Investment in clean energy must increase by up to 50 percent in some economies to limit global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
This is one of the findings from a new scientific study on the financial requirements of the Paris climate agreement.
Researchers from the Austria-based International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) used six different modelling techniques to calculate the costs and consequences of meeting the world’s climate goals.
They found that the overall level of energy investment only needs to modestly increase under their scenarios, but, crucially, financial flows have to radically shift away from fossil fuels and into clean technologies.
Investments in low-carbon and energy efficiency will have to quickly surpass those of fossil fuels by 2025. After this date, investment will need to climb exponentially, by $130 billion a year just to meet the existing Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris deal. These national efforts, however, will still mean global temperatures will reach over 3 degrees before the end of the century.
To meet the 2 degrees scenario, investments will have to grow to $320 billion a year and $480 billion for 1.5 degrees. These figures are more than 25 percent of total energy investments, but increases to over half in major economies, such as China and India.
“We know that limiting global temperatures to well below 2 degrees demands that renewables and efficiency scale up rapidly, but few studies have calculated the energy investment needs for a fundamental system transformation, at least not with an eye toward 1.5 degrees and using multiple scientific modelling frameworks running side-by-side,” says IIASA researcher and lead author of the study David McCollum.
“It’s important for professionals in the finance sector to be aware how much more investment in low carbon solutions is needed if the world is to meet the Paris targets. The NDC pledges are a step in the right direction, though much deeper changes in the energy investment portfolio are clearly necessary,” says Elmar Kriegler, a co-author and vice-chair at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.
Published on Climate Action on June 20, 2018
By Chris Turner
By investing in family planning we can transform lives, improve health and economic outcomes, and help reduce our impact on the climate, but right now family planning is scarcely part of the conversation, writes Chris Turner, CEO of Marie Stopes International Australia (MSIA).
While politicians deliberate and access to global climate funding becomes increasingly technocratic, it seems the most effective approach to climate change may indeed be one of the simplest.
Since the invention of the contraceptive pill in the 1950’s, access to modern contraception has driven some of the key demographic and social changes in history. It has delivered improved health outcomes for mothers and babies as women are able to wait longer between births or delay having their first child. It created demographic shifts, as populations have fewer dependents and a more productive labour force. It has empowered girls and women to stay in school longer, seek higher education and participate in the formal economy. And now recent research has determined that contraception also has a key role to play in addressing climate change.
As global warming becomes more of a certainty and climate events become more frequent, it can feel overwhelming. It’s predicted that climate change will lead to more extreme weather events and disasters, climate related diseases, food insecurity and instability. Our part of the world is particularly at risk and more people in Asia and the Pacific are affected by climate related events than in any other region in the world – 83 per cent are affected by droughts, 97 per cent are affected by floods and 92 per cent are affected by storms.
In response to this reality, a number of research papers, think tanks and universities have been exploring practical approaches to climate action. Last year, 200 scholars, scientists and thought leaders identified a comprehensive list of solutions with the greatest potential to reduce emissions or sequester carbon from the atmosphere in a book called Project Drawdown. Amongst 100 quantified solutions, family planning and educating girls were ranked as the most effective combined solution to reverse climate change.
As one of the largest global providers of reproductive health services, my team at Marie Stopes International Australia has been exploring this link; how does access to contraception impact on climate change?
Poverty reduction and strengthening economies
When women can exercise reproductive choice, they are more likely to participate in education and the workforce. In most developing countries, female participation in the formal economy has increased as fertility has fallen. Women’s participation in the economy promotes economic growth and economies that are strong are better able to absorb the disturbances of climate change and recover from climate-related events.
Sustainable population growth
Scaling up access to voluntary, high quality sexual and reproductive health services in areas vulnerable to climate change can reduce the pressure that rapid population growth has on the living environment and reduce the harms associated with increasing numbers of people being exposed to climate risks.
Women’s participation and leadership
Women’s participation and leadership is important to climate change preparedness, resilience and action. Enabling women to control their bodies and reproductive health can help create opportunities for women to participate, lead and contribute to the conversation.
