Displaying 1-20 of 22 key documents
Source: IISD | June 2012
This paper gives an overview of the financing needs of smallholder farmers, their current sources of financing, and ways to deliver these funds to help them achieve the triple dividends of enhanced food security, increased resilience to climate change, and reduced emissions of greenhouse gases. It offers recommendations for mobilising investment to enable further progress towards this goal.
The authors argue that there is no silver bullet or one-size-fits-all solution, and suggest that adaptation funds and the private sector could be a source of additional support, in the absence of public sector financing for agriculture or a carbon market for smallholders. They conclude with recommendations for policymakers, such as building on prior experience and knowledge, and creating an enabling environment for climate-smart agricultural investment.
Source: PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency | April 2012
This report analyses pledge on emissions reductions put forward by Parties in the Cancún Agreements, including information emerging since the negotiations took place in 2010.
It focuses on the uncertainties and risks of achieving the goal of limiting the global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius, and provides a detailed overview what the pledges and actions of the 12 countries and regions with the largest emissions could mean for reduction targets.
The report highlights that since the Cancún negotiations, developing countries have published new information about their emission projections which have led to higher than expected emission levels, and have increased the emission gap.
It suggests that a selected set of mitigation options in addition to existing pledges could result in emission reduction which would narrow the gap towards achieving the two degrees Celsius goal. It also concludes that uncertainties in accounting rules and projections could mean that global emissions remain at business-as-usual projections for 2020.
Source: UNEP | February 2012
This report presents important environmental events and developments of 2012, and provides an overview of the status of key environmental indicators. It highlights the benefits of carbon storage in soil and the decommissioning of nuclear power plants as issues of emerging significance, and aims to strengthen science policy in these areas.
According to UNEP's executive director, although these may seem like separate issues, they go to the heart of questions about ensuring enough food and fuel while combating climate change and handling hazardous waste.
The report points out that the draining of peatlands is producing carbon dioxide emissions that amount to around six per cent of man-made greenhouse gas emissions; and their degradation is occurring 20 times faster than peat is accumulated. It also suggests that the nuclear industry needs to develop safer, faster and cheaper decommissioning of nuclear power plants.
Source: South Pole Carbon Asset Management Ltd | November 2010
This handbook documents implementation issues and pitfalls to be avoided by developers of a Programme of Activities (PoA) — a tool designed to capture emission reductions associated with the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which allows emission-reduction credits earned by developing countries to be traded and sold under the Kyoto Protocol.
PoAs aim to reduce the transaction costs of the CDM and help adapt it to small-scale activities. But progress in adopting the tool has been slow. This is mainly because running and operating PoAs differs from managing CDM activities, and carries additional requirements, says the report. Unclear and constantly changing operational rules is another factor.
The handbook provides guidance for those working on PoAs, including an overview of the tool, models of how it can be structured, managed and operated, as well as information on costs and registration details. It also gives information about new market opportunities, and management and issues associated with PoAs.
Source: FIELD | December 2010
This guide aims to help developing country negotiators and others who are working on REDD-plus — a programme of activities that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, which includes a role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and increasing forest carbon stocks. It provides tips for negotiators such as how to make effective statements in a meeting and review written proposals, outlines the formal rules for negotiations, and provides useful glossaries.
The guide, written by the Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development, includes related documents such as the Bali Action Plan and The Copenhagen Accord. It states that negotiations over activities that aim to reduce emissions while protecting forests are difficult because REDD-plus is a complex concept not yet clearly defined, whose components may have implications that need to be considered separately and in how they relate to each other or to future decisions.
Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
This report from the IPCC, provides a complete and comprehensive overview of the current knowledge and understanding of climate change. The report includes four separate documents that cover the physical science basis for climate change, projected impacts, adaptation and vulnerability of different populations, mitigation strategies, and a synthesis report for policymakers.
Source: Nature | August 2007
The one bright note in global warming is seemingly that higher carbon dioxide levels will make food crops grow faster. More crops should equal more food. But, as this feature article emphasises, the story is not that simple.
Initial tests have shown that plants grown in high carbon dioxide environments could be less nutritious — with lower protein levels and a different type of protein produced. Other scientists have found a drop in key micronutrients such as chromium, selenium and zinc in high carbon dioxide environments.
Mitigating these changes can involve increasing nitrogen levels to offset protein deficiency, although not all scientists agree on this.
