Replacing animal protein with a diverse, plant-rich diet is one of the most effective ways we can end the #ClimateCrisis #Regeneration #Vegan #auspol

Call to action:

Replacing animal protein with a diverse, plant-rich diet is one of the most effective ways we can end the climate crisis and create regenerative and resilient food systems.

Industrial meat production comes with steep costs to the environment, animal welfare, and the climate. Meat and animal feed account for nearly 60 percent of all greenhouse gases generated by the food sector. Overconsumption of meat harms our health. We must transition to a plant-rich diet. However, of the thirty-one thousand plant species that humans can eat, today just nine make up two thirds of all crop production: wheat, corn, rice, soybean, potatoes, palm oil fruit, sugarcane, sugar beet, and cassava. The result has been a loss of nutrition, soil health, and community resilience. These losses impact social justice, food security, and sovereignty. The restoration of food diversity is being led by smallholder farms, Indigenous groups, and traditional food cultures. The goal is to reinvigorate diets, soils, agriculture, and cultures with nutritionally dense, regionally appropriate food grown regeneratively.

Action Items

INDIVIDUALS

Learn why we lost food diversity. The main culprit is industrial agriculture, which has treated food as a commodity for more than a century, emphasizing uniformity, specialization, and mass production. The so-called Green Revolution sped up the loss of food diversity by intensifying crop production with chemicals and the genetic manipulation of crops. Today, our food system is responsible for soaring obesity rates and widespread malnutrition (see Big Food Nexus). Critical crop species are under threat of extinction. Specific reasons for the loss of food diversity include:

Learn why it’s important to restore food diversity. Growing and eating a wide variety of foods, including wild-harvested ones, have major benefits for individuals, farmers, communities, cultures, and the planet. Agrobiodiversity—as it is called by researchers—is particularly important to the well-being of Indigenous peoplestraditional cultures, and communities of smallholder farms around the world, many of whom are on the front lines of the climate crisis (see Agroecology NexusTropical Forests Nexusand Agroforestry Nexus). Benefits include:

Eat more diverse foods. Consumers have contributed to the loss of food diversity by focusing their food purchases on a narrow range of easy-to-buy and easy-to-cook staples (pushed by large food companies), rejecting crops and foods that are unfamiliar or viewed negatively for social or cultural reasons. There are more than ten thousand varieties of tomatoes, including thousands of heirloom species, but consumers prefer just a few types. Deliberately select more diverse foods, whether at a grocery store, restaurant, or farmers’ market. Examples of foods that were once considered “exotic” that have become popular include quinoa, spelt, lentils, wild rice, and pumpkin, flax, and hemp seeds.

  • Heirloom plants are edible fruits and vegetables that were cultivated in the past but are often unavailable today in most stores and markets. Here is a list of seventeen heirloom fruits and vegetables. Here is another shopping list.
  • Foodprint is a dedicated to raising awareness about the impact your meal has on the environment, including a Real Food EncyclopediaHere is their guide to eating out, cooking, shopping, growing your own food, and supporting local producers.
  • One overlooked group are perennial fruits and vegetables. These are crops that don’t need to be reseeded each year, including herbs, vines, trees, cacti, and woody plants. There are more than six hundred types of cultivated perennial vegetables in the world, representing more than a third of all vegetable species. Here is a list.

Reduce meat consumption significantly. Meat should be a rarity in our diets, not a staple. Industrial meat production is linked to air and water pollution, deforestationgroundwater depletionanimal suffering, the spread of diseaseland degradation, large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, and the wasteful use of cropland to grow animal feed. The overconsumption of meat causes chronic illnesses, affecting millions of people and burdening healthcare systems. It is associated with land seizure and violations of Indigenous peoples’ rights. Substantially reducing your annual meat consumption can reduce environmental degradation, improve your health, and help stop climate change. Key points:

Avoid highly-processed and engineered meat substitutes. Cellular meat and ultraprocessed, plant derived substitutes are being pitched as alternatives for consumers who want the experience of eating meat without the environmental costs. However, these products have notable shortcomings:

Learn why animals are a key part of regenerative agriculture. (see Regenerative Agriculture Nexus). The goal is to mimic the “graze-and-go” behavior of native herbivores with domesticated livestock. This supports the biological health of the soil, improves water cycling, reduces erosion, and can increase the amount of carbon that can be stored in rangeland soils (see Grazing Ecology Nexus and Animal Integration Nexus). Here is a book about regenerative farming with animals. If vegan or vegetarian, virtually all fruits, nuts, and vegetables are grown in the absence of animal integration.

Grow a garden. Get involved with preserving agrobiodiversity by planting a garden with heirloom crops. There are many resources. Here is an article from Mother Earth News about getting started. Hereis a list of heirloom vegetables. Here is an example of an heirloom seed company.

Donate to or join organizations that support food diversity. There are many choices, including seed banks and other community-based initiatives that preserve biodiversity (see Key Players).

Regeneration

Finally we have a Global Registry of Fossil Fuels #ClimateCrisis #EnergyCrisis #BrightGreenLies #TellTheTruth #auspol #EconomicCrisis

Major boost for transparency on fossil fuel supply, as the first public database of emissions from production and reserves is published 

New data published today shows that producing and combusting the world’s reserves would yield over 3.5 trillion tons of greenhouse gas emissions, over seven times the remaining carbon budget for 1.5C and more than all emissions produced since the industrial revolution. 

The finding comes from the Global Registry of Fossil Fuels, launched today by Carbon Tracker and Global Energy Monitor.  

To date, climate change policy efforts have focussed on reducing demand and consumption of oil, gas and coal, but ignored the supply of those fuels. The Paris Agreement, for example, does not even mention fossil fuel production, despite the fact that such fuels account for over 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions. 

The UNEP Production Gap reports have established the fact of a large fossil fuel overhang in relation to the remaining carbon budget, while the IEA has shown that no new fields can be developed and that some existing fields retired early if we are to limit warming to 1.5C.  

However, policymakers and civil society lack the asset level data needed to inform decisions on how to manage this phase-out, while markets lack the information to predict which assets are likely to become stranded.

The Global Registry of Fossil Fuels was created to fill this data gap. It is the first public database of fossil fuel production and reserves worldwide that tracks their impact on the carbon budget. The Registry is entirely policy neutral and fully transparent in its assumptions and calculations, and it is hoped that in due course it will be situated formally within the international climate policymaking process. 

At launch, the Registry contains data for over 50,000 fields in 89 countries, covering 75% of global production. Among other things it shows that the US and Russia each hold enough fossil fuel reserves to blow the entire global carbon budget, even if all other countries ceased production immediately. Of the 50,000 fields covered by the registry, the most potent source of emissions is the Ghawar oil field in Saudi Arabia, which produces approximately 525 million tons of carbon emissions each year.  

