How to Adopt Climate-Smart Innovations
Published on: 26.05.2020
With a world population of about 7.8 billion there is a huge need for solutions that help guide actions that guarantee the sustainable development of crucial systems as the climate is changing. While the world population is growing, the land and water resources are shrinking and carbon emissions are increasing. At the same time, human activities such as deforestation, especially illegal clearing of forests, for commercial agriculture decrease the ability of the Earth to absorb emissions. A considerable amount of carbon dioxide is absorbed by forests and the ocean, however, a percentage of CO2 will remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years. The excess of CO2 on the atmosphere can impact land and the oceans in different ways. Carbon fuels the growth of plants on land and makes the ocean more acidic.
A research published by Nature journal found that plants and soil could not absorb enough carbon emission in a warmer climate. This could result in a season of prolonged droughts and heatwaves followed by seasons of heavy rainfalls and floods.
“The world’s oceans will warm and ice melt will continue. The average sea-level rise is predicted as 24 – 30cm by 2065 and 40-63cm by 2100. Most aspects of climate change will persist for many centuries even if emissions are stopped.”
Globally, the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions are electricity production and heat, agriculture, transportation, industry, commercial and residential activity, waste management, and land use and forestry.
Zero-emission electricity and SDG 7
Sustainable Development Goal 7
Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
Target 7.1: By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services.
Even though progress was made in providing access to energy, there is still much to be done to achieve universal access to clean energy. The number of people living without electricity has dropped to around 840 million in 2019. Electricity connections in general could provide access to clean cooking and heating devices. Clean electricity could help to make energy systems more sustainable and affordable and reduce socioeconomic concerns related to the lack of clean cooking and heating devices.
Transitions in the energy sector require the cooperation of public and private sectors to be successful. Even citizens, entrepreneurs, and innovators can give hands to increase the local use of renewable energy resources while creating employment opportunities and increasing wellbeing.
Recently, African countries have acknowledged the role of the energy transition in the post-pandemic recovery as well as the potential of the sector to turn the COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity for the continent and its population.
Sustainable cities for lower emissions
Facts: The world’s cities occupy just 3 percent of the Earth’s land, but account for 60-80 percent of energy consumption and 75 percent of carbon emissions.
As of 2016, 90percent of urban dwellers have been breathing unsafe air, resulting in 4.2 million deaths due to ambient air pollution.
Globally, transportation is responsible for about 23 percent of total energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, and 13 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Emissions from waste represent about 3 percent of total emissions.
More cities around the world are exploring ways to cut carbon emissions. They focus on energy-efficient buildings, electric vehicles, proper waste management, improved tacking of electricity and water use, better public transport.
City dwellers as well can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by changing their consumption and travel habits. According to this article cities still have to transition to renewable energy, make buildings more efficient, and build low-carbon transportation options. Along with changes in consumption habits, these kinds of efforts would get C40 cities one-third of the way toward their emissions targets.
Agriculture and climate-smart innovations
Warmer temperatures even by one degree can have a major impact on land and agriculture systems. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an approach for developing agricultural strategies to secure sustainable food security under climate change.
Innovating by bringing back traditional crops. If you think that innovation happens only around new ideas and solutions maybe you need to change your approach. For example, the fear of food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic has increased worldwide. Hence, Hawaiian researchers think to provide food to vulnerable people by bringing back overlooked, traditional crops. These are crops that require little attention or care, producing an abundance of food with a minimal amount of labor or materials, and they thrive under a wide range of ecological conditions. This is a simple example of how to think innovatively when facing a challenge such as lack of food resources or sustainable agriculture.
Moreover, FAO highlights that climate-smart agriculture needs to be mainstreamed into core government policy, expenditure, and planning frameworks and to be effective CSA policies must contribute to broader economic growth, poverty reduction, and sustainable development goals.
CSA can help to fill knowledge gaps on the impact of climate change in agriculture and farming and to introduce innovative yet cost-efficient irrigation systems, and landscape and forestry management.