Tag Archives: Climate Change

Save a Whale, Save a Planet

By Leonardo DiCaprio

In 1997, a dramatic scene played out near Los Angeles as a newborn grey whale was discovered stranded in Marina del Rey. It had become separated from its mother during the annual migration from Alaska to Mexico. Hundreds of volunteers commandeered boats and moving vans and used makeshift stretchers to move this lone baby female whale over 100 miles to San Diego in a desperate attempt to save her life.

Named JJ by her rescuers, she arrived weak, dehydrated and disoriented-but after 18 months in care, she was restored to health and released back into the wild. While many celebrated that day, the challenges JJ overcame were nothing compared to the threats she and her entire grey whale species now face 20 years later.

THAT THREAT IS CLIMATE CHANGE.

Today, our oceans are under immense pressure as their waters absorb much of the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases pumped into the air by human activity, resulting in a 30 per cent increase in acidity. The progress of the human race, particularly since the Industrial Revolution, has resulted in devastating impacts to our entire climate, and those impacts are particularly prevalent in our oceans.

Seashells are weaker, massive ancient coral formations are bleaching and essential ecosystems are dying. The marine food chain is endangered: clams, oysters, lobsters and crabs, which are a dietary staple for large sea creatures such as seals, otters and walruses, are under the threat of extinction. Most worrisome of all, plankton, amphipods (tiny shrimp-like creatures) and other microscopic organisms that sustain mighty whales and fish of all types and sizes are becoming harder to find. This frightening trend means JJ will likely starve to death before the end of her normal lifespan, and much of the sea life that billions of humans depend on will disappear.

Unlike other threats to the ocean, such as plastic pollution and overfishing, these changes are not always easy to see, but there are obvious warnings. More than half of the world’s 17 penguin species are now endangered, largely due to climate change-related declines in their food supply. Common clams are smaller than ever-quite literally disappearing before our eyes-and humans, too, will suffer from that loss. A protein found in a common clam shell has been shown to cure cancers. Where do we turn when it’s gone?

As a result of climate change, the world’s oceans are already warming to the point where they can no longer absorb our pollution, meaning efforts to cut carbon emissions will have to go far beyond the levels laid out by the 2015 Paris Agreement if we are to avoid the most catastrophic impacts.

Sea level rise and the damage to coastal regions from more intense and long-lasting storms have already wiped out vulnerable, low-lying communities and the livelihoods of local fishers, tourism workers, farmers and so many others. Our thirst for oil has led to massive oil spills that hurt even more.

BUT THERE IS HOPE.

The Paris Agreement paved the way to a more sustainable future for the planet and especially its oceans. My foundation has supported research at The Solutions Project (http://thesolutionsproject.org) that shows the world could be powered by 100 per cent clean, renewable energy by 2050. In Viet Nam, mangroves are being restored along the coast to absorb carbon, provide nurseries for countless fish species and buffer the coast from violent storms. And in the same waters near Los Angeles where JJ was found two decades ago, volunteers are replanting vital giant kelp forests that are home to 800 species of other plants and animals, and that provide oxygen to the planet for everyone.

Will it be enough? Hundreds of volunteers came together to rescue JJ-people from all walks of life, all ages, all backgrounds. They checked their egos and agendas at the beach and dove in, quite literally, to save a creature in dire need. We can do so again for our oceans, for ourselves, and for our future. But just as we made a conscious decision to rescue JJ once upon a time, we are now making another equally profound choice of whether she lives a full, normal life, or whether further ocean degradation will starve her, prematurely, to death. If that happens, we are also condemning our children to a much bleaker quality of life than the one we take for granted today.

We know that humankind is powerful enough-and apparently foolish enough-to change the very chemistry of two thirds of the planet. The same alarm and urgency that arose to save JJ in 1997 needs to happen today as the massive threat to her and an entire class of marine biodiversity increases. United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14 asks us to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development”. Let’s remember that this goal cannot be achieved merely by limiting the number of fish we take from the sea or ending risky oil exploration in coastal waters, but also by eliminating the threats posed to our oceans from climate change and the emissions we drive here on land.

Author bio: Leonardo DiCaprio is an Academy Award-winning actor, producer and activist. He founded the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation in 1998 for biodiversity and habitat conservation, and climate change solutions. Mr. DiCaprio is a United Nations Messenger of Peace for climate change, and a recipient of the Clinton Global Citizen Award and the World Economic Forum Crystal Award. He serves on the boards of the World Wildlife Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council, National Geographic’s Pristine Seas, Oceans 5, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Climate Change Poses a Threat to Our Oceans

By Isabella Lövin

In 2016, the First Global Integrated Marine Assessment, also known as the World Ocean Assessment I, was published. The introduction of the report is fascinating. It states that 70 per cent of the planet’s surface is covered by water and that the average depth is 4,000 metres. These oceans contain 97 per cent of all water on Earth, which is the equivalent of approximately 1.3 billion cubic kilometres. This can seem like an infinite amount.

But the report also states that there are now more than 7 billion people on Earth. If we divided all of this water equally between us, we would only have one fifth of a cubic kilometre each. And in 2050, when there will be some 10 billion people on Earth, we will only have one eighth of a cubic kilometre per person. This relatively small amount of water is what will provide each person with all ecosystem services, including food and oxygen. But this is also where some of our emissions, our waste and our rubbish will end up.

Oceans, however, happen to be borderless and are also unevenly distributed across the planet. We cannot protect our share of the ocean with walls; instead, we must cooperate in a spirit of solidarity if we are to succeed in preserving and protecting the water that we have at our joint disposal. We must work together with our closest neighbours and cooperate at a global level, between countries.

The importance of the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be stressed enough. They light our way through the darkness that is currently shrouding the world. Progress is being made on many of the SDGs, but one of the goals for which developments are unfortunately moving in the wrong direction is SDG 14, which calls on the international community to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”.

This is why the Government of Sweden, together with the Government of Fiji, took the initiative to host the Ocean Conference in New York in June 2017. The Conference will be the first high-level forum to focus on one single goal in the 2030 Agenda, and we are enthusiastic to see growing engagement among the countries of the world.

