Visitors Now:
Total Visits:
Total Stories:
Profile image
By Human Wrongs Watch
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views

Now:
Last Hour:
Last 24 Hours:
Total:

Climate Doomsday – Another Step Closer

Friday, October 28, 2016 3:18
% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

(Before It's News)

Human Wrongs Watch By Baher Kamal*

ROME, Oct 27 2016 (IPS) – Almost inadvertently, humankind is getting closer everyday to the point of no-return towards what could be called the ‘climate doomsday’.

Credit: UNEP

Credit: UNEP

Now, globally averaged concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere has surged again to new records in 2016… and will not dip below pre-2015 levels for many generations.

The warning comes from the United Nations weather agency–the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and further confirms the alarm of climate experts and world specialised organisations.

On the one hand, the WMO secretary-general, Petteri Taalas said that 2015 ushered in a new era of optimism and climate action with the Paris climate change agreement. “But it will also make history as marking a new era of climate change reality with record high greenhouse gas concentrations.”

“Without tackling carbon dioxide emissions, we cannot tackle climate change and keep temperature increases to below 2 degrees Celcius above the pre-industrial era… It is therefore of the utmost importance that the Paris Agreement does indeed enter into force well ahead of schedule on 4 November and that we fast-track its implementation,” Taalas on 24 October 2016 stressed.

The weather agency had warned earlier this year that the Earth is already one degree Celsius hotter than at the start of the 20th century, halfway to the critical two-degree threshold, and that national climate change plans adopted so far may not be enough to avoid a three-degree temperature rise.

CO2 levels had previously reached the 400 parts per million barrier for certain months of the year and in certain locations “but never before on a global average basis for the entire year.” According to WMO, the growth spurt in carbon dioxide was fuelled by the El Niño event, which started in 2015 and had a strong impact well into 2016.

The ozone layer: protecting our atmosphere for generations to come. Credit: UNEP
“The 400 parts per million threshold is of great symbolic importance,” said the previous WMO secretary-general Michel Jarraud in 2014. “It should serve as yet another wakeup call about the constantly rising levels of greenhouse gases which are driving climate change and acidifying our oceans.”

This triggered droughts in tropical regions and reduced the capacity of “sinks” like forests, vegetation and the oceans to absorb CO2.

These sinks currently absorb about half of CO2 emissions but there is a risk that they may become saturated, which would increase the fraction of emitted carbon dioxide which stays in the atmosphere, according to the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.

Carbon Dioxide Remains For Thousands of Years

The danger is clear: for thousands of year’s carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere, trapping heat and causing the earth to warm further. The lifespan of carbon dioxide in the oceans is even longer. It is also the single most important greenhouse gas emitted by human activities.

“For thousands of year’s carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere, trapping heat and causing the earth to warm further. The lifespan of carbon dioxide in the oceans is even longer. It is also the single most important greenhouse gas emitted by human activities.” – WMO

According to the WMO it is responsible for 85 per cent of the warming effect on our climate over the past decade.

On the other hand, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) says that the droughts and floods beating down on communities in many parts of the world are linked to the current El Niño, which was expected to affect up 60 million people already by last July.

“In some areas, including in North Eastern Brazil, Somali, Ethiopia, Kenya and Namibia, the El Niño effects are coming on the back of years of severe and recurrent droughts. It is impossible for households that rely on the land for food and farm labour to recover, especially when the land is degraded,” says in this regards the UNCCD executive secretary, Monique Barbut.

What’s more, Barbut adds, these conditions do not just devastate families and destabilise communities. When they are not attended to urgently, they can become a push factor for migration, and end with gross human rights abuses and long-term security threats.

“We have seen this before – in Darfur following four decades of droughts and desertification and, more recently, in Syria, following the long drought of 2007-2010.”

