THURSDAY 29 NOVEMBER
Cool day in Doha—It was a decidedly cooler day in Doha, and it was even as cool outside as it is in the usually aggressively air-conditioned conference center. At the conference itself, the negotiations entered a more business-like phase, advancing progress to the point where the ministers and other high-level officials can take decisions next week. The negotiations are not, however, the only thing going on at the Conference. A full slate of side events brings experts together on almost every imaginable angle to climate change, and that includes the science, mitigation opportunities, in agriculture, monitoring the cryosphere—you name it.
Arab Youth for Climate—There is a unique culture in the Arab world and it is one that has not been particularly conducive to allowing the voices of youth to be heard on climate change, says Reem Al Mealla, a leader of the Arab Youth Climate Movement. Wearing a t-shirt saying “It’s time to lead,” Reem says there is typically no communication between youth and government in the region. But her group now has chapters in 15 countries, and they have sat down with negotiators from all 15 countries here in Doha, something that is not possible in capitals. While political instability has often caused governments to focus on other more immediate issues, she says the youth group has been working to have delegations “clarify” their positions.
Data for adaptation—It is often hard to know what adaptation measures are needed, and where. Solid information is vital, and according to Daniel Schensul of the UN Population Fund, there is a real need to “get local.” Because adaptation is “broad and dynamic,” he says we need data that is “up to the task.” Now, a number of UN agencies are working together to pool their data sources to tackle problems in ways that were not possible years ago. The data, often used to map out where problems or potential problems exist, such as pinpointing areas where climate is producing resource conflicts or where certain services are needed as a result of rising sea level, droughts or floods. But the experts, from many UN agencies including UNDP, the World Bank, the World Food Programme and Unesco, say that getting the data is only one part of the challenge—the other part is translating the data into decision making.
Climate change insurance—On average, 250 million people are affected annually by natural disasters – up by more than 30 per cent in just a decade. Ninety-five per cent of all deaths due to natural disasters occurred in developing countries. Some of that is due to more people living in areas that are more vulnerable to disasters, but climate change is also driving an increase in the frequency and intensity of natural hazards. According to global reinsurance company Munich Re, direct economic losses were more than double in low-income countries, compared to high-income countries. As a result, a group of insurance companies have looked at the role of insurance in developing countries and found that it could be part—but not all—of the solution. “Insurance can reduce the financial repercussions of volatily,” says Koko Warner of UN University, “but it will never pay for all the damage from climate change.” Rather, a more comprehensive look that weighs the risk of loss and damages must be considered in a cost-benefit analysis.
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