When asked about a particular weather event’s link to climate change, scientists are typically cautious to make definitive statements — especially in the immediate aftermath, before they’ve had the chance to study the event.
The Arctic may be seen as geographically isolated from the rest of the world, yet the Inuit hunter who falls through the thinning sea ice is connected to melting glaciers in the Andes and the Himalayas and to the flooding of low-lying and small island states.
What happens in foreign capitals and in temperate and tropical countries affects us dramatically in the North. Many of the economic and environmental challenges we face result from activities well to the south of our homelands; and what is happening in the far North will affect what is happening in the South.
Inuit are experiencing firsthand the adverse effects of global environmental changes. But we are not powerless victims. We are determined to remain connected to the land, and sufficiently resilient to adapt to changing natural forces as we have for centuries.
Discussion of climate change frequently tends to focus on political, economic and technical issues rather than human impacts and consequences. We need to be aware of the dramatic social and cultural impacts indigenous peoples face in coming years.
For generations Inuit have observed the environment and have accurately predicted weather and sea-ice conditions, enabling us to travel safely on the sea ice to hunt seals, whales, walrus and polar bears. Talk to hunters across the North, and they will tell you the same story: the weather is increasingly unpredictable. The look and feel of the land is different. The sea ice is changing. Hunters are having difficulty navigating and traveling safely. We have even lost experienced hunters through the ice in areas that, traditionally, were safe. As a result of melting glaciers it is now difficult, sometimes even dangerous, for us to travel to many of our traditional hunting and harvesting sites.
Several Inuit villages have already been so damaged by global warming that relocation, at the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, is now their only option. Melting sea ice and thawing permafrost have caused damage to houses, roads, airports and pipelines; erosion, slope instability and landslides; contamination of drinking water; coastal losses to erosion of up to 30 meters per year; and melting of natural ice cellars for food storage.
For instance, residents of Sachs Harbour, a tiny community in the Canadian Beaufort Sea region, report melting permafrost causing beach slumping and increased erosion; increased snowfall; longer sea-ice-free seasons; new species of birds and owls, robins, pin-tailed ducks and salmon invading the region; and an onslaught of mosquitoes and black flies.
Plans are well under way to relocate certain Arctic communities. Climate change is not just a theory to us in the Arctic; it is a stark and dangerous reality. Climate change is undermining the ecosystem upon which Inuit depend for their physical and cultural survival.
The Arctic is of vital importance in the global debate on how to deal with climate change because the Arctic is the barometer of the globe’s environmental health. We are indeed the canary in the global coal mine.
The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment projects dramatic and drastic depletion of sea ice. In the next few decades year-round sea ice may be limited to a small portion of the Arctic Ocean around the North Pole. The rest of the Arctic will be ice-free in summer.
Polar bears, walrus, ringed seals and likely other species of seals are projected to virtually disappear. This is not to mention the millions of Arctic seabirds and fish. Our ecosystem will be transformed, with tragic results. Climate change in the Arctic is not just an environmental issue with unwelcome economic consequences. It is a matter of livelihood, food and individual and cultural survival. It is a human issue.
What can Inuit—only 155,000 of us—do about this global situation? First, we refuse to play the role of powerless victim. Responding to climate change has split the nations of the world. Our plight and the Arctic Assessment show the compelling case for global unity and clarity of purpose to forestall a future that is not preordained.
Our rights, our human rights, to live as we do and to enjoy our unique culture as part of the globe’s cultural heritage, are at issue.
Short-term business interests must change, and people must take stock of whether or not a way of life based on consumption is ultimately sustainable. What is happening now to Inuit will happen soon to people in the South. The experience of Inuit in the Arctic is shared by residents of small island states in the Pacific, many people in the Caribbean and elsewhere.
We are working on many fronts to convince the world to take long-term action. Climate change is not about scoring political points. It is about families, parents, children and the lives we lead in our communities throughout the world. More
Green Aruba is an annual conference born in 2010 with the specific aim to place dedicated emphasis on Aruba's energy transition to 100% fuel independence.