One of the many issues demanding immediate attention at the Conference is the impact of climate change on the global marine environment. Although the ocean is the single largest habitat on our planet and is a system that is inextricably linked to human survival, climate change and the impact of increasing carbon dioxide emissions on the oceans have been largely overshadowed in the climate change debate. The oceans—which produce half of all our oxygen, regulate the Earth’s climate and temperature, give us food and water, and are home to hundreds of thousands of species-have for a long time been our best ally in efforts to curb climate change. More than 93 per cent1 of all the heat people have added to the planet since the 1950s has been absorbed by the oceans—but at a price we are just beginning to understand. Rising ocean temperatures and increased acidification are now becoming apparent in melting Arctic sea ice and coral bleaching. Immediate action is needed here and we must use our entire toolbox at once: mitigation, protection, restoration and adaptation.

The warming of the oceans over the past 60 years has taken place on such a scale that it is difficult to take in. A 2015 analysis produced by the Grantham Institute shows that if the same amount of heat that was added to the top two kilometres of the oceans between 1995 and 2010 had instead been added to the bottom ten kilometres of the atmosphere, we would have seen the temperature on Earth rise by 36 degrees Celsius. So the oceans have protected us from the worst effects of climate change. But there is great uncertainty regarding the ability of the ocean to absorb carbon dioxide in future. If the oceans have so far been our best friend, there is now the risk in the foreseeable future that they will begin to send us the bill: a large proportion of the emissions we have caused since the 1900s, now stored in the oceans, may return to the atmosphere.

Ocean acidification can be called the chemical crisis of the global climate. Alongside global warming, ocean acidification risks pushing marine life beyond catastrophic limits. Since industrialization, acidification of ocean surface water has increased by almost 30 per cent.2 Coral reefs will be one of the most immediate victims of climate change if we do not take action very quickly. Although coral reefs make up just 1 per cent of the surface of the oceans, as much as 25 per cent of marine species are dependent on them. The breakdown of coral reef ecosystems also affects the protection of coastal zones, fisheries and tourism. Without a drastic reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, by 2050 almost all of the world’s coral reefs may have been subjected to such acidic conditions that they will be only marginally able to form calcium and continue growing.

Researchers have estimated that the oceans are home to up to 1 million different species.3 Increased ocean temperatures risk causing the mass migration of species, resulting in the global homogenization of biodiversity. This would mean a decline in the numbers of species in the warmer water regions and a drastic increase in the colder regions around the poles. This kind of change could have a very serious impact on global fisheries and aquaculture. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that fish now account for 20 per cent of the animal protein source for around 3 billion people. Along with population growth, poor fisheries management and increased fish exports, changes in the local fish fauna can have enormous consequences for food security, especially in poor coastal countries where many people depend on fishing for their daily living.

Climate change also threatens the supply of oxygen in the oceans in two different ways. Firstly, warm water cannot hold as much oxygen as cold water, so as the oceans warm up, oxygen levels drop. Secondly, warmer water has lower density, making it more difficult for the oxygen-rich water near the surface to sink and circulate. Consequently, deep oceans face a particularly great risk of oxygen depletion. Fish that are dependent on oxygen will grow more slowly, decrease in size and reproduce less. Larger fish such as tuna, swordfish and shark, which are dependent on a large amount of oxygen, will be driven to more oxygen-rich surface waters, as will a large proportion of their prey. This will lead to increased food competition. Creatures living in or on the seabed will also need to seek out shallower waters. The knock-on effect of this will be a clear risk of even more overfishing, as more sea creatures will inhabit smaller and more easily accessible areas, becoming more readily fished.

One example of a ‘hot spot’ for the effects of climate change on oceans is the Arctic. Here, both warming and acidification are occurring particularly rapidly and to a greater extent than in many other places in the world. Scientific findings show an increased risk of crossing large-scale tipping points in the Arctic, such as the collapse of summer sea ice, melting ice sheets and methane emissions from melting permafrost, which may all have very significant global consequences-not least with regard to rising sea levels. The biodiversity and ecosystems in the Arctic are irreplaceable assets of global importance. Many Arctic species, ecosystems and habitats are at risk of disappearing completely, or remaining only as isolated fragments. As the ice sheet melts, increasingly large areas in the Arctic are now opening up for shipping and extracting natural resources such as oil, gas and fish. In November 2016, the planet sent perhaps its clearest warning yet, when the temperature in the Arctic was measured at a shocking 20 degrees Celsius warmer than what is normal for that time of year. The abrupt warming of the Arctic entails a dramatic change in life conditions not only around the North Pole, but also for the rest of the planet. Permanent ice at the North and the South Poles is a prerequisite for a stable planet. A self-heating Arctic will have major effects on global climate. Let us therefore hope that this was the last alarm bell from the planet before we humans came together and succeeded in reversing the trend.

It is impossible to estimate the economic value of living oceans for us humans; they are in essence the actual prerequisite for human existence. It is beyond doubt, however, that the effects of climate change on the oceans will entail major economic costs. For example, the cost of reduced tourism due to coral bleaching has been estimated to be as much as $12 billion annually. If lost ecosystem services from reefs are included, the annual cost is estimated to reach $1 trillion by the year 2100.4 But the truly great costs will be measured in the form of reduced human health and security.

Keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius, and aspiring to 1.5 degrees Celsius under the Paris Agreement, is fundamental to mitigating the impact of climate change on our oceans. Sweden is prepared to take a leading role in international climate efforts and has the goal of being one of the world’s first fossil-free welfare nations. Sweden has also doubled its contributions to multilateral climate financing in recent years and is now the largest per capita donor to many of the multilateral climate funds, including the Green Climate Fund, the Global Environment Facility and the Adaptation Fund. Climate change is also central to much of Sweden’s bilateral cooperation and we want to work proactively to strengthen initiatives that are linked to the impact on oceans. Immediate and dramatic cuts in carbon dioxide emissions will buy us time to strengthen the resilience of oceans, ecosystems and species, that is, their ability to adapt to the negative impact of climate change and the inevitable stressors already in operation in our oceans. Fish that can easily migrate will be able to find new habitats, and organisms with short reproductive cycles such as plankton can evolve to adapt to the new conditions.

