#GreeningGovernmentStrategy; #netzeroOperations; #NSS; #LowerEmissions
Ottawa/Canadian-Media: The publication of the updated Greening Government Strategy, setting new targets for net-zero, green and climate-resilient government operations was announced Nov 26 by Jean-Yves Duclos, President of the Treasury Board in Canada.
Greening Government. Image credit: Canada.ca
The updated Greening Government Strategy is accompanied by the Government of Canada's commitment to reduce its own operational greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to net zero by 2050 national safety and security (NSS) fleet green procurement and employee commuting.
Assertive action is being taken by the Government of Canada to lower these emissions from its buildings, conventional fleet, national safety and security operations and its procurement, as well as ensuring its operations and assets are resilient to a changing climate.
Crown Corporations are also being encouraged to adopt the Greening Government Strategy or an equivalent strategy of their own that includes a net-zero by 2050 target.
Sharing an update of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory that tracks GHG emissions from federal operations, Duclos said the government is ensuring accountability for its environmental targets and is committed to the principles of transparency and open data demonstrating there has been a decrease of 34 percent from 2005 in emissions in government operations from its real property and conventional fleet and that the government is on track to meet reductions of 40 percent by 2025.
"By adopting low-carbon solutions for our buildings and fleets...demonstrating real and measurable results. Our goal of a green government within a green and resilient economy will benefit Canadians now and in the future, said Duclos."
reductions in GHG emissions from federal operations and to increased deployment of renewable power in Canada would be contributed largely by investments in clean electricity.
“Canadians want cleaner air, healthier communities, and a strong economy for their children and grandchildren...This approach will create jobs, attract investment, and ensure markets for Canadian products for the years and decades to come, said Jonathan Wilkinson, Canadian Minister for the Environment and Climate Change."
#UNEP; #NASA; #TradeRules; #ProtectThePlanet; #Rainforest; #Ecosystem
UNEP/Canadian-Media: As satellites from NASA zipped over the planet Earth yesterday, they saw what they have seen every day for months: fires, hundreds of them, tearing through virgin rainforest and other vital ecosystems.
Image credit: Pixaby
Many of the blazes, which come at the tail end of a devastating fire season, are believed to have been set by farmers eager to clear land and sate the booming global demand for beef and soybeans.
A new United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report, jointly produced with the International Resource Panel, says that type of unbridled international trade is having a damaging effect not only on rainforests but the entire planet. The report, which called for a raft of new Earth-friendly trade rules, found that the extraction of natural resources could spark water shortages, drive animals to extinction and accelerate climate change – all of which would be ruinous to the global economy.
“The economic fallout of COVID-19 is just an overture to what we would see if the Earth’s natural systems break down. We have to make sure that our global trade policies protect the environment not only for the sake of our planet but also for the long-term health of our economies,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP.
The environmental toll
The new report, titled the Sustainable Trade in Resources, was unveiled Monday by UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen at a meeting of the World Trade Organization.
It found that in 2017, 35 billion tonnes of material resources, from oil to iron to potatoes, were extracted from the earth specifically for the purposes of trade. While that helped create millions of jobs, especially in poor communities, the report found it had a profound effect of the planet. Resource extraction was responsible for 90 per cent of species loss, 90 per cent of water stress and 50 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in 2017.
With the demand for natural resources set to double by 2060, the report called on policy makers to embrace what is known as a “circular” economic model. That would see businesses use fewer resources, recycle more and extend the life of their products. It would also put an onus on consumers to buy less, save energy and repair things that are broken instead of throwing them away.
"There’s this idea out there that we have to log, mine, and drill our way to prosperity. But that’s not true. By embracing circularity and re-using materials we can still drive economic growth while protecting the planet for future generations,” said Inger Andersen, UNEP Executive Director.
The benefits of going green
Those changes could pay big dividends for the planet, the report found. By conserving resources, humanity could slash its greenhouse gas emissions by 90 per cent.
While the circular model could have “economic implications” for countries that depend on natural resources, it would give rise to new industries devoted to recycling and repair. Overall, the report predicts, a greener economic model would boost growth by 8 per cent by 2060.
“There’s this idea out there that we have to log, mine, and drill our way to prosperity,” said Inger Andersen. “But that’s not true. By embracing circularity and re-using materials we can still drive economic growth while protecting the planet for future generations.”
Some countries, both in the developed and developing world, have embraced the concept of a circular economy. But the report said international trade agreements can play an important role in making those systems more common. It called on the World Trade Organization, which has 164 member countries, to take the environment into consideration when setting regulations. It also recommended that regional trade pacts promote investments in planet-friendly industries, eliminate “harmful” subsidies, like those for fossil fuels, and avoid undercutting global environmental accords.
“Re-orienting the global economy isn’t an easy job,” said Inger Andersen. There are a lot of vested interests we have to contend with. But with the Earth’s population expected to reach almost 10 billion by 2050, we need to find ways to relieve the pressure on the planet.”
UNEP; Climate change; Deforestation; Nature; biodiversity
London/Canadian-Media: Using new data and novel analytical approaches, research released today by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and partners underscores the size of the prize on offer from integrating action to save nature and combat climate change, UNEP reports said.