Of course, emissions data is just one type of information that governments will need to answer the question of ‘how’ to reduce the excessive supply of fossil fuels. Over time, the Registry will be extended to include economic attributes, including taxes and royalties associated with specific assets, that could factor into decision-making on how to manage a phase-out of supply.    

One early ‘hybrid application’ maps fossil fuel emissions against their profitability and location in terms of GDP per capita, as per the below chart.

Figure 1: FF Emissions distributed across the Global Economy

Source: World Bank Resource Rents data GDP data 1970-2020, Global Registry emissions calculations 2020 production. 

From this, three insights emerge. Coal clusters in the bottom left, reflecting its lower profitability and concentration in lower income countries. Oil producers cluster along the top of the chart, as oil continues to provide far greater profits per unit of energy than either gas or coal, while OECD fossil fuel production (bottom right) is characterised by relatively low profitability, particularly when considering the overall strength of these countries’ economies. 

Carbon Tracker Initiative also worked with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to compare the emissions generated by fossil fuel production and the taxes paid by producing companies across 20 EITI member countries, as per the below chart.

Figure 2: Tax $/ ton CO2E by EITI REporting Country (2018)

Source: Carbon Tracker Initiative and EITI 

This reveals a wide discrepancy in taxes per ton of emissions, with Iraq generating nearly $100 in taxes per ton of emissions, compared to just over $5 per ton in the United Kingdom.  

The Registry will be launched today at an event in New York, held in collaboration with the Natural Resource Governance Institute, featuring government representatives from Germany, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, along with the UN Environment Programme.  

Inger Andersen, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, said:

“The science is crystal clear. The transition away from fossil fuel powered economies is critical to the survival of people and the planet. For this to happen we need to deploy every solution in our toolbox to decarbonize our economies. The Global Registry of Fossil Fuels is an important step in providing insights to policymakers and investors as we embark on a just transition away from fossil fuels. 

Patrick Graichen, State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, said:  

“Data transparency is key to building trust in international climate cooperation and informing policymakers. I therefore welcome the initiative to establish an open global fossil fuel registry. We need to move away from fossil fuels and towards sustainable energy systems to limit global warming to 1.5°C while building a strong and inclusive economy for the future. That’s why it’s even more important that any near-term measures we now take to address the energy crisis go hand in hand with faster expansion of renewable energy – for example, building infrastructure for green hydrogen.” 

 Simon Kofe, Minister of Justice, Communications & Foreign Affairs of Tuvalu, said: 

“We now possess a tool that can assist in effectively ending coal, oil and gas production. The Global Registry will help governments, companies, and investors make decisions to align their fossil fuel production with the 1.5 temperature limit and, thus, concretely prevent the demise of our island homes, as well as all countries throughout our global community. We here in the Pacific are only responsible for 0.03% of global greenhouse gas emissions and, yet, we remain committed to doing our part for the common good of our planet and future generations. As governments, we can only show real climate leadership by demonstrating accountability, coherence, and alignment with our own commitments. The Paris Agreement marked one turning point in international climate governance. The Global Registry is another.” 

Mark Campanale, founder of Carbon Tracker and Chair of the Registry Steering Committee, said: 

“The Global Registry will make governments and companies more accountable for their development of fossil fuels by enabling civil society to link production decisions with national climate policies. Equally, it will enable banks and investors to more accurately assess the risk of particular assets becoming stranded.”  

Suneeta Kaimal, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Natural Resource Governance Institute, said: 

“The Registry is a welcome step toward open access to vital information about fossil fuels. A fair global energy transition requires greater transparency, better coordination between states, and stronger accountability for fossil fuel production. Now citizens and investors everywhere have an essential tool to hold governments and companies responsible for their decisions.”

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Carbon Tracker

Carbon Tracker is an independent financial think tank that carries out in-depth analysis on the impact of the energy transition on capital markets and the potential investment in high-cost, carbon-intensive fossil fuels.

Almost every major centrist/progressive institution in the United States, from 350.org to Greenpeace to Democracy Now to the Democratic Party seems committed to powering the industrial economy with ‘renewable’ energy. And we hear all the time that ‘solar power will save the planet.’ But a) will ‘renewables’ actually power the economy? and b) are ‘renewables’ good for the planet?
The answer in both cases is no.
In fact, the answer is worse than no, in that because of these bright green lies much of the environmental movement has been transformed from being about saving wild places and wild nature into being about powering the industrial economy. These bright green lies have turned much of the environmental movement into a lobbying arm for a sector of the industrial economy, such that you can have 100,000 people marching on the streets of Washington, D.C., and if you ask them why they’re marching, they’ll say, ‘To save the planet,” but if you ask them for their demands, they’ll say, “Subsidies for the solar industry.” There has never been another social movement so completely coopted.
Bright Green Lies systematically debunks many of the lies and distortions that characterize the discourse of those who argue that ‘technology will stop global warming’ or that ‘technology will save the planet.’ The book has a chapter devoted to debunking claims that each of following will individually or collectively power this culture sustainably; or help the planet: solar power, wind power, recycling, ‘efficiency, ‘ batteries and other forms of energy storage, changes in the electrical grid, and hydropower. We also provide our own solutions, and more importantly, a way of looking at these problems that centers the health of the planet. Bright Green Lies
Regeneration puts life at the center of every action and decision. It applies to all of life—grasslands, farms, insects, forests, fish, wetlands, coastlands, and oceans—and it applies equally to family, communities, cities, schools, religion, commerce, and governments. And most spectacularly to climate. Regeneration
Nature is in crisis, placing human and planetary health at risk. This decade must be the turning point where we recognize the value of nature, place it on the path to recovery and transform our world to one where people, economies and nature thrive. Nature Positive

Rescuing the SDGs: General Assembly highlights ‘world’s to-do list’ #SDGs #auspol #GlobalGoals demand #ClimateAction #SDG13

UN Secretary-General António Guterres addresses the SDG Moment 2022.

The 2022 SDG Moment, which places an annual spotlight on the 17 Global Goals agreed by countries in December 2015, took place as the world faces a deepening cost-of-living crisis against the backdrop of the Ukraine war and the COVID-19 pandemic, which have halted development, especially in low-income countries.

“The world has a long ‘to do’ list”, António Guterres told world leaders, asking for more finance and investment from the public and private sectors, to meet growing needs.

A moment of great peril

Acknowledging the current “moment of great peril” for our world – characterized by conflicts, climate catastrophe, division, unemployment, massive displacement and other challenges – Mr. Guterres said that although “it was tempting” to put long-term priorities to the side, development could not wait.

“The education of our children cannot wait. Dignified jobs cannot wait. Full equality for women and girls cannot wait.  Comprehensive healthcare, meaningful climate action, biodiversity protection – these cannot be left for tomorrow”, he underscored, highlighting that across all these areas, young people and future generations are demanding action.

“We cannot let them down. This is a definitive moment… The perils we face are no match for a world united…Let’s get our world back on track”, the UN chief urged world leaders.

