Tag: climate change

VIDEO: The Australian Govt’s plan for the Great Barrier #Reef is a sham: Greenpeace

Source: #GreenpeaceAP

Believe It or Not, Pulses Reduce Gas Emissions!

A key message of the 2016 International Year of Pulses is that pulses are highly nutritious—the little seeds are packed with nutrients, and are a fantastic source of protein. Photo: Courtesy of FAO

ROME, Sep 6 2016 (IPS) – Lentils, beans, chick peas, and other pulses often produce negative “collateral social effects” on people hanging around, just a couple of hours after eating them. But, believe it or not, they contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. How come?

See the facts: it is estimated that globally, some 190 million hectares of pulses contribute to five to seven million tonnes of nitrogen in soils. As pulses can fix their own nitrogen in the soil, they need less fertilizer, both organic and synthetic and, in this way, they play a part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

And pulses are very popular-the global production of pulses increased from 64 million hectares in 1961 to almost 86 million in 2014.

These facts, which have been developed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), also tell that, additionally, when included in livestock feed, pulses’ high protein content contributes to increase the food conversion ratio while decreasing methane emissions from ruminants, thus at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

This good news reveals how far this UN specialised agency is concerned about the impact of climate change on food security.

Climate change has a huge impact on global food production and food security, it says. “Changing weather patterns can cause an increase in natural disasters like droughts, floods, hurricanes, which can impact every level of food production.”

Unless urgent and sustainable measures are established, climate change will continue to put pressure on agricultural ecosystems, particularly in regions and for populations that are particularly vulnerable, warns FAO while informing about the so called climate-smart varieties of pulses.

On this, it emphasises the fact that pulses have a broad genetic diversity from which improved varieties can be selected and bred. This diversity is a particularly important attribute because more climate-resilient strains can be developed for use in areas prone to floods, droughts and other extreme weather events.

Pulses and Agroforestry

Added to all the above, agroforestry systems that include pulses such as pigeon peas grown at the same time as other crops, do help sustain the food security of farmers, by helping them to diversify their sources of income, FAO reports.

And “agroforestry systems are more able to withstand climate extremes as pulses are hardier than most crops and help to nourish the soil. When using these systems, farmers see an increase in crop productivity that extends to subsequent crop yields.”

It is significant that the United Nations has declared 2016 as the International Year of Pulses and held in April this year in Marrakesh, Morocco, an International Conference on Pulses for Health, Nutrition and Sustainable Agriculture in Drylands that came out with the “Morocco Declaration on Pulses as Solutions toFood and Nutrition Security, Agricultural Sustainability and Climate ChangeAdaptation.”

The conference gathered world science experts to find a path forward for boosting pulses production in developing countries through measures in science, research for development investments, policy and markets.

The Morocco Declaration recommends to increase global pulses production by 20 per cent from the current level by 2030 through closing the yield gaps, expansion in new niches that include intensification of rice fallows with pulses, and short season windows in existing intensive cropping systems.

t recognises that pulses production has significantly lagged behind the rising demand in the developing world in spite of many benefits of pulses, which are a “win-win for people and the environment – healthier soils, low carbon and water footprints, and greater household nutritional security, while also generating extra income for farmers.”

But What Are Pulses?…

In case you do not have enough information, FAO has elaborated the following set of facts.

To start with, pulses are a type of leguminous crop that are harvested solely for the dry seed. Dried beans, lentils and peas are the most commonly known and consumed types of pulses.

But they do not include crops, which are harvested green (e.g. green peas, green beans)—these are classified as vegetable crops. Also excluded are those crops used mainly for oil extraction (e.g. soybean and groundnuts) and leguminous crops that are used exclusively for sowing purposes (e.g. seeds of clover and alfalfa).

You probably already eat more pulses than you realise! Popular pulses include all varieties of dried beans, such as kidney beans, lima beans, butter beans and broad beans. Chickpeas, cow peas, black-eyed peas and pigeon peas are also pulses, as are all varieties of lentils.

Staples dishes and cuisines from across the world feature pulses, from hummus in the Mediterranean (chick peas), to a traditional full English breakfast (baked navy beans) to Indian dal (peas or lentils).

… And Why Are They Important?

Pulses are essential crops for a number of reasons. They are packed with nutrients and have a high protein content, making them an ideal source of protein particularly in regions where meat and dairy are not physically or economically accessible.

Pulses are low in fat and rich in soluble fibre, which can lower cholesterol and help in the control of blood sugar. Because of these qualities they are recommended by health organisations for the management of non-communicable diseases like diabetes and heart conditions. Pulses have also been shown to help combat obesity.

For farmers, pulses are an important crop because they can be both sold and consumed by the farmers and their families. Having the option to eat and sell the pulses they grow helps farmers maintain household food security and creates economic stability.

Furthermore, the nitrogen-fixing properties of pulses improve soil fertility, which increases and extends the productivity of the farmland. By using pulses for inter cropping and cover crops, farmers can also promote farm biodiversity and soil biodiversity, while keeping harmful pests and diseases at bay.

