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University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute

 

Thu 26 Mar 18:45: A trillion trees – A trillion reasons to thrive!

A trillion trees – A trillion reasons to thrive!

Stuart Dainton , will introduce this international project and explain that it is not just about planting trees but that their vision is to see one trillion trees re-grown, saved from loss and better protected around the world by 2050. He will talk about how this worldwide collaborative project aims to do this and to work towards a world where people and nature can thrive.

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Thu 26 Mar 18:45: A trillion trees – A trillion reasons to thrive!

Conservation-related talks - 2 hours 51 min ago
A trillion trees – A trillion reasons to thrive!

Stuart Dainton , will introduce this international project and explain that it is not just about planting trees but that their vision is to see one trillion trees re-grown, saved from loss and better protected around the world by 2050. He will talk about how this worldwide collaborative project aims to do this and to work towards a world where people and nature can thrive.

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Thu 26 Mar 18:45: A trillion trees – A trillion reasons to thrive!

Conservation Talks - 2 hours 51 min ago
A trillion trees – A trillion reasons to thrive!

Stuart Dainton , will introduce this international project and explain that it is not just about planting trees but that their vision is to see one trillion trees re-grown, saved from loss and better protected around the world by 2050. He will talk about how this worldwide collaborative project aims to do this and to work towards a world where people and nature can thrive.

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Thu 26 Mar 18:45: A trillion trees – A trillion reasons to thrive!

Conservation at Cambridge - 2 hours 51 min ago
A trillion trees – A trillion reasons to thrive!

Stuart Dainton , will introduce this international project and explain that it is not just about planting trees but that their vision is to see one trillion trees re-grown, saved from loss and better protected around the world by 2050. He will talk about how this worldwide collaborative project aims to do this and to work towards a world where people and nature can thrive.

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Registrations open for the 14th international conference on Community-Based Adaptation (CBA14)

Delegates can now book their places for a leading international event focused on community-based adaptation to climate change.

The 14th International Conference on Community-based Adaptation to Climate Change (CBA14) will take place in Bangkok, Thailand, on 18-21 May, 2020. Registration has now opened.

CBA14 will link the international community of practice on community-based adaptation, inviting participants to share best experience, build adaptation capacity and drive ambition for effective local climate action.

Some 300 people are expected to participate, including practitioners, grassroots representatives, local and national government planners, policymakers and donors. The conference will provide an innovative interactive space for participants to share good practice and drive forward efforts to achieve a climate-resilient future.

Register for CBA14Three themes

The conference will have three key themes:

  • Climate finance: how can public and private sector finance be accountability and transparently mobilised to scale up climate action, while remaining inclusive? 
  • Adaptation technology: how can adaptation technology be used to bring about adaptation at national level, and be integrated through policy and finance?  
  • Responsive policy: how can social movements inform policy that is ambitious enough to meet the Paris Agreement targets and improve climate adaptation for communities?
Linking to the international adaptation agenda

CBA14 will continue conversations from the September 2019 'Building a resilient future' event in New York, as well as from Development and Climate Days (D&C Days) at COP25 in Madrid. It will pick up on the outcomes from the Gobeshona conference in Bangladesh in January 2020, and set the stage for international meetings throughout 2020, including London Climate Action Week and D&C Days 2020.

CBA14 will also link to the Global Commission on Adaptation's ‘Year of Action’ on climate adaptation and its Locally-led Adaptation track, and continue to inform the least developed countries’ LIFE-AR intiative, which is developing a long-term vision for adapting towards a climate-resilient future by 2050.

Sponsor delegates from the global South

IIED is seeking to make CBA14 as inclusive as possible. We want to bring people together from all walks of life to share their lived experiences of climate challenges and community action to adapt. 

We are seeking support to enable us to offer full subsidies for students and practitioners from community organisations in the global South who may not have the resources to attend. 

