Photo: Manikandan at the "INNOVATOR 2018" event in Abu Dhabi, UAE in February 2018. His innovation, the Marine Robot Cleaner, won the first place as Best Technology Project. Credit: UN Environment. - Photo: 2019

News Briefs on Climate Action and Climate Emergency

By J Nastranis

NEW YORK (IDN) – A young environmentalist in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has invented robots to help protect nature, reports the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). Asked about the role of children in creating a positive impact on the environment in the UAE, 11-year-old Sainath Manikandan said: “The backbone of a nation is its youth.”

Manikandan is a young environmentalist leading the way in finding innovative solutions to some environmental challenges in the UAE, through raising awareness within his community of how individual action can drive far-reaching, positive change. Having developed a passion and determination for championing environmental causes from a very young age, he has been supported by his family and the wider community in pursuing his goal of creating positive and enduring impact on the environment.

For Manikandan, technological innovation is at the heart of environmental protection. “As a green activist, I strongly believe that we can change our existing practices into green and sustainable solutions using technology,” he argued.

Inspired by the Sustainable Development Goals, and the UN Environment Programme’s Clean Seas and Beat Plastic Pollution campaigns, Manikandan created two prototypes of robots that support the principles and practices expressed under goal 14—Life Below Water, and goal 2—Zero Hunger. – UNEP article.

The Little-Known ‘Article 6’ of the Paris Agreement

Before the UN Climate Change Conference COP25 started on December 2, award-winning UK-based website Carbon Brief warned: “A little-known and highly technical section of the Paris Agreement could ‘make or break’ the regime – and its aim of avoiding dangerous climate change.”

Precisely this is what has happened. ‘Article 6’ rules, for carbon markets and other forms of international cooperation, was the last piece of the Paris regime to be resolved by COP25, after the rest of its “rulebook” was agreed in late 2018.

To its proponents, Article 6 offers a path to significantly raising climate ambition or lowering costs, while engaging the private sector and spreading finance, technology and expertise into new areas.

To its critics, it risks fatally undermining the ambition of the Paris Agreement at a time when there is clear evidence of the need to go further and faster to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

“If the Article 6 rulebook is to be agreed, a set of interlocking, overlapping and conflicting national priorities – a veritable ‘four-dimensional spaghetti’ of red lines – will have to be traded off at the December COP25 UN climate talks in Madrid, or, failing that, at COP26 in Glasgow in 2020,” wrote Carbon Brief.

It added: “This is a classic example of the horse-trading that characterises international negotiations. But the stakes are high ahead of the crunch 2020 talks, where countries are due to raise their currently inadequate ambition towards the 1.5C and ‘well-below 2C’ twin goals of the Paris Agreement.” – Article 6 Explainer

Greenland’s Rapid Melt Will Mean More Flooding

The Greenland Ice Sheet is rapidly melting, having lost 3.8 trillion tons of ice between 1992 and 2018, a new study from NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) finds. The study combined 26 independent satellite datasets to track global warming’s effect on Greenland, one of the largest ice sheets on Earth, and the ice sheet melt’s impact on rising sea levels.

The findings, which forecast an approximate 3 to 5 inches (70 to 130 millimeters) of global sea level rise by 2100, are in alignment with previous worst-case projections if the average rate of Greenland’s ice loss continues.

Changes to the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are of considerable societal importance, as they directly impact global sea levels, which are a result of climate change. As glaciers and ice sheets melt, they add more water to the ocean. Increasing rates of global warming have accelerated Greenland’s ice mass loss from 25 billion tons per year in the 1990s to a current average of 234 billion tons per year.

This means that Greenland’s ice is melting on average seven times faster today than it was at the beginning of the study period. The Greenland Ice Sheet holds enough water to raise the sea level by 24 feet (7.4 meters). – Read the NASA article.

Australia’s Bushfires Will have Long-Term Consequences

Exclusively reporting on new NASA data, The Guardian says that “bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland have emitted a massive pulse of CO2 into the atmosphere since August that is equivalent to almost half of Australia’s annual greenhouse gas emissions”.

It adds: “Analysis by NASA shows the NSW fires have emitted about 195m tonnes of CO2 since 1 August, with Queensland’s fires adding a further 55m tonnes over the same period. In 2018, Australia’s entire greenhouse gas footprint was 532m tonnes of CO2 equivalent.”

The UK newspaper quotes experts saying the pulse of CO2 from this season’s bushfires is significant, because even under normal conditions it could take decades for forest regrowth to reabsorb the emissions. But scientists have expressed doubt that forests already under drought stress would be able to reabsorb all the emissions back into soils and branches, and said the natural carbon ‘sinks’ of forests could be compromised.” – Read The Guardian article. [IDN-InDepthNews – 14 December 2019]

Photo: Manikandan at the “INNOVATOR 2018” event in Abu Dhabi, UAE in February 2018. His innovation, the Marine Robot Cleaner, won the first place as Best Technology Project. Credit: UN Environment.

IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate. –

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