Climate Change

When Academia Meets Humor (and now in Spanish!). Meet Yoram Bauman, The Stand-Up Economist

yoramYoram Bauman is what happens when economics meets comedy. Development Roast caught up with the friendly, engaging, and enthusiastic Stand-Up Economist himself to find out more about the latest out-of-the-box projects from the man who makes economics fun.

Blending the academic expertise of an environmental economist at the University of Washington (UW) with the sense of humor and charisma of a stand-up comedian, Bauman creates entertaining and informative comedy shows, with an economics theme, that he takes to audiences around the world. He is one of the authors of The Cartoon Introduction to Economics books, available in two volumes, which were reviewed by Development Roast last year. Volume One, released in 2010, covered microeconomics, and following its success the authors wrote and released Volume Two: Macroeconomics, in 2012. Due to their popularity, these books have now been published in several languages including Italian and Japanese, and will shortly be available in Spanish (see below for a sneak preview). Read More »

Bolivia Climate Change Monthly: July, 2013

Welcome to the July 2013 edition of Bolivia Climate Change Monthly where you will find the latest research, policy, donor activity, and news related to climate change in Bolivia*.

Academic Research Bolivia Climate Change

A Measurement of the Carbon Sequestration Potential of Guadua Angustifolia in the Carrasco National Park, Bolivia by Ricardo A. Rojas Quiroga, Tracey Li, Gonzalo Lora, and Lykke E. Andersen published by the Institute for Advanced Development Studies (INESAD).

Abstract: The carbon sequestration potential of an unmanaged and previously unstudied Guadua angustifolia bamboo forest in the Carrasco National Park of Bolivia has been studied, by estimating the total aboveground biomass contained in the forest. It was found that the aboveground biomass consisting of stems, branches, and foliage, contains a total of 200 tons per hectare, leading to an estimated 100 tons of carbon being stored per hectare aboveground, which is comparable to some species of tree such as the Chinese Fir; this bamboo species therefore has the potential to play a significant role in the mitigation of climate change. The relation between the biomass, M, of each component (stems, branches, and foliage) and the diameter, d, of the plant was also studied, by fitting allometric equations of the form M = αdβ. It was found that all components fit this power law relation very well (R2 > 0.7), particularly the stems (R2 > 0.8) and branches (R2 > 0.9) for which the relation is found to be almost linear. Read More »

INESAD on the Radio: Real Food Empire

Real food empireToday, Real Food Empire—a radio podcast on environmentally and socially sustainable farming and eating—featured an interview with INESAD’s Ioulia Fenton.

The program discusses the institute’s work on climate change and human wellbeing, reviews Ioulia’s own research interests in food and agriculture, and highlights what Bolivia has to offer to those seeking inspiration for sustainable living. It touches on two specific articles: one on the merits of agroecological farming versus industrial agriculture and another on the need for smart agricultural planning in the Andes in response to and preparation for changes in climate.

With viewers all around the world, the program’s maker Stephanie Georgieff—who is involved with Slow Food U.S.A—shares her enthusiasm for INESAD and its work. In the program, she particularly praises INESAD’s Development Roast as a ‘living library’ of accessible articles related to sustainability and development. And expresses her hope that U.S.-based policy makers would make use of initiatives such as INESAD’s SimPachamama climate change policy game—which will be officially launched in September 2013—that teaches the player the effects of different policies on an Amazonian town.

You can listen to the entire podcast for free here: Read More »

INESAD News: The Potential of Bamboo for Carbon Sequestration in Bolivia

INESAD NewsA newly-released INESAD Working Paper reveals how bamboo forests in Bolivia have a significant role to play in the global fight against climate change. The multi-author paper, entitled “A Measurement of the Carbon Sequestration Potential of Guadua Angustifolia in the Carrasco National Park“, is based on a study of an unmanaged and previously unstudied bamboo forest. INESAD researchers found that this forest has the ability to store around 100 tons of carbon per hectare, in the stems, branches, and leaves of the bamboo, which is more than some species of tree such as Chinese Fir.

The carbon stored in a forest comes from the carbon dioxide (CO2) that it absorbs. CO2 is a harmful greenhouse gas produced by the burning of fossil fuels, which accumulates in the atmosphere and traps heat. This artificial change in the composition of the atmosphere is what causes climate change. Hence forests play a vital role in mitigating climate change, because they absorb CO2 which would otherwise end up in the atmosphere.  See Exactly How Do Trees Fight Climate Change? for more details about this process. Read More »

Bolivia Climate Change Monthly: June, 2013

Welcome to the June 2013 edition of Bolivia Climate Change Monthly where you will find the latest research, policy and news related to climate change in Bolivia*.

Academic Research Bolivia Climate Change

The vulnerable Amazon: The impact of climate change on the untapped potential of hydropower systems by R. Shaeffer, A. Szklo, A. Frossard Pereira De Lucena; R. Soria, and M. Chavez-Rodriguez, published in Power and Energy Magazine.

Framing climate change and indigenous peoples: Intermediaries of urgency, spirituality and de-nationalization, by A. Roosvall and M. Tegelberg published in International Communication Gazette.

An International Network on Climate Change Impacts on Small Farmers in the Tropical Andes – Global Conventions from a Local Perspective by Andre Lindner and Jürgen Pretzsch, published in Sustainable Agriculture Research.** Read More »

Changing Temperatures and Water Shortages: Why Bolivians need more than prayers on the Aymara New Year

Aymara new yearToday, the time of the Winter Solstice in the Southern hemisphere, marks the beginning of the new agricultural year for the Aymara indigenous people of the Andean region. In June 2010, Bolivia’s President Evo Morales, an Aymara himself, decreed June 21 as an important national holiday: the Aymara New Year.

