Forests and other ecosystems have been neglected in efforts to fight global warming, say officials and activists, calling for a joined-up approach to tackling biodiversity and climate crises.
BARCELONA, Dec 12 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Five years ago, when the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change was adopted, storing planet-warming carbon in ecosystems such as tropical forests, wetlands and coastal mangroves was not seen as a major part of the solution.
Now officials and environmentalists say goals to limit global temperature rise cannot be met without nature’s help.
Ahead of a U.N. “Climate Ambition Summit” to mark the fifth anniversary of the Paris accord on Saturday, held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they said threats to plants, wildlife, human health and the climate should be confronted together.
“It is time for nature to have a more prominent role in climate discussions and solutions,” said Brian O’Donnell, director of the Campaign for Nature, which works with scientists, indigenous people and conservation groups.
“Global leaders can no longer deal with the climate and biodiversity crises in isolation if we are to be successful in addressing either of them,” he added in a statement.
It noted scientific estimates that protecting the planet’s ecosystems could provide at least a third of the reductions in emissions needed by 2030 to meet the aims of the Paris pact.
Under that deal, nearly 200 countries agreed to limit the average rise in global temperatures to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius and ideally to 1.5C above preindustrial times.
But the Earth has already heated up by about 1.2C and is on track to warm by more than 3C by the end of the century, the United Nations said this week.
Understanding has accelerated in recent years about the crucial role ecosystems on land and sea play in absorbing carbon emitted by human activities – mainly from burning fossil fuels – and curbing potentially catastrophic planetary heating.
In 2019, a U.N. climate science report said the way the world manages land, and how food is produced and consumed, had to change to curb global warming – or food security, health and biodiversity would be at risk.
Zac Goldsmith, Britain’s minister for the international environment and climate, said nature had been “left behind” and life on the planet was being exhausted at a “terrifying speed”, as forests were cut down and seas polluted.
“We are denuding the world at a rate that would have seemed impossible to humans a century ago,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
As host of the next major U.N. climate negotiations in November 2021, in Glasgow, the British government has vowed to put protection for forests and natural systems firmly on the political agenda.
Goldsmith said the COP26 team was aiming to build a global coalition of governments and businesses committed to preventing deforestation in supply chains.
That follows a proposed new UK law requiring large companies to ensure the commodities they use – such as cocoa, rubber, soy and palm oil – are not linked to illegal forest clearing.
Britain also will push for countries to phase out close to $700 billion in annual subsidies worldwide for land use that harms the environment and degrades carbon-storing soils, such as intensive farming, he added.
That money could be redirected into efforts to safeguard ecosystems – something sorely needed as less than 3% of international climate finance from donor governments and development banks is spent on that purpose, Goldsmith said.
Financial markets, meanwhile, have yet to recognise the value of nature or the true cost of destroying it.
U.N. officials working on a new large-scale effort to channel payments to tropical countries and smaller jurisdictions that lock up carbon in rainforests hope to start turning that problem around by COP26.
Last month, they launched a “Green Gigaton Challenge” that aims to catalyse funding for 1 billion tonnes of high-quality emissions reductions a year by 2025 from forests in regions including the Amazon and Congo Basin.
Doing so would cut emissions by the equivalent of taking 80% of cars off American roads, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Tim Christophersen, head of nature for climate at UNEP, said the initiative was spurred by surging business interest in forest protection as a growing number of large firms commit to cutting their emissions to net zero by mid-century or earlier.
That means companies such as Microsoft, Salesforce and Disney need to offset emissions they cannot eliminate themselves by paying to reduce them elsewhere, through projects such as restoring degraded forests.
Under the gigaton challenge, donor governments will invest public money to put a floor under the price per tonne of carbon stored – which could be about $10-$15 – aimed at rewarding successful nature protection efforts that companies will eventually pay even more to back.
Countries including Costa Rica and Chile have shown interest in participating, but deals have yet to be brokered between forest-nation governments and the private sector.
Over the past decade, U.N. agencies have worked to develop the basis for a robust market in forest carbon offsets – but without firm international rules, carbon prices have not risen high enough to provide an incentive to keep trees standing.
“There is a need for countries to see some sort of reward for results” at a price that makes protecting forests financially viable, said Gabriel Labbate, UNEP’s team leader for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+).
The United Nations and others are still waiting for governments to iron out differences over a system to use carbon credits to meet emissions reduction targets under the Paris pact.
Christophersen warned that companies – especially in the oil and gas industry – should not see supporting forest protection as an alternative to slashing their own emissions.
“Nature is not a substitute for emissions reductions in other areas, and in particular for getting off fossil fuels,” he said.
(Reporting by Megan Rowling @meganrowling; editing by Laurie Goering. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org/climate)
HortiDaily‘s story on Jordanian women trained on modern agricultural technology published on 29 October 2020 is about empowering young women with leadership skillsets in the agricultural sector. This should not come as a surprise whereas elsewhere in the MENA region, Arab women are thriving in science and math education.