If your organisation is interested in supporting CBA14, please email CBA programme manager Teresa Sarroca (teresa.sarroca@iied.org).

About the organisers 

CBA14 is organised by CARE, the Climate Justice Resilience Fund, the Global Resilience PartnershipIrish Aid, Practical Action and IIED, in collaboration with BRAC.

Is Davos signalling the end of business as usual?

As world leaders in politics and business gather in Davos, IIED director Andrew Norton considers progress on the event’s ‘business with purpose’ agenda and asks how a progressive sustainability manifesto can omit climate change.

From the vast bushfires of Australia to the not-so-snowy mountains of Davos, the impacts of climate change are impossible to ignore. This week, the world is watching the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting to gauge how global leaders will react.

Government and business leaders are already responding to the need for concrete action – including UK leadership and commercial giant Microsoft – by putting in place policies and programmes to become ‘net zero’ by 2030 or 2050 or ‘decarbonise their value chains’. 

But the time for gestures is past. None of the announcements or actions to date will achieve the just transitions needed in the time available. 

Unless, that is, governments enact and execute policies strong enough to have a chance of both meeting their own ambitious emission reduction targets and actively tackling inequality, while at the same time large multinational companies fundamentally change their business models – ideally working together. 

Moving on from greenwash? 

This is an interesting moment to think about what investors and business must do, in terms of the speed of transition and in the context of limited progress in the intergovernmental UNFCCC process. Lack of progress at the 25th Conference of the Parties (COP25) in December threw cold water on hopes that the climate emergency will be a universal priority in the short term. 

There are myriad indices and benchmarks on corporate sustainability. But few have an accountability mechanism to inspire confidence in the assessments, or truly help consumers, investors and workers identify and differentiate between the good actors, those that are trying, and the bad guys. 

One thing is very clear: general platitudes about supporting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) simply don’t cut it anymore. 

Perhaps the growing public appetite for business to take real, transparent action on climate change inspired CEO Larry Fink to sign BlackRock up to the Climate Action 100+ initiative earlier this month – as well as a desire to stem criticism of the company’s investments in Canadian tar sands. 

Fink arguably kicked the ‘purpose’ agenda off at Davos two years ago, and this has now been further defined by British Academy research: "the purpose of business is to solve the problems of people and the planet profitably and not profit from causing problems".

Whatever the motivation, in joining this scheme BlackRock has now committed to reduce its climate impacts and – importantly – publicly disclose how, enabling investors to assess progress more clearly.  

Manifesto calls on companies to do more

So, as an organisation that prides itself at being on the cutting edge of global developments, how is WEF doing on the purpose agenda? At first glance it looks pretty good. 

This year’s meeting focuses on the role of companies in creating more sustainable and just societies and will launch the Davos Manifesto on business purpose: a ‘set of ethical principles to guide companies in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution’.

The three-point manifesto sets out how companies have a role to play in society beyond generating profit by contributing to people’s and communities’ aspirations in all the areas they operate in. It advocates that environmental, social and good governance performance should be measured and reported on and that human rights should be integrated along global supply chains. It also calls for zero tolerance of corruption and the transparent use of data. 

Crucially, the manifesto addresses the issue of accountability, going so far as to say that company leaders should have their renumeration packages tied to these indicators (which is likely to be popular with the public, if not all CEOs). 

Ignoring the world’s hottest topic 

The largely progressive manifesto offers one very striking omission. While the text talks about companies being good environmental stewards and ‘looking after the material universe for future generations’, even referencing the biosphere, it avoids any mention of the climate crisis. 

Given the centrality of climate and looking at other aspects of the Davos agenda – Greta Thunberg’s attendance, for example, and plans to make the event carbon neutral – the omission begs serious questions.

Why is climate change not explicitly addressed? Is it due to pressure from the climate deniers in the big polluter nations including the United States, Saudi Arabia and Australia? Or from the fossil fuel companies who support so much of WEF’s work? Or is WEF simply ‘purpose-washing’ its agenda? 

IIED has been looking at this broad area. Our recent blog series ‘Profit with purpose: the role of business in achieving sustainable development’ brings insights from a range of key stakeholders within the business and investment world. 

A strong message emerging from this series is that climate concerns must be front and centre in the purpose debate. IIED’s research and thinking on climate change also highlights how it has the potential to massively amplify global inequality, through the disparities in impacts on poor countries and communities and rich ones.

Supporting business with purpose

Getting real and measurable progress on the business with purpose agenda – including the climate emergency – is not straightforward. But this is vital to achieving the global goals and realising the ambition of our own 2019-2024 strategy.

Here at IIED, we are keen to work with businesses, investors and organisations that have a long-term interest in an equitable future with a viable global ecology. When the majority of companies can demonstrate and are prepared to be held account for that, then we really will have moved beyond business as usual.

Mon 20 Jan 14:00: CCfCS Climate Crisis Game

Conservation at Cambridge - Mon, 20/01/2020 - 14:41
CCfCS Climate Crisis Game

Players are part of a team representing one of the world’s major nations or a global corporation. One additional team will also take on the role of the United Nations who are tasked with persuading nations to sign up to a set of climate change commitments. Nations must balance their political priorities and national economy with any commitments they make. Meanwhile, corporations may have the keys to technological solutions to climate change.

The game is intended to illustrate the difficulties that stand in the way of climate change policies in the form of geo-politics, government budgets and global industry.

Climate Crisis was demonstrated at the Playful Learning Conference in July 2019 and is hosted by Crisis Games.

Thursday 30 January 2 to 5 pm Centre for Mathematical Science, CB3 0NS

SIGN UP : https://forms.gle/duxbKfnrnbBKGsSJ9

Please note that places are limited to 25 people with a waiting list.

Bring your own cup for refreshments.

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Mon 09 Mar 13:00: Hydrological networks and flow of the Greenland ice sheet

Conservation Related Talks and Seminars - Mon, 20/01/2020 - 11:17
Hydrological networks and flow of the Greenland ice sheet

Glaciers drain ice sheets by transporting ice from the interior to the coast where ice is discharged into the sea as icebergs. In Greenland, glaciers are flowing faster, posing a global risk of accelerated sea level rise. In this talk I report outcomes from the interdisciplinary RESPONDER project (www.erc-responder.eu), which is investigating hydrological networks and flow of the Greenland ice sheet. Using GPS -assisted drones with high accuracy, the team tracked meltwater pathways and found surface water to descend rapidly to the bed when supraglacial lakes are intercepted by extensional fractures forming along pre-existing structural weaknesses. We used a hot-water drill to gain access to the bed at specific targets, which included the shore of a rapidly draining lake, and the drained lake floor where a hydrological connection supplied a significant, but varying amount of surface water directly to the basal drainage system. With sensors deployed at the bed and within the ice, we observed the basal conditions that drive fast glacier flow.

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Mon 09 Mar 13:00: Hydrological networks and flow of the Greenland ice sheet

Conservation at Cambridge - Mon, 20/01/2020 - 11:17
Hydrological networks and flow of the Greenland ice sheet

Glaciers drain ice sheets by transporting ice from the interior to the coast where ice is discharged into the sea as icebergs. In Greenland, glaciers are flowing faster, posing a global risk of accelerated sea level rise. In this talk I report outcomes from the interdisciplinary RESPONDER project (www.erc-responder.eu), which is investigating hydrological networks and flow of the Greenland ice sheet. Using GPS -assisted drones with high accuracy, the team tracked meltwater pathways and found surface water to descend rapidly to the bed when supraglacial lakes are intercepted by extensional fractures forming along pre-existing structural weaknesses. We used a hot-water drill to gain access to the bed at specific targets, which included the shore of a rapidly draining lake, and the drained lake floor where a hydrological connection supplied a significant, but varying amount of surface water directly to the basal drainage system. With sensors deployed at the bed and within the ice, we observed the basal conditions that drive fast glacier flow.

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2020: the year to get money where it matters

More new initiatives, such as the Global Commission on Adaptation’s Locally Led Adaptation Action Track, are beginning to recognise the critical role of poor and marginalised people in tackling the climate emergency. From the Gobeshona conference, Andrew Norton and Saleemul Huq explain why a reimagined climate finance system that gets money into the hands of those people must be high on the 2020 ‘super year’ agenda.

For climate and sustainable development policy, 2020 is the most important year since 2015 and the signing of the Paris Agreement. In less than ten months' time when climate negotiators meet in Glasgow at COP26, they will be charged with reaching agreements and raising ambitions high enough to realise the promises of Paris, which pledged to bring the escalating climate emergency under control.

But for the 2020 ‘super-year’ to truly deliver, decision makers must recognise the interconnected nature of the global challenges we face: the climate emergency is intertwined with rising inequality, ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss. Only systemic change can tackle such complexity. There are no silver bullets.

Central to this systemic change is ending the marginalisation of poor women and men from decision making, finance, resources and essential services (such as water, sanitation and so on).

Investing in locally driven solutions – where communities are engaged in decisions on how investments are spent – not only addresses this marginalisation of the voices that matter most, but can also tackle the interlinking crises more effectively, efficiently and accountably.

Emerging shifts must embrace ‘business unusual’

Climate finance – money to help developing countries reduce emissions and adapt to climate change – is the ideal ‘lubricant’ to set this systemic change in motion. But IIED has shown that less than 10% of global climate funds prioritised local action between 2003-16.

And that which is delivered is directed to short term interventions by distant ‘experts’, accountable to donors and aid agencies rather than to communities.

These donors and aid agencies tend to engage and listen first to the priorities of powerful stakeholders rather than those of the most vulnerable – despite abundant evidence that communities impacted by climate change often know how best to spend the money.

But, the tide is beginning to turn…

Global initiatives are increasingly recognising the critical role of local communities in addressing the climate, biodiversity and poverty crisis. For example, the Asian Development Bank’s Community Resilience Partnership Programme, launched in September, builds on IIED’s 'Money where it matters' programme and initiatives of Slum Dwellers International (SDI) and the Huairou Commission among others. And this week at the Gobeshona conference in Bangladesh, the Global Commission on Adaptation will launch its Locally Led Adaptation Action Track.

For these global and regional initiatives to address the quality and quantity of climate finance reaching the local level, they must set the bar for what ‘business unusual’ really looks like.

Practical framework puts people at its core

Throughout 2020, IIED and partners will continue to champion the 'Money where it matters' framework. Through decades of research and on-the-ground support, the framework reimagines the climate finance landscape. It provides practical solutions to overcome donors’ and aid agencies’ real and perceived challenges in financing locally driven climate action at scale.

Importantly, this framework is embedded in local, poor and marginalised people’s lived experiences from rural and urban contexts. It covers many sectors – from energy to forestry – and operates across formal and informal markets. The framework ensures local communities remain at the heart of the systemic shift from business-as-usual to business unusual.

The framework is built on the following key elements: 

  • Grounding principles for good governance: 15 principles set out how good climate finance is governed. This was validated at London Climate Week with local partners including the Huairou Commission, SDI, WIEGO (Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing) and the Least Developed Countries' Universities Consortium for Climate Change (LUCCC).
     
  • Mechanisms that deliver: we have identified a set of approaches that enable state, private sector and civil society institutions to deliver – at scale – flexible climate finance that is in line with local communities’ priorities while also tackling fundamental governance challenges.

