In dryland regions, years of extremely low rainfall have been associated with an up to 45% rise in violent conflict. Depending on the actions taken by governments to address climate change and the decline in soil quality, the authors estimate between 50 to 700 million people could be driven from their homes by 2050. The worst affected areas are likely to be the dry fringes of southern Iraq, Afghanistan, sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia.

To counter this, the authors call for coordination among ministries to encourage sustainable production and for the elimination of agricultural subsidies that promote land degradation. They urge consumers to reduce waste and be more thoughtful about what they eat. Vegetables have a much lower impact on land than beef. Farmers are encouraged to raise productivity rather than clear more land. Companies and governments are advised to accelerate efforts to rehabilitate land. There have been several successful projects on China’s Loess plateau, in the Sahel and in South Africa.

The economic case for land restoration is strong, according to the report, which says benefits (such as jobs and business spending) are 10 times higher than costs, and up to three times higher than price of inaction. But in most regions, remedial work is overdue. National governments are not living up to a global commitment to neutral land degradation by 2030.

Participants compared the rundown of land to the 2008 financial crisis. “Back then, people borrowed more money than they could repay. Now we are borrowing from nature at a rate that is many times higher than the world can sustain. The day of reckoning will come,” said Christian Steel, director of Sabima, a Norwegian biodiversity NGO. In Europe, he said, the industrialisation of forest and agriculture is degrading the land. “We are also importing more food and, by doing so, displacing the impact of our consumption. We are fooling ourselves. Disaster doesn’t hit suddenly like in a Hollywood movie. It is already happening gradually.”

Action has been held back by a lack of awareness of the problem and the often wide gulf between consumers and producers. The report notes that many of those who benefit from over-exploitation of natural resources are among the least affected by the direct negative impacts of land degradation and therefore have the least incentive to take action.

“This is extremely urgent,” said another of the co-chairs, Luca Montanarella. “If we don’t change lifestyles, consumption habits and the way we use land, then sooner or later we are going to destroy this planet. Looking for another one is not an option.”

A 10-square-kilometre expanse of toxic waste on the edge of the Gobi desert, inner Mongolia.

The land degradation assessment is the latest in a recent suite of global studies that highlight the deterioration of humanity’s home. In 2016, IPBES highlighted the demise of the planet’s pollinators, which are vital for agricultural production. On Friday, it released a global biodiversity study that warned human destruction of nature is rapidly eroding provision of food, water and security to billions of people.

Separately, the United Nations last week released a global water study that forecast more than half of the human population could struggle to secure supplies for drinking, cooking and sanitation for at least one month a year by 2050 as a result of pollution, climate change and rising demand.

Source: theguardian.com

(Dipla Katerina)

Solving Deforestation

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В Европейской части России, на севере, еще остались массивы крупных малонарушенных лесов - диких природных территорий, имеющих огромное значение для сохранения биоразнообразия не только в России, но и на всей планете. Сейчас мы стремительно теряем эти леса, в первую очередь из-за того, что, с одной стороны, это источник большого объема хозяйственно ценной хвойной древесины для лесопромышленников, а с другой стороны, остальные леса на давно освоенных человеком (или давно обжитых) землях истощены пожарами, незаконными рубками, кривым и неправильным хозяйством, и, соответственно, лесопромышленникам эти территории уже мало интересны. Поэтому, чтобы сохранить МЛТ, нужно не просто добиваться какого-то формального охранного статуса для этих территорий, но правильной организации лесного хозяйства (когда рубится не больше, чем прирастает). И при этом прирастать должна именно хозяйственно ценная хвойная древесина, а не лиственная быстрорастущая и малоценная береза и осина.

The causes of deforestation and degradation vary from region to region. In the tropics, agribusiness clears forests to make space for things like cattle ranching, palm oil and soy plantations for animal feed. Demand for wood products can threaten forests around the world, whether it is for throw-away paper products or hardwood flooring.

In too many parts of the world, ineffective or corrupt governments make things worse by opening the door to illegal logging and other crimes. Deforestation and degradation are complex problems. While there are no silver bullet solutions, these approaches can make a big difference to save our forests.

 

Collaboration

The forestry industry in Canada’s boreal forest not only provides local and international markets with valuable forest products, but also employs thousands of people in local communities across the country. Some paper producers take seriously their responsibility to carefully and sustainably manage, harvest in, and source from these forests, while also supporting local economies.

Greenpeace works in collaboration every day with First Nations, governments, other forest products companies, and unions to foster a responsible forest products industry and healthy local communities. Numerous global companies and household brands have embraced Greenpeace’s critiques and ultimately adopted more sustainable practices. We’ve secured strong and lasting collaborations with countless companies who have traveled the path from conflict to solutions.

