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Ed Webb

Leaking Ghost Tankers: Pollution in the Port of Aden - Peace Organization PAX - 0 views

  • Decaying oil tankers at the coasts of Yemen pose serious risks to the environment and the people depending on it, reminding us starkly how conflicts can bring serious pollution risks. New open source research by PAX reveals multiple oil spills from rusty ships that have been polluting the coastal areas around the Port of Aden. If no action is taken by the authorities to remove these ships, it is only a matter of time before a new disaster will unfold.
  • Current international attention is mainly focused on finding a solution for the decaying oil tanker FSO SAFER loaded with 1.1 million barrels of oil. The tanker is at risk of sinking or exploding, which would create a regional environmental catastrophe. Yet over the course of the last years, smaller incidents around oil tankers in Yemen’s ports, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden have been mounting as well. Ranging from direct attacks on oil tankers to abandoned ships sinking and fires at port refineries, the conflict continues to create serious local pollution problems.
  • The war itself already poses serious environmental challenges that impact both Yemen’s population and its precious ecosystems. This ranges from structural leaking oil incidents documented by the Yemen environmentalist group Holmakhdar and the Sanaa Center, to broader environmental problems, and conflict-linked cutting and dying of millions of date palms, demonstrated by the open-source investigative group Bellingcat. The current weak state of governance and oversight around the many environmental challenges Yemen is facing continues to result in ongoing incidents that worsen the state of environment and affect the people depending on it.  Not only does this currently already lead to mounting environmental health risks and degraded ecosystems, these impacts will also worsen climate resilience for the conflict-affected country due to more extreme weather events, water shortages and rising temperatures
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  • According to the experts, over 40 tons of oil was leaked from the leaking tanker, though this has not been confirmed by the local authorities
  • PAX has observed leaks from two ships, including a large spill on July 5,2022 from the PEARL OF ATHENA that continued for 18 days until July 23. Oil slicks have washed ashore, polluting the coastal environment, and could pose a long-term risk to the marine environment in and around the bay of Aden, which could pose particular threats to the livelihoods of fishing communities. Hydrocarbons from crude oil and refined products contain toxic heavy metals such as lead, zinc, cadmium and mercury that can accumulate around coastal soils and sediments, be ingested by marine organisms such as fish, affect marine birds and mammals and impact marine ecosystems.
  • Large spills such as this one are also likely to hold up the arrival of ships that need to offload humanitarian goods in the container terminal. This is because ships are not able to go into the port until such slicks are removed to prevent further dispersal of the oil by the movement of incoming ships.  
  • The ongoing war in Yemen continues to stress local authorities’ capacities to address both the issues with dilapidated oil tankers and set up a proper environmental monitoring and enforcement mechanism for ships arriving in the Port of Aden
  • A damage assessment conducted by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in 2021 found that at over 20 million USD was needed for reparations at the container terminal alone. The report, also stated that:  “Health, safety, and environmental awareness in the Port is currently unacceptable. The Port contains large areas of conflict-damaged debris, damaged and unusable equipment, and equipment and materials being stored for future use.”  
  • The arrival of ballast water on ships trading to ports in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden (..) has the potential to do more harm to the marine environment than a major oil pollution incident. (..) Dumping of hazardous materials at sea in waters close to the Gulf of Aden has the potential to carry serious pollution hazards into the region.”   
  • the international community has failed to pick up the bill to effectively prevent a major environmental disaster with the FSO SAFER, despite the UN starting a public campaign to raise $20 million dollar to prevent a serious disaster posed by the tanker. Meanwhile, western countries continue to allow for billions in weapons sales to the countries bombing Yemen.  
  • The remaining tankers in the Port of Aden continue to pose a risk of sinking, which would likely lead to further environmental pollution with effects on coastal areas. This would particularly impact fishing communities and surrounding ecosystems
Ed Webb