Besides showcasing Aruba's progress and challenges to the accelerated penetration of renewables in the total energy mix, Green Aruba also exhibits the experiences and knowledge of other institutions and island nations in this field. Over the past six years, Green Aruba has evolved into a practical and valuable well-known platform within the region for the exchange of information and applied knowledge on sustainable and best practices for the shift to cleaner, more environmentally friendly energy sources and resources.
Green Aruba VI – Share Sustainability
At this year's Green Aruba conference to be held October 27th and 28th, the main theme will focus on sharing sustainability by together confronting the common barriers we face, identifying the solutions moving forward and creating the essential roadmaps to achieve our desired growth paths of the sustainability journey for our island nations.
Aruba has made remarkable progress over the years in the penetration level of renewables and/or efficiency at production level, with in 2015 reaching close to the 20% mark. With the ongoing and upcoming planned projects operational by the end of 2017, the 40% barrier will be surpassed by 2018!
With our goal to reach 100% fuel free energy production by 2020, and in order to surpass the 40% level, it is fundamental to embark on a “deep dive” into our existing energy mix. Aruba is examining cutting-edge technologies and new business models for our utility companies, all in conjunction with our RAS framework, to create a balance between Reliable and Sustainable investments. This balancing act will only be achievable if energy production costs remain Affordable for the customer base.
Local utility stakeholders together with foreign renowned institutions are preparing for this dive known as the Aruba Renewable Integration Study (ARIS), and will present their approach and concept at the upcoming conference. The ARIS will provide models that map out the road forward towards Aruba's aspiring renewable energy goals, while maintaining grid reliability and minimizing overall system costs, and can serve as a prototype or starting point for fellow island nations. More
This follows the signing Tuesday morning of a General Cooperation Agreement and a Short Stay Visa Waiver Agreement between the two countries which seeks to allow bilateral cooperation between the two sides in several areas.
The agreements were signed by the Seychelles Minister of Foreign Affairs and Transport Joel Morgan and Palau’s Ambassador to the United States of America, Hersey Kyota.
Kyota is part of the four-member delegation which the Palauan President Tommy Esang Remengesau is leading on his official visit to Seychelles.
The signing followed a tête-à-tête between President Remengesau and Seychelles President James Michel at State House in the Seychelles capital of Victoria, after which they were joined by officials of their two countries for further discussions.
In a press statement issued this afternoon, State House said talks between Michel and Remengesau centred on their respective countries' progress in various sectors, namely fisheries, aviation, tourism, environmental protection, renewable energy, economic reforms and wider issues of sustainable development.
Seychelles and Palau only established formal diplomatic ties earlier this year, although the two heads of states have enjoyed close relations for a number of years.
Michel and Remengesau were the ones who called for the setting up of the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) in January 2005 during the second International Meeting of the Small Island Developing States held in the neighbouring Indian Ocean island of Mauritius.
GLISPA is an open and voluntary platform for all islands and their supporters to work together to build resilient and sustainable island communities through innovative partnerships.
Both Palau and Seychelles are also members of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).
On his first visit to Seychelles, Remengesau was also the guest of honour at yesterday’s National Day Celebrations.
In a press statement issued by State House this afternoon following this morning's meeting, Michel described Remengesau’s visit to the Indian Ocean archipelago of 115 islands as “a historic milestone” in the relations between the two countries.
“His presence amongst us is not only an opportunity for him to share in our festivities, to share our joy and achievements as a nation, but also an occasion to celebrate and strengthen even further the strong island kinship between our two brotherly countries and between islands everywhere,” said Michel.
According to the statement, the two leaders have agreed that “the close cooperation between Seychelles and Palau that is planned in the future” will be an example of collaboration between individual small island developing states adding that Seychelles and Palau will encourage such cooperation between other island nations.
“This type of cooperation should be replicated in the Post-2015 era if small island countries or as we say ‘large ocean states’ are to benefit to the maximum from the implementation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Change agreement as well as the SAMOA PATHWAY,” said Michel.
For the Palauan president, the visit represents an opportunity which will allow the two island nations to share experiences and learn from each other’s best practices considering they face similar challenges.
“…I am reminded that we share the same values; that the development of a nation rests on the benefits it can bring to the people and that sustainability is at the heart of our island nations. We seek to continue to bring the same message of island people to the world community and work together in close collaboration,” said Remengesau.