As a climate change mitigation strategy, family planning programs are also more cost-effective than other conventional, energy-focused solutions. One study found that $220 billion spent on providing family planning to those with an unmet need would reduce 34 gigatons of global carbon emissions, compared to $1 trillion for a similar outcome if spent on low carbon technologies.
Thankfully these choices aren’t exclusive, but right now family planning is scarcely part of the conversation. More than 100 million women have an identified but unmet need for family planning in Asia. By investing in family planning to reach more of these women, we can transform their lives, improve health and economic outcomes and help to reduce our impact on the climate as well as improve our ability to respond to the coming changes.
There is still much to be done. Click here to read the full paper.
Published on Pro Bono Australia on May 21, 2018
During the World Economic Forum in Davos the French President Emmanuel Macron announced that all the country’s coal-fired plants will shut down by 2021- 2 years earlier than initially planned.
The initial pledge had been made by Mr. Macron’s predecessor Francois Hollande in November 2016 during COP22 in Marrakech, Morocco. There, he pledged to decommission all France’s coal plants by 2023 and he also vowed to make France carbon neutral by 2050.
President Macron accelerated the timetable for the country’s coal phase out as he has committed to making France a model in the fight against climate change.
He also strongly advocated for the advantages and the economic benefits climate action is offering, as, for example, coal plants are not only an environmental burden from the moment that clean energy technologies are evidently more cost competitive.
According to a recent report from the Carbon Tracker, a London-based think tank on the impact of climate change to the financial markets, more than 50 percent of the European Union’s 619 coal-fired plants are losing money- a figure set to rise to 97 percent by 2030.
Rapidly falling renewable energy costs, stricter air pollution regulations and higher carbon prices are some of the reasons fossil fuels are increasingly outpriced by clean energy technologies.
France is only approximately 1 percent energy dependent from coal-fired stations. However, the French president seeks to send a strong signal about the country’s determination to become a climate leader. This is particularly directed towards US president Donald Trump, who strives to revive the United States’ coal industry, and withdrew the country from the Paris Agreement.
The French president also called for the EU to set a stable carbon price which will send the right signals to the energy market.
In regards to his meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping, President Macron saluted the country’s commitment to the fight against climate change. In a comment about the gigantic infrastructure project aiming to connect China with the European continent, he noted: “The new Silk Road has to be a green road. We cannot have a coal-based route”.
Published on Climate Action Programme on January 29, 2018
China has recently signed a memorandum of understanding to investigate the impacts of climate change in central Asia.
The agreement was signed by the Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography and 22 scientific research institutes from around the world, including the US, Belgium and Austria. The focus of the research will be on the effects of climate change on the region’s glaciers, water resources and agriculture.
The first phase of the research was conducted in 2012 between China and four other central Asian countries. This latest phase enlists cooperation from research organisations from around the globe.
The move is the latest step in China’s increased international role in tackling climate change, seen by some as a challenge to the leadership gap left when the United States announced it would withdraw from the landmark Paris climate agreement.
Last year, China signed agreements with both Canada and the State of California to cooperate closer on taking stronger climate action.
Canada signed a joint statement in December which committed both countries to leading the transition to a low-carbon economy and recognised that the environment and the economy go hand-in-hand.
At the time, Canada’s Environment Minister, Catherine McKenna, said: “Canada and China have a longstanding history of collaboration on the environment and climate change. We're building on that relationship with the historic joint statement committing our two countries to champion progress on climate change and clean growth internationally and at home”.
Published on Climate Action Programme on January 3, 2018
By Hilda Heine
The women of the Marshall Islands and the Pacific have been fighting colonialism and injustice for a long time. They bore the brunt of the long term effects of nuclear testing, and women leaders like Lijon Eknilang and Darlene Keju-Johnson brought these issues to the international stage.
