Friday, 13 February 2009

Toad crossings mapped on Google Earth

Hundreds of toad crossings across the UK have been mapped on Google Earth in a bid to cut the number killed by motorists.

Last Updated: 5:04PM GMT 12 Feb 2009

Toad numbers have declined in many areas of England, thought to be due to the effect of road traffic
Froglife, which helps the conservation of amphibians and reptiles, has mapped 700 crossings using satellite technology.
It is hoped the satellite map will help conservationists and volunteers find out more about where amphibians are killed on roads on their migration to breeding ponds in spring.
The new software will help members of the public find out where frogs and toads cross local roads, as well as whether a "crossing" is active.
They will also be able to use it to find out where they can help with volunteer "toad patrols", as well as updating Froglife's records and reporting new toad crossings.
Conservationists at Froglife also hope the Froglife Google Earth application will be useful for the planning sector, and will allow highways officials to find out more about amphibian populations around the UK's roads.
Toad numbers have declined in many areas of England, thought to be due to the effect of road traffic during the breeding season and loss of breeding ponds.
It is also thought the common toad, which was listed as a threatened species in 2007, suffers dangers of high kerbs which steer them towards drains where they are trapped and die.
Jules Howard, from Froglife, said: "Google Earth software is allowing wildlife experts to use new creative ways to communicate important conservation issues to an increasingly techno-savvy public.
"We're delighted that more people can get involved in the Toads on Roads campaign by using this free software."
She said last year 36 new toad crossing sites were registered, and 35,183 amphibians were carried across UK roads by volunteer "toad patrollers" in 2008.

Nations must ‘act now’ on climate change

By Fiona Harvey in London
Published: February 12 2009 18:05

Countries must begin adapting to the effects of climate change as a matter of urgency or face serious effects from global warming, a leading industry group warned on Thursday.
Water and sewage infrastructure, the electricity network and transport were all at risk from the effects of climate change, including floods, droughts and severe storms, said the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, an international body for the engineering industry.

It urged governments around the world to face up to the challenge of adapting to the effects of global warming, rather than putting all their efforts into cutting greenhouse gases.
If the world is unsuccessful in cutting greenhouse gases to the extent necessary – the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said global emissions must peak by 2015 to 2020 to avoid the worst effects of climate change – then adaptation to more severe and unpredictable weather will be needed.
But if governments leave adaptation measures – ranging from flood defences to changing the design of buildings – for too long, then it will become impossible to put them in place in time to protect vital national infrastructure.
Tim Fox, head of environment and climate change at the IMechE, said: “Yes, we need to mitigate [greenhouse gas emissions], but the evidence shows this isn’t working alone.”
Environmental groups have been reluctant in the past to espouse the cause of adaptation in developed countries, out of concern that it would be seen as a fallback option that would obviate the need for them to cut greenhouse gas emissions. But they have supported allocating funds from rich countries to the developing world in order to help poor countries to adapt to climate change, which they otherwise would not have the funds to do.
However, funds from rich nations have been slow to be agreed under the current Kyoto protocol. Developing nations are hoping to gain more from negotiations currently under way to forge a new agreement by December this year that would replace the current provisions of the protocol, which expire in 2012.
The IMechE identified sea level rises, and an increase in droughts, floods and storms as the main worries arising from global warming. Various measures can be put in place to counteract these effects, ranging from seawalls in some areas to abandoning tracts of land to the sea, and designing transport networks to be more resilient.
Infrastructure that is in use today is likely still to be in use many decades from now, the IMechE pointed out, and so it is important for companies developing such infrastructure today to build the probable effects of climate change into their plans.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2009

The solar revolution starts in Amareleja, Portugal

France 24
Thursday, 12 February 2009

The Alentejo region enjoys more sunlight each year than any other place in Europe. So it's here, in south-east Portugal, that an immense solar power station has been set up, producing more energy than any other in the world. This plant alone meets the needs of 30,000 Portuguese homes.
Traditionally a farming area, now ravaged by desertification, the area round Moura aspires to be Europe's test site for economic development via the renewable energies sector. When the company Acciona bought this project, local institutions thrashed out an agreement with them under which the company funds a development fund for the region.
A micro-generation generator has been installed on the roof of a school. These solar panels enable the building to be self-sufficient in terms of energy. The mayor of Moura negotiated Acciona's investment plan. Fifteen per cent of the inhabitants here – 1,000 people – are unemployed.
José Maria Pos-de-Mina, Mayor of Moura: "About 20 small installations like these have been set up already. We aim to have 60 of them by the end of the year. That boosts the creation of specialised companies installing these kind of products and developing other sectors. Our primary goal is to reduce unemployment. Our aim and our dream is to create 500 new jobs."
So far, 120 jobs have been created. Most of those who've been hired work here, in the factory that was set up at the same time as the power station. The factory manufactures solar panels.
Forty-five per cent of Portugal's electricity is produced via renewable energies. The goal is to boost that to 60% by 2020.

Solar array to supply utility in California

By Andrew Revkin
Published: February 12, 2009

The largest utility in California, squeezed by rising demand for electricity and looming state deadlines to curb fossil fuels, has signed a deal to buy solar power from seven immense arrays of mirrors, towers and turbines to be installed in the Mojave Desert.
The contracts amount to the world's largest single deal for new solar energy capacity, said officials from the utility, Southern California Edison, and BrightSource Energy, the company that would build and run the plants. When fully built, the solar arrays on a sunny day would supply 1,300 megawatts of electricity, more than a modern nuclear power plant.
That is enough electricity to power about 845,000 homes.
The companies acknowledged that several hurdles would have to be surmounted before the first surge of electricity flows from the desert - in theory around 2013 - toward power-hungry cities more than 200 miles, or 320 kilometers, away.
First is approval by the state Public Utilities Commission. But more challenging, they said, is a series of permits for improving transmission lines. That process in the past has taken seven to 10 years per project, said Stuart R. Hemphill, vice president for renewable and alternative power for the utility.

"The reality is that renewable projects are very far away from where customers are," Hemphill said. "The key is to have transmission built."
He said he was confident the solar project would succeed, and he emphasized that it was part of the company's accelerating shift toward new energy sources, including recent large contracts for wind turbines, photovoltaic rooftop panels and geothermal power. "What we're doing is changing the shape of the way the electric system is going to operate in California," he said.
BrightSource, with investors as varied as Google and the VantagePoint venture capital firm - and with advisers who include the environmental campaigner and lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. - has refined a decades-old technology. Thousands of small mirrors focus intense desert sunlight on a central tower, where it generates steam to drive a turbine.
Officials from the utility and plant builder said the cost of the plants and the electricity they will produce could not be disclosed under California law.
The deal is one of many signs that concentrated solar power, after decades of ups and downs, is finding an important place around the world, said Severin Borenstein, a specialist in energy policy at the Haas School of Business of the University of California, Berkeley.
But the technology remains substantially more expensive than coal as an electricity source, Borenstein said, and further expansion will depend on whether the public continues to support renewable mandates or a rising price on emissions from coal burning. "Everybody's for reducing greenhouse gases until you start having to pay for it," he said.
California is imposing one of the country's most aggressive renewable-power mandates on its utilities. Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric and other providers are racing to meet a deadline of having at least 20 percent of electricity flowing from renewable sources by the end of 2010.
Vanessa McGrady, a spokeswoman for Southern California Edison, said the utility now gets 16 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.
Even with the new plants and other nonpolluting energy options, the state still faces big energy and emissions challenges, given relentless growth in demand for electricity at peak times.
In 2008, Pacific Gas & Electric, in Northern California, entered agreements to buy nearly 900 megawatts of power from BrightSource of Oakland, California. BrightSource has installed a pilot plant in the Negev, in Israel.
Other designs for plants that concentrate sunlight to generate power are in operation or under development in Spain, the Middle East, North Africa and elsewhere in the Southwest.

