Tag Archives: Climate Adaptation and Solutions

The Australian PM is reluctant to commit to a medium term climate goal: The Australian | Instant News


FILE PHOTO: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison arrives at Haneda airport in Tokyo, Japan, 17 November 2020. REUTERS / Issei Kato

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – The Australian government is in no rush to sign a net zero carbon emission target by 2050, although it recognizes the importance of working towards that goal, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in an interview published on Saturday.

Morrison’s conservative government, in a surprise policy shift last month, said it would achieve its 2030 carbon emissions pledge under the Paris climate agreement without counting carbon credits from over-achieving previous climate targets.

But in an interview with The Australian newspaper, Morrison said he would not take his new 2030 or 2035 emission reduction targets to the United Nations main climate conference in Glasgow in November.

“It’s about whether you can produce hydrogen at the right cost, it’s about whether (carbon capture and storage) can be done at the right cost, whether we can produce low-emission steel and aluminum at the right cost,” the paper quoted Morrison as saying.

“That’s how you get to net zero. You don’t get there just by having a commitment. That’s where the discussion should lead, and I think (US President Joe) Biden’s administration is giving the opportunity to really pursue that with a little enthusiasm. “

Australia’s emissions are now projected to be 29% below 2005 levels by 2030, compared with the Paris agreement target to reduce carbon emissions of between 26% and 28%, based on recent growth in renewable energy and what could be achieved under A $ 18 billion ($ 14 billion) technology investment plans outlined by the government in September.

“We all want to be there,” said Morrison. “It’s not about politics anymore, it’s about technology.”

He added that the timetable for committing to a net-zero-emissions target would depend on “where the science is and where our assessments are based on technology”.

($ 1 = 1.2960 Australian dollars)

Reporting by Lidia; Edited by William Mallard

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The Biden presidency set the stage for broader global progress in climate policy | Instant News


(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – After US President-elect Joe Biden takes office – and as more countries struggle with climate impacts – policies addressing global warming are expected to start appearing on various world bodies by 2021, climate diplomats said on Thursday.

That could include the World Trade Organization preparing to deal with disputes over a planned “carbon boundary tax” – tariffs on imports from countries that do not tax emissions at the source – and the UN Security Council addressing climate-related threats.

For security officials, “climate change is no longer a multiplier of threats – it is a threat”, said John Podesta, former US President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff and adviser to former US President Barack Obama, in an online event.

Veteran Democratic politician Biden will take office on January 20 and has promised a comprehensive green agenda to fight climate change, both in the United States and globally.

Connie Hedegaard, former European Commissioner for Climate Action, said government groups such as the G7 and G20 are likely to consider more ambitious climate policies after climate-skeptical US President Donald Trump is not there to block efforts.

This could potentially lead to efforts towards a global agreement on phasing out high carbon energy, as well as a regulatory framework for sustainable finance, he predicted.

In a growing number of international forums, “climate voices can be present, whatever the larger topic is being discussed there,” he said. “That’s very important.”

Podesta said Biden’s appointment of John Kerry, Obama’s former secretary of state, as his special envoy for climate suggests the new US president intends to push for international climate action as strong as domestic climate policy.

Biden is likely to initiate action to return the United States to the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change – which Trump issued last year – on his first day in office, Podesta said.

He also promised to hold an international summit within the first 100 days of his term aimed at pushing for greater global ambitions to tackle climate change.

But drafting a new US national contribution to the Paris Agreement may take until late spring or early summer, Podesta said, to ensure that what has been promised internationally fits into domestic climate plans.

Biden said he wanted to put the United States on track to get all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2035, and have net zero emissions across the economy by 2050, in line with new pledges by countries from Japan to South Korea.

FINANCE FOR VULNERABILITY?

Tina Stege, climate envoy for the Marshall Islands, a low-lying Pacific atoll nation, said having an ambitious US contribution to the Paris Agreement quickly was key to pushing forward the ambition that other nations need more.

“We are catching up. We are in a deep hole, “said Stege, whose country leads the” High Ambition Coalition “which is pushing for stronger global efforts to reduce emissions.” The US is critical to driving ambition and action. “

Countries like hers – which are only 2 meters (6.5 feet) above sea level – also need quick financial assistance to adapt to warming-driven sea level rise, he said.

