Monthly Archives: February 2018

Talanoa Dialogue: Jump-Starting Climate Action in 2018

This year opens a new phase for the Paris Agreement and a historic opportunity to jumpstart action to limit the most dangerous impacts of climate change and set the world on course to a carbon-neutral, sustainable future by 2050.

With the official launch of the 2018 Talanoa Dialogue in January, countries are now embarking on the first global assessment of collective efforts to achieve the Paris goals. Global stocktakes are a core part of the regular five-year cycles built into the Agreement to ramp up ambition and action.

Talanoa is a traditional Pacific island term that describes a conversational sharing of ideas and experience that leads to decision-making for the greater good. As envisioned in the recent United Nations climate negotiations led by Fiji, the Talanoa Dialogue aims to build trust and boost ambition, ultimately leading to a commitment by governments to strengthen their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by 2020 and work with stakeholders at home to identify the best ways forward.

Led jointly by Fiji and Poland, which will preside over this year’s negotiations, the Dialogue will include a preparatory phase and a high-level political phase.

The Dialogue will seek to answer three central questions about climate action:

  • Where are we?
  • Where do we want to go?
  • How do we get there?

A key focus of the conversation will also be the findings of a special report prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the leading international body of scientists reviewing research on global warming, expected in October. It will address the impacts of global temperature rise of 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) above pre-industrial levels and will identify potential pathways to limit warming to that level.

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Originally published on the WRI website

Agroforestry systems may play vital role in mitigating climate change

Agroforestry could play an important role in mitigating climate change because it sequesters more atmospheric carbon in plant parts and soil than conventional farming, according to Penn State researchers.

An agricultural system that combines trees with crops and livestock on the same plot of land, agroforestry is especially popular in developing countries because it allows small shareholder farmers — who have little land available to them — to maximize their resources. They can plant vegetable and grain crops around trees that produce fruit, nuts and wood for cooking fires, and the trees provide shade for animals that provide milk and meat.

The researchers analyzed data from 53 published studies around the world that tracked changes in soil organic carbon after land conversion from forest to crop cultivation and pasture-grassland to agroforestry. While forests sequester about 25 percent more carbon than any other land use, agroforestry, on average, stores markedly more carbon than agriculture.

The transition from agriculture to agroforestry significantly increased soil organic carbon an average of 34 percent, according to Michael Jacobson, professor of forest resources, whose research group in the College of Agricultural Studies conducted the study. The conversion from pasture/grassland to agroforestry produced soil organic carbon increases of about 10 percent, on average.

“We showed that agroforestry systems play an effective role in global carbon sequestration, involved in carbon capture and the long-term storage of atmospheric carbon dioxide,” he said. “The process is critical to mitigating or deferring global warming.”

However, carbon was not stored equally in different soil levels, noted lead researcher Andrea De Stefano, a graduate student at Penn State when the study was done, now at Louisiana State University. He pointed out that the study, which was published in December in Agroforestry Systems, provides an empirical foundation to support expanding agroforestry systems as a strategy to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration and mitigate climate change.

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Originally published on the Eureka Alert website.