GreenTalk – discussion on sustainable development, challenges and opportunities in Kosovo

‘Respect and care for the planet should be taught from childhood, in the family and at school, at the same time with respect and care for human beings. Only through early education can long-term success be ensured ”- 𝑩𝒍𝒆𝒓𝒕𝒂 𝑽𝒖𝒍𝒂 – π‘Ήπ’Šπ’›π’—π’‚π’π’π’π’π’Š, π‘¨π’“π’Œπ’Šπ’•π’†π’Œπ’•π’† – 𝑷𝒓𝒐𝒇𝒆𝒔𝒐𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒉𝒆 π‘¨π’”π’Šπ’”π’•π’†π’π’•π’† π‘¨π’”π’Šπ’”π’•π’†π’π’•π’†Γ« 𝑼𝑩𝑻

GreenTalk is organized by the Balkan Green Foundation and serves to stimulate discussion on sustainable development, as well as challenges and opportunities in Kosovo in this area. This second edition of the platform is supported by Heinrich-Boll-Stifung.

Greenhouse gas emissions are changing the structure of Earth’s lower atmosphere

The shrinking stratosphere is a stark signal of the climate emergency and the planetary-scale influence that humanity now exerts, according to Juan AΓ±el, at the University of Vigo, Ourense in Spain and part of the research team. β€œIt is shocking,” he said. β€œThis proves we are messing with the atmosphere up to 60 kilometres.”

Scientists already knew the troposphere was growing in height as carbon emissions rose and had hypothesised that the stratosphere was shrinking. But the new study is the first to demonstrate this and shows it has been contracting around the globe since at least the 1980s, when satellite data was first gathered.

The ozone layer that absorbs UV rays from the sun is in the stratosphere and researchers had thought ozone losses in recent decades could be to blame for the shrinking. Less ozone means less heating in the stratosphere. But the new research shows it is the rise of CO2 that is behind the steady contraction of the stratosphere, not ozone levels, which started to rebound after the 1989 Montreal treaty banned CFCs.

The study, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, reached its conclusions using the small set of satellite observations taken since the 1980s in combination with multiple climate models, which included the complex chemical interactions that occur in the atmosphere.

β€œIt may affect satellite trajectories, orbital life-times, and retrievals […] the propagation of radio waves, and eventually the overall performance of the Global Positioning System and other space-based navigational systems,” the researchers said.

Prof Paul Williams, at the University of Reading in the UK, who was not involved in the new research, said: β€œThis study finds the first observational evidence of stratosphere contraction and shows that the cause is in fact our greenhouse gas emissions rather than ozone.”

β€œSome scientists have started calling the upper atmosphere the β€˜ignorosphere’ because it is so poorly studied,” he said. β€œThis new paper will strengthen the case for better observations of this distant but critically important part of the atmosphere.”

β€œIt is remarkable that we are still discovering new aspects of climate change after decades of research,” said Williams, whose own research has shown that the climate crisis could triple the amount of severe turbulence experienced by air travellers. β€œIt makes me wonder what other changes our emissions are inflicting on the atmosphere that we haven’t discovered yet.”

The dominance of humanity activities on the planet has led scientists to recommend the declaration of a new geological epoch: the Anthropocene.

Among the suggested markers of the Anthropocene are the radioactive elements scattered by nuclear weapons tests in the 1950s and domestic chicken bones, thanks to the surge in poultry production after the second world war. Other scientists have suggested widespread plastic pollution as a marker of a plastic age, to follow the bronze and iron ages.

The Drin Basin

The Drin Basin sits in the south-east of the Balkan Peninsula with water bodies and watersheds spread across Albania, Greece, Kosovo1, Montenegro and North Macedonia. It comprises the sub-basins of the Black Drin, White Drin, Drin and Buna/Bojana rivers, of the Prespa, Ohrid and Skadar/Shkoder lakes, the underlying aquifers, and the adjacent coastal and marine area.