“The need for adaptation is not being met, even as the need to adapt to climate change is increasingly pressing,” he added.

During his campaign, Biden said he would seek to fulfill financial promises to the international Green Climate Fund, $ 2 billion of which was not delivered by the Trump administration.

The move may now be easier after Democrats took control of the US Senate following the recent second round of elections in the state of Georgia, giving them more control over spending.

“The new government has the potential to make financial commitments that give countries like myself a chance to fight,” said Stege.

Reported by Laurie Goering @lauriegoering; edited by Megan Rowling. Appreciate the Thomson Reuters Foundation, a Thomson Reuters charity. Visit news.trust.org/climate

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‘You wake up well’: Amazon villagers drink grape tea to treat COVID | Instant News


PARA STATE, Brazil (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – In the middle of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest, far from the laboratories of the world’s major pharmaceutical companies, the indigenous people of Kayapó in the state of Para use a drink made from vines to help them ward off the worst effects of COVID-19.

As attacks by illegal loggers and miners into the Amazon increase during the pandemic, potentially exposing forest-dwelling tribes to the virus, the Kayapó tribe say their natural treatment helps keep them safe.

The bark of the vine – a name with which the community remains secret – is boiled and strained into a tea that is drunk three times a day, for five days, explained Po Yre, a 23-year-old member of the Kayapó community. from the village of Pykany.

“The medicine is very strong. When you drink it, you become weak, sometimes with red eyes and headaches. But, the next day, it worked. You wake up fine, ”said Po Yre, who took the medicine after testing positive for COVID-19 in July.

While there is no scientific evidence that tea can fight the virus, Kayapó leaders say all members of the public should drink it as a form of prevention against COVID, which has killed nearly 200,000 Brazilians, according to official figures.

Villagers say it is the best way to prevent the pandemic from wiping out indigenous communities, which they say have limited support from the federal government.

Health experts warn that the coronavirus pandemic is endangering indigenous peoples with limited or no access to health care in the Amazon and whose communal life makes social distancing difficult.

The Amazon community was particularly hard hit in the early stages of last year’s Brazilian coronavirus pandemic.

“The (related) agencies did not act in a timely manner to protect us, making us question whether they really exist for us indigenous peoples,” said O-é Kaiapó Paiakan, daughter of iconic Kayapó leader Paulinho Paiakan, one of the pioneers of the indigenous movement. Brazil, which died of COVID-19 in June.

The government’s customary affairs agency, Funai, directs all inquiries to the Ministry of Health.

The ministry said in an emailed statement that there are more than 400 health workers monitoring and caring for the Para’s Kayapo community and the government has delivered essential supplies – such as masks and hand sanitizer – to villages.

“District professionals maintain a continuous dialogue (and) conduct home visits … with village leaders, health counselors and the general public, addressing COVID-19 preventive and protection care,” the statement said.

When the Kayapó people get sick, they usually start with traditional medicine and only switch to conventional medicine when necessary, said Dr. Douglas Rodrigues, an indigenous health specialist at the Federal University of Sao Paulo.

The Kayapó found that grape tea relieves symptoms of COVID-19, “whether because the tea has active ingredients or has a strengthening and moisturizing component,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

‘The Perfect Storm’

There are about 12,000 Kayapó in the states of Pará and Mato Grosso, according to the Instituto Socioambiental, an organization that proposes solutions to environmental and social problems in Brazil.

Among that population, there have been fewer than 20 deaths from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to SESAI, the government’s original health service.

While proponents of indigenous peoples say the figure is likely an underestimation, it is still significantly lower than the 2.5% death rate among Brazil’s non-indigenous population, according to statistics from the Council of National Health Secretaries.

Proponents of customary rights say rampant encroachment in the Amazon jungle by loggers, miners and farmers greatly increases the risk of villagers contracting the coronavirus from outsiders.

Rodrigo Balbueno, a biologist and consultant at the Kabu Institute, who represents the Kayapó community of Bau and Menkragnoti indigenous lands in Para state, said there had been an explosion in the number of attacks during the pandemic.

