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Planning the Green Climate Fund so it works for African farmers

DURBAN CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE: With a backdrop of global financial woes and the European Union’s debt crisis, the Conference of the Parties at Durban convened with lower expectations but high stakes…

A Green Climate Fund could help African livestock farmers. International Livestock Research Institute

DURBAN CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE: With a backdrop of global financial woes and the European Union’s debt crisis, the Conference of the Parties at Durban convened with lower expectations but high stakes: deciding the future of the Kyoto Protocol. With long odds against a major breakthrough on a global mitigation policy, the Conference took important steps towards the “Green Climate Fund”.

Green Climate Fund good in principle but low on details

At the height of the Copenhagen Conference in 2009, developed countries (including the US) pledged several hundred billion dollars of adaptation funding annually to help poor, vulnerable countries adapt to climate change. At the Durban Conference this year, developing countries - such as China, India, and Brazil - said this fund was a pre-condition for their countries’ participation in a renewed Kyoto Protocol (or any mitigation effort after 2020).

Developing countries also requested fast-track money in the near term, equivalent to tens of billions of dollars. This should increase to hundreds of billions by 2020. African countries were concerned the “Green Fund” may not be an entirely new contribution, but rather the same money that they currently receive but with a new label.

By the end of the Conference, it was still in the clouds where and how the adaptation fund should be spent and on which adaptation projects. Moreover, it remains unanswered how developed countries will generate the support fund in their own countries.

Farmers in Malawi are already looking for ways to diversify agriculture. tlupic/Flickr

Africa needs help now

African countries cannot pay the high price required for carbon mitigation efforts. But at the same time they are very concerned about the potentially large damages they must accept in the coming decades.

Many African countries already suffer from hot temperatures and scarce but highly variable rainfall. Two-thirds of the African rural population lives in unfavourable climatic conditions such as arid and semi-arid zones. Habitations in the lowlands of Africa may become threatened when sea level rises: lowland and island settlers need to plan adaptive relocation wisely.

In addition, African countries largely rely on agricultural production. Around 86% of sub-Saharan Africa’s rural population lives in countries with agriculture-based economies. Of the total land area used for agriculture, 80% is pasture that is not ideal for crop production. Two-thirds of the farms rely on animals. Irrigation is rarely adopted, with only 4% of cropland irrigated in sub-Saharan Africa.

Sub-Saharan Africa Wikimedia Commons

For African residents, adaptation to climate change is a real-life challenge they must deal with now. When climate constraint is high and becomes even higher, they will have to practice a resilient system of agriculture. An agricultural system that relies solely on major crops under hot, dry, and variable climate conditions is likely to fail more frequently.

African farmers should plant and raise more heat-tolerant varieties of crops or species of livestock. In the lowland arid savannas, farmers can raise goats and sheep instead of raising beef cattle at a commercial scale. Forests provide valuable resources farmers can turn to in a warming world. They provide trees and fruits, shelter for animals, and absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

In designing the details, remember the farmers

It remains to be seen what the Durban decisions on the Green Climate Fund mean for African countries. Promises of hundreds of billions of dollars for adaptation in developing countries first appeared in Copenhagen two years ago. By the end of the Durban conference, there was still no concrete deal on the nature, size, and sources of the fund. But the proposals and subsequent efforts by the rich countries to support vulnerable sectors and regions of Africa are both economically reasonable and ethical.

On the other hand, in adapting to climate change, governments, adaptation boards, and international trustees such as the World Bank cannot be expected to understand the full scope of measures needed. The farmers who cultivate every day in the fields will have to take these measures. When international bodies design adaptation support mechanisms, they need to remember to maintain the flexibility to accommodate farmers’ needs.

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12 Comments sorted by

  1. Douglas Cotton

    logged in via Facebook

    With the realisation now spreading among thousands of scientists that the IPCC models are built on a fundamentally wrong assumption of a flat Earth, with a consequent error of 90 degrees in the calculation of the radiative temperature (255 deg.K) it will soon become urgent to dismantle plans for this Green Climate Fund.

    In addition, we have all been fooled by the IPCC claim that photons sent back to the surface were absorbed by the surface. The FACT is they are not. The surface merely scatters…

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    1. Paul Crayfisher

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Douglas Cotton

      "In addition, we have all been fooled by the IPCC claim that photons sent back to the surface were absorbed by the surface. The FACT is they are not. The surface merely scatters them back into the atmosphere." can you explain me then why cloudy nights are usually much warmer then nights with clear sky?

      BTW, here is an example of flat atmospheric climate model:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Global_Atmospheric_Model.jpg

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    2. Douglas Cotton

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Crayfisher

      The presence of clouds usually means high relative humidity. Water vapour varies between about 0.5% and 4% of the atmosphere, so may well be towards the high end of the range in the particular region.

      During the day thermal energy from direct solar insolation enters the surface and, at night, it exits the surface. (The models ignore day/night cycles it appears.) Despite what the models say, more than half the energy exits by means other than radiation, notably evaporation and diffusion which…

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    3. Douglas Cotton

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Crayfisher

      Regarding the models and the energy diagrams, all such diagrams show average solar insolation at TOA which is calculated by taking the full value of about 1,368 W/m^2 and dividing by 4 because the area of the flat Earth disc is a quarter of the surface area of a sphere. So they are treating the Earth as a flat disc receiving a quarter of the maximum radiation uniformly throughout the day and night and uniformly at all latitudes!

      In reality, we have day and night and variations in between as the Earth spins. So the calculation of radiating temperatures (as per blackbody theory) which are related to fourth roots of the radiation means that the 255 deg.K figure has absolutely no connection with a spinning sphere whatsoever.

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    4. Paul Crayfisher

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Douglas Cotton

      "When you insulate hot coffee in a vacuum flask there are mirrors on the internal walls reflecting radiation back into the coffee and the rate of heat transfer to the outside is slowed down, but the coffee does not get hotter." true, but we are in the situation where the gas under the stove is on, and we are putting additional isulation - then the coffee can get hotter. Have you even cooked anything Doug?

      Re "more than half the energy exits by means other than radiation", at the end of the day the only way the energy can escape the plante is through radiation, regardles of the way the energy is distributed in the atmosphere, there simply isn't anything in space that the earth could transfer the heat - unless you believe in ether - do you?

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    5. Douglas Cotton

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Crayfisher

      Yes, and I agree that when there is net positive radiative flux (which is rarely more than 0.5% of total incoming radiation at TOA) then in fact that 0.5% is going into the system and causing warming due to natural causes such as cloud cover variations, pressure variations, volcanoes etc.

      And, as happens about as often in the long run, when we have minus 0.5% we get cooling. So what? Carbon dioxide is not causing that 0.5% for how else could we also get negative values?

      At present throughout…

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    6. Douglas Cotton

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Crayfisher

      PS We were talking about clouds at NIGHT. There is no gas under the stove (sunshine) at night. Sure it would get warmer in the sunlight on a sunny cloudless morning. My main point was that it was water vapour involved, not carbon dioxide. And as carbon dioxide does not cause temperature variations other than cooling during the day, it does not cause water vapour quantities to vary.

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    7. Douglas Cotton

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Crayfisher

      And here's a bit more evidence, strangely omitted in all the greenhouse explanations. Note the yellow sections in this plot which represent the incoming solar energy that has been absorbed. Note how much is in the infra-red. Some of those big potholes are due to carbon dioxide

      http://earth-climate.com/spectral-content.gif

      Yes. carbon dioxide also has a cooling role. It absorbs incoming infra-red radiation from the Sun and sends some straight back to space. This prevents extra warming in daylight hours - the very time when polar ice can melt when it is above freezing point.

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  2. Warwick Brown

    Retired

    On this topic of African agriculture, I am interested in seeing the experts answer an ongoing problem with the accepted marginal situation in many areas of African agriculture. Is anyone looking (or talking about) the increasing intrusion of supposed carbon offset plans where, as an excuse for the climate conscious and aware industrialised countries continuing to pump out carbon, they count tree-planting in those same African agricultural lands as offsetting their non-action?

    Is pushing African farmers off more and more land ethical when not daring to concentrate the minds of the 'climate action now' populations on their own particular carbon-use hanging?

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  3. Mike Hansen

    Mr.

    Moderators of the Conversation. You need to take some responsibility here. Your inaction allows this attention seeking serial crank to cut and paste his pseudo-science nonsense from thread to thread thus derailing any sensible on topic discussion.

    This article is about Climate Change and African farmers. Warwick Brown raises a very important point but immediately any hope of a discussion is lost in the avalanche of posts from Cotton.

    While you allow this Walter Mitty to spam all the climate articles, everyone else has their freedom of expression denied.

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    1. Douglas Cotton

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      And the whole paradigm under which a "Green Climate Fund" is supposed to be necessary is one which is based on incorrect assumptions and inaccurate, unrealistic climate models of a supposedly flat disc shaped Earth which is supposed to be receiving solar radiation which is incorrectly supposed not to include infra-red radiation that carbon dioxide is stopping in its tracks before it warms the Earth.

      See the first paragraph of my first post.

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  4. Gideon Polya

    Sessional Lecturer in Biochemistry for Agricultural Science at La Trobe University

    The hopefully concrete result from the otherwise disastrous Durban Climate Change Conference was for a $100 billion per year disbursement to Developing Countries from a Green Climate Fund. Every bit helps in a hungry world and drought-ravaged Africa but Climate Debt versus Climate Credit analysis reveals that $100 billion pa to be grossly deficient.

    One can calculate the Net Climate Debt of all countries in the World. In the worsening climate crisis, the contribution of each country to elevated…

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