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Inbox Earth has been slowly getting hotter since 1850, report reveals The hottest 30-year period in 1,400 years ended in 2012 – but it’s only going to get hotter from here on in, a new report on climate change reveals. In fact, each successive decade since 1850 has been hotter than the last. And there’s nothing we can do about it. The Working Group ‘Climate Change 2013’ report part I is the first of three instalments, with parts II and III due to be completed in Spring 2014. Commissioned by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the report is a collaborative effort of 259 scientists and experts from around the world, spanning 39 countries. It outlines two main points: yes, climate change is our fault and, Carbon dioxide levels were rising even before industrialisation, and will continue to increase English man swims coast of Britain Avid swimmer Sean Conway has made history by becoming the first person to swim the length of the British coast. Conway, 32, began his journey in June 2013, when he left Lands’ End in Cornwall. Speaking about the experience, Conway said he undertook the challenge because people doubted it could be done. “I just thought: ‘I’m going to prove you wrong’,” he said. Swimming around ten miles a day, Conway, who hails from Cheltenham, England, originally planned to complete the challenge in two months but bad weather conditions and injuries delayed the process. Long-term fatigue, plummeting water temperatures and the threat of jellyfish are just some of the difficulties Conway encountered along the way: “I’ve had to grow a ridiculous beard to shield my face,” he said. Start-ups recognised for green initiatives Biodegradable crockery and a Vietnamese website to promote car-sharing were two of the environmental innovations recognised by the United Nations SEED (Start-ups and Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Development) Awards, part of its Environment Programme. The SEED Initiative, founded in 2002, supports innovative, locally driven startup enterprises in developing countries that integrate social, environmental and economic benefits into their business models. Speaking at the awards evening in Nairobi, Kenya, Environment Programme yes, it is going to keep happening. Thomas Stocker, co-chair of the working group, says: “As a result of our past, present and expected future emissions of CO2, we are committed to climate change, and effects will persist for many centuries even if emissions of CO2 stop.” Emissions of carbon dioxide and rising sea levels have been ratcheting up since before industrialisation and are likely to continue to do so, with up to 40 per cent of the CO2 currently present in the atmosphere predicted to remain there for the next 1,000 years. We can mitigate the fallout by stopping all carbon fuel emissions and moderating global surface temperatures, says the IPCC. But we cannot stop it entirely. executive director Achim Steiner said: “These micro-companies are the little acorns from which big and mighty businesses could well grow, but they are more than that. “These mini-enterprises are achieving profitability, not at the expense of their environment or their communities, but by providing solutions to the social, economic and environmental challenges of our time. “If proof is needed that a transition to an inclusive green economy is underway, then look no further.” As in previous years, the 2013 SEED Awards placed a special focus on Africa, with 20 awards being made to enterprises in Ethiopia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. Among the other 34 winning entries were cocoa certified for speciality markets and affordable biodegradable sanitary pads made from banana waste. The Environment Programme is part of a larger project called Stimulating the Green Economy in Africa, which is funded largely by the European Union, and a separate project funded by the government of Flanders to grant a further two awards in the South African provinces of Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo. 8 l www.global -br ief ing.org f i rst quar ter 2014 global


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