Drastic measures must be employed to strengthen the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems. It is still possible to preserve large, relatively unaffected marine ecosystems if measures are taken now. Sweden has allocated substantial funds to protect valuable marine environments in national waters and meet the commitments under the Convention on Biological Diversity, but protection of marine environments is also an important issue in regional and international cooperation. Moreover, the impacts of climate change must be considered in assessments of threatened species and in formulating advice on which measures need to be taken.

In the light of the various stress factors acting on our oceans, the sustainable management of marine resources-not least measures to ensure improved food security—is more important than ever. Forceful measures are essential to stop overfishing and illegal fishing, and ensure a move from industrial fishing to small-scale fishing in coastal nations where many people are dependent on fish for their daily living. Further forceful measures are necessary to prevent and reduce marine pollution, including marine debris and the inflow of nutrients. Finally, we must also invest more in research to increase our scientific knowledge in all these areas.

The impact of climate change on our oceans can no longer be described in isolated, individual stories about bleached coral reefs; it involves fundamental changes to ecosystems and marine life on a scale we are only just beginning to imagine. We must act now and put oceans at the centre of our climate efforts. The great interest in the Ocean Conference from all parts of the United Nations system, the science and business sectors, and civil society demonstrates that the international community is ready to take forceful action.

 

Notes

1       Sydney Levitus and others, “World ocean heat content and thermosteric sea level change (0-2000m), 1955-2010”, Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 39, No. 10 (17 May 2012).

2       Richard A. Feely, Scott C. Doney and Sarah R. Cooley, “Ocean acidification: present conditions and future changes in a high-CO2 world”, Oceanography, vol. 22, No. 4 (December 2009), pp.36-47.

3       Ward Appeltans and others, “The magnitude of global marine species diversity”, Current Biology, vol. 22, No. 23 (4 December 2012), pp. 2189-2202.

4       Jean-Pierre Gattuso and others, “Contrasting futures for ocean and society from different anthropogenic CO2 emissions scenarios”, Science, vol. 349, No. 6243, (3 July 2015), pp. aac.4722-1-4722-10.

 

Author bio: Isabella Lövin is Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate and Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden.

We Must Protect the Bounty and Beauty of the Sea

By Edward Norton

President John F. Kennedy, in a speech made at an event for the 1962 America’s Cup race crews, said, “I really don’t know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it is because in addition to the fact that the sea changes and the light changes, and ships change, it is because we all came from the sea. […] We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch it, we are going back from whence we came.”

I have a deep connection to the sea. In 30 years of diving reefs all over the world, from the Caribbean to the Tyrrhenian Seas, from the Pacific to the Indian Oceans, I have seen unimaginable beauty: astonishing abundance, a profusion of colour, and an array of biodiversity that seems only to be possible in the depths of one’s imagination. And yet, it was all true. Fishes, flora, and marine mammals were all connected in a world of irrepressible activity and mystifying tranquility.

Upon becoming a father, one of my greatest joys has been to share this wonder with my children. To my delight, they have taken to the water both naturally and joyfully. But to my deepest regret, I know that they will never see the abundance that I have seen, nor will they swim in waters as pristine as those that I have enjoyed. Apart from this being a tragic impoverishment of experience for them, it also represents a prospective global economic catastrophe.

How did we get here? As quoted by Elizabeth Kolbert in a piece in The New Yorker, the English biologist Thomas Huxley, in a speech delivered at the opening of the London International Fisheries Exhibition in 1883, posed the question: “Are fisheries exhaustible? That is to say, can all the fish which naturally inhabit a given area be extirpated by the agency of man?” In an answer that would be imponderable today, he maintained, “Probably all the great sea fisheries are inexhaustible; that is to say that nothing we do seriously affects the number of the fish” in the sea.1

Sadly, over the next hundred years, we have learned that nothing could have been further from the truth. Decades of industrial fishing, with subsidized fleets using sea trawling nets (and their attendant by-catch), has decimated the world’s fish stock. Marine ecosystems have been destroyed by an onslaught of land-based pollution, overfishing (including dynamite fishing), alien invasives, sea level rise, acidification, and finally, the increasingly severe and more frequent coral bleaching essentially driven by climate change and ocean warming. Despite our management efforts, the oceans are being depleted. We have worked our way through whales, tuna, salmon, cod, orange roughy, Patagonian toothfish and countless other species, as well as the creatures that depend on them. This includes us, and therefore, this is no longer merely a metaphysical problem. An estimated 1 billion people around the world depend on fish as their primary source of protein and on the ocean for their livelihoods.

At the same time, we have discovered that coral reefs, the marine equivalents of the tropical rainforests, are dying due to warming oceans. As documented recently by Damien Cave and Justin Gillis in the New York Times2 and by Terry P. Hughes and others in the journal Nature, an alarming portion of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest reef system, has died in the third worldwide coral bleaching episode since 1998.

The significance of this catastrophe cannot be underestimated, or understated. Hughes, the Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia, and his colleagues have found that climate-change-induced warming sea temperatures-not other pressures) such as pollution or overfishing-was the driving force behind this massive coral die-off. The authors suggest that only a global effort in “curb future warming” can “secure a future for coral reefs.”3

As the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity, I have travelled the world speaking to people about the defining challenge of our generation: bringing the way we live into a sustainable interaction with our planet. Paradoxically and tragically, while the need for global action on our climate has become more urgent, the political opposition we face from the new administration in Washington, D.C. has become more intense. Therefore, now more than ever, we must respect the conservation protocols, including community-managed coral reef and open ocean marine protected areas established by commitments made by countries under the Aichi Biodiversity Targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity, linked to the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal 14 on oceans. This is our last chance to help our oceans survive and recover their lost productivity, so that marine ecosystems can continue to provide food and livelihood security for even more than the one billion people who currently depend on the ocean’s bounty, and so our children can form the timeless bond with the seas that President Kennedy so movingly described over 50 years ago.

Notes

1       Quoted in Elizabeth Kolbert, “‘The scales fall: is there any hope for our overfished oceans?”, The New Yorker (2 August 2010).

2       Damien Cave and Justin Gillis, “Large sections of Australia’s great reef are now dead, scientists find”, New York Times, 15 March 2017.

