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Weekly news update on climate change: Jan 16

Cities on the rise?

Alexander Lotsch's picture

The developing world is rapidly urbanizing, as a previous World Development Report noted. Low and middle-income nations are home to three quarters of the world’s urban population. Urban areas are likely to absorb almost all of the world’s population increase over the next two decades. The most populous urban areas tend to concentrate in coastal zones--China and India alone have more than a quarter of the world’s urban population and the world’s largest population living in low-lying coastal zones. Even Africa, generally considered a rural continent, has two-fifths of its population in urban areas, and a large concentration of coastal cities.

Innovative adaptation goes beyond “good development”

Nate Engle's picture

Innovative adaptation goes beyond good development

   Photo © Scott Wallace/World Bank

Adaptation involves both preparations and responses to climate change impacts. But how does it differ from simply carrying out "good development"? In many ways, adaptation is good development, at least up to a certain degree of climate change. Sustainable development, if achieved, makes society more resilient to climate stresses and better able to respond to climate impacts. However, one of the main arguments we will make in the next World Development Report is that climate change will challenge the current development paradigm.

An expensive band-aid?

Nicola Cenacchi's picture

PBS recently ran a Frontline documentary entitled “Heat”, on climate change. A section of the movie describes the status of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in the US, a technology that both the IPCC and the IEA consider necessary to achieve emissions reduction. I note that no tests have been run so far in the US to verify the technical feasibility, economic viability and safety of this option. Purely from the technical point of view, the task could be feasible, although extremely challenging. It’s the idea of storing huge amounts of CO2 underground or in the deep seas (less likely) that makes me doubtful. CO2 will need to be sealed away in carefully selected sites, but safety issues are only part of the picture.

How to hold back the ocean?

Sandy Chang's picture

How to hold back the ocean?

    Photo © William Lane/World Bank

Sea-level rise is not a phenomenon of increasing frequency, but rather increasing magnitude in a persistent and continuous way. The effect of climate change is most palpably felt in small, low-lying island states such as Panza Island, the southernmost island off Pemba in Tanzania. Farming and fishing are the main means of livelihood. Significant parts of the island, especially the lower elevation southeastern side, are inundated by seawater bimonthly, during the spring cycles and most prominently during the diurnal flood tides. The local residents report up to four feet of water in some areas, which have only become vulnerable in the past year. Previously agricultural land can no longer be farmed. The area near the local school has been flooding for the past 15 years. Salt water has intruded into all the wells on the island, so drinking water has to now be piped in from a neighboring island.

The National Adaptation Programmes of Action

Arun Agrawal's picture

The National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) are the most prominent national efforts in the least developed countries (LDCs) to identify priority areas for climate change adaptation. Now that most of the NAPAs have been completed (38 out of 48), it is time to ask if they matter. 

The NAPAs were completed at a price tag of near 10 million dollars for preparation and another anticipated 2 billion for implementation. It might appear they are a golden opportunity for the developed world to show that it is serious about supporting adaptation in vulnerable countries. But the NAPA reports continue to sit on the UNFCCC’s website, available to anyone to read but with little prospects of attracting funds for implementation – or so think many who participated in the NAPA process!