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Caribbean considers new climate change approaches

PRESS RELEASE:- Commonwealth countries may soon be the benefit from a process called “regenerative development.”

Recently, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland welcomed high commissioners and climate change innovators to a Commonwealth-facilitated conference in London, calling on all to work together on technologies and approaches that have the potential to reverse climate change.

In her opening remarks, the Secretary-General noted that climate change can wreak havoc on ecosystems and societies. Some of the Commonwealth’s small island developing states face obliteration because of rising sea levels. In other countries, climate change is causing famine, migration and desertification.

Secretary-General Scotland pointed out that time and time again in Commonwealth countries including Dominica, Fiji, and more recently Mozambique, climate-related disasters had undone decades of development gains.

“The magnitude of the threat from climate change especially to those whose endowment or stage of development renders them more vulnerable and less resilient makes it necessary to shift from mere adaptation and mitigation, towards approaches capable of transforming climate change into a window of opportunity.”

Regenerative development is one such approach.

Mary Robinson, the president of the climate justice activist group—the Mary Robinson Foundation—stated that it was time that the narrative on climate change differed.

“We do need a new narrative on climate change and it’s a narrative based on solutions. The idea of regenerative development to tackle climate change makes much sense because we need to get carbon out of the atmosphere as much as possible.”

Regenerative development seeks to reverse the degeneration of ecosystems caused by human activities.

Credit: Government of Saint Lucia

UNU-EHS and UPEACE Online Course on Climate Change, International Law and Human Security

The University for Peace (UPEACE) and UNU-EHS are pleased to invite applications for a new certificate online training course on the topic of “Climate Change, International Law and Human Security”. This six weeks online course will be co-taught by experts from both institutions and will take place from April 8th to May 19th, 2015.

The course is intended for staff members of the United Nations and its agencies; staff members of other inter-governmental organizations, NGOs, and government agencies; academics; practitioners; and students, who are working or researching in fields related to climate change and environmental, human rights, international law, development, and migration, amongst others. UPEACE and UNU-EHS aim to ensure equal gender and geographical distribution across the selected participants.

The course has a limited number of seats available. Qualified participants will be admitted on the combined basis of first-come-first served, gender equality and regional representation.

To apply, please click here.

Credit: UNU-EHS

Overview: The IPCC AR5 Report- Working Group II

Credit: CGIAR

Credit: CGIAR

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has just published its latest Working Group II report detailing impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability associated with climate change. The highly anticipated report paints a bleak picture with respect to the consequences of continued climate change. The latest IPCC report predicts future food and water supply insecurities, and calls for both mitigation and adaptation.

“The latest IPCC Assessment Report should serve as a further wakeup call to our region,” ~5Cs

Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Rajendra K. Pachauri says he hopes the report on the rising threat of climate change will “jolt people into action”. The report found the strongest evidence of climate change in the thawing permafrost in the Arctic and in the destruction of coral reefs. It found many freshwater and marine species had shifted their geographical range due to climate change. But the report said climate change was growing more evident in human systems as well, where it posed a series of risks. Climate change was already beginning to affect crop yields, especially for wheat and maize, and the report says that yields could decline sharply towards the middle of the century.

The scientists found climate change was a driver of violent conflicts and migration, and was exacerbating inequality, making it harder for people to claw their way out of poverty. Climate change was also a factor in the rise of mega-disasters. The report said climate change was driving recent heatwaves and droughts, and was a risk factor for wildfires.

 The latest IPCC report: FIVE Key Points

1. Food threat

Climate change is already taking a sizeable chunk out of global food supply and it is going to get worse. Increases in crop yields – which are needed to sustain a growing population – have slowed over the last 40 years. Some studies now point to dramatic declines in some crops over the next 50 years – especially wheat, and to a lesser extent corn. Rice so far is unaffected. The shortages, and the threat of food price spikes, could lead to unrest.

2. Human security

Climate change poses a threat to human security, and could lead to increased migration. Potential shortages of food and water, because of climate change, could be drivers of future conflicts. These won't necessarily be wars between states, but conflicts between farmers and ranchers, or between cities and agriculture industry which wants water for food. On the flip side, those conflicts are going to get in the way of government's efforts to protect people from future climate change.

3. Inequality

Some are more vulnerable than others. Poor people in poor countries – and even the poor in rich countries – are going to bear an unfair burden of climate change, the report said. Climate change is going to exacerbate existing inequalities, and it is going to make it harder for people to claw their way out of poverty.

4. No-one is safe

As temperatures rise beyond 2 degrees to 4 degrees – our current trajectory – there are limits to how far society can adapt to climate change. The only way out is to cut emissions now – and buy some time by slowing warming – and at the same time make plans for sea walls, relocations, and other measures that can keep people out of harms' way.

5. Hard but not hopeless.

The report notes that research on the effects of climate change has doubled since the last report in 2007 – and so has understanding about what needs to done to insulate people from more severe consequences.

 As the world digests the sobering findings of the latest installment of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a reminder of what the panel is designed to do: To inform policy decisions, including the negotiations towards the UN global climate change agreement in Paris in 2015. See this and other infographics at http://bit.ly/1ggttKT

Credit: UNFCCC

Credit: UNFCCC

Credit: The UK Guardian and The IPCC


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