The Palauan President will leave Seychelles on Wednesday July 1.
During his stay, he is also paying close attention to restoration of eroded coastlines due to climate change in Seychelles which is a similar challenge faced by Palau. This is through visits to several sites in the Seychelles where such projects have been undertaken.
Palau consists of over 200 islands, out of which only eight are permanently inhabited. The western Pacific islands have a much smaller population size of only around 21,000 people when compared to Seychelles’ population of around 90,000.
Palau which is close to Southeast Asia has a rather mixed population of Malay, Melanesian, Filipino, and Polynesian ancestry. It is believed that its original settlers as early as 2500 BC were from Indonesia.
The Palau islands remained under Spanish ownership for many years before Spain sold them to Germany in 1899. The islands were also occupied by Japan during the World War 1 and the US during the World War 2.
Palau became independent in 1994 More
“There’s all sorts of, kind of, false beliefs about renewable energy, but things have changed. Wind is, right now, not only one of the fastest — between wind and solar — are the fastest growing new sources of electric power in the United States, but wind is actually the cheapest form of electricity by far in the U.S. today.
The unsubsidized cost without the subsidies is about 3.7 to five cents per kilowatt hour. Subsidies are another 1.5 cents to drop those costs per kilowatt hour. That compares with natural gas which is six to eight cents per kilowatt hour. So wind is one half the cost of natural gas. Utility scale solar is about the same as natural gas now; it’s also around six to eight cents per kilowatt-hour unsubsidized.”
Well, it turns out that people today can actually control their own power in their own homes. You can put solar panels — I mean wind turbines may be only in a few locations in your back yard, but you can combine solar panels on your roof top with batteries and Tesla has a new battery pack that you can put in your garage that can — where you can store electricity during the day that from the solar, and then use it — use that electricity when there are peak times of electricity because that is when the price is much higher. But people can do other things. They can weatherize their home, they can use energy efficient appliances. There are a lot of things that people can do to reduce energy use and go towards 100 percent renewable energy. Using heat pumps instead of gas heaters. Getting electric cars instead of gasoline cars. More
Carbon dioxide emissions are invisible, but NASA has just made them all too real.
The space agency has released a video of high-resolution imagery documenting carbon emissions released over an entire year. The result is what looks like the world’s biggest storm stretching the length of the northern hemisphere. The video is the first time scientists have been able to see in fine detail how carbon dioxide moves through the atmosphere, showing the source of greenhouse emissions and their destination.
It’s mesmerizing and scary. The large, swirling, cloud-like plumes grow and spread across the globe over an entire seasonal cycle, showing just how far C02 emissions can spread. As the time-lapsed animation rolls through the year, the differences between spring, summer, fall, and winter are obvious—especially in the northern hemisphere. As the plant-growing season peaks in late spring and summer, the dark red plumes that signify the worst concentrations of carbon dioxide dissipate.
But as plant growth levels off in fall and winter, the dark plumes creep back up as humans spew carbon into the atmosphere from power plants, factories, and cars. Bill Putman, a scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, narrates the three-minute video and explains what the terrifying dark reds really mean.”As summer transitions to fall and plant photosynthesis decreases, carbon dioxide begins to accumulate in the atmosphere,” Putman says. “Although this change is expected, we’re seeing higher concentrations of carbon dioxide accumulate in the atmosphere each year.” That, in turn, is contributing to the long-term trend of rising global temperatures.
So what else does the map show? For starters, the world’s top three emitters—China, the U.S., and Europe—are easy to spot. Large red-tinged tails swirling above the areas indicate the highest concentrations of carbon. The video also shows how wind plays a key role in pushing carbon around the world, and how emissions levels can change rapidly because of weather patterns.
“The dispersion of carbon dioxide is controlled by the large-scale weather patterns within the global circulation,” Putman says. The released video portrays carbon emissions in 2006. Given that emissions have only increased since then, the current situation is even more dire.
In the future, the computer modeling data can help scientists better determine the location of carbon sources and sinks. http://bit.ly/1ORziW9
In the 2015 COP21, also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, will, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, aim to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.
