Over 350 participants from 65 countries came together to discuss nexus-oriented strategies for sustainable development at the inaugural Dresden Nexus Conference organized by UNU-FLORES, Technische Universität Dresden (TUD) and the Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER).
With their closing remarks, Verena Klinger-Dering from the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conversation, Building and Nuclear Safety, together with organizers, brought the first Dresden Nexus Conference to an end Friday evening, 27 March. Over the course of three days, 350 participants from 65 countries and all continents discussed how to manage vital environmental resources such as water, soil and waste more sustainably. At the centre of the lectures, panel discussions and poster presentations was the nexus approach. A nexus approach to the sustainable management of environmental resources integrates environmental management and governance across sectors and scales. This approach is based on the understanding that environmental resources are intricately interconnected. Considering their mutual dependencies in environmental management increases resource use efficiency while minimizing at the same time environmental risks and ecological degradation.
The Dresden Nexus Conference 2015 (DNC2015) took place under the umbrella of “Global Change, SDGs and the Nexus Approach”. Global Change, in all its forms, is possibly the most pressing challenge humanity faces in the twenty-first century. To address this challenge the international community has devoted much time and effort into developing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) — to be adopted at the UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris 2015. Concrete strategies for achieving these goals are still in development. Focusing on three key dimensions of global change — climate change, urbanization and population growth — DNC2015 particpants discussed how adopting a nexus approach can help develop effective and appropriate strategies for implementing these goals. Both the presenters in the parallel sessions and the keynote speakers were in consensus on one point: applying a nexus approach is the key to identifying effective and appropriate mechanisms for achieving the SDGs.
The scientific case studies and rigorous debates presented at the conference clearly showed that any action taken to address global change and implement the SDGs produce both positive and negative feedback that require tradeoffs. Developing appropriate and effective strategies means identifying the mechanisms and tools that result in the least negative feedback. Applying a nexus approach provides a better understanding of these synergies and tradeoffs and enables the detection of the most optimal strategies.
A further conclusion of the conference is the central role of the water-soil-waste nexus in achieving sustainable development and global security, particularly with regard to the pressing challenges posed by the ever-growing global population. “The train that is going to bring us a total global population of 9.6 billion people by 2050 has already left the station. We cannot stop it. Our task is to be prepared to receive these guests”, Professor Rattan Lal, Chair of the UNU-FLORES Advisory Committee and Professor at Ohio State University, emphasized in the conference wrap-up talk. Soil, in particular, plays a critical role in ensuring the means of existence for all global citizens. Maintaining the integrity of soil, but also exploring soil-less or less soil-intensive means of agriculture will be crucial.
Finally, organizers, stakeholders and participants alike agreed that it is time to translate collective knowledge and collective goodwill into action. And the first and most significant step in implementing these findings is to develop an educational curriculum that applies and promotes integrated thinking. Educational programmes need to be executed in an integrated, cross- and transdisciplinary manner, and at the same time teach critical integrated thinking.
As UNU-FLORES Director Reza Ardakanian summarized, “the successful implementation of the integrated management of environmental resources requires a nexus mind-set. If the people on the ground are resistant, nexus approach strategies will not work. Educational, study and knowledge sharing programmes are the first step to addressing this gap.” Professor Bernhard Müller, Director of IOER, drew attention to open-ended questions with regard to the implementation of the nexus approach stressing, “the theoretical foundation needs further research and it needs to be asked, how integrated thinking can successfully respond to resistance. Addressing this is an important task for the team at UNU-FLORES, and IOER will continue to support them in these endeavours.”
High-level representatives from seven United Nations (UN) Member States, nine UN entities, six international organizations, numerous universities and research institutions, and various foundations and technical assistance agencies were joined by members of the German government from federal, state and municipal levels for a three-day conference at the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum Dresden, making DNC2015 one of the largest and most influential international conferences on sustainability in Germany in the lead-up to the UN Climate Change Conference in December in Paris.
The Dresden Nexus Conference 2015 was organized by the UN University Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources of the (UNU-FLORES), the Technische Universität Dresden (TUD) and the Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER). All three are connected through their commitment to research on sustainable development. The Dresden Nexus Conference is planned to be held every two years. It is envisioned as a platform that brings together experts from national and international academia, politics and civil society, to discuss and promote academic and practical initiatives advancing a nexus approach to the sustainable management of environmental resources. By bringing these stakeholders together, the organizers hope to identify and further develop policy-relevant solutions. This conference series and the research initiatives of all three organizers taking place around the conference strengthen Dresden’s role as a hub for research on sustainable development.
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Climate change, periodic modification of Earth’s climate brought about as a result of changes in the atmosphere as well as interactions between the atmosphere and various other geologic, chemical, biological, and geographic factors within the Earth system.
