Sunday, September 13, 2015


Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace, Justice, and ECOLOGY.
#1, June 17, 2012

 For a knowledge-based peace, justice, and ecology movement and an informed citizenry as the foundation for change.


Contents :  UN International DAY to Combat Desertification and Drought Newsletter #1 at end

Realities of Desertification
William Debuys, Mega-Drought in California Moving Eastward
William Debuys’ Book on Arid Areas
ThinkProgress, Dry Areas and Deserts Increasing
Think Progress, Trees Disappearing 
Soils and Deserts, Google Search

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
      (UNCCD), Struggle against Desertification
The new  UNCCD Publication:  Climate change and land degradation: Bridging knowledge and stakeholders. 
The twelfth session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNCCD (COP12) will be held in Ankara from 12-23 October 2015.
UNCCD Google Search 2015

WILLIAM DEBUYS, Mega-droughts: How dry, how long, how much damage?   LOS ANGELES TIMES
California in the Great Drought is a living diorama of how the future is going to look across much of the United States as climate change sets in. Like hippies and “dude,” wine bars and hot tubs, mega- churches and gay rights, what gets big in California goes national soon enough. Now, the large dark bruise spreading across the state on the U.S. Drought Monitor map is a preview of a bone-dry world to come.

Admittedly, recent summer rains have somewhat dulled the edge of this exceptional California drought, now in its fourth year. Full recovery, however, would require about a foot of rain statewide between now and January, a veritable deluge for places like Fresno, which in good times get that much only in a full year.

To be clear, the current drought may not have been caused by climate change. After all, California has a long history of fierce droughts that arise from entirely natural causes, some of them lasting a decade or more.

Even so, climate change remains a potent factor in the present disaster. According to the state’s Climate Change Center, California is on average about 1.7 degrees hotter than a century ago, and its rate of warming is expected to triple in the century ahead. The kicker is that hotter means much drier because as temperature creeps up, evaporation gallops. As a result, the droughts of the future will be effectively more destructive than those of the past.

Throughout the state, draconian cutbacks in water use are in force. Some agricultural districts are receiving zero percent of the federally controlled irrigation water they received in past years, while state-controlled water deliveries are running about 15 percent of normal. A staggering 5,200 wildfires have burned across the state this year, and the fire season still has months to go.

So how is this a harbinger for lands to the east? The long-term forecast for an immense portion of western North America, from California to Texas and north to South Dakota, is for a future of the same, only worse.

Here is the unvarnished version as expressed in a paper that appeared in Science Advances in February: “The mean state of drought in the late 21st century over the Central Plains and Southwest will likely exceed even the most severe mega-drought periods of the Medieval era in both high and moderate emissions scenarios, representing an unprecedented fundamental shift with respect to the last millennium.”

Let’s unpack that. Principal author Benjamin Cook of NASA and his colleagues from Columbia and Cornell universities are saying that climate change will bring to the continent a “new normal” more brutally dry than even the multiple-decades-long droughts that caused the Native American societies of Chaco Canyon in New Mexico and Mesa Verde in Colorado to collapse. This, they add, will happen even if greenhouse gas emissions are significantly lowered soon.

If California points the way to dry times ahead, it also gives us a glimpse of how a responsible society can adjust to a warmer future. In general, the state’s individual consumers and water districts are meeting conservation goals, thanks to a range of innovations and sacrifices.

Perhaps most impressively, the state has adopted its own pioneering cap-and-trade program aimed at rolling back greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels. Emissions are capped and emitters are assigned a certain number of carbon permits. If they emit less, they can sell their extra permits in a state auction, creating incentives to cut carbon pollution.

Will cap and trade enable the state to meet its greenhouse gas goal? That’s unknown, but there is no debating its positive effect on the state treasury. In fiscal year 2015-16, the permit auction will net about $2.2 billion for mass transit, affordable housing and a range of climate-adaptation programs. And by the way, the warnings of naysayers and climate deniers that cap and-trade would prove a drag on the economy have proved groundless.

If President Barack Obama’s just-announced Clean Power Plan withstands court challenges, it will prove a powerful spur to other states to “put a price on carbon.” The plan mandates state-by-state reductions in power plant carbon emissions that will drive them 32 percent below 2005 levels. Many states undoubtedly have to adopt cap-and-trade systems. Where will they look for a workable example? California, obviously.

And yet, only governors in Hawaii, Oregon and Washington on the West Coast, Minnesota in the Midwest, and a handful of Northeastern states will even acknowledge the importance of acting to curb climate change as well as adapt to it.