Rabi Island, Fiji. Rising sea levels and more extreme weather events pose an imminent threat to low-lying atoll islands across the Pacific. Credit: OCHA/Danielle Parry
It is “tragic to see a society breaking down when we can reduce the vulnerability of communities through simple and affordable acts such as restoring the degraded lands they live on, and helping countries to set up better systems for drought early warning and to prepare for and manage drought and floods,” according to Barbut.

Agriculture Accounts for One-Fifth of Total Emissions

For its part, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) alerted that the rapid change in the world’s climate is translating into more extreme and frequent weather events, heat waves, droughts and sea-level rise.

The impacts of climate change on agriculture and the implications for food security are already alarming – they are the subjects of this report, according to FAO director general José Graziano da Silva.

A major finding is that there is an urgent need to support smallholders in adapting to climate change. Farmers, pastoralists, fisher-folk and community foresters depend on activities that are intimately and inextricably linked to climate – and these groups are also the most vulnerable to climate change.

“They will require far greater access to technologies, markets, information and credit for investment to adjust their production systems and practices to climate change.”

Unless action is taken now to make agriculture more sustainable, productive and resilient, climate change impacts will seriously compromise food production in countries and regions that are already highly food-insecure, Graziano da Silva alerts.

“Through its impacts on agriculture, livelihoods and infrastructure, climate change threatens all dimensions of food security. It will expose both urban and rural poor to higher and more volatile food prices.”

According to FAO’s director general, it will also affect food availability by reducing the productivity of crops, livestock and fisheries, and hinder access to food by disrupting the livelihoods of millions of rural people who depend on agriculture for their incomes.

The FAO report–The State of Food and Agriculture 2016, describes ways of adapting smallholder production to climate change and making the livelihoods of rural populations more resilient.

“Diversify or Die”?

Diversification and better integration of food production systems into complex ecological processes create synergies with the natural habitat instead of depleting natural resources, says the report.

Agro-ecology and sustainable intensification are examples of approaches that improve yields and build resilience through practices such as green manuring, nitrogen-fixing cover crops and sustainable soil management, and integration with agro-forestry and animal production.

“In order to keep the increase in global temperature below the crucial ceiling of 2 °C, emissions will have to be reduced by as much as 70 per cent by 2050.

“Keeping climate change within manageable levels can only be achieved with the contribution of the agriculture sectors,” which account for at least one-fifth of total emissions, mainly from the conversion of forests to farmland as well as from livestock and crop production.

Related IPS Articles

*Baher Kamal’s report was published in IPS. Go to Original

baher-kamal*Baher Kamal, Egyptian-born, Spanish-national secular journalist. He is founder and publisher of Human Wrongs WatchKamal is a pro-peace, non-violence, human rights, coexistence defender, with more than 45 years of professional experience.
 
With these issues in sight, he covered practically all professional posts, from correspondent to chief editor of dailies and international news agencies. 
 

Baher Kamal is also Senior Advisor to the Director General of international news agency IPS.

More articles by Baher Kamal in Human Wrongs Watch:

What Happens When a Small Farmer Migrates?

‘The Earth Is Not Flat; It Is Urban’

Take a Deep Breath?… But 9 in 10 People Live with Excessive Air Pollution!

Believe It or Not, Pulses Reduce Gas Emissions!

Ships Bring Your Coffee, Snack and TV Set, But Also Pests and Diseases

One Humanity? Millions of Children Tortured, Smuggled, Abused, Enslaved…

Arable Lands Lost at Unprecedented Rate: 33,000 Hectares… a Day!

War on Climate Terror (II): Fleeing Disasters, Escaping Drought, Migrating

War on Climate Terror (I): Deserts Bury Two Thirds of African Lands

African Farmers Can Feed the World, If Only…

Climate Victims – Every Second, One Person Is Displaced by Disaster

400 Million People Live with Hepatitis But They Do Not Know

Rights of Indigenous Peoples ‘Critical’ to Combat Climate Change

Forests: To Farm or Not to Farm? That’s the Question!

