IHP news 470: Planetary health

By on May 18, 2018

Guardian – Mysterious rise in banned ozone-destroying chemical shocks scientists


A sharp and mysterious rise in emissions of a key ozone-destroying chemical has been detected by scientists, despite its production being banned around the world. Unless the culprit is found and stopped, the recovery of the ozone layer, which protects life on Earth from damaging UV radiation, could be delayed by a decade. The source of the new emissions has been tracked to east Asia, but finding a more precise location requires further investigation.”

Guardian – The UK government wants to put a price on nature – but that will destroy it

G Monbiot. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/may/15/price-natural-world-destruction-natural-capital

Defining Earth’s resources as ‘natural capital’ is morally wrong, intellectually vacuous, and most of all counter-productive.”  You know you should always read Monbiot’s columns.

IISD – Bonn Climate Change Conference Advances Work on Paris Agreement Work Programme, Negotiations to Resume in September


While the Bonn Climate Change Conference saw some progress on the Paris Agreement Work Programme, another negotiating session will convene from 3-8 September in Bangkok, Thailand, to advance work before COP 24. .. … The Bonn Climate Change Conference adopted a Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture roadmap that addresses the socioeconomic and food security dimensions of climate change, assessments of adaptation in agriculture, co-benefits and resilience, and livestock management, among others. During the Talanoa Dialogue process, which aims to review progress and find solutions regarding increased ambition by countries now and in the next round of NDCs, countries and non-Party stakeholders engaged in interactive story telling.”

Do check out also (IISD) – A New Narrative in Climate Talks: Cutting Emissions with Both Arms of the Scissors

Fossil fuel supply needs to be phased out as well as demand, and should be accomplished in a predictable manner, to ensure a just transition. When the Lofoten Declaration was launched in September 2017, an indefinite moratorium on oil and gas production already existed in Costa Rica, and oil and gas moratoriums applied to several biodiversity hotspots; more policies to restrict fossil fuel supply have been recorded since the Declaration’s launch. Such a transition can not happen overnight and requires a just transition for workers, communities and entire countries.”

Wired – China is going green, but dirty trade is moving elsewhere


China’s export economy is getting greener, but a new phase of globalisation means other developing nations are burning more fossil fuels.” China is following the Western ‘lead’ from a while ago, it appears.  “Right now, this means that China is less and less the world’s workbench. Instead, fossil fuel-powered manufacturing is moving from China and India to countries like Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand – with potentially devastating consequences for global efforts to tackle climate change, according to a study published today in Nature Communications.”

Read also (Chatham House Expert comment) – How China Could Become a Global Leader in Sustainable Infrastructure

Through the Belt and Road Initiative, China could help make a vital contribution toward addressing climate change.”

Mainly wishful thinking so far (by A Hoare). See for example:  Leaked report warns Cambodia’s biggest dam could ‘literally kill’ Mekong river (Guardian).

Tim Jackson: ‘Secular stagnation’ meets the ‘GDP fetish’


Tim Jackson [whom you probably still remember from ‘Prosperity without Growth’ ] discusses the complex conditions facing advanced economies ten years after the crisis and introduces the arguments in the latest CUSP Working paper  on ‘The Post-Growth Challenge’.”

Very much recommended.

Plos One – Forest resources of nations in relation to human well-being

P Kaupi et al; http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0196248

A universal turnaround has been detected in many countries of the World from shrinking to expanding forests. The forest area of western Europe expanded already in the 19th century. Such early trends of forest resources cannot be associated with the rapid rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide nor with the anthropogenic climate change, which have taken place since the mid 20th century. Modern, most recent spatial patterns of forest expansions and contractions do not correlate with the geography of climate trends nor with dry versus moist areas. Instead, the forest resources trends of nations correlate positively with UNDP Human Development Index. This indicates that forest resources of nations have improved along with progress in human well-being. Highly developed countries apply modern agricultural methods on good farmlands and abandon marginal lands, which become available for forest expansion. Developed countries invest in sustainable programs of forest management and nature protection. … … However, despite the positive trends in domestic forests, developed nations increasingly outsource their biomass needs abroad through international trade, and all nations rely on unsustainable energy use and wasteful patterns of material consumption.”

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