Solutions are at hand

The President of the General Assembly, Csaba Kőrösi, echoed Mr. Guterres’s words, and said that it was timely and more necessary than ever to “re-dedicate ourselves to the SDGs” as the world falls behind.

The pandemic was a postcard from the future, a bleak future of interlocking global crises. One that we want to avoid and that we can avoid. We must now regain the speed lost to the pandemic and to our inaction. Solutions are at hand”, he said.

Mr. Kőrösi added that it is time to “get serious” about saving the world, with all pleasant and unpleasant consequences that this entails, and asked UN Member States to deliver on promises made.

A wide view of projections in the General Assembly Hall as Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley (on screen) of Barbados and SDG Advocate Co-Chair, addresses the SDG Moment 2022.

A call to children

Holding a placard of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals at the podium, Prime Minister of Barbados and UN Environment Champion of the Earth, Mia Motley, reminded the General Assembly what each of the SDGs meant, from ending poverty and achieving gender equality, to protecting our planet.

“A world that is driven by a climate crisis cannot provide a sustainable future for us. Are we so arrogant to believe that there will be no failed societies and no extinct species, as history shows us otherwise?”, she asked world leaders.

She urged the children of the world to “lead a revolution” in changing our habits to end plastic pollution and waste, and “hold the leaders’ feet to the fire” to make the world a better place to live in.

Goodwill ambassadors join

Poet, activist and UN Children’s Fund UNICEF supporter, Amanda Gorman, shared one of her inspiring pieces focused on leaders’ accountability, ending poverty and protecting the Earth.

Meanwhile, SDG Advocates and K-pop superstars BLACKPINK, appeared in a video message inviting the world to take specific actions to tackle climate change and boost sustainable development.

UNICEF Ambassador Priyanka Chopra Jonas was in charge of hosting the event. She reminded the room that time is running out, as we are nearly halfway to the 2030 deadline to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

“We all deserve a just, safe, and healthy world to live in. The present and the future is on your hands”, she told the General Assembly.

Degraded Land Restoration #Regeneration #auspol #qldpol demand #ClimateAction #SDG13

Call to action:

Approximately 25 percent of all land on earth exists in a degraded conditionRestoring it to health will sequester large amounts of atmospheric carbon in the soil, feed millions of people, improve wildlife habitat, and make water more abundant.

The United Nations has declared 2021–2030 the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration. The UN notes that between now and 2030 the restoration of 350 million hectares of degraded ecosystems could remove 13 to 26 gigatons of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. A variety of land restoration methods can be implemented by individuals, groups, agencies, and communities, and many of the practices originate in the knowledge of Indigenous peoples. Restoring degraded land is pivotal to ending the climate crisis. Here is a summary of opportunities.

The Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor Project in Western Australia aims to link existing nature reserves by restoring land to create a 200-kilometer corridor. Since 2008, more than 30 million trees and shrubs indigenous to the region have been planted on 14,000 hectares. Over 90 percent of the restored area was cleared in the 1900s and is no longer suitable for traditional agriculture. Pictured above is restoration in progress from one of their earliest plantings. With active management, shrubs and grasses will gradually return to join the overstory trees. Techniques to encourage concurrent seedling and understory growth are being implemented in newer sites, including more dense and close row spacing, curved and contoured row alignment, and full-time removal of sheep.
Credit: Russell Ord

Action Items

Individuals

Learn how land becomes degraded and which practices restore itSources of land degradation, particularly soil erosion, include deforestation and clear-cutting, application of agricultural chemicalsmonocropped industrial agricultureland clearingminingovergrazing by livestock, damage from recreation, invasive and noxious species, extended drought, and extreme weather events. Degraded land can damage ecosystem services, which are the essential services that nature provides to humans, such as nutritious food, clean waterpollination of crops, pollution removal, carbon sequestration, and recreational, cultural, and spiritual benefits. Practices that restore degraded land include:

  • Planting trees as part of agroforestry enterprises can stabilize eroding fields and streambanks. So can encouraging native vegetation to regrow, as farmers are doing in Niger.
  • Regenerative agriculture builds soil carbon stocks and can stop erosion. Gabe Brown restored his farm in North Dakota by switching to regenerative agriculture. A summary of the benefits of regenerative agriculture is here.
  • Riparian and stream restoration strategies can restore damaged water cycles on land. Here is a presentation by New Mexico–based riparian restoration specialist Bill Zeedyk on “letting the water do the work.” Hereis the first in a series of videos on stream restoration, produced by Oklahoma State University.
  • Reforestation and forest protection heal damaged land and slow erosion. South Korea has successfully implemented a multidecade strategy of reforestation across the peninsula to reverse erosion. Here is a list of reforestation projects around the world. Forest protection has many benefits, including its role in drawing down atmospheric carbon dioxide.
  • Wetland restoration provides multiple ecological benefits, including improved water quality and wildlife habitat. Here is a list of principlesthat can guide wetland restoration projects.
  • Rehabilitation of degraded patches of land, such as former mines, can reduce sources of soil erosion and sediment transport downstream.

Find a volunteer opportunity on a local restoration project. Many conservation groups in the U.S. have ongoing restoration projects, such as the Katy Prairie Conservancy in Texas;, the Borderlands Restoration Networkin southern Arizona, which has a focus on wild pollinator habitat; and the Clark Fork Coalition in Montana. Native plant societies have volunteer projects, such as the Point Lobos Patrol crew in California and the Native Plant Trust in New England. Here is a sample of international projects:

Join an Ecosystem Restoration Camp. This international organization was cofounded by John Liu and Ashleigh Brown. It has forty camps in twenty-eight countries, where individuals and local residents work together on innovative restoration projects, including rehabilitating degraded forest, restoring wetlands, and participating in regenerative agriculture.

Get trained and/or earn an education certificate in restoration. There are opportunities to deepen your knowledge about restoration. Programs include:

Support restoration projects on public lands. Federal agencies, such as the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management in the U.S., need to hear from citizens about the necessity of restoration activity. You can contact the agency directly or work through a conservation organization such as the Nature Conservancy or the Sierra Club.

Purchase onsets that support restoration projects. Onsets are carbon credits that create a net reduction in greenhouse gases. Organizations, such as Gold Standard and the Carbon Fund, provide verified onsets via their financial support of projects that improve carbon levels in the soil through regenerative agriculture and reforestation. Examples include:

Speak up. Write an op-ed to a newspaper or social media site advocating restoration work as a climate change solution. Consider writing longer pieces for online sites such as Medium, like this one about ecological restoration. Join a protest or campaigns, such as these focused on the destruction of the Amazon:

Join a social media site run by an advocate for land protection and restoration. A sampling of social media sites:

Join a restoration network. Scientists, activists, landowners, and others can join networks such as Restor, which serve as hubs for efforts around the world, connecting practitioners with research data, funding, and contacts. There are Facebook group sites, such as this one for Texas Society for Ecological Restoration. There are Twitter sites for students and professionalsand amateur restorationists.

Regeneration puts life at the center of every action and decision. It applies to all of life—grasslands, farms, insects, forests, fish, wetlands, coastlands, and oceans—and it applies equally to family, communities, cities, schools, religion, commerce, and governments. And most spectacularly to climate. Regeneration

Clothing Industry Pressure and lobby the fashion industry to make long-lasting, ethically made, regeneratively sourced clothing. #Regeneration #auspol #qldpol

Left) A model presents the autumn/winter 2020–2021 creation of Dominnico during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Madrid, Spain, 2020. (Right) Dump site for garment-factory waste found in the Export Processing Zone of Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Credit: Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency, STORYPLUS/Getty Images

Call to action:

Pressure and lobby the fashion industry to make long-lasting, ethically made, regeneratively sourced clothing.

The fast fashion industry is inherently degenerative. The combined emissions for the clothing and footwear industry are roughly 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Its wider waste footprint is even larger. Rapid change is needed throughout the supply chain, from the farms that produce the fibers, to production lines and individual consumer behavior.

Action Items

Individuals

Join the slow fashion movement. Buy less and wear more. While people interpret slow fashion differently, the key principles include thoughtfulness, minimalism, localization, and endurance. You can learn how to best care for your existing wardrobe by reading clothing labels. You can sign the Slow Fashion Season 2021 pledge, consider switching to a capsule wardrobe, or only supporting businesses with slow fashion practices.

Do less laundry, less often. The washing of clothes is connected to the plastic pollution crisis in our waterways, a high proportion of residential CO2emissions, and also wears clothing out faster. Refer to this guide on responsible laundry to make some easy switches with detergents and laundry settings depending on what is suitable for the climate you live in.

Buy second hand clothing. Shopping second hand clothing is one of the most ethical and sustainable ways to add to your wardrobe. It’s easier than ever to shop online through consignment-store websites. You can also support physical businesses by visiting local thrift stores.

Swap clothes. Exchange your unwanted clothes for new garments or, sometimes money or in-store currencies. Swap Society is one such organization leading the way with swaps in the U.S. You can also organize your own physical clothing swap in your community.

Rent your wardrobe. growing number of businesses allow you to rent clothes, especially for occasions when you might only wear those clothes once. You can save wardrobe space, money, and even experiment with new looks.

Learn to repair or upcycle clothing. Instead of disposing of clothing at first sign of a little wear and tear, consider repairing fashion items, or upcycle them into new items once beyond repair. Here is a guide to mending common clothing problems that can be repaired at home.

Donate or resell unwanted clothing. Instead of throwing out unwanted clothing, consider what the next best options are. You can refer to this helpful guide to understand when it might be possible to sell or donate unwanted clothing.

If you must buy new, buy natural fiber clothing. Choose clothes made with 100 percent natural fiber. These include cotton, hemp, linen, silk, wool, and cashmere. Avoid synthetic fibers which are derived from virgin plastic, whose microplastics end up in our water bodies and in our air. Aim to buy clothes made locally.

Regeneration is a response to the urgency of the climate crisis, a determined what-to-do manual for all levels of society, from individuals to national governments and everything and everyone in between. It describes a system of interlocking initiatives that can stem the climate crisis in one generation. Regeneration

Australia should aim for net zero by 2040, new Climate Change Authority member says #ClimateCrisis #auspol #qldpol #TellTheTruth

Prof Lesley Hughes, a climate specialist appointed this week, says current target is not good enough

By

A new scientific member of the government’s revamped Climate Change Authority has said Australia should be aiming to reach net zero at least a decade earlier than 2050.

Prof Lesley Hughes, a biologist and climate specialist says the new government has showed a willingness to listen to science on it’s emissions targets.

Prof Lesley Hughes, a biologist and climate change specialist, said Australia’s current climate target for 2030 was “not good enough” but said the new government was showing a willingness to listen to the science.

Hughes is one of three new female appointments announced by climate change minister Chris Bowen earlier this week to address concerns the authority’s board was weighed too heavily towards business and fossil fuels.

The Albanese government has legislated a target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 43% by 2030, based on 2005 levels – an increase on the Morrison government’s 26% cut.

Under that legislation, the authority will produce an annual parliamentary statement and advise on future emissions reduction targets. That advice will have to be made public and, if it is rejected, the minister must say why.

Hughes, who is in the process of retiring from her full-time academic role at Macquarie University, said the government’s current 2030 target was “not good enough” and said through her work at the Climate Council, she had called for a 75% cut within a decade.

She told the Guardian: “But you do have to get to 43% first and that is a significant improvement on the previous government’s commitment. I will be working hard to get to that 43% and beyond as quickly as possible.”

She said the Climate Council’s Aim High, Go Fast report, released last year, had indicated Australia should be looking towards net zero by 2035 or 2040 “to do our fair share of staying well below 2C”.

“That would be a great target [for Australia],” she said.

“The science is indicating that net zero by 2050 is too late to stay well below 2C [the target agreed in Paris]. But it’s a process and I hope it’s an accelerating process.”

She said Australia’s continued approval of coal and gas projects, many geared for export with the fuels burned overseas, was “a real cognitive dissonance”.

“Emissions don’t know country jurisdictions and it’s global emissions that count. I think it’s reasonable that countries look at domestic emissions first.

“But certainly, globally, we won’t stay below 2C while there’s huge amounts of fossil fuels being burned.”

Having already submitted the new target to the UN’s climate convention earlier this year, the government will need to set a target for 2035 by 2025. The Climate Change Authority will make a recommendation on what that target should be.

New authority

In 2014, the authority recommended Australia cut emissions by 45% to 65% by 2030, based on 2005 levels. The Abbott government ignored that advice, adopting a 26% to 28% cut in 2015 – a target that went unchanged until Labor won this year’s federal election.

The Abbott government tried to abolish the authority but failed after the then senator Clive Palmer said in a press conference with former US vice-president Al Gore that he would block that attempt.

Abbott did successfully abolish the advisory body the Climate Commission, leading its members – which included Hughes – to go it alone and create a new independent organisation, the Climate Council.

In early 2017, three members of the authority’s board – economist Danny Price, economics professor John Quiggin and public ethics professor Clive Hamilton – quit in frustration.

The last climate scientist to hold a spot on the authority was Prof David Karoly, who saw out his five-year term in 2017.

After spending years in a comparative wilderness, the authority has new members and new responsibilities under the Albanese government.

Hughes joins two other new members Dr Virginia Marshall, a legal researcher and expert on Indigenous water rights, and Sam Mostyn, a businesswoman and sustainability adviser.

The nine-member board is chaired by former Business Council of Australia and Origin head Grant King, and includes the government’s chief scientist, Dr Cathy Foley.

