Cities Can Offset Carbon Footprint With Reforestation Project In Tanzania

Program Will Include Urban Forestry

The Kilimanjaro region of East Africa is one of the most threatened ecosystems on earth. Millions of people and several endangered species depend on the snows and rains of Kilimanjaro for survival. As land use encroaches further into local forests, water flows are changing and conflicts with wildlife are rising. A nonprofit organization in Tanzania hopes to reverse those trends with a comprehensive forest conservation, reforestation and community-engagement program.

reforestation and climate change

The Mellowswan Foundation Africa-Tanzania will defend the greater Kilimanjaro ecosystem with more than 10 million new seedlings, community engagement, wildlife conservation strategies and more. They will educate local stakeholders about sustainable forestry, sustainable agriculture and wildlife management. Unlike past reforestation efforts in the region, it will focus on local needs and long-term sustainability. The seedlings are indigenous species that can help restore and protect the integrity of the ecosystem, while helping rural communities thrive as stewards of the land.

Unfortunately, forests across the region are retreating under the pressures of agriculture and communities that depend on firewood.

Climate change is impacting every continent. Deforestation and intensive agriculture are contributing to the problem. Fortunately, forest conservationreforestation, and sustainable agriculture are part of the solution.

carbon capture and reforestation

The foundation plans to save wildlife, capture carbon and reduce deforestation on a massive scale. This investment will benefit the entire planet, while preserving a world treasure.

water conservation

“Cities can help sponsor the program and claim the carbon credits as one of the many benefits,” said Gary Chandler, founder of Sacred Seedlings, a global coalition that promotes forest conservation, reforestation and coexistence with wildlife. “This is much more than a carbon capture program. Our sponsors will help defend entire ecosystems.”

For more information about reforestation across East Africa and beyond, please visit http://sacredseedlings.com/deforestation-threatens-critical-ecosystems-across-africa/

reforestation and climate change solution

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Frankfurt A Model For Sustainability

Most Cities Failing On Sustainability

Cities around the world are failing to meet the needs of their people, according to the inaugural Sustainable Cities Index. However, on a broad scale that measures people, planet and profit, Frankfurt is the world’s most sustainable city. London is the runner up.

The research was conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research. It examines 50 cities from 31 countries ranking them across a range of indicators to estimate the sustainability of each city. The cities included in the study were selected to provide a sampling of the planet’s greenest cities.

sustainable Frankfurt green city

The 2015 report finds that no utopian city exists, with city leaders having to manage a complex balancing act between the three pillars of sustainability (people, planet and profit). The overall Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index ranks the cities as follows:

  1. Frankfurt
  2. London
  3. Copenhagen
  4. Amsterdam
  5. Rotterdam
  6. Berlin
  7. Seoul
  8. Hong Kong
  9. Madrid
  10. Singapore
  11. Sydney
  12. Toronto
  13. Brussels
  14. Manchester
  15. Boston
  16. Paris
  17. Melbourne
  18. Birmingham
  19. Chicago
  20. New York
  21. Houston
  22. Philadelphia
  23. Tokyo
  24. Rome
  25. Washington
  26. Kuala Lumpur
  27. San Francisco
  28. Los Angeles
  29. Dallas
  30. Santiago
  31. Sao Paulo
  32. Mexico City
  33. Dubai
  34. Abu Dhabi
  35. Shanghai
  36. Istanbul
  37. Johannesburg
  38. Buenos Aires
  39. Beijing
  40. Rio de Janeiro
  41. Doha
  42. Moscow
  43. Jeddah
  44. Riyadh
  45. Jakarta
  46. Manila
  47. Mumbai
  48. Wuhan
  49. New Delhi
  50. Nairobi

The index takes into account 20 different indicators ranging from green space to income inequality to ease of doing business.

sustainable Amsterdam

Although mature cities achieve the best balance, they cannot rely on historic investment. In a rapidly urbanizing world, the way in which cities are planned, built, operated and redefined has a huge social, environmental and economic impact.

Arcadis defines a sustainable city as one that works well for their citizens in the present without causing problems for themselves and the rest of the world in the future.

Roughly half of Frankfurt’s surface area is green, according to the city’s environment department, which notes that 52 percent of the city area has been set aside for recreation and to offset climate change. It consists of parks, woodland, farmland, orchard meadows, grassland, allotments and hobby gardens, cemeteries, roadside grass verges and bodies of water.

