UN: Droughts, less water in Europe as warming wrecks crops – AP NEWS

LA HERRADURA, Spain (AP) “Herders and farmers have their feet on the ground, but their eyes on the sky.” The old saying is still popular in Spain’s rural communities who, faced with recurrent droughts, have historically paraded sculptures of saints to pray for rain.

 

 

The saints are out again this year as large swaths of Spain face one of the driest winters on record. Even as irrigation infrastructure boomed along with industrial farming, the country’s ubiquitous dams and desalination plants are up against a looming water crisis that scientists have been warning about for decades.

 

“We are facing a drastic situation,” said Juan Camacho, a farmer in the southern province of Granada, as he looked hopelessly at withered leaves of avocado plants and their fruits, smaller than usual this year.

 

Not far from his orchard, the region’s largest reservoir is down to 15% of its capacity after over two months without a drop of rain. And at least half of that, Camacho said, “is just muddy water, completely useless.”

 

Declining agricultural yields in Europe — and the battle for diminishing water resources, especially in the southern part of the continent — are perils that lie ahead as global temperatures continue to rise, the world’s top climate scientists say.

 

Part of the Vinuela reservoir is seen dry and cracked due to lack of rain in La Vinuela, southern Spain, Feb. 22, 2022. Declining agricultural yields in Europe, and the battle for diminishing water resources, especially in the southern part of the continent, are key risks as global temperatures continue to rise. These conclusions are part of a new United Nations report that will help countries decide how to prevent the planet from warming further. (AP Photo/Carlos Gil)

 

Part of the Vinuela reservoir is seen dry and cracked due to lack of rain in La Vinuela, southern Spain, Feb. 22, 2022. Declining agricultural yields in Europe, and the battle for diminishing water resources, especially in the southern part of the continent, are key risks as global temperatures continue to rise. These conclusions are part of a new United Nations report that will help countries decide how to prevent the planet from warming further. (AP Photo/Carlos Gil)

 

LA HERRADURA, Spain (AP) — “Herders and farmers have their feet on the ground, but their eyes on the sky.” The old saying is still popular in Spain’s rural communities who, faced with recurrent droughts, have historically paraded sculptures of saints to pray for rain.

 

The saints are out again this year as large swaths of Spain face one of the driest winters on record. Even as irrigation infrastructure boomed along with industrial farming, the country’s ubiquitous dams and desalination plants are up against a looming water crisis that scientists have been warning about for decades.

 

“We are facing a drastic situation,” said Juan Camacho, a farmer in the southern province of Granada, as he looked hopelessly at withered leaves of avocado plants and their fruits, smaller than usual this year.

 

Not far from his orchard, the region’s largest reservoir is down to 15% of its capacity after over two months without a drop of rain. And at least half of that, Camacho said, “is just muddy water, completely useless.”

 

Declining agricultural yields in Europe — and the battle for diminishing water resources, especially in the southern part of the continent — are perils that lie ahead as global temperatures continue to rise, the world’s top climate scientists say.

Climate

Boston to replace school buses with electric ones by 2030

Germany seeks to boost renewable energy, cut Russian imports

Storms batter aging power grid as climate disasters spread

Pennsylvania court blocks governor's carbon emissions plan

 

Their conclusions are part of a report this week by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released Monday. The panel’s periodic assessments inform policymaker decisions about how to prevent the planet from warming beyond the 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 Fahrenheit) already gained since industrial times.

 

For Europe, heat and flooding in addition to agricultural losses and water scarcity will be major climate impacts, the report said. And while European awareness of global warming motivates policymakers to do more, scientists say the ambition and execution of solutions vary greatly from country to country.

 

Extreme heat, floods and droughts will lead to widespread disruption of the economy, including damage to infrastructure and energy supplies, the need for more air conditioning and greater water demand, the report warned.

 

As warming rises faster in Europe than the global mean, panelists paint a picture of a continent divided: an increasingly arid south, struggling with desertification and competing for scarcer water — and a north adopting a more traditional Mediterranean climate that could provide some increased crop yields and forest growth, but with risks of its own.

