United Kingdom

Alongside climate change, COP26 must address the crisis facing ecosystems

Photo: AIXabay / Nordseher

The next COP26 focus, scheduled to take place between October 31st and November 12th, will focus on global carbon emissions and the daunting task of keeping global temperature rise at controllable levels. I have. That’s already a high goal, but the delegation and its British host in Glasgow, Scotland, will also address another issue of pressing concern about how ecosystem collapse will contribute to the global climate crisis. is needed.

Among the most serious environmental problems facing many countries around the world are ongoing deforestation, creeping desertification, and increased loss of freshwater sources. Often, these tendencies amplify each other in dangerous feedback loops, complicating efforts to reverse them. For example, intense deforestation from the Amazon to Borneo is depriving the planet of highly effective carbon sinks in the form of dense vegetation. At the same time, agriculture and agricultural production in areas where trees once flourished contributed to global greenhouse gas emissions, while intensive agriculture in other areas fixed the entire ecosystem of the region to the seas and lakes. Pull water away from.

Desertification is becoming an increasingly serious problem on many parts of the globe. (Photo: AIXabay / Avanysathya)

As a result, these anthropogenic phenomena pose a significant threat to both vulnerable ecosystems and global efforts to keep planetary warming within 2 degrees Celsius, in accordance with the Paris Agreement. But what is often lost in discussions on climate change issues is the issue of biodiversity loss.

Loss of forests and carbon sinks

The Earth continues to lose about 6 million hectares of forest by logging each year, and most of the deforestation occurs in the tropics. Last year alone, the loss of tropical forests was as great as in the Netherlands, according to the Global Forest Watch.

This loss rate is embarrassing because a healthy state of biodiversity is essential not only to life on Earth as we know it, but also to human society. “”[Biodiversity] Is access to clean water, access to sustainable nutritious foods, and many other reasons important to human development as well? WWF International expert Gavin Edwards says.

Encouragingly, COP26 participants are expected to discuss large-scale deforestation solutions and the impact of ongoing biodiversity loss as well as the impact of climate change.

?? Is Cop26 focused on wood? Does it exist as an equivalent part of coal, cars, cash and trees?because [British Prime Minister Boris Johnson] I personally believe that protecting nature and biodiversity must be a key part of how we tackle climate change. In addition to reducing carbon emissions from coal and automobiles, nature-based solutions are a priority. That’s why Cop26 sees the British President pushing for a strong international agreement to stop and reverse deforestation by 2030? A source in Downing Street told the Guardian.

Rapid deforestation and an increase in catastrophic climatic events such as long-term droughts and wildfires have highlighted the vulnerability of natural carbon sinks. Rainforests and wetlands. Recently, scientists have discovered that Amazon forests produce over 1 billion tonnes of CO2 annually. This means that it is currently emitting more carbon than it absorbs.

Continued deforestation is a major reason for the reversal of Amazon’s role as a major carbon sink. This also increases stress on the ecosystems of areas where many endangered species live. In other words, harmful human activity, coupled with the effects of climate change, often reduces the ability of existing forests to reduce our emissions.

If you want to deal with climate change, you need to stop deforestation. Danny Marks, an assistant professor of environmental politics and policy at Dublin City University in Ireland, said. Unfortunately, forests are not worth noting ahead of COP26 when compared to reducing fossil fuel emissions.

Desertification threat

As global warming, the effects of mismanagement of our ecosystems are often magnified by accelerating processes such as desertification, which are called “the greatest environmental challenges of our time.” I have. According to UN experts. Once confined to very dry areas such as Sahara, desertification is now occurring across Asia and Africa, threatening food and water sources for more than 2 billion people.

In parallel with the creeping desertification, water scarcity is becoming a reality in many parts of the globe. Major water bodies such as the Aral Sea and Lake Urmia have already been depleted in recent decades due to increased demand for water and environmentally devastating policies. But now, even the Caspian Sea, the largest closed inland body of water on the planet, is dropping by as much as 10 centimeters a year due to rising temperatures and other causes.

