5 Things You Should Know About the Kick Off of Paris Climate Talks
On Sunday, Nov. 29, more than half a million people took to the streets from more than 175 countries to show support for the Paris climate talks, which officially kicked off on Monday with unprecedented momentum and political will.
Despite the cancellation of massive mobilizations in the City of Light due to security concerns after the devastating Nov. 13 terrorist attacks, activists were determined to show their support for a strong climate deal. Tens of thousands of shoes, including pairs from Pope Francis and UN Secretary Ban-Ki Moon, were laid out at Paris’s Place de la Republique to symbolize those who could not march.
More than 140 heads of state were present at the opening of the COP's two day high level leaders day. President Obama spoke long and eloquently about the impact of climate change on future generations and made clear the U.S. intentions to increase support to developing and climate vulnerable nations.
Check out our @Flickr account for some great pics of the #COP21 Leaders Event https://t.co/FycPGyFw6D https://t.co/wCl1XAbImS— UN Climate Action (@UN Climate Action)1448971744.0
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau drew loud applause when he pronounced, “Canada is back, my good friends. We’re here to help.” Canada has long been seen as a laggard in the climate action arena, but Trudeau's new government has already been rehabilitating Canada's climate stances and has pledged to review and reform the country’s policies on climate and energy in the coming weeks and months.
Chinese President Xi also reaffirmed his country’s commitment to climate action and India’s Prime Minister Modi announced a solar power alliance with more than 100 countries intended to accelerate the adoption and scaling of solar infrastructure across the global south.
Faith leaders delivered a petition signed by nearly 2 million people of different faiths to the head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres. Representatives from different faith groups have turned out in force for this COP, buoyed by statements of religious leaders like Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama, who make the moral case for acting on climate.
It wasn’t just the activists, faith leaders and heads of state making noise, business leaders joined in to announce the biggest ever clean tech fund on Monday, which will double global clean energy spending to $20 billion. Microsoft founder Bill Gates is spearheading the effort and is joined by 27 other corporate heavyweights, called the Breakthrough Energy Coalition. It was complemented by an international initiative called Mission Innovative, endorsed by 20 countries, including the U.S. The initiative is meant to pay for research and development of new clean energy technologies and will double spending from a current $10 billion. U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said he hopes the announcement will “set the tone” for the Paris climate talks.
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- Redwoods are the world's tallest trees.
- Now scientists have discovered they are even bigger than we thought.
- Using laser technology they map the 80-meter giants.
- Trees are a key plank in the fight against climate change.
They are among the largest trees in the world, descendants of forests where dinosaurs roamed.
Pixabay / Simi Luft<p><span>Until recently, measuring these trees meant scaling their 80 meter high trunks with a tape measure. Now, a team of scientists from University College London and the University of Maryland uses advanced laser scanning, to create 3D maps and calculate the total mass.</span></p><p>The results are striking: suggesting the trees <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">may be as much as 30% larger than earlier measurements suggested.</a> Part of that could be due to the additional trunks the Redwoods can grow as they age, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a process known as reiteration</a>.</p>
New 3D measurements of large redwood trees for biomass and structure. Nature / UCL<p>Measuring the trees more accurately is important because carbon capture will probably play a key role in the battle against climate change. Forest <a href="https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/09/carbon-sequestration-natural-forest-regrowth" target="_blank">growth could absorb billions of tons</a> of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.</p><p>"The importance of big trees is widely-recognised in terms of carbon storage, demographics and impact on their surrounding ecosystems," the authors wrote<a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank"> in the journal Nature</a>. "Unfortunately the importance of big trees is in direct proportion to the difficulty of measuring them."</p><p>Redwoods are so long lived because of their ability to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cope with climate change, resist disease and even survive fire damage</a>, the scientists say. Almost a fifth of their volume may be bark, which helps protect them.</p>
Carbon Capture Champions<p><span>Earlier research by scientists at Humboldt University and the University of Washington found that </span><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378112716302584" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Redwood forests store almost 2,600 tonnes of carbon per hectare</a><span>, their bark alone containing more carbon than any other neighboring species.</span></p><p>While the importance of trees in fighting climate change is widely accepted, not all species enjoy the same protection as California's coastal Redwoods. In 2019 the world lost the equivalent of <a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation-and-forest-degradation" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">30 soccer fields of forest cover every minute</a>, due to agricultural expansion, logging and fires, according to The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).</p>
Pixabay<p>Although <a href="https://c402277.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/publications/1420/files/original/Deforestation_fronts_-_drivers_and_responses_in_a_changing_world_-_full_report_%281%29.pdf?1610810475" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the rate of loss is reported to have slowed in recent years</a>, reforesting the world to help stem climate change is a massive task.</p><p><span>That's why the World Economic Forum launched the Trillion Trees Challenge (</span><a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a><span>) and is engaging organizations and individuals across the globe through its </span><a href="https://uplink.weforum.org/uplink/s/uplink-issue/a002o00000vOf09AAC/trillion-trees" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Uplink innovation crowdsourcing platform</a><span> to support the project.</span></p><p>That's backed up by research led by ETH Zurich/Crowther Lab showing there's potential to restore tree coverage across 2.2 billion acres of degraded land.</p><p>"Forests are critical to the health of the planet," according to <a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a>. "They sequester carbon, regulate global temperatures and freshwater flows, recharge groundwater, anchor fertile soil and act as flood barriers."</p><p><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Reposted with permission from the </em><span><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor"><a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/redwoods-store-more-co2-and-are-more-enormous-than-we-thought/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</em></span></p>
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