Author(s): Johnson, F.X.; Klein, R.J.T.; Nilsson A.E.; Osbeck, M.; Powell, N.

Year: 2009

In: Formas Fokuserar

Type: Book

Link to SEI authors:

Climate Change – The Safety’s Off

SEI researchers contribute to new book that provides an interdisciplinary introduction to the effects of climate change, adaptation and measures needed to curb looming environmental crises.

The book is produced by the Swedish Research Council Formas and contains reflections from an international group of 40 plus scientists.

From SEI, researchers Francis X. Johnson, Richard Klein, Annika Nilsson, Maria Osbeck and Neil Powell have provided insights into issues related to biofuels and climate adaptation.

Choosing the right crop is key
Francis X. Johnson writes together with Thomson Sinkala from the University of Zambia. Using the case of jatropha in Zambia, they illustrate how biofuels can contribute to rural development and reduce dependence on fossil fuels, thereby improving the greenhouse gas balance and reducing the vulnerability of farmers and the local community.

The key is to choose a crop that is well-suited for local social and ecological conditions and then carefully manage the crop and its by-products in an integrated fashion.

On a similar note, Maria Osbeck and Neil Powell warn of the serious flip side of Europe’s increased use of biofuels. Technical solutions are too much focused on European end-product needs rather than the carbon emitting consequences of growing crops such as palm oil, they say.

Fuel crops soak up carbon while growing but they often displace vegetation that soaks up even more carbon. Osbeck and Powell use the example of Indonesia, where lush forests and lands have been destroyed in order to grow palm oil for the European market..

A high price if doing nothing
Richard Klein and Annika E. Nilsson discuss steps needed to adapt to climate change. Using case studies from Bangladesh, the Arctic and the Netherlands, Klein and Nilsson argue that adaptation is necessary to prevent worst-case impacts and that it has to be a long-term investment.

It is also necessary to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. We will all have to pay too high a price for the “do nothing” option, they warn.

Purchase the book from Formas