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on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Desertification

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Trialogue Appetizers
Climate Change

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
Biodiversity

UN Convention on Biological Diversity
Desertification

UN Convention to Combat Desertification

All 10 of the warmest years on record have occurred in the last 15 years.
Even a modest rise of 2 to 3F (1.1 - 1.7C) could have dramatic effects. Temperatures of only 5 to 9F cooler than those today resulted in the last Ice Age, in which Northern regions were covered by a kilometer of ice. - Union of Concerned Scientists
There are many factors, both natural and of human origin, that determine the climate of the Earth. Ultimately, climate is a result of the way the atmosphere redistributes the suns energy. - A Primer on Climate Change
The United States is responsible for 21.9% of the world's carbon dioxide emissions but has only 4.6% of the world's population - World Resources, 1996-7

December 29 has been designated as the "International Biodiversity Day"
Biodiversity refers to the number, variety and variability of living organisms. Biodiversity is often addressed at three levels: ecosystems, species and genes - Environment Canada
Why do conversion and degradation of natural environments occur? natural environments are converted either to enhance production and consumption of goods or services, or as an investment in an alternative asset that earns a greater return to the party responsible - Amy Whiting
The loss of biological diversity may take many forms but at its most fundamental and irreversible it involves the extinction of species. Species may be exterminated by man directly (hunting, collection and persecution), or indirectly (habitat destruction and modification). - Source unknown

June 17 has been designated as the "World Day to Combat Desertification"
Worldwide nearly 130 million hectares --about the land area of France, Italy and Spain combined -- are 'lost' for ever due to degradation and can no longer be used for food production - World Atlas of Desertification
"Desertification" is not the spread of deserts but the creation of desert-like conditions in the dry lands, which make up 35% of the Earth's land surface. Desertification may threaten the livelihoods of as many as 1 billion people - EarthAction
Desertification occurs when the natural vegetation cover is reduced in its cover and the topsoil becomes susceptible to erosion. This initiates a number of other problems including increase surface runoff and stream discharge, reduction of water infiltration and groundwater recharge, change in surface microclimate or reduction in native plants - Geography course outline