France will play a leading international role in hosting this seminal conference, and COP21 will be one of the largest international conferences ever held in the country. The conference is expected to attract close to 50,000 participants including 25,000 official delegates from government, intergovernmental organisations, UN agencies, NGOs and civil society.
To visit the official COP21 website for more information, click here.
“Knowledge Gaps in Making an Economic Case for Investing in Nature Based Solutions for Climate Change”.
This report is available both in English and French on the IUCN EBA web page. This preliminary rapid assessment is now being followed up with an in-depth analysis in the Philippines and Peru. We aim to have this study available for the Paris COP 21.
Climate change is having increasingly adverse impacts on people and nature. It exacerbates existing environmental threats, poses new risks and impedes our ability to achieve global conservation and development objectives such as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the proposed Sustainable Development Goals. Across the globe, initiatives have been established to help communities implement approaches that enable them to adapt to climate change and mitigate its effects.
Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) is one such approach. EbA uses biodiversity and ecosystem services as part of a larger adaptation strategy – an excellent example of a viable nature-based solution. As well as providing climate change adaptation benefits, this approach also contributes to biodiversity conservation and enhances local economies. IUCN has been extensively involved in EbA work, strengthening community resilience and livelihoods in almost 60 countries. This work demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the implementation of nature- based solutions.
The conservation and sustainable development community considers EbA to be a strong method of addressing climate change and its associated challenges. However, there is still a tendency for policy makers to implement traditional engineering solutions for adaptation, rather than investing in EbA. The need for solid data on the cost-effectiveness of this nature-based approach was the driver behind an IUCN study identifying the economic costs and benefits associated with EbA. The lessons learned from this appraisal process will make it easier for policy makers to compare EbA options with engineered solutions. Download English / French
The dilemma facing the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of the Caribbean, including Jamaica, is that they are not as small as they like to make out — based on comparisons with the population, land area and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of other countries. Neither are they as deprived of resources, if they measure their land and their marine space.
For example, the land area of The Bahamas is 5,383 square miles but its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is 242,970 square miles. St Kitts and Nevis is only 100 square miles, but its EEZ is 7,900 square miles. The importance of this is that the sea is a vital resource. Some three billion people live in coastal areas and 90 per cent of all international trade is transported by sea. Fish and fish products are an important sector of global trade. In 2013, total world exports of fish and fishery products were estimated to reach US$136 billion.
Oceans and seas are essential resources to be utilised for a more sustainable future for all countries. This is particularly true in the case of SIDS. Marine fisheries are particularly important in SIDS for income generation, earning of foreign exchange and employment, particularly in coastal communities. In 2012, SIDS exports of fish products were valued at US$1.75 billion and represented approximately seven per cent of their total exports and 1.7 per cent of their total GDP. In some SIDS, fish contributes 90 per cent of animal protein consumed by their populations.
In the Caribbean, most of the population lives on the coast where economic activity and infrastructure is concentrated. The most important industry, the tourism industry, is also on the coast. The sea is an indispensable means of transportation and, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, nearly 24 million cruise ship passengers pass through the Caribbean Sea.
The Caribbean is not, however, making the most of the potential of the sea. First, it is not fully utilising the potential for fishing; and secondly it is not making a vigorous attempt to exploit the possibility of oil and natural gas in the coastal waters.
Just as unfortunate as underutilising the sea is the inadequate provision for protecting the quality of the Caribbean Sea. The value of the Caribbean Sea will not long be attractive if our governments do not immediate intensify their national and regional programmes to protect it. Human and financial resources must be directed to (1) developing a blue economy approach to economic development based on sustainable marine resource management; (2) establishing an integrated approach to ocean governance and regulation; (3) applying marine spatial planning; (4) increasing research and knowledge of the Caribbean Sea; (5) taking measures to ameliorate the impact of climate change and (6) improving institutional and human capacity to act.
If these measures are implemented, the SIDS of the Caribbean will be able to utilise the large potential of the vast area of the sea which fall within their EEZs. The benefits are more productivity from existing activities such as fishing and tourism, realising the potential for underwater resources which might include oil and natural gas, and developing entirely new industries, for example, various forms of aquaculture and blue biotechnology. More