For women, fighting for justice – including climate justice – can be downright dangerous. Last year was one of the deadliest for women fighting on the frontlines for human rights and environmental justice. Environmental defenders are being killed at the rate of almost four a week across the world, a staggering toll that disproportionately affects female activists and indigenous leaders. Among the most high-profile cases was Honduran indigenous Lenca leader Berta Cáceres, who was murdered in 2016. And for every woman like Cáceres who is killed, dozens of others are threatened with violence or destruction of their home or village or vital resources.
Yet despite this perilous landscape, where corporations and even the governments who are in their pocket threaten life itself, these women continue to stand up for freedom of expression and participation, for land rights and the rights of indigenous and rural communities. For sexual and reproductive health and rights, against harassment and gender-based discrimination. And for the right to preserve a safe, liveable environment for present and future generations.
At the UN climate talks in Bonn, the cause of these courageous women is being amplified by a host of organisations working on gender and climate justice issues through the Women and Gender Constituency. Together they are working to raise awareness of the work already done by women on the ground to combat climate change, and also, critically, how climate policies should address their specific needs and responsibilities and ensure the realisation of their rights.
The tragic reality of gender and climate is that women, especially women of colour, are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change, but are far less likely to be empowered to cope because they have fewer resources such as power and access to finance and technology. A multitude of structural barriers means they are far less likely to take up position of political power and decision-making.
Yet, when it comes to solutions — from large-scale mitigation efforts to focused, local resiliency responses — the gender perspective is often lacking, and the particular rights and needs of women are overlooked or downgraded in importance. Women aren’t making enough of the decisions, and the decisions aren’t yet doing enough for women.
Consider the issue of climate finance, where developed countries that have accumulated wealth through the combustion of fossil fuels have pledged aid to developing countries to be spent on climate solutions. In choosing actions to fund, financiers too often default to large, centralised projects, looking more at emissions data and financial rates of return than at social and human impacts. Making climate finance more gender-responsive would help address the specific needs and responsibilities of women, and channel funding to smaller scale projects that benefit women.
Ultimately, putting more decision-making in the hands of local communities, including indigenous women is the clearest path to ensuring a just climate response. A more democratised energy system based on 100% renewables allows for the input from women and promotion of their rights more than a fossil fuel-based economy run by and for the benefit of unaccountable corporations. One such system could be constructed of energy cooperatives, which are community-based and democratically run, helping to ensure equal access to affordable and sustainable energy.
In August 2017, my government organised a major international conference in the Marshall Islands bringing together female leaders from the Pacific. Our experiences and conclusions concurred with the findings of many studies on women’s role in promoting development. Women are key activists protecting vital common resources, and at the forefront of developing local climate solutions respecting and incorporating traditional knowledge. Women consistently show ingenuity, creativity, and drive. While women and girls still bear the heaviest burden of climate change’s impacts — and while women continue to be threatened with harassment and violence, they continue to speak up to defend our waters, our trees, our soil, and our atmosphere. They have proven to be the most effective agents of change.
This week at COP23, all governments must reach an agreement that will ensure enough climate ambition to stay below a global warming of 1.5C. To make sure that all climate action will include gender equality, the governments will agree on a Gender Action Plan. In the next two years, the plan will aim to increase the number of female climate decision-makers, train male and female policymakers on bringing gender equality into climate funding programmes, and engage grassroots and indigenous women’s organisations for local and global climate action.
Published on The Guardian on November 15, 2017.
Fiji has become the first emerging market to issue a sovereign green bond after it raised 100 million Fijian dollars to finance climate mitigation and adaptation projects.
At the request of Fiji’s Reserve Bank, the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) provided technical assistance to support the Government in issuing their first sovereign green bond.
Sustainalytics US, an environmental consultancy, evaluated Fiji’s Sovereign’s green bond transaction and its alignment with the Green Bond Principles.
The green bond will primarily be used for climate resilience, but also on renewable energy projects supporting the nation’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions from the energy sector by 30 percent by 2030.
The bond has two maturity dates with a tenure of 5 years and 13 years.
