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Young people are fighting for our future but we need your help

Greta Thunberg and her collaborators have called for a week of climate action starting Friday 20 September with a world wide strike for climate action. The idea is that “we should walk out of our work places and homes to spend the day demanding action on the climate crisis, the greatest existential threat that all of us face”

In her article in the Guardian on Friday, May 24, Greta wrote –“ Last year’s UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report on global warming was clear about the unprecedented dangers of going beyond 1.5 C of global heating. Emissions must drop rapidly so that by the time we are in our mid- and late-20s, we are living in a completely transformed world. But to change everything, we need everyone. It is time for all of us to unleash mass resistance – we have shown that collective action does work”.

Decline in biodiversity ‘threatens food crisis’

The world’s capacity to produce food is being undermined by humanity’s failure to protect biodiversity according to the first UN study of the plants, animals and micro-organisms that help to put meals on our plates.

This stark warning was issued by the Food and Agricultural Organisation after scientists found evidence that that the natural support systems underpinning the human diet are deteriorating globally as farms, cities and factories convert land to social use and a range of pollutants are emitted which interfere with world wide food web.

Over the past two decades the report noted about 20% of the Earth’s vegetated surface became less productive.

Reference-The State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture-https://www.fao.org/state-of-biodiversity-for-food-agriculture/en

Biodiversity and Ecosystem services

This Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform has recently published its first report to answer questions like “what are humans doing to the world’s species, its biodiversity, its ecosystems and its natural resources and what are the consequences for human life as well as the natural world”.

Its findings include that at least one million species are at risk of extinction and nearly one third of the world’s coral reefs and more than one third of marine mammals are also threatened. For domesticated plants and animals, the lack of biodiversity in genes is providing les protection against diseases and fewer options for breeding plants and animals that will be better adapted to a changing climate.

Reference-Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services-https://www.ipbes.net/

Scouts for SDGs

The World Scout Movement hosted an event at the United Nations headquarters in November 2018 to launch Scouts for SDGs – a mobilisation of 50 million Scouts to make the world’s largest coordinated youth contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. 

Scouting has made an extraordinary contribution over the years to improve the sustainability of our planet, promote peace, and tackle inequality. Earlier this year Scouts surpassed an incredible milestone by giving more than one billion hours towards sustainable development through local projects under World Scouting’s programmes, including the flagship Messengers of Peace initiative.

Now, as a global Movement, Scouting is taking that commitment one step further with Scouts for SDGs. By 2030, this unprecedented activation aims to engage 50 million young people in a coordinated effort to deliver two million local projects and an additional three billion hours of service for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Scouts for SDGs features a newly launched online SDG hub and a range of resources to support National Scout Organizations to raise awareness and take action for the SDGs. The initiative also leverages financial and in-kind contributions from the World Scout Foundation and a wide network of partners, including United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations, to support local projects led by Scouts.

For further information consult www.sgs.scouts.org. Inspire others by sharing your project!

Following various scientific studies of the impacts of greenhouse gases congregating in the upper atmosphere, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was agreed in May 1992 and signed by 155 countries at a conference in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. The ultimate objective of this convention was-

To stabilise the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system, such a level should be achieved within a time frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.

The subsequent convention signed in Kyoto committed the signatories to reducing their carbon emissions by 8- 12o/o by 2012. However not all parties to the Framework Convention signed the Kyoto convention including three of the biggest emitters- the USA, China and India.

Following these agreements there has been an annual meeting of the partners to the Convention in various parts of the world. The most recent meeting was held in Durban, South Africa during the first two weeks of December. The conference reached a significant milestone in that all "developed and developing countries will for the first time work on an agreement that should be legally binding, to be written by 2015 and to come into force after 2020:'

Any new agreement will require targets for each country to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and this is likely to depend upon the level of their emissions and their emissions per person. "The motivation could come from several sources including people power. By 2015 the world's young people in particular can be expected demand greater action as the evidence of future damage becomes clear:'
quotes from the Guardian Durban conference 7 3 December 2011

World given 2017 climate deadline

“The world is likely to build so many fossil-fuelled power stations, energy guzzling factories and inefficient buildings in the next five years that it will become impossible to hold global warming to safe levels, and the chance of combatting dangerous climate change will be lost forever”, according to the most thorough analysis yet of the world energy infrastructure.

Anything built from now on that produces carbon will do so for decades, and this “lock-in” effect will be the single factor most likely to produce irreversible climate change, the world’s foremost authority on energy economics has found. If this is not rapidly changed within the next five years, the results are likely to be disastrous,
“The door is closing,” Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, said. “If we don’t change direction now on how we use energy, we will end up beyond what scientists tell us is the minimum [for safety]. The door will be closed forever.”

If the world is to stay below 2° C of warming, which scientists regard as the limit of safety, then emissions must be held to no more than 450 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; the level is currently around 390 ppm. But the world’s existing infrastructure is already producing 80% of that “carbon budget”, according to the IEA’s analysis, published in early December 2011.
from the Guardian 9 November 2011

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