Although the celebrations center in the ancient ruins of Tiwanaku, with more than 50,000 participants in 2010, all over Bolivia, indigenous Aymarans gather on this typically coldest, longest night of the year to see in the sunrise. They brave the freezing temperatures in order to welcome the sun out of its winter season, characterized by short days and early darkness, and into longer days and more sunshine. Rituals back-dropped with traditional music abound and sacrifices of  llama, incense, alcohol, and coca are offered to Pachamama (mother nature/Mother Earth) until sunrise. All of this is in the hopes of enticing Tata Inti, the sun god, to heal the earth and give the farmers a good harvest. Read More »

Bolivia Climate Change Monthly: May 2013

INESADWelcome to the May 2013 issue of Bolivia Climate Change Monthly where you will find the latest research, policy and news related to climate change in Bolivia*.

Academic Research Bolivia Climate Change

Carbon stocks and dynamics in grazing highlands from the Andean Plateau by M.A. Munoz, A. Faz, and R. Zornova published in CATENA.

Elevational Distribution and Conservation Biogeography of Phanaeine Dung Beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeinae) in Bolivia by S. K. Herzog, A. C. Hamel-Leigue, T. H. Larsen, D. J. Mann, R. W. Soria-Auza, B. D. Gill, W. D. Edmonds, and S. Spector published in open access journal PLoS ONE.

A land cover map of Latin America and the Caribbean in the framework of the SERENA projectby P. D. Banco et al, published in Remote Sensing of Environment.

The development of soil and water conservation policies and practices in five selected countries from 1960 to 2010 by J. de Graaffa, A. Aklilub, M. Ouessarc, S. Asins-Velisd, and A. Kesslera published in Land Use Policy.

Read More »

Critically evaluating climate change research: An important new skill for policy makers across the Andean region.

Climate change is having an enormous impact in the Andean region, one of the most conspicuous results being glacial melt. Ministers of the affected countries need to draw up policies in order to deal with the environmental, social, and economic consequences, which means that they first need to fully understand exactly what the consequences will be. There are many groups who have investigated the impacts of climate change and produced numerous studies on the subject, but evaluating these studies is not always straightforward. A recent training course—requested by the Comunidad Andina de Naciones (Community of Andean Nations – CAN), financed by the World Bank, and delivered by a team of experts from Bolivia—is helping policy makers make sense of the evidence.

Drs. Lykke Andersen, Luís Carlos Jemio, Oscar Molino, and Gonzalo Lora from the Institute for Advanced Development Studies (INESAD) and the Universidad Privada Boliviana (UPB) travelled all around the South American region in January of this year. The aim was to teach a ten-step guide of Climate Change Impact Evaluation to government officials in Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador. The process drawn up by the experts starts from a chosen topic and scale of analysis. This ranges from single, local effects of climate change, such as reductions of Fiji’s tuna stocks (Aaheim, 2000), to generalized, global-level impacts (Stern, 2007). The ten steps take officials through understanding these studies to formulating recommendations for public policies. Dr. Lykke Andersen, who directs INESAD’s Center for Environmental Economic Modeling and Analysis, spoke to Development Roast about the course. Read More »

What Can Bamboo Do About CO2?

Efforts to thoroughly study the role that plants play in climate change mitigation are increasing. Most researchers focus on the promise of large, leafy forest trees to help remove carbon from the atmosphere; for example Lal (1998) in India, Chen (1999) in Canada, Zhang (2003) in China, and Monson ( 2002) in the United States. This is because, generally speaking, the bigger the plant, the more CO2 it absorbs – click here to see how plants do this – and trees are the most obvious large plant species. However, there are some very large non-tree plants in the world and increasing evidence points to a surprising grassy climate change warrior: bamboo.

One species of bamboo, the guadua angustifolia, found in Venezuela, Ecuador, and Colombia, has been shown to grow up to 25 meters in height and 22 centimeters in diameter, with each plant weighing up to 100 kilograms (Rojas de Sánchez, 2004). This doesn’t match the stature of many trees, but it is still big enough to be significant. It is not all about size, however. How fast a plant grows has a part in determining how much CO2 it can absorb in a given time. In this respect, bamboo wins hands-down: it grows faster than many trees, growing up to 1.2 meters per day. In fact, bamboo holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s fastest growing plant. Read More »

Exactly How Do Trees Fight Climate Change?

Much is written about the need to reduce deforestation and replant the forests that have been logged for human use and economic development. This is because trees are needed for fighting climate change and vital to the very survival of the planet. But what is it exactly that makes trees and other plants so special?

Climate change is caused, at least partly, by man-made emissions of greenhouse gases which accumulate in the Earth’s atmosphere and trap heat. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), set up in 1988 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and endorsed by the General Assembly of the United Nations, is the leading international body for assessing this phenomenon.

In their most recent Assessment Report from 2007, the IPCC reported that carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most significant anthropogenic greenhouse gas, both in the sense of the amount of heat it traps and the quantity that is released into the atmosphere (mainly from the burning of fossil fuels). Forests are very effective ‘carbon sinks’, extracting CO2 from the atmosphere and keeping it locked away for long periods of time. Therefore, some of the key strategies to alleviate the causes and effects of climate change recommended by the IPCC include efforts to reduce deforestation, while simultaneously increasing afforestation and reforestation: planting of forests where none were before and replanting areas where forest has been removed, respectively. Read More »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: