Paris has finally arrived. During the next two weeks, a massive conference centre in the outskirts of the French capital will play host to the ultimate United Nations conference and the single most important climate change event in decades.
When the climate summit opened in Paris on Monday, the mood was overwhelmingly pessimistic -- largely about the current state of the global environment.
It was all smiles as Bertha Chibhememe of Sangwe communal area in Chiredzi, south eastern Zimbabwe, showed off her traditional seed varieties at a seed fair. A 45-year-old smallholder in Zimbabwe’s lowveld region, Chibhememe told how her “nzara yapera” maize variety is thriving in a changing climate.
Climate change impacts are already upon us. Sea levels are rising, glaciers and ice are melting. People in poor countries are struggling to cope and adapt. Even developed countries are facing adverse consequences, taxing their own adaptive capacities to increased flooding, drought and fires. We cannot afford to wait.
Extreme weather conditions, an impact of climate change faced by African countries despite contributing the least global emissions, is attracting the attention of many as the clock ticks towards the start of the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21).
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet says the climate summit in Paris “is not the end of a process but a beginning,” and that it will produce “an agreement that, although insufficient with respect to the original goal, shows that people believe it is better to move ahead than to stand still.”
Food systems are increasingly challenged to ensure food security and balanced diets for all, around the world. Almost 800 million people are chronically hungry, while over two billion people suffer from “hidden hunger,” with one or more micronutrient deficiencies. Meanwhile, over two billion people are overweight, with a third of them clinically obese, and hence more vulnerable to non-communicable diseases.
The world’s 48 least developed countries (LDCs), described as the poorest of the poor, are fighting a relentless battle against rising rural poverty.
With multiplying impacts of climate change - increasing floods, cyclones, and drought - thousands of climate refugees are migrating to Dhaka. And the city, well beyond its carrying capacity, is bursting at the seams.
When the Climate Summit opens in Paris next week, one of the biggest issues facing world leaders is funding: how best to raise the billions of dollars needed to prevent the devastating consequences of global warming worldwide.
With Goldman Sachs folding up its haemorrhaging BRIC fund, is it curtains for the acronym that defined the investment bankers’ fancy for emerging markets? It certainly appears so after China’s stock market crash and a fast slowing economy triggered fears that the dragon will set off the next global recession.
A perfect storm of lower rainfall and a growing population beckons for Botswana. But others find climate change is already in the fields and paddocks. “As climate change ushers in more stress on the water sector, it is increasingly a concern that losses in rangeland productivity will result in food insecurity, especially in rural areas,” a country analysis report unveiled recently on Botswana states.
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As unusually heavy rainfall battered Trinidad's east coast a year ago, a lagoon here was overwhelmed, flooding a major access road to the island’s south-eastern communities. As the flood waters poured over Manzanilla beach, they washed sand away, caved in sections of road and collapsed a seawall at a tourist beach facility. Further damages were also incurred with the flooding of homes and agricultural plots.
Negotiators from the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) are intent on striking a deal to keep the global temperature rise at 1.5 degrees of pre-industrial levels, but many fear that a 10-year-old agreement to buy cheap petroleum from Venezuela puts their discussions in jeopardy.