Climate Adaptation

CLIMATE ADAPTATION

I want to punch climate change in the face. A blog about the interactions between the built environment, people, and nature.


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The ways Africa outperforms America - The Washington Post

Eye-opening slideshow showing the ways Africa is growing. Economic development and innovation are taking off, and so are human rights. I wouldn’t characterize these highlights anywhere near “ahead of the US” but a newspaper has to grab eyeballs somehow.

Millions of Africans still die of trivial causes in Africa (diarrhea, malaria, child birth, measles, pneumonia, etc.). Tens of thousands of children under five die every day in Africa. A horrifying number considering how moral the rest of the world thinks they are, or, monetarily, considering the trillions of dollars that nations have poured into the continent (and billions more from charities, NGOs, and so-called religious organizations). 

In fact, now that I look at this a little more, of the planet’s 194 countries, the vast majority of countries with the highest rates of death are all African.

And I haven’t touched upon environmental issues. What a mess.

Anyway, thanks to WaPo for the glamorous slideshow.

Norway to tax big oil to create $1.6 billion adaptation fund for developing countries

Great idea to help pay for adaptation projects in developing countries.

Norway is to double carbon tax on its North Sea oil industry and set up a £1bn fund to help combat the damaging impacts of climate change in the developing world.

In one of the most radical climate programmes yet by an oil-producing nation, the Norwegian government has proposed increasing its carbon tax on offshore oil companies by £21 to £45 (Nkr410) per tonne of CO2 and a £5.50 (Nkr50) per tonne CO2 tax on its fishing industry.

Norway will also plough an extra £1bn (Nkr10bn) into its funds for climate change mitigation, renewable energy, food security in developing countries and conversion to low-carbon energy sources, Environmental Finance reported.

It will step up spending on new projects to combat deforestation in developing countries to £44m, taking up its spending overall on forestry programmes to £327m. Previous forestry projects have involved Brazil, Indonesia and Ethiopia.

Full story at The Guardian

Clinton’s subdued, serious speech on Somalia at the IFPRI focuses on sustainable agriculture. She demonstrates deep knowledge of the immediate crisis, implores regional governments to intervene, now, and implores al-Shabaab to step-up. Most interesting is her vision for the region for sustainable agriculture. Run Hilary Run? 

Bottom line: Immediate: U.S. has spent $580 million for about 4.6 million people this year for food, distribution, protection, health care, aid workers, and clean water. Long-term: The U.S. has dedicated around $3 billion towards building better agricultural practices throughout Africa. This second part, the long-term strategy for sustainable agriculture at very large scales, deserves more coverage. 

More: Crisis in the Horn of Africa | How You Can Help

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered remarks on the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) on August 11, 2011. Secretary Clinton discussed the ongoing international humanitarian response, as well as how the crisis in the Horn of Africa shows the urgency of investing in sustained food security through efforts such as Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative.

Secretary… more »

(via statedept)

The march of progress: Ethiopia Moves Forward with Massive Nile Dam Project. The dam’s capacity is expected to be around 5,000 megawatts, which is about 5x the average nuclear power plant.

When completed in 2015, the Grand Millennium Dam will be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa. It will also create the country’s largest artificial lake, with a capacity of 63 billion cubic meters of water—twice the size of Lake Tana in Ethiopia’s Amhara region.

U.S. Department of State: Day Two: On the Ground in the Horn of Africa

What’s interesting about this is that the State Dept is trying to develop a long-term fix, rather than a full-on hand-out. They’re developing a sustainable agriculture program with local farmers.

With Feed the Future, President Obama’s initiative on food security, we are working with the Kenyan government and smallholder farmers to achieve sustainable, long-term and life-saving agriculture development.” More below…

Dr. Jill Biden traveled to Kenya with former U.S. Senator Bill Frist, USAID Administrator Raj Shah, Assistant Secretary of State Eric Schwartz, and Special Assistant to the President Gayle Smith. At the Dadaab Refugee Complex the delegation witnessed firsthand the effects of one of worst droughts in 60 years and the results of the famine in Somalia. 29,000 children under the age of five have died in the past three months and more than 12 million people across the Horn of Africa are in urgent need of care.

About the Author: Dr. Rajiv Shah is the Administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Earlier this week, I visited the world’s largest refugee camp in Kenya, where thousands of exhausted and starving refugees have sought food, water and medical care after fleeing…

10m people in the Horn of Africa need emergency food aid

Follow up to my previous post: Starvation returns to the Horn of Africa, extreme drought, high food prices, rape. The Economist and Al Jazeera are vigilantly covering the devastating drought in east Africa - the worst since the 1960s effecting Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti. Aid groups can’t get in sufficiently to provide food, water, and shelter. Refugee camps, it seems, are run by militant rebel groups.

Some rebel groups have cut deals with al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab to allow starving refugees cross borders. The U.S. State Department has issued a strongly worded letter to al-Shabaab to allow foreign aid into Somalia. Update below

Who is to blame? An oscillation in the climate in the form of La Niña—a cooling of the surface temperature across the equatorial eastern-central Pacific, causing big changes in airflow and weather patterns—is likely to have contributed to the droughts.

But humans too play a part. “This is a preventable disaster and solutions are possible,” says Jane Cocking, Oxfam’s humanitarian director. It is no coincidence that the worst-affected areas are also the poorest in the region. Long-term investment could have made villages and towns more resilient.

Sources: The Economist, Al Jazeera, CNN Africa

Update: US Dept. of State sending food aid.

This week, USAID activated a disaster assistance response team (DART) operating out of Ethiopia and Kenya to work with the World Food ProgramUNICEF, and over a dozen other organizations to coordinate emergency efforts to relieve the crisis. So far this year, the United States has provided more than $366 million to respond to the drought in the Horn of Africa, and continues to explore additional ways to assist those in need.

 Read the Press release, here.