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THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS | An 80-nation conference on food security is urging U.N. climate negotiators to consider agriculture when drawing up strategies to fight climate change.

The five-day meeting has ended with a call to invest in new farming practices that will curb greenhouse gas emissions and better use currently available land to feed a global population of 9 billion by 2050.

About 30 percent of carbon emissions come from farming, livestock and forest destruction.

Dutch Agriculture Minister Henk Bleker says agriculture must be integrated into climate negotiations and should receive some of the funds earmarked for poor countries to help them reduce emissions and adapt to changing climate conditions.

The conference, attended by 60 government ministers, ended Friday.

 

Source: Business Week (AP) | 05 November 2010

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The fifth UN-REDD Policy Board meeting, which took place in Washington DC, US, from 4-5 November 2010, approved US$15.2 million for five new countries, and confirmed or pledged funds of US$7.4 million.

Cambodia, Papua New Guinea and Paraguay received approvals for US$3 million, $6.4 million and $4.7 million, respectively, after having presented the Board with full national REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks) readiness programmes. Solomon Islands and the Philippines were allocated approximately US$500,000 each for their initial national programmes.

Read more: UN-REDD Policy Board Approves Funding for Five New Countries

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(Reuters) - Scientists studying tree rings to reconstruct the past have found that major volcanic eruptions can boost rains in Southeast Asia, challenging a common perception of volcanoes as purely destructive forces.

Studies in the past have shown massive eruptions such as the 1815 Tambora blast, and Krakatau in 1883, both in Indonesia, dimmed temperatures globally and wiped out crops.

Researchers at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in the United States wanted to study the impacts on the Asian monsoon, whose rains are vital to crops and livelihoods for billions of people.

Read more: Volcanic blasts can boost SE Asia rains -study

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The Philippines is taking on the challenge of leading the development of renewable energy (RE) in the region, an energy official said.

In an interview on the sidelines of the Clean Energy Expo 2010 here, Department of Energy Undersecretary Loreta Ayson said the Aquino administration faces a daunting task of meeting the challenges of RE development.

“I see the event as a call for the use of clean energy towards energy security and climate change mitigation,” she said, adding that the Philippine RE program is consistent with what the other countries in the region are doing.

Read more: Philippines takes on challenge of leading renewable energy development in region

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The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has launched a new website highlighting agriculture practices that reduce farmers' vulnerability to climate impacts and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, sequester carbon, and improve farm yields and household incomes.

The FAO will update the website to present case studies and lessons learned globally. The website highlights: activities in Cameroon to develop and distribute improved crop varieties; agroforestry practices in Mozambique that result in carbon payments; biodigesters in Viet Nam that transform farm waste into biogas for cooking and lighting, as well as fertilizing fields; and improved water management in rice fields conserving water and reducing emissions in the Philippines. The press release highlights the challenges that rice farmers face in dealing with the adverse impacts of climate change, underscoring the potential for improved water management and seed varieties, more diversification of crops, and crop insurance. [Climate Smart Agriculture Website]

 

Source: Climate L | 04 November 2010

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Environmental Destruction

The UN fears that the last 20 years of development will be stalled by destruction of the environment and climate change. Photo: EPA

Climate change and destruction of the environment are the biggest threats to improving wealth and happiness around the world, according to a major United Nations report.

The annual Human Development report from the UN found that on the whole most of the world has become wealthier, healthier and better educated over the last 20 years.

But this rapid development is in danger of reversing because of the rise of global temperatures, that could cause an increase in natural disasters, especially in the poor world where countries are ill-equipped to cope.

Highlighting the failure of last year's UN climate summit in Copenhagen, the report called for renewed efforts to make sure that talks in Cancun, Mexico next month can tackle global warming and protect the environment.

Read more: Climate change is main barrier to development - United Nations

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ROTTERDAM, Netherlands -- The city of Alexandria, Egypt's second largest, spills down either side of a thin ridge running some 100 kilometers along the Mediterranean coast, hard up against the sea on one side and marsh and reclaimed fields on the other.

It is an ancient port city, never designed for the car, and traffic congestion has long been the city's bane.

So a few years ago, gridlocked and desperate, the city paved over some of its beaches and ran a six-lane highway for 25 kilometers along the Mediterranean shore.

The corniche was hailed as a solution when it opened in 2006. But that salvation has exposed the city to a second problem: It changed the slope of the sea bottom, worsening erosion and storm surges.

As sea levels rise and storm surges increase in response to a changing climate, Alexandria is finding that a solution to one problem has inadvertently opened the city to others. Nor is Alexandria alone.

Around the world, low-lying cities are facing unexpected challenges that threaten to chew through scarce or non-existent cash and leave residents and property increasingly vulnerable.

Read more: Climate Adaptation: Adding to a Tide of Worry

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A widely agreed international target to avoid dangerous global warming must take account of local impacts and may need to change, said the chief scientist at the MetOffice Hadley Center, Britain's biggest climate research center.

Julia Slingo said the target of limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius (2C) may need adjusting to take into account research into local and regional effects, particularly on rainfall patterns, as climate science advances.

More than 120 nations agreed to the U.N.'s Copenhagen Accord last December which aimed to limit average global warming to less than 2C, in one of the main outcomes of a fractious summit.

Read more: 2 degree Celsius climate target may need to change: UK scientist

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Environmental activists have renewed calls for the government to expedite what they call the “energy revolution”, by increasing the use of renewable energy and phasing out fossil fuels.

The calls were made by Greenpeace, the Indonesian Environmental Forum (Walhi) and the Mining Advocacy Network (Jatam) on Wednesday. 

The environmental groups conducted a joint study on the impact of coal-fired power plants in Cilacap in Central Java and Cirebon in West Java, and found that coal’s “footprint” was destructive in many ways, from the mining process to power plants that left local residents mired in poverty with poor access to electricity.

Read more: Government told to develop renewable energy

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Legaspi City, Philippines - Twenty Philippine Governors joined the Making Cities Resilient: My City Is Getting Ready! campaign at a summit of local government leaders from 4 to 6 November in Albay. 

The Local Government Unit SUMMIT+3i has the theme “Mainstreaming Climate Change Adaptation in the Philippines.” Participants will discuss how climate change adaptation at local government level is critical for meeting the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDG). 

Read more: Twenty Philippine governors sign up to make provinces resilient to disasters

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