3       Terry P. Hughes and others, “Global warming and recurrent mass bleaching of corals”, Nature, vol. 543, no. 7654 (16 March 2017). pp. 373-377 (373).

Author bio:

Edward Norton is an acclaimed actor and three-time Academy Award nominee. As United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity, Mr. Norton works with the United Nations system and the Convention on Biological Diversity to advocate for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and the advancement of sustainable development.

Protecting Small Island Developing States from Pollution and the Effects of Climate Change

By Ahmed Sareer

There are few more powerful symbols of the international community’s shared past and future than the ocean. From the earliest human migrations, it carried our ancestors to new continents, brought civilizations together, and opened the world to exploration and trade. It also connects us ecologically. Numerous fish species swim across territorial waters to spawn and feed, supporting billion-dollar fisheries and countless livelihoods. Most importantly, the ocean is the central force in regulating the global climate that sustains us all. In fact, scientists have shown that since the onset of the industrial age, the oceans have borne the brunt of consequences from excessive burning of fossil fuels, absorbing carbon dioxide emissions and the majority of the heat generated from global warming.

But even the vast ocean has its limits. All that CO2 has turned it more acidic, effectively dissolving corals and shellfish and profoundly altering critical habitats and marine resources. At the same time, sea surface temperatures are the highest they have been in millions of years, and there is now evidence warming is occurring much deeper than previously anticipated. New research suggests that by acting as a temperature sink, the oceans have prevented catastrophic temperature rise on land. A 2016 International Union for Conservation of Nature report called soaring ocean temperatures the “greatest hidden challenge of our generation.”1 “Hidden” because beneath the waves, warming has affected all marine life, from the smallest microbes to the largest whales, setting the stage for a precipitous collapse and putting “key human sectors […] at threat, especially fisheries, aquaculture, coastal risk management, health and coastal tourism.”2 This threat is particularly acute for small island developing States (SIDS). We are still highly dependent on marine resources for food and income, and need vibrant ocean habitats for our tourism businesses. We are also vulnerable to rising sea levels driven by global warming, which not only threaten our coastal infrastructure, but could also render our islands uninhabitable if left unchecked.

For these reasons, the Maldives and many other SIDS, often known as large ocean States, were some of the strongest proponents of Sustainable Development Goal 14 in the 2030 Agenda.

SDG 14 comprises a number of targets designed to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.” It also recognizes that meeting these targets will be difficult if not impossible if we do not limit the greenhouse gas emissions that lie behind so many problems.

Indeed, SIDS have also led the world in efforts to implement SDG 14, from our ambitious efforts to cut emissions to sustainable development projects that help us adapt to life in a warming world. Consider SIDS work to establish marine protected areas (MPAs) that benefit millions upon millions of people who depend on healthy marine systems for food and income around the world.

Beginning in 2004, for example, the Maldives worked with the United Nations to establish the Baa Atoll Biosphere Reserve. It was selected because of its remarkable biodiversity and potential to demonstrate the economic benefits of conservation. In just a short period of time, the atolls have shown remarkable resilience against warming waters compared to other habitats.

In the Caribbean, the MPAs of Grenada are living evidence of how protecting essential fish habitat pays long­term benefits by raising the productivity of commercially valuable stocks.

Elsewhere, in the Pacific, Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia have devoted a significant amount of their waters to MPAs, safeguarding sharks, turtles and critical spawning grounds for countless species. They have also worked tirelessly to call attention to the problem of plastics pollution, which poses a severe threat to marine life and the human communities it sustains on land.

Still, even as we work to protect and restore marine environments, islands have been forced to make large investments to protect our shores from severe climate change impacts such as erosion and rising seas. In the Maldives, we have been forced to climate-proof infrastructure, including wharfs, roads, sea walls and sanitation. These projects are extremely costly and divert resources away from other priorities such as public health and education. Other SIDS have had to reimagine their development futures in the face of the uncertainties that stem from climate change and ocean degradation.

One thing is for sure: just as the impacts of overfishing, pollution and climate change are global, so too are the solutions. Protecting the ocean for present and future generations requires all countries to fulfil the commitments made to support the means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda and cut emissions. Like the ocean, SDG 14 must bring us together again.

Notes

 

1       Dan Laffoley and John M. Baxter, eds., Explaining Ocean Warming: Causes, Scale, Effects and Consequences (Gland, Switzerland, International Union for Conservation of Nature, 2016), p. 8. Available from: https://portals.iucn.org/library/sites/library/files/documents/2016-046_0.pdf.

2       Ibid., p. 50.

 

Author bio: Ahmed Sareer is Permanent Representative of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations.

Protecting the Coral Sea-the Cradle to the Great Barrier Reef

By Adele Pedder

The world’s oceans are facing increasing challenges, with threats posed by climate change, pollution and overfishing. In the light of these challenges it is becoming increasingly important to set aside large areas of our ocean to allow ecosystems to operate in their natural state. Globally, more and more nations are relying on marine protected areas and reserves to give their regions of our blue planet a fighting chance.

Australia has a lot at stake as steward of the world’s third-largest marine territory and some of the most diverse marine life on Earth. Our continent rises from the junction of three major oceans and contains tropical, temperate and subantarctic ecosystems, with much of our marine life found nowhere else. Historically, Australia has led the way in global marine conservation. In the 1980s, we created the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and in 2012, we announced what would have become the world’s largest representative national network of marine parks and sanctuaries. This network boasted 60 large marine parks around the nation’s coastline, with the primary objective being biodiversity conservation.

The declaration of the formation of the marine reserve network was overwhelmingly endorsed by the Australian public. It followed 15 years of advocacy, scientific research and consultation, and more than a decade of work by consecutive Governments from both major parties. The marine reserve system went through six rounds of public consultations, with over three quarters of a million people providing submissions—95 per cent in favour of greater protection for Australian maritime zones.

The network includes about a third of Australian offshore Commonwealth waters, with 14 per cent designated as highly protected sanctuary zones. While still falling short of the World Parks Congress recommendation of protecting 20-30 per cent of marine and coastal areas in sanctuary zones, it was a significant increase from the previous 4 per cent.