So there’s no reason why Canada’s largest forestry companyResolute Forest Products, can’t do the same. Instead, Resolute is trying to silence criticism by meritlessly suing Greenpeace and other forest defenders like Stand.earth.

 

The Power of the Marketplace

If corporations have the power to destroy the world’s forests, they also have the ability to help save them.

Companies can make an impact by introducing “zero deforestation” policies that clean up their supply chains. That means holding their suppliers accountable for producing commodities like timber, beef, soy, palm oil and paper in a way that does not fuel deforestation and has a minimal impact on our climate.

Companies should set ambitious targets to maximize the use of recycled wood, pulp, paper and fiber in their products. For the non-recycled products they buy, they should ensure that any virgin fiber used is certified by a third party certification system such as the Forest Stewardship Council. But these corporations haven’t taken action on their own. That’s why we’re investigating, exposing and confronting environmental abuse by corporations. Thanks to your actions, major companies are changing their ways and building solutions to protect jobs and our forests.

 

Standing with Indigenous Peoples

Forests around the world have been home to Indigenous peoples for tens of thousands of years. Evidence shows that when Indigenous peoples’ rights to traditional lands and self-determination are respected, forests stay standing. But too often, corporations and governments overlook or intentionally trample the rights of Indigenous peoples.

For example, the Waswanipi Cree of Northern Quebec are fighting to keep the last wild forests on their traditional land intact, and the Munduruku people of the Amazon are battling a proposed mega-dam that threatens rainforests, a river, and their way of life.

 

Promoting Sustainable Choices

You can make a difference in the fight to save forests by making informed daily choices. By using less stuff, eating sustainable food, and choosing recycled or certified sustainable wood products, we can all be part of the movement towards zero deforestation. Using your voice to speak for forests matters, too. When people join together and demand forest conservation, companies and governments have to listen.

 

Changing the Politics

If we’re going to stop deforestation, we need governments to do their part. That starts with cracking down on corruption and ensuring fair enforcement of forest conservation rules. Corruption fuels illegal logging and unsustainable forest management, which in turn can fuel organized crime or even armed conflict. Beyond the rule of law, we need world leaders to embrace ambitious domestic and international forest conservation policies based on the latest science.

In the United States, laws like the Endangered Species Act, the Wilderness Act, the Lacey Act and the Roadless Rule help protect our forests and stop illegal wood products from entering the U.S. marketplace. We also support and use regional rules like the Amazon Soy Moratorium and global treaties like the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to protect forests and the endangered species that rely on forest habitats.

Globally, we need commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation in developing nations, especially those with tropical forests. Forests for Climate is one way to make that happen. Forests for Climate is an innovative proposal for an international funding mechanism to protect tropical forests. Under this initiative, developing countries with tropical forests can make commitments to protecting their forests in exchange for the opportunity to receive funding for capacity-building efforts and national-level reductions in deforestation emissions. This provides a strong incentive for developing countries to continually improve their forest protection programs.

 

Take Action for a Deforestation-Free Future

If you’re ready to join the movement for a deforestation-free future, here’s how you can start:

  • Make sure that the forest-derived products you buy are made from 100 percent post-consumer content materials.
  • Make informed food choices. Eating a plant-based diet or reducing your consumption of animal products like meat and dairy can help save forests.
  • Buy from companies that have a commitment to reducing deforestation through forest-friendly policies.
  • If you are buying products made from virgin forest fiber, make sure that it bears a seal from a credible forestry certification system, like the Forest Stewardship Council.
  • Educate your friends, family, and community about how our everyday actions can impact forests around the world.

 

Source: www.greenpeace.org

(Georgia Skiada)

How Europe is greener now than 100 years ago

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Within the last 100 years, Europe has experienced two World Wars, the end of communism, the emergence of the European Union and a series of other transformative political and economic developments. A team of scientists has now been able to visualize the impact of historical events in maps that show the growth and decline of settlements, forests and croplands.

The map, shown above, is the result of a research project led by Dutch scholar Richard Fuchs from the University of Wageningen. Besides regional political and economic trends, Europe’s landscape was shaped by several larger developments of the 20th century, according to Fuchs.

The following maps preview some of the affected regions which we will explain and show in detail throughout this post.

“More than 100 years ago, timber was used for almost everything: as fuel wood, for metal production, furniture, house construction. Hence, at around 1900 there was hardly any forest areas left in Europe. Especially after World War II, many countries started massive afforestation programs which are still running today,” Fuchs told The Washington Post.