Frankfurt also is a founding member of the Climate Alliance of European Cities, pledging to continuously reduce its carbon emissions by 10 percent every five years, resulting in a 50 percent cut by 2030.

Across the world, cities are performing better for being sustainable for Profit and Planet purposes than they are for People factors. Many of the world’s economic powerhouses are becoming less affordable for their citizens, with the cost of property in New York, London, Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong penalizing their rankings. There is also a tradeoff globally between strong education and poor work-life balance, particularly demonstrated in Hong Kong.

“City leaders need to find ways to balance the demands of generating strong financial returns, being an attractive place for people to live and work, while limiting their damage to the environment. To truly understand how sustainable a city is, we must understand how it ranks in People, Planet and Profit. Only then can city leaders act to assess their priorities, and the pathway to urban sustainability – for the good of all,” said John Batten, Global Cities Director at Arcadis, which produced the new urban index.

For more information about the Sustainable Cities Index, visit http://www.sustainablecitiesindex.com/

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Cities Offer Best Practices In Water Management

Droughts, Floods, Growth Testing Municipal Water Management

The threat of a water crisis is looming for hundreds of millions of the world’s inhabitants, as climate change, water management challenges and demographic shifts are disrupting water’s ecosystem. As a result, many of the globes cities are currently scrambling to shore up resilience, improve efficiency and guarantee the quality of their water. When it comes to ramping up water sustainability, cities globally can learn from Rotterdam, Copenhagen and Amsterdam.

The social and economic implications of water to cities is key, providing, among others, an infrastructure to support residents and businesses, as well as providing an impetus toward improving the standard of living of inhabitants. In line with the rise of megacities, and the ever growing urbanization trend, in particular in upcoming markets, addressing the management of water in and around cities in a sustainable manner is becoming an ever more pressing matter for city policy makers. This means efficiently providing safe, reliable, and easily accessible water to residents and businesses, as well as trustworthy access to sanitation and protecting waterways from pollution.

water management in Amsterdam

Sustainable Water Index

To better understand how 50 of the world’s top cities are performing in terms of water sustainability, Arcadis recently partnered with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) to gauge the management of city waterscapes across a range of factors. The researchers looked at three factors – the resiliency of the water system, the efficiency of water use and the quality of water use – with each of the dimensions broken down into a range of sub-indices.

The authors found that, among the cities taken into scrutiny, Rotterdam is the most sustainable city in the ranking. The city scores number one in the resilience category, offering strong performances in almost all major sub-indices. The Dutch city has taken a pro-active approach to water stewardship, including a resilience civil servant as well as a comprehensive set of packages aimed at improving and maintaining the cities’ relationship with its local water bodies. Danish capital Copenhagen takes the number two spot, on the back of a strong performance in water efficiency sub-indices and resilience, while Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands, takes the number three spot. Berlin and Brussels complete the top five, with strong performances in resilience (2nd) and quality (4th) respectively.

The first Asia-Pacific city on the list is Sydney, with a strong performance in efficiency (4th) although its quality score (25th) is somewhat below par – while Melbourne, the number 11 on the list, has its quality placement at number 17. The first US city to make the list is Washington, which boasts good quality water (12th), while Los Angeles takes the number 2 efficiency spot and number 27 overall.

Eight of the top ten spots are held by European cities, reflecting the continent’s strong geographic and demographic advantages surrounding water (temperate climate, low population densities), as well as a long history of dealing with water problems; many of these cities have mature water systems that have been built up over a long period of time, many times in response to challenges they have faced with water. Two outliers are included in the list however, with London 21st and Italian capital Rome 28th, suggesting that there is room for improvement.

The remainder of the list contains two Indian cities, New Delhi and Mumbai – the cities constantly score in the bottom percentile of the three indices. African cities too are relatively lowly ranked on the index, including Nairobi, which manages a number 10 place in resilience at number 46 overall, and Johannesburg at number 45. The Latin American cities of Rio de Janeiro, Santiago and Buenos Aires hold the number 44, 35 and 34 spots respectively.

water contamination Rio de Janeiro

According to the researchers, Latin American cities perform poorly largely due to water quality, requiring improved wastewater treatment and sanitation. The African cities listed are held back by inefficiency and poorer water quality.

