THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
Tuesday, 18 December 2007
UNEP and the Executive Director in the News
World Premiere of ‗Fragile Planet‘ Music Video Featuring Sting and Rhythms
del Mundo (Newswire)
Bali: First Steps On A Rough Road (IPS)
Experts in bid to save tea, coffee in post-Kyoto deal at climate meeting (Africa
Right; Mitigation is Key to Climate Change (All Africa)
Mit dem Solartaxi nach Neuseeland (Tagesschau.sf.tv)
Blockierer USA und Russland (N-tv.de)
Other UNEP Coverage
Globe 2008 Sets Record Attendance Commitments from World Leaders in
New Bayer, United Nations Partnership Brings International Environment and
Art Competition to Local Elementary and Middle Schools (Earth Times)
Global Warming: Let‘s do something before it‘s too late (Telegraph Nepal)
Africa Wages War On Plastic Bags (Inhabitat)
Müll, Gift und Armut in Afrika (N-tv.de)
La plate-forme de formation libre (OTP) poursuit son développement
(UNESCO - communiqués de presse)
Other Environment News
Who bears the load? (Financial Times)
Bali deal is worse than Kyoto (The Guardian)
Climate change brings a potential for conflict between nations (The Age)
Portuguese PM: Bali roadmap is victory for EU, world (Xinhua)
UN Climate Change Convention In Bali: Forum Approves Climate Roadmap
Climate change and plans for new technology (Times)
Making sense of the Bali finale (Telegraph)
Talks end; fight goes on (Jakarta Post)
Ten Takeaways from the Bali Climate Change Summit (Wired Science)
Hothouse meeting sweating out result on climate change (Herald Sun)
Arab forum aims to study, combat climate change (Daily Star)
General Assembly president lauds Bali climate change breakthrough (UN News
Other Environment Coverage
Greenpeace shuts down EU fishing quota talks (The Guardian)
U.N. ice bridge is reminder of melting Antarctica (Reuters)
EU eyes phasing in CO2 fines for carmakers: source (Reuters)
UN warns on soaring food prices (BBC)
Many Americans aim to go "green" in 2008: survey (Reuters)
Climate change not just a theory for northerners who see results daily (Canadian
Italy's woodlands dying due to climate change (Telegraph)
Environmental News from the UNEP Regions
Other UN News
Environment News from the UN Daily News of 17 December 2007 (none)
Environment News from the S.G.‘s Spokesman Daily Press Briefing of 17
UNEP and the Executive Director in the News
Newswire: World Premiere of ‘Fragile Planet’ Music Video Featuring Sting and
Rhythms del Mundo
NewswireToday - /newswire/ - Singapore, Singapore, 12/17/2007 - Sting’s ‘Fragile’
fuses with Latin rhythms, powerful images and inspiring messages to raise
awareness on climate change.
Artists‘ Project Earth, a UK-registered charity, launched its ‗Fragile Planet‘ music video
featuring Sting and Rhythms del Mundo to raise global awareness on climate change
The world premiere of ‗Fragile Planet‘ took place on December 10, 2007 on the
Indonesian island of Bali, just hours before former US Vice President Al Gore and the
UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were honoured with the Nobel Peace
Prize 2007 in Oslo, Norway. The music video premiered to an international audience of
media and delegates attending the UN Conference on Climate Change.
‗Fragile Planet‘ fuses musician Sting‘s original ‗Fragile‘ vocal soundtrack with the Latin
sounds of Rhythms del Mundo. These haunting strains are set against poignant images of
melting glaciers and forest fires and other visual reminders of the effects of climate
change as well as messages that serve as calls-to-action for viewers around the world.
Artists‘ Project Earth had produced and directed ‗Fragile Planet‘, working closely with
Sting and Rhythms del Mundo. This project followed an earlier musical collaboration
with both parties to produce the ‗Rhythms del Mundo – Cuba‘ CD which also featured
other internationally renowned artistes such as Coldplay, U2 and Arctic Monkeys.
―We believe very strongly that the way to get through to people is through the
mainstream, by appealing to as wide an audience as possible,‖ said Mr Kenny Young,
director of Artists‘ Project Earth.
He added: ―Our aim at Artists‘ Project Earth is to help create a better world through
music and the arts and to support effective projects and awareness-raising initiatives to
combat climate change – the most vital environmental issue of our times.‖
The ‗Fragile Planet‘ project was also sponsored by Global Environment Facility, United
Nations Environment Programme, World Bank and Global Initiatives, who jointly hosted
the world premiere event with Artists‘ Project Earth.
According to Ms Monique Barbut, CEO and Chairperson at the Global Environment
Facility, ―This video elegantly demonstrates the growing clamour to halt climate change
across the globe, where change-makers have been raising their voices in the quest for
effective solutions. At the Global Environment Facility, we are pleased to join forces in
this compelling reminder that we must all take action – through climate-friendly markets,
policy change, meaningful spending to promote sustainable development, and personal
responsibility – to tread lightly on this fragile earth."