Comparing satellite images of the area from August 2020 to October 2020, Balbueno said it is possible to see new roads being built and more areas being cleared of trees – all indications of an increase in illegal logging and gold mining.

Environmentalists say encroachers have been encouraged by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s plans to open up the Amazon to commercial mining and agriculture, which he says will lift indigenous people out of poverty.

At the same time, when Funai banned outsiders from entering customary land at the start of the pandemic, the order also stopped inspections meant to stop illegal activity in the rainforest, explained Balbueno.

“The loosening of inspections and the feeling of freedom (provided by Bolsonaro) is the perfect storm for everything we see now,” he said.

Scientists say that fighting the increasing rate of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest – a major store of carbon that warms a planet that spans nine South American countries – is critical in the fight against climate change.

LOSS OF HISTORY AND TRADITION

Even with villagers avoiding the city and drinking regular doses of wine tea, Pykatoti Village Chief Abiri Kayapó is still worried that the virus will spread.

“There are no serious cases in this village. Everyone has been treated with medicine from the forest. But I’m worried about the invasion, ”he said, walking along the trail through the forest to show medicinal plants.

Kayapó leaders have prohibited anyone in the community from disclosing the name of the plant species used in tea processing to prevent their forests from being stripped of their resources, Abiri said.

That secrecy, villagers say, is essential to ensure the pandemic does not again ravage people who hold onto the history and traditions of the community.

“COVID-19 has killed women, parents and leaders who brought with it a whole history of struggle and culture,” said O-é Kaiapó Paiakan, who is still shaken by the loss of his father.

“The elders are very important for the perpetuation of our culture. They maintain our way of life, pass down their stories for the younger generations to pass down. “

Reporting by Lucas Landau; Edited by Jumana Farouky and Laurie Goering. Please acknowledge the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the Thomson Reuters charity, covering the lives of people around the world who struggle to live free or fair. Visit news.trust.org/climate

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‘You wake up well’: Amazon villagers drink grape tea to treat COVID | Instant News


PARA STATE, Brazil (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – In the middle of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest, far from the laboratories of the world’s major pharmaceutical companies, the indigenous people of Kayapó in the state of Para use a drink made from vines to help them ward off the worst effects of COVID-19.

As attacks by illegal loggers and miners into the Amazon increase during the pandemic, potentially exposing forest-dwelling tribes to the virus, the Kayapó tribe say their natural treatment helps keep them safe.

The bark of the vine – a name with which the community remains secret – is boiled and strained into a tea that is drunk three times a day, for five days, explained Po Yre, a 23-year-old member of the Kayapó community. from the village of Pykany.

“The medicine is very strong. When you drink it, you become weak, sometimes with red eyes and headaches. But, the next day, it worked. You wake up fine, ”said Po Yre, who took the medicine after testing positive for COVID-19 in July.

While there is no scientific evidence that tea can fight the virus, Kayapó leaders say all members of the public should drink it as a form of prevention against COVID, which has killed nearly 200,000 Brazilians, according to official figures.

Villagers say it is the best way to prevent the pandemic from wiping out indigenous communities, which they say have limited support from the federal government.

Health experts warn that the coronavirus pandemic is endangering indigenous peoples with limited or no access to health care in the Amazon and whose communal life makes social distancing difficult.

The Amazon community was particularly hard hit in the early stages of last year’s Brazilian coronavirus pandemic.

“The (related) agencies did not act in a timely manner to protect us, making us question whether they really exist for us indigenous peoples,” said O-é Kaiapó Paiakan, daughter of iconic Kayapó leader Paulinho Paiakan, one of the pioneers of the indigenous movement. Brazil, which died of COVID-19 in June.

The government’s customary affairs agency, Funai, directs all inquiries to the Ministry of Health.

The ministry said in an emailed statement that there are more than 400 health workers monitoring and caring for the Para’s Kayapo community and the government has delivered essential supplies – such as masks and hand sanitizer – to villages.

“District professionals maintain a continuous dialogue (and) conduct home visits … with village leaders, health counselors and the general public, addressing COVID-19 preventive and protection care,” the statement said.