Sahara Forest Project and Al Hussein Technical University (HTU) completed the first phase of the Technical Training Program in Agricultural Technology, where 15 female trainees from seven different universities took part in a field tour of the Sahara Forest Project site in Aqaba.
This program comes to support and empower young women to obtain employment opportunities and the skills required to take leadership positions in the agricultural sector and support the applications of modern agricultural technology in Jordan.
Director of Sahara Forest Project in Jordan, Frank Utsola, expressed his pride in participating in bettering the opportunities of a group of young Jordanian women and widen their horizons to change the future of the agricultural sector in Jordan. “The young women were excited. During the tour, they asked about everything, every tiny detail, which gave me confidence in this group and their ability to find new ideas and applications in the agricultural sector and supports their visions for the future of agriculture in Jordan.”
Ms. Zein Habjoka, Program Manager at HTU was also positive, saying: “Today we launch a new path for the active female workforce in the agricultural sector. Today we offer students the opportunities, skills, and knowledge required to enable them to assume leadership positions and highly skilled jobs in the agricultural sector.”
Yasmine, one of the participants in the program, added: “Participating in this program and interacting with the project managers helped me a lot to understand what I want and how I can achieve it. Here I learned that there are many applications of agricultural technology that may help Jordan make use of its resources better and overcome the food security challenges that it faces.”
The female training program is supported by the Norwegian government and Costa Crociere Foundation. The importance of the program stems from the fact that food and water security is one of the most important objectives on the national agenda in Jordan, as it has become imperative to empower the younger generation to support small and large projects that work on the principle of sustainability in energy, water and food.
The training program was designed to utilize partnerships between the academic and industrial sectors, whereby expert Ruba Al-Zoubi and Zeina Fakhreddin guided the trainees throughout the course of the training, in addition to cooperating with the Mira Association to develop irrigation and agricultural methods.
The project harnesses renewable resources such as seawater and solar energy (panels seen on the roof of the building in the picture above) to produce desalinated water and cool greenhouses, which allows the cultivation of all types of crops throughout the year and makes the use of arid lands possible.
Sahara Forest Project was inaugurated in Jordan in 2017 under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon of Norway.
The current demonstration facility is located 12 kilometres outside the city centre of Aqaba. It uses saltwater, sunlight and desert areas to produce vegetables, freshwater, biomass and clean energy. The ambition of the project is to rapidly scale up- It is the understanding of the parties that the new land will have an area of 200,000 SQM allocated to develop the project, and another 300,000 SQM for further roll-out.
6 Leadership Lessons From World Champion Steve Kerr is an enlightening essay written by John Eades, Author, podcaster and CEO of LearnLoft @johngeades. It goes on like this:
There are leaders, then there are great leaders. When you experience a great leader in everyday life, it’s a different experience.
Enter Steve Kerr, head coach of the 2017 NBA World Champion Golden State Warriors. His team battled the Cleveland Cavaliers, led by LeBron James, and beat them 4 games to 1. Not only did he win his second NBA championship as a coach, but he also holds the highest winning percentage in NBA history and was previously named coach of the year. Here are a just a few takeaways we can learn from Kerr’s leadership style:
It’s not about the leader
A few years ago when the Warriors won their first NBA championship since 1975, Kerr almost refused the microphone and trophy after winning. He did the same thing again in 2017 but when he did finally speak he used all of his time to give praise to his other coaches, players, and team ownership.
He knows he is just a spoke in the wheel, and it’s his job to push those around him to levels they didn’t even know they were capable of, without wanting any credit.
Talent matters but it’s your job to enhance it
Kerr has been blessed with some of the greatest talent the NBA has ever seen. Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Clay Thompson and Draymond Green are elite-level players that any coach would love to have. Kerr has been quoted as saying, “Everyone who gets into coaching in the NBA knows it’s all about the talent.”
While it’s impossible to win titles in the NBA without talent, it isn’t a guarantee for success unless those players are getting better year in and year out. Kerr has made nearly every player he has ever coached not only a better basketball player, but a better human being.
Trust your team
News broke that Kerr was stepping away from coaching the team in the NBA playoffs because of nagging pain from back and neck surgery. Kerr stated he wouldn’t return to the bench until he was fully capable of giving the team 100 percent. There is nothing worse than a leader who doesn’t trust their team to do the job in their absence. It’s a sign of an unhealthy ego and micromanagement.
Kerr showed the ultimate trust in assistance coach Mike Brown and his players by stepping away during the most critical time in the season, and it created a stronger bond of mutual trust between the parties.
Always look for new ways to add value
While Kerr was absent from games, he didn’t stay away from the team entirely. He was an active participant in practices, game plans, and strategy to help his team be prepared as best as possible when they stepped on the floor without him.
Know your core values
Kerr is famous for being a student of leadership and always working on his craft as a coach. One offseason he went to see Pete Carroll the Seattle Seahawks head coach and Carroll taught him an important lesson: “Your leadership approach has to reflect your identity.”
After that meeting, Kerr identified ‘joy’ as a core value he had to lead with all the time. Knowing your core values is a critical part in finding your authentic leadership voice.