    Many are already addressing the poverty and biodiversity crises alongside climate change. Examples include decentralised climate funds, decentralised renewable energy schemes, forest and farm producer organisations and slum dweller urban poor funds. These mechanisms are led by, or place most decisions into the hands of, poor and vulnerable communities.
     
  • The right enabling environment: delivering climate finance to the local level is complex and cannot work in isolation. We seek to help governments create, and civil society and private sector advocate for, the surrounding policy, governance, safeguards, knowledge and learning context to support poor and marginalised people lead informed and deliberative decisions about their future under socio-economic and climate uncertainty.
     
  • Measuring success: one of the largest barriers to financing locally driven climate action is being able to track the finance to the ground, and to learn from the many benefits – and challenges – of local activities.

    IIED is working with partners to develop top-down and bottom-up solutions to the monitoring, learning and tracking of local climate action. This includes research to ensure digital technologies empower rather than disempower poor and marginalised people.
     
  • Addressing the ‘missing middle’: Currently, donors and aid agencies do not provide finance on suitable terms to deliver locally led climate action. 'Money where it matters' can support donors and aid agencies to reform existing or create new climate funds for incubating this reimagined climate finance system.

Over the coming months IIED and partners will publish briefings setting out each of these elements. And throughout 2020 we will deepen this framework and support donors, governments, private and civil society actors to implement it.

We know the framework isn’t perfect and throughout this process we will work closely with community representatives from the frontlines to continue to strengthen the approach. In the meantime, we’re championing the framework here at Gobeshona.

As the GCA launches its Locally Led Adaptation Action Track (on Wednesday, 23 January) we will be encouraging donors, aid agencies and governments to step forward with truly ‘business unusual’ approaches for getting money where it matters.

With thanks to Marek Soanes, who contributed to this blog. Marek leads the 'Money where it matters' programme.

Australia's threatened bats need protection from a silent killer: white-nose syndrome

Biodiversity News - Mon, 20/01/2020 - 04:34
It's been a deadly summer for Australia's wildlife. But beyond the fires, we need to act now to protect bats -- which make up a quarter of Australian mammal species -- from a silent overseas killer. Christopher Turbill, Senior Lecturer in Animal Ecology, Western Sydney University Justin Welbergen, President of the Australasian Bat Society | Associate Professor of Animal Ecology, Western Sydney University Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives.

Mon 09 Mar 13:00: TBA

Conservation Related Talks and Seminars - Sun, 19/01/2020 - 15:48
TBA

Abstract not available

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Mon 09 Mar 13:00: TBA

Conservation at Cambridge - Sun, 19/01/2020 - 15:48
TBA

Abstract not available

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Six million hectares of threatened species habitat up in smoke

Biodiversity News - Sat, 18/01/2020 - 19:18
Approximately 70 nationally threatened species have had at least 50% of their range burnt, while nearly 160 threatened species have had more than 20% burnt. Michelle Ward, PhD Candidate, The University of Queensland Aaron Greenville, Lecturer in Spatial Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney April Reside, Researcher, Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science, The University of Queensland Ayesha Tulloch, DECRA Research Fellow, University of Sydney Brooke Williams, PhD Candidate, The University of Queensland Emily Massingham, PhD Student, The University of Queensland Helen Mayfield, Postdoctoral Research Fellow School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Queensland Hugh Possingham, Professor, The University of Queensland James Watson, Professor, The University of Queensland Jim Radford, Principal Research Fellow, Research Centre for Future Landscapes, La Trobe University Laura Sonter, PhD Candidate in Global Environmental Change, The University of Queensland Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives.

Mon 24 Feb 13:00: How mixed is the ocean mixed layer?

Conservation Related Talks and Seminars - Fri, 17/01/2020 - 13:25
How mixed is the ocean mixed layer?

Abstract not available

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Mon 24 Feb 13:00: How mixed is the ocean mixed layer?

Conservation at Cambridge - Fri, 17/01/2020 - 13:25
How mixed is the ocean mixed layer?

Abstract not available

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