Dam Rising in Ethiopia Stirs Hope and Tension - NYTimes.com - 0 views

  • Ethiopia, one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, has poured its resources into a slew of megaprojects in recent years, including dams, factories, roads and railways across the country.But its strong, state-driven approach has been criticized for displacing rural communities, elbowing out private investors and muzzling political dissent. The Renaissance Dam, its biggest project, has met with resistance even outside Ethiopia’s borders, setting off a heated diplomatic battle with Egypt that, at one point, led to threats of war.
  • From the very beginning, this relentless drive has put Ethiopia at odds with Egypt. The Renaissance Dam is on the Blue Nile, a tributary that contributes most of the water flowing into the Nile River, heightening concerns that it could threaten Egypt’s most vital natural resource. Fears of armed conflict surfaced during the brief tenure of Egypt’s former president, Mohamed Morsi, who said last year that “Egyptian blood” would substitute for every drop of lost water.But under Egypt’s current president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the icy relationship between the two countries has begun to thaw. Ethiopia’s prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, and Mr. Sisi had a cordial first meeting in June, and water ministers from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan met for renewed discussions in late August. Egypt’s new foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, set a diplomatic tone during a visit last month to the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, declaring “a new phase of our relationship based on mutual understanding, mutual respect and a recognition that the Nile binds us.”
  • A smaller dam nearing completion in southern Ethiopia could threaten ecosystems affecting hundreds of thousands of people. Huge land leases to foreign commercial farms have displaced communities and left tens of thousands of acres uncultivated.
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  • Building the vast reservoir needed to generate maximum power, on the other hand, poses some risks to Egypt and Sudan, as it will temporarily lessen the flow downstream.
Ed Webb

Climate crisis: 13 ways the Middle East is under threat | Middle East Eye - 0 views

  • The Middle East and North Africa have always been used to more than their fair share of extreme weather and conditions. But it has been made much worse by the twin threats of climate change and man-made intervention, which are hitting the region with increased frequency and ferocity.
  • "In the Middle East there has been a significant increase in the frequency and the intensity of sand and dust storms in the past 15 years or so."
  • The lavishly titled Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), under construction on the Blue Nile since 2011, will be the largest in Africa when it is completed. But in Cairo it is being watched anxiously: a rapid increase in demand due to population growth, severe mismanagement of resources and a lack of investment in water infrastructure have made Egypt one of the most water-stressed countries in the world, relying on the Nile for 90 percent of its fresh water.
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  • Jordan. It has been described by the UN as one of the most water-scarce countries on the planet
  • Once a water-rich country, southern Iraq has faced successive droughts and significant drops in annual rainfall, following the construction of major dams in Turkey and Iran since the 1970s.
  • Arab states are facing a water supply emergency for which they need a coordinated response, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, predicting that per capita resources will be halved by 2050.
  • The Middle East and North Africa have suffered more than any other region from water scarcity and desertification, problems being complicated by climate change
  • In the UAE, reclamation schemes, such as Dubai's Palm Islands and World Islands, have altered the geography of the coast and wave patterns have destroyed marine ecosystems.
  • Campaigners in western Turkey have protested against a Canadian-owned gold mine project amid fears the deforestation will reduce a hilltop to an arid desert.
  • Dubai has one of the hottest climates on the planet. At the height of summer, temperatures can reach a high of 41ºC in the shade. But the emirate's urban growth - between 10 percent and 13 percent, year on year, for the past four decades - has boosted those figures.
  • Pilgrims attending Hajj in Saudi Arabia may be at risk of extreme heat and humidity that is driven by climate change
  • It has been calculated that golf courses in the US use, on average, 130,000 gallons of water each day. Those in the kingdom and elsewhere will likely use many times that amount, as well as fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides to keep them alive. All these chemicals eventually feed into precious groundwater supplies, potentially causing pollution problems. 
  • In 2017, scientists warned that climate change means that the Middle East and North African region (MENA) is susceptible to some of the more severe consequences of warming, including lethal heat waves, extensive drought and rising sea levels.
  • Morocco was ranked second of 57 countries in this year's Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), which examines four performance categories: emissions, renewable energy, energy use and climate policy. But while Egypt was mid-table at 21st, Turkey came in at 47th, Iran was 55th and Saudi Arabia was last at 57th, a position it has held for the past few years.
Ed Webb

Saudi Arabia and the UAE Could Spoil Oman's Smooth Transition by Fomenting Regional Ins... - 0 views