Empowerment is key
Kerr has built a culture of empowerment with the Warriors. So much so star Draymond Green said:
“So he [Kerr] built a culture to where, one man down, the next man has to step up. And it’s not just on him, it’s on everybody to come together and empower that next man and have his back through whatever the situation is, and ride for him just like you’d ride for coach Kerr.”
PUBLISHED ON: JUN 9, 2017 on INC.COM – The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
Hi key to success is “Don’t start out by answering questions; start by asking them”. He came up with four questions all leader should ask. Getting thde answers helps leading confidently and effectively. Below is the extensive post.
Have You Heard This One?
A company, feeling it was time for a shake-up, hires a new CEO. This new boss is determined to rid the company of all slackers. On a tour of the facilities, the CEO notices a guy leaning on a wall. The room is full of workers and he thinks this is his chance to show everyone he means business!
The CEO walks up to the guy and asks, “And how much money do you make a week?” Undaunted, the young fellow looks at him and replies, “I make $600 a week. Why?” The CEO then hands the guy $600 in cash and screams, “Here’s a week’s pay, now GET OUT and don’t come back!”
Feeling pretty good about his first firing, the CEO looks around the room and asks, “Does anyone want to tell me what that slacker did here?” With a sheepish grin, one of the other workers mutters, “He’s the pizza delivery guy.”
A successful start as a new leader doesn’t require bold actions or drastic measures. And if you try to start leading before you know what’s going on, you risk firing the pizza guy and looking foolish, like our CEO in the joke above.
A strong foundation for effective leadership is built not on dramatic acts but on understanding the environment, and building trust, so that when it is time to take action, your team will be willing to follow you.
To establish those things, here are four questions you should ask, why they are important, and some tips for how you can get the answers you need.
1. Ask: What is the vision?
This is all about knowing the direction you need to take the team. Leadership is influencing others to get something done, so it’s crucial to understand what the long term vision of your organization is, and the short term goals you need to meet to get there.
Get the answer: The best way to get this is to meet with your boss. Even if you already know the organization and each other, do this anyway. It’s important to sit down and discuss their specific expectations.
It can be intimidating if your boss doesn’t initiate a meeting, or seems too busy. But set it up and make it happen. You can’t lead effectively if you are uncertain about the direction you are going.
2. Ask: What are the team’s strengths and weaknesses?
This is all about who’s on your team and what they can do. Maybe you have been around a while and already kind of know. Or you are the newest kid on the block and don’t know anyone.
Either way, it’s worth the time and effort to deliberately evaluate the relative strengths of your team members and compare that to what your team is supposed to be doing.
Get the answers: Talk to each member of your team. Get to know them as people, and ask them to explain what they do, how they do it, and what challenges they face.
By developing an understanding of who is on your team and what they can (and can’t) do, you are laying the foundations of trust and improving your grasp of team capabilities.
When you know what obstacles are holding them back, you will be able to see how you can help clear the way forward.
3. Ask: What don’t you know that you should?
This is about your personal competence in your leadership position. It’s directly related to building the trust that is so essential on an effective team.
An early mistake new leaders can make is to try to act as if they already know everything. Even if you think you do, people will shut down on you if you act as though no one can teach you anything.
Get the answers: The best leaders I’ve known were always full of questions and curiosity, even when they thought they knew the answers. They were confident, but when they didn’t understand something, they wouldn’t try to hide it. Instead, they became intensely curious.
They would ask lots of open-ended questions like, “tell me more about how that works,” “how do you fix it when it breaks” and “where do you get the resources you need?”
Who would you rather follow – someone who pretends to know everything or the person who admits he doesn’t but actively strives to fill in a knowledge gap whenever he finds one?
4. Ask: Who do you need to know?
As the leader, a crucial part of your job is synchronizing the actions and efforts of your team with the rest of the world. To do this you have to have a leadership network.
Get the answers: Think about who your team supports or gets support from on a regular basis – it could range from suppliers to maintainers, marketers, customers, finance, and human resources. Also ask your boss who you should get to know.
Make a list, then go introduce yourself. Do it before you need something from them. Ask about what they do, how they interact with your team and about any challenges they are having that have involve your team. Simply connecting with people and showing that you are interested in them will open doors, improve your understanding of your environment, and give you places to turn when problems arise.
New Leader Questions – The Takeaway
Being a new leader can be tough even under the best of circumstances. One of the best things you can do to make it easier on yourself is to get clear on the direction, fill in your knowledge gaps, and get connected to others who can help you move your team forward.
This list just scratches the surface of how to focus your efforts in the early days of a leadership position. After all, firing the pizza guy is probably not the way you want to start things out!
According to Georges Couros in his blog (see here, published June 8th, 2017), leadership is not “an easy endeavor”. In this post, the author describes 10 characteristics of great leaders or as those that a good leader should have. Here is below the extensive text.
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Earth has been used as a building material for at least the last 12,000 years. Ethnographic research into earth being used as an element of Aboriginal architecture in Australia suggests its use probably goes back much further.
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