Archive for December, 2011


new york magic

my compass sometimes does have a needle but my feet know where to move

en embrace

yellow canary

speakers corner

deforestation

Listen up: already today we are using 25% more resources than our planet can provide sustainably (source: WWF).

How are we supposed to build a future around that?

We have to be willing to take action, collectively and immediately.

We must reduce our ecological footprint, and keep it to an absolute minimum.

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Deforestation is currently responsible for 20% of all emissions, contributing twice as much to global warming as was thought. Our goal should be to prevent greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation by raising awareness and taking whatever action we can.

Forests are rich ecosystems and significant pools of biodiversity – important breeding grounds for millions of species of flora and fauna.

Their role in maintaining climate functions regionally and globally, and the regulation of regional climate patterns through hydrological cycles is of immense importance.

The trees which absorb carbon dioxide are a great tool to combat global warming: stopping deforestation could cut global carbon emissions by as much as three billion tonnes a year – the equivalent of more than 1/3 of all fossil fuel emissions.

The Amazon is the single largest remaining tropical rainforest in the world, housing at least 10% of the world’s known biodiversity, including endemic and endangered flora and fauna. The world depends on this rainforest basin for carbon storage: it has the capacity to sponge 90-140 billion metric tons of carbon (source: BBC).

Main deforestation threats are as follows: burning forests to create grasslands for cattle, mechanized agriculture expansion resulting in soil erosion, river siltation and aquatic contamination with agrochemicals, poorly planned transportation and energy infrastructure, oil and gas spills from hydrocarbon exploitation, and illegal logging.

Unfortunately, immediately after announcing that deforestation is down since conservation efforts began in 1988, the authorities in Brazil voted yesterday to approve a controversial legislation which will alleviate strict fines for some illegal forest clearance and ease overall rules on deforestation.

The reason is a necessity for arable land to feed the growing population and to meet the growing demand for food, stimulating economic development. Farmers are arguing that environmental protection harms their sector and the entire food production system.

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Leading environmental agencies are warning that the changes will spoil Brazil’s significant environmental achievements of recent years and dangerously impair global efforts to fight climate change, reduce carbon emissions, and speed up the loss of biodiversity.

The changes are also expected to expose native tribes and poorer regional settlements to larger risks from floods and droughts.

Another December, another UN Climate Change Conference..

Whether the expectations are realistic or not, an agreement of any kind seems to be out of reach. Or is our ability to save the planet from climate change effects beyond our reach?

COP are annual conferences that assess progress in dealing with climate change. (What progress?) The annual convention, known as Conference of the Parties gathers signees of the Kyoto Protocol. It’s held in Durban, South Africa this week.

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Climate change is far from being a simple problem; its consequences affect or are affected by various global issues – poverty, economic development, population growth, sustainable development and resource management, although it is an environmental issue.

A “climate-safe” future includes:

  • A robust and legally binding international climate agreement
  • An establishment of a fund for climate finance from rich to poor countries
  • A drastic reduction of CO2 emissions
  • Commitment to energy efficiency

More info: user guide and expectations.

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