John Batten, Global Director of Water and Cities at Arcadis, says: “The World Economic Forum named water crises as one of the top three highest global risks to economies, environments and people, in terms of impact in 2016 [after climate change and the use of weapons of mass destruction]. Water demand issues and climate change risks are happening right here and right now. The cities that best understand this and act first will be the ones that not only help save the planet from an impending water crisis, but will also be the first to attract investment and improve their competitive position.”

Sustainable City News via http://www.consultancy.uk/news/12068/the-top-50-most-sustainable-cities-for-water-management

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Biosolids Recycling Infectious Waste

Sewage Sludge Spreading Brain Disease

In 1972, the world realized that dumping millions of tons of sewage sludge into the oceans killed underwater ecosystems. Some nations stopped the dumping immediately. Others did not.

The U.S., for example, finally passed the Ocean Dumping Ban Act of 1988. It required dumping all municipal sewage sludge and industrial waste on land. That meant dumping it into landfills or dumping it openly on land, including farms, ranches, national forests, city parks, golf courses, playgrounds, sport fields and beyond. The Act went into effect in 1992 and it sparked a public health disaster. The practice is spreading pathogens to people, livestock, wildlife and beyond every day.

biosolids and application fertilizer

Landfills designed to handle this toxic soup are extremely expensive. So, the dumpsters hired a public relations firm to convince unsuspecting citizens that neurotoxins are fertilizer. The PR firm called this toxic waste biosolids. It’s even sold in bags at your local home and garden store as soil for your garden and potting plants. It’s death dirt.

Since then, millions of tons of sewage sludge have been given to farmers as fertilizer every year. Those farmers and ranchers who don’t believe that “fertilizer” bullshit are being paid to dump it on their land and shut up. The farmers are held harmless the reckless practice causes damage to people or property downwind, downstream or at the dinner table. With government assistance, land owners are literally making a killing.

Unfortunately, the practice of dumping extreme quantities of sewage sludge on land has created an even bigger public health problem. It’s now killing wildlife and it still kills sea mammals. Livestock are not immune to the threat.

mad cow disease

Prions are the protein-based infectious agents responsible for a group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). The operative word is transmissible. TSEs are more commonly known as:

  • bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease) in cattle;
  • scrapie in sheep;
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in humans; and
  • chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer, elk, and moose.

According to Nobel Laureate Stanley Prusiner, Alzheimer’s, ALS and Huntington’s disease also are on the TSE spectrum. All are fatal, neurodegenerative brain diseases.

transmissible spongiform encephalopathy

Infectious prions are in the bodily fluids of its victims, including blood, urine, mucus, saliva and feces. These victims send prions to the municipal sewage treatment plant where they remain untouched. Wastewater effluent and sewage sludge recycles prions into the environment. Once dumped on open land, they remain infectious. Irrigation, precipitation and wind carry the prions into groundwater, streams, lakes, oceans and airways, including homes, offices and beyond.

air pollution and human health

Reckless wastewater treatment policies and practices are now fueling a global epidemic of neurodegenerative disease among people, wildlife and livestock. The risk assessments are based on fraud and outdated information. The risk assessments for the land application of sewage sludge (LASS) were developed back in the 1970s and 1980s–before we knew about prions and other killers in modern sewage streams, including many forms of infectious medical waste.

The risk assessments are total failures now. Plus, these risk assessments do not account for the possibility of sewage sludge dumped on land going airborne. It’s much more than a possibility–airborne sewage is killing people and animals. It’s dumping the toxins everywhere.

municipal wastewater treatment and disease

Unfortunately, the U.S. exported these ridiculous ideas to other nations who proceeded to contaminate their food and water supplies with sewage. If hospitals can’t stop prions, neither can the brain surgeons at wastewater treatment plants.

The legislation banning ocean dumping was very explicit about the need to stop dumping potentially infectious medical waste into the oceans. Ironically, the current policy that promotes LASS ignores the risk of infectious medical waste and many other threats. It also ignores radionuclides, endocrine disruptors, birth control pills, antibiotics, flame-retardants and other toxins and superbugs. This toxic waste belongs in a lined landfill not our watersheds and food supplies. It’s time for immediate reforms.

