Monday June 24, 2019
Home Lead Story Environment G...

Environment Gets A Helping Hand From Philanthropists

The Paris climate agreement, adopted by almost 200 nations in 2015, set a goal of limiting warming to "well below" a rise of 2 degrees Celsius.

0
//
Scattered trees dot the once densely forested land, seen from an airplane, in South Sudan. VOA

Leading philanthropists pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to rescue shrinking tropical forests that suck heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, on the eve of a global climate change summit in San Francisco.

Nine foundations announced the $459 million commitment, to be delivered over the next four years, a day ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit, which is expected to draw about 4,500 delegates from city and regional governments.

“While the world heats up, many of our governments have been slow — slow to act. And so we in philanthropy must step up,” Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, told journalists at an event announcing the pledge.

The commitment roughly doubles the funds the groups currently dedicate to forest protection, said David Kaimowitz, a director at the Ford Foundation, one of the donors.

forest
The Lonar Lake is an exceptional ‘bowl of biodiversity’ and a wildlife sanctuary. Wikimedia Commons

Charlotte Streck, director of Amsterdam-based think tank Climate Focus, said the size of the commitment makes the groups major players in supporting anti-deforestation programs.

Norway has led donor efforts by pledging up to $500 million a year to help tropical nations protect their forests, Streck said.

But the new money committed by foundations could prove more “flexible and nimble” than money from governments, she said.

“The money that has been pledged by the governments like Norway and Germany, the UK, sits mostly in trust funds with the World Bank and the U.N. and it doesn’t get out so quickly,” she said.

Often “there is $20,000 missing here or $50,000 missing here, just to do one thing or develop one study or work with one person or have one consultation — and that the foundations can do,” Streck said.

Other groups that are part of the new initiative include the MacArthur Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation.

forest
Climate Change Fuels California Fires. Flickr

Help for indigenous people

Funds will mostly assist indigenous people who are forest dwellers, including by helping them secure titles to land they live on so it cannot be sold to private companies without their agreement, said Walker.

“Companies come to our village, our forests and say: ‘You have to leave because I have the license from the government,'” said Rukka Sombolinggi, who heads the Indonesia-based Indigenous People’s Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN).

The world loses the equivalent of 50 soccer fields’ worth of forest every minute, organizers said.

Yet forests absorb a third of the annual planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions produced — and those emissions need to be slashed substantially more to meet the goals set in the Paris agreement.

forest
The Mangroves of Sunderbans Forests. Wikimedia

The Paris climate agreement, adopted by almost 200 nations in 2015, set a goal of limiting warming to “well below” a rise of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times while “pursuing efforts” for the tougher goal of 1.5 degrees C.

Also Read: IWC Shuts Down A Proposal To Create a Sanctuary For South Atlantic Whales

The three-day Global Climate Action Summit was organized by Californian authorities and the United Nations to support the leadership of mayors, governors and other sub-national authorities in curbing climate change. (VOA)

Next Story

World’s First Green Concrete Being Used in a Road Trial in Sydney

Projects like this geopolymer trial can result in new products that make a real difference in slashing carbon emissions

0
World, Green, Concrete
Nine sensors have been positioned under the concrete to monitor. Pixabay

 In a world’s first, ‘green’ concrete” which is made using industrial waste from coal-fired power stations and steel manufacturing is being used in a road trial in Sydney.

Researchers from the University of New South Wales, Sydney and research and innovation hub called CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) would use results from the trial to create the first set of industry guidelines for “geopolymer” concrete.

Nine sensors have been positioned under the concrete to monitor and compare how the ‘geopolymer’ concrete performs.

“Projects like this geopolymer trial can result in new products that make a real difference in slashing carbon emissions.

World, Green, Concrete
CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) would use results. Pixabay

“Local governments are responsible for maintaining local roads, so if we can purchase more environmentally sustainable materials, we can fight climate change,” said Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

Made from fly ash and blast furnace slag, ‘geopolymer’ generates just 300 kgs of CO2 per tonne of cement, compared with the 900 km from traditional cement production — saving the equivalent of the electricity used by an average household every two weeks.

The low-CO2 concrete has the potential to put the 400 million cubic tonnes of globally documented waste from the coal and steel industries to good use.

UNSW Sydney researchers will monitor the road performance for up to five years.

Also Read- Australia’s State of Victory, The First in the Country to Leagalize Euthanasia for the Terminally Ill

“Research into geopolymer has been undertaken since the ’90s, but it’s only now that it’s starting to be commercialised,” said Professor Stephen Foster, Head of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UNSW Sydney.

Concrete contributes 7 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions and in 2018, the world produced about 4.1 billion tonnes of cement which contributed about 3.5 billion tonnes of CO2.

“Low-CO2 concrete materials offer potential benefits in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with conventional concrete,” said Professor Foster. (IANS)