How Climate change impacts on human being?

Due to global economic, emissions and population growth trends, it is extremely unlikely that the warming of the planet will be able to stop below the 2 degrees Celsius levels as predicted by the Paris Climate Agreement. 

The Paris Accord, signed by 195 countries, undertakes to increase the global average temperature by “substantially less than 2 degrees Celsius” compared to the pre-industrial level. It also sets an ambitious target of limiting growth to 1.5 degrees, but the chance of achieving this is about one percent.                                                                                                                                   

In the research on a study published in Nature Climate Change by Adrian Raftery of the University of Washington, he mentioned, “If we want to avoid crossing the two-step limit, there is very little time left. The public should be very concerned.

The two-step limit was also established on the advice of climate scientists. Higher temperature rise will trigger changes with disastrous consequences – a significant increase in seabed, dry heat, waves of heat, and subsequent social unrest. 

 According to the study, global warming would cause 60,000 deaths globally by 2030, with 260,000 deaths in 2100 and the temperature of the air pollution will deteriorate.

The carbon intensity is decisive

The Washington study argues that with a 90% probability the average global temperature will increase by 2100 by 2-4.9 degrees. This would be a medium warming scenario modeled by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. New research analyzes trends in world population, gross domestic product per capita and carbon intensity over the last 50 years.                                                                  

Based on statistical models covering a wide range of emission scenarios, the study concludes that carbon intensity – the amount of CO2 emitted per unit of economic activity – will be the key factor determining the future of warming.                                                  

Technological advances should help reduce carbon intensity by up to 90 percent this century. Fastest drops should be in India and China – two fast-growing energy consumers. However, this drop will not be fast enough to help stop the temperature rise below two degrees.  Unfortunately, this ambition is overshadowed by Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US signature under a climate agreement. The United States is still the second largest producer of emissions.

The world population should grow to about 11 billion by the end of the century. However, the impact on temperature rises should be minimal: most of the population will be in sub-Saharan Africa, which is a small greenhouse gas emitter. It is not easy to accurately estimate the probability of thermal scenarios. If we look at the adoption of technologies and steps taken in the case of ozone layer and acid rains, it is clear that these things can change faster than people predict, indeed reducing energy prices from renewable sources should be the main driver of emission reductions.

NGS Picture Id:1777543
Source: nationalgeographic.com

The climate change is taking the price already

Climate change has led more than 59,000 farmers to suicide in India in the past 30 years. This is the result of a study by the University of California, Thomson Reuters Foundation. More than half of the Indian population is dependent on the agricultural sector. In the last few decades, tens of thousands of farmers have been trapped or drunk with pesticides due to non-seasonal droughts and rainfall. Because of the devastated crop, they face high debt. 

The Indian government has already introduced credit depreciation and crop insurance, and subsidies for fertilizers. However, the Farmers Union complains that the implementation of these measures is slow.       

 

WATER_5701
Source: thehansindia.com

                                                                                                                                                             

 Since 1980, the number of suicides in India has almost doubled, bringing more than 130,000 lives each year. Climate change is the cause of suicide in seven percent of cases. Only in 2015 has committed suicide more than 12,600 farmers, which is 10 % of the total number of suicides in 2015.   

The study also shows that each degree above 20 degrees has brought suicide of  65 people across the country. If the government does not interfere and help families adapt to a warmer climate, it is likely that the number of suicide will increase, given the ever-worsening climate change in India.

Barbora P.

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Is China becoming a champion in the battle against climate change?

China is the world’s most populous country with a population of approximately 1.4 billion. During the past 40 years the Chinese economy has been one of the world’s fastest-growing, becoming the second-largest in terms of nominal GDP by 2010. Decades of rapid industrialization brought double-digit GDP growth, booming exports, and expansive poverty reduction. Industrial development and economic growth were the main concerns of the country’s leaders, putting environment to the side-lines (under a policy of “developing first and cleaning up later”). This approach has taken its toll on the environment in China, turning the country into the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter and leading to high levels of water and air pollution.

China’s main environmental problems include: air pollution, water problems, soil problems, habitat destruction and biodiversity loss.

When it comes to water, China faces two issues: water quantity shortages on the one hand and severe water pollution on the other. Due to over-exploitation of some groundwater sites, more than 60,000 square kilometers of ground surface have sunk in China, affecting more than 50 cities. Exploitation mainly in the form of irrigation systems has also slowed down the Yellow River’s natural course and threatens to dry up the river valley. Up to 60 % of the country’s rivers suffer from pollution to such an extent that they cannot be safely used as drinking water sources. One third of the Yellow River is unusable even for agricultural or industrial purposes, due to pollution by factories and cities.