Hughes said she was called personally by energy minister Chris Bowen to ask if she would take on the role at the authority.

“I wouldn’t have said yes without thinking that there is a change of atmosphere and a willingness to listen to the science.

“The next few years are crucial and an opportunity like this to step up my involvement beyond the Climate Council – which I’ll still be involved with – was something I could not say no to.”

She said as the only climate specialist scientist on the authority “I felt the pressure a little bit, but I will absolutely do what I can. It’s a significant responsibility.”

The first meeting of the authority with its new members is set for mid-October.

Hughes took her academic retirement decision before she took the phone call from the energy minister.

“So much for the quiet retirement,” she added.

Press Link For More

The heating planet is our commons. It holds us all. To address and reverse warming requires connection and reciprocity. It calls for moving out of our comfort zones to find a depth of courage we may have never known. It calls for action that is bold and fearless. Regeneration

#Regeneration Cook Stoves:a call to action Replace all dirty cookstoves with clean cookstoves #Climate #airpollution #auspol

The Gyapa cookstove is made in Ghana, which has one of the highest deforestation rates in the world. It is the cocreation of ClimateCare and Relief International. The liners and claddings are made by local ceramicists and metal workers, providing local employment. Over 4.1 million Gyapa cookstoves have been made, saving users more than $75 million thus far. It reduces smoke and energy use by 50 to 60 percent. Richard and Gladys Eken make ceramic liners that are designed to create more complete combustion of charcoal or biomass.
Credit: Relief International Gyapa™ Project

Call to action:

Replace all dirty cookstoves with culturally appropriate clean cookstoves that reduce or eliminate black carbon emissions and prevent illness and death from air pollution.

Each year, household cooking and heating accounts for over half of the world’s black carbon emissions and an estimated 4 million premature deaths from indoor pollution–related illnesses. Limited access to clean cooking disproportionately affects women and girls, preventing them from participating and benefiting equally in the economy and society. Black carbon has nearly a thousand times the warming impact of carbon dioxide per unit of mass. Even though black carbon only stays in the atmosphere for a few days, when it returns through precipitation, it accelerates the melting of snow and ice and damages plant health and soil. Since the 1950s, governments and development agencies saw clean cookstove projects as providing a genuine solution to the joint challenges of air pollution, gender injustice, and climate change. Despite the immense potential of clean cookstoves in theory, in practice, few improvements in air quality, health indicators, and gender equity have been found. The problem lies not with the idea of clean cookstoves, but rather with their implementation. Although international organizations, foundations, and development agencies have access to capital, they have not been able to effectively understand diverse local requirements related to cooking. Any movement to ensure long-term access to improved clean cookstoves must be driven by local leaders, entrepreneurs, and women who understand the cultural, socioeconomic, and user needs of their communities.

Action Items

Individuals

Learn about clean cookstoves. Cleaner cookstoves typically replace existing stoves that burn the dirtiest fuels (wood and coal) with technologies that use locally produced alternatives such as wood pellets, solar, or electricity. Advanced biomass stoves are another option that can cut emissions by up to 95 percent by forcing gases and smoke from incomplete combustion back into the stove’s flame. Unfortunately, without further investment, these options are still more expensive and require more advanced pellet or briquette fuels.

  • Here is a World Bank guide to understanding the differences between various types of improved cookstoves.
  • Here is a more detailed report “The State of the Global Clean and Improved Cooking Sector” by the World Bank, which provides a comprehensive cookstove typology on page 13.
  • If you are able to replace your fossil-fuel stove, you can find regional businesses that provide such a service.
  • If you already have access to a clean cookstove, consider supporting a nongovernmental organization that is helping communities to make long-lasting transitions.
  • The Clean Cooking Alliance sector directory provides a comprehensive database of organizations that are working on access to cleaner cookstoves.

Support and uplift women leaders and entrepreneurs. Because the clean cooking sector disproportionately impacts women and girls, it is essential that their voices and leadership determine how the clean cooking transitions take place. Support companies that prioritize local women leadership in the home-fuel transition.

  • The Kenyan clean cookstove company, BURN, prioritizes the hiring of women and commits to having a minimum 60 percent female team.
  • Greenway Appliances is the largest clean cooking company in India and is led by Neha Juneja, who has reconfigured her supply chain to take manufacturing into communities that are using the improved stoves.
  • Solar Sister trains and supports women entrepreneurs to deliver clean energy and cookstoves directly to homes in Nigeria.

Install closed-loop systems for heating and cooking. When possible, if electric cook stoves are unavailable, consider biogas generator options that turn waste (animal or compost) into fuel for cooking. Biogas is a mixture of gases that results from the breakdown of organic waste in the absence of oxygen. You can experiment with making your own biogas generator or sourcing one for your home from existing contractors. Switching from natural gas to biogas in your existing stove can be achieved with a few simple modifications.

  • Here is a report by IRENA describing the environmental, health, and socioeconomic benefits of using biogas fuels in improved cookstoves.
  • This blog post outlines the various types of biogas stoves and a comparison to regular LPG stoves.
  • This piece on installing home biogas in Australia outlines some of the benefits of transitioning to home biogas and cooking systems.
  • Homebiogas (U.S.) allows people and businesses to turn their own organic waste into clean energy, on-site.

Write to prominent aid organizations. Multilateral organizations and foundations play a key role in providing technical and financial assistance to local communities and thus can be instrumental in the cleaner cookstove transition. Consider writing to these organizations to identify cleaner cookstoves and reduction of black carbon emissions as an important issue.

Share recipes and cooking techniques. One of the big barriers to adopting cleaner cookstoves universally is the fear that the diverse culinary traditions that have developed as a result of fossil-fuel stoves may get lost in the process. If you have adapted your recipes to use a cleaner cookstove, consider sharing your recipes online. You can start a food blog or video channel to encourage others to make the transition while still maintaining cultural traditions.

  • This collection of recipes from around the world includes dishes such as sweet potatoes with malakwang sauce, marotok, and beans and foufou, which are often cooked on open fires or using firewood but can be cooked on improved cookstoves as well.
  • In Senegal, cooking mafé has been a way to sustain community around age-old traditions of cooking and has transitioned well to preparation on improved cookstoves. Mafé is a rich, peanut-based stew served with vegetables such as cabbage, okra, or eggplant, served with steaming rice.

Speak up about the importance of clean cookstoves. Write an op-ed to a newspaper or post on social media advocating about the climate and gender-based potential for clean cookstoves. Creating public awareness of the risks of kitchen smoke and the benefits of its absence can meaningfully shift minds about the urgency of the problem.

  • This feature by Marc Gunther for Ensia outlines the importance of transitioning to cleaner cookstoves for public health and climate, as well as the key factors that lead to successful transitions, including affordability, ability to maintain stoves, and cultural relevance.