The shorter tenure bond has a coupon rate,- the yield the bond paid on its issue date, of 4.00 percent while the longer duration bond will have a coupon rate of 6.30 percent, which is highly attractive given the coupon rate for the French bonds was just 1.75 percent.
The green bond was issued under the broader, three-year Capital Markets Development Project supported by the Australian Government, where Australia and IFC support the stimulation of the private sector to promote sustainable economic growth and reduce poverty in the Pacific.
Frank Bainimarama, Fijian Prime Minister and President of COP23 said: “The Fijian people, along with every Pacific Islander, live on the front lines of climate change”.
“I have made access to climate finance a key pillar of our upcoming COP23 Presidency, and we are proud to set an example to other climate-vulnerable nations by issuing this green bond to fund our work to boost climate resilience across Fiji”.
“By issuing the first emerging country green bond, we are also sending a clear signal to other nations that we can be creative and innovative in mobilizing funds and create win-win outcomes for countries and investors in adapting to the serious effects of climate change”.
Jim Yong Kim, World Bank Group President said: “With this bond, Fiji has demonstrated that green capital markets can be created in emerging economies and that all countries, big and small, have an important role to play in facilitating climate solutions”.
“As it takes the helm of COP23, Fiji is uniquely positioned to inspire other countries to meet their respective targets and build resilience against climate change”.
Fiji constitutes 300 volcanic islands that includes low-lying atolls that are highly exposed to cyclones, while the nation is also highly vulnerable to the impact of climate change with 20 percent of the region’s people at risk of migration by 2050.
Fiji’s sovereign green bond was the third to be issued globally, with Poland’s €750 million bond in December 2016 being the first, followed by a €7 billion issuance from France in January 2017.
According to the World Bank, the green bond market is expected to reach $134.9 billion in 2017.
The Government of Fiji will chair COP23 in Bonn, Germany, from November 6-17.
Published on Climate Action Programme on October 30, 2017.
🔎 Morocco; Carbon reduction; Sustainable Energy; Agriculture
Morocco is getting ready to launch a €200 million programme to spark investment in solar power projects in the agricultural sector by 2021.
The programme will launch under the guidance of the Ministry of Energy, Mining and Sustainable Development (Ministère de l’Energie, des Mines et du Développement Durable) and is set to promote the use of solar energy to power water pumps for irrigation in order to help farmers reduce their energy costs and use less butane gas in farming operations.
‘Agrovoltaic’ is a new concept, which puts energy models for agriculture in the energy transition context.
As energy constitutes one of the main operational costs of farming, solar power provides costs reduction, as well as flexibility.
The plan is to expand agricultural water access to more than 100,000 hectares of new land by 2021 and significantly increase agricultural output.
Due to the mobility and independency that solar power can provide, the idea of ‘dynamic’ agrovoltaic solutions is said to guarantee optimisation of agricultural production and profits.
Thus, the Moroccan Government will subsidise solar pumping solutions to encourage local initiatives and to enable larger farms to become more self-sufficient.
The programme is also part of Morocco’s ambitious plan to source 42 percent of its power needs from renewable energies by 2020, and 52 percent by 2030 not only to reduce fossil fuels consumption and mitigate emissions, but also for energy security reasons.
Earlier on September, the Ministry launched the works of the Steering Committee of the Joint Statement on Sustainable Electricity Trade with the European Union, « Roadmap for Sustainable Electricity Trade between Morocco and the European Internal Energy Market ».
Key partners of the initiative are the World Bank, the Union for the Mediterranean and the European Commission, and the European countries that are involved are France, Spain, Germany and Portugal.
This is one of the endeavours of North-African countries, which aim to harness their solar potential to open new intercontinental energy corridors, like for example the 4.5GW TuNur project in Tunisia.
The case for renewables in Morocco is very promising, given high solar irradiation and rising electricity demand.
The country is considered one of the sunniest countries in the world, with around 3000 hours of sunshine per year.
Published on Climate Action Programme on October 2, 2017.