The Caspian Sea is rapidly losing water (Photo: AIXabay / WikiImages)

This poses a major challenge for some Central Asian countries, where other water bodies are also shrinking rapidly. “The catastrophe of Lake Urmia poses a new threat to millions of people in northwestern Iran. It was once one of the largest salt lakes in the world and is still the largest in the country. The lake Urmia is now rare, one tenth of its previous size, “explains scientists.

Environmental recovery success story

But shouldn’t it be taken for granted that ecosystem collapse is inevitable despite these significant challenges? Or, the damage to the environment is irreversible. For example, the fate of the Aral Sea depends greatly on whether you are standing on the border between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. This is because the inland waters are effectively divided into two different parts.

Uzbekistan’s South Aral Sea shrinks into water in the west and arid basins in the east. The northern part of Kazakhstan has instead worked with the World Bank to manage the water flow into the Aral Sea share. Part of the Aral Sea in Kazakhstan is once again prospering thanks to intensive restorations supported by a $ 87 million project built and funded with the support of the World Bank. The embankment, known as the Kokaral Embankment, which is a key part of the project, has risen 3.3 meters in water level just seven months after its launch in 2005, even though scientists expected it to take 10 years. The water that rises so much.

“”[T]Was his success incredible? Masood Ahmad, leader of the World Bank team, which started the project in 2001, said: Improving the environment and ecology is the last priority for the government, but the Kazakhs did it.

The benefits of the joint efforts of Kazakhstan and the World Bank to save the northern part of the Aral Sea were as important from an economic point of view as ecological. The long-serving lifeline of Aral Sea communities such as the once endangered city of Aralsk has gradually revived, with an annual catch of 1,360 tonnes reported 10 years later. Is over 7,100.

And the World Bank’s Aral Sea restoration project is not yet complete. In Central Asia, innovators from 28 countries on five continents are participating and several new projects are underway aimed at restoring the landscape of overfished areas.

“Restoring the devastated landscape and working on better environmental management can revitalize many economic sectors while preserving nature’s services and natural assets,” said the World Bank’s Central Asian region. Former regional director Lilia Bulunchuk emphasizes. “In addition, making livelihoods more resilient can reduce people’s vulnerability to future shocks such as climate change, pandemics and natural disasters.”

Ambitious plans for reforestation

Rescue in the northern Aral Sea shows that ecological protection and economic growth can be achieved at the same time. Governments preparing to participate in COP26 have key interests, such as industry and indigenous communities, to come up with long-term solutions to existing threats such as deforestation and desertification, based on examples of cooperation. You need to work with someone (often a tireless guardian of natural resources). Identify other targeted interventions and positive political initiatives between the World Bank and countries like Kazakhstan that may have positive consequences for both economic and environmental protection.

Targeted tree planting activities can regreen large areas. (Photo: PIXTA / Alessandra_Ceja19)

A good example is the ambitious plan for large-scale reforestation in the United Kingdom, one of the UKs with the lowest forest rates in Europe. The government-sponsored Northern Forest project is expected to last for a quarter of a century and will cost € 500 million.

Overall, about 50 million trees are planted in more than 62,000 acres of dense belts in northern England, generating € 2.5 billion in profits and capturing millions of tonnes of carbon in just a few hours by train from Glasgow. ..

When it comes to biodiversity, the project has critics claiming that there are no newly planted forests in ancient forests, but that’s a step in the right direction. Bloomberg said the plan would “strengthen change” with other efforts to “regreen the British landscape.”

“Trees are part of our most important natural asset and a living proof of investment in future generations,” said Michael Gove, former UK Administrator of the Environment. “This new Northern Forest is an exciting project to create a ribbon of vast forest areas in northern England, providing a rich habitat for wildlife and a natural environment for millions of people to enjoy. Offers.”

Similar efforts are underway elsewhere on the planet to regrow forests and retreat deserts. Government can and should do more to ensure the success of all such efforts.

Alongside post-climate change, COP26 must address the crisis facing ecosystems that first appeared in the Sustainability Times.

sauce: Sustainability Times

Alongside climate change, COP26 must address the crisis facing ecosystems

SourceAlongside climate change, COP26 must address the crisis facing ecosystems

Back to top button