  • Oman remains vulnerable to both foreign and domestic sources of instability as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates seek to expand their regional influence. Potential causes of domestic unrest—including high unemployment, budget deficits, and dwindling oil reserves—lack clear-cut solutions. Sultan Haitham faces multiple challenges even without the threat of foreign meddling, yet Oman’s neighbors may view the death of Qaboos as a unique opportunity to advance their own expansionist agendas.
  • Oman resisted Saudi Arabia’s attempts to use the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as a tool to serve the Saudis’ foreign-policy agenda, most visibly when Oman’s minister of state for foreign affairs publicly rejected King Abdullah’s plan to deepen the GCC into a Gulf Union in 2013, and was the only GCC state to not participate in the Saudi-led military incursion against Yemen that began in 2015.
  • Sultan Haitham comes to power at a time when the Trump administration has repeatedly signaled its support for Saudi Arabia and antipathy toward Iran. The belated naming of low-ranking U.S. officials to attend the official ceremony honoring Sultan Qaboos was widely interpreted as a slight against the Omanis; the U.K., in contrast, sent both Prince Charles and Prime Minister Boris Johnson to pay their respects.
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  • Saudi leaders likely hope that Sultan Haitham will be more amenable to a Saudi-led Gulf, and without U.S. support, Oman may feel pressure to acquiesce or face potential repercussions. Omani officials have privately expressed concerns that Oman could be the next target of a Saudi- and Emirati-led blockade
  • Despite precipitating the world’s most urgent humanitarian crisis in Yemen, Saudi Arabia has used its military presence there to declare its intention to build a pipeline through the Mahra region and construct an oil port on the Yemeni coast. Saudi Arabia currently ships oil through the Strait of Hormuz and the Bab el-Mandeb strait, whereas the proposed pipeline would allow direct access to the Indian Ocean.
  • Mahra has close links to the adjacent Dhofar region of Oman, which has long viewed the province as an informal buffer from the instability in other parts of Yemen. Sultan Qaboos offered aid as well as dual citizenship to residents of Mahra as a means of eliminating the potential for another conflict resembling the Dhofar War of 1963-1976, which drew cross-border support from the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen operating from Mahra into Dhofar
  • Inhabitants of Mahra have expressed frustration with the presence of both the Saudis and Emiratis, given that these kingdoms’ alleged foes—the Houthis as well as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula—are not present in Mahra
  • The UAE has taken control of the Yemeni island of Socotra, building a military base in a unique ecosystem nominally protected by UNESCO. The UAE is also building bases in Eritrea and Somaliland as part of a plan to develop a “string of ports” that will allow it to project power and escape possible pressure from Iran in the Persian Gulf.
  • Other Emirati ambitions include the Musandam Peninsula, an Omani enclave that forms the narrowest point in the Strait of Hormuz. The inhabitants of the peninsula have close ties to the UAE, as Musandam connects geographically to the emirates of Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah, rather than Oman. Oman’s control of the strategic chokepoint reflects the sultanate’s history as an empire whose territory once stretched from southern Pakistan to Zanzibar. 
  • The border between Oman and the UAE was only formally demarcated in 2008, but Omanis see a circle of potential threats arising from Emirati activity in or possible designs on Musandam, Mahra, and Socotra.
  • the UAE may feel that Oman’s new sultan may be more receptive to alignment with Emirati objectives than his predecessor
  • Oman has failed to significantly diversify its economy
  • As in many oil-dependent economies, unemployment is high, especially among young people
  • During the popular uprising of 2011, which brought thousands of Omanis to the street for the first time, the government used its nest egg to pay for a massive expansion of the government payroll.
  • there are no available resources to try to finance a transition away from oil, and the low price of oil has further impeded the government’s efforts to meet its obligations
Ed Webb

