UNFCCC: A new gate for the Talanoa Dialogue
Jan27

UNFCCC: A new gate for the Talanoa Dialogue

UNFCCC: A new gate for the Talanoa Dialogue The UN Climate Change secretariat launched yesterday a new portal to support the Talanoa Diaologue, an important international conversation in which countries will check progress and seek to increase global ambition to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. By Houmi Ahamed-Mikidache   How will it work? Through the portal, all countries and other stakeholders, including business, investors, cities, regions and civil society, are invited to make submissions into the Talanoa Dialogue around three central questions: Where are we? Where do we want to go? How do we get there? Countries and non-Party stakeholders will be contributing ideas, recommendations and information that can assist the world in taking climate action to the next level in order to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement and support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Talanoa Dialogue The Dialogue was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference COP23 in Bonn in November 2017 and will run throughout 2018. The Paris Agreement’s central goal is keep the global average temperature rise to below 2C degrees and as close as possible to 1.5C. Current global ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to prepare societies to resist increasing climate change is not enough to achieve this under the current national climate action plans known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). “The portal is the gateway for the Talanoa Dialogue. It represents the central point for everyone to make their views heard around enhanced ambition. Additionally, it will make available other key resources for the dialogue,” said Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change. “I very much welcome the portal because it provides transparency and broadens participation in the dialogue. I look forward to many governments and other actors making their submissions via the portal as part of world-wide efforts required for the next level of climate action and ambition”, she said. The Pacific island concept of ‘Talanoa’ was introduced by Fiji, which held the Presidency of the COP23 UN Climate Change Conference. It aims at an inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue. The purpose of the concept is to share stories, build empathy and to make wise decisions for the collective good. The Talanoa method purposely avoids blame and criticism to create a safe space for the exchange of ideas and collective decision-making. The Talanoa Dialogue will be constructive, facilitative and oriented towards providing solutions and will see both technical and political exchanges....

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The November UN Climate Conference: an opportunity to integrate risk management- Column
Oct11

The November UN Climate Conference: an opportunity to integrate risk management- Column

  The November UN Climate Conference: an opportunity to integrate risk management- Column By, Patricia Espinosa, Achim Steiner and Robert Glasser* From Miami and Puerto Rico to Barbuda and Havana, the devastation of this year’s hurricane season across Latin America and the Caribbean serves as a reminder that the impacts of climate change know no borders. In recent weeks, Category 5 hurricanes have brought normal life to a standstill for millions in the Caribbean and on the American mainland. Harvey, Irma and Maria have been particularly damaging. The 3.4 million inhabitants of Puerto Rico have been scrambling for basic necessities including food and water, the island of Barbuda has been rendered uninhabitable, and dozens of people are missing or dead on the UNESCO world heritage island of Dominica. The impact is not confined to this region. The record floods across Bangladesh, India and Nepal have made life miserable for some 40 million people.  More than 1,200 people have died and many people have lost their homes, crops have been destroyed, and many workplaces have been inundated. Meanwhile, in Africa, over the last 18 months 20 countries have declared drought emergencies, with major displacement taking place across the Horn region. For those countries that are least developed the impact of disasters can be severe, stripping away livelihoods and progress on health and education; for developed and middle-income countries the economic losses from infrastructure alone can be massive; for both, these events reiterate the need to act on a changing climate that threatens only more frequent and more severe disasters. A (shocking) sign of things to come? The effects of a warmer climate on these recent weather events, both their severity and their frequency, has been revelatory for many, even the overwhelming majority that accept the science is settled on human-caused global warming. While the silent catastrophe of 4.2 million people dying prematurely each year from ambient pollution, mostly related to the use of fossil fuels, gets relatively little media attention, the effect of heat-trapping greenhouse gases on extreme weather events is coming into sharper focus. It could not be otherwise when the impacts of these weather events are so profound. During the last two years over 40 million people, mainly in countries which contribute least to global warming, were forced either permanently or temporarily from their homes by disasters. There is clear consensus: rising temperatures are increasing the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere, leading to more intense rainfall and flooding in some places, and drought in others. Some areas experience both, as was the case this year in California, where record floods followed years of intense drought. TOPEX/Poseidon, the first satellite to precisely...

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Linking extreme weather to climate change- Scientists
Sep09

