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Buildings and Climate Change: a Summary for Decision-Makers

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Buildings and Climate Change: a Summary for Decision-MakersA Summary for Decision Makers, the latest UNEP-SBCI report, highlights the potential of more efficient buildings in addressing climate change. The report argues that a failure to encourage more energy-efficient and low-carbon buildings will lock countries into the disadvantages of poor performing buildings for decades, and states that governments will fail to meet emission reduction targets if they exclude the building sector. This sector has the highest potential of all to deliver greenhouse gas emissions cuts, at the least cost, using available and mature technologies!

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Carbon and biodiversity: A demonstration atlas

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Carbon and biodiversity: A demonstration atlasThe demonstration atlas, launched at the 14th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, shows that areas high in both carbon and biodiversity do exist and can be identified by relatively simple mapping tools. Prioritising such areas could give the 'double benefit' of reducing emissions from land use change whilst conserving biodiversity. Three regional maps along with six national maps are shown for the tropics, derived from global-scale data. Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, said: "At a time of scarce financial resources and economic concerns, every dollar, euro or yen needs to deliver double, triple even quadruple dividends. Intelligent investment in forests in developing countries is a key example". By demonstrating the potential for such 'win win' areas to be identified, the atlas could have particular input to the current discussions on reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries (REDD). These new maps are just a first step towards demonstrating how combining different types of data can help to identify areas where opportunities and benefits overlap for storing carbon and protecting biodiversity. A new, detailed and web-based atlas is expected in 2009 in the run up to UN climate meeting in Copenhagen. The atlas will cover a larger number of countries with more accurate, national data on carbon and biodiversity where available, and examine options to include ecosystem services and impacts on local livelihoods. As emphasised by Mr Steiner, ensuring safeguards for local and indigenous people will be paramount to a successful REDD.

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Clearing the Waters: A focus on Water Quality Solutions

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Clearing the Waters: A focus on Water Quality Solutions	The publication addresses the urgency of controlling pollution and preserving water quality around the world. The past few decades have focused on the importance of water quantity in meeting basic human and ecosystem needs for water. Water quality is as important as water quantity for satisfying human and environmental needs, and yet has received far less investment, scientific support, and public attention. An overview of water-quality challenges details the contaminants and human activities that affect water quality. Water quality impacts human health, water quantity, livelihood, and economic activity, and climate change. Emerging contaminants, population growth and urbanization also present additional stresses to water quality. This publication quantifies the issues and uses case studies to illustrate both problems and solutions. With an emphasis on water-quality solutions, strategies for water-quality institutions and data, pollution prevention, treatment, and ecological restoration are laid out, with mechanisms to further the goal of clean water for a healthy world. It concludes by highlighting the main findings and key policy recommendations.

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Life Cycle Management - How business uses it to decrease footprint, create opportunities and make value chains more sustainable

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Life Cycle Management - How business uses it to decrease footprint, create opportunities and make value chains more sustainableThis publication can be used by company in house experts and non-specialist managers as well as company suppliers in order to learn how to apply life cycle management practices throughout the value chain. This is a very practical guide that incorporates 8 business case studies that can be read by all managers and employees - from those at the 'front line' working directly with suppliers, to people on the production line or in the warehouse, or staff dealing with marketing, design and development. What is vital (as the case studies underline) is that the message of sustainability and the concept of life cycle management is spread out along the value chain - both inside and outside the company.

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Review of the Literature on the Links Between Biodiversity & Climate Change

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Review of the Literature on the Links Between Biodiversity & Climate ChangeThe Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 4th Assessment Report (AR4) concluded that climate change will have significant impacts on many aspects of biological diversity: on ecosytems, species, genetic diversity within species, and on ecological interactions. The implications of these impacts are significant for the long-term stability of the natural world and for the many benefits and services that humans derive from it. This report reviews the literature since the AR4. It draws on recent research to summarise advances in our understanding of the impacts of climate change on biodiversity. The evidence for the impacts on biodiversity comes from three principal sources. First, from direct observation of changes in components of biodiversity in nature that can be clearly related to changes in climatic variables. Second, experimental studies using manipulations to eluciadate responses to climate change. Finally, and most widely, from modelling studies where our current understanding of the requirements and constraints on the distribution of species and ecosystems are combined with modelled changes in climatic variables to project the impacts of climate change and predict future distributions and changes in populations.

 


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