The Ever Given is proving hard to refloat. - The Washington Post - 0 views

  • the grounding of Ever Given also has exposed how the complex ownership structures in global shipping might make it difficult to hold anyone accountable. The Ever Given is operated by Taiwan-based shipping company Evergreen Maritime. Evergreen charters the ship from a Japanese firm; a Dubai-based company acts as the agent for the ship in ports; and the ship flies the flag of Panama
  • Flags of convenience, or open registries, have more lax labor and environmental regulations, and lower thresholds for safety and insurance provisions.
  • Last summer, the Wakashio, another ship owned by a Japanese firm but flagged to Panama, ran aground in Mauritius, spilling oil into the island’s sensitive marine ecosystem. The fracturing of ownership and operation across different legal jurisdictions and national boundaries also makes it much harder to assign responsibility for accidents such as the grounding of Wakashio and Ever Given.
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  • Egypt is not collecting tolls on ships’ passage. And ships, including those operated by Evergreen, have begun to reroute around the Cape of Good Hope.
  • For now, the knock-on effect of the stoppage is the accumulation of insurance claims and late fees, and delays in the delivery of cargo. But in the longer term, much as it did in the mid-twentieth century, the 2021 blockage of the Suez Canal, combined with the effects of the pandemic, may precipitate a reckoning in how maritime transport operates.
Ed Webb

Thirsty crops, leaky infrastructure drive Tunisia's water crisis | PLACE - 0 views

  • "We used to grow much more wheat, we used to plant tomatoes, but we don't have (enough) water,"
  • Poor planning, sparse water resources and the worsening impacts of climate change have combined to create a crippling water crisis in Tunisia, say civil society groups.
  • Due to random cuts to water supplies, debt and management issues with the GDAs and the poor quality of water that runs from the taps, Marzougui said about three-quarters of the population have problems accessing clean water.
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  • The country's irregular rainfall patterns are accentuated by climate change, with periods of droughts and record high temperatures oscillating between torrential rain and floods, according to the agriculture ministry.
  • "We need a lot of water during Eid - for cooking, showering, for washing the intestines of the sheep," she said, referring to the traditional method for preparing meat during the holiday. "The infrastructure is bad, we lose water in the distribution network. The summer months are peak tourist season, so there is a lot of water consumption," said Louati of the OTE. "And because of climate change, the availability of water varies more than before."
  • It is mostly women who carry the burden of fetching water
  • Even for houses on the grid, water is not guaranteed. Nomad08 recorded 3,000 cuts between 2016 and 2018 across the country, lasting up to 60 days at a time.
  • latest government figures also reveal that poor infrastructure means in some regions about half of water is lost before it even reaches the tap
  • In 2017, the minister of agriculture created a committee dedicated to prioritising climate change in the management of agriculture and water. "We are in front of a fait accompli - we need to do with what we have and it is only going to become less (water)," said Rafik Aini, coordinator of the committee and senior negotiator in climate change at the agriculture ministry.
  • Tunisia's new Water Code, which was approved by ministers in September and is waiting to be debated by parliament, includes climate change as a factor to be considered in water policy decisions, unlike the original 1975 code.
  • In addition to repairing the water network, Aini told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that the government's 2050 strategy for water will involve desalination projects powered by renewable energy.
  • "It costs a lot of money and there is still (more) water lost through the network (than desalination stations are projected to produce)."
  • In January, a study by the U.N. University Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH) warned that the global levels of surplus salty brine produced by this method were 50% higher than previous estimates.
  • Desalination would also have "profound impacts" on the sea ecosystem, where this waste is mostly dumped, the report found.
  • the "politics of agriculture needs to change," said Gafrej. "With precious and rare water, we do not have the right to produce certain cultures like watermelons."
  • about 80% of Tunisia's natural water resources are used for agriculture, according to last year's government figures. Thirsty crops like oranges, watermelons and tomatoes are grown for export abroad, mostly to Europe.
  • In intensive farming regions, like Kairouan, groundwater is being extracted at a faster rate than the underground supply is renewed, as well as from non-renewable groundwater sources. A government report noted that these resources are exploited up to 400% in certain regions.
Ed Webb

Warming Temperatures & Decades of Oil Spills Cause Irreversible Damage to the Persian G... - 0 views

