Storing annually four per mil of the soil organic carbon stock (i.e. 4PM target) to offset current anthropogenic CO2 emissions is a proposal recently made by the French authorities ahead of COP21. It will be discussed in light of state-of-the-art scientific understanding. The combined implementation of policies reducing GHG emissions and increasing the land carbon sink would facilitate reaching the 2°C target, or if possible a lower level of global warming. Storing carbon in soil organic matter, allows to restore soil nutrients and to increase soil quality. Assuming a global soil organic carbon stock of ca. 820 GtC (over a meaningful depth for carbon sequestration, i.e. 0-40 cm), the 4PM target would result in the doubling of the current land carbon sink from 2.8 to 6.3 GtC/yr. If we further assume that net land use change CO2 emissions would be halted, this additional land carbon sink would counterbalance the current growth in atmospheric CO2, provided that it could be established within a few years. Nevertheless, the gradual development of a carbon sink in soils requires combining options for both agricultural lands and other land uses, including forests, highly degraded and desertified lands and wetlands and this would necessarily take several decades. The technical soil organic carbon sequestration potential of agricultural lands is usually estimated in the range 0.7 – 1.2 GtC/yr and options concerning other land uses (or integrated systems like agroforestry) have an extra technical potential that may reach 2.5 GtC/yr. However, with perennial vegetation restoration, C sequestration will first take place in the biomass. Moreover, carbon stocks in soils are vulnerable to changes in land use, in land management practices and to climatic hazards (e.g. droughts).
Soils rich in organic matter also better retain water (increased water holding capacity) which promotes the adaptation to climate change. Therefore biological carbon sequestration in soils is usually seen as a climate-smart agriculture ‘win-win’ option for sustainable intensification (compatible with agro-ecology and with transition to bioenergy), for mitigation and for adaptation to climate change. The adoption of best agronomic practices already allows a significant carbon sequestration rate, reaching locally up to 4 per mil (4‰) of the soil organic carbon stock for some of the documented examples. However, these examples are unevenly distributed with, in particular, little data for tropical soils. In addition, implementation of new agricultural practices is a highly complex objective since it has to fit with several social, economic and environmental conditions and drivers.
Climate change is threatening to push a crowded capital toward a breaking point.
By MICHAEL KIMMELMAN, Photographs by JOSH HANER FEB. 17, 2017
MEXICO CITY — On bad days, you can smell the stench from a mile away, drifting over a nowhere sprawl of highways and office parks.
When the Grand Canal was completed, at the end of the 1800s, it was Mexico City’s Brooklyn Bridge, a major feat of engineering and a symbol of civic pride: 29 miles long, with the ability to move tens of thousands of gallons of wastewater per second. It promised to solve the flooding and sewage problems that had plagued the city for centuries.
Only it didn’t, pretty much from the start. The canal was based on gravity. And Mexico City, a mile and a half above sea level, was sinking, collapsing in on itself.
It still is, faster and faster, and the canal is just one victim of what has become a vicious cycle. Always short of water, Mexico City keeps drilling deeper for more, weakening the ancient clay lake beds on which the Aztecs first built much of the city, causing it to crumble even further.
Congratulations Professor Stephen McCaffrey, University of the Pacific, USA, this year’s Stockholm Water Prize Laureate! Professor McCaffrey has been awarded the Prize for his unparalleled contribution to the evolution and progressive realization of international water law.
H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, Patron of Stockholm Water Prize, will present the prize to Stephen McCaffrey at a Royal Award Ceremony on 30 August, during the 2017 World Water Week in Stockholm.
Most human activities that use water produce wastewater. As the overall demand for water grows, the quantity of wastewater produced and its overall pollution load are continuously increasing worldwide. Over 80% of the world’s wastewater – and over 95% in some least developed countries – is released to the environment without treatment.
Once discharged into water bodies, wastewater is either diluted or transported downstream or it infiltrates into aquifers, where it can affect the quality (and therefore the availability) of freshwater supplies. The ultimate destination of wastewater discharged into rivers and lakes is often the ocean with negative consequences for the environment.
The 2017 edition of the United Nations World Water Development Report, entitled “Wastewater: The UntappedResource”, demonstrates how improved wastewater management generates social, environmental and economic benefits essential for sustainable development.
In particular, the Report seeks to inform decision-makers, government, civil society and private sector, about the importance of managing wastewater as an undervalued and sustainable source of water, energy, nutrients and other recoverable by-products, rather than something to be disposed of or a nuisance to be ignored.
The Story of Bottled Water, released on March 22, 2010 (World Water Day) employs the Story of Stuff style to tell the story of manufactured demand—how you get Americans to buy more than half a billion bottles of water every week when it already flows from the tap. Over five minutes, the film explores the bottled water industrys attacks on tap water and its use of seductive, environmental-themed advertising to cover up the mountains of plastic waste it produces. The film concludes with a call to take back the tap, not only by making a personal commitment to avoid bottled water, but by supporting investments in clean, available tap water for all.
Our production partners on the bottled water film include five leading sustainability groups: Corporate Accountability International, Environmental Working Group, Food & Water Watch, Pacific Institute, and Polaris Institute.
Morning, February 24th, National Harbor, Maryland, the Conservative Political Action Conference. Chin up, eyes asquint, Donald Trump floats to the lectern on a sea of applause and adulation. The building is shaking, and as fans howl his name – Trump! Trump! Trump! – he looks pleased and satisfied, like a Roman emperor who has just moved his bowels.
Illustration by Victor Juhasz
“Great to be back at CPAC,” he says. “The place I have really …”
The thought flies into the air and vanishes. Last year at this time, Trump was bailing on a CPAC invite because a rat’s nest of National Review types was threatening a walkout to protest him. There was talk of 300 conservatives planning a simultaneous march to the toilet if the formerly pro-choice New Yorker was allowed onstage.
The publication was launched at the Global Symposium on Soil Organic Carbon (GSOC) held at FAO headquarters (Rome, 21-23 March 2017). It provides an overview to decision-makers and practitioners of the main scientific facts and information regarding the current knowledge and knowledge gaps on Soil Organic Carbon. It highlights how better information and good practices may be implemented to support ending hunger, adapting to and mitigating climate change and achieving overall sustainable development.
Welcome to Transition Studies. To prosper for very much longer on the changing Earth humankind will need to move beyond its current fossil-fueled civilization toward one that is sustained on recycled materials and renewable energy. This is not a trivial shift. It will require a major transition in all aspects of our lives.
This weblog explores the transition to a sustainable future on our finite planet. It provides links to current news, key documents from government sources and non-governmental organizations, as well as video documentaries about climate change, environmental ethics and environmental justice concerns.
The links are listed here to be used in whatever manner they may be helpful in public information campaigns, course preparation, teaching, letter-writing, lectures, class presentations, policy discussions, article writing, civic or Congressional hearings and citizen action campaigns, etc. For further information on this blog see: About this weblog. and How to use this weblog.
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