Tagged on: Resource Efficency

Reports and Books
Status and Trends of Caribbean Coral Reefs: 1970-2012
Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network

This report is the most detailed and comprehensive study of its kind published to date – the result of the work of 90 experts over the course of three years. It contains the analysis of more than 35,000 surveys conducted at 90 Caribbean locations since 1970, including studies of corals, seaweeds, grazing sea urchins and fish. The results show that the Caribbean corals have declined by more than 50% since the 1970s. But according to the authors, restoring parrotfish populations and improving other management strategies, such as protection from overfishing and excessive coastal pollution, could help the reefs recover and make them more resilient to future climate change impacts. Key findings of the report: There has been a dramatic decline in Caribbean corals of more than 50% since the 1970s. The decline is not uniform and correlates only weakly with local extreme heating events, instead being mainly attributed to the severity of local stressors, in particular tourism, overfishing and pollution. Whilst climate change has badly affected Caribbean corals and continues to be a major threat, well-managed reefs have bounced back suggesting that climate change is not the main determinant of current Caribbean coral health and that good management practices can save larger areas of reef if tough choices are made. Loss of the two main grazers, parrotfish and sea urchin, has been a key driver of coral decline in the region as it breaks the delicate balance of coral ecosystems and allows algae to smother reefs The massive outbreak of coral diseases and mass die-off of sea urchin close to the Panama Canal suggest that the order-of-magnitude increase in bulk shipping in the 1960s and 1970s has introduced pathogens and invasive species that have since spread in the Caribbean. Recommendations made in the report: 1.,, Adopt conservation and fisheries management strategies that lead to the restoration of parrotfish populations and so restore the balance between algae and coral that characterises healthy coral reefs||2.,, Maximise the effect of those management strategies by incorporating necessary resources for outreach, compliance, enforcement and the examination of alternative livelihoods for those that may be affected by restrictions on the take of parrotfish||3.,, Consider listing the parrotfish in the Annex II and III of the SPAW Protocol (The Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife) in addition to highlighting the issue of reef herbivory in relevant Caribbean fisheries fora||4.,, Engage with indigenous and local communities and other stakeholders to communicate the benefits of such strategies for coral reef ecosystems, the replenishment of fisheries stocks and communities


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2014
Reports and Books
Aligning the Financial System with Sustainable Development: An invitation & background briefing
United Nations Environment Programme

Considerable finance is needed to drive the transition to a green, inclusive economy. A “clean trillion” of additional investment is needed annually up to 2030 to enable new infrastructure to be made green. Private capital is needed to finance this transition, complemented by public expenditure, but is currently being channeled into an unsustainable economy. Traded financial capital globally amounts to US$225 trillion, but little of this is being used to power the transition to a green and inclusive economy. Aligning the financial system to enable the long-term health of the real economy may require changes to its architecture, the ‘rules’ governing how it operates. UNEP has established the Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System to address this high-potential policy arena. Building on UNEP’s green economy initiative and two decades of work of the UNEP Finance Initiative, the Inquiry is being guided by a high-level Advisory Panel, and involves wide-reaching engagement and research at the national and international levels.


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2014
Reports and Books
Decoupling 2: technologies, opportunities and policy options
United Nations Environment Programme

This report was produced by the Decoupling Working Group of the International Resource Panel. It explores technological possibilities and opportunities for both developing and developed countries to accelerate decoupling and reap the environmental and economic benefits of increased resource productivity. It also examines several policy options that have proved to be successful in helping different countries to improve resource productivity in various sectors of their economy, avoiding negative impacts on the environment.


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2014
Reports and Books
Frozen heat: a global outlook on methane gas hydrates - Volume 2
United Nations Environment Programme

In 2010, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) commissioned the Global Outlook on Gas Hydrates as part of its mandate to examine the environmental aspect of key emerging issues and provide accurate and objective scientific assessments for the benefit of the science community and policy makers. This report, written by experts in the field, provides a review of the science and history of this emerging energy source, evaluates the current state of research and explores the potential impacts of gas hydrates on the future global energy mix. By commissioning this report, UNEP neither encourages nor promotes the development and use of gas hydrates as an energy source.