Mr Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and United Nations Environment
Programme Executive Director, added: ―When Sting released ‗Fragile‘ exactly 20 years
ago, the world was just waking up to the environmental challenges unfolding across the
globe. Twenty years on, we are witnessing fragility everywhere, from Sting‘s beloved
rainforests to the world‘s fisheries, coral reefs and wetlands – fragility that is accelerating
as a result of climate change and a collective mismanagement of the Earth‘s
economically important natural and nature-based resources.‖
―But we have cost-effective choices. If we can climate-proof economies and realise a
transition to a low-carbon society, then perhaps we can also meet these other challenges
and in doing so, build resilience and sustainability into a Fragile Earth,‖ Mr Steiner
Hailed as a classic musical masterpiece on human frailty, ‗Fragile‘ first appeared in
Sting‘s ‗Nothing like the Sun‘ album in 1987 and was released as a single in late 2001,
following the events of 9-11 in the United States. In ‗Fragile Planet‘, Sting, an avid
environmentalist himself, added his own call to action: ―We cannot solve a crisis with the
same mindset that created it. It‘s up to you and me to get active and to make the changes
we want to see in the world.‖
Following its world premiere, ‗Fragile Planet‘ will be screened at the UN Conference on
Climate Change and on news channels throughout the world.
About Artists‘ Project Earth (APE)
APE is a UK-registered charity that aims to help create a better world by bringing the
power of music and the arts to 21st century challenges. The organisation recruits
internationally known musicians and artists through albums, concerts, art exhibitions and
art related projects to raise awareness of climate change and funds for campaigns and
About Global Environment Facility (GEF)
An independent financial organisation, GEF provides grants to developing countries for
projects that benefit the global environment and promote sustainable livelihoods in local
communities. Its projects address six complex global environmental issues of
biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer and
persistent organic pollutants. Since 1991, it has provided US$7.4 billion grants for more
than 1,900 projects in more than 160 countries.
About United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Established in 1972, UNEP is the recognised authority of the United Nations system in
environmental issues at the global and regional level. Its mandate is to coordinate the
development of environmental policy consensus by keeping the global environment
under review and bringing emerging issues to the attention of governments and the
international community for action. Together with the World Meteorological
Organisation of the United Nations, UNEP also established the UN Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change, which was honoured with the Nobel Peace Prize 2007.
About World Bank
The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing
countries around the world. It is made up of two unique development institutions owned
by 185 member countries—the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
and the International Development Association. Each institution plays a different but
supportive role in the World Bank‘s mission of global poverty reduction and the
improvement of living standards.
About Global Initiatives
Global Initiatives promotes social change and sustainable global development through
international events and media projects. Through the sharing of knowledge, experience
and best practices, it addresses some of the greatest challenges facing the world such as
the environment and socio-economic development of emerging markets.
IPS: Bali: First Steps On A Rough Road
DECEMBER 2007 (IPS) - The United Nations Conference on Climate Change was only
a necessary first step along what will be a rough road to agreement on the cooperative
measures required to bring the risks of climate change under control. The last minute
compromise to establish a continuing negotiating process was only reached on a
weakened and watered-down basis, writes Maurice Strong, secretary-general of the 1972
UN Conference on the Human Environment and the first executive director of the United
Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
In this analysis, Strong writes that we must treat the dangers of climate change as a
security issue, the most important threat to global security we will ever face.
The author calls for establishment of a Climate Security Fund of USD 1 trillion to be
financed by those countries that have contributed most to cumulative emissions. The
Fund would be utilised to assist developing countries to reduce the growth of their
emissions and adapt to adverse conditions resulting from already irreversible changes.
The kind of climate security regime that would result from these and other indispensable
measures goes well beyond Bali and what is considered realistic by most under today's
conditions, but are imperative if we are to secure the conditions that support life as we
/NOT FOR PUBLICATION IN AUSTRALIA, CANADA, NEW ZEALAND, CZECH
REPUBLIC, IRELAND, POLAND, UNITED STATES, OR UNITED KINGDOM/
Africa Science News: Experts in bid to save tea, coffee in post-Kyoto deal at climate
Written by David Njagi and Ebby Nanzala in Bali
Monday, 17 December 2007
The hostility towards climate change may have waned following the sanctioning of the
Kyoto Pact by traditional antagonists such as Australia and United States of America
(USA). But experts warn Africa is still vulnerable even with a post-Kyoto arrangement,
unless serious mitigation measures such as cogeneration take root pronto.
Within the Eastern Africa region, scientists warn that energy consumption in the tea and
sugar sectors will shore up to alarming levels in the next few years, even as the region
prepares to cope with the adverse impacts of fluctuating international oil prices.
By economic standards, experts say, the regional integration agenda is expected to scale
up industrial growth, and this would inflate demand for electricity, whose supply is
already on a meltdown following variation in rainfall patterns due to the effects of
For a country that employs over 800,000 people in the tea sector and another 200,000 in
the sugar sector, scientists warn that Kenya‘s dependency on imported and expensive
fossil fuel will have a spin off effect after Bali‘s review of the ground rules for new
international emissions reductions regime kicks off in 2012.
―UNEP‘s slogan is ‗transition to a low carbon society‘,‖ says Achim Steiner, UN under
secretary and UNEP Executive Director told Africa Science News Service and added that
this is a transition that is just as important for developing and developed countries.
―There is no reason why nations of the South must or should follow the dirty
development paths of the past.‖ Closer home in Kenya, a partnership between UNEP, the
government, African Development Bank (ADB), Global Environmental Facility (GEF)
and the Energy, Environment and Development Network (AFREPREN) has kicked off a
campaign to ‗green‘ the tea and sugar sectors.
