For 110 years, climate change has been in the news. Are we finally ready to listen?

On August 14 1912, a small New Zealand newspaper published a short article announcing global coal usage was affecting our planet’s temperature.

This piece from 110 years ago is now famous, shared across the internet this time every year as one of the first pieces of climate science in the media (even though it was actually a reprint of a piece published in a New South Wales mining journal a month earlier).

So how did it come about? And why has it taken so long for the warnings in the article to be heard – and acted on?

Short newspaper article with the headline
This short 1912 article made the direct link between burning coal and global temperature changes. The Braidwood Dispatch and Mining Journal, National Library of Australia

The fundamental science has been understood for a long time

American scientist and women’s rights campaigner Eunice Foote is now widely credited as being the first person to demonstrate the greenhouse effect back in 1856, several years before United Kingdom researcher John Tyndall published similar results.

Her rudimentary experiments showed carbon dioxide and water vapour can absorb heat, which, scaled up, can affect the temperature of the earth. We’ve therefore known about the relationship between greenhouse gases and Earth’s temperature for at least 150 years.

Tiếp tục đọc “For 110 years, climate change has been in the news. Are we finally ready to listen?”

Provinces improve response to climate change

vietnamnews Update: February, 08/2018 – 06:00

Lessons learned from the strategic mainstreaming of ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) was a good foundation for Việt Nam to prepare for climate change. — Photo

HÀ NỘI — Lessons learned from the strategic mainstreaming of ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) was a good foundation for Việt Nam to prepare for climate change, according to Dr. Nguyễn Thế Chinh from the Natural Resources and Environment Strategic Institute.

Dr Chinh was speaking on Tuesday at a workshop reviewing a project on the subject. It was held by the Institute for Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment in collaboration with the German Development Co-operation Agency. The event marked more than three years of productive collaboration.

The Euro 4-million (US$4.9 million) project funded by the German Society for International Co-operation (GIZ) worked with the Vietnamese Government to mainstream ecosystem-based measures into pilot models in Hà Tĩnh and Quảng Bình provinces.

“After three years of implementation, the project evaluated the vulnerable ecological situation in Hà Tĩnh and Quảng Bình provinces,” Chinh said.

“The project also helped to set up a national plan of land use for 2016-2020, and an updated action plan for climate change preparedness until 2020 in the provinces,” he added.

The EbA project aims to support efforts in the strategic mainstreaming of ecosystem-based approaches into national policies on climate change adaptation, land-use and development planning.

EbA has been identified as an effective adaptation measure given that Việt Nam is heavily affected by the adverse effects of climate change.

Climate change vulnerability assessments have been conducted at both provincial and commune levels to introduce appropriate EbA solutions for implementation in the selected provinces.

From 2016, the project began pilot EbA activities in coastal areas suffering erosion and sand movement in Quảng Bình Province by planting and rehabilitating coastal forests in combination with livelihood activities, such as cattle-raising, fresh- water fish farming, and vegetable cultivation.

In Hà Tĩnh, the project piloted EbA approaches in a mountain ecosystem under drought conditions, enriching natural forest by using indigenous plants, oranges and pineapples grown in contour lines – plus bee-raising.

The two areas selected for the pilot EbA approaches shared common characteristics. Firstly, the communities in both areas showed real enthusiasm to participate; and secondly, they lived in areas suffering from difficult economic conditions, with limited access to the technologies required for agricultural production.

Strengthening the capacity of stakeholders at central and local levels was a key aspect of the project.

To improve knowledge and the sharing of information on EbA measures and activities, the project organised a series of training workshops on mainstreaming them into the development planning process.

The project also focused on mainstreaming EbA into the climate-change-adaptation legal framework by supporting Government agencies. For example, the Department of Land Management will implement strategic environmental assessments to collect inputs for revising national land-use planning for 2016-2020; the Department for Planning Management will mainstream EbA and climate-change issues into developing the Planning Law; and the departments of Natural Resources and Environment of Hà Tĩnh and Quảng Bình will mainstream EbA into the updated Provincial Climate Change Action Plans to 2020.

Ivo Litzenberg, GIZ expert, said after three years of implementation, the two provinces had cleaner water resources and a healthier ecological system which was less vulnerable to climate-change impacts.

Land erosion was also reduced, which helped local people produce rice crops on slopes, said Litzenberg.

The project had also helped local people understand the importance of production thast was less harmful to ecological systems, he said.

Meanwhile, according to Phan Lam Sơn, deputy head of Hà Tĩnh Province’s Natural Resources and Environment Department, the project helped people become aware of main reasons for climate change, such as improper use of natural resources, waste discharge and polluting the environment.

Việt Nam was assessed as one of nations worst affected by climate change.

