Newswise — As Paris climate talks enter the final frenzied hours, Joyce Coffee, managing director of the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index (ND-GAIN), points out that business is neglected in the agreement. She says…
“In the 28 page draft, the private sector is mentioned 11 times, mostly as it relates to access to capital. And while carbon pricing is mentioned a few times, along with euphemisms for international emissions trading, the document is likely to remain silent on the word ‘market’ through its finalization.”
On the other hand, good progress on both national commitments and an international agreement is being made.
“Although the most zealous climate mitigators continue to call for a 1.5 degree Celsius target (versus the two degree target that COP21 ostensibly called for), this may not be in climate mitigators best interest,” says Coffee.
“A ‘not bad’ – or the two degree target – outcome will be less likely to die upon return to each national government. Thus, ironically, those who want to kill the Paris Agreement may also be want this ambitious outcome, which would no doubt die upon return to Washington, New Delhi and other climate-agreement tenuous capitals.”
ND-GAIN is the world’s leading global adaptation index and aims to unlock global adaptation solutions that save lives and improve livelihoods while strengthening market positions in the private sector and policy decisions in the public sector. Measuring not only vulnerability but also the readiness to take on investment, it informs strategic, operational and reputational decisions regarding supply chains, capital projects and community engagements. The index includes 20 years of data across 46 indicators for 180 countries.
Originally published by Napoleon Navarro at www.phnompenhpost.com
Reducing carbon pollution is just the tip of the iceberg.
Originally published at www.yaleclimateconnections.org
There are many benefits to climate action. Some are obvious. For example, improving stormwater drainage can prevent flooding. But other benefits may not be as apparent, such as improving water quality at the same time. Clean energy is another example.
COFFEE: “One of the really wonderful things about renewable energy is that it’s providing many more people with access to electricity around the globe. And we know that electricity access has huge benefits for everything from health care to education.”
That’s Joyce Coffee, a board member of the American Society of Adaptation Professionals. While switching from fossil fuels to clean energy will reduce global-warming carbon pollution, it will also improve air quality and cause fewer cases of asthma. Coffee says there are many such examples.
COFFEE: “By adaptation and resilience planning and implementation, we can lift more out of poverty, strengthen economies, even buttress food security, protecting natural resources. There’s a huge amount of opportunity to ensure a brighter future for generations to come.”
Coffee says it’s important to include these additional benefits when calculating the costs and benefits of climate action.
NOTE: Joyce Coffee is managing director of ND-Global Adaptation Index, ND-GAIN.
Originally published by Carin Zissis at www.as-coa.org
California and Arizona combined could fit into the amount of forest cut down in Brazil over the past four decades. Since 1970, glaciers in Peru have irretrievably lost a third of their surface area. Central American countries together contribute just 0.5 percent of global greenhouse gases, but Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua were among the world’s 10 countries most affected by extreme weather and climate variability from 1994 through 2013.
So it may come as little surprise that Latin America—more than any other region in the world per a Pew Research Center report—considers climate change a top global risk. With leaders converging in Paris for COP21 climate talks, we take a look at just how vulnerable Latin American countries are to climate change.
Warming-fueled droughts and storms imperil populations, industries and even the existence of some countries.
Originally published by Lydia O'Connor at www.huffingtonpost.com
Climate change may be the one thing that threatens everyone on Earth. But the peril is much more dire for people in some countries if negotiators fail to reach a climate deal in Paris in the coming weeks.
The Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index and climate risk consulting group Verisk Maplecroft both release annual rankings of nations most vulnerable to climate change based on geographical conditions and preparedness. Below are some of the countries most threatened by a warming planet.
"For my country, Bangladesh, the goal of combatting climate change and its impacts is crucial, as we are on the frontline of this global threat," Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina wrote on The Huffington Post in September, noting that the nation has experienced 50 percent more rainfall than average this year, causing serious damage to crops. "The pledges on reducing emissions submitted for the Paris climate meeting must be measurable and verifiable."
In the photo above from 2011, a man affected by floods in Bangladesh's southwest Satkhira district stands on high land waiting for a rescue boat.
As one of the poorest countries in Africa, Chad is not well-equipped to handle catastrophic climate disasters. Extreme weather events in the country may take the form of increasingly severe droughts or devastating floods, the Global Climate Change Alliance reports, and will take a huge toll on Chad's agriculture, livestock breeding, fisheries, health and housing.