As a result, Europe’s forests grew by a third over the last 100 years. At the same time, cropland decreased due to technological innovations such as motorization, better drainage and irrigation systems: Relatively fewer area was needed to produce the same amount of food. Furthermore, many people migrated from rural to urban areas, or overseas.

Fuchs’ fascinating conclusion: Forests and settlements grew at the same time and Europe is a much greener continent today than it was 100 years ago. A closer look at different regions and countries reveals Europe’s recovery from the deforestation of past centuries.

In the southern French region of Vaucluse, entire mountain ranges were de-forested at the beginning of the 20th century, but the country invested heavily to reverse the trend. Meanwhile, agricultural projects in southern Spain transformed once arid, barren areas into profitable agricultural fields or even forests.

A similar development was documented in Italy. Former cropland were abandoned due to market competition, urbanization and emigration. Today, many parts of the Apennine Mountains (located on the right side of the map below) are dominated by grasslands and forests again.

In eastern Europe, many forests re-grew after the end of the Soviet Union. Fuchs and his colleagues explain the development with the fact that many privatized agricultural farms were less competitive on the global market. Therefore, farmers abandoned unprofitable cropland. Particularly in Romania and Poland, former cropland was taken back by nature afterward, first turning into grassland and later into forests.

In the 1990s, Europe also introduced a Common Agricultural Policy which stated that only highly productive areas should be used as cropland, in order to prevent inefficiency. Hence, fields got continuously bigger to better manage and maintain them with machines. Marginal land, however, was given up.

To the north of formerly communist Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Scandinavian countries were able to re-grow most of their forests (and are continuing to do so today) to keep up with timer demand, as they substituted most other suppliers in Europe that had practically used up most of their own wood resources.

What you see here is among of the most populous areas of Europe: London (the growing, red area in the upper part of the picture), Paris (lower left side), and Brussels (in the middle). Although London experienced its most significant population growth in the 19th century, the city’s suburbs grew massively in the 20th century and continue to do so.

The city of Paris itself actually lost inhabitants over the 20th century due to gentrification and higher rents, but you can clearly see how its suburbs became more and more populous throughout the century.

Both the Netherlands and Britain had empires that relied heavily on the sea and their naval strength. In order to build ships, they needed wood — and in 1900, only 2 – 3 percent of their territory was still covered with forests. Both countries have since been able to increase their forest area to 10-12 percent, as data from 2010 shows. The Netherlands also pursued another major project, visible on maps: It reclaimed the Zuiderzee bay with dams and drainage systems to gain more land.

A closer look at England and Ireland shows that both countries are nevertheless still mainly covered with grassland, while re-forestation has been particularly successful in Scotland.

source: www.washingtonpost.com

(Skiada Georgia)

Climate Change Is Becoming a Top Threat to Biodiversity

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Climate change will be the fastest-growing cause of species loss in the Americas by midcentury, according to a new set of reports from the leading global organization on ecosystems and biodiversity.

Climate change, alongside factors like land degradation and habitat loss, is emerging as a top threat to wildlife around the globe, the reports suggest. In Africa, it could cause some animals to decline by as much as 50 percent by the end of the century, and up to 90 percent of coral reefs in the Pacific Ocean may bleach or degrade by the year 2050.

The reports, released last week by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), included a sweeping set of biodiversity assessments for four major regions around the world, with contributions from more than 500 experts. A separate report on global land degradation, which was launched yesterday, included more than 100 authors. Both were approved by IPBES’s 129 member states at an ongoing plenary session in Medellín, Colombia.

Numerous other threats still challenge the world’s biodiversity, from pollution and overexploitation to land-use change and habitat loss, and in many places these are still greater immediate dangers to the world’s wildlife than climate change. But the new series of reports emphasize that action on global warming is also action in favor of wild plants and animals. And in turn, protecting the world’s remaining natural places is also a step toward safeguarding the climate.

Land degradation, biodiversity loss and climate change are three different faces of the same central challenge: the increasingly dangerous impact of our choices on the health of our natural environment,” IPBES Chairman Robert Watson said in a statement. “We cannot afford to tackle any one of these three threats in isolation—they each deserve the highest policy priority and must be addressed together.”

According to yesterday’s report, the degradation of land—either by human activities or by natural disasters—may be adversely affecting more than 3 billion people around the globe. And the resulting losses in biodiversity and ecosystem services may be costing 10 percent of the world’s annual global gross product.