  • According to estimates by experts, pollution levels in the Persian Gulf are 47 times higher than the world’s average and are steadily increasing. The 600-mile body of water that is also known as the Arabian Gulf currently has 34 oilfields with more than 800 wells. In addition, roughly 85% of the oil extracted in the Gulf countries is exported – 40% of the world export of crude oil and around 15% of the world’s total export of refined products come from the region – and more than half of all the oil is carried by ships. It is estimated that approximately 25,000 tanker movements sail in and out of the Strait of Hormuz, the only sea passage that connects the Persian Gulf to the open sea. Accidental spilling is unavoidable and, on average, 100–160 thousand tons of oil and oil products end up in the Gulf every year.
  • In 2017, ScanEx and the Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences began conducting the pilot project on the satellite monitoring of the state of the water of the Persian Gulf. The results of the research confirmed the severe levels of oil pollution in the gulf waters and the damage, some of it which have been irreversible, on its marine life. “In addition to military-led pollution, other issues such as warming waters due to climate change and the increasing saline levels due to desalination efforts by countries in the Gulf area aggressively worsening marine productivity and habitats,” says George Stacey, an analyst working with Norvergence, an environmental advocacy NGO.
  • a combination of human activities was pushing at least 35 per cent of the fauna in the Gulf waters to extinction in the next 60 years.
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  • Fisheries of Bahrain, with a relatively large fishing industry, and Iran, with the highest catch and fewer employment alternatives due to sanctions, are pointed out to be particularly vulnerable
  • A lot of the damage done in the past few decades cannot be reversed completely but it is not too late to prioritize the sustainability of the marine ecosystems of the gulf waters right now because any damages to it will trickle down to impact the communities living on its coasts and reverse years of development and advancements.”
Ed Webb

Ethiopia and Egypt Are Already at War Over the Nile Dam. It's Just Happening in Cybersp... - 0 views

  • the group calling themselves the Cyber_Horus Group in late June hacked more than a dozen Ethiopian government sites, replacing each page with their own creation: an image of a skeleton pharaoh, clutching a scythe in one hand and a scimitar in the other. “If the river’s level drops, let all the Pharaoh’s soldiers hurry,” warned a message underneath. “Prepare the Ethiopian people for the wrath of the Pharaohs.”
  • Rarely have young people been so passionate about an infrastructure project. But the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which will be Africa’s largest, is more than just a piece of infrastructure. It has become a nationalistic rallying cry for both Ethiopia and Egypt—two countries scrambling to define their nationhood after years of domestic upheaval. Many Ethiopians and Egyptians are getting involved in the only way they can—online—and fomenting the first African cyberconflict of its kind, one with far-reaching and long-lasting consequences.
  • Today, there are several entries for the GERD on Google Maps, most earning middling 3 to 4 stars ratings, buoyed by five-star ratings with feedback such as, “One of the great architectural dam in the World!” but weighed down by one-star complaints including, “You’re gonna make us die from thirst.”
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  • Tensions escalated this year, as the U.S.-brokered negotiations between Ethiopia and Egypt unraveled and new talks mediated by the African Union began
  • The Ethiopian government does broadly engage in “computational propaganda,” according to a 2019 report from the Oxford Internet Institute. Agencies there use human-run social media accounts to spread pro-government propaganda, attack the opposition, and troll users. The same goes for the Egyptian government.
  • Social media users from the two countries frequently collide on the Internet, but seem to do so most often on Adel el-Adawy’s Twitter page: As a member of a prominent Egyptian political dynasty, a professor at the American University in Cairo, and the most visible disseminator of the Egyptian perspective on the dam in English, he has amassed a significant following. Adawy, whose pinned tweet is a picture of himself shaking hands with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, posts frequently about the Nile and Ethiopian affairs, especially when things get sticky.
  • It’s possible that the engagement is coming from concerned Ethiopians at home and abroad, at the encouragement but not the behest of Ethiopian officials. “I have friends who joined Twitter just for the sake of this. It’s highly emotional and nationalistic,” said Endalkachew Chala, an Ethiopian communications professor at Hamline University in Minnesota.
  • Construction of the dam was completed in July, and the filling of its reservoir started soon after amid heavy rains but before an agreement between Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan was signed. The U.S. government, a top source of aid for both Ethiopia and Egypt, said in August that it would halt some aid to Ethiopia over what it saw as a unilateral move to progress with the dam.
  • For both countries—Egypt since the 2011 fall of Mubarak and Ethiopia since the 2012 death of strongman Prime Minister Meles Zenawi—national identity has been in flux
  • the first known time these kinds of digital tools have been used by people from one African country against people from another, said Gilbert Nyandeje, founder and CEO of the Africa Cyber Defense Forum. “It only means one thing. It means we should expect this more and more.”
  • at the core of Egyptian identity is the Nile, so bolstering nationalism means defending the Nile, too. And officials have encouraged this outlook: One sleekly produced video shared on Facebook by the Ministry of Immigration and Egyptian Expatriates Affairs warned, “More than 40 million Egyptians are facing the threat of drought and thirst.… The cause of water shortage is Ethiopia building a dam five times bigger than its needs.”
  • a show of vulnerability rare in Arab power politics. But the strategy has helped garner global sympathy for Egypt, even as its Nile claims are framed by Ethiopia as the result of unjust colonial-era agreements in which Egypt’s interests were represented by British colonizers.
  • the dam provided a unifying issue around which Ethiopians of all ethnic backgrounds could rally. “We do have a lot of divisions—ideological, ethnic, tribal, religious,” said Chala, the Ethiopian professor. “But even though we have these bitter divisions, Ethiopians have overwhelmingly supported this Nile dam especially on social media.”
  • Ethiopian officials, meanwhile, continue to encourage Ethiopians to post about the dam online and often use the #ItsMyDam hashtag in their own social media posts. This use of social media to rally around the dam has also meant that Ethiopia’s massive global diaspora can get involved, without having to worry about frequent in-country Internet shutdowns that otherwise curtail online movements there.
  • The thousands of Ethiopian refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants living in Egypt are now facing greater pressure and harassment from Egyptian citizens and authorities since the dam tensions started to heat up
  • in Ethiopia, it has meant that any domestic criticism of the dam from an environmentalist point of view—namely, that it could disrupt ecosystems and biodiversity, even within Ethiopia—is met with derision
  • for both countries, surging nationalist sentiment means that it’s harder for officials to agree to, and for the public to accept, compromise
  • the main sticking points now are related to dispute resolution, drought contingency plans, and future upstream projects. And yet, much of the online rhetoric remains maximalist, even rejecting items that have already been unanimously decided—such as the existence of an Ethiopian Nile dam in any form—raising the possibility that the online tensions and attacks may not subside anytime soon
Ed Webb