‘Monster’ El Niño Subsides, ‘Monster’ La Niña Hitting Soon

‘Modern World Is Chaotic, Confused; Human Security a Must’

Xenophobic Rhetoric, Now Socially and Politically ‘Acceptable’ ?

‘Hate Is Mainstreamed, Walls Are Back, Suspicion Kills’

What If Turkey Drops Its “Human Bomb” on Europe?

Humanitarian Aid – Business As Unusual?

World Oceans Day – A Death Sea Called Mediterranean

The Humanitarian Clock Is Ticking, The Powerful Feign Deafness

Humanitarian Summit, The Big Fiasco

Humanitarian Summit: Too Big to Fail?

Humanitarian Summit Aims to Mobilise Up to 30 Billion Dollars

Africa, Resolved to Address African Problems With African Solutions

‘We Cannot Keep Jumping from Crisis to Crisis’

‘Human Suffering Has Reached Staggering Levels’

Now 1 in 2 World’s Refugees Live in Urban Areas

Middle East – The Mother of All Humanitarian Crises

Mideast: 1 in 3 Pays Bribe to Access Basic Public Services

Any Way to Halt Extremism?

Climate: Africa’s Human Existence at Severe Risk

No Water in the Kingdom of the Two Seas – Nor Elsewhere

Will the Middle East Become ‘Uninhabitable’?

Can an Animal Heist Fable Help Solve the Middle East Crisis?

A “Colombian Triangle” for Daesh in Libya?

‘Worse Than World War I’

‘Take My Iraqis and Give Me Some Syrians’ – Europe to Turkey

New Nuclear Hysteria in the Middle East

Africa Launches Largest Trading Block with 620 Million Consumers

Big War Lords Playing Brinkmanship Game in Syria

Cameron at large: Want Not to Become a Terrorist? Speak Fluent English!

Women’s Rights First – African Summit

Africa, Only If It Bleeds It Leads?

Seven Top Challenges Facing African Women

Africa Focuses on Women Rights, Reaffirms Solidarity with Sahrawi People in Struggle for Self Determination

Once Auctioned, What to Do with the ‘Stock’ of Syrian Refugees?

… And All of a Sudden Syria!

Silence, Please! A New Middle East Is in the Making

The Over-Written, Under-Reported Middle East (II): 99.5 Years of (Imposed) Solitude

The Over-Written, Under-Reported Middle East (I): Of Arabs and Muslims

Syria – Minding the Minds

Egypt in the Rear Mirror (I): The Irresistible Temptation to Analyse What One Ignores

Egypt in the Rear Mirror (II): Who Are the Not-So-Invisible Powers Behind the Troglodytes?

Fed Up With Empty Promises, The Arabs May Abandon Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

Anti-Nukes Move from Norway to Bahrain

Middle East Nuclear Free Bid Moves to Finland – Yet Another Lost Chance?

Annual Spending on Nuclear Weapons, Equivalent To UN Budget For 45 Years

Watch The Sky–It May Rain Atomic Bombs

Save The Planet? Just Eat Cars, Drink Fuel!

Who Is Afraid of 300 Or 400 Or 500 Million Miserables?

Violence And Death For Millions Of Life-Givers

Whither Egypt (I) – Did You Say Dictatorship?

Whither Egypt (II) – Economic Bankruptcy

Politicians Promote Fossil Fuels with Half a Trillion Dollars a Year

Who Dares to Challenge a 32 Billion Dollars Business – Human Trafficking?

Palestine: Yet Another One Hundred Years of Solitude

Does Anyone Know Anything About A New Country Called South Sudan?

South Sudan: Yet Another Kitchen-Garden?

Somalia? Which Somalia? Some Facts About Everybody’s — Nobody’s Land

Requiem For Palestine (I): A Conflict Born With A Solution

Requiem For Palestine (II): Can Gruyere Be A Solution?

2016 Human Wrongs Watch

Report abuse

Comments

Your Comments
Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

Top Stories
Recent Stories

Register

Newsletter

Email this story
Email this story

If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.