Pulses can contribute to climate change mitigation by reducing dependence on the synthetic fertilisers used to introduce nitrogen artificially into the soil.

Faith leaders call G-20 to act on climate change


By News Desk

Melbourne, 12 November : Faith leaders from across the religious spectrum have issued a joint call for G20 leaders to act on climate change, end fossil fuel subsidies and rapidly transition to a low carbon economy.
Clergy and leaders from Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist and Indigenous communities will hold a press conference in a Brisbane church close to where G20 leaders are meeting.
Organised by the multi-faith Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC), they are calling on country representatives to recognise the clear connection between economics and climate.
Prominent figures from a range of communities have signed a joint letter in which they describe fossil fuel subsidies as a “perverse incentive to destroy the biosphere”: Subsidies operate as a perverse incentive to destroy the biosphere, to deplete and pollute precious water sources, pollute the air and create significant health problems.
Bishop Professor Stephen Pickard of the Anglican Church said: “There is a moral imperative to act. A number of the G20 leaders claim to be people of faith yet their collective failure to act on climate change is morally reprehensible. The present situation demands that we transition quickly to lifestyles that respect the physicals limits of the natural world.”
Dr Mohamad Abdalla, Director of the Islamic Research Unit at Griffith University, said: “There must be a concerted effort, even in developing countries, to shift boldly to solar, wind and other forms of renewable energy. But this is being thwarted by government subsidies for fossil fuel companies, giving these companies an unfair advantage. Governments are essentially providing incentives for companies whose products are destroying the biosphere.”
Sister Geraldine Kearney, representing Catholic Religious Australia, said: “While wealthy countries are spending $50 – 90 billion USD annually on subsidies for fossil fuels, most are failing to put more than the most basic amounts on the table to meet their Climate Finance commitments. These leaders have a moral obligation to act.”
The fossil fuel lobby, including Peabody Energy and the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA), are resisting the call for change. In Brisbane they are actively promoting the message that fossil fuels are an indispensable necessity if developing countries wish to lift their people out of poverty.
Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black from the Leo Baeck Centre for Progressive Judaism said: “This is a biased claim from an industry that is fighting for its own survival. Developing countries themselves recognise the wisdom of basing their development on renewables wherever possible. Their people are already suffering as a result of climate change.”

Aunty Togiab McRose Elu, Elder in Residence at Griffith University said: “Global warming isn’t just a theory in Torres Strait, it’s lapping at people’s doorsteps. The world desperately needs a binding international agreement including an end to fossil fuel subsidies. G20 countries should be leading the way.”

Professor Raja Jayaraman, Vice-Chair, Hindu Council of Australia, said: “Fossil fuels are causing significant health problems in places such as China and India as well as Australia. Meanwhile the price of renewables has come down dramatically and lend themselves to small-scale, decentralised energy delivery systems which are more accessible to impoverished communities.”

Mr Kim Hollow, President of the Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils said: “We know that the G20 leaders are pursuing greater prosperity. However, true prosperity cannot be created without care and respect for people and the environment. It is this integral vision for humanity and the earth which accords with the deepest roots of the world’s religious traditions.”

- SAT News Service.

‘ASHES’ of Australia’s climate conscience


By News Desk

London, 19 Nov.: The ‘ashes’ of the Australian Government’s conscience on climate change were presented to the nation’s High Commission in London today by Friends of the Earth. The award was in recognition of Australia’s mounting opposition to international efforts to cut carbon emissions at the UN climate summit, currently taking place in Warsaw, Poland.

Australian’s hold their heads in shame as the Australia Government walks away from international carbon reduction targets and the nations existing carbon tax. In recent days 60,000 people across Australia took to the streets to call on the Australian Government to aim higher with carbon reduction. Since gaining government agencies have acted quickly to gut support to renewable energy financing, whilst supporting fast tracking dirty energy approvals.

Campaigners from the environment charity dressed in cricket whites to hand over a replica of the Ashes cricket urn, bearing the message: “The Ashes: Here lies Australia’s climate conscience”.

The action was part of a world-wide protest against the Australian Government’s decision to turn its back on its responsibilities to cut fossil fuel pollution and its attempts to block moves to put in place a fund to give financial help to people hit by future climate disasters.

Last week Philippine negotiator Yeb Saño gave an emotional speech to the climate summit calling on world Governments to finally step-up and act on climate change, and an end to the current “climate madness”.

Friends of the Earth’s UK Head of Campaigns Andrew Pendleton said: “The Australian Government’s opposition to climate change action is a national disgrace. Every nation should be going in to bat for the planet and tackling the mounting threat of global warming. We all need to play our part in building a cleaner future.”
Source: Friends of the Earth.
Photo Source: Friends of the Earth.
- SAT News Service

Climate change now seen as security threat worldwide


By Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON, Mar 22 2013 (IPS) – Defence establishments around the world increasingly see climate change as posing potentially serious threats to national and international security, according to a review of high-level statements by the world’s governments released here Thursday.