 

If temperatures rise an additional 1.9 degrees Celsius (3.4 Fahrenheit), corn harvest losses could reach 50%, especially in southern Europe, the report warned. Harvests of wheat, meanwhile, could increase in the north as long as warming doesn’t exceed 2 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial levels — or 0.9 degrees above the current average temperature.

 

But this is no silver lining. From a continental perspective, the report says due to combined heat and drought, “substantive agricultural production losses are projected for most European areas over the 21st century, which will not be offset by gains in Northern Europe.”

 

“There are some vegetables and warm climate crops that might see benefits in the short term,” Rachel Licker, a climate expert at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told The Associated Press. “But the major cereal crops, the major commodities, the major crops that are exported and really form the basis of a lot of the economy are the ones that are likely to be negatively affected.”

 

Europe will also suffer other negative impacts. Coastal damage is projected to increase at least tenfold by the end of the century — and, if the 3 degree Celsius (5.4 Fahrenheit) warming threshold is reached, “damage costs and people affected by precipitation and river flooding may double.”

 

For some coastal communities it will be “an existential threat,” the report said, adding that traditional lifestyles of the Sami and the Nenets peoples are already under threat in the European Arctic.

 

Inequality is expected to grow within and among countries as the continent sees more deaths from heatstroke, unbearable summers and irreparable damage to ecosystems.

 

Joaquín Montes, 50, is among those set to lose more. He is one of roughly 10 million farmers in the European Union who feed 440 million consumers inside and outside the bloc.

 

Sandwiched between the tourist-magnet Costa del Sol and the Sierra Nevada range in southern Spain, the ravines where Montes’ custard apple and avocado orchards sit should have plenty of water.

 

But with 41% less rain since October than average for the same period between 1980 and 2010, dams contain almost no water. Private ponds that are supposed to last farmers through summer are exhausted. And, with no fresh water replenishing aquifers, salty seawater is making them useless.

 

“Us farmers, we are used to dealing with drought,” said Montes, who learned the job from his father when he was 14. “But every year we see less and less rain. I fear for my livelihood.”

 

Environmentalists say landowners who switched from traditional crops to profitable but thirsty ones such as avocados or mangoes are the tip of a larger problem: industrial-scale, single-crop agriculture that has displaced smaller, traditional farmers.

 

“The model is one of ill-planning and pure false developmentalism,” said Julio Barea, a geologist and water activist with the environmental group Greenpeace.

 

In Spain, the surface of arable land devoted to intensive agriculture with irrigation has increased to a quarter of the total in recent decades, according to the Agriculture Ministry, taking over terrain once used for rain-fed crops.

 

“We are hitting the wall of having no water,” Barea said. “And it’s going to be catastrophic. We need to change our mindset.”

 

In neighboring Portugal, authorities have restricted the use of some reservoirs for hydroelectric power and irrigation amid an unusual winter drought, prioritizing drinking water.

 

As water scarcity hits southern Europe first, followed by Western and Central Europe, the U.N. report says irrigation will continue to be a solution for some to feed a warming continent, but it will be limited by water availability.

 

Additional means for watering crops won’t even be an option in places like Spain’s southeast, according to food systems expert Marta Rivera-Ferre, who helped review the report.

 

“The elevated risk of drought there has to let us think again about how best to adapt,” she said.

 

Patrick Verkooijen, chief executive of the Rotterdam-based Global Center on Adaptation, said the report’s message is “that for many, now the time is already adapt or die.”

 

Read more...

 

Go back

Partners News

COP27: Call for proposals of side events for the “COMIFAC-ECCAS Initiatives Pavilion”

COMIFAC, ECCAS and its partners gathered within the CBFP hereby launch a call for proposals to host side events lasting no more than 90 minutes under the « COMIFAC-ECCAS Initiatives Pavilion », at the COP27 venue from 6 to 18 November 2022. The following guidelines are offered, however there is no set format for proposals. Applications should be submitted before 10 October 2022.