What is clear is that there is very little research in this area and past studies have only looked at carbon dioxide concentrations of 550 parts per million, which is lower than levels predicted by the end of this century.
Source: Environmental Science and Technology | January 2009
This feature article, published in the Environmental Science and Technology journal, uses the Cordillera Azul national park in Peru as an example to introduce mechanisms for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) that are under global discussion.
The author discusses both the potential importance of and challenges associated with REDD projects. For example, although Cordillera Azul has been established as a national park by the Peruvian Government, funds for conserving it are still needed.
The article outlines some important milestones in progressing to an international framework for REDD, but notes that important details are yet to be resolved, such as how to ensure that beneficiaries of REDD funds deploy them effectively to protect forests.
The article suggests that active forest management is important and concludes with a brief introduction to the principle of proactive investment in natural capital (PINC) — the idea, promoted by the Global Canopy Programme, that forests should be regarded not only as a source of emissions, but rather as a public utility providing global ecosystem services that should be paid for.
Source: Global Canopy Programme | December 2008
This policy brief, published by the Global Canopy Programme, proposes a system called Proactive Investment in Natural Capital (PINC), to reward countries for conserving large areas of tropical forest that act as 'global utilities' providing ecosystem services essential for preserving global food and energy security.
The authors suggest that the system, could complement current proposals for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). They argue that REDD could encourage countries with historically low deforestation rates to destroy their forests. They point out that if REDD successfully brings deforestation rates down — to zero eventually — then in the long-term, countries will not be able to receive payments for reducing deforestation.
The alternative, PINC, would build on existing systems that pay for ecosystem services, such as eco-certification, although scaling-up funding for standing forests is still a challenge, say the authors. To be effective, PINC requires capacity building and improved governance across the world. Land tenure reform will be needed in many countries, as will local participation in decision making and training in forest management. But, if appropriately designed, PINC could provide local communities with co-benefits such as poverty alleviation and biodiversity conservation.
Source: Global Canopy Programme | June 2009
This guide to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), published by the Global Canopy Programme, reviews many of the REDD proposals under discussion in global climate change negotiations.
The authors highlight why strategies for REDD are needed, then outline and compare the 32 government and nongovernmental proposals being considered by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). They frame their analysis by examining the proposals in terms of scope, reference level, distribution mechanisms and financing options.
Visual comparisons are included to show where proposals agree and differ, and highlight areas with emerging consensus. For example, the proposals generally agree that reference levels should be set at a national level, and that a phased approach using a combination of different financing approaches could be most appropriate. Some challenges for reaching agreement on REDD measures and areas of current research are also highlighted.
The book includes a chapter summarising key research on REDD, including the Meridian Institute's Options Assessment Report, written for the Norwegian government, and several papers published by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
This report, submitted by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, looks at how smallholder agriculture could help mitigate climate change. It focuses on soil carbon sequestration, which, say the authors, has high mitigation potential and is relevant to smallholders, although it is currently excluded from the Clean Development Mechanism.
One issue highlighted by the report is how to quantify mitigation through soil carbon sequestration. It proposes a combined measurement and modelling approach and the steps needed to implement this are discussed. These include creating a fund for pilot projects, agreeing field and lab protocols, establishing a common data archive and devising monitoring and evaluation methods.
The report also asks how carbon finance can be linked to the smallholder agricultural sector. It argues that enabling agricultural mitigation from developing countries will mean creating institutions that can aggregate carbon crediting among many stakeholders, facilitating the flow of carbon finance, building capacity and agreeing property rights to the carbon benefits generated.
This article, published by Mongabay.com, discusses the use of forest conservation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation in the Amazon. The author describes the 'reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation' (REDD) mechanism included in the Bali roadmap for international agreement on climate change. He gives a brief history of REDD, explains how it could work and discusses complicating factors including land rights, measurement of deforestation rates, displacement effects of conservation and funding.
The author also discusses how promoting ecosystem services could provide a route to conserving rainforests, citing the example of Canopy Capital — a UK private equity firm that recently bought the rights to environmental services generated by a rainforest reserve in Guyana. He also examines other market incentives that could be used, including satellite surveillance to enforce conservation and certification for farmers following conservation rules.