Water Ad

The same sewage-borne toxins and pathogens are still contaminating our oceans. Now, they’re dumped in further upstream. Entire watersheds are now being infected—including the oceans. The body count among people, livestock and wildlife has been stacking up ever since ocean dumping began phasing out. Biosolids and other forms of sewage mismanagement are now fueling a global epidemic of neurological disease, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, autism, mad cow disease, chronic wasting disease, microcephaly and more. Industry and governments are scrambling to blame the global epidemic on anything but contaminated soil, water, food and air. They are playing dumb in the face of fraud and scientific suppression. Negligence is too kind of a word for these sociopaths.

Sewage also contaminates our food with listeria, e-coli, salmonella and other killers. In fact, scientists are scrambling to come up with new names for the growing list of sewage-related ailments, including Zika virus, West Nile virus, epizoic hemorrhagic fever, equine herpes, valley fever and others. Industrial disease is a more accurate label.

sewage sludge treatment and disposal

Crops contaminated by sewage sludge can uptake prions and deliver them throughout the plant. Plants then deliver the deadly prions to mammals that consume the plant. In fact, infected plants are spreading prion diseases to several species. When hamsters consumed infected wheat grass, the animals were infected with prion disease. Researchers also found deadly prions in plants exposed to infected urine and feces. The concept of a species barrier is a myth. A deadly prion is a deadly prion. They don’t discriminate among victims.

“These findings demonstrate that plants can efficiently bind infectious prions and act as carriers of infectivity, suggesting a possible role of environmental prion contamination in the horizontal transmission of the disease,” said Claudio Soto, the lead investigator from the University of Texas at Houston.

Killer prions are impossible to stop. Prions are contributing to the death of millions of people now. Victims produce and spread prions daily because they’re in the bodily fluids of all victims. Millions of people with brain disease are contaminating their homes and communities, while exposing caregivers and family members to the contagion. The sewage from these victims is contaminating the local wastewater treatment plant and everything that enters or leaves these facilities, including reclaimed wastewater and sewage sludge. Once dumped on open land, these contagions remain infectious as they migrate, mutate and multiply forever.

sewage treatment and public health risks

Prions demand containment and isolation, not distribution and consumption through air, food and water. These toxins demand lined landfills not reckless dumping on our dinner tables. Prions migrate, mutate and multiply, so dilution is not a solution. Prions are a nightmare.

The world has never done an effective job of managing its sewage. It’s an industry that drives by looking in the rear view mirror. It only swerves when the road is buried in body bags. After enough people get sick and die, new alternatives emerge. Today is no different. The bodies are stacking up. The contamination grows stronger and spreads further every day. It’s time to stop dumping sewage sludge on land because of the prion risk and many others that are not accounted for in the antiquated and fraudulent risk assessments. It’s time for citizens to defend our land, water and air.

Today, the land application of sewage sludge is killing mammals and more around the world. Pathogens in sludge are causing brain disease, cancer and death. Let’s take a meaningful stand for food safety. Just say no to biosolids in our watersheds and food supplies. Demand the use of lined landfills or other proven containment strategies.

prevent Alzheimer's disease

Take a free preview of our new eBook to learn everything that you need to know about the epidemic and the mismanagement. The rest of the book explains how to defend yourself with aversion and targeted nutrition. Eating organic foods is one way to minimize your exposure to sewage-borne toxins and pathogens.

Please join our coalition and campaign for truth and reform. Please write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

Read more about sewage sludge and disease at http://crossbowcommunications.com/land-application-of-sewage-sludge-spreading-brain-disease/

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Wastewater Treatment Plants Spreading Disease

Brain Disease Fastest Growing Cause Of Death

Neurodegenerative disease is a global epidemic among people and other mammals. Mismanagement and misinformation around the world are fanning the flames and putting millions of people in harm’s way.

Anywhere from 50-100 million people around the world are dying of brain disease. Millions more will contract it this year, while just as many will go undiagnosed and misdiagnosed. Adding to the madness is the fact that physicians are withholding millions of other diagnoses.

Prusiner and prions

Death rates from heart disease, cancer and other leading causes of death are steady, if not dropping, in most countries due to advances in nutrition, medicine and disease management. Unfortunately, neurodegenerative disease is the one glaring exception. It’s spreading exponentially. If we had accurate mortality statistics, we would likely find that brain disease is already the leading cause of death around the world. Some countries are at a higher risk than others.