Biodiversity loss is also a significant threat to the Chinese ecosystems. The past decades of economic development have meant a massive destruction of habitats and pressure on the species living in China. Habitat loss and nature degradation by human activities are the most significant threats to biodiversity in China. According to a report by WWF, the nation’s Ecological Footprint has more than doubled between 1970 and 2015. Though China’s per capita footprint is lower than the global average, the nation is already consuming more than double its biocapacity, causing significant impact on the environment, including, forest degradation, drought, soil erosion, water shortages, increasing carbon dioxide and biodiversity loss.

A road towards environmental leadership?

Public frustration over the decline of the quality of life associated with these environmental issues has been growing in the past decade, becoming a strategic concern for Chinese leadership. Nowadays, the government is trying to implement greener policies without damaging the economy.

Environmental policymaking has been increasingly ambitious under the presidency of Xi Jinping. The vision of the current government is cleaner air and water, more efficient energy use, and global leadership on climate change. To reach these goals, the government called for closing inefficient coal and steel plants, increasing China’s electric car fleet, banning waste imports, and hardening pollution standards.

A battle against air pollution

In 2013 Beijing experienced a so called “airpocalypse”, which meant several days of heavy smog in the city.

air pollution
source: South China Morning Post, scmp.com

After this, China declared a “war against pollution”. New coal plants have been barred from opening and existing ones have been ordered to cut emissions. Major cities, like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou restricted the number of cars allowed on the roads. The country also reduced its iron- and steel-making capacity and shut down coal mines. These measures proved to be successful in reducing air pollution considerably in Chinese cities, in just four years. China has also been applying strict environmental standards and penalties on factories and power producers — the largest emitters of GHGs – and encouraging energy efficiency through market instruments.

We must mention however, that the Chinese battle plan against air pollution involved some rather aggressive actions too.  For example the removal of coal boilers used for winter heating in many homes and businesses, while there were no alternatives available yet, left some people without heat in the winter.

In January 2018 China suspended the production of more than 500 car models that did not meet its fuel economy standards, a move that serve as another example of how the world’s largest car producer is taking the lead in the battle against climate change. The Chinese government has also become the world’s biggest supporter of electric cars, subsidizing manufacturers. The country is apparently aiming for domination of the global electric-vehicle industry which might motivate global automakers to pick up the pace in their shift toward battery-powered cars.

China is no longer the world’s garbage dump

china recycling
source: chinadaily.com.cn

China had been processing at least half of the world’s exports of waste paper, metals and used plastic until 2017, when the country decided to introduce a ban on the imports of scrap materials. This ban has enormous consequences on countries like Australia, Canada, the UK, the USA and Japan and is forcing the world to rethink its approach to waste. China explained this move by arguing that the imported scrap materials were of poor quality, insufficiently cleaned and polluting.

Governance reform: the Ministry of Ecology and Environment

On March 13 2018, China announced that a new Ministry of Ecology and Environment was to be created, with the goal to consolidate environmental policy-making in one institution, for a stronger and better coordinated environmental agenda. The tasks of the new ministry include reducing emissions and leading the nation’s fight against climate change, protecting water resources and regulating underground water pollution, controlling agricultural pollution, etc., all of which until now fell under different agencies and organisations, as well as taking up all responsibilities of the former Ministry of Environmental Protection.

Remaining issues

The reforms mentioned above will undoubtedly lead to a cleaner environment in China which is much needed for the well-being of its citizens. In my opinion the country’s commitment to environmental protection and the battle against climate change is crucial for the success of the global efforts in this field, especially with regard to the withdrawal of the USA from the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change mitigation. What is less clear is how this new approach of Chinese politics to the environment is going to affect the country’s activities beyond its borders. President Xi Jinping has promised that China would not export pollution via its investments and foreign policy, most notably through its rapidly developing Belt and Road Initiative. However, China’s construction of military installations in the South China Sea, coal plants in Pakistan and Africa and mineral mines in the Congo paint a different picture.

So the main question remains: is China ready for making a global effort?

 

Orsolya Rigó

Why is “Fair Trade” important?

