Sunday Environment and Climate Change RoundUp: June 26, 2016


Well, I had this bright idea of doing a quick round-up of what I consider important, relevant news about the environment and climate change, every Sunday – local, regional and global news. So, this is my first weekly post – my “Top Ten” articles. I hope you find it useful. I have inserted links that you can click on; I hope you can access all the information easily.

Jamaica and the Caribbean:

A man and a boy try to fish while standing on the dry shores of the almost empty La Plata reservoir in Toa Alta, Puerto Rico. Photograph: Alvin Baez/Reuters
A man and a boy try to fish while standing on the dry shores of the almost empty La Plata reservoir in Toa Alta, Puerto Rico. Photograph: Alvin Baez/Reuters

Caribbean region must prepare for increased drought due to climate change: The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in a new report says Caribbean governments must move to strengthen their ability to deal with increased drought caused by climate change. The report  notes that agriculture, food security and the availability of fresh drinking water will be at increasing risk, if Caribbean leaders do not exhibit “strong political will” to initiate participatory planning and policy-making involving all stakeholders, including at the community level. “A weak enabling environment” and “weakly coordinated land management” are seen as among those barriers to progress in coping with drought. http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/420835/icode/

Nurse sharks in the Bahamas. Shark tourism is becoming popular in the Caribbean; the Bahamas banned commercial fishing of sharks in 2011. Nurse sharks are very large but pose little, if any danger to humans. (Photo: Ocean News)
Nurse sharks in the Bahamas. “Shark tourism” is becoming popular in the Caribbean; the Bahamas banned commercial fishing of sharks in 2011. Nurse sharks are very large but pose little, if any danger to humans. (Photo: Ocean News)

New Caribbean shark sanctuaries boost regional protections: The Governments of Sint Maarten and the Cayman Islands recently announced that their respective Exclusive Economic Zones are completely closed to commercial shark fishing. Curaçao and Grenada are also planning legislation to establish shark sanctuaries by year-end. Sir Richard Branson, the Pew Charitable Trusts and other non-governmental organizations are supporting the effort. This brings the total number of shark sanctuaries in the Caribbean to seven; the Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Saba and Bonaire already have sanctuaries, as well as Honduras in Central America. Worldwide, at least 100 million sharks are killed each year in commercial fisheries; nearly one third of all known shark species are threatened with extinction. http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/topstory-New-Caribbean-shark-sanctuaries-boost-regional-protections-30799.html

The Environmental Foundation of Jamaica is seeking an Accounting Clerk. Click here for details. Deadline for applications is July 4, 2016.

Big ups to the sponsors of JET's Schools Environment Programme. Let's see more coming on board!
Big ups to the sponsors of JET’s Schools Environment Programme. Let’s see more coming on board!

Schools Environment Programme: All winners! The Jamaica Environment Trust is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Its Schools Environment Programme (SEP) is also in its 19th year! Although it has expanded and contracted a couple of times over the years, depending on funding, the SEP has raised environmental awareness in over 350 Jamaican schools, reaching some 300,000 students and 600 teachers. JET fully appreciates the support of its sponsors (and I personally would love to see the level of sponsorship increase!) Maryland All-Age School were winners of this year’s competition, followed by MarJam Prep School and Vista Prep School in second and third places. By the way, take a peek at JET’s Facebook page for a weekly feature celebrating 25 years of activism. Lots of hard work!

World:

The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage is a bit of a climate change skeptic as well as a long-time Euro-skeptic. (Photo: Matt Dunham/AP)
The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage is a bit of a climate change skeptic as well as a long-time Euro-skeptic. (Photo: Matt Dunham/AP)

UK’s out vote is a “red alert” for the environment: What are the implications for the environment in this week’s “Brexit” vote in the UK? NGOs Friends of the Earth and Client Earth see the vote as a disaster for Britain’s environment, but environmental columnist George Monbiot has a more nuanced take, suggesting in a series of tweets today that there may in fact be opportunities and that Britain should accept the result and try to make the best of it. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/damian-carrington-blog/2016/jun/24/uks-out-vote-is-a-red-alert-for-the-environment

Young girls in Marrakech learn about renewable energy at UNESCO's Eco-School Program.
Young girls in Marrakech learn about renewable energy at UNESCO’s Eco-School Program.