Miliband announces green makeover for every home in Britain by 2030

Minister unveils 'great British refurb' to cut household emissions one-third by 2020 with insulation and low-carbon technologies
Alok Jha, green technology correspondent, Thursday 12 February 2009 13.25 GMT

All UK households will have a green makeover by 2030 under government plans to reduce carbon emissions and cut energy bills.
Cavity wall and loft insulation will be available for all suitable homes, with plans to retrofit 400,000 homes a year by 2015. Financial incentives for householders will also be available for low-carbon technologies such as solar panels, biomass boilers and ground source heat pumps, paid for by a levy on utility companies.
The government wants a quarter of homes (7m) to benefit from the schemes by 2020, extending to all UK households by 2030.
The strategy could help cut household carbon emissions by a third by 2020, part of its target to reduce overall UK emissions by 80% by 2050. Currently, homes account for 27% of the UK's carbon emissions through heating and power.
The plans were welcomed in principle by green groups and energy campaigners, though many were still concerned by the lack urgency in the proposals – which might only begin in 2012 – or detail on how the majority of the plans will be funded.
Energy and climate change secretary Ed Miliband said: "We need to move from incremental steps forward on household energy efficiency to a comprehensive national plan – the Great British refurb."
"We know the scale of the challenge: wasted energy is costing families on average £300 a year, and more than a quarter of all our emissions are from our homes. Energy efficiency and low-carbon energy are the fairest routes to curbing emissions, saving money for families, improving our energy security and insulating us from volatile fossil fuel prices."
Under the proposals, a Renewable Heating Incentive would tax utility companies and then use the money to build up smaller-scale energy networks. A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said the levy, intended to start in 2011, would not affect today's household bills. "We have to consult on how it will work and, in fact, our proposals would have little impact on prices for many years, apart from cutting billing for those who take up the offer of help."
In addition, householders could be paid for any electricity they feed into the national grid from their power-generating facilities.
Miliband said the challenge to retrofit homes was similar to the UK's "dash for gas" in the 1960s. "Every cooker, every boiler, every gas fire in the country had to be adjusted. Changing more than 32 million appliances, of 8,000 different makes and models. Each appliance, house by house, visiting more than 14 million homes. And in today's prices, the cost they estimated for this was almost £6 billion. Why did they do it? Because they thought long-term and realised that the shift that they started before I was even born would still benefit us today. We face the same situation again."
Paul King, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) said the proposals were suitably ambitious but also needed the Treasury behind them. "As Lord Stern said yesterday, energy efficiency in homes and buildings should be part of a green stimulus. Financial incentives are needed to encourage major green refurbishments – the precedent has already been set with stamp duty rebates for zero-carbon homes."
According to Greenpeace UK, a programme to upgrade the housing stock alone would require £3.5-£6.5bn per year until 2050. Nathan Argent, head of energy solutions at Greenpeace, said: "Tackling energy efficiency is the fastest way to cut emissions, boost our energy security, revitalise the economy and create tens of thousands of jobs. And, obviously, this will cut household bills too. But this plan needs much more investment right now. The government needs to put their wallet where their mouth is."
Miliband said that costs of efficiency measures would pay itself back over time in reduced bills. Despite that, he said there should be no upfront cost for consumers and part of today's consultation will look for ways to finance the strategy - energy companies, local authorities or even private companies might foot the bills for the necessary refurbishments.
Andrew Warren of the Association for the Conservation of Energy was concerned that the government had redefined the meaning of insulation to meet its current insulation targets, set by Gordon Brown last year, of getting 6m homes fully insulated over the next three years.
"Most people think of insulation as the stuff you shove in your loft or put around your walls," he said. The current DECC definition, he said, can also include draft-proofing of letterboxes or replacing windows. "At the moment, even by the most generous interpretation, you're not even halfway towards the 6m [target announced by Gordon Brown].."
Danny Stevens, policy director of the Environmental Industries Commission said that setting targets for energy efficiency was not enough. "All we have today is the launch of yet another consultation. This undermines the urgency of tackling climate change and ignores the huge economic benefits of ambitious environmental protection measures."
That sentiment was echoed by Philip Sellwood, chief executive of the Energy Saving Trust (EST), who said the time for talking is now over. "We are not short of ideas; we just need action and now. Armed with the knowledge that 70% of our current housing stock will still be around in 2050, we know we need to be bold."
He added: "If we throw everything at our existing housing stock – based on today's technologies only – we could reduce household carbon emissions by 50%."
The EST said there are 7.3m cavity walls that could be filled with insulation, 7m solid walls that could be insulated, and 12.9m lofts which do not have the recommended depth of insulation, and 4.5m G-rated (the least efficient) gas boilers.
Shadow energy and climate change secretary Greg Clark said the government was "delaying rather than getting on and adopting our scheme immediately, when it is desperately needed."
Last month, the Conservatives proposed giving an allowance of up to £6,500 to every household in the UK for energy efficiency improvements, the same figure announced today by the Lib-Dems to refurbish homes.
In their Warm Homes strategy, the party aims to upgrade more than two million homes a year for 10 years, and would award the contracts to regional building companies rather than large national companies such as Wimpey and Barratt.
Today's Decc strategy also includes ideas to encourage microgeneration, where homeowners and local communities generate their own heat or power.

Lib Dems unveil plan for energy-efficient households

Party's pledge puts pressure on government over its own environmental plans
Allegra Stratton, political correspondent, Thursday 12 February 2009 09.07 GMT