Land degradation is also a significant contributor to climate change, the report warns. Deforestation, the destruction of wetlands and other forms of land conversion can release massive amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, which may worsen global warming. Climate change can continue the cycle by thawing out frozen ecosystems, creating harsher conditions for vegetation to survive, and increasing the severity of storms and other natural disasters, which can also damage natural landscapes.

The upside of linked stressors is that addressing one can help the other. Working to protect natural landscapes can play a significant role in the fight against climate change, the report suggests. Restoring natural lands or preventing them from being destroyed in the first place could deliver more than a third of the action needed by 2030 to keep keep global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, the authors note.

And that’s a big step in preserving the world’s biodiversity, as well, according to the four reports released last week. While each report focused on a different region of the world—Africa, Europe, the Asia-Pacific region and the Americas—each one highlighted the growing threat of climate change, among a variety of other human-caused threats to global wildlife.

Africa is particularly vulnerable, the reports suggest, with some bird and mammal species facing declines of up to 50 percent if serious action isn’t taken. Africa’s lakes could also see declines in productivity of up to 30 percent by the end of the century.

Other global regions are facing major risks, as well. In the Americas, about 31 percent of all indigenous species are believed to have been lost since European settlers first arrived. Under a “business-as-usual” trajectory, and accounting for other threats, such as habitat loss, the report suggests that this number could climb as high as 40 percent by 2050.

Source: scientificamerican.com

(Dipla Katerina)

Over 5 billion people could face water scarcity problems by 2050, UN says

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Some 3.6 billion people are estimated to be living in areas with a potential for water scarcity for at least one month per year, and this number could rise to as many as 5.7 billion people by 2050, according to a report published by UNESCO.

Released Monday, the 2018 edition of the United Nations World Water Development Report said that global demand for water had been rising at a rate of around 1 percent annually, and would “continue to grow significantly” during the next 20 years.

Nature-based solutions (NBS) had an important role in boosting both the quality and supply of water and mitigating the impact of natural disasters, according to the report.

“We need new solutions in managing water resources so as to meet emerging challenges to water security caused by population growth and climate change,” Audrey Azoulay, the director-general of UNESCO, said in a statement.

“If we do nothing, some 5 billion people will be living in areas with poor access to water by 2050,” Azoulay added. “This report proposes solutions that are based on nature to manage water better. This is a major task all of us need to accomplish together responsibly so as to avoid water-related conflicts.”

The report described NBS as being “inspired and supported by nature”. NBS either use or mimic naturally-occurring processes to help improve the management of water. Examples include dry toilets, water harvesting and permeable pavements.

“In the face of accelerated consumption, increasing environmental degradation and the multi-faceted impacts of climate change, we clearly need new ways to manage competing demands on our precious freshwater resources,” Gilbert F. Houngbo, chair of UN-Water and president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, said.

Source: cnbc.com

(Dipla Katerina)

Top 10 ways to save water in the UAE

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1. Consider your food choices

Marita Peters Middle East Executive Director for Surge, says: “Meat has a huge water footprint. If we learn more and change our consumption patterns, we can immediately conserve vital natural resources.”

2. Reasess all that shopping

“Reduce overall material consumption as water is used to produce absolutely everything,” Peters says. “Educating ourselves on facts can help us make better choices.”

3. Home in on the issue

In a typical household, the bathroom has the highest usage of water, Peters says. She advises changing personal habits — closing the tap when brushing one’s teeth, using the half-tank option when flushing and taking shorter showers.

4. Is it full yet?

An easy way to lower water consumption — and utility bills — is by running dishwashers and washing machines when they are full. Full loads make the best use of water, energy and detergent, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) advises. And when in the market for a new machine, consider a high-efficiency model that may use an average 30 per cent less water and 40 per cent less energy.

5. Look for leaks

David King, Founder of Save Water UAE, says it’s vital to check for water leakages in and around the home. “About 15-17 per cent of water loss happens this way.”

6. Invest to save

Purchasing simple gadgets can not only reduce water consumption but also reduce utility bills, says King. “Look at fitting simple water savers such as basic aerators and flow regulators, which only cost Dh25 and Dh30 each, and can be fitted easily without specialist tools or professional help.” Low-flow showerheads can reduce water consumption by 50-70 per cent without a visible impact on the bather.

7. Garden with a conscience

Dewa advises watering plants before 8am or after 6pm and avoid watering on windy days. A related suggestion is to only water the lawn when it’s thirsty. To determine this, simply walk across the grass. If you leave footprints, it is time to water.

8. Short spurts are better

When you do actually break out the garden hose, water your plants in several short sessions rather than one long one. For example, three ten-minute sessions paced 30 minutes to an hour apart will allow your lawn to better absorb moisture than one straight 30-minute session, Dewa advises.