MoP19-CBFP-UK: His Excellency Rt Hon Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park's speech at CBFP MOP 19 in Libreville

…As we give the COP26 pledge a permanent home at the CBFP... And having committed to investing nearly a third of UK International Climate Finance – which we recently doubled – into nature, at least half of that in forests...we’re forging ahead with the work that our £200m commitment to the Congo Basin pledge will support…through the brilliant Forests, Governance, Markets, and Climate Programme, our newly established transboundary Biodiverse Landscapes Fund, and a new bilateral programme that we’re designing ahead of COP27…alongside our £32m contribution to CAFI. We know CAFI needs to change – and we’re committed to that as well.... Find out more...

European Parliament’s vote on the Renewable Energy Directive disappoints campaigners – FERN

On 14 September 2022, the European Parliament voted on proposals to amend the EU‘s Renewable Energy Directive (RED). Changing problematic incentives for burning forest biomass was the most contentious issue in an otherwise fairly consensual file, as most MEPs agree that overall renewable energy ambitions should be considerably increased.

What can the EU do about forest fires? Quite a lot… - FERN

An area of Europe equivalent to one-fifth of Belgium has burned so far this year, the greatest surface at this point in the calendar year since records began in 2006. As this and the other realities of the climate crisis made their presence felt, Professor Sten B. Nilsson wrote an opinion piece for Euractiv outlining how to prevent Europe’s forest fires.

Graduate students visit UNCCD to discuss the sustainable future of land – UNCCD

At the start of the new academic year, the United Nations Regional Information Centre in Bonn together with UNCCD, hosted a group of graduate students from Côte d’Ivoire, Germany and Kenya to discuss the Convention’s work on combating drought and desertification and the role of science in supporting good land stewardship. Two dozen students who visited UN Bonn are a part of the programme launched by the German Center for Development Research (ZEF) in 2021, together with the Universities of Cologne, Abidjan and Nairobi as part of the new DAAD Global Environment and Climate Center Initiative.

Droughtland campaign featured in the margins of the General Assembly discussions on new ways to promote SDGs - UNCCD

On the sidelines of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York,  the UNCCD took part in a high-level event at the opening night of Goals House held at the iconic Tavern on the Green in Central Park on 18 September 2022.

Press Release: African Union Development Agency-NEPAD Launches Energize Africa - NEPAD

New York, September 19, 2022 – The African Union Development Agency-NEPAD in partnership with Afreximbank, co-launched the AUDA-NEPAD Energize Africa initiative on the margins of the 77th United Nations General Assembly in New York.  The Energize Africa initiative recognises that Africa’s youth and women – making up more than half of the continent’s populations - must be at the core of Africa’s economic growth and inclusive development strategies.

Press Release: Climate Finance to Address Global Challenges on Climate Change, Land Degradation and Biodiversity Loss - NEPAD

New York, September 20, 2022 – Climate financing will play an important role in unlocking Africa’s potential to combat climate change. It is estimated that Africa requires about 2.5 trillion dollars of climate finance between 2020 and 2030 averaging about 250 billion dollars each year. However, the total annual climate finance flows in Africa for 2020 were only 30 billion dollars, which is just about 12 percent of the amount needed.

African Union Launches Serious Game to Mark the International Day of Peace - AU

The African Union (AU) Youth for Peace Africa Programme, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU) have launched a serious game known as “Mission55 Conflict in Anaka”, to commemorate the International Day of Peace (Peace Day) 2022. The game, which the AU and GIZ developed, aims to raise awareness, educate and inform the public, particularly youth, on the mandate of the AU to promote good governance, peace and security in Africa.