Every UK home will be made energy-efficient within 10 years in a compulsory revamp of British housing stock equivalent to the "digital switchover", the Liberal Democrats will promise today.
The launch of the strategy, entitled Warm Homes, was immediately denounced by the Conservatives who accused the Lib Dems ofimitating a Tory policy.
The party's ambitious pledge increases pressure on the government, which will today announce its own plans to offer voluntary eco-makovers to one in four British homes.
The renewed cross-party push on the energy-efficiency of households comes after the housing minister, Margaret Beckett, admitted that "less than 1%" of British homes meet the industry standard. It was the first time the government had made such an estimate.
It is estimated that carbon emissions from British homes account for a quarter of the country's total. Under EU agreements, the government has 42 years to cut emissions by 80%.
The issue of energy-efficient households has been targeted by fuel poverty activists and climate change campaigners alike, but while the government's plans would see emissions from homes cut by a third, campaigners believe a cut of two-thirds is needed if the government is to hit its target.
Announcing his party's plans today, Simon Hughes, the Lib Dems' climate change and energy spokesman, said: "One per cent of our current stock being energy-efficient is pathetic. The trouble with the government's proposals so far is that they are mere pimples on the surface."
Last week the National Audit Office reported that as much as half of Britain's poorest households were ineligible for help from the £852m Warm Front scheme to cut fuel bills with grants for home insulation and heating.
In the announcement today Hughes will propose that the government underwrites renovation work worth £6,500 per household, adopting as party policy a recommendation that was originally made by the independent Energy Saving Trust, which was also adopted as party policy recently by the Conservatives.
This morning the Conservatives accused the Liberal Democrats of"copying" their figure. The Tories said the trust had respondedwith "bewilderment" at the idea their it had ever recommended a figure of £6,500. The Conservatives said the Liberal Democrat policy was a "pure copy".
Within what the Lib Dems are calling the national green loans scheme, householders would apply for commercial loans to revamp their homes, with the cost being repaid through energy bills that should fall because of improved energy efficiency of the renovated house.
Of the total, £5,000 would pay for the cost of the renovation work, and £1,500 would cover administration.
The roll-out would be advertised in the manner of the TV digital switchover and houses targeted for renovation that year would have to opt out if the householder did not want to proceed with the energy improvements.
The party would aim at upgrading more than two million homes a year for 10 years, and would award the contracts to regional building companies rather than large national companies such as Wimpey and Barratt.
Hughes said: "The national bill will be very expensive – almost £1.5bn – but annually we spend £200bn on house building across the country and £80bn collectively doing DIY in our homes."
The energy and climate change secretary, Ed Miliband, is expected to announce financial incentives such as grants or cheap loans that could be passed on to the owner should the property be sold.
A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesperson said: "Our ambition is real and practical - we can't leave this to the enthusiasts and the wealthy. Our plans will break down the barriers by offering advice and financial packages that will help people save money and prepare for a low-carbon future."

Britain should prepare for massive loss of landmass, warn engineers

UK should change building design, transport and energy infrastructure ahead of climate change and high sea levels
Terry Macalister
The Guardian, Thursday 12 February 2009

Engineers fear London could be submerged as the climate changes Photograph: Jason Hawkes/Barcroft Media
Ministers should prepare the British people to "adapt" in the longer term to a landscape devastated by climate change, including the possible abandonment of parts of London and East Anglia, a leading industry body warns today .
Action to curb carbon emissions is failing, so the UK should immediately change the way it designs buildings, transport and energy infrastructure in preparation for aworld potentially characterised by extreme heat and high sea levels, argues the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) in a new report.
The institute said it wanted its latest research to provoke serious action for future planning "not just for the sake of our planet but also for the human race. Yes, we need to mitigate [emissions] – but the evidence shows this is not working alone."
Even with significant global commitment to avert climate change it could be many centuries before average temperatures can be stabilised, says the document, Climate Change: Adapting to the Inevitable?, which was described by environmentalists as a "wake-up call" for government.
IMechE said that sea levels are predicted to rise by 2m by 2250 and 7m by the end of that century.
"A seven-metre rise in sea levels would impact on vast areas of the UK, including parts of London which border the Thames,[such as] Canary Wharf, Chelsea and Westminster, all of which would need to be abandoned," the report argues.
Although they were long-term predictions, the authors say Britain should be preparing for change today and they questioned whether Britain should be considering new nuclear power stations at places such as Sizewell on the Suffolk coast.
Tim Fox, head of environment and climate change at the IMechE and one of the authors of the publication, denied the institute was being alarmist or seeking to undermine actions against greenhouse gases. They were merely trying to be "pragmatic" engineers who needed to prepare for extreme scenarios, he said.
The action the members of IMechE want includes:
• Building new railways because many of the existing routes use valleys that could be flooded
• Building reservoirs underground to prevent evaporation
• Spending heavily on researching new forms of energy such as fusion
Environmentalists said the report was prescient. "If we don't take action quickly to reduce carbon emissiosns we could be facing catastrophic change. This could have long-term implications but the action needs to take place in the next few years, " said Robin Webster, energy and climate change campaigner at Friends of the Earth.
Vicky Pope, head of climate change advice at the government's Meteorological Office , said she agreed with much of the IMechE report. "We clearly must continue with action against carbon emissions but adaptation is also important. The Climate Change Act puts into place policies which support people to assess risk and take action on adaptation," she added.
The climate change modelling used in the IMechE report was developed by the University of East Anglia and was in line with current international thinking, Fox said, claiming that politicians and others tended to be more focused on short-term actions without considering longer term consequences and solutions.
The British canal systems, the Forth Road Bridge and further afield the Panama Canal were projects that were constructed to last up to 250 years and it was time that government considered what kind of infrastructure would be needed post-2100 especially as the Kyoto Protocol against climate change had produced no reduction in carbon output, he added.
IMechE said that even under less extreme circumstances there would be a need for decisions on the building or enhancement of flood defences, or ultimately whether an area will be no longer fit for habitation.Fox said he realised that the current credit crunch made it difficult for governments to invest, but he said cash spent now would offer future savings.

Ordinary family home pioneers low carbon future for us all

Victorian house has been transformed from drafty eco-nightmare to low carbon show home - with gas bills of £50 a year
Juliette Jowit, Thursday 12 February 2009 12.43 GMT