If the sea water level rise by one metre, 40 per cent of land area in Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta, 11 per cent of land in the Hồng Delta, and 3 per cent of land areas along other coastal regions would be submerged.

About 10-12 per cent of population would be affected and losses would account for 10 per cent of the country’s GDP, said experts.

Understanding the consequences, the Government has issued several legal documents to deal with the situation, including a National Programme on Climate Change Preparedness, National Strategy on Climate Changes, National Strategy on Natural Calamity Reduction by 2020. — VNS

First global atlas of the bacteria living in your dirt (soil)


Researchers have compiled a ‘most wanted’ list of around 500 key bacterial species that are both common and abundant worldwide

Date: January 18, 2018
Source: University of Colorado at Boulder
What lives in your dirt? Researchers are one step closer to finding out after compiling the first global atlas of soil bacterial communities and identifying a group of around 500 key species that are both common and abundant worldwide.

Soil bacteria account for a large percentage of the planet’s living biomass and facilitate key soil processes such as carbon cycling and nutrient availability.
Credit: © Bits and Splits / Fotolia

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Climate change is triggering a migrant crisis in Vietnam


The Vietnamese Mekong Delta is one of Earth’s most agriculturally productive regions and is of global importance for its exports of rice, shrimp, and fruit. The 18m inhabitants of this low-lying river delta are also some of the world’s most vulnerable to climate change. Over the last ten years around 1.7m people have migrated out of its vast expanse of fields, rivers and canals while only 700,000 have arrived.

On a global level migration to urban areas remains as high as ever: one person in every 200 moves from rural areas to the city every year. Against this backdrop it is difficult to attribute migration to individual causes, not least because it can be challenging to find people who have left a region in order to ask why they went and because every local context is unique. But the high net rate of migration away from Mekong Delta provinces is more than double the national average, and even higher in its most climate-vulnerable areas. This implies that there is something else – probably climate-related – going on here. Tiếp tục đọc “Climate change is triggering a migrant crisis in Vietnam”

Farmers shift to more resilient crops in the Delta

Update: November, 05/2017 – 09:00 vietnamnews
Wrapped fruit: Bùi Văn Buôn checks on the tứ quý mangoes in his garden in Bến Tre Province. — VNS Photo Hoàng Nguyên

Viet Nam News Beset by climate change impacts, Mekong Delta farmers give up on rice, but the real answer lies in organic farming, experts aver.

By Hoàng Nguyên

MEKONG DELTA – When Bùi Văn Muôn decided to grow tứ quý mango trees 16 years ago, he did not expect the fruit would become a key agricultural crop cultivated to adapt to climate change.

“Back then, when I asked neighbours to buy and plant tứ quý mango trees here, they showed little interest as the fruit tasted a bit sour and they thought it might not fetch good prices in the market,” the 50-year-old farmer in Bến Tre Province recalled. Tiếp tục đọc “Farmers shift to more resilient crops in the Delta”

ADB loans support green VN cities

Update: November, 03/2017 – 09:00

Repair work is conducted on a drainage system on Điện Biên Phủ Street in central Huế City. About 22km of drainage pipelines in the city are going to be upgraded with financial support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). — Photo
Viet Nam News HÀ NỘI — The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board of Directors has approved US$170 million in loans to help the Government of Việt Nam upgrade urban infrastructure and address climate change, benefiting about 116,000 households in Huế, Vĩnh Yên, and Hà Giang cities.

“Urbanisation has had a positive impact on Việt Nam’s growth. But many cities, even as they continue to be the centre of economic activities, lack key urban infrastructure services and remain vulnerable to climate change, particularly flooding,” said Satoshi Ishii, a Principal Urban Development Specialist at ADB. Tiếp tục đọc “ADB loans support green VN cities”

Mekong Delta: Adapt to saltwater intrusion by using aquaculture

Last update 07:40 | 25/10/2017
VietNamNet Bridge – Instead of trying to prevent saltwater invasion and desalinizing, it would be better to adapt to the new circumstances and think of developing aquaculture in Mekong Delta, scientists say.vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news, Mekong Delta, climate change, rice granary

In the Mekong Delta, one of the largest key agriculture production zones in the country, alkaline soil accounts for 18.6 percent of total area, located along the East Coast belt and the Gulf of Thailand. In the context of climate change, desalinizing is an impossible mission, or will be too costly.