Source: UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre | 2008
This report, published by the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre, highlights areas where high carbon content and high biodiversity overlap. The authors argue that by identifying target areas, such spatial analyses can help tropical countries reduce greenhouse gas emissions from land-use change while maximizing biodiversity benefits.
Regional maps of tropical Africa, tropical Asia and the Neotropics give overviews of carbon stocks and biodiversity values. National-scale maps covering Panama, Vietnam and Zambia show more detailed data on carbon storage and on the species richness of mammals, birds and amphibians.
The maps highlight protected areas of tropical Asia, which suffer the highest percentage of forest loss. The authors suggest that although mapping can help in conservation planning, it must be accompanied by effective management on the ground and monitoring of land-use change to effectively reduce emissions. It is also important to account for national priorities and country-specific pressures.
Source: Ecofys | 2008
This report, prepared by Ecofys for the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change, aims to inform discussions on commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions post-2012, when the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ends.
It contains fact sheets for 60 countries that include data on key indicators including energy investments and consumption; investment in research and development; policies and measures in place; and a list of climate related agreements signed up to by each country. Data are predominantly taken from the International Energy Agency or the World Bank.
The report summarises progress towards targets, trends in fuel switching, economic and structural changes, and population trends. Current national status is also shown with projections up to 2020.
This report, written by a team of international scientists and published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), explores the effects of 'atmospheric brown clouds'(ABCs) on regional climate, agriculture and human health.
ABCs are large plumes of pollutant gases that result from burning fossil fuels and biomass. The authors of the UNEP report examine the spread of ABCs — particularly in Asia — and discuss their likely impacts, including decreases in the Indian summer monsoon rainfall, accelerated glacial retreat and increases in surface ozone.
They suggest that ABCs threaten water and food security in Asia, impact human health and may mask the warming effects of climate change by 20 – 80 per cent. The authors recommend an international response to tackle the twin effects of ABCs and greenhouse gases, and the unsustainable development that underpins them.
Source: PANOS | April 2007
This annotated bibliography of mostly online resources covers the relationship between biofuels and climate change.
The bibliography is divided into ten sections: Biofuels; GM trees; carbon sinks and trading; land use change — effects on atmospheric carbon; deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions linked to biofuels; biofuels and food production; biofuels production — what's the energy balance?; bio-regional energy; food miles; and other oil crops — search facilities.
Source: World Business Council for Sustainable Development | November 2007
This is an overview of biofuels production, focusing on its use in transport. It outlines the various biofuels manufacturing pathways, and provides data on global ethanol fuel from 1990–2006 and biodiesel production in 2006.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts biofuel production will increase by 8.3 per cent annually, to meet increasing demand for road transport fuel. Therefore, the authors say it is essential to advance biofuel technologies.
Much of this brief is dedicated to the various biofuel production issues that need to be tackled, such as considering carbon emissions throughout their full lifecycle, bio-refining, and trade barriers.
Source: HM Treasury | October 2006
This independent review, commissioned by the UK chancellor of the exchequer, examines the economic impacts of climate change, the economics of stabilising greenhouse gas emissions and considers policymaker's challenges in adapting to climate change and moving towards a low-carbon economy.
The review uses scientific evidence to highlight the risk of irreversible climate change impacts in normal emission scenarios. Evidence of threats to the basic elements of life around the world, including access to water, food production and health are presented, with poorest countries projected to suffer the most.
The review also shows that, left unabated, climate change will damage economic growth. Mitigating climate change effects must be seen as an investment. Moving towards a low-carbon economy may have a significant cost and challenge competitiveness, but it will also bring opportunities for growth.
In discussing the policy challenges for reducing emissions, the review emphasises the need for strong international cooperation and collective action. Climate change policy, says the author, will need to focus on carbon pricing, low-carbon technology, and the removal of barriers to behavioural change across the world. Developing countries in particular will need carbon finance to support emission reductions and curb deforestation, as well as international aid to implement adaptation efforts.
Source: Nature | September 2002
The author summarises the current state of knowledge regarding uncertainties in modelling future climates, and describes how several scientific approaches are being taken to address these issues.
Source: Pew Center on Global Climate Change | December 1999
Several factors influence the costs of greenhouse gas mitigation. This report illustrates the importance of one such factor — international emissions trading — in reducing the costs of carbon control. The authors argue that an international greenhouse gas emissions trading regime will significantly lower global mitigation costs.