Looking around it's hard to find clues. There are few obvious clues that Penney Poyzer and Gil Schalom live in one of the most radical homes in the UK. In the kitchen is a recently plastered wall; on the floor an organic veg box; and upstairs a dual-flush loo. Otherwise it's hard to find evidence that the couple have taken the sort of eco-nightmare draughty Victorian house lived in by millions of people in the UK and turned it into an almost totally carbon-free home, with a gas bill of £20 a year.
The house, in a suburb of Nottingham, is part of Old Home SuperHome, a growing network of eco-showhomes, aimed at persuading people to transform their homes into ecofriendly buildings. Organisers hope that people can be encouraged to snoop around these showhomes, learn about energy- efficiency and the various technologies that can generate zero or low carbon heat and electricity, and be inspired to adopt them themselves.
Today the Department of Energy and Climate Change willannounce financial help to persuade seven million homeowners to give their house or flat an eco-makeover, and so cut fuel bills and reduce global warming emissions, more than a quarter of which come from the energy used by households. However, if they cannot "see and touch" the experience, most will be reluctant to try it, says John Doggart, chairman of the charity Sustainable Energy Academy, which is organising the Old Home SuperHome project.
The theory is based on what psychologists called "salience", which some environmental thinkers argue needs to be the basis of a major shift in campaigning – from telling people what to do, to showing them how life can be different. "Salience is one of the deepest, most basic of buttons that can be pushed and the reason is because those things we can imagine in our heads, we believe – and those things we can't see pictures of, we don't believe. It's one of the reasons we believe in fairies, but find it hard to believe in quantum physics," says Solitaire Townsend of sustainable communications company Futerra.
The SuperHome network already has nearly 30 members in 12 locations, and there are plans for up to 300 in five years' time. Visitors this year will reach 35-40,000, and it is hoped that number will rise to 200,000 by 2014. Eventually, Doggart wants to see a SuperHome within 15 minutes of nearly every person in the country, up to 1,000 in total – "one for every Tescos".
To join the network, homeowners must reduce emissions by at least 50-60%, depending on the property, according to a computer model which works on average use of energy for a property of the size and design, to iron out differences in occupants' behaviour. They have to admit the public at least one day a year. The SEA pays £70 a session for the "hassle factor", funds information leaflets and runs the website with information and contact details for each home. It will soon add a My Green Builder page where members recommend suppliers.
Poyzer, a writer and broadcaster, and Schalom, an architect, are extreme: they spent 10 years and £30,000 on energy improvements alone. By using insulation up to a foot thick and draught-strips on windows, doors, skirtings and floorboards, installing a wood-fired boiler and even changing to a smaller bath, they cut their modelled carbon dioxide emissions from 19 tonnes a year to half a tonne, and reduced their annual energy bills by between £2,000 and £3,000.
This leaky Nottingham home was a particularly tricky one to fix. Average Superhome owners spend £15-20,000, and should recoup this in lower bills within 10-15 years if fuel prices do not rise. Evidence from Australia suggests prices for more efficient homes will rise, says Doggart. Some costs have also fallen and more help is becoming available.
But, says Poyzer: "All the stuff we're learning has to come from the worst case scenario."
Find out more about the SuperHomes network
Things you can do:
Energy experts stress that, ultimately, homes need to be completely insulated and fitted with energy-saving devices but, in the meantime, here are a few simple things that can be done in a weekend:
• Change to low-energy lightbulbs.
• Plug computer equipment into a Bye Bye Standby, which turns it off after a set time.
• Swap to a programmable thermostat that can give you different temperatures throughout the day.
• Draught-proof windows and doors.
• Put a Sava-flush (often supplied free by water companies) into the loo cistern to reduce water used when flushing.
• Cable grommets (available online) can be fitted over the hole of a light flex in the ceiling to reduce draughts.
• Seal the tops and bottoms of skirting boards using silicon mastic or decorative caulking.
• Insulate any draughty gaps between wooden floorboards.
• Put reflective panels behind radiators.
For more information, visit the National Energy Foundation or

Airlines join call for aviation pollution pact

By David Fogarty Reuters
Published: February 12, 2009

SINGAPORE: Four leading airlines and an airport operator called Thursday for aviation emissions to be included in a broader climate pact, after growing criticism from environmental groups that the sector was not doing enough to fight global warming.
The move is the first step by airlines around the world to steer the debate on an emissions pact toward a deal they are happy with, rather than having one imposed upon them.
Air France/KLM, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Virgin Atlantic and the airport operator BAA issued the call in Hong Kong and outlined a series of principles for a global deal for aviation.
Conservation groups like the World Wide Fund for Nature, say the aviation sector has not been doing enough to tackle its growing share of greenhouse gas pollution and that it should pay for its emissions like many other industries.
Emissions from international aviation contribute about 2 percent of global carbon dioxide pollution from burning fossil fuels.

Environmental groups and governments say airlines should be part of emissions trading programs, as a start.
"This is the first time a group of airlines has got together to call for aviation to be included in a climate change treaty," Dominic Purvis, general manager for environmental affairs at Cathay Pacific, which is based in Hong Kong, said during an interview.
"We're contributing to climate change and we need to play our part."
National representatives will meet at the end of the year in the Danish capital Copenhagen to try to agree on a broader climate pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol, the United Nations' main weapon to fight global warming. Kyoto's first phase ends in 2012.
Among the goals of the meeting is to find a way for developing nations to agree to emissions curbs and to include aviation and shipping, which together make up 5 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, a fifth of which come from the United States, with six billion tons a year.
The UN International Civil Aviation Organization has been working for more than a decade to develop a global program to tackle aviation emissions.
Purvis said the four airlines would discuss existing proposals to curb emissions and feed the group's ideas to the international aviation agency and other airlines to try to settle on a fair and environmentally sound approach for inclusion at Copenhagen.
"The best thing is to have something effective and easy to apply and cost-effective, rather than to wait for someone else to come up with it and potentially take a course of action not necessarily appropriate for aviation," he said.
The four airlines and BAA are meeting in Hong Kong, and in a communiqué, the group laid out principles for a global approach that included balancing social and economic benefits of flying with the industry's responsibility to cut global emissions.
The airlines also said a new global climate deal for aviation must preserve competitiveness and avoid market distortions.
Many airlines say only a global approach is fair and criticize the European Union's decision to include aviation in the bloc's emissions trading program, starting in 2012.
Airlines will have to pay for their emissions over the entire route, not just within EU airspace, a rule that many Asian airlines flying long-haul routes to Europe say is unfair.

Green energy package for homes revealed

By Fiona Harvey and Rebecca Bream
Published: February 13 2009 02:03

All homes in the UK will have near to zero carbon emissions in 40 years, the government pledged on Thursday, under a new draft heat and energy-saving strategy that will require a massive increase in home insulation.
Ed Miliband, secretary of state for energy and climate change, said cavity wall and roof insulation would be provided to all properties by 2015, requiring 400,000 households a year to be fitted.

This would create thousands of jobs, especially in the construction industry, which has been one of the hardest hit by the recession.
But several companies said the plan failed to address their needs for combined heat and power plants, which generate electricity and use the resulting heat in local buildings. They can provide many benefits for industry, but few companies have them at present and the current low energy prices provide little incentive for their installation without government help.
Eon, the energy supplier, and Greenpeace, the environmental group, formed a rare alliance on Thursday to urge the government to do more to encourage companies to install such plants.
Graham Meeks, director of the Combined Heat and Power Association, said 20 per cent of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions came from the use of heat in industry. “Nothing is being proposed by the government to address this,” he said. “Heat is a huge part of costs and if you could reduce this use you could help to save many more jobs.”
Mr Miliband on Thursday said wasted electricity and heat were costing families about £300 ($429) a year, and that a quarter of the UK’s total emissions came from homes.
Under the government’s plan, by 2030 home improvements that saved heat and electricity would be available to every home in the country. Householders will receive help with the cost of efficiency measures, and could sell any electricity they generated back to the grid.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2009

Understanding Farmers’ Perceptions and Adaptations to Climate Change and Variability