Despite this progress, Australian marine reserves were suspended from operation by a newly instated Government that ordered a review within its first 100 days of office.1 Leading research institutions, including the Australian Marine Science Association and The Ecology Centre at the University of Queensland, pointed to the lack of research behind the Government’s decision to suspend the marine reserve network,2 but those arguments fell on deaf ears.

The largest and most important park in the reserve system—the Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve—lies adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef. It is also the reserve that is most likely to be severely affected by the review.

THE CORAL SEA—A BIODIVERSITY HOTSPOT

The Coral Sea is located north-east of Australia’s Queensland coast. It is bounded on the west by the Great Barrier Reef and on the north by the Torres Strait Protected Zone. These ocean environments are inextricably linked and should be managed as a broad ecosystem, particularly in the light of the parlous state of the Great Barrier Reef, which is under significant pressure and has lost half of its coral cover in the last 27 years. In the last 13 months it has endured two consecutive severe bleaching events and a category four cyclone. At the time of writing, the results of these latest impacts had not yet been quantified.

Cradling the Great Barrier Reef, the Coral Sea is a bio­diversity hotspot containing 49 different habitats supporting over 300 threatened species. It is globally recognized for its diversity of large predators, such as sharks, tunas, marlin, swordfish and sailfish, and is one of the last places on Earth where populations have not yet been severely depleted. The Coral Sea provides habitat for many endangered species, including hawksbill and green turtles. It is home to 28 species of whales and dolphins and 27 species of seabirds.

A CRITICAL BIOLOGICAL LINK

The Coral Sea is a critical link between the western Pacific and the Great Barrier Reef, and further on to the Coral Triangle of South-East Asia. It provides many of the necessary stepping stones that enable genetic exchanges between species via ocean currents, which transport spores, larvae and migratory animals. The Coral Sea also plays an important role in replenishing the Great Barrier Reef with new life. It receives oceanic currents flowing west from Vanuatu that restore the biological communities growing on its emergent reefs.

WHAT’S AT STAKE UNDER THE PROPOSED CUTS?

The Coral Sea is one of the very few places in the world where relatively intact tropical marine life can be protected on a large scale. In fact, Dr. Daniela Ceccarelli, a marine ecology consultant at the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, found that the Coral Sea sanctuary zones represent “probably the only tropical pelagic environment not markedly impacted by fishing where an area of very large scale can be established and effectively managed.”3 The marine reserve as originally proposed is home to the largest sanctuary zone in Australia and is one of the few places in the world where such a large marine sanctuary can be established to protect a relatively healthy tropical marine environment. This makes the Coral Sea’s conservation values globally significant.4

The Marion Plateau is one of the three key ecological features of the Coral Sea.5 The sanctuary zone at Marion Reef increases protection for the reefs, cays and herbivorous fish of the Plateau. Significantly, the Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve is also the only place in Australia where tropical seamount environments are protected.

The Government’s own risk assessment process found eight commercial fishing practices to be incompatible with the conservation values of the Coral Sea.6 Yet the review’s new draft management plan proposes to expose the Reserve to these intensive fishing practices. Furthermore, major concerns exist within the scientific community about the new draft management plan’s low level of protection for the unique habitats of the Coral Sea, particularly its deep water troughs, open water (pelagic) ecosystems and unique coral reefs.7

The marine reserve network sought to achieve comprehensive and representative coverage of major ecological systems in Australia. Rather than overreaching, many scientists have argued that the proportion in areas of sanctuary zones is insufficient to achieve biodiversity conservation.8 In fact, for the Coral Sea specifically, a scientific consensus statement facilitated by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and endorsed by the Australian Marine Sciences Association, as well as over 300 scientists, raised concerns over the inadequate protection for key habitats in the southern and western parts of the Coral Sea.9 The recent review process seeks to significantly reduce what the scientific community has already identified as inadequate or low-level protections.

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL CONTEXT

The Centre for Conservation Geography found that the net social and economic value of the Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve to the Australian community amounts to $1.2 billion.10 In addition, they found that the Reserve is predicted to generate a net increase of 100 jobs, with positive impacts on nature-based tourism and recreational fishing outweighing any possible negative impacts on commercial fishing by at least $5 million per annum. The Reserve has been extremely successful at minimizing the displacement of commercial fishing activities with the maximum potential negative impact estimated to be $4.2 million.11 The creation of the Reserve is predicted to expand the tourism industry by 150 per cent, which is a gain in direct sales of $9 million.12

Up to a third of the Reserve was set up to become the exclusive site of recreational and charter fishing, creating what is effectively the largest recreational fishing zone in Australian history. The original zoning proposed in 2012 achieved a good balance between high-level sanctuary zone protection and commercial use. The review puts this very much at risk, however, with big cuts in protection being considered.

WHERE ARE WE NOW?

The review process has released its first report outlining proposed cut backs to the Australian network of marine sanctuaries, with the Coral Sea as its centrepiece and the sanctuary facing the greatest threats. A convincing 50,000 submissions were received, calling on the Government of Australia to make no cuts and instead reinstate the full system of marine reserves and sanctuaries. Significantly, over 5,000 of those submissions were made by recreational fishers. At the time of writing, many Australian scientists, marine stakeholders and members of the ocean-loving community are working hard to prevent the gutting of the Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve. The Australian Marine Conservation Society, along with the Save Our Marine Life alliance of 25 conservation groups, believes that the current review of marine reserves should be approached as an opportunity to address weaknesses in the previous plan and to increase protection for Australia’s oceans, not reduce it. This is necessary if Australia is to move towards fulfilling its international commitments for biodiversity protection.

The Government is expected to release the redrafted management plans for the suspended marine reserves for a final round of public consultation in late May 2017.

 

More information can be found in a report commissioned by the Save Our Marine Life alliance entitled The Coral Sea Marine Reserve: Centre for Conservation Geography Report to the Australian Government’s Marine Reserves Review. Available at: http://conservationgeography.org/content/ccg-coral-sea-report-australias-commonwealth-marine-reserves-review.

Notes

1   For further information about the independent Commonwealth Marine Reserves Review, see the website of the Government of Australia at http://www.environment.gov.au/marinereservesreview/home.

