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To nye rapporter understreker hastverket med å komme frem til en avtale i Durban

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Ny forskning viser atter en gang at det haster med å kutte utslippene av drivhusgasser. To ledende rapporter peker begge på utfordringene vi vil få med stadig mer ekstremvær i framtiden.

New research has once again highlighted the need for urgent action on curbing emissions of greenhouse gases. The International Energy Agency (IEA) warns us that unless emissions are curbed as a matter of urgency, we are locked into dangerous and irreversible climate change. More about it in the Guardian.

The 2nd report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) –  Summary for Policy Makers Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation  provides new evidence linking climate change and the extreme weather events currently being experienced globally, and that extreme weather events, such as heat waves and heavy downpours, will intensify in the future. This will increase the pressure and stress felt by particularly rural people in developing countries whose livelihoods depend upon natural resources.

These reports highlight the extreme urgency of the negotiators coming to an agreement in Durban on a new agreement for curbing emissions, but also the need to build resilience of communities and ecosystems to the increasing climate variability already being experienced. Even if the countries who have made commitments to curb their emissions and invest in renewable and alternative energy sources do so, we will still need to adapt to an increasingly variable climate.

In Madagascar, local fishermen and farmers are already experiencing the impacts of climate variability. “The sea is coming closer to the village,” says Jean Francois, a local fisherman and president of Vezo Mitsinjo ny ho Avy committee from Beheloke village on the coasts of southern Toliara in south western Madagascar, pointing to the small mud wall the community has built against the rising waters.  And the changing weather patterns are causing farmers to start fishing, he says. This is increasing the pressure on the marine resources, which this village is trying to protect through sustainable community co-management (supported by WWF).

However, as more farmers turn to fishing, it is harder to manage the resource sustainably and this is resulting in over exploitation of the resources, and less fish for the fishermen who depend on it for their livelihoods. In addition, when there are no steady rains, the cost of the farmers’ produce is much higher than usual, making it harder for the villagers to buy the food they need.  As a means to try and assist people such as Jean Francois to build their resilience against the impacts of climate change and variability, WWF in Madagascar has started to integrate climate change considerations into all of its work. This process has begun with capacity building of WWF staff about climate change, projected impacts, and how to consider these in their work programmes. Thus, for example, when WWF works with fishermen to manage the marine resources, staff will also consider the possible impacts that climate variability, such as increased flooding but less reliable rains, will have on the neighbouring farmers and how to mitigate those impacts on the marine resources, whilst assisting both the farmers and the fishermen to adapt by developing alternative livelihoods.

The experience of Jean Francois is just one story of how the changing climate is affecting poor people in Africa who depend on natural resources for their survival. Their stories can have happier endings that currently likely if the negotiators in Durban not only agree on a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol which will be legally binding, but also ensure the flow of new and additional funds for implementation of adaptation action in vulnerable developing countries.

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