The Case of the Limpopo Basin, South Africa

Glwadys Aymone Gbetibouo

Climate change is expected to have serious environmental,
economic, and social impacts on South Africa. In particular,
rural farmers, whose livelihoods depend on the use of natural
resources, are likely to bear the brunt of adverse impacts. The extent
to which these impacts are felt depends in large part on the extent of
adaptation in response to climate change. Adaptation is widely
recognized as a vital component of any policy response to climate
change. Without adaptation, climate change would be detrimental
to the agricultural sector, but with adaptation, vulnerability can be
significantly reduced.
This brief is based on a study that examines farmers’ perceptions
of climate change and analyzes their adaptation responses to
climate change and variability using household survey data from the
Limpopo River Basin in South Africa.
Farmers’ Perceptions of Climate Change
Farmers’ ability to perceive climate change is a key precondition for
their choice to adapt. The accuracy of farmers’ perceptions of
climate change was assessed by comparing their perceptions of
long-term changes in temperature and precipitation with climate
trends recorded at nearby meteorological stations. About 91 percent
of the farmers surveyed perceived an increase in temperature over
the past 20 years. This perception was confirmed by the statistical
record for the Limpopo River Basin between 1960 and 2003, which
showed the increase occurring mostly in the summer months
(October to March). An analysis of climate data at the provincial
level shows the same general trend of increasing temperature with
some minor variations in terms of the severity of the increase and its
timing (warming occurred mostly during the winter months in
Limpopo, Gauteng, and Mpumalanga). Thus, farmers’ perceptions
are supported by the statistical record.
In terms of precipitation, 81 percent of respondents reported a
decrease in rainfall over the past 20 years. Approximately 12 percent
of farmers reported a change in the timing of rains, and many of these
respondents observed a delayed and shorter rainfall season (summer).
The recorded rainfall data for 1960–2003 show that about
85 percent of rainfall occurs during summer months. However,
despite a majority perception that rainfall had decreased—and with
the exception of the winter season where the data do show a

decreasing trend—the climate record shows no statistically significant
trend over the past 40 years. Overall the climate record shows
large variability in the amount of precipitation from year to year, and
the same pattern was observed in each province. The high proportion
of farmers noticing a decrease in precipitation could be due to the
substantial decline in rainfall during 2001–03. Thus, farmer reports
of a reduction in rainfall over the past 20 years may indicate that
their perceptions are influenced by more recent climate trends.
A number of factors influence the likelihood that farmers will
perceive climate change. Having fertile soil and access to water for
irrigation decreases the likelihood that farmers will perceive climate
changes, whereas education, experience, and access to extension
services increase the likelihood that farmers will perceive climate
changes. This suggests that perceptions are not based entirely on
actual climate conditions and changes but are also influenced by
other factors.
Adaptation to Climate Change
Even though a large number of farmers interviewed noticed changes in
climate, almost two-thirds chose not to undertake any remedial action.
Among those farmers who did adapt, common responses included
planting different crops, changing crop varieties, changing planting
dates, increasing irrigation, diversifying crops, changing the amount of
land grazed or under cultivation, and supplementing livestock feed.
While adopting a new crop variety was the main strategy used to adapt
to increasing temperature, building water-harvesting schemes was a
popular strategy for coping with decreased precipitation.
Farmers cited a number of barriers to adaptation including
poverty, lack of access to credit, and lack of savings. Insecure
property rights and lack of markets were also cited as significant
barriers to adaptation. A few farmers also reported lack of information
and knowledge of appropriate adaptation measures as barriers
to adaptation (Table 1).
Results from mathematical models indicate that experienced
farmers are more likely to adapt to perceived climate change. In
particular, the likelihood of diversifying portfolios (that is, adopting
new crops or crop varieties, or using mixed farming systems),
changing planting dates, and changing the amount of land under
production increases with farm experience. This suggests that

farmers with greater management and technical skills are better able
to cope with climate variability and change, and to spread risk by
exploiting strategic complementarities among activities, such as
crop–livestock integration.
Large households were more likely to adapt, indicating that
additional household labor may facilitate the adoption of more
labor-intensive adaptation options. Large-scale farmers were also
more likely to adapt as a result of greater financial resources and
access to capital, which enable them to invest in more costly
technologies, such as irrigation. Likewise, wealthier households were
more likely to change their planting dates in response to perceived
climate change.
Access to rural services such as extension and credit also
increases the likelihood of adaptation. Farmers with access to
extension services—and who are therefore more likely to have
knowledge of management practices to address climate changes—
were more likely to diversify their portfolios in an effort to reduce
risk. Access to credit also increases the likelihood that farmers will
diversify their portfolios and buy feed supplements for their
livestock. Given that lack of financial resources is one of the major
constraints to adaptation, access to credit enables farmers with
limited financial resources to purchase the necessary inputs and
equipment associated with many adaptation options.
Having secure property rights also increases the probability of
adaptation. With clear property rights farmers are able to make
adaptation decisions involving their land, such as changing the
amount of land under cultivation. Access to fertile soil also increases
the likelihood that farmers will increase the amount of land under
cultivation in response to climate change.
While off-farm employment could present a constraint to
adaptation by reducing time spent managing farms, the results show
that farmers who engage in off-farm activities are more likely to

supplement livestock
feed. This suggests
that expanding
smallholder farmers’
access to off-farm
income sources
increases the
probability that they
will be able to afford
adaptation measures.
The results show
important regional
variation. In the
Limpopo province,
which has a large rural population dependent on agriculture, farmers
were more likely to adapt to climate changes compared with those in
the others provinces. Similarly, households located in regions with
high temperatures were more likely to adapt their farming practices,
particularly by diversifying their portfolios, using irrigation, and
changing planting dates.
Conclusions and Policy Implications
Given that few farmers adjusted their farming practices despite
perceiving changes in climate, governments should facilitate
adaptation by enabling farmers to overcome the barriers reported in
this study. Specifically, policies should ensure that farmers have
access to affordable credit, which would give them greater flexibility
to modify their production strategies in response to climate change.
Because access to water for irrigation increases farmers’ resilience to
climate variability, greater investments in smart irrigation are
needed. Reforming pricing, clearly defining property rights, and
strengthening farm-level managerial capacity should also be
emphasized to promote efficient water use. More importantly, given
that land reform has increased the number of less experienced and
unskilled farmers, extension services need to be expanded with
highly qualified personnel. Additional measures required are
improving off-farm income-earning opportunities, and facilitating a
smooth transition from subsistence to commercial farming.
for fu rther READING
Gbetibouo, G. A., Understanding Farmers’ Perceptions and Adaptations to
Climate Change and Variability: The Case of the Limpopo Basin,
South Africa, IFPRI Discussion Paper (Washington, DC:
International Food Policy Research Institute, forthcoming 2009).
G. A. Gbetibouo ( is a Ph.D. student at the Center for Environmental Economics and Policy in Africa at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.
Table 1 Barriers to adaptation in the Limpopo River Basin (% of the respondents)
This series of IFPRI Research Briefs is based on research supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany, under the
project “Food and Water Security under Global Change: Developing Adaptive Capacity with a Focus on Rural Africa,” which forms part of the CGIAR
Challenge Program on Water and Food. Through collaboration with the Center for Environmental Economics and Policy in Africa, the Ethiopian Development
Research Institute, the Ethiopian Economics Association, and the University of Hamburg, the project aims to provide policymakers and stakeholders in
Ethiopia and South Africa with tools to better understand and analyze the consequences of global change—in particular climate change—and to form policy
decisions that facilitate adaptation in these countries and beyond.