Even in states likely to face acute water shortages, governors have assumed the posture of startled ostriches. Doug Ducey, the Republican governor of Arizona, acknowledges that the climate may indeed be changing but doubts that humans play a causal role in it. Susana Martinez of New Mexico, also a Republican, continues to insist that climate science is inconclusive, while former governor of Texas and current presidential candidate Rick Perry adamantly remains “not a scientist,” although he knew enough to inform us in his 2012 campaign screed Fed Up that climate change science is “a contrived phony mess.”

This year, the troglodytic deniers may get a boost from an unlikely source. An El Nino event seems to be brewing in the Pacific Ocean, which may draw winter precipitation to Southern California and points eastward. If it happens, the Republican rain dancers will feel confirmed in their denialism, much as a broken clock is right at least twice a day.

One or even several El Ninos, however, will not avert the new normal for much of the American West. Adaptation could soften some of the blows, and possibly, if we act soon enough and strongly enough, we may manage to cap the overall changes at some still livable level.

Eventually, California’s message will be heeded. Get ready.

William deBuys is the author of A Great Aridness: Climate Change and the Future of the American Southwest and The Last Unicorn: A Search for One of Earth’s Rarest Creatures. A longer version of this essay appears at .==

[I sent the above to the Fayetteville City Council and the Washington County Quorum Court 9-13-15, asking them they prepare at least for the refugees.  –Dick]

William deBuys .  A Great Aridness:  Climate Change and the Future of the American Southwest.  Oxford University Press (OUP)USA.   12 December 2011.   384 Pages |   About Us | Careers | Contact Us | Help.

Author is Pulitzer Prize finalist, Pushcart Prize recipient, and Guggenheim fellow.
Beautifully written naturalistic prose, in the tradition of Wallace Stegner and John McPhee
Compelling topic: the Southwest continues to be the fastest-growing and one of the most urban regions in the country--the book addresses whether or not its oasis-based culture will be able to continue.
American Southwest is a proxy for semiarid ecosystems (e.g., Australia, the Middle East)--the climate effects in this region will shed light on climate events worldwide
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Degradation of Soil and Deserts Google Search, Sept. 13, 2015
And UN Responses
World Health Organization
Land degradation and desertification can affect human health through complex pathways. As land is degraded and in some places deserts expand, food ...
United Nations Environment Programme
Trends in Land Use and Land Degradation in Deserts. All deserts have evolved under water scarcity; drought does not destabilize them. But humaninduced ...
World Wide Fund for Nature
Effects include land degradationsoil erosion and sterility, and a loss of biodiversity, with huge economic costs for nations where deserts are growing.
United Nations
Although desertification can include the encroachment of sand dunes on land, it doesn't refer to the advance of deserts. Rather, it is the persistent degradation of ...
Desertification is a type of land degradation in which a relatively dry land region ... During most of these times, deserts have grown and shrunk independent of ... › ... › Web Exclusives  Scientific American
Jan 9, 2012 - Desert soil has a living crust that is essential for fixing nitrogen, a critical plant nutrient, and for avoiding erosion that produces a swirl of itinerant ...
University of Michigan
The first global survey of soil degradation was carried out by the United .... at the southern edge of the Sahara, an area the size of Somalia has become desert.
Exequiel Ezcurra - 2006 - ‎Nature
In addition to the limited quantity of water resources available in deserts, ... Deserts in the strict sense are less susceptible to land degradation than other ...
Soil degradation is a human-induced or natural process which impairs the ... As an example, in 3000 BC, the Sumerians built large cities in the deserts of ...



Be among the first to know: Climate change and land degradation: Bridging knowledge and stakeholders. Outcomes from UNCCD 3-rd Scientific Conference
UNCCD via 
7:14 AM (9 hours ago)

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Be among the first to know  9 September 2015

Hot - off the press ! The new  UNCCD Publication
Climate change and land degradation: Bridging knowledge and stakeholders 

The effects of demographic pressure and unsustainable land management practices on land degradation and desertification are being exacerbated worldwide due to the effects of climate change, which include changing rainfall patterns, increased frequency and intensity of drought and floods, rising temperatures, and profound ecological shifts.

As a consequence, populations’ capacities to generate livelihoods are limited, particularly in the drylands. Where land users are exposed and sensitive to changes but able to adapt, through flexibility and mobility in the use of the natural capital, they can cope with such stresses. When they cannot adapt, land users become more vulnerable, which can lead to increased poverty, malnutrition, outmigration, political insecurity and conflict.