It plans to reduce use of fossil and wood fuels in tea production by developing alternative
sources of energy such as geothermal, solar, and wind, while the wastegenerated from
sugar processing will be used to generate bagane, an energy resource that science says
would generate over 190 megawatts of electricity.
According to government records, the co generated power is enough for the industry‘s
needs with a surplus for export to the national grid, which is estimated to be 120 mega
―Currently the six sugar factories in Kenya have indicated willingness to develop this
energy resource for own use and sale of surplus to the national grid,‖ Agriculture
Minister, Kipruto arap Kirwa told Africa Science News Service.
While the East Africa Tea trade Association (EATTA) is the executing agency for the
Small Hydro for Greening the Tea Industry (SHGTI) initiative AFREPREN/FWD is the
one implementing the Cogeneration for Africa (CFA) project.
Apart from reducing green house gas emissions, SHGTI is expected to scale up revenue
for over 8 million people in the Eastern and Southern Africa region by reducing energy
costs and increasing the share of global tea revenues flowing into the region‘s tea farming
Kenya has joined Rwanda, Burundi, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and
Zambia in endorsing the US$ 100 million (over Shs. 6 billion) project, which is also
expected to stimulate over 82 mega watts of electricity.
―Tea is known to be good for you but it is now getting better for the environment,‖ UNEP
boss Achim Steiner, told Africa Science News Service.
―The decision by some countries in Eastern Africa to establish the Power Purchase
Agreements contracts that allow unconventional generators of electricity to sell surplus
power back to the grid has opened up a raft of new opportunities for cleaner and
renewable energy generation,‖ he added.
Tests carried out in Mauritius and Swaziland proved that cogeneration reduces green
house gas emissions as well as facilitating greater flow of local private sector investment
in both renewable and clean energy.
By joining CFA, Kenya is expected to filter its national grid a share of 60 mega watts
stream of clean power generation capacity as well as participate in setting the stage for
the installation of over 200 mega watts of co generation capacity in the region.
―These two new UNEP led projects showcase the multiple benefits sustainable
development can have for rural areas,‖ Monique Barbut, the GEF Chief Executive
Officer told Africa Science News Serivice, and added that ―it offers social, economic and
environmental benefits that help locally and globally.‖
Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Natural
Resources Pro James Ole Kiyiapi said to acheive sustainability, deliberate steps must be
taken through development and transfer of sustainable technologies, direct investments
and financing in support of adaptation to climate change in developing countries.
Speaking while leading Kenya‘s delegation at the COP13 conference in Bali, Indonesia,
Prof Kiyiapi told Africa Science News Service that these steps would safeguard the most
vulnerable populations from the negative impacts of climate change, he says.
―Technology transfer is crucial if developing countries are to be helped onto a carbon-
free energy path,‖ Kiyiapi said.
They also have high hopes that there will be identification of implementation of policy
measures. This could address reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest
degradation in developing countries.―The policies should take account of how rural
communities could avoid deforestation since they strongly depend on the forests for
livelihood," Kiyiapi noted.
The delegation also anticipates the two-week-long discussions would identify innovations
that seek to address the persistent problem of environmental degradation.The delegates
have high expectations that the Bali Road Map would push and promote sustainable land
―We would like to see the deliberations promote strong national mechanisms for
influencing climate change issues especially in developing countries through partnerships
and mainstreaming of environmental issues in national development,‖ Kiyiapi told Africa
Science News Service.
All Africa: Right; Mitigation is Key to Climate Change
The Monitor (Kampala)
18 December 2007
Posted to the web 17 December 2007
By Bernard Namanya
I write in response to an article by Ms Kendra Okonski published in the Daily Monitor of
December 13, 2007. In her article, she asserts that the United Nations Climate Change
Conference in Bali, Indonesia (December 3-14, 2007) should have focused only on
adaptation to climate change and ignore trying to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Ms Kendra launches an attack on the scientific basis of climate change claiming that it is
hotly contested with substantial disagreements over human induced climate change. Ms
Kendra extends her attack to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
describing it as biased towards alarmism.
I agree with Ms Kendra that adaptation to climate change is one way of responding to the
challenges of climate change. However, I strongly disagree with her in respect to the
following two important points: (1) her unwarranted attack on the IPCC; and (2) her
statement that the international community should ignore cutting emission of greenhouse
gases into the atmosphere (mitigation of climate change) and focus only on adaptation to
Regarding the first point, I wish to inform Ms Kendra that the IPCC is a scientific body
of international repute that was established by the World Meteorological Organisation
(WMO) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1988 with the mandate of
providing an objective assessment on climate change.
According to the IPCC website, the role of IPCC is "to assess on a comprehensive,
objective, open and transparent basis the latest scientific, technical and socio-economic
literature produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of the risk of human-induced
climate change, its observed and projected impacts and options for adaptation and
For Ms Kendra's information, in recognition of its important role since 1988, the IPCC
was on December 10, 2007 together with Mr Al Gore, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Ms Kendra simply puts forward general statements dismissing the work of the IPCC
without providing any cogent reason as why the international community should not act
on the basis of IPCC reports.
My conclusion on this point is that in the absence of any compelling argument advanced
by Ms Kendra as to the alleged bias of IPCC, her attack on IPCC should be dismissed
with the contempt it deserves.
With regard to the second point, Ms Kendra attempts to advance the position that climate
change is not human induced. Since I have no reason to doubt the work of the IPCC and
considering that the IPCC is the only globally accepted authoritative source of scientific
information on climate change, I wish to quote from the IPCC 4th Assessment Report
released on 17th November 2007 (Chapter 9) to dispute Ms Kendra's assertion.