Climate Variability and Maize Yield in South Africa

Wisdom Akpalu, Rashid M. Hassan, and Claudia Ringler

M aize is the primary food staple in southern Africa, and
50 percent of the total maize output in the area is produced
in South Africa, where maize constitutes approximately 70 percent
of grain production and covers 60 percent of the country’s
cropping area. Climate change could have a significant impact on
South African maize production. The scientific community has
established that the temperature in South Africa increased
significantly between 1960 and 2003 (by 0.13 degrees Celsius),
and further temperature increases and changes in the quantity and
pattern of rainfall are expected despite any attempts by the
international community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Although the maize plant is quite hardy and adaptable to harsh
conditions, warmer temperatures and lower levels of precipitation
could have detrimental effects on yields, thereby increasing food
insecurity in the region.
This brief is based on a paper that uses household survey data
to explore the direct impact of climate variability, measured by
changes in temperature and precipitation, on maize yields in the
Limpopo Basin of South Africa.
Maize Production in South Africa
Sampled farms in the Limpopo Basin of South Africa produced
1,237 kilograms per hectare of maize using an average of 449 hours

of labor per hectare, 26 kilograms of seed per hectare, and
159 kilograms of fertilizer per hectare during the 2004/05 growing
season. A majority of the farms were rainfed; only 7 of the 25 farms
in the survey sample (28 percent) used supplementary irrigation
during the 2004/05 growing period (Table 1). Temperature and
precipitation data were obtained from weather services in South
Africa and were matched with farms within the neighborhood of
each climate station. The mean temperature for the months of the
2004/05 farming season was 21.4 degrees Celsius, and the mean
monthly precipitation was 71 millimeters (Table 1).
Under the study on which this brief is based, mathematical models
were applied to estimate the direct impact of climate variability on
maize yields. As was expected, an increase in production inputs—
including labor, seed, fertilizer, and irrigation—raises maize yields
substantially. Consistent with previous findings on the impact of
climate change and crops in South Africa, the results suggest that
a change in the amount of precipitation is the most important
driver of maize yields. A 10 percent reduction in mean precipitation
reduces the mean maize yield by approximately 4 percent.
Correspondingly, an increase in mean precipitation increases mean
maize yields; however, as rainfall continues to increase, the
additional gain in maize yield begins to diminish (Figure 1). Also
consistent with previous studies, the results suggest that changes
in temperature affect maize yields. As the mean temperature
increases from 21.4 to 21.6 degrees Celsius, the average maize
yield increases by 0.4 percent. However, like increased precipitation,
the gain in maize yields prompted by increased temperature
begins to diminish as temperature increases further.
Figures 1 and 2 show that an increase in either precipitation
or temperature from the 2004/05 mean values would increase
maize yields at a decreasing rate. The combined effect of changes
in temperature and rainfall on maize yields depends on the
magnitude and direction of each of the changes. As predicted by
climate models, the overall impact on yields of a marginal decrease
in mean precipitation simultaneous with a marginal increase in
mean temperature will be negative because the effect of reduced
precipitation on maize yields is stronger than the effect of
increased temperature. The figures also show that yields from

irrigated farms are higher than from non-irrigated farms, irrespective
of the temperature and level of precipitation.
Policy Impl ica tions
The scientific evidence shows that mean temperature in South
Africa has increased and is expected to increase further in the
future. At the same time, mean rainfall is expected to decrease by
5 to 10 percent, and rainfall variability is expected to increase over
the next 50 years. The results of this study indicate that such
effects would have a significant negative impact on maize yields
and consequently pose a serious threat to food security in South
Africa as well as other countries in the southern African region
that depend on maize imports from South Africa.
The results also suggest that one way to mitigate potential
yield loss due to climate change is to encourage irrigation. The
findings show that irrigated farms had higher maize yields than
did dryland farms; however, maize yields are determined more by
the level of precipitation than by the presence of irrigation,
indicating that irrigation practices partially mitigate the impact of
decreased precipitation on yields.
Additional observations and data on temperature and
precipitation at the farm level, rather than from nearby climate
stations, would increase the robustness of these results.
Nevertheless, while the study on which this brief is based could be
improved with better data, this research provides an important
starting point for further studies in South Africa and other
developing countries on the impact of climate variability and
climate change on crop yields and the resulting implications for
food security.
for further RE ADIN G
Akpalu, W., R. M. Hassan, and C. Ringler, Climate Variability and Maize
Yield in South Africa: Results from GME and MELE Methods, IFPRI
Discussion Paper No. 843 (Washington, DC, 2009).
W. Akpalu ( is an assistant professor at the State University of New York–Farmingdale. R. M. Hassan ( is the
director of the Center for Environmental Economics and Policy in Africa (CEEPA) at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. C. Ringler ( is a senior
research fellow in the Environment and Production Technology Division of the International Food Policy Research Institute.

The Impact of Climate Change and Adaptation on Food Production in Low-Income Countries

Evidence from the Nile Basin, Ethiopia

Mahmud Yesuf, Salvatore Di Falco, Temesgen Deressa, Claudia Ringler, and Gunnar Kohlin

Growing consensus in the scientific community indicates that
higher temperatures and changing precipitation levels
resulting from climate change will depress crop yields in many
countries over the coming decades. This is particularly true in
low-income countries, where adaptive capacity is low. Many
African countries are particularly vulnerable to climate change
because their economies largely depend on climate-sensitive
agricultural production. This brief is based on a study that used
household survey data to analyze the impact of climate change on
food production in the Nile Basin of Ethiopia. The study also
examined the factors influencing adaptation and the implications
of various adaptation strategies for farm productivity.
Cli mat e Change and Agric ult ural
Producti on in Et hiopia
With a population of more than 70 million people and a gross
domestic product (GDP) of slightly more than US$10 billion,
Ethiopia is one of the world’s least developed countries. The
agricultural sector, which is dominated by small-scale, subsistence
farming, forms the foundation of the national economy and
constitutes the primary source of livelihood for the overwhelming
majority of the population. In 2003, the sector employed more than
80 percent of the labor force and contributed 45 percent of GDP and
85 percent of total export revenues. Ethiopian agriculture is almost
exclusively dependent on rainfall, given that irrigated agriculture
accounts for less than 1 percent of the country’s total cultivated land.
Thus, the amount and temporal distribution of rainfall and other
climatic factors are key determinants of crop yields, and poor or
excessive rainfall can induce food shortages and famine.
A recent mapping of vulnerability and poverty in Africa
determined that, in terms of climate change, Ethiopia was one of
the most vulnerable countries given its low adaptive capacity.
Rainfall variability and associated drought have been major causes
of the country’s food shortages and famine. Nationally, the link
between drought and crop production is widely recognized, but
little is known about how climate change affects crop yields and
what strategies households are using to adapt. Furthermore, few
studies have analyzed the factors governing farmers’ decisions to

adapt to climate change and the impact of those decisions on
yields. This information is particularly important for the design of
effective adaptation strategies for coping with the negative impacts
of climate change.
Cli mat e Change and Adaptati on
in the Nil e Basin of Et hiopia
The survey underlying the study on which this brief is based was
designed to capture farmers’ perceptions and understanding of
climate change, as well as their approaches to adaptation. Data
show that 68 percent of farmers perceived that mean temperatures
had increased over the previous 20 years, whereas 4 percent
perceived they had decreased, and 28 percent perceived that there
had been no change. In terms of mean annual rainfall over the
same timeframe, 62 percent of farmers reported a decrease,
18 percent reported an increase, and 20 percent reported no
change. Overall, increased temperature and declining precipitation
were the predominant perceptions in the study sites.
In response to perceived long-term changes, farm households
implemented a number of adaptation measures, including
changing crop varieties, adopting soil and water conservation
measures, harvesting water, planting trees, and changing planting
and harvesting periods. The remaining adaptation measures,
which accounted for less than 5 percent of all measures, were
nonyield related and included migration and a shift in farming
practices from crop production to livestock herding or other
sectors. However, about 58 percent of farmers took no action to
adapt to long-term shifts in temperatures, and 42 percent took no
action to respond to long-term shifts in precipitation. More than
90 percent of those respondents who took no action to adapt cited
lack of information and shortages of labor, land, and money as the
major reasons. In fact, lack of information was the predominant
reason cited by 40–50 percent of households.
Determinants of Adaptati on
Results suggest that information about future changes in climate
and access to formal and informal institutions strongly govern
household decisions about adaptation. Households with access to