In the past decade or so, the awareness of the term „fair trade“ has grown exponentially. People usually connect it with chocolate or coffee, but it actually covers the markets of almost all kinds of products, for example fruit, vegetables, etc. While the fair trade products can have a reasonably higher price, that extra cost is worth every last cent. There are many reason why more and more people should consider buying only(or mostly) fair trade products. Farmers and producers of ingredients get a fair price for fair trading. Rather than receiving the absolute minimum of money for their products, they will get a fair and more liveable amount. Farmers and producers around the world get a better deal, which can mean a major improvement in their quality of life.

Apart from the fact that the farmers are paid more, fair trade certification certifies fair labor that ensures good working conditions, no discrimination, no child labor, and no forced labor. It gives a good opportunity for small farmers from developing countries suffering from extreme poverty and bad working conditions, while at the same time promoting enviromentaly friendly production.

Why is buying Fair Trade products „worth it“?

Some people are discouraged to buy fair trade as it can be more expensive which might be true, but not necessarily, as the fair trade producers try to stay competitive with their prices. Any additional cost however is more than worth the investment. When you buy fair trade, you know that relatively more of your money goes towards the farmers, it’s not just the manufacturing company and its stakeholders who will benefit from your purchase. You also contribute to a more equal and just society. You show that life is more than just saving a few cents in your culture, but about creating a fair and happier life for people around the world.

But let’s not forget that the consumers also benefit from buying fair trade products.

Fair Trade means high quality goods, which are often handmade, what means closer attention to detail which shows on the higher quality of products. Farmers grow and harvest the crops in a much smaller quantity, which can mean much more fresher and tastier products.

Fair Trade also promotes enviromentally sustainable production. Fair Trade is actively putting integrated farm management systems into practice, which have a major effect on improving soil fertility and preserving valuable ecosystems, as well as limiting the use of dangerous chemicals. That means production that’s safer both for you and for the people who grow it. Another of many advantages of Fair Trade is creating cooperative structures for the farmers, who are then able to invest Fair Trade earnings in their communities, improving housing, healthcare, and schools. 7. Fair Trade is trade farmers can count on.

Fair Trade means what you buy matters. By choosing Fair Trade products, you are not only accessing high quality products, you are making a difference in the lives of the people who grow the food you eat and the goods you use.

How do we recognize „Fair Trade“?

FairTrade-Logo.svg_

When buying a product in the supermarket, always try to look for the Fair Trade Certified label. It’s one of the most recognizable labels in the world, and is one of the most reputable ethical and enviromental certifications.

So next time you are out shopping for food, or other products, for example cotton or wine, you can feel better about buying fair trade products. You’ll know that not only you are contributing to a fairer, more just and more sustainable world, you‘re also setting up a sustainable future. You’re creating better conditions for a future generation to continue to produce fairly, while protecting the environment and doing our planet a favor.

Matej Makáň

Human is the reason

The weather is more and more unstable and it’s changing fast. Hurricanes, typhoons and tornados become stronger and more intense. Certain areas of our planet are afflicted with extreme droughts and immense floods. What is going on with the climate? One thing is sure, the atmosphere is going thought a period of major changes and each takes its price.

Výsledok vyhľadávania obrázkov pre dopyt carbon footprint

 

Fifteen years ago, the entire world was deeply shocked by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Living Planet Report 2002. Leading experts found that with current rate of natural resources use, the mankind would have no other choice by 2050 but to leave our planet Earth and search for another place to live. If changes are not made, ocean life will be dead, the forest will disappear, and the sources of drinking water will remain dirty.

The process of global warming plays a crucial role in this ultimate scenario. Our planet is getting warmer and it is not just an issue of ecology but as well as of economy and ethics. Sceptics often argue that periods, when our planet was warmed above the average, were several. What they are saying is actually true but the important thing in this case is the cause of the global warming. In the past the rise of the temperature was always a result of solar radiation fluctuation so the higher concentration of main greenhouse gas, the carbon dioxide (), was just a consequence of the warming. Nowadays is the situation inversed – the increasing amount of  in the atmosphere is the cause of the warming not the consequence.

The reason behind all of this are human beings. In the previous year we released to the atmosphere over 35 billion tons of  (since the 1870 over 600 billion tons). And the consequences? The level of  in the atmosphere is nowadays 43 percent higher than in the beginning of the industrial revolution in 1750. The industrial activities that our modern civilization depends upon have raised atmospheric carbon dioxide levels in the last 150 years significantly. The scientists also concluded that human-produced greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have caused much of the observed increase in Earth’s temperatures over the past 50 years. Let’s imagine the future of our planet without any change to come.

