This is a must watch for everyone who cares about our planet – presented by David Attenborough.
Our goal is not to amass information or to satisfy curiosity, but rather to become painfully aware, to dare to turn what is happening to the world into our own personal suffering and thus to discover what each of us can do about it. — Pope Francis
The Guardian reports today that “academics have mapped out a network of sanctuaries they say are required to save the world’s oceans, protect wildlife and fight climate breakdown.”
“The study, ahead of a historic vote at the UN, sets out the first detailed plan of how countries can protect over a third of the world’s oceans by 2030, a target scientists and policy makers say is crucial in order to safeguard marine ecosystems and help mitigate the impacts of a rapidly heating world.” Read more . . .
An important new web site was launched by George Monbiot today. It is one of the most impressive and encouraging efforts I have seen. The Guardian published an excellent summary of it HERE. I have included links to all the Natural Climate Solutions Allies on the right-hand side bar of this blog. Please take some time to explore Natural Climate Solutions and its accompanying references. And don’t miss Monbiot’s Guardian Opinion piece HERE.
“Today, a small group of us is launching a campaign for natural climate solutions to receive the commitment and funding they deserve. At the moment, though their potential is huge, they have been marginalized in favour of projects that may be worse than useless, but which are profitable for corporations. Governments discuss the climate crisis and the ecological crisis in separate meetings when both disasters could be addressed together. We have set up a dedicated website, produced an animation and written a letter to governments and international bodies signed by prominent activists, scientists and artists.”George Monbiot
“Our aim is simple: to catalyse global enthusiasm for drawing down carbon by restoring ecosystems,” said Monbiot, who has written a report for the website. “It is the single most undervalued and underfunded tool for climate mitigation.”Damian Carrington
“With global carbon emissions hitting an all-time high in 2018, the world is on a trajectory that climate experts believe will lead to catastrophic warming by 2100 or before. Some of those experts say that to combat the threat, it is now imperative for society to use carbon farming techniques that extract carbon dioxide from the air and store it in soils. Because so much exposed soil across the planet is used for farming, the critical question is whether scientists can find ways to store more carbon while also increasing agricultural yields.”
“Johnson asserts that if his approach were used across agriculture internationally, the entire world’s carbon output from 2016 could be stored on just 22 percent of the globe’s arable land. He says that would provide net benefits of $500 to $600 per acre rather than net costs, if credits are provided for carbon capture and related benefits are counted, such as reduced irrigation and increased soil fertility.” Read more . . .
Excerpts from the IRENA report:
“This ongoing transition to renewables is not just a shift from one set of fuels to another. It involves a much deeper transformation of the world’s energy systems that will have major social, economic and political implications which go well beyond the energy sector.
“The global energy transformation will have a particularly pronounced impact on geopolitics. It is one of the undercurrents of change that will help to redraw the geopolitical map of the 21st century. The new geopolitical reality that is taking shape will be fundamentally different from the conventional map of energy geopolitics that has been dominant for more than one hundred years.
“The majority of countries can hope to increase their energy independence significantly, and fewer economies will be at risk from vulnerable energy supply lines and volatile prices. Some countries that are heavily dependent on exports of oil, gas or coal will need to adapt to avoid serious economic consequences. Many developing economies will have the possibility to leapfrog fossil fuelbased systems and centralized grids. Renewables will also be a powerful vehicle of democratization because they make it possible to decentralize the energy supply, empowering citizens, local communities, and cities.”
“Global power structures and arrangements will change in many ways and the dynamics of relationships within states will also be transformed. Power will become more decentralized and diffused. The influence of some states, such as China, will grow because they have invested heavily in renewable technologies and built up their capacity to take advantage of the opportunities they create.
“By contrast, states that rely heavily on fossil fuel exports and do not adapt to the energy transition will face risks and lose influence.
“The supply of energy will no longer be the domain of a small number of states, since the majority of countries will have the potential to achieve energy independence, enhancing their development and security as a result.
“The transition will generate considerable benefits and opportunities. It will strengthen the energy security and energy independence of most countries; promote prosperity and job creation; improve food and water security; and enhance sustainability and equity. Some states will be able to leapfrog technologies based on fossil fuels. The number of energy-related conflicts is likely to fall.
“Countries must prepare for the changes ahead and develop strategies to enhance the prospects of a smooth transition. At the same time, the energy transformation will generate new challenges. Fossil fuel-exporting countries may face instability if they do not reinvent themselves for a new energy age; a rapid shift away from fossil fuels could create a financial shock with significant consequences for the global economy; workers and communities who depend on fossil fuels may be hit adversely; and risks may emerge with regard to cybersecurity and new dependencies on certain minerals.”
In broad terms, “blue carbon” refers to carbon stored, sequestered and cycled through coastal and ocean ecosystems, mainly mangroves, tidal salt marshes, and seagrass meadows. When protected or restored, coastal blue carbon ecosystems act as carbon sinks. When degraded or destroyed, they emit the carbon they have stored into the oceans and atmosphere and become sources of greenhouse gases.
Mangroves are among the oldest and most productive wetland forests on our planet. Found in the intertidal zone, they are uniquely adapted to survive highly saline and anoxic conditions. They are ideal habitats for many terrestrial and marine species, carbon sinks and natural barriers against storm surges and coastal erosion. Mangroves provide invaluable services but have been declining worldwide as a result of anthropogenic and other threats.
It is important to note that the ecosystem services provided by mangroves is not limited to carbon storage and sequestration. They also support improved coastal water quality, provide habitats for a great variety of fish species, and protect coasts against floods and storms. Recent estimates revealed that mangroves are worth at least US$ 1.6 billion each year in ecosystem services.
The following movie, Guardians of our Coast, describes these processes, and includes some extraordinary photography. It showcases the fascinating web of life that surrounds these tidal forests. The movie highlights the unique collaboration between governments, regional and local institutions, NGOs and local communities, in efforts to save these vulnerable ecosystems and restore them to their former glory. Highly recommended.