A summary of climate change stories in the UK and international media in the past fortnight. To receive this by email please email email@example.com
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Support R&D to adapt to climate change, says OECD report (SciDev Net 25 November). Research and development incentives are an important policy instrument to help countries adapt to climate change, says a report released yesterday (24 November). According to the report, without "more ambitious policies", greenhouse gas emissions will increase to almost 685 parts per million (ppm) by 2050.
Trees need more state protection, says report (Independent 27 November). Britain's trees face environmental change at an "unprecedented scale", with the challenges and opportunities greater now than at any time in the past 100 years, according to a new report backed by 20 of Britain's leading forestry and wildlife bodies. Organisations ranging from the Forest Stewardship Council to the Woodland Trust have joined together for the first time to highlight the state of British woodlands and are urging the Government to take action.
Scotland could become increasingly vulnerable to climate change (Wired-GOV Newswire 28 November). A report published recently by the Adaptation Sub-Committee of the UK Committee on Climate Change (ASC) finds that over coming decades, Scotland could become increasingly vulnerable to impacts of climate change unless it strengthens measures to adapt. This first independent assessment finds that the Scottish Government has made good progress in putting in place a strategic and structured approach to adapting Scotland to a changing climate.
ICRAF, ABS Launch Policy Briefs on Agroforestry, Climate and REDD+ (Climate Change Policy & Practice 1 December). The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the Alternatives to Slash and Burn Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins (ASB) programme have released a series of policy briefs that focus on topics including agroforestry, carbon markets, climate-smart agriculture and REDD+.
New assessment shows risks of no action on climate change (Wired-GOV Newswire 6 December). The results of a major new scientific assessment of climate change has been published yesterday, highlighting the effects the world could face if global temperature changes are not limited to two degrees. The assessment commissioned by Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, and lead by the Met Office Hadley Centre studied 24 different countries, from developed to developing. It notes that all the countries in the study have warmed since the 1960s and that the occurrence of extremely warm temperatures has increased whilst extremely cold temperatures have become less frequent. If emissions are left unchecked, the report says temperatures would rise generally between three and five degrees Celsius this century. This could be accompanied by significant changes in rainfall patterns, leading in many cases to increased pressure on crop production, water stress and flood risks.
Forest carbon and the Durban climate conference (The Conversation 7 December). One of the topics under discussion at Durban is the role carbon farming and other forestry measures could have in reducing emissions. With the possibility that negotiations will not bring about an agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol, delegates are working on measures that could take place outside a climate agreement. The Conversation asked Dr Tim Cadman from the University of South Queensland about how much difference these measures could make.
European tree species map released (European Forest Institute 9 December). European Forest Institute (EFI) in cooperation with Alterra / Wageningen University has released a set of 1x1 km tree species maps showing the distribution of 20 tree species over Europe. Basic dendrometric data were kindly received for 260,000 national forest inventory plot locations from 17 countries to compile these maps. Forest plot data collected in a European-wide network (ICP Level I) have been used to extend the available data for the remaining European countries. Furthermore, forest inventory statistics have been applied. Never before, such harmonized maps were available at the European scale, at this level of detail. These maps will be important for future resource analyses, and e.g. carbon analysis. More details on the mapping method are provided in a scientific article by Brus et al. 2011 ‘Statistical mapping of tree species over Europe’, European Journal of Forest Research Vol. 131 (1): 145–157.
Carbon Farming Initiative open for business (The Financial Channel 9 December). The Carbon Farming Initiative is a key component of the Gillard Government’s Clean Energy Future plan and enables farmers, land owners, local government and a range of other stakeholders to reduce carbon pollution while generating extra revenue.
Road open to new global legal climate treaty (DECC Press Release 1 December). The UN climate talks in South Africa have been heralded a success after a climate change deal was struck in the early hours of Sunday morning.194 parties have spent the past two weeks in Durban discussing how to cut emissions to limit global temperature rise to below two degrees to avoid dangerous climate change. In a major realignment of support, well over 120 countries formed a coalition behind the EU's high ambition proposal of a roadmap to a global legally binding deal to curb emissions. African states together with the least developed countries such as Bangladesh and Gambia, and small island states vulnerable to rising sea levels, like the Maldives, joined with the EU to put forward a timetable which would see the world negotiate a new agreement by 2015 at the latest. The talks resulted in a decision to adopt the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol next year in return for a roadmap to a global legal agreement covering all parties for the first time. Negotiations will begin on the agreement early next year.
Forestry research investment welcomed by forestry communities, claims FRA (The Open Press 15 December). Forestry Research Associates (FRA) has announced its support for the forestry research program revealed by The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) at the Durban UN Climate Change Conference this week. The 10-year, $233 million project is intended to help protect forests, and the communities that rely upon them, for years to come. The project will from part of the UN’s attempts to protect forests as a source of valuable carbon absorption.
UNECE hosts expert panel on forests 2030 (Climate Change Policy & Practice 16 December). Experts from governments, international organizations, NGOs and industry participated in a panel on "Forests 2030: The future of forests in Europe and North America," in Geneva, Switzerland. The panel focused on the key findings of three reports: the State of Europe's Forests 2011 report; the European Forest Sector Outlook Study (2010-2030); and the North American Forest Sector Outlook Study (2006-2030). The panel concluded that policy makers should look at costs and benefits beyond the forest sector alone, while being aware of potential policy conflicts.
New policy brief: the case for carbon pricing. The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment has published a policy brief: The case for carbon pricing, for decision-makers interested in the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Headline issue - Carbon pricing, whether through emissions trading or taxes which discourage high-carbon behaviour, should be a fundamental pillar of policies designed to mitigate climate change. Nevertheless, successful implementation of pricing schemes can be hindered by their unpopularity with businesses and consumers. This policy brief outlines the arguments for implementing a broadly uniform carbon price across sectors and considers how governments can begin to reduce perceptions of unfairness through improved policy-making and communication.
Post Durban talks, climate challenges, initiatives. The December issue of the Think to Sustain newsletter, featuring updates from the Durban climate conference is now available.
Lord Turner to step down as Chair of the Committee (CCC News 21 December). Lord Turner today (21 December) announced that he is standing down as Chair of the Committee on Climate Change from spring 2012 in order to focus on his role as Chair of the Financial Services Authority. Lord Turner has been Chair of the Committee since it was set up in 2008, and has been influential in guiding its analysis and in encouraging Government to strengthen its approach to tackling climate change.
Forest density is increasing (Science for Environment Policy, 22 December). The increased density of forests has been responsible for substantially increasing sequestered carbon in Europe and North America over the past 20 years, according to a recent study. The researchers suggest that managing forests for increased density offers one means of increasing carbon stocks.