Southern & Eastern Africa CSOs urged to promote the AU’s Free Movement Protocol - AU

African Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in eastern and southern Africa have been prompted to support and promote the implementation of the African Union’s Free Movement Protocol (FMP) and the Migration Policy Framework for Africa (MPFA). The call to action to CSOs was made during the opening of the second Regional CSO Sensitization Forum on the Continental Free Movement Protocol organized by the AU Economic, Social, and Cultural Council (AU-ECOSOCC) with support from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

IGAD Launches its Regional Trade Policy 2022-2026 – IGAD

September 15, 2022 (NAIROBI, Kenya): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) today launched the IGAD Regional Trade Policy 2022-2026 in Nairobi. Representatives of IGAD Member States from Ministry of Trade and Heads of Chamber of Commerce and Industry, representatives of partners such as the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the Pan-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI) attended the one-day event.

New biodiversity commitments announced as world leaders declare nature summit COP15 a priority - GEF

New commitments aimed at catalyzing biodiversity finance and conservation were unveiled today at a high-level event convened on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly to showcase action and support for a nature-positive world. New initiatives announced include €0.87 billion of new funding from the German government; a 10 point plan for financing biodiversity, endorsed by 16 initial countries; and the next phase of the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People (HAC for Nature and People 2.0)...

The path of migratory birds connects us all - thegef

Patricia Zurita is CEO of BirdLife International, a leading conservation organization that works with 115 national partner organizations and 13 million members to protect birds and their habitats worldwide. In an interview marking BirdLife’s 100th anniversary, she shared her vision for how the world can create a healthy environment for healthy societies in the coming century.

Media Release: Governments Meet on Science and Evidence to Address Global Biodiversity Crisis - ipbes

Bonn, Germany – Representatives of almost 140 Governments will begin a week-long meeting on Sunday in Bonn, Germany to advance the science and evidence necessary to address the global biodiversity crisis. The ninth session of the Plenary of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (#IPBES9) will be the first in-person meeting, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, of the global body tasked with presenting decision-makers with the best-available science and expertise, to inform policy and action on nature.

5 Indigenous Women Climate Activists You Should Know About - forestdeclaration

Hindou, a Mbororo Indigenous pastoralist woman, is the founder of the Association of Indigenous Peul Women and Peoples of Chad (AFPAT), a community-based organization focused on promoting the rights of girls and women in the Mbororo community and inspiring leadership and advocacy in environmental protection. She is an influential climate leader in Africa, advocating for the importance of traditional knowledge for building resilience of Indigenous and forest communities to cope with the climate crisis.

Southeast Asia officers level up on CITES enforcement - Traffic

Enforcement officers new to the fight against wildlife crime have put a suite of TRAFFIC resources and newly developed materials to the test in a series of trainings in Southeast Asia. The face-to-face trainings with newly designed materials have been critical in bringing up-to-date information and tools to frontliners in some of the region’s major wildlife trade hotspots. However, staff turnover, regulatory changes, and evolving trends in wildlife crime mean there is a constant need for training.” Renee Yee, TRAFFIC’s Training and Capacity Building Officer in Southeast Asia

Cooperation Needed to Correct Course on Gender Equality: UN Report – SDG

UN Women and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) issued a report, which presents evidence on gender equality across all 17 SDGs. Emphasizing the pivotal role of gender equality in driving progress on the entire 2030 Agenda, the report warns that global crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, violent conflict, and climate change have exacerbated gender disparities.

UN Report Stresses “Urgent Need” to Accelerate Progress on SDG 4 in LAC – SDG

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) regional offices for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), and the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) published the results of a regional assessment of progress towards SDG 4 (quality education). The report highlights the urgent need for more investment and social participation to enable a systemic transformation of education.

COP 15 PRESIDENCY: latest news from Huang Runqiu, President of the COP 15 and Minister of Ecology and Environment of China – CBD

On September 12, Huang Runqiu, President of the Fifteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 15) and Minister of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, had a video meeting with Virginijus Sinkevičius, EU Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries. The two sides had in-depth exchanges on the second part of COP 15 and key issues related to the post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF) .