2   Judith Friedlander, “Marine reserves ditched despite tide of research”, The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 September 2014. Available from http://www.smh.com.au/environment/marine-reserves-ditched-despite-tide-of-research-20140825-1083js.html.

3   Daniela M. Ceccarelli, “Australia’s Coral Sea: a biophysical profile”, Report ([Canberra], Pew Environment Group Protect Our Coral Sea,

2011), p. 3. Available from http://www.hsi.org.au/editor/assets/marine_conservation/082011%20Australias%20Coral%20Sea_%20A%20Biophysical%20Profile%20by%20marine%20ecologist%20Dr%20%20Daniela%20Ceccarelli.pdf.

4   Daniel Beaver and others, “The Coral Sea Marine Reserve: Centre for Conservation Geography Report to the Australian Government’s Marine Reserves Review”, Version 1.0 ([Canberra], Centre for Conservation Geography, 2015), p.7. Available from http://conservationgeography.org/sites/default/files/CoralSeaMarineReserve_CCGReport_31_03_2015.pdf.

5   Commonwealth of Australia, 2012. Key Ecological Features. http://www.environment.gov.au/metadataexplorer/full_metadata.jsp?docld={093A2086-7DE3-41A7-B407-SBCCA7F400AS}&Ioggedln=false.

6   Beaver and others, Op. cit., p.4.

7   Ibid.

8   Nic Bax and Ian Cresswell, “Marine reserves not about closing fisheries, but about preserving ocean health”, The Conversation, 27 August 2012. Available from http://theconversation.com/marine-reserves-not-about-closing-fisheries-but-about-preserving-ocean-health-8936.

9   Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence: Coral Reef Studies, Coral Sea Marine Reserve Proposal, Submission to the Draft Commonwealth Marine Reserve Proposal for the Coral Sea (2012). Cited in Beaver and others, p. 27.

10   Beaver and others, Op. cit., p. 4.

11   Commonwealth of Australia, Completing the Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network: Regulatory impact statement (Canberra, ACT, Australia, Marine Division, Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, 2012), p. 50. Available from http://ris.pmc.gov.au/sites/default/files/posts/2012/06/03-Completing-the-Commonwealth-Marine-Reserves-Network-RIS1.pdf. Cited in Beaver and others, Op. cit.,p. 15.

12   Commonwealth of Australia, A Guide to the Integrated Marine and Coastal Regionalisation of Australia, IMCRA Version 4.0. (Canberra, Australia, Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006). Available from https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/2660e2d2-7623-459d-bcab-1110265d2c86/files/imcra4.pdf. Cited in Beaver and others, Op. cit.,p.16.

 

Author bio:

Adele Pedder is Marine Campaign Manager at the Australian Marine Conservation Society.

 

Goal 7 Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

By Jianguo Wu and Tong Wu

Jianguo Wu is Dean’s Distinguished Professor at the Julie Ann Wrigley global institute of Sustainability and the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University, United States of America, and Founding Director of the Center for Human-Environment System Sustainability, Beijing Normal University, China. Tong Wu is research student with the ecoSERViCES group in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University.

The sustainable development goals (SDGs) proposed by the Open Working Group of the General Assembly of the United Nations recognize the importance of the natural environment and its resources to human well-being. As a whole, it is definitely a worthy charter for the twenty-first century, as it addresses the diverse challenges that we face as a global community. SDG 7—to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”—is a challenge confronting every country, that touches everyone. To understand the necessity of meeting this goal, and what is required to do so, we should unpack the statement of the goal itself. The four dimensions of SDG 7 are affordability, reliability, sustainability and modernity. These different dimensions are not mutually exclusive. They overlap, and in some cases even entail each other.

Goal 7 Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Goal 7 Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Consider what it means to have access to affordable energy. The heterogeneity of energy use across the world is due largely to different natural resource endowments and purchasing power. For example, a country with large coal deposits will likely make wide use of this resource to industrialize its economy. The people living within this country will likely use it as the primary means of power generation.

On the other hand, people living in places without ready stocks of fossil fuels may rely on more primitive methods of combustion, such as wood fibers or perhaps even animal dungs. Indeed, this is the condition that prevailed for the vast majority of humankind throughout its history, and continues to be the condition for many parts of the developing world. For instance, approximately 2.7 billion people (about 40 per cent of the world’s population) now rely on traditional biomass fuels for cooking.1 Such low-quality fuels can be a major source of indoor air pollution. Even with the expansion of energy accessibility and economic development, the annual death toll from indoor air pollution will still be over 1.5 million people—a higher rate than that from both malaria and tuberculosis.2

As globalization continues to bind the world in deeper networks of trade, countries can augment and diversify their energy endowments by import. However, if the development level of a country is low and the costs of energy—which are increasingly determined by global financial forces—are high, then people will lack access to energy no matter how large or diverse its country’s endowment. Thus, an essential condition of affordability is raising income levels (and hence purchasing power) and controlling the impacts that impersonal economic forces operating at global levels have on the costs that people face on an everyday basis.

Affordability is meaningless, however, if energy provision is unreliable. In many parts of the developing world, energy sources are often scarce and their supply intermittent. Today, 20 per cent of the world’s population still lacks access to electricity, and a larger share suffers from persistent power failures.3 In 2012, the massive, nationwide blackout that struck India affected nearly 700 million people, paralyzing transportation and communication systems and causing an unknown number of fatalities.4 This disaster was caused not just by supply issues, but also by mismanagement and an underdeveloped energy infrastructure. Thus, basic economic activity depends on a steady supply, robust governance, and an efficient and stable distribution system. There are multiple socioeconomic dimensions of energy reliability.

Electricity, automated transportation and information technology are essential to economic development. They are also basic features of modern society, and thus energy sources and systems that meet these needs reliably and affordably can be considered as “modern”. Population growth will continue in India, sub-Saharan Africa, and other parts of the developing world. Per capita economic consumption will also increase, creating much greater demand for the services described above, and consequently for access to modern energy. Over the next quarter century, about 90 per cent of the growth in energy demand will come from countries that are not members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), i.e., countries outside of the rich Western economies and Japan.5 Meeting this rising wave of energy demand will be one of the paramount challenges of the twenty-first century, and is a reason why it occupies such a central place in the SDGs. It also brings us to the final dimension of SDG 7: sustainability.