Image credit: Twitter handle
The report, Strengthening synergies: How action to achieve post-2020 global biodiversity conservation targets can contribute to mitigating climate change, finds that conserving 30 percent of land in strategic locations could safeguard 500 gigatonnes of carbon stored in vegetation and soils — around half the world’s vulnerable terrestrial carbon stocks — and reduce the extinction risk of nearly 9 out of 10 threatened terrestrial species.
Launched today at an event convened by the UN-REDD Programme as part of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) Race to Zero Dialogues — specifically on nature’s pivotal role in the fight against the climate crisis — the report shows that coordinating priority areas to conserve both biodiversity and carbon stocks is key to meeting ambitious goals for both nature and climate. It highlights areas where global conservation action can deliver the most to achieve biodiversity goals and mitigate climate change.
Co-authored by the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and several supporting partners, the research shows that when prioritizing areas for conservation, accounting for biodiversity and carbon together can secure 95 percent of the biodiversity benefits and nearly 80 percent of the carbon stocks that could be obtained by prioritizing either value alone.
The authors highlight the fundamental interconnectedness of climate change and biodiversity loss crises and make the point that more integrated approaches are needed to address them. Actions that capitalize on the contributions of nature, known as nature-based solutions, and are based on inclusive decision-making that recognizes the land rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, are especially crucial to acting effectively to address climate change and biodiversity loss.
“There is no climate solution without the full contribution from nature. As the UNEP-WCMC report and the work of UN-REDD show, if we can realize the full contribution of nature to climate change mitigation, we will have also achieved the goal of biodiversity conservation,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP.
The analysis identifies well-known biodiversity hotspots as the most important regions to prioritize for nature-based climate solutions — these include Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, Mesoamerica and large parts of Mediterranean biomes and South-East Asia, as well as other hotspots on the West African Coast, Papua New Guinea, and the East Australian Rainforest. Other areas important because of the vast amounts of carbon they contain include the lowlands south of the Hudson Bay, the Amazon rainforest, and the Congo Basin.
Lord Zac Goldsmith, the UK Government Minister for Pacific and the Environment, said: “November marks one year to go until the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, and as co-hosts, we are in a strong position to galvanize global action. This important research underlines the critically important connections between climate and biodiversity and the urgent need to protect nature. In September the Prime Minister committed to protecting 30% of our land by 2030 as we work to build back better and greener from the coronavirus pandemic. This builds on our campaign through the Global Ocean Alliance to protect 30% of the world’s ocean by 2030. We are encouraging all countries to increase their efforts to protect and restore nature as a solution not only to climate change but biodiversity loss and poverty too.”
Andrea Meza Murillo, Minister for Environment and Energy of Costa Rica said: “We are still in the turmoil of the tragedy and disruption of Covid-19, and scientists tell us that we only have a window of 10 years to solve the climate crisis and to reverse the severe trend of biodiversity loss. If we work together and we protect at least 30% of the planet by 2030, we will be on a clear pathway to meet the twin goals of climate change mitigation and biodiversity conservation. The road towards COP26 is critical to address this crisis”.
Sveinung Rotevatn, Minister for Climate and the Environment of Norway said: “The world is facing several crises at the same time. We must halt the loss of biodiversity and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Bringing tropical deforestation to zero will contribute to both. Norway partners with tropical forest countries to reduce deforestation and forest degradation. Norway is making high-resolution satellite data freely available to forest country governments and the public. The rules are in place. Now is the time for private companies to be clear they will tackle deforestation in their supply chains and pay for emissions reductions from tropical forest countries that deliver high quality, certified results guaranteeing social and environmental integrity. Only by coordinating their efforts and aggregating their demand for emissions reductions will they truly help tropical forest countries drive down deforestation.”
The findings underscore that greater ambition and action are needed to bend the curve of biodiversity loss and greenhouse gas emissions. As global progress is driven by national action, applying the analytical approaches used in this study to inform national scale decision-making will be key; this report supports the case for national climate targets (Nationally Determined Contributions) to incorporate ambitious policies for conserving and restoring nature.
November marks one year to go until the UN Climate Change Summit (COP26), which will be hosted in Glasgow next year by the UK in partnership with Italy. On December 12, 2020, the UK, United Nations, and France will co-host the Climate Ambition Summit alongside partners Italy and Chile, on the fifth anniversary of the landmark Paris Agreement. The findings of the report are expected to contribute to the growing body of knowledge on biodiversity and climate ahead of the start of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and the UN Decade of Action on the Sustainable Development Goals (2021–2030).
#UN; #CliateCrisis; #EU; #SDGs
UN/Canadian-Media: Pointing to its “pioneering legislation and policies”, on Thursday the UN chief hailed the 27-member European Union (EU) as a “a leader on climate action”, that had shown that it was possible to cut emissions while achieving economic growth.
Climate Change. Image credit: Unsplash
Secretary-General António Guterres applauded the bloc’s climate action in a virtual address to the European Council on Foreign Relations, while emphasizing that “we are still nowhere near the finish line… and still running behind in the race against time”.
