Side Event in COP21: Asean collaboration in tackling Peatland Fires, Haze and Climate Change

Side Event in COP21: Asean collaboration in tackling Peatland Fires, Haze and Climate Change

Side Event in COP21: Asean collaboration in tackling Peatland Fires, Haze and Climate Change

Side Event in COP21: Asean collaboration in tackling Peatland Fires, Haze and Climate Change

In this session, Dr. Gary William Theseira, Deputy Undersecretary, Environment Management and Climate Change Division, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Malaysia has shared several key points on how Asean countries come together in combating climate change, peatland fires and haze including:-

At COP21: Asean is not a group to speak at COP but for the past two years. Asean has been working as a group on a joint statement on climate change.

Adaptation strategy by Asean on climate change: Asean Working Group on Climate Change (AWGCC) was formed to find common ground to fight climate change and hence, they agreed to share information of sea level rise, extreme events in detailed levels.

Asean on sharing expertises:

ASEAN Haze Monitoring System (AMHS) developed by Singapore cost $100,000 is expected to make use of land concession maps from each country, hot-spot data and high resolution satellite images to pinpoint companies responsible for burning land illegally.

Asean work closely in conducting researches and a number of joint programs related to forest and natural areas. E.g. Global Environment Centre

Thailand (Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organization, TGO) make a good position in Carbon Labelling.  

Malaysia share their expertise promoting Green Building Monitoring Tool – monitor the life cycle of architecture / building.

Here are some Q&A on how Asean Countries handle Peatlands and Climate Change:-

Q: Do you have any framework on tackling illegal forest burning and encroachment? As I understand, Asean cannot interfere other Asean countries that causes this problem.

Law and legislation are there but there is lack of implementation/enforcement on peatlands in the region. Currently Asean is coordinating enhance capacity of local government, local sectors, and community to work together. Further works need to be done.

Q. Direct to Dr. Gary: I am struck by your statement that ASEAN countries want to develop without becoming the major emitter. How Asean can contribute in the debate in equity when it comes into the agreement. How Asean can come into play in the negotiation?

Dr. Gary: There is growing role in Renewable Energy. Asean does not have access to traditional Renewable Energy like wind, and solar. We are looking forward to something like biomass and wave energy. This is where technology transfer comes in. This could be the pathway where we can achieve clean energy.

Rehabilitation of peat swamps are achievable in other parts of the world but we need to consider the cultural, and social parts of the world.

With the current technologies – it is evident the cost is very high. For instance, to build a railroad, every one meter you need two concrete slippers. We know the carbon price of steels and concrete slippers. We need to pass via a phase where carbon emissions will be higher. We are trying to incorporate that into agreement. Benefit of that, you can remove x number of cars. Means and numbers are there. We need to come down to speak honestly. We need to come down to the level where we can honestly discuss and work on this together.

Q. I think we are overlooking issue such as peatland subsidence. Peatland oxidize, carbon release to the air and soil is lowered 5 cm per year. In asean region. Bottom of the peats lie below. What would the solution be in addressing such issue?

Peatland subsidence (lowering of the soil): Impact of drainage without fire has been recognized as the main sources of GHG. That has led to adoption of new principles and criteria. Any plantations on peat must do a drainage projection on the next 40 years. If not, it must rehabilitate and use only for wet-production. Only applicable to RSPO for now. This is one of the major challenges in the future.

Q. Long Term Solution for Haze Problem?

Dr. Gary: Long term solution to the haze problem lies in building your capacity of indigenous and local people the dangers of traditional agricultural practices in a changing environment.

Written by: Jolene Journe T.

Coffee, Climate and People

Coffee, Climate and People

Coffee, Climate and People

Coffee, Climate and People

I have decided to attend one of the session they organized that is related to Coffee and Climate. I am not a coffee lover but I am curious of how climate change may impacts coffee’s life-cycle?

I decided to grab some of their booklets to read. Based on Coffee Barometer 2014 report prepared by Humanist Institute for Co-operation with Developing Countries (HIVOS), coffee is ranked as one of the world’s most valuable agricultural commodities with 80% of coffee produced in the world is traded internationally amounts to USD 33.4 billion and retail sales may sum up to USD 100 billion.

Apparently, Arabica and Robusta (please learn the difference) are two most commonly produced coffee beans in the world where Arabica are commonly grown at high altitudes in Latin America [including Brazil] and Northeast Africa [accounts for 60% of world production] and Robusta, commonly grown in humid areas at low altitudes in Asia, Western and Central Africa and Brazil [currently encompasses up to 40% of world production]. Four countries dominated the global coffee production, Brazil (35%), Vietnam (15%, world’s largest Robusta coffee produce), Indonesia (9%) and Colombia (7%).

Coffee production provides livelihood for 20 – 25 million farming families. The Barometer report stated coffee is cultivated in more than 80 countries in Central and South America, Africa and Asia. Well, not to be surprised these are the regions the developing countries which are prone to climate-induced disasters.

According to recent research published in Journal Plos One, by 2050, yields of Arabica bean – which accounts for 75 percent of the coffee produced worldwide – in some countries are expected to fall by up to 25 percent. Whereas Uganda produces both coffee beans are also at threat with reduction of suitable land to produce the specific climate growing coffee beans. Coffee needs an annual rainfall of 1500-3000mm. The ideal temperature range for growing coffee is 15-24 degree Celsius for Arabica coffee and 24-30 degree Celsius for Robusta. With the increasing global temperature predicted by IPCC, these coffee beans are facing more heat stress and water shortages.

Sustainability of coffee are becoming one of the dominant factors of brand choice other than consumer’s taste and price quality considerations. This can be verified via the implementation of voluntary standards systems (VSS).  The Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA) study confirms that certified coffee and cocoa farms, perform better economically and their farmers are better trained and pursue more environmentally friendly practices in comparison to non-certified farmers. But the success rate depend on local context and the entry cost can be challenging for small holders.

In all coffee producing countries, 70% coffee producers are small scale farmers. They face particular challenges in building their livelihoods from agriculture and in overcoming poverty. Generally, these coffee growers are:-

  • Not Well Organized
  • Lack of Market Information and Bargaining Power
  • Low and Volatile Prices for their Green Beans
  • Increasing Production Costs (rising prices of fertilizers, transportation, abour, discourage entrepreneurial activity and necessary long term investments in their farm)

Addressing climate change in the coffee sector and overcoming poverty require enhanced cooperation and communication between various stakeholders (companies, donors, farmers, researchers). Interestingly, in 2010, “The initiative for Coffee & Climate (C&C)” has initiated holistic projects focusing on how coffee production can be improved while simultaneously increasing the coffee resilience of growers in coffee- producing landscapes. They have pioneered four pilots in various regions including Guatemala, Vietnam, Tanzania and Brazil with reaching out to more than 4,000 farmers. These initiatives are also supported by some of the top ten coffee roasters that dominate almost 40% of the coffee consumption in the world; including three largest transnational corporations – Nestle, Mondelez and DE Master Blenders 1753.

Written by: Jolene Journe T.