Energy should generate a consistent stream of power to meet basic human needs, maintain and improve social functioning, and advance living standards. It should also fulfill these functions as sustainably as possible—that is to say, the power generated by energy use should be much greater than the resulting waste and pollution. All sustainable energy must be modern, although not all forms of modern energy are sustainable. Coal is perhaps the most important case in point. Historically, coal has been indispensable to industrialization and the advancement of human well-being. If more of the world’s people enjoy previously unimaginable living standards today, it is in large part because of coal. Offsetting its many virtues—for instance, abundance, wide distribution, and ease of use—is a long list of serious problems, however. In an age of population growth and environmental decline, this list is still growing.

Today, coal still provides about 40 per cent of the world’s electricity and nearly the same fraction of global carbon emissions.6 Coal is also inefficient, with a low mass-to-energy ratio, and creates enormous pollution. Thus, coal is neither sustainable at the global scale because of its contribution to anthropogenic climate change, nor at the local scale because it is a threat to public health and ecological conditions (in addition to the polluting by-products of combustion, the process of coal mining creates myriad environmental problems). Given the scale of the use of coal, and the emergence of a global economy powered largely by fossil fuels, what can be done?

The SDGs

The SDGs

These are challenges that require a pragmatic, multi-faceted approach. Solutions need to be found at the global scale, where Governments and agencies must work together. International climate change agreements are the most visible fruits of such efforts. The SDGs have also helped set the tenor for cooperation and contributed to an emerging consensus on priorities. In terms of policies, the transfer of clean energy technologies to developing countries is an important example. Indeed, international climate change agreements—such as the clean development mechanism (CDM)—explicitly provide for such transfers. This is not enough, however. Solutions must also be developed locally. There is evidence that benefits from CDM, while necessary and net-positive generally, do not always reach the local level, particularly in impoverished rural areas.7 Development should be sensitive to local conditions, and identify unintended consequences of energy policies. The heedless pursuit of biofuels at the global and regional levels may result in unintended yet severe environmental degradation. The countless acres of land deforested for palm oil under- mine local well-being, and provide a stark reminder of the complexity of the energy problems that we face.

Access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy is integral to global development in the twenty-first century. Not all the solutions needed to meet this challenge are yet available, and those that are may not be apparent. Figuring out these solutions and aligning them across scales will be difficult. Yet the task is achievable if international organizations have sufficient vision, if Governments can work together, and if communities and individuals are offered the right incentives and the necessary means. SDG 7 is, at the very least, an important step in that direction.

Notes

1  International Energy Agency, Energy Poverty: How to make modern energy access universal? Special early excerpt of the World Energy Outlook (WEO) 2010 for the UN General Assembly on the Millennium Development Goals. (Paris, 2010) p. 9, 20. Available from http://www.se4all.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Special_Excerpt_of_WEo_2010.pdf.

2  International Energy Agency, World Energy Outlook 2010 (Paris, 2010), p. 237. Available from http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org/media/ weo2010.pdf.

3  International Energy Agency, Energy Poverty: How to make modern energy access universal?, p. 9. Available from http://www.se4all.org/wp-content/ uploads/2013/09/Special_Excerpt_of_WEo_2010.pdf.

4  Helen Pidd, “India blackouts leave 700 million without power”, The Guardian, 31 July 2012. Available from http://www.theguardian.com/ world/2012/jul/31/india-blackout-electricity-power-cuts.

5  International Energy Agency, World Energy Outlook 2011 Factsheet: How will global energy markets evolve to 2035? (Paris, 2011). Available from http://www.iea.org/media/weowebsite/factsheets/factsheets.pdf.

6  Michelle Nijhuis, “Can Coal Ever Be Clean?”, National Geographic Magazine, Vol. 225, issue 4 (April 2014), p. 30-40. Available from http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2014/04/coal/nijhuis-text.

7  Srikanth Subbarao and Bob Lloyd, “Can the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Deliver?”, Energy Policy, vol. 39, issue 3 (March 2011), p. 1600-1611.

First published in the UN Chronicle, Department of Public Information, United Nations.

 

World Environment Day 2015 Sustainable Consumption and Production “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet Consume with Care”

June 4: Zambia joined the rest of the world in commemorating World Environment Day, a number of activities took place between June 4th and June 5th 2015., The United Nations in Zambia, Ministry of Environment and Tourism and Natural Resources, Standard Chartered Bank and Youth United Nations Association (YUNA), organized a tree planting exercise as one of the activities during the Environment Week, this event took place at the National Heroes Stadium.

The 2015 global theme was “Sustainable Consumption and Production “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet Consume with Care”, Zambia localized the theme to “13 Million Dreams Consume with Care”. A number of activities were conducted around the country and there was participation from various partners including government ministries.

Tree planting exercise at Heroes Stadium, Lusaka. Photo credit/UNIC Lusaka

Tree planting exercise at Heroes Stadium, Lusaka. Photo credit/UNIC Lusaka

At the tree planting exercise, Mathews Kalabo the representative of the United Nations Youth Association said the issue of the environment knows no boundary and affects the world at large, he also shared the efforts, that the three Organizations are implementing to combat climate change, citing the 5000 trees has been planted so far, in 6 provinces out of 10 in Zambia. He said that YUNA has been leading the cause in combating climate change with the support from Standard Chartered bank, the UN and Government in the country. He appealed to the ministry to consider the creation of green projects for the youth as well as green jobs to sustain the Environment and future generation, He further recommended Government for the strong partnership with ILO on Youth Empowerment through green jobs.

The UN representative Mr. Jonathan Wesley Roberts, the Chief Technical Advisor in Integrated Land Use Assessment of FAO highlighted some projects that the UN is doing in partnership with the government in promoting sustainable land use while protecting the environment, he also commended the efforts of other government partners in their efforts to help serve the environment.
The Honorable Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports Hon. Ronald Chitotela was the guest of Honor, in his remarks he thanked the three organizations on what they are doing to respond to climate change effects. He further said the Government of the Republic of Zambia is very willing to work with the International Community, Civil Society Organizations and the private sector in creating awareness on issues relating to climate change and the environment. He also urged citizens to consume with care in all areas of the production for sustainable development.