Meanwhile, alum land accounts for 40 percent of the zone’s total area, mostly located in depression areas, where it is very difficult to clear alum. Scientists have warned that saline intrusion would reach more deeply into the mainland in the future as a result of  climate change. Tiếp tục đọc “Mekong Delta: Adapt to saltwater intrusion by using aquaculture”

House Construction with Plastic Bottles by Samarpan Foundation — May 2011
Do you remember the last time you bought a drink in a plastic bottle? Chances are that you threw away the bottle, without a second thought, when you were done. That’s what most of us do. Plastic is one of the most disposable materials in the modern world. It makes up much of the street side litter in urban and rural areas. It is rapidly filling up landfills as well as choking water bodies. Plastic bottles make up approximately 11% of the content of landfills, causing serious environmental consequences. Tiếp tục đọc “House Construction with Plastic Bottles by Samarpan Foundation”

INTERVIEW-Cash in on businesses to help boost disaster protection, says UN risk chief

by Sophie Hares | @SophieHares | Thomson Reuters Foundation

Wednesday, 24 May 2017 05:28 GMT

Vietnam, World Bank sign $560 million to support Mekong Delta urban development and climate resilience


Vietnam, World Bank sign $560 million to support Mekong Delta urban development and climate resilience

July 11, 2016

 Can Tho, July 11, 2016 — The World Bank and the State Bank of Vietnam today signed agreements for loans and credits worth $560 million for two projects to support urban development, climate resilience and sustainable livelihoods in the Mekong Delta.

Out of the total, $250 million will be used for the Can Tho Urban Development and Resilience Project, to reduce flood risk and improve connectivity between Can Tho city center and the new urban areas, benefiting more than 420,000 urban dwellers, and enhance the capacity of city authorities to manage disaster risk. Tiếp tục đọc “Vietnam, World Bank sign $560 million to support Mekong Delta urban development and climate resilience”

Mekong Delta Plan

Mekong Delta Plan download

Mekong Delta Plan website

Presentation by Dr. Martijn van de Groep, Chief Technical Advisor, MDP (2013)

Speech by Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the Mekong Delta Plan High-Level Meeting (june 17, 2014)

Presentation by Michael Tonneijck, Royal HaskoningDVH (6/6/2015)

Presentation by Dr. Martijn van de Groep, Chief Technical Advisor, MDP (2016)

Assessment studies for the Mekong Delta Plan

Strategic Delta Planning team (for Bangladesh, Vietnam, Netherlands)

Hạn mặn miền Tây: Sao phải ngăn mặn cấy lúa?

Zing 15/03/2016

Mặn đang xâm nhập sâu vào các tỉnh miền Tây khiến nông dân lo lắng. Tuy nhiên, GS Võ Tòng Xuân cho rằng “phải coi nước mặn là bạn, giúp nông dân ven biển làm giàu với con tôm”.

Theo thông tin từ Văn phòng công tác biến đổi khí hậu Cần Thơ, những ngày qua, độ mặn đo được trên sông Hậu ở địa phương này luôn ở mức trên 2.000 mg/l (2‰). Đây là điều chưa từng có trong lịch sử địa phương.

Tình trạng ngập mặn đang diễn ra ngày càng gay gắt khắp miền Tây, dưới tác động của El Nino kéo dài. Cơ quan chức năng dự báo, nước mặn và hạn hán đến tháng 6, ảnh hưởng nghiêm trọng đến lúa, cây ăn trái, nuôi trồng thủy sản và có đến khoảng 1 triệu người trong vùng thiếu nước sạch.

Thế nhưng, GS Võ Tòng Xuân lại có cái nhìn khác, không bi quan về thực trạng này.

Han man mien Tay: Sao phai ngan man cay lua? hinh anh 1
Lúa chết vì nhiễm mặn ở thị xã Vị Thanh, Hậu Giang. Ảnh: Việt Trung.

Tiếp tục đọc “Hạn mặn miền Tây: Sao phải ngăn mặn cấy lúa?”

Is Vietnam in for Another Devastating Drought?

February 08, 2017

Lessons learned from last year’s disaster can shape a climate-resilient approach in the Mekong Delta.

Is Vietnam in for Another Devastating Drought?
A farmer burns his dried-up rice on a paddy field stricken by drought in Soc Trang province in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam (March 30, 2016).
Image Credit: REUTERS/Kham


The Tet Holiday (Vietnamese lunar New Year) has come to an end, marking the commencement of a new dry season in Vietnam’s lower Mekong Delta. Right now in coastal provinces around the Delta, thousands of farmers, especially those who miserably suffered during last year’s historic drought, are mobilizing to prepare for another similarly devastating drought, which is expected to arrive in the Delta in a few weeks.

During last year’s dry season, the record drought, followed by saltwater intrusion, cost Vietnam VND 15 trillion ($669 million) due to the heavy toll on agricultural production. It also caused dire humanitarian and other economic impacts: almost half a million households lacked fresh drinking water and experienced food shortages and thousands of affected people had to migrate to urban areas in search of jobs. The drought was mainly caused by Mekong upstream dams built by China in connection with El Nino effects. Tiếp tục đọc “Is Vietnam in for Another Devastating Drought?”