Archive for September 17th, 2012

17/09/2012

Mr. Ban’s Optimism: ‘Ozone Layer on Track to Recover over Next 50 Years!’

Human Wrongs Watch

Despite so many specialized reports (see section Read Also*, below)–some of them elaborated by the world body he leads, the UN Secretary-General is optimistic! In fact he has just “hailed” the efforts of the international community in “protecting the atmosphere, noting that with the global phase-out of 98 per cent of ozone-depleting gases, the ozone layer is now on track to recover over the next five decades.”

Photo: United Nations

“I urge Governments and all partners to apply the same spirit to the other great environment and development challenges of our times. Together, we can achieve the future we want,” Ban Ki-moon said in his message on the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, observed annually on 16 September.

The Day commemorates the date of the signing, in 1987, of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, which aims to protect the ozone layer by taking measures “to control total global production and consumption of substances that deplete it, with the ultimate objective of their elimination,” the UN reported.

The ozone layer, a fragile shield of gas, protects the Earth from the harmful portion of the rays of the sun, thus helping preserve life on the planet.

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17/09/2012

Farmers Too Hungry to Adapt to Climate Change

Human Wrongs Watch

By IRIN*, Johannesburg – Small farmers in the developing world who are going hungry for long periods of time – in some cases for up to half the year in Ethiopia’s Borana region – are failing to find ways to adapt to an increasingly erratic climate, a new survey has found.

Photo: Jaspreet Kindra/IRIN. Most small farmers produce barely enough for their own consumption.

The survey, which was conducted just ahead of the severe drought in East Africa in 2011, interviewed 700 households in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. It was designed to develop simple, comparable, cross-site household-level indicators to assess if small farmers were able to diversify, adapt and adopt new farming practices in the face of climate change.

The team of researchers involved in the survey found that households that were food secure for longer periods of time were able to experiment with new farming approaches and techniques, such as planting drought- or flood-tolerant varieties of seeds.

“When you are without food, you cannot really innovate,” said Patti Kristjanson, agricultural economist for the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), which led the study.”

It stands to reason that households struggling to feed their families throughout the year are not in a good position to invest in new practices that include higher costs and risks.” Not being able to adapt is contributing to food insecurity, she added.

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17/09/2012

Arctic – The Catastrophic Impact of Drilling, Oil Spills, Accidents

Human Wrongs Watch

Arctic oil drilling is a dangerous, high-risk enterprise and an oil spill under these icy waters would have a catastrophic impact on one of the most pristine, unique and beautiful landscapes on earth. The risks of such an accident are ever present and the oil industry’s response plans remain wholly inadequate, Greenpeace reports*.
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**Oil and ice are mixed up – and booms appear mostly useless in the clean up of a small oil spill after Icelandic container ship Godafoss ran aground on the Southern Norwegian coast…© Jon Terje Hellgren Hansen / Greenpeace.

The Arctic’s extreme weather and freezing temperatures, its remote location and the presence of moving sea ice severely increase the risks of oil drilling, complicate logistics and present unparalleled difficulties for any clean-up operation.

“Its fragile ecosystem is particularly vulnerable to an oil spill and the consequences of an accident would have a profound effect on the environment and local fisheries.”

The Arctic is home to four million people, many of whom are descendants of Indigenous communities who have lived in the Far North for thousands of years, according to Greenpeace.

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