Regeneration

If we want to get the attention of humanity, humanity needs to feel it is getting attention. Regeneration creates livelihoods that bring life to people and people to life. It is work that links us to each other’s wellbeing, that provides those in poverty with purpose and a future of dignity and respect. Regeneration

#Regeneration a call to action #Buildings design new buildings to maximize energy efficiency. #auspol #qldpol #Climate #Ecology

The Atlanta headquarters for ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers) is a deep-energy retrofit that transformed an energy inefficient building from the 1970s into a daylit, industry-leading, efficient facility with advanced HVAC systems, LED lighting, and building automation systems. It is a fossil fuel-free and net-zero energy facility designed by McLennan Design.
Credit: Jason McLennan

Call to action:

Upgrade existing buildings and design new buildings to maximize energy efficiency and greatly reduce operational and embodied carbon emissions.

Buildings are responsible for nearly 40 percent of global emissions, with 28percent of that consisting of ongoing operational emissions. Any transition to a low- or zero-carbon built environment must include a plan for the existing buildings. Some estimates suggest that up to 80 percent of all buildings in 2030 will require retrofits to improve their energy efficiency. Retrofits typically refer to upgrades in heating, cooling, insulation, windows, lighting, and a switch to renewable energy. As it stands, annual energy retrofit rates in buildings are currently less than 1 percent in most countries. The untapped potential in retrofitting, upgrading, and renovating existing buildings is tremendous. Not only do we have a chance at eliminating 28 percent of global emissions, but we also have the opportunity to save billions of dollars for building and homeowners, reduce the cost burden of utilities for low-income families, and also create more well-paid jobs than any other energy sector.

Action Items

Individuals

Learn more about building retrofits. Although many of us spend most of our lives in buildings, few of us are informed about their long-term energy performance or embodied carbon. Find out more about your building or home. Some questions you can consider are: What is your monthly energy consumption (heating, cooling, appliances)? What kind of appliances do you have? What kind of energy mix does your electricity grid run on? You can also spend some time learning about building retrofits and their benefits. Refer to resources in the Learn section below.

Contact your landlord or property manager to discuss a building retrofit. If you are renting a property to live or work in, consider contacting your landlord or property manager to speak with them about the possibilities of undertaking a retrofit. If you are about to sign a new lease, consider asking your landlord about the current energy efficiency of the property. Here are some questions that can guide a conversation.

Regeneration puts life at the center of every action and decision. It applies to all of life—grasslands, farms, insects, forests, fish, wetlands, coastlands, and oceans—and it applies equally to family, communities, cities, schools, religion, commerce, and governments. And most spectacularly to climate. Regeneration

Speak up about the importance of upgrading buildings. Many people are not aware of the emissions impact that our buildings have. Start conversations with friends and neighbors about their home and office energy consumption. Write an op-ed in the newspaper or post on social media about what you’ve learned about where you live or work.

Form a citizens’ group. If you are a renter or are someone who does not have access to capital or tenure to see through a retrofit yourself, consider forming a citizens’ group with other concerned individuals in your community. As a group, you can put forward a stronger message to local officials about implementing policies that support a community-wide retrofit project.

  • The Holland Climate Collaborative is one example of a community collective that lobbies their citizen council for investments in energy efficiency and the transition to renewable-energy grids.

Replace gas stoves with induction stovetops. Induction stoves use electromagnetic energy to heat pots and pans directly instead of gas and electric cooktops which heat indirectly using either a burner or a heating element. Induction stoves are more energy efficient (nearly 20-50% more) and provide just as much versatility with cooking, while being faster, safe, and cleaner than gas or electric options. When you buy an induction stove, all you have to do is plug it in and use suitable pots and pans. The cost of induction stoves has dropped in recent years and is often comparable to gas ranges. You can use this guide to consider which features are best suited for your needs.

Purchase energy-efficient appliances. If you are moving into a new home or simply replacing old appliances, consider researching the most energy efficient appliances. Not only will you be avoiding greenhouse gas emissions, you will also be saving on water and electricity while enhancing your quality of life. Some estimates suggest that the typical household can save 25 percent of its utility bills with energy-efficiency measures. Pay attention to the energy guide label and ask about any energy-efficient offers on appliances you buy. This guide by eartheasy.com walks you through appliance-specific considerations, including refrigerators, stoves, washing machines, and dishwashers.

Consider a career in energy services, including advising, auditing, or retrofitting. Energy jobs are often associated with people who work in coal mines, oil refineries, or in the gas sector. However, a worldwide determination to upgrade buildings will require workers and experts who are up to the task. Investments in retrofits around the world will require millionsof well-paying and long-term jobs in architecture, engineering, building operations, contracting, and auditing.

  • The Green Buildings Career Map explores fifty-five jobs and opportunities in the green buildings and energy efficiency industry. Click on any dot to find out more about the education, training, and skills required, as well as salary ranges and advancement routes.

Regeneration

Regeneration is a response to the urgency of the climate crisis, a determined what-to-do manual for all levels of society, from individuals to national governments and everything and everyone in between. It describes a system of interlocking initiatives that can stem the climate crisis in one generation.

Regeneration

We may be underestimating just how bad carbon-belching SUVs are for the climate – and for our health #auspol #qldpol #ClimateCrisis #airpollution

By

Australia’s love for fuel-hungry and fuel-inefficient SUVs is hampering our ability to bring transport emissions down. SUVs make up half of all new car sales last year, a National Transport Commission report revealed this week – up from a quarter of all sales a decade ago.

As a result, the carbon emitted by all new cars sold in Australia dropped only 2% in 2021, the report found. Sales of battery electric vehicles tripled last year, but still make up just 0.23% of all cars and light commercial vehicles on our roads.

In internationally peer-reviewed research earlier this year, we measured the emissions of five SUVs driving around Sydney, and our findings suggest the situation may actually be worse than the new report finds. 

The National Transport Commission’s numbers are based on the “New European Drive Cycle” (NEDC) emissions test. Our research found the real-world emissions of SUVs are, on average, about 30% higher than the NEDC values. This means we are not reducing fleet average emissions by a few percent per year, but actually probably increasing them by a few percent every year.

What the report found

The transport sector is responsible for almost 20% of Australia’s emissions, ranking third behind the electricity and agriculture sector. The first year of the COVID pandemic only reduced transport carbon dioxide emissions by about 7%, compared to 2019 emission levels.

Overall, Australia’s pride in carbon-belching transport is evident by the fact transport CO₂ emissions have risen 14% between 2005 and 2020. 


Read more: Why Labor’s new tax cut on electric vehicles won’t help you buy one anytime soon


SUVs are generally larger and heavier than other passenger cars, which means they need quite a bit more energy and fuel per kilometre of driving when compared with smaller, lighter cars.

Although SUV sales are rising globally, the Australian fleet is unique due to its large portion of SUVs in the on-road fleet, often with four-wheel-drive capability. 

