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Climate Change News

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Rice is a vital crop that provides people with more calories in total than any other food ( STR/AFP/Getty Images )

Rice farming is known to be a major contributor to climate change, but new research suggests it is far bigger a problem than previously thought.

Techniques intended to reduce emissions while also cutting water use may, in fact, be boosting some greenhouse gases, meaning the impact of rice cultivation may be up to twice as bad as previous estimates suggest.

Read more: Rice farming up to twice as bad for climate change as previously thought, study reveals

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Integrated fish ponds and forestry at a LIFT-funded climate smart agriculture project, Bogale.

In November 2018, GGGI have been exploring potential investments in agriculture, forestry and fishery value chains that not only increase economic and social development but also reduce deforestation pressures and increase the extent of mangrove forests. GGGI investment, forestry policy, and bio-economy specialists have been consulting with communities, NGOs and government in the Ayeyarwady Delta to understand the factors that are critical to achieve fully inclusive, sustainable success, and support national goals of climate change mitigation and adaptation in coastal areas.

The conservation of mangrove forests is a notable policy priority for Myanmar. Mangroves are widely acknowledged to offer life-saving protection to coastal communities against the impact of extreme weather events, storm surges and tropical cyclones. In addition, their contribution to climate change adaptation, mangrove forests store up to 400% more carbon than other forest types (particularly in their soils) which makes their conservation important to maintaining the stability of global climate. Unfortunately, Myanmar’s mangrove forests are disappearing at the highest rates of any country in Asia, and therefore have a disproportionate impact on greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

The potential economic, social and environmental benefits of finding a solution to ensuring the sustainability of forest management are very timely for the Delta. The potential investments in mangrove conservation and associated value chains could significantly contribute to achievement of Myanmar’s Nationally Determined Contribution targets, as well as key sectoral policies and strategies for climate change mitigation and REDD+, adaptation, and sustainable development.

In a series of workshops and site visits, GGGI facilitated discussions on the range of current forestry and fishery value chain activities in the region to assess what stakeholders see as the barriers to developing or scaling up these activities.

Read more: Unlocking Sustainable Community Forestry in the Ayeyarwady Delta

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Left: Traditional three-brick. Centre: Original design of the cookstove. Right: The fuel efficient cookstove.

In November 2018, a team of GGGI social development, and green investment specialists have been talking to representatives from national and regional government, NGOs, cookstove manufacturers and households from rural communities on how to increase the distribution and usage of fuel-efficient cookstoves.

Fuel efficient cookstoves, or ‘improved’ cookstoves, have clear benefits over the traditionally used open three-brick method and even the original design of the cookstove. Most notably, the improved design is more fuel efficient and requires less firewood to be collected, resulting in reduced deforestation and time-saving for households, particularly for women.

Although cookstoves are used in rural communities throughout Myanmar, their usage in the Delta is more problematic due to the rate of deforestation of mangrove forests for firewood. Mangroves are a critical forest type for climate change mitigation as they store up to 4 times the amount of carbon as other forest types. The mangrove forests of the Delta are also critical for disaster risk reduction during severe weather events and are the foundation for sustaining coastal fishery-based livelihoods.

Read more: Using Blockchain Technology to Distribute Fuel Efficient Cookstoves in Myanmar

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Young planters stand guard by mangrove forest in Shwe Thaung Yan sub township in Ayyerwady region of Myanmar. Credit: Stella Paul/IPS

Htay Aung is having a moment. The 63-year-old retired professor of Marine Science sits at the foot of a Buddha statue atop a hill on Shwe Thaung Yan sub-township, in Myanmar’s Ayeyarwady region, almost in meditation. Below him, a vast thicket of mangrove glistens in the gold of a setting sun. For Aung, this stretch of mangroves—known as the Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park—is a symbol of joy, hope and all things good.

Read more: Sprouting Mangroves Restore Hopes in Coastal Myanmar

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In the long run, Malaysia Airports believes that CSR programmes should become part and parcel of the business operations and strategies.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has made a stunning transition over the years globally with a focus on benefiting the community and society.

The days of running ad-hoc and one-off activities are gone. Such activities only bring short term improvements, with little significant long-run impact. Instead, corporations today look for CSR practices that are holistic, structured, creating sustained value and measurable.