Taking action to reduce vulnerability and enhance resilience of ecosystems and human populations to the combined effects of climate change and land degradation needs to consider:
·  The degree, duration and extent to which the social-ecological system is exposed to land degradation and climate change (initial assessment measuring exposure);
·  The extent to which the function and structure of the social-ecological system is likely to be modified by the changes it is exposed to (impact assessment measuring sensitivity);
·  The extent to which it is possible to change the way the social-ecological system functions, so that livelihoods can still be maintained (adaptation assessment measuring adaptive capacities).  
Facts and figures about climate change and land degradation:
·  It is estimated that, during the last 40 years, nearly one-third of the world’s arable land has been lost toerosion and continues to be lost at a rate of more than 10 million hectares per year.
·  25% of the Earth‘s land area is either highly degraded or undergoing high rates of degradation.
·  Land use change and degradation is responsible for about 20% of carbon emissions globally.
·  From 1950-1980, 10-14% of the land mass was classified as dry, which rose to 25-30% between 2000 and 2010.
·  The average river run-off and water availability is projected to decrease by 10-30% over some dry regions, including the dry tropics.
·  Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer than any preceding decade since 1850.
More about the way forward, the Land degradation neutrality: a global objective for sustainable development, how to engage all stakeholders read in "Climate change and land degradation: Bridging knowledge and stakeholders" (Outcomes from the UNCCD 3- rd Scientific Conference 9-12 March, Cancun, Mexico). See also theFrench and the Spanish version

MORE publications of interest:
TEEB for agriculture and food ( TEEBAgFood)Study
Ecosystems and agricultural & food systems are typically evaluated in isolation from one another, despite their many and significant links. The economic invisibility of many of these links is a major reason for this ‘silo’ thinking. However, ecosystems are the ecological home in which crop and livestock systems thrive and produce food for humans, and in turn agricultural practices, food production, distribution and consumption impose several unquantified externalities on ecosystems and human health and well-being. TEEBAgFood works to increase preservation of ecosystems and biodiversity by using economic valuation to inform food system policies. The workshop taking place in Brussels this week September 8-11, 2015 has five main objectives: review a variety of existing studies on agricultural sectors that externalize a disproportionate share of costs; identify gaps and lessons learned; finalize a study framework for valuation; explore options for additional research; and agree on content, structure, and writing teams for two reports on ‘Scientific and Economic Foundations’ and ‘Policies: Production and Consumption.’
·  What is the true cost of food?  Find out following the FoodTank here

Voluntary environmental and organic standards in agriculture
In light of the proliferation of voluntary environmental and organic standards, this report analyses whether voluntary standards could be harnessed to assist governments to achieve public policy goals. Read thepaper online
Rousset, S. et al. (2015), “Voluntary environmental and organic standards in agriculture: Policy implications”, OECD
Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Papers, No. 86, OECD Publishing, Paris..

Did you know:
·  UNCCD publications will be on display at its twelfth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 12)  from 12 to 23 October 2015 in Ankara,  Turkey. Have a look at the titles here
·  Read further more information about the forthcoming COP sessions, side events, exhibitions...
·  For UNCCD latest news and updates please check UNCCD website  .

Land, Forests, Water, Climate, Energy and more:

Adapting agriculture to climate change
Farmers will undertake many adaptation actions to meet changing climate conditions and will often do so without any government intervention. However, when such actions provide both private and public benefits, the public sector may play a role in how these are developed and this report aims to establish a framework to help identify specific actions that governments could take. Read thepaper online here .
Ignaciuk, A. (2015), “Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change: A Role for Public Policies”, OECD Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Papers, No. 85, OECD Publishing, Paris

Land Restoration, 1st Edition
Reclaiming Landscapes for a Sustainable Future/
Expected Release Date: 12 Nov 2015

Provides accessible information about the science behind land degradation and restoration for those who do not directly engage with the science allowing full access to the issue at hand. Includes practical on-the-ground examples garnered from diverse areas, such as the Sahel, Southeast Asia, and the U.S.A. Provides practical tools for designing and implementing restoration/re-greening processes. See the table of contents. Editors: Ilan Chabay & Martin Frick & Jennifer Helgeson/ Elsevier

FAO's most comprehensive forest review to date, The Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015 just published!
World deforestation slows down as more forests are better managed. FAO publishes key findings of global forest resources assessment. FAO has estimatedthat total carbon emissions from forests decreased by more than 25 percent between 2001 and 2015, mainly due to a slowdown in global deforestation rates. Some 129 million hectares of forest - an area almost equivalent in size to South Africa - have been lost since 1990, according to FAO's most comprehensive forest review to date. Have a look at: Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015 - How are the world’s forests changing?  (Infographic) Read Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015

Copyright ©2014 United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, All rights reserved.

UNCCD via 
9:53 AM (1 hour ago)
to me
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
The twelfth session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNCCD (COP12) will be held in Ankara from 12-23 October 2015.
News updates  27 July - 7 August 2015
Notification:  Sponsorship of journalists to COP12
The UNCCD has issued a call for journalists wishing to cover COP12 but need sponsorship to send in their applications by Wednesday, 19 August. Details of the requirements are posted here. By the same date, applicants for sponsorship must ensure they have also applied for accreditation to COP12. The requirements for accreditation are provided on the COP12 page.