🔎 Green bonds; Climate change; financing for development
Bloomberg New Energy Finance published its most recent analysis and revealed that green bonds issuance is set to reach $134.9 billion by the end of 2017, a new record so far.
So far, green bonds issuance has been $96 billion and another $39 billion is anticipated for the next months.
If the almost $135 billion projection comes true, it will be an increase of 36 percent in relation to 2016, which saw $99.1 billion of green bonds in total.
In 2015 $50 billion of green bonds were issued, in 2014 $36.6 billion, and in 2013 $14.8 billion.
Southern Company’s subsidiary Southern Power Co is said to be largest US green bond issuer to date, since it has issued over $3 billion worth of green bonds destined for investment in clean energy since 2015.
Michael Sheren, Adviser to the Bank of England and co-Chair of 20’s Green Finance Study Group had commented earlier this year that financial innovation in creating new types of green bond will keep demand growing.
“There’s about $100 trillion of institutional money in the world, and less than 1 percent is invested in anything green”.
He had added: “We have to make it palatable to institutional investors. Green bonds are the best instrument to do this”.
As more and more institutions are issuing green bonds, they have begun coming in different shades to help investors track exactly how green the securities really are.
Dark green bonds adhere to the strictest environmental criteria, while the lighter green shade is being used to fund a broader array of projects.
Published on Climate Action Programme on September 26, 2017
🔎 Climate change; climate action
By Natalie Meade
At eleven o’clock on Saturday morning, long after Donald Trump, other world leaders, and the hundreds of journalists who cover their every word decamped from New York, Roosevelt Skerrit, the forty-five-year-old Prime Minister of the Caribbean island of Dominica, addressed the United Nations General Assembly. Dressed in a latticework tie and a tailored charcoal-colored suit with a Dominican flag pinned to the lapel, Skerrit, whose country was devastated by Hurricane Maria, declared that “Eden is broken,” and demanded that world leaders acknowledge climate change.
“To deny climate change is to procrastinate while the earth sinks; it is to deny a truth we have just lived. It is to mock thousands of my compatriots who in a few hours without a roof over their heads will watch the night descend on Dominica, in fear of sudden mudslides . . . and what the next hurricane may bring,” Skerrit said. “My fellow-leaders, there is no more time for conversation. There is little time left for action. While the big countries talk, the small island nations suffer. We need action and we need it now.”
Skerrit did not mention Trump by name, but, unlike the leaders of Britain, France, and many other countries, Trump did not mention climate change once in his address to the world body. Skerrit, by contrast, focussed his speech squarely and entirely on climate change. Speaking to a General Assembly Hall that was half empty, Skerrit said warmer air and sea temperatures had “permanently altered” the climate between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn and threatened to devastate the Caribbean, a region of forty million people. “Heat is the fuel that takes ordinary storms—storms we could normally master in our sleep—and supercharges them into a devastating force,” Skerrit said.
Researchers agree with him. Since hurricanes began to be recorded and classified, in 1851, thirty-three storms have reached Category 5 strength in the Atlantic, according to Michael Lowry, a visiting scientist at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, in Boulder, Colorado. Two of those tore through the Caribbean within the last two weeks. Data compiled by Weather Underground shows that in only twelve hours Hurricane Maria strengthened from a Category 2 hurricane to a Category 5. When the storm made landfall in Dominica, on Monday, it unleashed a-hundred-and-seventy-five-mile-per-hour winds on the island of seventy thousand people.
When the sun rose on Tuesday morning, swaths of the island’s two hundred and ninety square miles looked like a war zone, Skerrit said. Eighty-five to ninety per cent of homes on the island were damaged, as was the main hospital, which lost its roof and is still without electricity. The unofficial death toll currently stands at thirty, but it is expected to rise as emergency-response teams access remote villages. “We dug graves today in Dominica, buried loved ones yesterday, and I’m sure that, as I return home tomorrow, we shall discover additional fatalities,” Skerrit told the General Assembly.