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2014
Reports and Books
Assessment of Transboundary Freshwater Vulnerability in Africa to Climate Change
United Nations Environment Programme, Water Research Commission

Managing the freshwater impacts of climate change in Africa is as much a political and development challenge as a technical climate change challenge. Even without climate change, many of Africa’s water resources are facing overuse, pollution, and degradation. Poor land-use practices are contributed to this process. Large numbers of people living in poverty in rural and informal urban areas are already vulnerable to water-related risks, whether floods, droughts, poor water quality, or increasing water scarcity. The status of water resources in Africa has been changing for many decades, whether through decreasing water quality, lowered groundwater, more or less rainfall, and changed timing of rainfall. Change is not new. Climate change, however, will profoundly accelerate the rate of change, affecting the ability of people and societies to respond timeously. The rate of change is compounded by uncertainty of the impacts of climate change. While there are a number of models that attempt to predict the impacts of climate change, many of these are at a very coarse scale and do not predict localised impacts, which may differ from the generalised picture. At the same time, different models predict different climate change trends in the same areas, some, for example, predicting an increase in rainfall, while others predict a decrease in rainfall. Managing for high rates of change in a context of uncertainty is thus what is demanded of African governments.


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2014
Our Planet
The First United Nations Environment Assembly - Our Planet June 2014
United Nations Environment Programme

The first ever United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) is the core theme of this issue of Our Planet. Sustainable Development Goals, the need to decouple economic growth from natural resource depletion and the way forward within the context of the Post-2105 Development Agenda are all robustly discussed in this edition’s feature articles. With contributions from experts in sustainable development, the topics range from the role cities can take in lowering their carbon footprint, through progress in environmental planning in China, to Africa’s opportunities to develop its renewable energy sources. Three inspiring innovations relating to sustainable development are also covered along with UNEP’s latest publications and a section on the organization’s dedicated goodwill ambassadors.


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2014
Reports and Books
The National Environmental Strategy and Action Plan (2013 – 2017) for Iraq
Ministry of Environment - Republic of Iraq

The Strategy identifies urgent priorities such as protecting and improving the quality of water, soil and air||preserving biodiversity and marine and coastal environment||minimizing oil, radioactive and chemical pollution and waste in general||and developing the institutional and legislative framework. Furthermore, the Strategy has an implementation plan that includes several programs to protect and enhance the environment over the next five years.


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2013
Reports and Books
The rapid transition to energy efficient lighting: an integrated policy approach
United Nations Environment Programme

Electricity for lighting accounts for almost 20% of electricity consumption and 6% of CO2 emissions worldwide. According to the International Energy Agency, approximately 3% of global oil demand can be attributed to lighting. If not addressed immediately, global energy consumption for lighting will grow by 60% by the year 2030. This would have dramatic consequences for climate change.


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2013
Reports and Books
Recent trends in material flows and resource productivity in Latin America
United Nations Environment Programme

The Latin America region accounts for about 10% of world consumption of primary materials. As a result, developments in this region do not have a major effect on total global extractive pressures. The reverse is not true. Even modest increases in the resources demand of larger regions, where transferred by trade, can have major effects on material flows in Latin America. The findings of this report are based on the first material flows database, which has been specifically designed to cover the great majority of countries in Latin America, as well as additional countries in the Caribbean region, using standardized material flows accounting methodologies.


Download: Spanish, 1_-Recent trends in material flows and resource productivity in Latin America-2013RecentTrendsLA_es.pdf
2013
Reports and Books
Environmental risks and challenges of anthropogenic metals flows and cycles
United Nations Environment Programme

This report focuses on the impact of metals on the environment as well as on their life cycle energy use. Currently primary metals production is responsible for 7 8 % of the total global energy use as well as for severe local environmental impacts. The report suggests to apply best available technologies and to increase recycling of metals, which not only requires significantly less energy per kg metal produced than primary production but also helps decreasing the overall local impacts of mining.


Download: English
2013