One trend taking root is for CSR to be embedded in the company’s culture and strategic planning process right from the beginning. It is no longer seen as a luxury but a core part of the overall business sustainability framework.

With all eyes trained on CSR and sustainability, companies must get it right. The CSR outcome should address the socioeconomic and environmental issues of local and global constituents. The hallmark of an effective CSR programme is the buy-in and support of the employees, where employees are proud of the positive impact the company is creating. Employees should be willing to contribute and participate, leading to the much-coveted employee engagement that all companies strive for.

On their part, corporations are rising to the challenge in their own ways. One unique development involves volunteerism. A CSR driven company should embed volunteerism as part of the staff contributed to the company. Volunteerism is carried out during company time to ensure full commitment towards the CSR initiatives.

A CSR driven company also values partnership. It actively addresses the challenges and issues around the community in which it operates. On its part, the community would want to improve the overall quality of life so that creative and sustainable solutions are developed to address these challenges and issues. Hence, the solutions not only benefit the community but also solve business challenges.

Read more: Becoming a community-friendly organisation

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A man carries a board as he walks through a flooded road near a temple after tropical storm Pabuk hit the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat. (Reuters pic)

BANGKOK: When Bangkok’s oldest university called for ideas for a symbol to mark its centenary year, landscape architect Kotchakorn Voraakhom successfully pitched a design for a park.

It was intended not only as a welcome green space in the middle of the congested city of about 10 million people but as a place that could also retain large amounts of water, reducing monsoon flooding around Chulalongkorn University.

Read more: Bangkok fights floods with thirsty landscaping

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A recycling bin in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Photo Credit: Wikimedia)

For 40 years, Asia has been a dumping ground for the West’s waste. For decades, most of it ended up in China. But with that no longer an option, countries now send non-recyclable plastic waste to Southeast Asia.

Malaysia’s Energy, Science, Technology, Environment, and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin declared that enough is enough. “Any solid waste that cannot be properly recycled and does not follow the Environmental Quality Act will be banned,” she said.

Read more: Malaysia says ‘no more non-recyclable waste’ – will the world take note?

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EU should reconsider the proposal to ban the use of Malaysian palm oil-based biofuel so that it does not affect the livelihood of small farmers. (AFP pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The European Union’s (EU) proposal to ban the use of Malaysian palm oil-based biofuel within the union is invalid and unjustified, an advocate for Planters United, an NGO made up of a group of planters, said.

Read more: Proposal to ban Malaysian palm oil unjustified, planters tell EU

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Trees fell and roads flooded but storm appears to have done less damage than feared.

Rain, wind, and surging seawater from a tropical storm have buffeted coastal villages and tourist resorts on southern Thailand’s east coast, knocking down trees and utility poles and flooding roads.

One person was reported dead and another missing after a fishing boat with a crew of six capsized in high waves, but by nightfall it appeared that Tropical Storm Pabuk had caused less damage than feared.

Airlines and boat operators suspended operations for safety reasons and some tourists were forced to change travel plans. Beaches were closed but some bars and restaurants on the popular island of Koh Samui remained open.

Before the storm, more than 6,100 people were evacuated from their homes in four provinces, according to the department of disaster prevention and mitigation.

The meteorological department said the storm had maximum sustained winds of 47mph when it made land shortly after noon. It warned of continuing strong winds and waves 3-5 meters high in the Gulf of Thailand and 2-3metres in the Andaman Sea. It advised all ships to stay ashore on Saturday and warned of possible storm surges on the Gulf coast.

“We can expect heavy rain and downpours, flooding and flash floods in the area throughout the night,” said the department’s director general, Phuwieng Prakhammintara.

Evacuation efforts were especially intense in Nakhon Si Thammarat province, where authorities sent trucks through flooded streets with downed power lines urging people to leave. “You cannot stay here. It’s too dangerous,” officials repeated over loudspeakers.

Read more: Tropical Storm Pabuk buffets Thailand's east coast

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Extreme weather and dire climate reports are intensifying the mental health effects of global warming: depression and resignation about the future.

The Delta Fire rages in Shasta-Trinity National Forest in California on Sept. 6.Noah Berger / AP file

When the U.N. released its latest climate report in October, it warned that without “unprecedented” action, catastrophic conditions could arrive by 2040.

Read more: 'Climate grief': The growing emotional toll of climate change

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