The atmosphere is a dynamic fluid that is continually in motion. Both its physical properties and its rate and direction of motion are influenced by a variety of factors, including solar radiation, the geographic position of continents, ocean currents, the location and orientation of mountain ranges, atmospheric chemistry, and vegetation growing on the land surface. All these factors change through time.
Some factors, such as the distribution of heat within the oceans, atmospheric chemistry, and surface vegetation, change at very short timescales. Others, such as the position of continents and the location and height of mountain ranges, change over very long timescales. Therefore, climate, which results from the physical properties and motion of the atmosphere, varies at every conceivable timescale.
Climate is often defined loosely as the average weather at a particular place, incorporating such features as temperature, precipitation, humidity, and windiness. A more specific definition would state that climate is the mean state and variability of these features over some extended time period. Both definitions acknowledge that the weather is always changing, owing to instabilities in the atmosphere. And as weather varies from day to day, so too does climate vary, from daily day-and-night cycles up to periods of geologic time hundreds of millions of years long. In a very real sense, climate variation is a redundant expression—climate is always varying. No two years are exactly alike, nor are any two decades, any two centuries, or any two millennia.
Earth scientists and atmospheric scientists are still seeking a full understanding of the complex feedbacks and interactions among the various components of the Earth system. This effort is being facilitated by the development of an interdisciplinary science called Earth system science. Earth system science is composed of a wide range of disciplines, including climatology (the study of the atmosphere), geology (the study of Earth’s surface and underground processes), ecology (the study of how Earth’s organisms relate to one another and their environment) , oceanography (the study of Earth’s oceans), glaciology (the study of Earth’s ice masses), and even the social sciences (the study of human behaviour in its social and cultural aspects).
A full understanding of the Earth system requires knowledge of how the system and its components have changed through time. The pursuit of this understanding has led to development of Earth system history, an interdisciplinary science that includes not only the contributions of Earth system scientists but also paleontologists (who study the life of past geologic periods), paleoclimatologists (who study past climates), paleoecologists (who study past environments and ecosystems), paleoceanographers (who study the history of the oceans), and other scientists concerned with Earth history. Because different components of the Earth system change at different rates and are relevant at different timescales, Earth system history is a diverse and complex science. Students of Earth system history are not just concerned with documenting what has happened; they also view the past as a series of experiments in which solar radiation, ocean currents, continental configurations, atmospheric chemistry, and other important features have varied. These experiments provide opportunities to learn the relative influences of and interactions between various components of the Earth system. Studies of Earth system history also specify the full array of states the system has experienced in the past and those the system is capable of experiencing in the future.
Undoubtedly, people have always been aware of climatic variation at the relatively short timescales of seasons, years, and decades. Biblical scripture and other early documents refer to droughts, floods, periods of severe cold, and other climatic events. Nevertheless, a full appreciation of the nature and magnitude of climatic change did not come about until the late 18th and early 19th centuries, a time when the widespread recognition of the deep antiquity of Earth occurred. Naturalists of this time, including Scottish geologist Charles Lyell, Swiss-born naturalist and geologist Louis Agassiz, English naturalist Charles Darwin, American botanist Asa Gray, and Welsh naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, came to recognize geologic and biogeographic evidence that made sense only in the light of past climates radically different from those prevailing today.
Geologists and paleontologists in the 19th and early 20th centuries uncovered evidence of massive climatic changes taking place before the Pleistocene—that is, before some 2.6 million years ago. For example, red beds indicated aridity in regions that are now humid (e.g., England and New England), whereas fossils of coal-swamp plants and reef corals indicated that tropical climates once occurred at present-day high latitudes in both Europe and North America. Since the late 20th century the development of advanced technologies for dating rocks, together with geochemical techniques and other analytical tools, have revolutionized the understanding of early Earth system history.
The occurrence of multiple epochs in recent Earth history during which continental glaciers, developed at high latitudes, penetrated into northern Europe and eastern North America was recognized by scientists by the late 19th century. Scottish geologist James Croll proposed that recurring variations in orbital eccentricity (the deviation of Earth’s orbit from a perfectly circular path) were responsible for alternating glacial and interglacial periods. Croll’s controversial idea was taken up by Serbian mathematician and astronomer Milutin Milankovitch in the early 20th century. Milankovitch proposed that the mechanism that brought about periods of glaciation was driven by cyclic changes in eccentricity as well as two other orbital parameters: precession (a change in the directional focus of Earth’s axis of rotation) and axial tilt (a change in the inclination of Earth’s axis with respect to the plane of its orbit around the Sun). Orbital variation is now recognized as an important driver of climatic variation throughout Earth’s history (see below Orbital [Milankovitch] variations).
Note* All this information was collected from the Encyclopedia Brittanicca.Follow this link… https://www.britannica.com/science/climate-change
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