Standard Chartered Bank Zambia Chief information Officer Mrs. Musonda reiterated that as a bank they are committed to supporting activities related to the environment in Zambia and to continue with developmental partnerships for noble causes like tree planting with the United Nations and Government.

Other activities included an exhibition were various organizations showcased what activities and programs that they are doing in relating to the theme and the issue of climate change and match past to create awareness for world environment day.

World Environment Day 2014: Tree Planting at National Heros Staduim

On 5th June Zambia joined the rest of the world in commemorating the world environment day whose theme is “Raise your Voice not Greenhouse Gases and Protect Environment”. A number of activities were planned and the main event was a tree planting exercise in various locations which saw the participation of various government ministries, including senior government officers such as the Secretary to Cabinet Dr. Roland Msiska at Levy Mwanawasa Hospital which marked the official event World Environment Day and launch of Zambia’s Golden Jubilee Celebrations. The United Nations in Zambia, Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) and the United Nations Youth Association of Zambia (YUNA-Zambia) joined the Ministry Transport Works and Supply and Communications, at the newly built National Heroes Stadium.

Blessings Sinkala who is the YUNA Child Ambassador in her remarks, she stated the presence of Ministry and all the stakeholders bears a testimony to the importance of good relations between the Zambian Government, the youths and the stakeholders such as the United Nations and Standard Chartered Bank to share the responsibility to unite and Combat Climate Change.

She further raised a concern on the increment of Electricity Tariffs by the national utility company ZESCO at 24% for households, stating that it would cause the increase of charcoal production that will lead to massive deforestation in the country, furthermore, she encouraged everyone to stay focused in line with our visions such as vision 2030 which aims Zambia to become a middle income country and by attaining the MDGs by 2015.

Mr. Excellent Hachileka who was representing the United Nations, highlighted issues on the climate change policy, he said Zambia is losing its forest due to human activities such as unsustainable agricultural practices and deforestation, he said currently the country is losing 250 000 to 300 000 hectares’ of forest per year which will result in others parts of Zambia turning into deserts.

Standard Chartered Bank Zambia Director Mrs. Musonda reiterated that as a private entity was committed to issues of the environment hence its participation and partnership in noble causes like that of planting trees with the United Nations and Government. She further said that they would continue to support national tree planting exercises when called upon.

The Hon. Minister Mr. Yamfwa Mukanga MP in his remarks gave a brief background on the world environment day from its beginning, he shared with the gathering that the tree planting was also the part of Golden Jubilee as Zambia celebrates its 50 years of independence. The Minister agreed that the Ministry under his charge Transport, Works and Supply Communications has contributed to deforestation in the country as the government is pushing infrastructure development through activities such as new roads and new buildings across the country, he said despite this the ministry is very committed to replanting trees that are cut down during the development activities.

The Minister urged every Zambian to involve themselves in tree planting exercises, and he thanked the United Nations, Standard Chartered Bank Zambia, YUNA-Zambia and schools that participated in the exercise, about 100 plus trees were planted.

University of Zambia- United Nations Youth Association (UNZA-YUNA) supports environmental sustainability

The University of Zambia United Nations Youth Association (UNZA-YUNA) is a branch of the United Nations Youth Association of Zambia and is affiliated to University of Zambia Students Union (UNZASU) and Dean of Students affairs (DOSA) at the University of Zambia. Its mission is to promote and support the ideals, mission and activities of the United Nations and campaign for youth participation in all UN activities by bringing the UN closer to the youth, also it works closely with the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) on various activities.

Climate change has become one of the major challenges facing the world today. In recognition of the threats it poses, the issue that has become an urgent concern on both Social Economic and Political Agenda. This is due to the damage to the environment. Prominent threats among others include; altered ecosystems, loss of biodiversity, floods, droughts, declining agricultural productivity and spread of vector diseases such as malaria.

On February 5, 2014 the University Of Zambia students took part in the tree planting exercise within the Campus, the programme started around 09:50 to 11:45 hours. Among the invited guests were Mr. Charles Nonde UNIC Representative, Dr. Tembo School of Agriculture Dean, Acting Deputy Dean of students Mr. Museteka and YUNA Representative Mathews Kalabo. The events started by few remarks at the chapel were students gathered to be addressed on the subject, the Importance of tree planting.

Mr. Charles Nonde in his remarks he said sustainable development should be taken serious; trees are very important and we need them for many uses he also encouraged the students

Acting Deputy Dean of Student Affairs, Mr. Museteka planting a tree

Acting Deputy Dean of Student Affairs, Mr. Museteka planting a tree

to take environmental issues seriously. Dr. Tembo was the second to speak he started by thanking the support given the UNZA-YUNA from the United Nations Information Centre and the Forestry Department under Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, as beneficiaries the School of Agriculture was grateful.

The Acting Deputy Dean of student Affairs Mr. Museteka said the having trees at University it will help the current campaign called keep UNZA Clean, because green is clean, he also thanked the United Nations Information Centre for the support rendered to not only UNZA-YUNA but the entire Campus, he further extend his sincere to the Forestry Department under Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and Environmental Protection for providing the plants.

The University of Zambia School of Environment Education Students Association (UNZA-EESA) Secretary General Salome Sakala, shared with the students the importance and how human beings benefit from the trees and explained the process of  carbon dioxide sinking from the atmosphere with regard to environmental sustainability and climate change, thereafter the students proceeded to the planting area where 45 types of trees were planted.

Unite4Climate Change Zambia

Unite4Climate Zambia partners with young people in all of the country’s provinces to combat climate change. Through media programmes, debates, and advocating for the construction of floating schools in flood prone areas, Zambia’s young climate ambassadors are agents of change.

Reaching 200 climate ambassadors each year and equipping them with the “pay it forward” concept. Unite4Climate Zambia is working to make Zambia and the global community more equitable. UNICEF’s Youth Section is actively involved in the program’s child-led media strategy along with the Children’s Radio Foundation. Unite4Climate Zambia is able to achieve all this through generous funding from ING, the Netherlands Committee for UNICEF, the Danish National Committee for UNICEF, and UNICEF Germany.

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