CBFP MOP 19: Civil Society Declaration on the fight against deforestation in Congo Basin countries

We, the representatives of Central African civil society who participated in-person and virtually in the 19th Meeting of Parties of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP), which was organized by the Federal Republic of Germany and took place from 5 to 8 July, 2022, in Libreville, Republic of Gabon, came together on 6 July 2022, as part of a strategic workshop of civil society organizations working to ensure effective management of natural resources in Congo Basin countries…

Welcome to our new partner the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization (INBAR)!

Berlin, 12th September 2022, the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization (INBAR), has officially joined the 124 members of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP). INBAR has submitted its application and consented to the CBFP members’ cooperation framework to promote sustainable management of forest ecosystems in Central Africa.

CBFP RDP 19: Main conclusions of Streams of the 19th Meeting of the Parties of the CBFP: Strong messages and recommendations...

Please download the recommendations, conclusions, messages coming out of the deliberations of Streams 1a, 1b, 2 and 3, Technical Segment of the MOP 19 of the CBFP of Libreville towards sustainable development for Central Africa’s countries, people, forests and biodiversity...These conclusions also serve as a roadmap for the partners to implement the "Declaration of commitment of COMIFAC Member States to the forests of Central Africa and call for equitable financing" and the “Joint Declaration of the Congo Basin donors of COP26”…

MoP 19 - CIFOR - USFS: Peatlands, mangroves, and other wetlands: climate responses in the Congo Basin

Please kindly consult the main conclusions of the two side events organised by CIFOR and USFS in the margins of CBFP MOP 19 on: Slot 1: Current scientific activities on peatlands (and other wetlands) in the Congo Basin and  Slot 2: Early responses to protect and manage peatlands in the Congo Basin.

A new member of the great CBFP family: Welcome to the Republic of Korea (ROK) represented by the Korean Forest Service (KFS)!

Berlin, 12th August 2022, the Republic of Korea (ROK), represented by the Korea Forest Service (KFS), has officially joined the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP). ROK has submitted their application and consented to the CBFP members’ cooperation framework in promoting sustainable management of forest ecosystems in Central Africa.

 

UN Global Compact Unveils Strategy to Maximize China’s Contribution to SDGs – IISD

The UN Global Compact published its China strategy seeking “to unlock the potential of business and other stakeholders to maximize their impact on the SDGs and contribute to sustainable development in China and the rest of the world.” The document recognizes China’s local priorities while striving to align itself with the UN Global Compact’s Ten Principles and global ambition.

UNDP Report Calls for Investment, Insurance, Innovation to Shape Our Future - IISD

The latest Human Development Report, published by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), warns that due to the impacts of the multiple crises, mounting layers of uncertainty, and increasing polarization, human development has dropped to its 2016 levels, “reversing much of the progress” towards the SDGs. Yet, it argues, there is “promise and opportunity in uncertainty” to “reimagine our futures, to renew and adapt our institutions and to craft new stories about who we are and what we value.”

The Facilitator in conversation with EU- Parliamentarians on saving the world’s great lungs

Berlin September 7, 2022. Honourable Dr. Christian Ruck, CBFP Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany travelled to Brussels to co-host together with the Member of the European Parliament from the Group of the European People's Party (EPP) Dr. Angelika Niebler, a casual round table on the importance of the EU’s support in achieving better protection of the Congo Basin Forests, including through a “Fair Deal” mechanism for long-term financing of the region by means of payments for ecosystem services approach.

“Zero Draft” Outlines Vision, Scope of Future Chemicals and Waste Framework – IISD

Delegates to the fourth session of the Intersessional Process for Considering the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) and the Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste Beyond 2020 (IP4) advanced their work on the outline for a future global policy framework to promote chemical safety.

New poll reveals support for EU action to stop companies from selling forest-ravaging goods – FERN

A strong majority of Europeans think businesses are failing in their responsibility to protect the world’s forests and therefore support a new law to ban products that destroy them. On Amazon Rainforest Day, a new poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Europeans (82%) believe businesses should not sell products that destroy the world’s forests and think (78%) that the government needs to ban products that drive deforestation. When informed that the European Parliament has proposed such a law, support rises to 81 per cent.