The said report (on page 665) observes thus: "Greenhouse gas forcing has very likely
caused most of the observed global warming over the last 50 years.
This conclusion takes into account observational and forcing uncertainty, and the
possibility that the response to solar forcing could be underestimated by climate models.
It is also robust to the use of different climate models, different methods for estimating
the responses to external forcing and variations in the analysis technique."
In light of this strong scientific basis of human induced climate change, it is safer for the
global community to simultaneously apply both adaptation and mitigation measures to
confront the challenge of climate change.
In my opinion, ignoring cutting of greenhouse gas emissions while putting emphasis on
adaptation to climate change only, as Ms Kendra wants us to do, would be suicidal. It is
akin to a medical doctor treating only the symptoms of a patient's disease without treating
the underlying disease that is causing the symptoms.
Since Ms Kendra herself alludes to certain powerful interest groups pumping millions of
dollars in the push for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, it is possible that her own views
have been sponsored by certain selfish persons who are opposed to binding greenhouse
gas emission cuts.
I wish to state that the best response to climate change is a combination of mitigation and
The writer is an advocate with Barugahare & Company Advocates
Tagesschau.sf.tv: Mit dem Solartaxi nach Neuseeland
Schweizer Klimaschützer zieht Bali-Fazit
Er war eine echte Attraktion beim UNO-Weltklimagipfel: Solartaxi-Chauffeur Louis
Palmer stiess im indonesischen Bali sowohl bei Konferenz-Teilnehmern und
Einheimischen aber auch beim Journalisten-Tross auf grosses Interesse. Mittlerweile
befindet sich der Schweizer Öko-Tüftler auf der Fahrt Richtung Neuseeland.
Für Palmer selber hat die Klima-Konferenz mit ihren rund 10'000 Teilnehmern kein
eindeutiges Ergebnis gebracht - «wie ein Glas, das halb voll oder halb leer ist», fügt er
Persönliches Bali-Fazit positiv
Sollte der CO2-Ausstoss bis 2050 wirklich halbiert werden, dann wäre «das ja
grossartig», fügt Palmer hinzu. Denn die verschiedenen Interessengruppen seien vor dem
Gipfel immerhin weit voneinander entfernt gewesen - und «haben sich jetzt gefunden».
Sein persönliches Fazit des globalen Klima-Pow-Wow fällt ungleich positiver aus. Mit
seinem sonnigen Taxi hat er auf Bali unter anderem Bianca Jagger, Ex-Frau der Rock-
Röhre Mick Jagger und Vorsitzende des Weltzukunftsrats und den frisch gebackenen
Friedens-Nobelpreisträger und Weltklimarat-Chef Rajendra Pachauri kutschiert.
In aller Welt wurde sein Gefährt vorgestellt, freut sich Palmer:
- In Russland wurde in den Zeitungen mehr über das Solartaxi berichtet als über den Start
- in Spanien hätten mehr als 200 Medienstationen über das Solartaxi informiert und
- sogar BBC World habe das umweltfreundliche Auto zwei Mal gezeigt.
- Auch das Schweizer Fernsehen habe in «10vor10» ausführlich über sein Fahrzeug
70 Prozent der Tier- und Pflanzenarten bedroht
Auch Ex-Rockstar Peter Garrett («Midnight Oil»), der kürzlich zum neuen australischen
Umweltminister gekürt wurde, war Solartaxi-Gast ebenso wie Achim Steiner, der das
Umweltressort UNEP der Vereinten Nationen leitet.
Beeindruckt haben Palmer die warnenden Worte von Friedens-Nobelpreisträger Pachauri,
der zu Beginn der Konferenz eine Reihe unbequemer Wahrheiten ausgesprochen hatte.
Etwa dass der Meeresspiegel wegen der Ausdehnung des warmen Wassers zusätzlich um
1,5 Meter ansteigen werde oder 70 Prozent der Tier- und Pflanzenarten durch die
Klimaerwärmung vom Aussterben bedroht sind.
Mehrwöchige Reise nach Neuseeland
Im persönlichen Gespräch habe Pachauri ihn darauf hingewiesen, dass «sehr, sehr viele
Menschen sehr, sehr verärgert» wären, wenn die Konferenz scheitere, fügt Palmer hinzu.
Nach dem Abschluss der Konferenz wurde der Solartaxi-Tüftler mitsamt seinem Gefährt
auf das Greenpeace-Schiff «Rainbow Warrior» gehievt um eine mehrwöchige Reise
Richtung Neuseeland anzutreten. Dort will er seine Demonstrationsreise für
umweltfreundliche Mobilität fortsetzen.
N-tv.de: Blockierer USA und Russland
Magere Ergebnisse in Bali
Montag, 17. Dezember 2007
Das Ergebnis der Weltklimakonferenz von Bali wird in Deutschland mit viel
Enttäuschung aufgenommen und findet nur wenig Lob. "Die Konferenz ist nicht
gescheitert, sie ist aber auch kein Erfolg", sagte der Grünen-Bundesvorsitzende Reinhard
Bütikofer. "Die internationale Staatengemeinschaft versagt im Kampf gegen den
Klimawandel", kritisierte der Vorsitzende des Bundes für Umwelt und Naturschutz
Deutschland, Hubert Weiger.
