People pushed to the limit — In some places it is salt water intruding on cropland and drinking water, in others it could be changing monsoon patterns, drought, flooding or coastal erosion, but because of climate change, people and communities around the world are already figuring out how to protect their food supply and their livelihoods, according to new research by UN University. Sometimes not very successfully. New research by UN University shows that people in communities are already coping with an array of issues, and that climate change is affecting the ability of people in vulnerable communities to meet their basic needs, livelihoods and food security. Surveys in selected communities in Ethiopia, Nepal, Burkina Faso and Mozambique revealed that between two-thirds and three-quarters of all households are still experiencing severe hits to their family budgets after taking measures to cope with climate-caused damage. In Burkina Faso, for example, people suffering crop failure due to drought have seen their herds decimated, a loss of assets as well as a loss of cultural identity and a way of life.

Investing in small scale farming pays off — It is not always a big natural disaster that causes problems, but rather, it is slow stuff, like soil erosion or salt water intrusion that makes life difficult. But according to IFAD — the International Fund for Agricultural Development — helping the small farmer to adapt to changing conditions has a big payoff. Not only is loss and damage minimized, additional income is generated, along with greater crop yields and savings in water and energy. And there’s more — healthy small farms protect ecosystems, protect the soil from degradation, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help produce more food for a global population that will hit nine billion before 2020. IFAD says its Smallholder Agriculture Programme has added as much as $1,000 to the incomes of Bolivian farmers. “It’s real value for the money,” says IFAD’s Gernot Laganda.

The heat is still on—The World Meteorological Organization says 2013 is on track to be the seventh warmest year on record, based on observations from the first nine months of the year. Although it was not always oppressive in parts of North America and Europe, Australia experienced its hottest summer on record, as did Japan and the Republic of Korea. China had its hottest August on record. The Arctic did not lose quite as much ice as in 2012, but it was still the sixth lowest ice extent on the books. But in Antarctica, ice continued to expand. WMO confirms that global sea level reached a new record high, rising at an average rate of about 3.2 millimeters per year. This is close to the observed rate of about 3 mm/yr of the most recent decade of 2001−2010 and double the observed 20th century trend of 1.6 mm/yr. Sea level rise was a major factor behind the devastation from Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, as it was in the United States during Hurricane Sandy.


NGOs try to get their message across with signage: Up for auction “Our Climate” to the highest bidder.

Auctioning climate to the highest bidder — Finding interesting ways to get their message across at a COP is never easy, but that never stops NGOs from trying. Today it was staging an “auction” where the rights to market-based solutions that will do nothing to stop climate change were sold to bidders sporting labels from major corporations.