When the Kayapó people get sick, they usually start with traditional medicine and only switch to conventional medicine when necessary, said Dr. Douglas Rodrigues, an indigenous health specialist at the Federal University of Sao Paulo.

The Kayapó found that grape tea relieves symptoms of COVID-19, “whether because the tea has active ingredients or has a strengthening and moisturizing component,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

‘The Perfect Storm’

There are about 12,000 Kayapó in the states of Pará and Mato Grosso, according to the Instituto Socioambiental, an organization that proposes solutions to environmental and social problems in Brazil.

Among that population, there have been fewer than 20 deaths from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to SESAI, the government’s original health service.

While proponents of indigenous peoples say the figure is likely an underestimation, it is still significantly lower than the 2.5% death rate among Brazil’s non-indigenous population, according to statistics from the Council of National Health Secretaries.

Proponents of customary rights say rampant encroachment in the Amazon jungle by loggers, miners and farmers greatly increases the risk of villagers contracting the coronavirus from outsiders.

Rodrigo Balbueno, a biologist and consultant at the Kabu Institute, who represents the Kayapó community of Bau and Menkragnoti indigenous lands in Para state, said there had been an explosion in the number of attacks during the pandemic.

Comparing satellite images of the area from August 2020 to October 2020, Balbueno said it is possible to see new roads being built and more areas being cleared of trees – all indications of an increase in illegal logging and gold mining.

Environmentalists say encroachers have been encouraged by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s plans to open up the Amazon to commercial mining and agriculture, which he says will lift indigenous people out of poverty.

At the same time, when Funai banned outsiders from entering customary land at the start of the pandemic, the order also stopped inspections meant to stop illegal activity in the rainforest, explained Balbueno.

“The loosening of inspections and the feeling of freedom (provided by Bolsonaro) is the perfect storm for everything we see now,” he said.

Scientists say that fighting the increasing rate of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest – a major store of carbon that warms a planet that spans nine South American countries – is critical in the fight against climate change.

LOSS OF HISTORY AND TRADITION

Even with villagers avoiding the city and drinking regular doses of wine tea, Pykatoti Village Chief Abiri Kayapó is still worried that the virus will spread.

“There are no serious cases in this village. Everyone has been treated with medicine from the forest. But I’m worried about the invasion, ”he said, walking along the trail through the forest to show medicinal plants.

Kayapó leaders have prohibited anyone in the community from disclosing the name of the plant species used in tea processing to prevent their forests from being stripped of their resources, Abiri said.

That secrecy, villagers say, is essential to ensure the pandemic does not again ravage people who hold onto the history and traditions of the community.

“COVID-19 has killed women, parents and leaders who brought with it a whole history of struggle and culture,” said O-é Kaiapó Paiakan, who is still shaken by the loss of his father.

“The elders are very important for the perpetuation of our culture. They maintain our way of life, pass down their stories for the younger generations to pass down. “

Reporting by Lucas Landau; Edited by Jumana Farouky and Laurie Goering. Please acknowledge the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the Thomson Reuters charity, covering the lives of people around the world who struggle to live free or fair. Visit news.trust.org/climate

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ANALYSIS-Hungry for change: A damaged food system is being exposed by COVID-19 and the climate crisis | Instant News


ROME / LONDON, December 27 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – From wildfires in California and locust attacks in Ethiopia to job losses caused by the lockdown pandemics in Italy and Myanmar, climate change and COVID-19 are disrupting food production and starving millions more . 2020.

Now there are fears the situation could worsen next year as the coronavirus crisis and wild weather exacerbate the fragile conditions associated with conflict and poverty in many parts of the world, aid officials told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Even before COVID-19 hit, 135 million people were marching toward the threshold of starvation. This could double to 270 million in a few months, “said David Beasley, head of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), in emailed comments.

In April, Beasley, whose organization in Rome was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 2020, told the UN Security Council that the world was facing a “hunger pandemic” and “various famines in biblical proportions”.

“That warning is supported by stronger evidence today,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, noting that Burkina Faso, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen are facing famine, and the full impact of COVID-19 is yet to be felt in many places. .