 

The most common forms of neurodegenerative disease include Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease–the most aggressive and infectious of them all. According to Nobel Prize Laureate Stanley Prusiner, they are all part of the same disease spectrum—prion disease. It’s also known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). The operative word is “transmissible.”

Alzheimer's disease and wastewater treatment process

Prions are unstoppable. The pathogen spreads through the bodily fluids and cell tissue of its victims. The blood, saliva, mucas, milk, urine and feces of victims are infectious. Once unleashed on the environment, prions remain infectious. In fact, they migrate, mutate and multiply.

Not only are homes and hospitals exposed to the prion pathogen, so are entire sewage treatment systems and their by-products. Wastewater treatment plants are prion incubators and distributors. The sewage sludge and wastewater released are spreading disease far and wide.

Sewage treatment plants can’t detect or stop prions. Dumping sewage sludge (biosolids) from billions of people on land and at sea spreads prions far and wide. It also spreads heavy metals, radioactive waste, carcinogens, pharmaceuticals and more. The risk assessments for biosolids and wastewater reuse don’t mention prions because there is no answer.

wastewater treatment and disease

Prions shed from humans are the most deadly. They demand more respect than radiation. They’re being ignored by regulators and industry alike. As such, food and water sources are being contaminated with the deadliest forms of prions. Municipal water systems can’t stop them from reaching taps. Filtration doesn’t phase them.

Although there are many causes and pathways contributing to prion disease, many pathways are being mismanaged around the globe. Not only are homes and hospitals exposed to the prion pathogen, so are entire sewage treatment systems and their by-products. Wastewater treatment plants are prion incubators and the sewage sludge and wastewater pumped out spread the disease. People in some cities are actually drinking this wastewater.

Sewage treatment plants can’t detect or stop prions. Just ask the U.S. EPA. Dumping sewage sludge (biosolids) from billions of people on land and at sea spreads prions far and wide. It also spreads heavy metals, radioactive waste, carcinogens, pharmaceuticals and more. The risk assessments for biosolids and wastewater reuse don’t mention prions because there is no answer. It’s time to stop the land application of sewage sludge (LASS) in all nations. Safer alternatives exist.

wastewater treatment and disease

Via sewage, biosolids, and reclaimed wastewater, we’re recycling prions from victims into our food and water supplies. We’re dumping killer proteins on crops, parks, golf courses, gardens, ski areas, school grounds and beyond. Wind, rain and irrigation spread them throughout our communities and watersheds. We’re ignoring prion science.

The risk assessments prepared by the U.S. EPA for wastewater treatment and biosolids are flawed. Many risks are not addressed at all, including prions and radioactive waste. The same can be said for most nations. Failure to account for known risks is negligent. The land application policies that are based on these risk assessments should be voided and remediation should begin immediately. Plants grown in sewage sludge absorb prions and become infectious. We’re all vulnerable to Alzheimer’s and other forms of prion disease right now due to widespread denial and mismanagement.

Alzheimer's disease and wastewater treatment process

Wastewater Treatment and Disease via http://alzheimerdisease.tv/brain-disease-the-fastest-growing-cause-of-death/

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Can World Leaders Tackle Climate Change

Environmental, Social and Economic Issues Tightly Connected

By Gro Harlem Bruntland

In the early 1990s, when I was Prime Minister of Norway, I once found myself debating sustainable development with an opposition leader who insisted that I tell him the government’s single most important priority in that field. Frustrated, I replied that what he was asking was impossible to answer. I concluded our exchange by explaining why: “Because everything is connected to everything.”

WEF and climate change

Fortunately, such thinking is now more widely held than it was back then, thanks partly to the human development approach, which emphasizes the complexity of nature and recognizes that one-dimensional solutions cannot address multidimensional problems like those we currently face. Indeed, today’s challenges are seldom simply environmental, social, or economic, and their solutions do not lie within the area of competence of a single government ministry. Without broad, multidisciplinary impact analysis, such narrow thinking can lead to new problems.

This is particularly true of climate change. Fortunately, a growing realization that rising global temperatures are not simply an environmental concern provides reason to hope that world leaders are finally ready to address the problem in an effective way.

