The agreement reached late on the night of 10th December by the representatives of the 193 Parties to the Cancún Conference on Climate Change is a pleasing surprise, a breath of fresh air in the midst of the previous pessimism about debates on climate change. During the weeks previous to the conference, commentators were far from hopeful about the outcome.
The general trends of the worldwide ecosystem degradation are commonly well-known for long. Among the most recent studies however, two documentations released on the occasion of the UN’s International Year of Biodiversity 2010 deliver new and mostly alarming figures on the real extent of the world’s biodiversity losses. And for the first time ever, the economic and monetary values of Earth’s biological infrastructure and the manifold services it delivers for human welfare are taken into account within a comprehensive approach.
The phenomenon is well known since long, but concrete numbers are rare: more and more people are forced to relocate permanently from their homes, due to environmental degradation and ecosystem losses.
Projections for 2050, released by the International Organization of Migration in 2008, range from 25 million to one billion people displaced by the consequences only of climate change. Their livelihoods are threatened in many ways: farmers lose arable land due to droughts and other extreme weather events whereas islands and coastal areas are affected by devastating storm tides. As a result, people migrate from environments which no longer guarantee food stability and which no longer are hospitable for human civilization.
Social investments in MDG achievement must include job and livelihood generation as financing MDG will increasingly depend on public and private investments and not on official development handouts.
With the country’s unemployment rate reaching 8 percent last April, among the highest in Southeast Asia, around 3.1 million of an estimated labor force of 38.5 million were classified as unemployed in April. In January, the unemployment rate stood at 7.3 percent, with 2.8 million of an estimated 38.8 million jobless.
Last 22-25 June 2010, nearly a thousand scientists gathered at the Taipei International Conference Center to discuss the current understanding about the factors that induce such extreme events. Recent findings from the work of around 4,000 scholars were presented at the Western Pacific Geophysics Meeting (http://www.agu.org/meetings/wp10/) in Taipei in the desire to understand and help with more appropriate adaptation and mitigation strategies.
The recent approval from the Commission of a GM potato springs the debate about the acceptance of this technology in Europe after many years of refusal.
In March the European Commission authorized the cultivation of a genetically modified potato called Amflora, from the Basf company. This news would be unremarkable, except that it is 12 years since the previous GMO application received approval. What has changed so that such a decision can be made after so many years?