At the same time, the coronavirus crisis has shown how faster international action and better cooperation in areas such as science and technology can help tackle the problem, he added.

Farmers and the urban poor have borne the brunt of the pandemic so far, meaning inequality between and within countries could deepen by 2021, said Ismahane Elouafi, chief scientist at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Cut off from markets and with falling customer demand, farmers struggle to sell their produce while informal workers in urban areas, who live hand-to-mouth, find themselves unemployed because of the lockdowns, he said.

As a result, millions of people – from Texas and Geneva to Bangkok and Accra – were forced to rely on food aid for the first time.

Meanwhile, more than 50 million people in East and Central Africa are in need of emergency food aid – and that number will increase as the region prepares for severe drought related to the La Nina climate pattern, as well as more locust swarms, Oxfam said.

With 2020 set to be one of the hottest years on record, African farmers have seen a spike in harsh climatic conditions as well as plant-destroying pests, said Agnes Kalibata, UN special envoy for the 2021 Food Systems Summit.

“The double blow due to extreme weather and COVID-19 has greatly relieved the weakness of our global food system,” said Kalibata, former Rwandan agriculture minister.

‘HARBINGER’ CLIMATE CRISIS

Two UN reports recently warned that the coronavirus pandemic could lead to an extreme spike in poverty.

One in 33 people will need humanitarian assistance to meet basic needs such as food and water by 2021, up 40% from this year, said one.

Others say a billion people could fall into poverty by 2030.

COVID-19 is a “harbinger” of what the climate crisis will bring, said Saleemul Huq, director of the International Center for Climate Change and Development in Bangladesh.

“(The virus) hits us in a matter of days and months. Hopefully, this will end in a year or two, if all goes well with the vaccine – but the climate change problem will last much longer, much longer, “he said.

“One of the major impacts will likely occur on food production, on all continents of the world, on agriculture, fisheries, on livestock,” he added.

Climate action is often focused on reducing planet-warming emissions from energy and transportation, but changing food systems is also essential to keeping global warming to a manageable level, says a recent study led by the University of Oxford.

Even if fossil fuel emissions are eliminated immediately, food production could still push temperatures beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times, the lowest target in the Paris climate pact, he warned.

But transforming a highly complex and increasingly global food system network is a major challenge, not least because there is no substitute for food, says lead author Michael Clark.

Making food production more sustainable will require focusing on how it is grown, what is consumed and ways to reduce loss and waste, he said.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR CHANGE

The lockdown triggered by the pandemic has prompted a shift in attitudes in rich countries towards food waste and meat consumption, both of which fuel greenhouse gas emissions.

Meanwhile, there is growing recognition among experts that the narrow focus on crop productivity is at the expense of the environment, equity and nutrition, said James Lomax, a food systems expert at the United Nations Environment Program.

Many in the food industry are starting to understand this too, even before COVID-19 disrupts supply chains, eating away at income and highlighting the links between agriculture, animal products and zoonotic diseases, he said.

This shift, together with a high-level summit scheduled for next year on the interconnected issues of food, health, nature and climate, offers an opportunity to radically change the way food is produced and consumed, experts say.

“We have a chance to fix it,” as thoughts gathered around the meeting, said Elouafi of FAO.

UN envoy Kalibata hopes the food systems summit will produce ambitious goals and clarity on what countries, communities and businesses should do differently over the next decade, as well as more financing to help achieve those goals.

Solutions already exist to make food systems sustainable and environmentally friendly, such as seaweed-based animal feed to reduce methane emissions and a plant-based diet, said Jessica Fanzo, professor of global food policy and ethics at Johns Hopkins University.

But political will is needed to push them to the forefront, he added. With regard to climate change, he hopes a youth movement will emerge around food to advocate for more ambitious change.

Most people participate in the world food system two or three times a day when they eat, he said.

“It has to be something that society really appreciates, (but) often it isn’t,” he added. (Reported by Thin Lei Win @thinink and Cormac O’Brien, Edited by Megan Rowling. Please pay tribute to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the Thomson Reuters charity, covering the lives of people around the world who struggle to live free or fair. news.trust.org)

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