The total geographical area of the Drin Basin is 20,361 km2. The basin is characterized mainly by mountainous relief, the highest peaks of which are the Dinaric Alps at over 2,500 m above sea level, as well as flat land around the basin’s coastal area in Albania.

Use of pesticides and other agricultural chemicals

Another environmental pressure from the agricultural sector is the use of pesticides and other agricultural chemicals. According to the data from the Agricultural Household Survey for the years 2015-2019 conducted by the Kosovo Agency of Statistics, it results that in 2015 115,083.40 ha were treated with pesticides, to mark an increase of 3,967.53 ha of areas treated with pesticides in 2019, with a total of 119,050.93 (figure: Areas of agricultural land (ha) treated with pesticides).

For more details: Kosovo Environment 2020, Environmental Indicators Report:

17 Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals, focused on 17 groups of key areas, aim to end poverty across the planet, while addressing the important issues of environmental protection, clean energy promotion, urban development and promoting equality and dignity for all citizens wherever they are.

The launch of the Sustainable Development Goals follows the completion of the Millennium Goals, undertaken in 2000 by all developing countries, members of the UN. The Millennium Development Goals are grouped into 8 important areas that address the fight against poverty, the promotion of equality, health care for mothers, children and the treatment of diseases, the protection of the environment and the improvement of governance to achieve these objectives.

Today, the Sustainable Development Goals (DSDG) Division at the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) provides substantial support and capacity building for SDGs and their related thematic issues, including water, energy , climate, oceans, urbanization, transport, science and technology, Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR), partnerships and developing countries of small islands.

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Deadly air pollution in Western Balkans

Did you know that 16 coal-fired thermal power plants in #WesternBalkan countries emit more sulfur dioxide than all 250 such plants in the #EU combined?

According to World Health Organization data, up to 13,500 people die prematurely in the Western Balkans region every year from the consequences of #airpollution.

How to mainstream Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the local policy development process?

In order to successfully achieve the SDGs implementation, it is crucial for them to be mainstreamed in the local policies, besides those at central level. Mainstreaming SDGs in the local policies development and implementation processes is quite complex and is divided in 5 components.

In order to learn more in this regards, click on the infographic below.

NGO INDEP has conducted this activity within the framework of a project financed by GIZ as commissioned by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Rising global temperature

Average global temperatures in 2020 were linked to the hottest years recorded, covering what was also the hottest decade on the planet ever recorded, according to new data analysis.

The last six years are now the six hottest recorded, with 2020 at the same level as 2016 as the hottest year ever recorded.

The new analysis comes from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, one of several data sets that track global temperatures and the impact of climate change.

Last year’s temperatures were 0.6 degrees Celsius warmer than the 1981-2010 average and 1.25 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average. (taken from CNN)

Total atmospheric carbon dioxide content

We are told that the atmospheric content of carbon dioxide (CO2) is a catastrophically dangerous level, and we must do something to reduce it.

This simple chart is something that should remain indelibly in everyone’s mind, so that it is understood how much CO2 is really ‘up there’.

The current level of CO2 in the air is 0.039%, so its 25 highest level will have to be increased to reach the lowest level of 1%, to the extent that the level is considered to be toxic.

Source:

PA Pundits – International

Indicators of protected areas

During the period 2000-2018, over 100 nature areas were taken under legal protection and many more were proposed for protection. Among the protected areas should be singled out: National Park “Cursed Mountains” (2013) and Wetland of Henc – Radeva, while the other majority are natural monuments of botanical, hydrological, geomorphological, etc.

During the period 2015-2019 alone, a total of 72 new nature protected areas were added to the total number of protected areas.

The trend of increasing the area of protected areas for the period 1980-2018, shows a constant increase in the area of protected areas with a significant increase in 2012.

Source: Environmental Indicators Report:

http://ammk-rks.net/repository/docs/Mjedisi_i_Kosov%C3%ABs_2020_Raport_i_treguesve_mjedisor%C3%AB_-_SHQIP.pdf