Bundesumweltminister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) zog ein gemischtes Fazit: "Schaut man
sich an, woher wir kommen, ist das ein Riesenschritt nach vorne", sagte er in der ARD.
"Schaut man sich's an von der Perspektive, was nötig wäre, ist das unzureichend." In der
"Bild"-Zeitung machte Gabriel die USA und Russland dafür verantwortlich, dass die
wissenschaftlichen Erkenntnisse zum Klimawandel nur unzureichend in das
Abschlussprotokoll aufgenommen worden sind. "Das ist jetzt nur indirekt der Fall. Das
ist gescheitert am Widerstand der Vereinigten Staaten und Russlands".
Gabriels Staatssekretär Michael Müller sprach von einem "Trauerspiel" und sah ein
"gigantisches Versagen der Weltgemeinschaft". Dagegen hatte Bundeskanzlerin Angela
Merkel (CDU) am Wochenende von einem "großen Erfolg" gesprochen. "Ich bin fest
davon überzeugt, dass sich das Mandat von Bali schon bald als wegweisend und
weichenstellend erweisen wird."
Nach einem dramatischen Ringen hatten 187 Länder bei der Konferenz den Startschuss
für Verhandlungen zu einem neuen Weltklimavertrag gegeben. Mit dem Bali-
Aktionsplan soll dieser Vertrag bis Ende 2009 unter Dach und Fach sein. Konkrete Ziele
für die Minderung der Treibhausgase wurden vor allem auf Drängen der USA nicht
Der Klima-Berater der Bundesregierung, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, sagte der
"Süddeutschen Zeitung": "Das war aus deutscher und europäischer Sicht das Maximum,
was die Konferenz rausholen konnte." Der in Hannover erscheinenden "Neuen Presse"
sagte Schellnhuber: "Mit Bali sind die Chancen deutlich gestiegen, dass bis 2009 ein
Ergebnis erzielt werden kann." Gabriel vertrat im Berliner "Tagesspiegel" die
Auffassung, Bali sei auch ein Erfolg der "riskanten deutschen und europäischen
Enttäuscht reagierte auch das katholische Entwicklungshilfswerk Misereor. Der
Abteilungsleiter Entwicklungspolitik, Bernd Bornhorst, kritisierte die ungenauen
Aussagen über die Reduktion der Treibhausgase. "Angesichts der Dramatik des
Klimawandels und der schon jetzt spürbaren Auswirkungen für die Menschen im Süden
ist das den Betroffenen nicht zu vermitteln und verursacht Wut und Angst vor der
Der Leiter des UNO-Umweltprogramms UNEP, Achim Steiner, sieht jetzt die USA im
"Zugzwang". Sie müssten ihren auf Bali dargelegten Führungsanspruch mit konstruktiven
und konsensfähigen Vorschlägen unter Beweis zu stellen, sagte er der "Neuen
Osnabrücker Zeitung". Er erhoffe sich von den USA, aber auch von anderen Staaten,
"dass sie die eigenen wirtschaftlichen Entwicklungsinteressen nicht nur auf Kosten
anderer definieren". Der frühere UNEP-Leiter Klaus Töpfer sagte der "Leipziger
Volkszeitung", es sei "mehr als besorgniserregend", dass sich die USA "dermaßen an den
Rand in die Isolation verhandelt haben".
Der Präsident des Wuppertal Instituts für Klima, Umwelt, Energie, Prof. Peter Hennicke,
sprach von "Menschenrechtsverletzung durch die Blockierer im Weißen Haus". Das
Verhalten der Bush- Regierung werfe die Weltgemeinschaft um fünf bis zehn Jahre
zurück, "und die werden uns fehlen, wenn es nachher darum geht, wer die Schäden
bezahlen soll", sagte er der Essener "Neuen Rhein/Neuen Ruhr Zeitung". Die in der
Initiative "2 Grad" zusammengeschlossenen deutschen Unternehmer forderten eine
zügige Fortführung der UN-Verhandlungen und eine Einigung auf verbindliche CO2-
Reduktionsziele bis um Klimagipfel in Kopenhagen 2009.
Trotz aller Skepsis nannte Gabriel das Verhandlungs-Ergebnis einen "Riesen-Erfolg".
Zum ersten Mal sei es gelungen, alle Industrieländer zu Verhandlungen über die
Reduzierung der Treibhausgase zu verpflichten. Und zum ersten Mal hätten auch alle
Entwicklungsländer Klimaschutzziele akzeptiert. Die nächsten beiden Jahre müssten jetzt
genutzt werden, diese Zusagen mit Leben zu füllen, so Gabriel. "Die eigentliche Arbeit
beginnt für alle Seiten erst jetzt."
Bilderserie Die Berge und das Klima
Other UNEP Coverage:
CSRwire: Globe 2008 Sets Record Attendance Commitments from World Leaders
(CSRwire) VANCOUVER B.C. - International leaders in business, industry, and
government are committing to attend GLOBE at a record pace. As 2007 comes to a close,
event organizers have already confirmed the participation of over 30 business and
government leaders including the Premier of British Columbia Gordon Campbell, the
Chairman of the International Panel on Climate Change Rajendra Pachauri, Executive
Director for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Achim Steiner, and the
CEO‘s of the world's leading corporations including Rio Tinto Alcan, Seimens Canada,
BC Hydro, ASSET4 (Switzerland), and CleanTech Group. The 10th event in the biennial
GLOBE series, GLOBE 2008 is set to take place in Vancouver, British Columbia from
March 12 - 14, 2008. The preliminary conference program for the event is available for
download at www.globe2008.ca.