9. Tech up your act

Dewa also recommends taking the tech route for plants. Install moisture sensors in each zone — sunny, shaded or other — to better determine irrigation needs.

10. Pick appropriate plants

Succulents and other desert flora are ideal for UAE gardens because they are well-suited to the local climate. Plants such as these require minimal watering and provide the benefits of green environment without strain on water supplies.

Source: gulfnews.com

Check out how Arid Zone Afforestation NPO is part of the solution in the problem:

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(Dipla Katerina)

Climate change soon to cause movement of 140m people, World Bank warns

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Climate change will result in a massive movement of people inside countries and across borders, creating “hotspots” where tens of millions pour into already crowded slums, according to the World Bank.

More than 140 million people in just three regions of the developing world are likely to migrate within their native countries between now and 2050, the first report on the subject has found.

The World Bank examined three regions, which between them account for 55% of the developing world’s population. In sub-Saharan Africa, 86 million are expected to be internally displaced over the period, in south Asia about 40 million,and in Latin America, 17 million.

Such flows of people could cause enormous disruption, threatening governance and economic and social development, but the World Bank cautioned that it was still possible to stave off the worst effects.

“Climate change-driven migration will be a reality, but it does not need to be a crisis, provided we take action now and act boldly,” said John Roome, a senior director for climate change at the World Bank group.

He laid out three key actions governments should take: first, to accelerate their reductions of greenhouse gases, second, for national governments to incorporate climate change migration into their national development planning, and third, to invest in further data and analysis for use in planning development.

Within countries, the effects of climate change will create multiple “hotspots”: made up of the areas people move away from in large numbers, and the areas they move to.

“Local planners need to make sure the resources are made available, and to make sure it takes place in a comprehensive and coordinated manner,” said Roome.

Globally, many tens of millions more are expected to be similarly affected, creating huge problems for national and local governments. Nearly 3% of the population was judged likely to move owing to climate change in the areas studied – a proportion that might be repeated elsewhere.

Migration between countries has previously taken the spotlight, with its potential for cross-border conflicts, but internal migration may cause as much disruption, putting pressure on infrastructure, jobs, food and water resources.

The 140 million figure extrapolates from current trends, but could be reduced if changes are made. If economic development is made more inclusive, for instance through better education and infrastructure, internal migration across the three regions could drop to between 65 million and 105 million, according to the report. If strong action is taken on greenhouse gas emissions, as few as 30 million to 70 million may migrate.

Climate change is likely to most affect the poorest and most vulnerable, making agriculture difficult or even impossible across large swaths of the globe, threatening water resources and increasing the likelihood of floods, droughts and heatwaves in some areas. Sea level rises and violent storm surges are also likely to hit low-lying coastal areas, such as in Bangladesh.

Kristalina Georgieva, the chief executive of the World Bank, in her introduction to the report, said: “There is growing recognition among researchers that more people will move within national borders to escape the effects of slow-onset climate change, such as droughts, crop failure and rising seas.

“The number of climate migrants could be reduced by tens of millions as a result of global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and with far-sighted development planning. There is an opportunity now to plan and act for emerging climate change threats.”

Source: theguardian.com

(Dipla Katerina)

New Government needs to take extra step for wood use

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The forest and wood processing industry says it is looking forward to greater use of timber in New Zealand with the coalition government now in place.

But WoodCo Chair, Brian Stanley, says the new government needs to introduce a wood-first policy for government buildings as well.

“We’ve got a new drive from the top for more plantings, a greater thrust for forestry in regional development and a commitment to use trees for carbon sequestration. The missing link though is the government specifying wooden construction as the first choice for its new buildings.”

“Developments in wood engineering, such as cross laminated timber, are enabling medium and high rise buildings to be built with timber as their primary component. This is happening around the world. We are being left behind, with only some recent examples, such as Sir Bob Jones’ 12 storey office tower in Wellington, or the Nelson Airport terminal.

Wood construction has many benefits, such as sourcing locally, use of a renewable resource and quicker construction. But New Zealand architects and specifiers are not familiar with how to use modern wood. We need the government to take a lead.”

“The Rotorua Lakes Council is so far the only local government body to adopt a wood-first policy. Others who want to use a modern and efficient resource already at their doorstep could learn from Rotorua.”

Brian Stanley says the forest and wood industry is not looking for preferential treatment, because he says if wood is objectively considered as a building material it can clearly and frequently outperform other traditional building construction, particularly in earthquakes where the in-built flexibility of wood makes this natural material a class performer.

 

Source:nzfoa.org

(Skiada Georgia)