According to the National Transport Commission report, sales of four-wheel-drives and utes surged by more than 43,000 in 2021, while large SUV sales rose by around 25,000.

Rapidly shifting to electric cars is an important way to bring emissions down. But the report found in 2021, just 2.8% of Australia’s car sales were electric. Compare this to 17% in Europe, 16% in China and 5% in the United States. 

In Australia, there is still no option to buy an electric ute, and electric vehicles remain prohibitively expensive.

Measuring SUV emissions in Sydney

There are a range of methods scientists use to measure vehicle emissions. 

One popular method worldwide uses so-called “on-board portable emission monitoring systems”. These systems are effective because they enable second-by-second emissions testing under a variety of real-world driving conditions on the road. 

On the other hand, the New European Drive Cycle (NEDC) emissions test is conducted in the laboratory. It was also developed in the early 1970s and reflects unrealistic driving behaviour, because test facilities at the time could not deal with significant changes in speed.

We fitted five SUVs with a portable emission monitoring system and drove them a little over 100 kilometres around Sydney in various situations, such as in the city and on the freeway.

We then compared our measurements with the Green Vehicle Guide – the national guide to vehicle fuel consumption and environmental performance, which is also based on the NEDC test.

Our measurements of fuel consumption and CO₂ emissions were consistently higher. This varied from 16% to 65% higher than NEDC values, depending on the actual car and driving conditions. 

On average, real-world fuel consumption and CO₂ emissions were both 27% higher than NEDC values. Importantly, this gap has increased substantially from about 10% in 2008.

Indeed, previous research from 2019 found fleet average greenhouse gas emissions for new Australian cars and SUVs has probably been increasing by 2-3% percent per year since 2015, rather than the reported annual reduction by, for instance, the National Transport Commission. 

This detailed analysis showed a sustained increase in vehicle weight and a shift to the sale of more four-wheel-drive cars (in other words, SUVs) are probably the main factors contributing to this change.

More bad news for SUVs

We also recently summarised the results of various emission measurement campaigns conducted in Australia and compared them with international studies. These include results from a study of vehicle emissions in a tunnel, and a study of vehicle emissions measured on the road with remote sensing.

We found modern diesel SUVs and cars or diesel light commercial vehicles (such as utes) in Australia and New Zealand have relatively high emissions of nitrogen oxides and soot – both important air pollutants. 

Around 2,600 deaths are attributed to fine-particle air pollution in Australia each year. Transport and industrial activities (such as mining) are the main sources of this. 

And in 2015, an estimated 1,715 deaths were attributed to vehicle exhaust emissions – 42% more than the road toll that year.


Read more: A rapid shift to electric vehicles can save 24,000 lives and leave us $148bn better off over the next 2 decades


The remote sensing emissions data suggest 1% of one to two-year-old diesel SUVs and 2% of one-to-two year old diesel light commercial vehicles have issues with their particulate filters, leading to high soot emissions. 

These percentages are high when compared with a similar study conducted in the United Kingdom, which could not find any clear evidence of filter issues.

Three ways to move forward

Ever increasing SUVs sales are a drag on successfully reducing Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions. So what should we do? 

Of course there are several things to consider, but in terms of fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions, we believe there are three main points.

First, we need to make sure we have realistic fuel use and emissions data. This means the National Transport Commission and Green Vehicle Guide should stop using the NEDC values and shift to more realistic emissions data. We acknowledge this is not a simple matter and it requires a lot more testing. 

Second, we need to electrify transport as fast as we can, wherever we can. This is crucial, but not the whole solution.


Read more: The road to new fuel efficiency rules is filled with potholes. Here’s how Australia can avoid them


To ensure Australia meets its net-zero emissions target, we also need to seriously consider energy and fuel efficiency in transport. This could be by promoting the sales of smaller and lightweight vehicles, thereby optimising transport for energy efficiency.

In all of this, it will be essential for car manufacturers to take responsibility for their increasing contributions to climate change. From this perspective, they should move away from marketing profitable fossil-fueled SUVs that clog up our roads, and instead offer and promote lighter, smaller and electric vehicles.

Press Link For More

Developing Countries Must Grow More Food Climate change and war on Ukraine a wake-up call #ClimateCrisis demand #ClimateAction #SDG13

LETHBRIDGE, Canada, Sep 8 2022 (IPS) – As our planet continues to heat up, extreme weather has affected many of us. From the west coast of North America across Europe, the Middle East and Asia to Pakistan and New Zealand, wildfires and flash floods have destroyed homes and property and disrupted the daily lives of millions.

By Trevor Page

Supply chains, already badly affected by COVID, have been further complicated by drying rivers and waterways. In the more developed countries, insurance covers much of the short-term losses. 

But it’s in the developing world where the effects of climate change cause the most acute form of human suffering: starvation. Somalia, in the Horn of Africa is once again in the grip of a devastating drought. Livestock have perished and children are beginning to die.

Parts South Sudan’s farmland have now been under water for the 4th consecutive year because of abnormal floods. Hapless farmers, marooned on islands of higher ground, are living off handouts from the international donor community. No insurance to cover their losses; they’re lucky just to hang on to their lives. 

And if we needed a shriller wake-up call about the unfolding global food crisis, Russia’s war on Ukraine has certainly provided that: Much of grain and fertilizer that the world relies on was held hostage by the combatant’s mines and warships in the Black Sea. 

Paralyzed by the outdated make-up and role of the Security Council, the political side of the UN System was once again unable to prevent war from breaking out. 

Wars and armed conflict rage on in Syria, Libya, Myanmar, Afghanistan, South Sudan, the DRC and, of course, in Ukraine itself. But thanks to UN and Turkish mediation, grain and fertilizer shipments from Ukrainian and Russian ports have resumed under the Black Sea Grain Initiative. 

The Joint Coordination Centre (JCC), set up in Istanbul at the end of July, is ensuring that trade and aid in these most basic of commodities can flow out of Black Sea ports again. Amir Abdulla, the World Food Programme’s former Deputy Executive Director is the UN’s coordinator for the Black Sea Grain Initiative and heads up the UN Delegation to the JCC. 

Abdulla told me earlier this week that operations are scaling up and grain exports from Ukraine went over 1 million tons in less than a month and to 2 million tons in just the last week. An average of 9 ships a day heading to or from Ukraine are being inspected jointly by UN, Turkish, Russian and Ukrainian inspectors. “While the conflict in Ukraine continues, it has been possible with the help of Turkey and the agreement of Russia and Ukraine, for the UN to get this initiative underway so that the much-needed flow of food and fertilizer moves out of Black Sea ports to the rest of the world”, he said.

“More grain needs to move through to make space in silos for the new harvest. This is critical for the world’s grain supply for next year. Equally important is the urgent export of fertilizer, including ammonia, so that farmers across the world can continue food production at an affordable cost”, he added.

But what about the wider food crisis that is developing and will be with us in the years to come? 