Dominica is not a stereotypical Caribbean tourist destination of white-sand beaches and sprawling resorts. The most mountainous island of the Lesser Antilles archipelago, the country bills itself as the “Nature Island” of the Caribbean. Morne Trois Pitons National Park is a unescoWorld Heritage site. Three hundred and sixty-five rivers sustain the island’s rainforests and waterfalls. The country is home to nine active volcanos and the world’s second-largest thermally active lake. Its people are spread across coasts, hills, and valleys, and include the Kalinago, the only pre-Columbian indigenous population remaining in the West Indies.
At the United Nations, Skerrit asked why Dominica and the other Caribbean islands should suffer the most from global warming when they have done little to cause it. Although the country meets seventy per cent of its electricity needs through diesel generators (the remaining thirty per cent comes from hydroelectric power), it has contributed far less to the crisis than its more powerful neighbors. “We as a country and as a region did not start this war against nature. We did not provoke it,” Skerrit said. “We do not pollute or overfish our oceans. We have made no contribution to global warming that can move the needle. But yet we are among the main victims.”
Two years ago, Tropical Storm Erika dumped ten inches of rain on Dominica over the course of a few hours, sparking devastating landslides and flooding that caused four hundred and eighty-three million dollars in damage, equivalent to ninety per cent of the island’s G.D.P. Hurricane Maria’s winds and rainfall caused landslides and flooding that could equate to even greater financial losses, according to Skerrit. Citing the likelihood of future storms, he said that Dominica should not be restored to the island it once was; rather, it should be rebuilt with the infrastructure to mitigate future disasters.
If sea levels rise by three feet in the Caribbean, an estimated hundred and ten thousand people will be displaced because of changes to coastal topography, according to the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center, a Belize-based organization that studies climate change in the region. The center estimates that a hundred and forty-nine of the region’s six hundred and seventy-three major resorts, one third of its sixty-four airports, and eighty per cent of its forty-four seaports would be inundated. The flooding would devastate tourism, one of the Caribbean’s primary industries.
Near the end of his speech, Skerrit requested immediate aid to help Dominica recover from Maria, and a long-term international commitment to countering climate change. “Let these extraordinary events elicit extraordinary efforts to rebuild nations sustainably,” he said. “Let these extraordinary events unleash the innovation and creativity of global citizens to spark a new paradigm of green economic development that stabilizes and reverses the consequences of human-induced global warming.”
After Prime Minister Skerrit’s speech concluded, the General Assembly returned to its scheduled business. President Trump spent the weekend at his country club in Bedminster, New Jersey, tweeting about professional athletes, most of them black, who he says disrespect the American flag by kneeling in protest during the national anthem. But Trump, too, has been impacted by the Caribbean hurricanes. The other Category 5 storm, Irma, battered the island of St. Martin, where, in 2013, the Trump Organization purchased a five-acre waterfront estate. In April, the Trump Organization put the property up for sale, but it has apparently attracted few buyers. Originally listed at twenty-eight million dollars, the purchase price has dropped by nearly thirty per cent. More hurricanes will further drive down the value of Trump’s estate—and endanger the livelihoods, and lives, of millions of people across the Caribbean.
Published on The New Yorker on September 24, 2017
By Suresh Babu | International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
India's agriculture needs to become climate resilient, as the risks for small-scale farmers become more dangerous with each passing year.
As both a contributor to climate change and a victim of its impacts, agriculture needs to become climate resilient. This direct connection between climate change and agriculture is perhaps nowhere more apparent than in India, where recent research has shown climate change as the key contributing factor to the suicides of more than 60,000 farmers. This shocking number reveals the deep social and psychological impacts of climate on smallholder farmers and agricultural workers, who form the majority of the poor and hungry, and calls for better tools, policies and programmes to address the growing threat.
As many other countries, India has borne the brunt of climate impacts, seeing increased flooding, variability in rainfall, extreme heat, and vulnerability to more severe storms. Especially for small-scale farmers, the risks become clearer, and more dangerous, with each passing year. That is why boosting agricultural resilience in India is now, more than ever, a crucial key to preparing for the impacts of climate change.