In the talks leading up to the Paris climate conference, a consensus emerged that climate change is not only linked to many other major environmental problems (climate, water, soil, and biodiversity are all a part of the same system); it is also intertwined with social and economic challenges, like poverty, sustainable development, and the wellbeing of future generations.

climate change policy

“All too frequently, leaders will concern themselves with matters that are closest at hand, while the most serious issues are often more distant – geographically or in time,” said former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. “If we fail to tackle climate change, the worst effects will be suffered by future generations and by poor countries far from global power centers.”

At the same time, it is not only the future that should concern us. As the economists Amartya Sen and Sudhir Anand argued more than a decade ago, “It would be a gross violation of the universalist principle if we were to be obsessed about intergenerational equity without at the same time seizing the problem of intragenerational equity.”

After ignoring the universalist principle for too long, world leaders finally seem to be acknowledging the magnitude of the problem – as well as their responsibilities to people far beyond their immediate electoral constituencies. The climate agreement between the United States and China, announced last year, indicates that one of the major stumbling blocks in the negotiations – the schism between rich and poor countries – is being overcome. With China now working to reverse the growth in its greenhouse-gas emissions, other developing countries will find it increasingly hard to argue against controlling their own emissions.

global warming solution

The European Union continues to set a high bar for action on climate change. Last year, the EU pledged to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by at least 40 percent, relative to 1990 levels, by 2030. By that year, at least 27 percent of the EU’s energy is to come from renewable sources.

The EU’s pioneering carbon-trading scheme is also an important step forward, though emission allowances will have to be cut and the cost of emitting increased if the system is to be effective. Investments in tomorrow’s energy supply and production processes will largely come from the private sector; but it is up to government to develop the institutional and regulatory frameworks that ensure that these investments are allocated in ways that are environmentally sustainable.

Finally, the sharp rise in pledges to the Green Climate Fund indicates a growing recognition of the disproportionate impact of climate change on the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. Total national contributions have surpassed the preliminary target of $10 billion. Countries such as Mexico, Panama, Indonesia, and Mongolia are now contributors, even if the main responsibility for the problem rests with the world’s major economies.

sustainable resilient cities

For billions of people, the stakes could not be higher. In Paris, the UN is promoted the Sustainable Development Goals, a set of global targets that represent a quantum leap forward from their predecessor, the Millennium Development Goals, in that they embed sustainability in every aspect of policy and practice.

But the SDG targets are unlikely to be met if world leaders are unable to forge a credible accord to limit the rise in global temperatures to 2° Celsius. A stable climate provides the underpinnings for poverty reduction, prosperity, and the rule of law – in short, human development. That, I might have told my opponent a generation ago, is the positive side of everything being connected.

Author: Gro Harlem Brundtland is a former prime minister of Norway and a member of The Elders, a group of independent global leaders working together for peace and human rights.

Climate Change News via https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/09/why-the-world-is-ready-to-combat-climate-change/

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Climate Change Deemed Top Economic Threat

Environmental Concerns Have Economists’ Attention

Forced migration and climate change are the biggest risks facing the global economy this decade, according to 750 experts surveyed by the World Economic Forum. The warning was published in the 11th edition of WEF’s Global Risks Report and in advance of the annual gathering of global leaders at Davos next week.

WEF’s Global Risks Report

In a bleak assessment published Thursday before next week’s meeting in Davos, the WEF said its survey found that a failure to deal with and prepare for climate change is potentially the most costly risk during the next 10 years, ahead of weapons of mass destruction, water crises, large-scale migration flows and severe energy price shocks.

That’s the first time that an environmental concern has topped the list of global risks of the WEF’s Global Risks Report and comes after what meteorologists say was the hottest year on record.

“Climate change is exacerbating more risks than ever before in terms of water crises, food shortages, constrained economic growth, weaker social cohesion and increased security risks,” said Cecilia Reyes, chief risk officer at Zurich Insurance, which helped develop the annual Global Risks Report.

The survey of nearly 750 experts and decision-makers from a variety of fields, locations and ages was conducted in the autumn of 2015 before the global warming targets agreed upon in Paris in December.

trees a climate change solution

John Drzik, president of global risk at insurance broker Marsh, which also helped develop the report, conceded that climate change might not have topped the list if the poll had been conducted after the Paris Agreement. The deal saw nearly 200 countries agree to keep global temperatures from rising another degree Celsius (1.8 Fahrenheit) between now and 2100.