The World Food Programme (WFP) warns that 345 million people are already affected by acute food insecurity in 82 countries. And with the global population set to hit at least 10 billion by 2050, the effect of climate change on agriculture will compound the growing problem. There is a desperate need for the developing world to grow more food. 

Up to now, WFP has helped ward off mass starvation among the world’s most vulnerable. But to prevent this happening in the years ahead, there’s never been a greater need for it to address the “development” part of its dual mandate by getting back in the business of helping governments and communities grow more food. 

In the early-60s when WFP started out, and for it’s first 20 years of operation, around 70% of its budget was spent on development projects, many of them designed to grow more food. 

Work on India’s Indira Gandhi Canal, which takes water from the Himalaya mountains to irrigate 2 million hectares of the Thar Desert in Rajasthan, started in 1964 with WFP assistance. Workers building the canal were able to buy WFP food at specially set up shops on the banks of the canal network at low, fixed rates. 

After WFP assistance ended the World Bank and the EU helped complete the irrigation network. For the last 50 years, millions of tons of additional food grain has been produced every year as a result of this project. Wheat is now reaped annually in the far-flung desert district of Jaisalmer. 

As WFP’s Representative in India, Bishow Parajuli says with pride, “This project has changed the lives of millions of ordinary people”, giving real meaning to WFP’s development slogan: changing lives.

In China’s far-western province of Qinghai, it’s much the same story. Here, back in the 80s, WFP helped the local government’s Water Conversancy Bureau construct an irrigation network that today irrigates what was 8,000 hectares of low-yielding land in Haidong Prefecture.

CHINA – Completed irrigation canal in Qinghai Province, a WFP- assisted project. Credit: WFP/Trevor Page

As with India’s Indira Gandhi Canal, the network was built manually, by hand. WFP food was supplied to pay part of the worker’s wages. With assured irrigation, wheat yields doubled within 5 years. Today, this same area of Qinghai is the province’s main wheat producing area with mechanical combines harvesting the crop instead of reaping it by hand.

CHINA – With irrigation, wheat yields doubled in 5 years at this WFP-assisted project in Qinghai Province. Credit: WFP/Paul Mitchell

Why is WFP no longer helping developing countries build major irrigation networks designed to grow more food? Because its focus changed in the early 90s to emergencies or saving lives as WFP calls it today. 

That was when WFP took over the responsibility from the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR to feed the world’s 25 million refugees on its books as well as the 50-odd million who sort refuge elsewhere in their own country as internally displaced people, or IDPs. 

But the pressure of climate change and population growth is causing the pendulum to swing again. At WFP’s last Executive Board (EB) meeting in June, WFP’s Changing Lives Transformation Fund (CLTF) was introduced. 

While there was general agreement that WFP’s dual mandate – emergencies and development – must be respected and that humanitarian aid alone is not enough, cash-strapped main donor EB members insisted that saving livesmust always take priority over changing lives

Not surprisingly, most EB members from the developing world wanted WFP to help more with changing lives through stepped-up development assistance. After much debate, which went to closed night sessions, the compromise was a $55 million fund over 5 years, or upto $1.2 million for around 10-15 countries as seed money for projects aimed at supporting national food security. 

While this is a start, the amounts earmarked seem like half-hearted steps for the organization that the world set up to help governments prevent mass hunger and starvation.  Volli Carucci, Director of WFP’s Resilience and Food Systems Service disagrees, pointing to the many reliance measure that WFP is supporting in the drought-stricken Sahel. “ But more long-term support from donors is needed”, he said. Many countries in Africa need to be growing drought-resistant sorghum and millet rather than maize he told me. Maize is the staple for much of the continent. 

Acknowledging “the present and future danger” of the global food crisis, Carucci emphasised that greater awareness of WFP’s current resilience initiatives and its development successes of the past is needed.

BANGLADESH – Unskilled labour re-excavating a silted-up irrigation canal. WFP food was used as part-payment of wages to workers rehabilitating irrigation and drainage canals and embankments in this flood-prone country. Credit: WFP/Trevor Page

Bangladesh, China, Egypt and India have all benefited from WFP assistance in building major irrigation networks. Every year since, millions of tons of food grain has been produced that helps feed their people.

EGYPT – Irrigation canal under construction. Credit: WFP

Ethiopia reversed some of its major soil erosion problems by planting millions of trees to protect agricultural land. Always short of cash to pay labour costs, these governments used WFP assistance to help pay the workers on these projects with food.

ETHIOPIA – Watering seedlings for a WFP-assisted forestry project. Credit: WFP/Franco Mattioli

South/South Cooperation provides a channel to transfer the organizational management and technical expertise of these countries to less developed countries with agricultural potential. Projects like these would also provide employment for the growing hordes of unskilled labour looking for work. 

As WFP nears its 60th anniversary it has a full agenda of programming and internal management issues to address. Hopefully, helping the governments and community organizations in developing countries grow more food will figure more prominently than in past decades. 

Irrigating and developing more farmland could also help with the integration IDPs into new communities to make them productive citizens instead of living off handouts year after year. It could also help stem the flow of migration to the more-developed countries. 

Involving cooperating partners such as UNDP, FAO, World Bank, NGOs and other multilaterals like the EU will be crucial right from the planning stage. 

Of course, saving lives will always be the priority of the day. But unless governments act now to ensure that future generations have enough food to eat, parts of the planet run the risk of becoming overwhelmed by the hungry poor. 

WFP can and must do more to help countries along the path towards food security, as its mandate dictates. Only then will the world move significantly towards achieving its Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger.

Trevor Page is a former Country and HQ Director of the World Food Programme. He has also served with FAO, UNHCR and what is now the United Nations Department of Political and Peace Building Affairs.

IPS UN Bureau

A personal call to action from an Australian IPCC author
Acknowledging that the world as we know it is coming apart is an act of courage.
If I live to look back at this troubled time, I want to say that I did all that I could, that I was on the right side of history.
The question is, do you want to be part of the legacy that restores our faith in humanity?

When climate scientist Joëlle Gergis set to work on the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report, the research she encountered kept her up at night. Through countless hours spent with the world’s top scientists to piece together the latest global assessment of climate change, she realised that the impacts were occurring faster than anyone had predicted.

In Humanity’s Moment, Joëlle takes us through the science in the IPCC report with unflinching honesty, explaining what it means for our future, while sharing her personal reflections on bearing witness to the heartbreak of the climate emergency unfolding in real time. But this is not a lament for a lost world. It is an inspiring reminder that human history is an endless tug-of-war for social justice. We are each a part of an eternal evolutionary force that can transform our world.
Joëlle shows us that the solutions we need to live sustainably already exist – we just need the social movement and political will to create a better world. This book is a climate scientist’s guide to rekindling hope, and a call to action to restore our relationship with ourselves, each other and our planet.Humanity ‘s Moment