Failing to address India’s climate change can spell trouble for many smallholders who continue to depend on rainfed agriculture. To save farmers lives and livelihoods, making Indian agriculture climate-resilient must be a priority next step.
As a start, policy incentives can be geared toward more equitable and efficient management of water resources, rather than leaving farmers to resort to unreliable borewells. In taking a climate-aware approach to water management, India’s policymakers can ensure that farmers become less vulnerable to the variable patterns of flooding and drought that have hit the region hard in recent years. Cycling between using surface water in rainier years, and recharged groundwater in drier years, for example, can reduce the threat of unpredictable rainfall to farming communities.
Empowering farmers to become financially independent will prove another key step toward resilience. Currently, farmers are trapped in a cycle of seeking out loans from high-interest money lenders. By making institutional credit available at affordable rates, farmers can avoid debt traps.
Further complicating the financial prospects of agriculturalists, government compensation policies seem to work against the farmers’ best interests. In a morbid sense, the compensation in the case of death of a farmer is seen as a route for farmers’ families to get out of debt. The money distributed to the farmer’s family is often used to pay off the predatory loans, to keep the farm afloat. This distressing cycle of debt further leaves farmers and their families most vulnerable to future climate-induced shock.
To move forward on climate-resilient agriculture, India must also take stock of its agricultural emissions. With the measurement and mapping of greenhouse gases (GHGs), better climate policy could be developed. Informing better mitigation techniques, a district-level GHG agricultural emissions index would set priorities appropriate to India’s context.
But a database is only a starting point; on-the-ground knowledge is needed in every district to put this data to practical use for climate resilient programming. Developing and using the data and the tools to boost technical competency at the local level means that resources will be better managed, and that research and extension services can be made more climate focused. Local solutions require use of such decentralised databases and multidisciplinary approach to climate-informed farming, especially if bolstered by collective action between large- and small-scale farmers.
The most recent uptick in farmer suicides is a call to action; India must heed this as a distress signal for the country’s agriculture. It is high time that Indian policy makers and researchers began to work more closely with its farmers; re-examining agricultural policies, enhancing financial empowerment, and charting a data-driven path toward mitigation and adaptation toward climate resilient agriculture. The impacts of climate change won’t wait.
Published on September 5, 2017.
Human rights and environment
In recent years, the recognition of the links between human rights and the environment has greatly increased. The number and scope of international and domestic laws, judicial decisions, and academic studies on the relationship between human rights and the environment have grown rapidly.
Many States now incorporate a right to a healthy environment in their constitutions. Many questions about the relationship of human rights and the environment remain unresolved, however, and require further examination.
As a result, in March 2012 the Human Rights Council decided to establish a mandate on human rights and the environment, which will (among other tasks) study the human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, and promote best practices relating to the use of human rights in environmental policymaking.
Mr. John Knox was appointed in August 2012 to a three-year term as the first Independent Expert on human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment. His mandate was further extended in March 2015 for another three years as a Special Rapporteur.
The resolution 16/11 adopted by the Human Rights Council on 12th of April 2011 entitled “Human Rights and the environment” requested the Office of the High Commissioner “in consultation with and taking into account the views of States Members of the United Nations, relevant international organizations and intergovernmental bodies, including the United Nations Environment Programme and relevant multilateral environmental agreements, special procedures, treaty bodies and other stakeholders, to conduct, within existing resources, a detailed analytical study on the relationship between human rights and the environment” (para.1).
See also the Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes
Human rights and climate change
In its 5th Assessment Report (2014), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) unequivocally confirmed that climate change is real and that human-made greenhouse gas emissions are its primary cause. The report identified the increasing frequency of extreme weather events and natural disasters, rising sea-levels, floods, heat waves, droughts, desertification, water shortages, and the spread of tropical and vector-borne diseases as some of the adverse impacts of climate change. These phenomena directly and indirectly threaten the full and effective enjoyment of a range of human rights by people throughout the world, including the rights to life, water and sanitation, food, health, housing, self-determination, culture and development.