First, the change must come from the industry and of course from the way we live. Each human leaves on the planet set of greenhouse gas emissions so called “carbon footprint “. The carbon footprint comprises all greenhouse gas emissions released to satisfy all our needs and everyday activities from using electricity through transfer or hygiene to production and preparation of our meal. Every product we buy has its own carbon footprint. If we sum up all of them, there is over 4,9 tons of  emissions released per person every year. As usually on the top of the ranking is USA with around 20 tons per person. The EU countries are just behind with the average of 10 tons. In poor African countries it is just 1,9 tons. There is an increasing focus on these problems, but what can we do to fix them? An obvious solution is to start living green and become conscious of our effect on our planet. The experts argue it is necessary to decrease the average amount of emissions per person by 2 tons. If we want to maintain Earth- our home in optimal temperature, it would be necessary to change our attitude towards the use of resources. Stop to waste and try to consume less. We cannot influence the weather but by promoting a harmonious, balanced and sustainable development we can help it to become milder and by this to help ourselves.

Natalia M.

 

 

 

Is European Union a motor in the climate change action?

Environmental problems do not respect national boundaries. They transcend them. Therefore, multinational/supranational way of tackling these issue is very important and effective. The very first interest of the European Community was the economic development and expansion of a single market. However, with the growing salience of environmental issues the European Community began to focus on environmental management as a central basis of economic and social development. Clearly, the EU’s policy orientation has deepened as well as broadened. The area of environmental policy is one of the sectoral policies of the EU and it is an umbrella policy for several dimensions, such as climate change, water protection, sustainable consumption or biodiversity. It is important to emphasize that Union elaborates multiannual environmental action programs that establish actions to be taken in all areas of environmental policy. We can speak about general principles and essential framework of the environmental policy.

The Paris Agreement

Concerning the climate change the phenomenon of climate change is a transboundary issue. It needs a mutual concern of developing and developed countries as well as their mutual commitment to its mitigation. At the 21st COP, known as Paris Climate Conference, countries aimed to achieve a first universal legally binding document that would oblige countries to hold on to these commitments. The outcome of the 2015 UN climate negotiations is an inclusive, binding treaty that got ahead of the Kyoto Protocol. It builds upon UNFCCC and more than two decades of international negotiations. Paris Agreement entered force in November 2016 with necessary 55 countries accountable for 55% of greenhouse gas emissions.

The Agreement sets out a provision which implements the principle of common but differentiates responsibilities and respective capabilities of the Parties.

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EU’s capabilities with the respect to the Paris Conference

The EU was very active with respect to the negotiations. It played a key role in bringing the developed and developing countries to the conference and address the climate change issues. The EU has particularly approached small islands and least developed countries to build a large coalition and bridges between parties and even provided them with help regarding the development of their INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contribution of GHG emissions). This is believed by the EU itself to be a crucial point in shifting the dynamics of the COP 21 negotiations.

Conclusion

The most important priority for the EU toward Paris conference was the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and securing relative transparency with respect to the fulfilment of provisions. But is it enough commitment by the EU to tackle the issue of climate change? The EU’s objective was to conclude a treaty that would be binding for all countries. Secondly, this treaty was to include provisions on ‘fair, ambitious and quantifiable mitigation commitments by all parties. In this respect, it advocated for at least 40% GHG emission reduction by 2030. Thirdly, the limitation of global temperature increase to well below 2° above pre-industrial levels was by some countries seen as not sufficient for climate change sustainment and so the EU demanded the Agreement to incorporate a review mechanism with a further temperature limitation possible every five years. After all we can say that the EU’s goals were the most determined compared to other players, but the EU alone can not promise the moon without the cooperation of the worlds polluters that happens to be a biggest issue of today.

K. Homolová, FMV

 

Food Security in Slovak Republic

hydina-SR
Buy Slovak; Source: Rolnicke noviny

Food security is a basic human right and will be ensured when all people will have a constant physical and economic attitude towards adequate, healthy and nutritious food as well as to satisfy their nutritional needs and food preferences in favour of an active and healthy life.

Three pillars of food security:

  • Food availability – level and stability of food production, storage, distribution and processing
  • Access to food – the level of revenue and the proper functioning of the food market
  • Food use – nutritional quality of food as well as food safety

Food self-sufficiency in the country is the ability to ensure that the needs of the domestic market are met by its own production potential. The degree of food self-sufficiency is one of the most important indicators that reflect the overall economy and the social level of the country. The fact is that Slovakia’s food self-sufficiency is steadily declining.

As a member of The European Union. Slovakia participate in the food safety policy, which aims to ensure that EU citizens enjoy safe and nutritious food produced from healthy plants and animals.