The most striking symbol of climate change in the region is Lake Chad, which has shrunk to nearly one-twentieth of its original size since 1963, according to the U.N.
In the photo above, a boy floats in what was once one of the world's largest lakes. Other countries bordering Lake Chad -- Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon -- are alsoseverely affected by climate change and the lake's shrinking size.
“In all, the experience of countries sharing the Lake Chad further illustrates the mutual challenge we face today and which must be collectively addressed without further delay," Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said Monday in Paris.
Kiribati President Anote Tong, whose 33-island nation of 105,000 people has an average elevation of less than 6.5 feet above sea level, said at the Paris summit Monday that Fiji has already offered to shelter its residents in the event that the islands become uninhabitable, Slate reported.
Pictured in the photo above from September, Kiribati villager Beia Tiim said the extreme high tide that used to come every three or four years now comes every three months, and most wells are underwater.
But Fiji is already faces its own climate disaster. At a gathering of Pacific island nations last month, The Guardian reported, Fiji foreign minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola said the country was seeing a re-emergence of climate-influenced diseases, including typhoid, dengue fever, leptospirosis, and diarrheal illnesses.
"Niger is indeed one of the world’s most vulnerable countries because of its exposure to climate risks and its landlocked position," World Bank economist El Hadj Adama Touré explained in 2013. "Compounding this situation are the risks it faces from both internal and regional political extremism. One way or the other, all these factors affect the performance of the agricultural sector and therefore food and nutritional security."
Resources are stretched in Niger, which has the world's highest birth rate at 7.6 births per woman, and is predicted to double its population by 2031.
In the photo above from 2005, a Nigerian boy works an agriculture field with his father.
Haiti's climate vulnerability is amplified by over-exploitation of its forest, soil and water resources -- all of which will be further strained by a changing climate, the Global Climate Change Alliance noted.
Haiti lies in a hurricane corridor and is predicted to face more frequent and more severe hurricanes as climate change intensifies, according to Columbia.
In the photo above, a Port-au-Prince resident drains muddy water from a flooded house in 2012 after Hurricane Sandy brought extreme rains.
In a country where nearly 90 percent of the people rely on agriculture for their livelihood, climate change will likely wreak havoc on crops with more intense rainfall and floods, landslides and soil erosion in the central Congo basin, according to a BBC report. The country can expect the opposite in the south, where the Katanga region will likely see its rainy season shorten by at least two months by 2020.
Malaria and cardiovascular and water-borne diseases also may increase as a result of the warming climate.
In the photo above, a Congolese man helps plant casava between acacia trees that will keep carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere as part of the first "carbon-well" to be registered by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Climate change increases Afghanistan's likelihood of drought, floods and desertification. The warming climate will likely disrupt agricultural and security developments after three decades of war, warns the Global Climate Change Alliance.
In the photo above, an Afghan girl walks with her sheep down a dusty street in Kabul in 2007.
“By building adaptive capacity, you’re really taking care of some of the development issues, and by bringing people together in a genuinely participatory process, you can really contribute to reducing the conflict and tension within the country,” Denis Sonwa, a scientist and agro-ecologist at Center for International Forestry Research, said.
Agriculture in the country is "still artisanal" without irrigation systems, Sonwa explained, which keeps it dependent on the rainy season.
Meanwhile, recurring floods in Central African Republic capital Bangui cause on average$7 million in damages and losses a year, The Guardian noted.
In the photo above, Central African Republic troops stand guard at a building used for joint meetings between them and U.S. Army special forces, in Obo, Central African Republic.
The nation's reliance on rain for its irrigation-free agriculture system is already becoming a problem.
"Rainfall is becoming increasingly irregular in space and time, a phenomenon accompanied by increase in temperature, thus causing low-yield agriculture, soil degradation by intensification of the phenomenon of evapo-transpiration," the report noted.
In the photo above, farmers plow rice fields outside Contuboel, Guinea-Bissau.
Originally published by Erin Brodwin & Matt Johnston at www.businessinsider.com
Climate change is real, and it's coming.
The leaders of 150 nations, along with thousands of representatives of nearly 200 countries, meet today in Paris for the 20th time to try and come up with a master plan to stave off the global catastrophe ahead.
Of course, all of us will be affected in different ways. How will your country fare?
The folks at Eco Experts put together a great infographic in June based on data from the Notre Dame Global Adaptation (ND-Gain) Index, an annual ranking of which countries are best poised to adapt to a warming world.