Drzik said the 2016 report, overall, has the “broadest array” of risks facing the global economy in the survey’s history. However, he noted that the 2008 financial crisis, which saw the collapse of numerous banks and caused the deepest global recession since World War II, may have prompted more immediate damage from a purely economic point of view.

“Events such as Europe’s refugee crisis and terrorist attacks have raised global political instability to its highest level since the Cold War,” Drzik said.

A major concern identified by all involved in the report is the interconnectedness of all the risks.

climate change and deforestation

“We know climate change is exacerbating other risks such as migration and security, but these are by no means the only interconnections that are rapidly evolving to impact societies, often in unpredictable ways,” said Margareta Drzeniek-Hanouz, the WEF’s head of global competitiveness and risks.

Climate Change News via: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/9799998-74/global-risks-climate#ixzz3xKMpGFvk

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Beijing Smog Sparks First Red Alert

Schools, Factories Close As Millions Of Vehicles Forced To Park

Beijing has issued its first pollution red alert as acrid smog enveloped the Chinese capital for the second time this month. The alert will begin at 7am on Tuesday and should see millions of vehicles forced off the roads, factories and construction sites shut down and schools and nurseries advised to close.

air pollution Beijing

“It is history – this is a precedent set,” said Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public an Environmental Affairs in Beijing. “This is extremely important to stop children from being exposed to such a high level of pollution.”

Chinese authorities faced fierce criticism last week when they failed to issue a red alert even as Beijing’s residents choked on smog levels that in some areas rose to 40 times those considered safe by the World Health Organisation.

Greenpeace complained that the government’s insufficient alerting system compounded the effects of Beijing’s latest “airpocalypse,” in which readings of the hazardous airborne particle PM2.5 exceed 900 micrograms per cubic meter in some parts of the city.

Monday’s emergency announcement appeared in part to be a reaction to those criticisms. Ma Jun said it would have been a “very tough decision” for China’s leaders to declare the red alert in a city of about 23 million inhabitants.

 

“It is going to involve some very challenging actions like stopping half of the cars. In a city with more than five million cars you can imagine that is going to be a big challenge,” he said. “It is not about the political or financial cost, first and foremost it is about the great difficulty in trying to organize such an emergency response.

“But this will definitely help protect people’s health. With the red alert, primary schools, middle schools and kindergartens will be [advised] to stop having class. This will be very helpful in preventing extra exposure of the most vulnerable group of people to the air pollution hazards.”

Chinese state media said the latest bout of pollution would linger over Beijing until Thursday, when rain is expected to clear away the toxic smog. “Coal-fired power plants are the major culprit at this point,” said Xinhua, China’s official news agency.

Last year the Chinese premier, Li Keqiang, vowed to declare war on pollution, but despite such pledges smog continues to blight cities right across the country. Scientists blame air pollution for about 4,000 deaths a day.

Ma Jun said Beijing’s first red alert underlined how serious the smog problem remained. “It just shows that air pollution is still a very big challenge to the city of Beijing and that the government has paid greater attention to this issue,” he said.

air pollution China

The crisis is even more severe in the regions surrounding Beijing, where hundreds of millions of tons of coal are still being burned each year even as the capital tries to slash its use of the fossil fuel.

Ma Jun said government action in those places was also needed in order to solve Beijing’s smog problem. “Beijing actually isn’t even in the top 10 polluting cities in the region [any more]. There are others which are significantly more polluting,” he said.

Sustainable City News via http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/07/beijing-pollution-red-alert-smog-engulfs-capital?CMP=share_btn_tw

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Singapore Choking On Air Pollution From Indonesia

Singapore Pays Price For Bungle In Indonesia’s Jungles

Illegal burning of Indonesian rainforest to make room for palm and paper plantations has left neighboring countries choking on smoke. Many hope the latest crisis will lead to stricter policies.

More than a month after uncontrollable wildfires were kindled in Indonesian rainforests to make room for palm and paper plantations, a blanket of smog is choking the region, including the country’s neighbors of Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Singapore air pollution

The dense cloud of smoke has closed schools, canceled major events, grounded flights, and driven thousands of people to doctors.

Though this is regular occurrence, thanks to paper and palm oil companies that illegally burn down Indonesian rainforest to make room for farmland, this year’s fire is particularly devastating, having reached crisis levels, according to the World Resources Institute. Largely this is due to El Niño-induced drought helping the unrelenting fire spread through Sumatran peatland.