The review, “The Global Security Defense Index on Climate Change: Preliminary Results,” found that nearly three out of four governments for which relevant information is available view the possible effects of climate change as a serious national security issue.

It found that the wealthy developed countries of North America, Europe and East Asia, including China, have made the most progress in integrating climate change into their national security strategies.

With the notable exception of India, leaders of South Asian countries have also made strong statements about the security threats posed by climate change, while smaller countries in the Pacific, the Caribbean, and Central America have expressed alarm at the possible catastrophic impacts of climate change on them, according to the review.

It was officially released at the this week’s Climate Security Conference in the Asia-Pacific Region in Seoul, South Korea by the American Security Project (ASP), a non-partisan group headed by former senior U.S. government and military officials.

The Index, which will go online later this spring and be constantly updated, will catalogue official documents and statements by national governments – and particularly their military establishments — about the relationship between climate change and security issues.

“In many nations, the armed forces are the most respected arm of government, and their action on climate change can raise awareness throughout the country,” according to ASP’s Andrew Holland, who co-authored the report with Xander Vagg.

The review’s release comes amidst growing frustration among both climate scientists and activists over the slow pace and weakness of multilateral and unilateral efforts to curb the emission of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.

Governments’ failure to take stronger action has been attributed in part to the fact that climate change has been seen primarily as an environmental issue. As such, it has been accorded a lower priority than other challenges faced by countries, particularly economic growth.

In recent years, however, governments in a growing number of countries have recognised climate change as a national security issue – a recognition welcomed by activists who believe it should bolster their efforts to push the issue up the national and international agenda.

Here in the U.S., such an effort has been underway for some time. Just last month, a bipartisan group of 38 former senior and cabinet-level U.S. foreign policy officials, military officers, and lawmakers published an “open letter” to President Barack Obama and Congress calling for urgent action, especially in funding programmes designed to help poor countries both curb emissions and adapt to climate change.

Unless such action is forthcoming, “climate change impacts abroad could spur mass migrations, influence civil conflict and ultimately lead to a more unpredictable world,” the letter, sponsored by the Partnership for a Secure America, warned.

“…(P)rotecting U.S. interests under these conditions would progressively exhaust American military, diplomatic and development resources as we struggle to meet growing demands for emergency international engagement.”

A recent joint report by the Center for American Progress, the Stimson Center, and the Center for Climate and Security found that crop failures resulting from both severe droughts and flooding in various parts of the world contributed to food shortages that helped spark popular unrest in key Arab countries, paving the way for the upheavals known as the Arab Spring.

In his annual global threat assessment report issued last week, the director for national intelligence (DNI) warned that “(e)xtreme weather events (floods, droughts, heat waves) will increasingly disrupt food and energy markets, exacerbating state weakness, forcing human migrations, and triggering riots, civil disobedience, and vandalism.”

At the same time, head of the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM), Adm. Samuel Locklear, warned that the impact of climate change on his region was “probably the most likely thing that is going to happen …that will cripple the security environment, probably more likely than the other scenarios we all often talk about.”

He told the Boston Globe that his command was already engaging the militaries of other regional countries, including China and India, about co-operation in addressing the challenge.

But the security implications of climate change are by no means confined to the U.S. and other wealthy countries with large military establishments, according to the ASP review.

It found that the governments and militaries of a least 110 of 155 countries for which relevant information was available have identified climate as a threat to their security. And many of those have integrated into their defence and national security planning documents.

“It was fascinating to learn how many different nations with such a variety of political systems, economic practices, and geographic locales share a common view on the dangers posed by climate change,” Vagg told IPS in an email.

“More to the point, these states all share the view that climate change — and its direct/indirect effects — should no longer be treated as a purely environmental threat, but rather a full-blown national security issue.”

Of the 32 countries identified by the study as resisting the view that climate change poses a security threat, India and Brazil were by far the most important.

Both countries opposed a move last month sponsored by Pakistan and Britain to put climate change on the U.N. Security Council’s agenda, according to Vagg.

Russia and China also opposed “securitising” the issue by placing it under the Security Council’s jurisdiction, although senior political and military leaders in both countries have defined climate change as a security threat, along with other non-traditional threats, such as global pandemics, terrorism, and transnational crime networks.

Climate change poses the greatest – even existential – threats to small island states of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and the Caribbean. Surrounded by rising seas and highly vulnerable to storm surges, they have been ringing the alarm for some time, sometimes with the help of their larger continental neighbours, such as Australia. Sea-level rise in another low-lying coastal country, Bangladesh, could also displace tens of millions of people.

Of all the world’s regions, the report found that the Middle East and North Africa are most resistant to defining climate change as a security threat, although Turkey, Israel, Qatar, Jordan and Kuwait were notable exceptions.

*Jim Lobe’s blog on U.S. foreign policy can be read at http://www.lobelog.com.