GLOBE events have historically attracted over 10,000 attendees from around the world.
The 10th anniversary event looks to be building on that record with many international
delegations already committed to attend the event, including a large contingent from
Belgium, lead by HRH Prince Philippe. Also committed are representatives from
Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Brunei, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic,
Ecuador, France, Germany, Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea,
Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia,
Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United
States. This year's event will focus on four main themes: Corporate Sustainability,
Energy & Climate Change, Finance and Sustainability, and Building Better Cities.
The GLOBE 2008 Trade Fair is attracting exhibitors at a record pace as well, with over
85 percent of the event footprint committed. The exhibition will feature the world's most
innovative companies allowing visitors to learn more about the most cutting-edge
advances in environmental technology. The event will be an opportunity for participants
to learn from one another about future prospects in the multi-billion dollar environmental
GLOBE 2008 is produced by the GLOBE Foundation, an international consultancy
organization in the business of the environment. GLOBE's expertise lies in project
management, event development, and management and consulting in the fields of
environment and energy, urban development, and corporate responsibility. The GLOBE
Foundation is North America's longest operating producer of environmental events,
having produced the GLOBE series since 1993. All delegates who register prior to
December 14, 2007 for this exciting event will receive $500 off of their full delegate
For further information, visit www.globe2008.ca.
Introducing Auto FutureTech @ GLOBE 2008
Auto FutureTech is a first-of-a-kind event bringing together an elite global gathering of
representatives of the automotive and fuel sector's major stakeholders: OEMs, suppliers,
financiers, oil and gas producers, electric utilities, labour unions, maintenance providers,
insurance/reinsurance, agribusiness, civil society groups, and policy makers. Together
parties will explore the key issues, challenges and opportunities confronting the global
automotive industry over the coming decade. The Auto FutureTech Summit 2008 will be
held in conjunction with GLOBE 2008, March 12 – 14 in Vancouver.
For further information, visit www.AutoFutureTech.com.
Earth Times: New Bayer, United Nations Partnership Brings International
Environment and Art Competition to Local Elementary and Middle Schools
Posted on : 2007-12-17 | Author : Bayer Corporation
News Category : PressRelease
NEW MARTINSVILLE, W.Va., Dec. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In an effort to
help prepare today's students to become tomorrow's environmental stewards, Bayer
Corporation and the United Nations Environment Programme's North American Regional
Office (UNEP RONA) today announced a new World Environment Day partnership and
launched the International Children's Painting Competition in Bayer MaterialScience
New Martinsville partner schools.
The International Children's Painting Competition (ICPC) invites elementary and middle
school students ages six to 14 from around the world to learn more about the environment
and express that knowledge creatively through art. The ICPC is a signature program of
UNEP's annual World Environment Day activities. Established by UNEP in 1972, World
Environment Day is celebrated each year on June 5 in a different global host city. The
theme of World Environment Day and the International Children's Painting Competition
also changes each year. This year's theme is Climate Change: Actions We Can Take
This partnership with UNEP RONA and the ICPC also marks the newest local
programming component of Bayer's national award-winning Making Science Make
Sense(R) initiative which advances science literacy across the United States through
inquiry-based, hands-on science learning, employee volunteerism and public education.
"With this new partnership and by introducing the International Children's Painting
Competition in our area schools, our goal is to help today's students make the important
connection between science literacy and the environment, while reinforcing the notion
that everyone has a responsibility when it comes to environmental and climate
protection," explained Debby Stauver, Bayer New Martinsville's MSMS liaison.
Elisabeth Guilbaud-Cox, Deputy Director of UNEP's Regional Office for North America,
added, "We are extremely proud and excited to be working with Bayer here in North
America and commend the company for supporting an out-of-the-box approach to
traditional science education that uses the arts as a way to foster the next generation of
About the International Children's Painting Competition
The ICPC is open to all elementary and middle school students ages six to 14. Artworks
must be done on either letter or legal size paper and can be done using crayons, colored
pencils, watercolors, oils, etc. The style is free. The deadline for submissions is January
15, 2008. For complete entry rules and conditions, please visit
First place winners are selected from each UNEP region including Africa; Asia and the
Pacific; West Asia; Europe; Latin America and the Caribbean; and, North America.
There are cash prizes involved and these winners are awarded with a fully-paid trip for
themselves and their chaperones to the main WED celebrations on June 5, 2008. This
year those celebrations will take place in Wellington, New Zealand.
In addition, other winners from the six UNEP regions are celebrated at special World
Environment festivities held in the regional host cities.
All regional winners will be announced on Earth Day, April 22, 2008. About Making
Science Make Sense in New Martinsville
Making Science Make Sense (MSMS) is Bayer's company-wide initiative that advances
science literacy through hands-on, inquiry-based science learning, employee
volunteerism and public education. Currently, Bayer's New Martinsville site is one of 12
Bayer sites around the country that operate local MSMS programs, which together
feature a national volunteer corps of more than 1,000 employees.
