Archive for November, 2015

November 30, 2015

COP 21 / CMP 11: World Bank Announces New $500 Million Initiative to Boost Large Scale Climate Action in Developing Countries

WaterSan Perspective Reporter

PARIS, Nov. 30, 2015 – Four European countries – Germany, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland – today announced a new $500 million initiative that will find new ways to create incentives aimed at large scale cuts in greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries to combat climate change. The World Bank Group worked with the countries to develop the initiative.

The Transformative Carbon Asset Facility will help developing countries implement their plans to cut emissions by working with them to create new classes of carbon assets associated with reduced greenhouse gas emission reductions, including those achieved through policy actions.

Cop21 Logo

Cop21 Logo

The facility will measure and pay for emission cuts in large scale programs in areas like renewable energy, transport, energy efficiency, solid waste management, and low carbon cities. For example, it could make payments for emission reductions to countries that remove fossil fuel subsidies or embark on other reforms like simplifying regulations for renewable energy.

“We want to help developing countries find a credible pathway toward low carbon development,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. “This initiative is one such way because it will help countries create and pay for the next generation of carbon credits.”

This new initiative is planned to start operations in 2016 with an initial expected commitment of more than $250 million from contributing countries. The facility will remain open for additional contributions until a target of $500 million is reached. It is expected that the new facility’s support will be provided alongside $2 billion of investment and policy-related lending by the World Bank Group and other sources.

“Putting market forces to work is an efficient way of reducing emissions. We expect to achieve significant impact on the ground through the facility and ensure the sustainability of reducing emissions even beyond the facility’s initial support, for example, through carbon pricing instruments like emissions trading systems and carbon taxes, or stronger low-carbon policy standards and their enforcement,” said Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway. “We are pleased to support this initiative that will help guide the next generation of carbon market programs.”

This facility will work alongside a range of global initiatives and national climate plans to help both developed and developing countries achieve their mitigation goals. It will pay for carbon assets with high environmental integrity and a strong likelihood to comply with future international rules, and will share its learning with the international community.

“It is very encouraging to see this new initiative launched when all eyes are on Paris. Four countries are leading with their example and bridging one of the main challenges for developing countries to achieve low carbon growth. By working with developing countries to establish market-based carbon pricing policies and programs, the facility can help achieve both better growth and a better climate for all,” said Felipe Calderón, Chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate and former President of Mexico.

November 17, 2015

African Experts Urge the Continent to Address Livestock Methane Emissions

Joyce Chimbi
November 17, 2015

Though increasing calls for Africa to reduce methane emissions from livestock continue to be met with controversy, livestock scientists say that methane is a forgotten short-term climate pollutant with significant global warming potential that Africa cannot continue to overlook.

On one hand critics say that in the absence of a significant body of science to back the premise that methane emissions from livestock in Africa is becoming a major contributor to climate change, the continent must ignore calls to reduce methane emissions.

For total livestock emissions, beef cattle account for the highest methane emissions. Photo Joyce Chimbi

For total livestock emissions, beef cattle account for the highest methane emissions. Photo Joyce Chimbi

But on the other hand experts such as Asaah Ndambi say that though Africa accounts for only three percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, “we have the highest potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions per unit of livestock product.”

Statistics by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) show that livestock methane emissions account for an estimated 14.5 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions.

According to Ndambi, a livestock scientist at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi, Kenya “we cannot run away from the fact that the methane emissions per unit of output in developing countries-particularly Africa and Asia- are significantly high in comparison to the same animals in industrial countries due to the low productivity of animals in Africa and Asia.”

Ndambi was speaking during the annual media briefing on climate change for Global South journalists held in New Delhi, India this year by the Center for Science and Environment where he said that methane emissions if ignored will present a major challenge in the future.

According to FAO, livestock contributes both directly and indirectly to climate change through the emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.

Further stating that methane emissions from livestock account for about 80 percent of agricultural methane and 35 percent of the total anthropogenic [man-made] methane emissions.

Methane emissions mostly occur as part of the natural digestive process of animals and manure management in livestock operations, Ndambi says.

Methane’s Impact in Warming the Earth
Emmanuel Oladipo, Professor of climatology, Climate Change Network in Lagos, Nigeria says that “though there is need for more research into livestock methane emissions, we cannot ignore what preliminary studies are showing, methane is a potent gas.”

According to Prof. Oladipo methane has global warming potential of 23 times more significant impact in warming the earth compared to carbon dioxide.

Studies such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report released in 2014 show that temperatures on the African continent, particularly in the more arid regions -where a vast majority of the population is pastoralist- are likely to rise more quickly than in other land areas.

As arid and semi-arid rangelands face warmer days, with frequent heat waves as predicted by the IPCC report, experts say that with the right interventions, the current generation has an opportunity to experience the phasing out of methane as a potent greenhouse gas.

According to IPCC, between 65 percent and 80 percent of carbon dioxide-which is the most significant man made greenhouse gas-released into the air dissolves into the ocean over a period of about 20-200 years.

