#UN; #ClimateChange; #WorldMigratory
New York/Canadian-Media: A sure sign of spring in northern Europe is the arrival of the Arctic tern bird, but ahead of the UN’s World Migratory Bird Day experts fear the warming of the oceans in its nesting grounds in the northern Atlantic is threatening its very existence.
Arctic terns protect their offspring extremely aggressively. Image credit: Andreas Weith
A big adventure
“When terns reach Antarctica, they stay close to the ice-brim, and move gradually eastward”, says Guðmundur A. Guðmundsson, animal ecologist at the Institute of Natural History in Iceland. “Swedish and Dutch birds go all the way towards Australia, but the Icelandic and Greenland birds return earlier to the Weddell Sea in the Southern Arctic. From there they set off north in March and up to one and a half months later they reach their destination in our country”.
In the case of Iceland, the terns announce spring in the latter part of April, when they arrive to nest. When the chicks are ready to fledge in August they fly to the south, but not in a straight line, rather in an S-shape trajectory. One of their well-known stop-overs is Cape Town in South Africa in November.
En route to their nesting grounds in Iceland and Greenland they are known to have stop-overs in Brazil and cross the Andes mountain range. “It is a big adventure,“ says Mr. Guðmundsson.
A front row seat at planetary crisesHowever, he is concerned by the decline in Iceland’s tern population – which currently stands at some 250,000 nesting couples – over the last few decades, with climate change the probable culprit.
Because of the warming ocean, algae are blooming earlier in the year, too early for young sand eels to feed. This means that stocks of sand eel, an important food source for migratory sea birds, have collapsed in the seas around Iceland.
Although the tern is not at risk of extinction in the short term, enough concern has been raised for the bird to be added to the be added to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of threatened species.
Inger Andersen the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), says that migratory birds have “a front row seat to the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.”
“Climate change is changing and disturbing the migratory patterns of birds,” adds Ms. Andersen. “The destruction of the natural world threatens these pollinators, critical for food security and well-being. And pollution, whether in waterbodies, land or air, is proving toxic for migratory birds.
“Climate change is changing and disturbing the migratory patterns of birds,” adds Ms. Andersen. “The destruction of the natural world threatens these pollinators, critical for food security and well-being. And pollution, whether in waterbodies, land or air, is proving toxic for migratory birds”.World Migratory Bird Day
World Migratory Bird Day
#EnvironmentAndClimateChange; #ZeroEmission; #COP26ClimateSummit; #OECD
All countries should commit to zero carbon emissions by 2050 if the world is to avoid a disastrous 2.4 degree Celsius temperature rise by the end of this century, UN Secretary General António Guterres said on Thursday.
Peatland forests like this one in central Kalimantan, Indonesia, can store harmful carbon dioxide gasses. Image credit: CIFOR/Nanang Sujana
In his keynote speech at a high-level climate gathering in Petersberg, Germany - six months before world leaders convene in Glasgow, Scotland, for the COP26 Climate Summit - the UN chief also offered a message of hope, insisting that it was still possible to avert the worst impacts of emissions-fuelled environmental shocks.
“I see encouraging signs from some major economies”, he said, referring to countries that represent 73 percent of emissions have committed to net-zero emissions by mid-century.
All countries – especially in the G20 – need to close the mitigation gap further by COP26, he insisted, highlighting the threat already faced by developing countries, where “people are dying, farms are failing (and) millions face displacement”.
Degrees of hope
“The bottom line is that, by 2030, we must cut global emissions by 45 percent compared to 2010 levels to get to net zero emissions by 2050. That is how we will keep the hope of 1.5 degrees alive.”
The world’s top priority should be to dispense with polluting coal-fired power stations altogether and replace them with renewable energy, the UN Secretary-General maintained.
This should happen by 2030 in the wealthy countries that belong to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and by 2040 across the globe.
Dramatic as this transition away from fossil fuel will be, it must be inclusive and “just…involving local governments, unions and the private sector to support affected communities and generate green jobs”, Mr. Guterres continued.
After hailing governments that had pledged to end fossil fuel subsidies, the UN Secretary-General insisted that it was time for all countries to “put a price on carbon and shift taxation from income to carbon”.