European Union policy safeguards every part of the food production process from farming to consumption — by preventing food contamination and promoting food hygiene, food information, plant health and animal health and welfare.

One of the important political decision is to define an acceptable degree of dependence on the country from food imports from abroad. At the same time, self-sufficiency in food is regularly monitored. Appropriately chosen levels of food safety and self-sufficiency must provide citizens with enough basic food even during times of crisis on the world markets to preserve the elements of landscaping and the use of national natural wealth to maintain employment opportunities.

Case of Slovak Republic

There is no country that is totally self-sufficient in all kinds of food. Slovakia, however, is one of those countries that still can produce basic types of food. Nevertheless, more and more food from other countries is being imported into Slovak market. Even those Slovakia can produce at home. They displace the domestic food from the market, liquidate the domestic producer and the country’s production potential. Slovakia is one of the worst rated countries in Europe in terms of food security. According to the Global Food Security Index 2017, which was released by The Economist’s analytical unit, Slovakia finished globally at 34th place out of 113. Among the states of the European Union, only Romania (38th), Bulgaria (47th) ended in lower positions. Year-on-year, the Slovak Republic has gone down one bar. Although as the title of the ranking suggests, the ranking of countries does not exclusively reflect food safety from a qualitative point of view – it is just one of three main criteria. Other are affordability and availability of food. The goal of the ladder is to find out which countries are the most vulnerable and least vulnerable in the context of food.

Slovakia’s position in the overall ranking was reduced by several factors, such as state spending on agricultural research and development (44th), agricultural infrastructure (51st), road infrastructure (52nd) and the quality of the proteins (48th) in the food received, but, on the other hand, in the case of natural resources and resilience indicator Slovakia ranked 2nd, behind Denmark.

On the question of security control, on the contrary, Slovakia was above average in several indicators. For example, the country has received a full range of points for food safety, access to drinking water and the state of the food chain.

The rankings also evaluated the level of political stability, corruption rates, the democracy index, and other factors that may also affect the issue of food security. From the surrounding countries, the Czech Republic finished 23rd, Poland and Hungary were 27th and 30th, Austria 6th .

So, what we should do to increase food self-sufficiency in Slovakia?… Firstly, start from yourself and contribute to increasing food self-sufficiency and security in Slovakia. Secondly, rethink your eating habits and think about the origin of the food you buy and consume, and mostly when purchasing basic foods, prefer Slovak food as well as be interested in the events in Slovak agriculture and food industry.

 

Barbora P.

Why does the Slovak food production disappear from the shops?

With almost iron regularity, information about the decreasing share of Slovak food production in our stores appears in the media. Side by side, one question comes into sight. “Who is to blame?”. We can meet with one predominating opinion which is passing around in the public. The culprit for this situation is none other than business chains, especially those “foreign”. It is strange that we still distinguish foreign and domestic traders, whereas we are ignoring the fact that many producers of traditional Slovak products have been for many years in the hands of foreign owners and we call them “our” food producers.

The claim that merchants are the decision-maker to decide what appears on the store shelves is, of course, a myth. It is totally unthinkable that retailers would refuse to offer goods that their customers are interested in. In reality, the opposite is true, so if customers will prefer certain product, traders will do their best to offer them. It’s a simple equation that if the retailer will not follow, he does not succeed in a hard competition, and customer will spend his money in some other place.

 

“It is totally unthinkable that retailers would refuse to offer goods

that their customers are interested in.”

 

It is also questionable that how essential is the criterion of the origin of food for customers in Slovakia. Of course, if a journalist comes across the street and ask people if they are buying Slovak products, only few of asked will respond negatively. In the other hand, if you ask them indirectly the results can be surprising. For example in the case of question where are people shopping most often and according to which criteria they decide, only few of them will think about the origin of the products.

Important positions hold regularly criteria such as the quality, freshness, price acceptability, whereas we would expect that the origin of the food, given the frequency of this topic in the media, will be high among customer criteria.

And also the future of Slovak companies depends heavily on us – consumers. Something is not correct if we import products of lower quality from the foreign countries and we send there really top products. Once, when you will think about the situation in your neighbourhood, try to think about how you can change it. One of the ways how you can achieve this is by purchasing products from your local maker because this is how you support a team of people who work there, and you can be sure that what you buy is really among the best we have at home.

And so we come to a simple conclusion, which very well describes the following saying: Our customer, our master. If people started preferring Slovak production, the chains would not have a choice.

Veronika V.