Environment Forum

Cancun talks ignore intrusive aspect of climate change

pine beetle

One pesky aspect of climate change is that rising temperatures  and stronger storms may increase  invasions of non-native species to places that have no natural defenses against them.

The issue is mostly being ignored at the annual U.N. climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, California’s Agriculture Secretary A.G. Kawamura said.

Just a few miles away from the talks an island called Isla Mujeres has been fighting an infestation of cactus moth swept there during a hurricane, storms that are expected to get stronger as a result of climate change.  The moth destroys prickly pears, and if it makes it to mainland –ferries full of tourists go to and fro Cancun to the island all day long — it would could harm more than the price of prickly pear fruit for your margarita.

Mexico is afraid it could reach the Chihuahuan and Sonoran deserts and hurt the 76 types of pricklies there and the 38 found only in Mexico. Many insects eat only the cacti and in turn many desert birds and mammals depend on those insects.

Pricklies are also an important food source in Mexico — you might have had them in a nopales soup or salad.

The World Bank’s $6 billion man on climate change

BIRDFLU INDONESIAAs the special envoy on climate change for the World Bank, Andrew Steer might be thought of as the $6 billion man of environmental finance. He oversees more than that amount for projects to fight the effects of global warming.

“More funds flow through us to help adaptation and mitigation than anyone else,” Steer said in a conversation at the bank’s Washington headquarters. Named to the newly created position in June, Steer said one of his priorities is to marshall more than $6 billion in the organization’s Climate Investment Funds to move from smaller pilot projects to large-scale efforts.

While the World Bank is not a party to global climate talks set for Cancun, Mexico, later this year, it is deeply engaged in this issue, Steer said. Acknowledging that an international agreement on climate change is a long shot this year, he said there are still opportunities to make changes to cut the greenhouse gas emissions that spur climate change.