Environmental and public-health advocates from Singapore, Malaysia, and around the world have been sternly calling on the Indonesian government to strengthen its policies on forest fires, pressuring it in September to ratify a 13-year-old regional agreement on cross-border haze.

Deforestation and climate change

“Indonesia has already carried out operations for the prevention, mitigation of forest fires and haze, and recovery activities, at the national level,” the country’s parliament said in a statement. “But, to handle cross-border pollution, Indonesia and other Asian nations recognize that prevention and mitigation need to be done together,” it said.

The “together” part might be key, as Greenpeace points out that companies that own plantations on Indonesian islands are not necessarily Indonesian.

“Of course all the fires are coming from Indonesia, but Singapore is enjoying the ‘deforestation economy’ of Indonesia as a financial center,” Bustar Maitar, head of Indonesia Forest Campaign at Greenpeace International told the Times. “And there are many Malaysian palm oil companies operating in Indonesia, and Singaporean companies are there as well,” he pointed out.

Perhaps the latest bout of fires is a tipping point for the southeast-Asian countries. On Wednesday, reports the Times, Singapore’s largest grocery chain, NTUC FairPrice, stopped selling paper products sourced from one of the world’s largest paper and pulp companies: Indonesia’s Asia Pulp and Paper Group.

Singapore last month passed a bill allowing it to fine companies up to $1.6 million for causing or contributing to haze, the Guardian reported, regardless of whether they have an office in the country.

For its part, Indonesia arrested seven people last month whose companies are suspected of starting the fires. They could face 15 years in jail and heavy fines for breaking Indonesian laws that ban starting forest fires.

Air Pollution News via http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2015/1008/Why-is-Singapore-covered-in-smoke-and-what-can-be-done-about-it-video

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Major US Banks Urge Global Leaders To Tackle Climate Change

Global Warming Threatens Business As Usual

Six major U.S. banks are urging world leaders to adopt a strong agreement to slash carbon emissions and tackle climate change. The coalition warned in a letter Monday that warming global temperatures and related effects, including sea level rise and severe drought, threaten to upend the global economy and jeopardize future prosperity.

trees a climate change solution

Their message targeted the heads of state and diplomats gathered in New York Monday for the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Climate change is one of the top subjects on the agenda, along with Syria’s civil war, the refugee crisis and the Iran nuclear accord. The U.N. is spearheading negotiations to forge a 195-country climate accord in Paris this December.

Bank of America, Citi, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo called on negotiators to adopt policies that “recognize the cost of carbon” and help “provide greater market certainty, accelerate investment, drive innovation in low carbon energy, and create jobs,” according to the letter published by Ceres, a sustainability advocacy organization.

The banks noted that investments in global energy, water, transportation and urban infrastructure systems are projected to total $90 trillion over the next 15 years — a sum that could include funding for low-carbon alternatives given the right policy signals, according to a 2014 report by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, an initiative chaired by former Mexican President Felipe Calderon.

“Businesses across the spectrum are evaluating the risks and opportunities associated with a changing climate,” Mary Wenzel, head of environmental affairs at Wells Fargo, said in a statement. “Strong, long-term policy frameworks can provide the business certainty needed to accelerate innovation and investment.”

climate change negotiations in Lima, Peru

The banks’ statement did not explicitly call for a price on carbon dioxide emissions, which proponents say would make it more expensive to burn coal, oil and natural gas and encourage greater investment solar and wind power, electric vehicles, biofuels and other clean energy alternatives. But some financial leaders, including the World Bank, a U.N. financial institution, have repeatedly urged policymakers to put an outright tax on carbon emissions or adopt a cap-and-trade system. China last week announced it would launch the world’s largest cap-and-trade system to reduce emissions from its steel, cement, paper and electric power sectors.

A carbon price is “the most powerful move that a government can make in the fight against climate change and the reengineering of the economy,” Rachel Kyte, a special envoy for climate change at the World Bank, said a year ago at the 2014 Climate Week NYC, an annual forum to promote the business case for a low-carbon economy.

Climate Change Solutions via http://www.ibtimes.com/six-major-us-banks-urge-global-leaders-adopt-climate-change-agreement-2116755

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