Brazil’s Amazonian Mangroves: Crucial for Climate Change Mitigation

Brazil’s Amazonian Mangroves: Crucial for Climate Change Mitigation

Brazil’s Amazon is home not only to the world’s largest tropical forest, but also one of the world’s largest mangrove areas. Mangroves are collections of different tree and shrub species found in tropical coastal regions, growing in waterlogged soils. They can be recognized because of  their large roots protruding from soils—roots they use to ‘anchor’themselves from strong incoming tides. There are over 80 distinct mangrove tree species, and can sequester or store large amount of carbon in their soils, which can be stored for multiple centuries. Deforestation of mangroves results in the release of sequestered carbon dioxide, as trees, plants, and soils release stored carbon once they are logged and cleared or burned. Although mangroves represent only 0.6% of global tropical forests, a new, long-term study published in the journal Biology Letters shows that these mangrove forests contain much more stored carbon than previously thought, and that their deforestation accounts for as much as 12 percent of greenhouse gas emissions produced by all tropical deforestation worldwide.

Is Climate Change a Security Issue?

Is Climate Change a Security Issue?

There is a significant yet still under-researched connection between climate change and security-related risks. The frequency of extreme weather events, including flooding, severe droughts and other associated impacts of global warming are contributing to the reduction of crop yields, diminishing water resources, and ultimately impacting human livelihood. In some cases, these events have contributed to the migration of ‘climate refugees’ in order to meet their basic human needs, including access to water, food, electricity, and shelter. As a result, climate change is increasingly entering the policy arena as a significant security issue.

This One Simple Action Could Enhance Your Health and Wellbeing

This One Simple Action Could Enhance Your Health and Wellbeing

Spend time outside.
Yup, that’s it! Just go outside, in nature as wild as possible, as often and for as long as you can. More exposure to nature seems to be more helpful, but even a little bit – indoor houseplants, tree-lined streets, the sound of birdsong through an open window – has incremental benefits.

France’s Energy Future with Macron at the Helm

France’s Energy Future with Macron at the Helm

France is in the enviable position of having among the lowest energy costs in Europe, coupled with low carbon emissions--thanks to 58 nuclear plants that provide 75% of France’s total energy consumption. As a result of nuclear investment, France is currently the largest net-exporter of energy in the world, bringing in revenues estimated at 3 billion euros annually.

But the French nuclear plants were designed with an expected 40-year life-span, and their average age is now 35 years. And France, while using a high percentage of recycled nuclear fuel in power production, still faces the problem of how to handle waste products. Thus, the government faces a choice: invest in renewing the fleet of nuclear plants or invest in renewables—or support a mix of the two. Decommissioning old nuclear plants, building a new generation of plants, developing a system of renewables—all these options come with significant price tags.

Canada and climate change: the transition to a low-carbon economy is a golden opportunity

Canada and climate change: the transition to a low-carbon economy is a golden opportunity

Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Prime Minister, has received extensive publicity for his active stance on tackling climate change, a marked contrast to his Southern neighbor, President Donald Trump. However, the provinces and territories of this vast country have a range of specific characteristics and conditions that make it difficult to implement climate policies – and a one-size-fits-all Federal policy simply wouldn’t work.
At a provincial level, for example, British Columbia is known for its pioneering carbon taxation policy, which has delivered revenue-neutral emissions reductions by putting a direct price on carbon at the point of sale and redistributing the revenue within the province. In contrast, Quebec and Ontario favour cap and trade schemes to drive down greenhouse gas emissions, a policy they have built together with states in the US, such as California, to ensure they are in synch with important trading partners. This diversity of approach in Canada is reflective of the very different economic sectors, cultures, terrains and demographics the country is home to – including the rural versus urban distribution of people across different provinces.

Energy in Cambodia: Challenges and Opportunities

Energy in Cambodia: Challenges and Opportunities

The United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000 produced 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), designed as a blueprint to improve the lives of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable populations. The MDG target date came and passed at the end of 2015. After analyzing the successes and shortcomings of the MDGs, the UN followed with a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—agreed to by 193 countries, including Cambodia—to replace and expand the MDGs, as well as highlight additional areas of global concern. One of these SDGs is the new goal of bringing “affordable and clean energy” to all nations.
In line with this objective, Cambodia’s government has embarked on an ambitious plan to provide reliable and inexpensive energy to its entire population. Cambodia has made great strides in meeting the energy demands of its population. But what remains uncertain are the environmental and social costs of the dams and fossil fuel plants being built. But it is hard to turn down the funding and support in Cambodia’s drive to develop its lagging infrastructure. This is a dilemma faced by the poorest nations—not just Cambodia—as they look for paths to improve the lives of their people. If Cambodia is to move up the economic ladder and attract more international business investment, it needs to continue improving energy access and stability. In rural areas this may mean looking at a combination of on-grid and off-grid solutions. It also needs to protect its valuable resources and look for more sustainable approaches to energy access.