Nitrous oxide, another greenhouse gas is removed from the atmosphere through a process that could take up to 114 years.

Methane is consequently considered a short lived climate pollutant since it takes 12 to 14 years for it to be completely removed from the atmosphere but is much more potent as a heat-trapping gas, with experts saying that as the temperatures rise, continued increase of methane emissions will outpace that of carbon dioxide.

Calls for Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies
Towards addressing livestock contribution to greenhouse emissions, experts at the New Delhi Climate Change Media briefing said that a two-pronged strategy must be employed.

“We must look into the contribution that livestock methane emissions are making, we also must have adaptation and mitigation strategies,” Ndambi expounds.

He said that Africa must embrace fewer but more productive animals, a call that is already being received with resistance by pastoralists communities as well as other communities which keep domestic animals for religious purposes.

We have communities that keep their livestock long after they have stopped being productive, these animals continue to emit methane until they die. We are encouraging livestock farmers to slaughter such animals,” he said.

The situation might get even more complicated with experts such Sarah Akinyi, a Nairobi based Nutritionist saying that consumption of animal proteins among the poor in developing countries is too low “and we are encouraging more production and consumption.”

Further saying that with the exponential population growth in developing countries, “there will naturally be more production and consumption of animal proteins.”

In as far as total livestock [average emission per animal multiplied by total number of animals in a country] emissions are concerned, according to ILRI, beef cattle account for the highest methane emissions, followed by dairy cattle, pigs, buffalos and chicken respectively.

This means that emissions for beef can be high because we have more beef cattle in the world or because the emission per cattle is high,” Ndambi says.

Sheep and goats also have high emissions per kilogram of meat but they are fewer in number which makes their total methane emissions lower compared to cattle.

“We need to explore appropriate feeding strategies that increase productivity while at the same time reducing methane emissions from enteric fermentations. Strategies will therefore include feeding livestock on improved forages such as feed supplements,” Ndambi explains.

Emissions Per Capita
“Though emissions per capita are lower [this divides a country’s total annual emissions by its population] emissions per unit of output or rather per one litre of milk or a kilogram of beef are high,” Oladipo explained.

ILRI says that other strategies will include exploring various feed additives, including plant extracts as well as improving feed conversion efficiency.

Ndambi explained that the amount of feed consumed per unit of production, helps to decrease the amount of methane produced since more efficient animals have been shown to produce less methane.
This can achieved thought giving animals diets that are more highly digestible.

FAO also encourages creating awareness of appropriate strategies and technologies for reducing methane emissions from livestock and for mitigation purposes.

Article first published by Inter Press Service

November 13, 2015

Over 40000 People to Attend the 2015 Paris Climate Conference

Fredrick Mugira
November 13, 2015

Over 40,000 persons are expected to attend the Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21) in December this year. This is according to François Richier, Ambassador of France to India.

Richier says the French government would offer free visas to journalists. He was speaking during the final day of the Annual Media Briefing on Climate Change organised by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), an environment think tank based in India.

(L-R) French Ambassador Francois Richier, CSE Director General Sunita Narain and Zambian Deputy Ambassador to India Sikapale Chinzewe at the final day of the conference.

(L-R) French Ambassador Francois Richier, CSE Director General Sunita Narain and Zambian Deputy Ambassador to India Sikapale Chinzewe at the final day of the conference.

Over 100 journalists from the continents of Asia and Africa attended this two-day event held at India Habitat Centre in New Delhi at the beginning of this month.

In her remarks, the CSE Director General Sunita Narain petitioned the developing country to negotiate powerfully during this conference.

It is important for developing countries to negotiate strongly in Paris. It is critical that countries from South Asia and Africa send their best people and negotiate hard on climate change,” said Sunita.

Most speakers during this event blamed the developed countries for the present state of global warming.

The world is already looking at the prospect of not containing climate change within 2 degrees Celsius. And to achieve this, the Zambian deputy high commissioner Sikapale Chinzewe who also spke during this occasion, insisted that climate change resolutions must be legally binding.

Speaking in a session to discuss American consumption trends, CSE Director General Sunita Narain said that if the US did not make serious changes to its “conspicuous consumption”, climate change mitigation efforts would not be as successful as US needed to lead the way, having been the highest emitter in the world.

Earlier, CSE Deputy Director General Chandra Bhushan said that the per capita annual emission of the United States would be 12 tonnes while that of the European Union would be five tonnes in 2030.

People live well in the EU. Americans need to scale down their lifestyles,” he said.

Some of the journalists from Africa who attended this two-day event in India.

Some of the journalists from Africa who attended this two-day event in India.

One of the journalists, Kaah Aaron Yancho, from Cameroon, who is also a member of Water Journalists Africa and writer for WaterSan Perspective lamented that the western media was shaping the agenda in developing countries instead of the indigenous media in these countries.

We need to ensure that our policies are not affected by the powerful but biased foreign media,” he said.

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