[UNCCD COP12 dates & venue announced
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
The twelfth session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNCCD (COP12) will be held in Ankara from 12-23 October 2015. The venue of the session will be as ...]
Notification: For Civil Society Organizations
The UNCCD secretariat has sent out the invitation to COP12 to all CSOs accredited and those provisionally accredited ​to the UNCCD Conference of the Parties. The information is available here.
News: 2015 Land for Life Award Winners 
To see who won this year's Award, visit our page here.
News: 5th Kubuqi International Desert Forum
The two-day Forum was attended by over 300 participants in Kubuqi Desert, Inner Mongolia, China. To read, visit the page here.

Capacity Building Marketplace
·  Improved keyword search for the Marketplace:Search all grants by topic.Search vacancies by topic.Find e-learning opportunities by topic.
·  Help us keep the Marketplace up to date! Send your information to the UNCCD Capacity Building Marketplace.
·  Follow the UNCCD Capacity Building Marketplace on Twitter or Facebook and receive daily updates with the latest news and offerings: TwitterFacebook,  Subscribe to our Newsletter.
Library News: What's New?
·  How Ethiopia Went from Famine Crisis to Green Revolution? read on Be among the first to know  page
·  The Land battle:15 organizations defending land rights (FoodTank); Latest working papers as part of the Pathways to Resilience in Semi-arid Economies (PRISE) GRI project:"Climate change and the geographical and institutional drivers of economic developmentand "Coping with climate risk: the role of institutions, governance and finance in private adaptation decisions of the poor "(Castells-Quintana et.) all these and more you can find here Land Scan : about land and more
·  Did you know: "Public perceptions of environmental risk: the role of journalists" Science not communicated is said to be science not done. Follow our Did you know ?For your ease of reference page  
·  Read UNCCD latest publications; Follow our Be among the first to know  and Knowledge for land> K4LAND pages;Follow UNCCD library on Twitter.

Reminders: Side events and exhibitions for COP12
The deadline for the submission of requests to organize side events andexhibitions at COP12 is in two weeks: 31 August 2015The application forms are available here .

Upcoming events

·  25-27 September  UN Summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda New York, USA
·  12-23 October UNCCD COP 12 Ankara, Turkey

For current UNCCD secretariat and Global Mechanism vacancies, please click here.

Feature Stories

Thesaurus for economics

The German National Library of Economics- Leibniz Information Center for Economics has published version 9.0 of its STW Thesaurus for Economics. 
This relaunch marks the end of a complete revision of STW according to the current terminology usage in the latest international research literature in economics.

Sustainable land management in drylands
Twelve million hectares of fertile land are lost to desertification every year – three times the size
of Switzerland. If we do nothing, desertification could ultimately jeopardize our ability to feed
ourselves. Read "Saving soils at degradation frontlines: Sustainable land management in drylands".


Journals and articles with a focus on  land degradation, desertification, drought
Recent and hot-off the press scientific articles with abstracts for your ease of reference . Lists of open access journals and paid journals with major focus on DLDD and SLM you can find on the same page..Follow our dedicated page here

For more information on the Alert, contact:
Wagaki Wischnewski
Public Information and Media Officer
UNCCD Secretariat
Tel: +49 (0)228- 815 2820

Copyright ©2014 United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, All rights reserved.

UNCCD 2015, Google Search, September 3, 2015
The 3rd UNCCD scientific conference on “combating desertification, land ... reduction and sustainable development” [was] held on 9-12 March 2015 in CancĂșn ...
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
(1) A change in our land use practices through smart agriculture and adaptation to changing climate, especially in the dry fragile parts of the world where food ...
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
​28/07/2015 - UNCCD Announces 2015 Winners of Land for Life Award Two business corporations from Egypt and China are recognized as true influencers in ...
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United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
18.12.2015. Increasing forced migrations due to climate change and land degradation. More information: Worldwide ...
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
The twelfth session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNCCD (COP12) will be held in Ankara from 12-23 October 2015. The venue of the session will be as ...
... conference on “combating desertification, land degradation and drought for poverty reduction and sustainable development” will be held on 9-12 March 2015 ...
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
World Day to Combat Desertification 2015. Visit the WDCD 2015 page. Summary Links [3] . World Day to Combat Desertification. 2014 · 2013 · 2012 · 2011.
gef-unccd June 2015: The UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) have co-published a Q&A booklet

Contents UN DAY against Desertification, Newsletter #1, June 17, 2012 Final Newsletter
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