In New Martinsville, Bayer has formed Partnerships in Education with five local schools-
-Magnolia High School, Washington Lands Elementary School, St. Francis Xavier
School, Our Lady of Peace School, and St. Michael Parish School. Some of the science-
related activities include chemical demonstrations in the classroom or at other special
programs, plant tours for science classes, class visits to the NASA Challenger Learning
Center at Wheeling Jesuit University, and outstanding science and math student awards.
Also, Bayer employees participate in career fairs, serve as judges for science fairs, and
help students and parents on "how to do" a science fair project. Two of the partner
elementary schools participate in ORSANCO's (Ohio River Valley Sanitation
Commission) Riverwatch Program with the help of Bayer employees who are involved in
the partnership. This program includes sampling and testing the quality of water in the
Ohio River. The Bayer/PPG Community Advisory Panel (CAP) sponsors a mini-grant
program for local schools to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of science
and environmental issues. The program funds projects that enrich science classroom
experiences or carry out extracurricular science activities. Finally, the Bayer-spearheaded
WV- Handle on Science Project is a science education reform program that implements
the National Science Resources Center hands-on, inquiry-based curriculum into
elementary school classrooms.
About Bayer Corporation
Bayer Corporation, headquartered in Pittsburgh, is a subsidiary of Bayer AG, an
international health care, nutrition and innovative materials group based in Leverkusen,
Germany. In North America, Bayer had 2006 net sales of 7.8 billion euros and employed
17,200 at year end. Bayer's three subgroups, Bayer HealthCare, Bayer CropScience and
Bayer MaterialScience, improve people's lives through a broad range of essential
products that help diagnose, prevent and treat diseases; protect crops and enhance yields;
and advance automobile safety and durability. To download Bayer's Sustainable
Development Report, visit http://www.bayer.com/.
About United Nations Environment Programme
Established in 1972 following the United Nation's Conference on the Human
Environment, UNEP's mission is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in
caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to
improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.
About Bayer and UNEP
Bayer AG is the first company in the world to forge a long-term partnership with UNEP
in the area of youth and environment. The partners first began cooperating on youth
environmental projects in Asia in the late 1990s. In 2004, Bayer and UNEP signed a
framework agreement to globalize this partnership, which, in August this year, was
extended by another three years. The partners have jointly organized a dozen
environmental projects for young people around the world, including the TUNZA
International Youth Conference, the Young Environmental Envoys Program, Eco-Minds
Youth Environmental Forum and the International Children's Painting Competition held
in conjunction with World Environment Day. Bayer Corporation in the United States
supports UNEP's World Environment Day activities in North America.
Further information on the partnership between UNEP and Bayer is available on the
Internet at: http://www.unep.bayer.com/
Telegraph Nepal: Global Warming: Let’s do something before it’s too late
Mélina Gazsi, Journalist, FRANCE
With the first volume of this fourth report from the IPCC, there no longer remains any
doubt as to the reality of global warming, nor as to the responsibility of human activities.
The scientific community - 500 world experts finalised the text - has assessed the
warming of the climate at the surface of the earth between 1906 and 2005 and confirmed
its extent: a rise of 0.74 degrees and something unprecedented in the entire history of the
An alarming report
It is forecast that by 2100 the temperature on the earth‘s surface will have increased by 2
to 4 °C, and sea levels will have risen by 28 to 43 centimetres. All the experts are certain
that increasingly extreme events will occur, with many more heatwaves and greater
precipitation in the northern hemisphere, and a worsening of drought in the south.
Between 1 and 3 billion individuals are likely to be affected by water shortages. As for
the intensity of cyclonic episodes - the next two volumes of the IPCC  report should
tell us more about it - this is likely to increase, and if it does so, according to Jean Jouzel,
one of the members of the IPCC, "two million people will be forced to move".
Towards global ecological governance
The Paris Conference has called "for a transformation of the United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP) into a genuinely international organisation" . "Just as there is one
for education, science and culture, with UNESCO, for health, with the WHO, and for
trade, with the WTO", explains Laurent Contini, deputy director of the Direction of the
United Nations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Indeed, with 500 agreements, 18 agencies, programmes or institutions, the environment
suffers from a fragmentation of decision-making centres, lack of a strong and coherent
policy, and structural weaknesses in the UNEP. The latter represents only 58 states and
its budget - 130 million dollars - is not enough to finance its programmes, which depend
upon voluntary contributions. Hence the idea advocated by President Jacques Chirac,
back in 2003, of establishing global governance, and his announcement, in September
2006, that a conference would be held to set it in motion.
"An event that is quite obviously backed by the expected results of the IPCC‘s work and
the warning issued by British economist Nicholas Stern in October 2006, who in his
report estimates the cost of doing nothing to combat climate change at 5500 billion
euros," stresses Laurent Contini.
And after the conference? "We have some fifty convinced states on board in setting up an
informal "Group of Friends" which will meet soon in Morocco, with the aim of becoming
a formal working group within the United Nations. But to do this, we need to win the
support of around a hundred countries, in order to carry more weight, to put forward a
recommendation to the General Assembly and to arrive at a resolution." This is genuine
battle that France is leading with enthusiasm and conviction, with the hope, notably, of
bringing the United States and Australia on board.
"We have since July 2005 proposed a fourfold reduction in CO2 emissions in a law on
energy, which is equivalent to a 75 % reduction between now and 2050," we are told by
the Environment Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Moreover, France is involved in many campaigns to raise public awareness and has taken
incentive measures, notably to encourage the use of renewable energy. The fight against
global warming is also one of Europe‘s priorities (see box).