formal agricultural extension, farmer-to-farmer extension, credit,
and information about future climate change are more likely to
adjust their farming practices in response to climate change.
Likewise, households in areas that experienced higher rainfall
than average in the Belg (fall) season were also more likely to
adopt adaptation strategies compared with households in areas
receiving less rainfall. Nevertheless, households with higher than
average rainfall during the key Mehere (summer) rainfall season
were not more likely to adapt to climate change.
Significant differences were also observed across the country’s
various agroecological zones when it came to the likelihood that
households would undertake measures to adapt to climate change:
households in the highlands (Dega) and midlands (WeynaDega)
were less likely to adopt adaptation measures compared with
households in the lowlands (Kolla). Significant differences in
responses were also observed based on household size and age and
literacy levels of household heads. Larger households and those
whose heads were older and more literate were more likely to adopt
adaptation measures, indicating the importance of available labor on
the one hand and experience and access to information on the other.
The Impact of Cli mat e Change
and Adaptati on on Food Producti on
Although the survey returned information on a total of 48 annual
crops grown in the Nile Basin of Ethiopia, the first 5 major annual
crops (teff, maize, wheat, barley, and beans) cover 65 percent of
plots. The estimation of the production function that follows is
limited to these crops.
Results show that farmers who adopted measures to adapt to
climate change had higher levels of food production than those
who did not: households that adopted adaptation measures tended
to produce about 95–300 kilograms more food per hectare than
those who chose not to adapt, which accounts for a 10–29 percent
difference in output. In other words, adaptation measures
substantially mitigated the effect of climate change on crop yields.
Farm-level climatic variation is a significant factor in
explaining fluctuations in food production across farm households.
Variations in household yield levels could not be explained
by temperature. Variations in precipitation during the Mehere
season did explain yield differences, although the effects of such
differences were nonlinear. An increase in both Belg and Mehere

rainfall seemed to increase food production (controlling for
agroecological and other major factors of production), but too
much or too little rainfall during these seasons appeared to have a
negative effect on food production in the study sites.
As expected, the use of improved seeds, fertilizers, manure,
and additional labor tended to increase food production.
Significant differences in yields were also observed across agroecological
zones, with the highlands (Dega) producing the most food
per hectare, followed by the lowlands (Kolla), and finally the
midlands (WeynaDega).
Concl uding Remarks
The above results indicate that farmers’ decisions to adopt
yield-enhancing adaptation strategies are influenced by informal
and formal institutional support, the availability of information on
future climate changes, the amount of rainfall during the Belg
season, and the agroecological setting, as well as householdspecific
characteristics of size and age and literacy levels of the
household head. This suggests that farmers need appropriate and
timely information on predicted changes in climate to empower
them to take appropriate steps to adjust their farming practices.
Moreover, given that access to credit markets and government and
farmer-to-farmer extension services was shown to facilitate
adaptation, more effort should be made to extend these services to
farmers in poor communities.
Averting the negative effects of climate change and achieving
food security have become major priorities for development
agencies, policymakers, and related stakeholders. Given that
adaptation measures have a positive effect on crop yields, the
adoption of yield-related adaptation strategies could significantly
support these goals. Consequently, adaptation not only enables
farmers to cope with the adverse effects of climate change and
variability, but also increases the agricultural productivity of poor
farm households.
for further RE ADING
Yesuf, M., S. Di Falco, T. Deressa, C. Ringler, and G. Kohlin, The Impact
of Climate Change and Adaptation on Food Production in
Low-Income Countries: Evidence from the Nile Basin, Ethiopia,
IFPRI Discussion Paper No. 828 (Washington, DC: International
Food Policy Research Institute, 2008).

M. Yesuf ( is a fellow at the Ethiopian Development Research Institute and Addis Ababa University. S. Di Falco ( is a lecturer
in Applied Economics at the University of Kent, U.K. T. Deressa ( is a PhD student at the Center for Environmental Economics and Policy in Africa
(CEEPA) at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. C. Ringler ( is a senior research fellow in the Environment and Production Technology Division of the
International Food Policy Research Institute. G. Kohlin ( is an associate professor in Economics at Gothenburg University, Sweden.
This series of IFPRI Research Briefs is based on research supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany, under the
project “Food and Water Security under Global Change: Developing Adaptive Capacity with a Focus on Rural Africa,” which forms part of the CGIAR
Challenge Program on Water and Food. Through collaboration with the Center for Environmental Economics and Policy in Africa, the Ethiopian Development
Research Institute, the Ethiopian Economics Association, and the University of Hamburg, the project aims to provide policymakers and stakeholders in
Ethiopia and South Africa with tools to better understand and analyze the consequences of global change—in particular climate change—and to form policy
decisions that facilitate adaptation in these countries and beyond.

Copyright © 2008 International Food Policy Research Institute. All rights reserved. Sections of this document may be reproduced without the permission of but with
acknowledgment to IFPRI. Contact for permission to reprint.


Global Carbon Markets
Are There Opportunities for Sub-Saharan Africa?