Drought may have doomed this ancient empire - a warning for today's climate crisis - Th... - 0 views

  • A new analysis published Wednesday in the journal Nature shows that the Hittites endured three consecutive years of extreme drought right around the time that the empire fell. Such severe water shortages may have doomed the massive farms at the heart of the Hittite economy, leading to famine, economic turmoil and ultimately political upheaval, researchers say.
  • n accumulating field of research linking the fall of civilizations to abrupt shifts in Earth’s climate. In the ruins of ancient Egypt, Stone Age China, the Roman Empire, Indigenous American cities and countless other locations, experts have uncovered evidence of how floods, droughts and famines can alter the course of human history, pushing societies to die out or transform.
  • It underscores the peril of increasingly frequent and severe climate disasters. But it also points to strategies that might make communities more resilient: cultivating diverse economies, minimizing environmental impacts, developing cities in more sustainable ways.
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  • “Things like climate change, earthquakes, drought — they are of course realities of our lives,” Durusu-Tanrıöver said. “But there are human actions that can be taken to foresee what will happen and behave accordingly.
  • In the half-century leading up to empire’s collapse, the scientists found, the rings inside the tree trunks gradually start to get narrower — suggesting that water shortages were limiting the junipers’ growth. Chemical analyses of the kind of carbon captured in the wood also showed how drought altered the trees at the cellular level.
  • cuneiform tablets from that time in which Hittite officials fretted over rising food prices and asked for grain to be sent to their cities. But Manning said the empire — which was known for its elaborate water infrastructure projects and massive grain silos in major cities — should have been able to survive this “low frequency” drought.
  • between 1198 and 1196 B.C., the region was struck by three of the driest years in the entire 1,000-year-long tree ring record. The abrupt spurt of intensely dry weather may have been more than the Hittites could bear. Within a generation, the empire had dissolved.
  • “Very few societies ever plan for more than one or two disasters happening consecutively.”
  • “But I think it’s naive to believe that three years of drought would bring down the storerooms of the Hittite empire,” Weiss said. He argues that the longer-term drying trend, which has been documented in other studies, was probably more significant.
  • “What’s a crisis for some becomes almost an opportunity for others,” Manning said. “You have adaptation and resilience in the form of new states and new economies emerging.”
  • Durusu-Tanrıöver blames an unsustainable economy and centralized political system. The intensive agricultural practices required to support the capital city probably exhausted the region’s water resources and weakened surrounding ecosystems
  • parallels to modern urban areas, which are both major sources of planet-warming pollution and especially vulnerable to climate change impacts like extreme heat.
Ed Webb

