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Climate roundup - 16 - 29 April 2011

Apr 29, 2011



Climate news roundup

A double roundup this week! On Fridays, we bring you the climate change stories that sparked our attention during the week, many of which have significant implications for agriculture and food security.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome, please leave a comment below or via twitter to @cgiarclimate

UNFCCC meetings in Bangkok

The UNFCCC meetings in Bangkok focused on the Durban agenda at the insistence of poor countries and small island states (which number among the world’s most vulnerable nations).  Some observers argue that the meetings recalibrated the pace of climate talks. Yvo de Boer argues that the private sector needs more room at the climate change negotiating table. US and EU envoys think a Durban climate deal is impossible, and that a Kyoto fight could derail climate talks.

The bigger the better?

In an interview with Xinhua, Former Vice President of the World Bank Vinod Thomas said climate change is not just an environment issue but also has socioeconomic implications. He would likely agree that climate change projects should be bigger and better. Not surprisingly the financial crisis led to fewer emissions in 2009,

Doubting climate policies?

On the occasion of Earth Day, the National Journal reflected on the stalled U.S. environmental movement, even as climate change is now predicted to  hit the Western US water supply. Despite the stalling, the US climate lobby seems to be flush with cash. Meanwhile, as climate change threatens China's water resources,  the Guardian cast doubts on China’s approach to environmental issues. Meanwhile, the carbon footprint of imported goods may cancel out carbon cuts by developed countries but are not properly accounted for. A Dutch diplomat wonders if sustainable development can work; and Europe's carbon market is begging for reform. 

Small islands fear rising tide

Nauru plans to use UN spotlight to confront developed world over climate change as rising sea levels loom.

England’s climate woes

In England, against the backdrop of Climate Change Act wrangling, farmers face imminent water restrictions due to a dry spell. 

Sub-Saharan African challenges

Farmers in Somalia are facing the “worst drought in a lifetime”. They could benefit from the findings of a CGIAR-authored Experimental Agriculture report that assesses climate-induced risk in Sub-Saharan rainfed agriculture. It finds that African farmers 'need more relevant climate predictions'. Farmers in Malawi, meanwhile, are already benefiting from the country’s national meteorological service, according to a World Resources Report study.

In Kenya, outrage over rising fuel and food prices spilled into the streets as some Kenyan farmers are using SMS to beat climate-driven price uncertainty. In Africa’s semi-arid Sahel region, farmers are bucking deforestation trends by growing more trees than ever before.  

The African Union identifies five major areas where climate change impacts the human environment, and Botswanan experts agree that the threats are serious in Africa.

Asia challenges

A Vietnamese city probes climate risks to development plan; Indonesia thinks the private sector is a 'vital' ally in fighting climate change; the World Bank says the Philippines not doing enough on climate; and Pakistan's ministers approve a draft climate change policy. Indian experts clarify that 'All weather changes are not climate change'; and Nepal puts Community-Based Adaptation into action.

No dam just yet

The Mekong River won temporary reprieve from the construction of a controversial dam in Laos when the four member countries of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) failed to reach an agreement. 

More to learn about warming

Carbon isn’t the only culprit. The thinning ozone has shifted the Southern Hemisphere's climate.  Climate modelers also need to expand their understanding of climate change’s impact on oceans($) —not to mention penguins.  Aerosols ($) may not help the issue, but sugar cane biofuels may help cool things down ($). USAID and NASA join forces to advance knowledge on food security, climate change, energy and environmental management. Climate Change may overthrow current social contracts. La Niña's effects won't go away.

Understanding food security

Foreign Policy asks if 1 billion people are truly hungry; experts question if the world is prepared for conflicts over food and other resources; and CIFOR helps link forests and food security.

The climate roundup is compiled by Susan Buzzelli, IFPRI and edited by Vanessa Meadu, CCAFS.