The 1st Global Forum of Alliances and Coalitions: Salaheddine Mezouar, President of COP22 and Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, opened the two-day Global Forum of Alliances and Coalitions on the Climate Action Agenda in Rabat on Friday, June 24, in the presence of COP21 and COP20 Presidents, Ségolène Royal and Manuel Pulgar Vidal. The 22nd Session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22 – “The COP of Action”) will take place in Marrakech from November 7 – 18, 2016. http://cop22.ma/en/1st-global-forum-alliances-and-coalitions-rabat-advance-climate-action-agenda

High and Dry: Climate Change, Water and the Economy: A new World Bank report notes: “Economic growth is a surprisingly thirsty business.” Water scarcity could cost some regions up to 6 per cent in GDP, predicts the World Bank, which also makes the point: “Smart water policy is fundamental to smart climate policy and smart development policy.” Action at the national level – policy reform, investment, and careful planning – is needed, or the consequences will be dire. See all the links here: http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/water/publication/high-and-dry-climate-change-water-and-the-economy

Antarctica has passed a frightening milestone. (Photo: climatecentral.org)
Antarctica has passed a frightening milestone. (Photo: climatecentral.org)

May 2016 sets new records:  In case you missed it, another climate change record was broken in May, according to data released by NASA (see their amazing climate change website here) and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 2016 has been the hottest year on record, so far, and last month is the 13th consecutive month in which a monthly global temperature record has been broken—the longest such streak since global temperature records began in 1880. Moreover, carbon dioxide concentrations at the South Pole passed 400 parts per million on 23 May – the last place on Planet Earth to reach this mark. “Global CO2 levels will not return to values below 400 ppm in our lifetimes, and almost certainly for much longer,” says a NOAA official. http://public.wmo.int/en/media/news/may-2016-sets-new-records

Powered by the sun: Solar Impulse. (Photo: 500px)
Powered by the sun: Solar Impulse. (Photo: 500px)

A Committee for Clean Technology has been announced: The amazing pioneers and advocates for clean technology, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, have established the International Committee for Clean Technology, following their #futureisclean initiative. The two have flown their Solar Impulse solar-powered plane almost three quarters of the way around the world in stages, and say once their global tour is completed they will be moving on to “something a little different.” Read more about it: http://blog.solarimpulse.com/post/146308840750/icct-international-committee-clean-technology

Rest in peace: Professor Suwido Limin, who was personally engaged in the struggle to reduce huge fires created by the drying of peat marshes in Indonesia. Here he sits on a dam he helped erect on a drainage canal in a peat swamp in Central Kalimantan. Dams help to rewet the peatland, making it less likely to burn. (Photo: Greenpeace)
Rest in peace: Professor Suwido Limin, who was personally engaged in the struggle to reduce huge fires created by the drying of peat marshes in Indonesia. Here he sits on a dam he helped erect on a drainage canal in a peat swamp in Central Kalimantan. Dams help to rewet the peatland, making it less likely to burn. (Photo: Greenpeace)

Peat expert dies from cancer after fighting Indonesian fires: Let us always remember those fighting environmental destruction and climate change on the front lines. This week I would like us to remember Indonesian university professor Suwido Limin, who died this month of cancer at age 61 after years of battling the annual fires and haze in his country caused by the large-scale drainage and drying of peat swamps for palm oil and timber plantations. Remember the reports of thick haze right across South East Asia last year, caused by these terrible fires? Limin, an ethic Dayak, also helped draft a regulation on indigenous rights in Central Kalimantan that has been submitted to the provincial government for approval; he also founded a volunteer firefighting brigade and helped establish the Center for International Management of Tropical Peatlands. Read more about Professor Limin here: https://news.mongabay.com/2016/06/peat-expert-dies-from-cancer-after-fighting-indonesian-fires/?n3wsletter


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