Elizabeth Bryan, Wisdom Akpalu, Claudia Ringler, and Mahmud Yesuf

Human activities such as fossil fuel burning and deforestation
have significantly increased the atmospheric concentration of
greenhouse gases (GHG) leading to global climate change. Global
climate change and its associated weather extremes pose considerable
challenges worldwide, and mitigating the adverse impacts of climate
change is a high priority for the international community.
To reduce global emissions and curb the threat of climate
change, many countries are participating in carbon trading. Carbon
trading includes allowance-based agreements that impose national
caps on emissions and allow participating countries to engage in
emission trading as well as project-based transactions (for example,
through the CDM or Clean Development Mechanism). The CDM
allows industrialized countries with greenhouse gas reduction
commitments to invest in emission-reducing projects in developing
countries as an alternative to generally more costly emission
reductions in their own countries. Funds made available by the
CDM for carbon offsets provide an opportunity for cash-strapped
developing countries to fund much needed adaptation measures.
The potential annual value stream for Sub-Saharan Africa from
mitigating GHG emissions is estimated to be US$4.8 billion at
carbon prices of US$0–20/tCO2e. Moreover, agricultural mitigation
measures, including soil and water conservation and agroforestry
practices, also enhance ecosystem functioning, providing resilience
against droughts, pests, and climate-related shocks.
Yet the potential for Africa to contribute to global reductions in
GHG emissions is quite substantial.
Estimates suggest Africa could
potentially contribute to GHG
reductions of 265 MtCO2e (million
tons of carbon dioxide or equivalent)
per year at carbon prices of up to
US$20 through agricultural
measures and 1,925 MtCO2e/yr at
carbon prices of up to
US$100/tCO2e by 2030 through
changes in the forestry sector. These
amounts constitute 17 and
14 percent, respectively, of the global
total potential for mitigation in these
sectors. However, countries in
Sub-Saharan Africa are marginalized
in global carbon markets.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s share of the CDM market is nine times smaller
than its global share of GHG emissions, including emissions from
land use and land-use change.
This brief is based on a paper that examines Sub-Saharan Africa’s
current involvement in carbon markets, potential for GHG emission
reductions, constraints to further participation in carbon markets, and
opportunities for expanding Sub-Saharan Africa’s market share.
Sub-Saharan Africa’s market sh are
and potential
As the largest project-based market aimed at developing countries, the
CDM provides the largest outlet for carbon offset projects in Sub-
Saharan Africa. As of October 2008, Sub-Saharan Africa accounted
for only 1.4 percent of all registered CDM projects—only 17 out of
1,186 projects—and most of these projects (14 out of 17) were located
in just one country, South Africa. Thus, African projects still represent
a small fraction of the entire CDM market. China dominates the
CDM market with about 73 percent of volumes transacted (in 2007).
While Sub-Saharan Africa’s contribution to global emissions is
relatively small—5 percent of the global total—there is significant
potential for the region to contribute to climate change mitigation,
particularly in the forestry and agriculture sectors, which together
accounted for 73 percent of emissions from the region (and 13 percent
of the global total emissions from these sectors). Moreover, Africa’s
emissions from agriculture and land-use change and deforestation are
expected to grow in the future due to projected intensification of
agricultural production and the expansion of unexploited areas.
The mitigation potential from agricultural production is greatest
in East, West, and Central Africa, with mitigation potentials of
109, 60, and 49 MtCO2e/yr, respectively, at prices of US$0–20/tCO2e
(see Table 1). The agricultural practices that appear to be the most
promising include cropland management, grazing/land management,
and restoration of organic soils.
Moreover, Africa contributes 18 percent of the total global GHG
emissions from land use, land-use change, and forestry. As such, soil
carbon sequestration, fire management, and avoided deforestation
offer additional opportunities for mitigating GHG emissions and
promoting sustainability in Africa. Africa has the potential to mitigate
1,160 MtCO2e/yr from avoided deforestation by 2030, 29 percent of
the global total, as well as 665 MtCO2e/yr from afforestation and
100 MtCO2e/yr from forest management at carbon prices of
Constraints to Sub-Saharan Africa’s
participation in global carbon markets
While Sub-Saharan Africa could contribute considerably to global
reductions in GHG emissions, numerous barriers would have to be
overcome. For instance, to be considered eligible to engage in carbon
trading under the CDM, a clear baseline for a project must be
established, and it must be demonstrated that emission reductions
would not have occurred in the absence of the project (additionality
rule). For many developing countries, lack of technical training and
support on setting benchmarks, as well as poor availability and
quality of data, are major obstacles to defining an adequate baseline
and demonstrating additionality.
Africa’s participation in the CDM is also constrained by high
transaction costs. The costs of carbon projects include the cost of
providing information about carbon benefits to potential buyers,
communicating with project partners, and ensuring parties fulfill their
contractual obligations. Measurement and monitoring costs are also
often considerable. Likewise, the costs of negotiating land-use
decisions for carbon projects involving large numbers of geographically
dispersed people with different land-use objectives can be prohibitive.
In addition, the CDM targets energy and power sources, overlooking
soil carbon sequestration and avoided deforestation projects, which are
highly important for climate change mitigation in many African
countries. The exclusion of these activities limits CDM participation by
African countries and hinders their mitigation opportunities.

Opportunities for integrating
Sub-Saharan Africa into the global
carbon market
There are several opportunities for further integrating Sub-Saharan
African and other developing countries into global carbon markets.
Simplifying the CDM rules for determining baselines, monitoring
carbon emissions, and enforcing offsets and broadening the range of
eligible projects to include avoided deforestation and soil carbon
sequestration would facilitate the participation of Sub-Saharan African
countries. These countries should also explore opportunities to
increase participation in voluntary carbon markets. In order to take
full advantage of the opportunities provided by carbon markets,
Sub-Saharan African countries will also need to strengthen their
institutional capacity and engage both private and public sectors in
project development and implementation. International advisory
services could be established to assist potential investors, project
designers and managers, national policymakers, and leaders of local
organizations and federations in negotiating deals and complying with
measurement and monitoring requirements.
Policymakers should take care to ensure that the needs of the poor
are taken into consideration. Reducing the transaction costs associated
with small-scale carbon offset projects would allow the poor within
these countries to benefit from carbon trading. Working with intermediary
organizations that are accountable to local producers, building
community-management capacity, strengthening property rights, and
improving regulation of offset projects would also help ensure that
social and environmental goals are met and that the poor benefit from
the carbon trading system. Thus, expanding pro-poor mitigation
through linking Sub-Saharan Africa to global carbon markets is both
feasible and desirable for the region in terms of conserving its natural
resources, contributing to the good of the global environment, and
generating income to finance its development activities.
for further READIN G
Bryan, E., W. Akpalu, C. Ringler, and M. Yesuf, 2008. Global Carbon
Markets: Are There Opportunities for Sub-Saharan Africa? IFPRI
Discussion Paper (Washington, DC: International Food Policy
Research Institute, 2008 forthcoming).
Smith, P., D. Martino, Z. Cai, D. Gwary, H. Janzen, P. Kumar, B.
McCarl, S. Ogle, F. O’Mara, C. Rice, B. Scholes, O. Sirotenko, M.
Howden, T. McAllister, G. Pan, V. Romanenkov, U. Schneider, S.
Towprayoon, M. Wattenbach, and J. Smith, “Greenhouse-Gas
Mitigation in Agriculture,” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal
Society B 363 (2008).
E. Bryan ( is a senior research assistant in the Environment and Production Technology Division (EPTD) of the International Food Policy Research
Institute. W. Akpalu ( is a professor at the State University of New York-Farmingdale. C. Ringler ( is a is a senior research
fellow with EPTD at IFPRI. M. Yesuf ( is a fellow at the Ethiopian Development Research Institute and Addis Ababa University.
This series of IFPRI Research Briefs is based on research supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany, under the
project “Food and Water Security under Global Change: Developing Adaptive Capacity with a Focus on Rural Africa,” which forms part of the CGIAR
Challenge Program on Water and Food. Through collaboration with the Center for Environmental Economics and Policy in Africa, the Ethiopian Development
Research Institute, the Ethiopian Economics Association, and the University of Hamburg, the project aims to provide policymakers and stakeholders in
Ethiopia and South Africa with tools to better understand and analyze the consequences of global change—in particular climate change—and to form policy
decisions that facilitate adaptation in these countries and beyond.

Copyright © 2008 International Food Policy Research Institute. All rights reserved. Sections of this document may be reproduced without the permission of but with
acknowledgment to IFPRI. Contact for permission to reprint.