Why Afforestation Is Not The Answer To Desertification - 0 views

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    I wrote about the mad, and often harmful, schemes to "green" the desert, and the Tunisian village of Rjim Maatoug - built in the 70s/80s and billed to "fight against desertification" while aiming to do much more. For @NoemaMag https://t.co/a8Qnv6ulIl
Ed Webb

5 Things COP27 Must Achieve for Vulnerable Countries | World Resources Institute - 0 views

  • Vulnerable countries, despite their limited contribution to climate change and ambitious climate commitments, are and will continue to shoulder the bulk of this burden
  • The urgency for enhanced adaptation action is underscored by the IPCC Working Group II report, mentioned previously,  which finds that every tenth of a degree of additional warming will escalate threats to people, species and ecosystems. Yet many communities still lack the resources required to manage today’s climate change impacts, let alone worse impacts in the future.
  • When looking at countries’ commitments to reach net-zero emissions by around mid-century, temperature rise could be kept to around 1.9 degrees C. However, some major emitters’ 2030 targets are so weak that they don’t offer credible pathways to achieve their net-zero targets, indicating a major “credibility gap.”
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  • All countries — especially G20 countries — that have submitted “updated” NDCs that were no more ambitious than their previous commitments, and countries that have not yet communicated new or updated NDCs at all, should update their NDCs and long-term strategies in a credible, ambitious manner
  • developed countries must lead on climate ambition — they are the laggards in living up to their climate promises despite their overwhelming contribution to the climate crisis
  • After COP26, it was noted “with deep regret” the failure of developed countries to meet the $100 billion goal they originally promised to achieve by 2020, feeding into the credibility gap and hamstringing the ability of developing countries to plan further climate action.
  • clear finance targets for mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage finance
  • $600 billion in climate finance from 2020-2025
  • Developed by organizations from the Global South, ACT2025’s new Call for Enhanced Implementation lays out where concrete action is needed in the lead-up to and at the conference.
  • countries must also prepare their National Adaptation Plans and Adaptation Communications
  • developed countries need to provide grant-based funding to finance adaptation plans, especially through the Adaptation Fund and other entities of the Financial Mechanism established under the UNFCCC.
  • despite an urgent plea from climate-vulnerable countries, the proposal for a new loss and damage financing facility was  rejected by developed nations. Instead, at COP26, countries established the Glasgow Dialogue to discuss possible arrangements for loss and damage funding, with the first discussion to be held in June 2022.
  • even the most effective adaptation measures cannot prevent all losses and damages, which are a present-day reality for vulnerable people in certain regions
  • Countries also made progress at COP26 on the operationalization and funding of the Santiago Network on Loss and Damage (SNLD), which aims to provide developing countries with technical assistance on how to address loss and damage in a robust and effective manner. Sufficient financing for the SNLD is crucial to ensure technical support for developing countries and to create a new method in encouraging technical assistance that is country-owned and emphasizes local expertise.
  • The first Global Stocktake process must be done in a way that is inclusive, raises awareness, ensures the meaningful participation of Global South organizations, and paves the way for a comprehensive outcome that promotes increased NDC ambition and is centered around equity. Additionally, the UN Secretary General should hold countries and non-state actors accountable to develop a robust accountability system for commitments made outside of the UNFCCC process.
  • Shortly after COP27, we will be more than a quarter of the way through the decisive decade — what will the world have to show for it? Now is the time for solidarity and ambitious, real, on-the-ground action and support that will deliver justice for vulnerable countries and communities. While realizing countries’ differentiated responsibilities and capacities, the world needs to be all in, all together on climate.
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