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PHNOM PENH: The Cambodian capital Phnom Penh was once fondly known as the “Pearl of Asia”, with pretty post-colonial Khmer architecture, immaculate parks, and tree-lined avenues. Today, it is a city of garbage, where mountains of rubbish engulf acres of landfills and grimy streets reek of waste and decay.

But one day, it could see new roads built with trash if the Ministry of Public Works and Transport takes up the suggestion of two Cambodian female students – Sokanha Ly and Bunhourng Tan – whose green creation could turn plastic waste into cheaper and better roadways.

The pair are graduates from Harpswell, a Phnom Penh-based foundation that teaches young Cambodian women to be leaders through debates and civic engagement in English and French. In 2016, they co-founded a start-up called Eco-Plastic to transform trash into roads.

“We want to see Eco-Plastic as an eco-friendly mechanism to solve plastic hell in Cambodia, Southeast Asia, and the world,” said 21-year-old Bunhourng Tan, who is studying business administration at AmericanUniversity of Phnom Penh.

Read more: Young Cambodian women on green mission to build roads with plastic waste

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Coffee lovers beware. Climate change is threatening supplies of high-quality beans with one Japanese coffee house hunting for the perfect bean to withstand the warmer conditions.

Tokyo’s Key Coffee Inc. is testing 35 varieties of Arabica trees in Indonesia in collaboration with World Coffee Research of Oregon and the Indonesian Coffee and Cocoa Research Institute. About half of the varieties planted two years ago may be suitable to grow in the highlands of Sulawesi where the company runs its own farm.

“The threat from climate change is real on our farm,” Masataka Nakano, deputy general manager of the roaster’s marketing division, said in an interview in Tokyo. “As the difference between the rainy and dry seasons is becoming unclear, and the amount of rain is getting unstable, our crops are vulnerable to damage.”

Global coffee consumption is forecast to expand 2 percent a year through to 2050 and production needs to double to keep pace, according to World Coffee Research. Yet areas fit for Arabica production may halve by 2050, according to the research body. Arabica beans are favored for their better aroma and flavor, while beans from higher-yielding and more disease-resistant robusta trees are mainly used for instant coffee.

Arabica is forecast to account for almost 60 percent of global coffee production in the current marketing year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Read more: Climate Change Threat Sends Coffee Roaster on Bean Hunt

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DR. SHOBHAKAR DHAKAL WITH HIS NEW PUBLICATION "CLIMATE CHANGE AND CITIES: SECOND ASSESSMENT REPORT OF THE URBAN CLIMATE CHANGE RESEARCH NETWORK. " CREDIT: ASIAN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (AIT)A new publication titled 'Climate Change and Cities: Second Assessment Report of the Urban Climate Change Research Network,' co-edited by Dr. Shobhakar Dhakal of the Asian Institute of Technology has been released.

Read more: New publication on climate change and cities by AIT faculty member

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Displaced residents seeking shelter in Paksong, Laos, on Wednesday.CreditBen C. Solomon/The New York Times

PAKSONG, Laos — Petchinda Chantamart first heard what sounded like a bomb going off a few miles away. Then came a curious noise, like a strong wind.

She knew instinctively what it meant: One of the new dams under construction near her village in southern Laos had failed. She began banging on her neighbors’ doors, she recounted, urging them to flee to higher ground.

“The water is coming!” Ms. Chantamart roared.

Within a half-hour, the water in her village, Xay Done Khong, was more than 30 feet deep and rising.

Read more: In Laos, a Boom, and Then, ‘The Water Is Coming!’

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The world’s empathy toward the boys and rescuers shows what is possible in unifying behind adaptation to other weather risks, including the effects of climate change.

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Read more: Thai cave rescue: a metaphor on climate adaptation

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UN Photo (file) Claire Nullis, spokesperson for the World Meteorological Organization.

Clare Nullis, spokesperson for the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), was speaking in Geneva amid reports indicating that all 12 boys and their coach had been freed in a daring rescue operation by a team of specialist divers.

Read more: Thai cave boys spared thundershowers, highlighting extreme climate disruption: UN weather agency

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Thai soldiers connected pipes to reroute water away from the Tham Luang Cave on Saturday.CreditSakchai Lalit/Associated Press

After 12 members of a youth soccer team and their coach were trapped in the Tham Luang Cave in northern Thailand nearly three weeks ago, their plight, and then their rescue, captured the world’s attention.

Read more: Does Climate Change Have Anything to Do With Floods in Thailand?

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Last year, a bold initiative set out to locate coral reefs most likely to survive global warming. That turned out to be far easier said than done – but now scientists hope the results will rally attention to regions where there’s hope to save crucial marine ecosystems.

It was only after coral reef ecologist Emma Kennedy accepted a postdoctoral position at a prestigious research group in Australia that she learned details of her assignment.

Working with a team of top scientists led by her boss at the University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute, she and a colleague would have a year to develop of list of 50 coral reefs that had the best shot at surviving climate change until – or if – global temperatures stabilized under the terms of the Paris climate accord. Identifying those reefs now could help rally people to protect them from more prosaic but still deadly threats like overfishing and pollution. The thinking was that larvae from those reefs could also help repopulate other reef areas that don’t survive.

It was always going to be a bold endeavor, but at first, Kennedy thought the idea of picking 50 reefs in a year was more like mission impossible.

“I went home and thought maybe I should quit now because it’s just too big of a challenge,” she said.

A flurry of attention followed when the 50 Reefs project laid down its own gauntlet in a public announcement. With half of coral reefs lost around the world in the last 30 years and up to 90 percent projected to die in the next, the initiative brought in three foundations, a team of more than a dozen scientific advisers and major conservation groups in an urgent, collaborative effort to create the “first global plan to save the most biodiverse ecosystem on the planet,” according to the February 2017 press release.

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Read more: Inside the Mission to Find 50 Reefs That Could Survive Climate Change

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For a church official, the country abiding by its commitment to climate agreement is more important than the number of delegates that it will send to climate conferences.

Father Edu Gariguez (photo from CBCPNews) MANILA BULLETIN

“What is important is the serious commitment of the government to abide by its commitment to climate agreement,” Father Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines National Secretariat for Social Action-Justice and Peace, said in an interview.

“The government committed to reducing 70% carbon emission in its INDC (Intended nationally determined contributions) for the Conference of Parties or COP 21, yet it is opening more coal-fired power plants in the country,” he added.

Read more: Church official: ‘Country abiding to its commitment to climate agreement is important’

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By August 2018, only electric tricycles will be allowed to ferry passengers in Boracay as part of the Malay municipal government's bid to promote environment-friendly public transportation.

MANILA, Philippines – Only electric passenger tricycles (e-tricycles) should be seen plying the streets of Boracay by August this year when the Malay town government in Aklan enforces the phaseout of motorized public tricycles in the island.

Read more: Boracay shifts to e-tricycles by August

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