And in a direct appeal to concerned citizens, he asked “shareholders of multilateral development banks and development finance institutions” to push for funding solutions for “low-carbon, climate-resilient development that is aligned with the 1.5 degrees (2015 Paris Agreement) goal”.
Developing countries needed this financial support in particular, as annual adaptation costs in the developing world alone are estimated at $70 billion “and these could rise to $300 billion by 2030”, the UN chief explained.
“I reiterate my call to donors and multilateral development banks to ensure that at least 50 per cent of climate finance is for adaption and resilience”, Mr. Guterres said, noting that “adaptation finance” to developing countries represents only 21 per cent of climate finance today.
The Petersberg Climate Dialogue is an annual event that has been convened by Germany since 2010. It brings together ministers from over 30 countries, top executives, civil society and subnational leaders in preparation for the annual climate COP, which will be held in Glasgow from 1 to 12 November.
#Environment; #ClimateChange; #deforestation; #UN
New York/Canadian-Media: Forests are at the core of our efforts to restore our relationship with the natural world, the deputy UN chief said on Monday at the UN Forum on Forests.
Sunlight streams through a forest in Germany. Unsplash/Sebastian Unrau
Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said we were at a “make-or-break moment”, adding that woodlands provide vital functions, including as guardians of fresh water sources and biodiversity protection.
“Forests are at the core of the solutions that can help us make peace with nature”, she underscored, stressing that "we need all-hands-on-deck" to support of forests worldwide.
Moreover, failure to protect them would have a major, negative impact on damaging and rising carbon emissions.
The deputy UN chief said that forests must be adequately financed, including through alleviating debt burdens for those States which are expected to do more for woodland protection and sustainable agriculture overall.
‘Wide-ranging global crises’
Pointing out that the world is facing “wide-ranging global crises” that are “intrinsically linked” to the health and sustainability of our environment, General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir called the discussion “particularly timely”.
Building political momentum
The UN official drew attention to a high-level dialogue on 20 May that will focus on pandemic recovery and highlight how to help tackle desertification, land degradation and drought.
It will encompass a “strong push around the need to use this momentous recovery effort to create jobs and shovel-ready projects that support land restoration, regenerative agriculture, renewable energy and energy efficiency, as well as investments in sustainable land management”, said Mr. Bozkir.
He hoped that the discussion would also help support the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, degradation neutrality targets and national drought plans – in line with the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction, the Nationally Determined Contributions of countries’ commitments to increasing climate actions through the 2015 Paris Agreement, and future commitments under the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.
The Assembly president noted that 2021 will be “a milestone year for the three Rio Conventions on Desertification, Biodiversity and Climate Change”, adding that these important issues are linked and actions must be coordinated for maximum impact.
Forests offer hope to heal people, environment and economy -- FAO chief
Liu Zhenmin, head of the UN's Department of Economic and Social Affairs, spoke about new research linking successful forest restoration with rolling back biodiversity loss and species extinction.
He maintained that well preserved habitats and healthy agriculture are key pathways forward and also underscored the importance of indigenous people in forest protection and preservation, calling their role “paramount”.
“Investing in forests is investing in our future”, he said. “We must strengthen our global efforts to protect and restore forests and support the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities. Only then can we realize our shared vision for a more just, equitable and sustainable world”.
Forests are key
In his video message, QU Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), called healthy forests the key to “building back better”.
As they provide energy, food security and income while also storing carbon and housing most of the Earth’s terrestrial biodiversity, he said that "forests offer hope to heal people, environment and economy".
"Our generation must be the one that halts deforestation, biodiversity loss and climate change...and achieve better nutrition, better production, a better environment and a better life", the FAO chief said.
Global Forest Goals Report
The event also launched the Global Forest Goals Report 2021, which evaluates where the world stands in implementing the UN Strategic Plan for Forests 2030.
While the world had been making progress in key areas, such as increasing global forest area through afforestation and restoration, findings reveal that the worsening state of our natural environment is threatening these and other gains.
“Before the pandemic, many countries were working hard to reverse native forest loss and increase protected areas designated for biodiversity conservation”, wrote Secretary-General António Guterres in the report’s foreword.