Linking extreme weather to climate change- Scientists

As we are watching with concern the unfolding extreme weather events around the globe today and in recent weeks, the relationship of these extremes to the underlying trend of climate change is being discussed by scientists. The Science Media Centre in London, UK has been collating some of these expert views. These comments are also available on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Newsroom website.   Dr Adrian Champion, of the University of Exeter, said: “The occurrence of two category five hurricanes in the same season hasn’t been known to happen since records began. “It’s difficult to predict whether Irma will continue to strengthen – they get their energy from warm oceans and, given it’s already made landfall, you could expect it to weaken – but now it’s passing over the ocean again it could re-intensify. “The question regarding whether Jose will develop into a category five hurricane is mixed. Given that Irma has just passed through, there isn’t as much ‘energy’ to intensify Jose. However, the conditions are similar. “The climate change projections are that we’ll get fewer, but more intense, cyclones in the future.” Dr Ilan Kelman, Reader in Risk Resilience and Global Health at University College London, said: “As the scale of devastation from Hurricane Irma emerges, once post-disaster needs are met, we can ask about readiness. The islands which were hit knew they were in a hurricane zone and many run drills every year to be prepared for the hurricane season. In places, it appears to have saved lives. But we always want to strive to help everyone–and to be ready beforehand to reconstruct as soon as the storm has passed.” Dr Chris Holloway, tropical storm expert at the University of Reading, said: “Hurricane Irma is a potentially life-threatening storm for the Caribbean islands and neighbouring Leeward Islands due to winds up to 185 mph and storm surge up to 11 feet with large swells on top of this. The storm is likely to maintain very strong intensity (category 4 or 5) over the next three days, probably staying just north of the Greater Antilles but still a potential threat to Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. After that, the forecast track becomes more uncertain, with the storm likely affecting the Bahamas and Florida over the weekend. “Since the storm will begin to turn more towards the north in about five days, but the exact timing of this turn is uncertain, all of the Florida peninsula, the Bahamas, Cuba, and the Carolinas and Georgia should be prepared for a possible landfall or other effects of a severe hurricane.  The main dangers with this storm are storm surge and...

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COP 23: Addressing  Loss and Damage in Tanzania
Juil14

COP 23: Addressing  Loss and Damage in Tanzania

COP 23: Addressing  Loss and Damage in Tanzania Many people remember the last rainy season in May. It has started unusually late. But it has affected people.There are views that the erratic rainy seasons and the high intensity of rainfall are caused by climate change and some negative impacts are now unavoidable. These consequences of human-induced climate change often result in loss and damage.  Analysis by DeodatusMfugale*.     Dar es Salaam July 14, 2017 Many people lost their property Many people remember the last rainy season in May. It has started unusually late. But it has affected people. Residents of Tanga city, located on the Tanzanian northern coast close to the Kenyan border, were pounded by  heavy downpour recently. It was not happened in this town  and around for over four decades. As a result, some sections of roads were washed away by floods while several houses were pulled down. Many people lost their property as some houses were submerged under floodwater. In other places, in one village in Kilimanjaro region, a pastoralist could do nothing but watch helplessly as some of his livestock disappeared during a night. A farmer in Mvomero district of Morogoro region also lost several hectares of maize crop after his farm became waterlogged following heavy rains. Experts said that maize plants cannot survive in pools of water. Several people also lost their lives due to severe flash floods. Agricultural productivity is hardly affected by climate change in Tanzania: soils can no longer support growth of traditional crops. It is forcing people to leave their villages . According to the Ministry for Environment, 61 percent of Tanzania suffer from desertification. “Desertification makes land unsuitable for agriculture and livestock keeping, and Rising sea levels threaten to sink island and saline water has infiltrated freshwater sources, said Sabine Minninger, Climate Change Policy Advisor, Bread for the World. She emphasized: “These have forced members of vulnerable communities to migrate to other areas where they have lost their identity.” Understanding Loss and Damage There are views that the erratic rainy seasons and the high intensity of rainfall are caused by climate change and some negative impacts are now unavoidable. These consequences of human-induced climate change often result in loss and damage.“Loss refers to things that are lost forever and cannot be brought back, such as human lives or species , while damages refer to things that are damaged, but can be repaired or restored, such as roads or embankments, ” explained Saleemul Huq, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). Strengthening flood barriers, planting trees, using new crop varieties and other forms of adaptation...

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Climate and Development Agendas Are Inherently Linked
Mar26

Climate and Development Agendas Are Inherently Linked

Speaking at the opening of the President of the General Assembly High-Level Event Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Agenda in New York on 23 March, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said that the sustainable development and climate change agendas are inherently linked. “By looking at climate and sustainability holistically, we maximize the potential for positive outcomes of every action we take. And when international commitments are turned into country-level action, tangible benefits are delivered to communities and the people who live there,” she said. Here is her full address: H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, President of the United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, Excellencies, Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen, Let me first recognize the President of the General Assembly and the Government of Fiji for your climate leadership. Today’s special event is the latest in a long list that is your lasting legacy of leadership on this critical issue. Thank you for shining a light on vulnerability through your work in the Pacific Islands Forum and Climate Vulnerable Forum. Thank you for your bold Paris Agreement contribution of 100 per cent renewable power by 2030. Thank you for being the first to ratify the Paris Agreement. And thank you for your excellent partnership as COP 23 President in preparation of this year’s UN climate change conference. I must also express my sincere gratitude to the Secretary-General for making the connection between climate change and the sustainable development agenda and calling for an integrated approach to our challenges. Your vision of preventing future risk through stronger institutions, more resilient societies and bold action must guide every nation forward through the sometimes turbulent waters of transformative change. How far is the Paris Agreement ? One hundred and thirty-seven Member States are working towards that vision by ratifying the Paris Climate Change Agreement. This is both a crucial step towards concerted action on climate change and a step towards truly sustainable development. As the international community takes these important initial steps in this new era of implementation, we must do so with the full knowledge that the sustainable development agenda and climate change agenda are inherently linked. These challenges must be addressed in an integrated manner because there is only one on-the-ground reality. By looking at climate and sustainability holistically, we maximize the potential for positive outcomes of every action we take. And when international commitments are turned into country-level action, tangible benefits are delivered to communities and the people who live there. Implementation is the policy that meets these commitments. And we must move quickly to put this policy in place. We must bend...

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