While the maps provide a great zoomed-out perspective of what will happen globally as the earth warms, there are a few caveats to keep in mind when checking it out:
- The map is based on rankings, not comprehensive evaluations of each country. In other words, the best-ranked countries are only as great as they seem compared against the countries that aren't performing so well.
- The map looks only at the country-level. All of the state-specific, region-specific, or city-specific data is somewhat lost in this zoomed-out perspective. While the US gets a green light on this map, for example, specific parts of the country are far less equipped to handle climate change, including Miami and New York City.
- Developed countries as a whole have far more infrastructure to adapt to a warming planet. The government can force people in coastal cities such as Miami Beach to move inland; we can also build new airports and transit hubs closer to the center of the country. The map reflects countries' abilities to do just that.
Here's the full graphic:
Solomon Islands is among ten countries around the world which have made marked progress in their ability to cope with climate change.
Originally published by Radio New Zealand International at www.radionz.co.nz
The University of Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index uses 46 indicators to measure climate change risks to 180 countries.
It also measures how ready countries are to accept investment that could help them cope with more extreme weather and rising seas.
Solomon Islands stands alongside Malaysia, Rwanda, the Philippines, Poland and several other countries which have improved significantly in their ability to cope.
The researchers attributed their success to economic gains and development improvements such as boosting access to reliable drinking water and sanitation, strengthening agriculture, and lowering slum populations and child malnutrition.
ND-GAIN's managing director, Joyce Coffee, says the index is intended to help leaders prioritise investments to help countries adapt better, and ensure the most vulnerable are not forgotten.
Syria, Libya and Yemen are among countries whose standing has deteriorated the most.
The index found contributing factors to their falling scores are increases in political instability, violence, corruption and poor rule of law.
Originally published by Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan at gizmodo.com
The world has changed a lot in the past 12 months, with political conflict focusing the world on immediate crises, not the distant future. But a group of scientists are are showing how these conflicts will affect our ability to adapt to climate change down the road–and our ability to survive as a human race.
The Global Adaptation Index is a Notre Dame-based project that ranks every country in the world by how prepared it is for the stresses of climate change: food insecurity, drought, health crises, war, flooding, extreme storms, poverty, and more. The index has been around for years–it is a comprehensive statistical look at how quickly a country can adapt to change (we covered it last year, looking at the countries most likely to bewiped out by these changes).
But this week, the scientists behind GAIN introduced their most recent rankings, showing how 2014 dramatically shifted the preparedness of many countries. The big takeaway? Countries that have seen conflict over the past year slipped dramatically. Syria and Libya top the list of countries that fell through the ranks–while Yemen, a country that’s still covering from a battering of unprecedented cyclones, also slipped dramatically:
“Several countries with the biggest losses on ND-GAIN Country Index are also very fragile, suggesting a connection between climate and conflict,” said Ian Noble, and advisor on the index. That’s because the index doesn’t just rank how at-risk a country is for climate change: It ranks how well it could respond to changes, based on metrics about its economic and political stability, government corruption, and infrastructure.
The ranking gives us two fields: Vulnerability and readiness. For example,take Syria. Syria’s readiness plummeted because neither the government nor the economy is prepared to protect the country from climate change. But what’s really important here is the country’s vulnerability listing. According to the GAIN index, Syria’s biggest vulnerability is water access. The conflict in Syria actually has its roots in the worst drought in its history, which contributed to the conflict.
“[T]he extreme dryness, combined with other factors, including misguided agricultural and water-use policies of the Syrian government, caused crop failures that led to the migration of as many as 1.5 million people from rural to urban areas,” the New York Times reported this year. “This in turn added to social stresses that eventually resulted in the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011.”
But this wasn’t your run-of-the-mill drought: A study published in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in March showed a causal relationship between the warming climate and the extreme conditions, concluding that greenhouse gas emissions directly spurred warmer temperatures and less rainfall in the region.
As the GAIN index illustrates, conflicts spreading across larger regions further lessens countries’ abilities to respond to the climate crisis–a vicious cycle of war and climate change. Look no further than Paris, where in a matter of weeks, world leaders will convene for arguably the most important meeting on climate change ever held as the city recovers from the horrifying attacks of Friday, November 13th.
The link between our warming planet and the wars spreading across it has never been more clear. Hopefully, the talks with catalyze a plan to break it–but it’s going to be a long road.
Lead image: Dry land near the giant Dadaab refugee settlement on July 19, 2011 in Dadaab, Kenya. Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images.