Encouraging responses The UN chief began on an upbeat note, informing that by early 2021, States responsible for more than 65 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions and more than 70 per cent of the world economy, will have made “ambitious commitments to carbon neutrality”.
“The European Union, Japan and the Republic of Korea have pledged carbon neutrality by 2050, along with more than 110 other countries”, he elaborated. “China says it will do so before 2060”.
Heightened climate action needed However, the world’s top diplomat stressed the need for “every country, city, financial institution and company” to adopt plans for transitioning to net zero emissions by 2050.
And he called for them to be ready before November 2021, when the next UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) is scheduled to be held in Scotland, and highlighted the importance of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) required under the 2015 Paris Agreement and long-term strategies towards carbon neutrality.
He maintained that the G20 wealthiest nations, which are responsible for more than 80 per cent of climate pollution, must show the way and recognized the EU as leading on net zero emissions within the group.
“I urge you to continue to lead with concrete and ambitious near-term commitments”, said the UN chief, advocating for EU members NDCs to reflect at least a 55 per cent emission reduction by 2030.
He said that the Climate Ambition Summit, which the UN is co-hosting with the United Kingdom and France on the five-year anniversary of the Paris Agreement next month, represents “a clear opportunity” for the EU to present its more ambitious climate plan.
“Enhanced ambition from the G20 also means aligning economic plans and COVID-19 recovery measures with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”, he added. “It is essential that the European Union accelerates its transition toward clean energy”.
Setting ‘a powerful example’ Noting that “the EU has been building solidarity with the most vulnerable countries around the world”, Mr. Guterres pointed out that the bloc’s proposals to speed up how it confronts inequality and protects those affected by the transition “can set a powerful example”.
Continue to lead with concrete and ambitious near-term commitments -- UN chief
“The European Union has a crucial role in ensuring that developing countries in need have the necessary support to recover sustainably from COVID-19 and to enhance their own climate ambition – through assistance for mitigation, adaptation and resilience”, the Secretary-General spelled out.
To this end, he asked the EU and other donor countries to deliver $100 billion in climate finance to developing countries annually.
Heading towards the Climate Ambition Summit on 12 December and COP26 next year, the UN chief signaled that “the world will once again be looking to the European Union for climate leadership”.
“I urge the European Union to seize these opportunities – and answer this call – for people everywhere, for prosperity and for the planet we all share and depend on”.
#Australia; #DiscoveryOfReef; #GreatBarrierReef; #JyotikaVirmani; #JamesCookUniversity;
#SuBastian; #underwatermapping; #GreenSeaTurtles; #biodiversity; #ClimateChange
Toronto, Nov 17 (Canadian-Media): A Reef extending 1,640 feet (500 metres) below the ocean surface had been discovered by Schmidt Ocean Institute (SOI) during a year-long expedition of oceans surrounding Australia, reported the Truprint Group.
Image credit: Daniel Torobekov
This discovery is part of the Great Barrier Reef, which is the single longest reef in the world, the first detached reef discovered in these waters for more than 100 years, stretching 1,400 miles across the surface of the North Eastern Australian Ocean making it taller than the Empire State Building.
"To find a new half-a-kilometer tall reef in… the well-recognized Great Barrier Reef shows how mysterious the world is just beyond our coastline." – Jyotika Virmani, executive director of Schmidt Ocean Institute.
The discovery of the reef was done by a team of scientists led by Dr Robin Beaman from James Cook University, using the Institute’s robot ‘SuBastian’ to conduct underwater mapping of the seafloor. High-resolution footage of the new discovery was live-streamed on the SOI website and Youtube Channel. There are seven other detached reefs in the area, some having been discovered as early as the 1800s, including the reef at Raine Island which serves as a prominent nesting area for Green Sea Turtles.
As SOI co-founder Wendy Schmidt says, relatively little has been known about the ocean and marine life until the development of new technologies such as 3D mapping which has made the recent discovery and many others possible, enabling scientists to better understand the complex ecosystems with which we share our planet.
This included discovered the largest recorded sea-creature in the Ningaloo Canyon, a 45m Siphonophore, as well as 30 new species of marine creatures. In August, they also captured the first recording of a rare scorpionfish in the Coral Sea. The Institute’s Campaign to explore the Northern Depths of the Great Barrier Reef will continue until the 17th November. Further maps will be made available through AusSeabed as part of a national sea-mapping program, and will also contribute to the Nippon Foundation GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project.
"To not only 3-D map the reef in detail, but also visually see this discovery with SuBastian is incredible." – Dr Robin Beaman
It was found that this majestic underwater monolith could support more 1,500 species of fish and hundreds of different corals: a range of biodiversity that is commonly associated with the Great Barrier Reef. This new discovery, as with many reefs across the world, is at risk of habitat loss and damage, as a result of climate change.
Due to the rise in sea temperatures around 0.5 degrees Celsius since the 19th century, the reef now faces a great risk of heat stress and coral bleaching, which can harm its ability to build skeletons that act as key habitats for marine life. Significant changes in the ocean’s temperature, as well as its acidification due to carbon dioxide absorption and severe weather events, make it difficult for the reef to recover and protect itself from the devastating effects posed by our changing climate.