As for developing countries, aware that they do not have the means to provide the same
resources, France is encouraging every scheme offering aid and assistance in adapting to
climate change: investment programmes, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, Clean
Development Mechanisms (CDM), which enable an industrialised state to invest in a
clean energy solution in a developing country. The fight against global warming
transcends borders. www.ecologie.gouv.fr
[Courtesy label France magazine, Embassy of France in Nepal]
Inhabitat: Africa Wages War On Plastic Bags
Plastic Bags, Plastic Bag exhibition, London Photography, Photographers‘ Gallery,
Africa plastic bag, Africa moves to ban plastic bags, recycling initiative, plastic bags,
Africa plastic bags, environment UNEP, polythene plastic, Reuters Business Daily
Motivated by a climate of widespread environmental devastation, Africa has boldly
moved to initiate a continent-wide ban plastic bags in an effort to eliminate the billions of
throw-away sacs that are marring its cities and landscapes (San Francisco, Melbourne and
other cities have already banned them altogether). It‘s no surprise that what was once
viewed as a step towards modernization has instead created widespread problems for
rural and urban communities that initially embraced the cheaply manufactured plastic bag
in lieu of totes made of indigenous materials and biodegradables.
Africa plastic bag, Africa moves to ban plastic bags, recycling initiative, plastic bags,
Africa plastic bags, environment UNEP, polythene plastic, Reuters Business Daily
Plastic sacs typically wreak havoc in the landscape by blocking drains and sewage
systems and damaging ground water, soil, and native plants. They can kill the valuable
livestock and foraging animals that ingest them. They are also known to be instrumental
in the spread of malaria by the creation of mini-pools of warm water that allow
mosquitoes to breed rapidly. Region by region, Africa has had its share of grief caused by
the plastic bag outbreak. South Africa once produced 7 billion bags a year. They have
subsequently imposed a ban on bags thinner than 30 microns, a thickness so flimsy that
one‘s finger can easily poke through.
Other more durable bags are taxed by South Africa, which in turn gives some of this
revenue to a plastic bag recycling company. Somaliland residents became so accustomed
to plastic bags fluttering about the landscape that they re-named them ―the flowers of
Hargeisa‖ after their capital. Until recently Kenya churned out about 4,000 tons of
polyethylene bags a month.
Africa plastic bag, Africa moves to ban plastic bags, recycling initiative, plastic bags,
Africa plastic bags, environment UNEP, polythene plastic, Reuters Business Daily
Now the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) and other concerned groups are
spearheading a fast-growing campaign to remedy the crisis. According to Reuters, ―The
plastic problem is now on the agenda of almost every African country,‖ Mebratu, an
Ethiopian, said at his office in a U.N. compound in Nairobi. ―The major focus is to
promote rational use and disposal of plastic bags.‖ Rwanda and Eritrea have already
banned the bags outright, the United Nations says. ―Go to the airport in Kigali and if you
have a plastic bag, they will confiscate it,‖ Mebratu said.
Fortunately there are alternatives on the horizon for market place shoppers and
commercial vendors throughout Africa. A recent report in Business Daily describes the
new demand for sisal and burlap bags as being practical, eco-friendly fashion statements
with locals who also want to sport a more traditional African look. ―When the
Government of Kenya banned the use of plastic bags, people rushed to seek alternative
means to carry their shopping and utilities. But do not forget that people do not want to
look backward, so these trendy bags are setting the pace,‖ said Nduta Ndambuki, a sisal
bag trader at the Globe roundabout Masaai market in Nairobi.
N-tv.de: Müll, Gift und Armut in Afrika
Montag, 17. Dezember 2007
Müllkippe vergiftet Slum
Vom Paradies zur Hölle ist es manchmal nur ein kurzer Weg. Nicht einmal eine halbe
Stunde dauert die Fahrt von Gigiri nach Korogocho. Gigiri ist einer der besten Stadtteile
der kenianischen Hauptstadt Nairobi. Die Vereinten Nationen haben hier ihr
Hauptquartier, die US-Botschaft ist hier, verschanzt hinter Stacheldraht und hohen
Mauern. Jacarandabäume blühen in leuchtendem Violett, die Residenzen der Diplomaten
sind umgeben von üppigem Grün, gepflegt von einer Schar von Angestellten.
Ganz anders Korogocho, eines der Slumviertel von Nairobi. Die Häuser, die einst von der
Weltbank errichtet wurden mit dem Ziel, billigen Wohnraum für die Ärmsten zu
schaffen, geben dem Stadtteil einen "besseren" Anblick als die Wellblechhütten von
Kibera, dem bekanntesten Slum Nairobis und einem der größten Armenviertel Afrikas.
Doch auch in Korogocho gibt es keine gepflasterten Straßen, für die meisten Menschen
zudem weder Wasser noch Strom. Und dann ist da noch Dandora, die Müllkippe, eine der
größten Abfalldeponien Afrikas.
Bäume wie Hohn
In der Talmulde glitzert es zwischen den Rauchwolken brennenden Mülls. Ziegen und
Hühner scharren zwischen Plastiktüten und Abfall. Die wenigen Bäume, die zwischen
den Müllkippen aufragen, wirken wie Hohn, Erinnerung an eine schönere, grünere Welt,
die nichts mit der Wirklichkeit in Korogocho zu tun hat.
Mit Stöcken und Stangen stochern Hunderte Menschen im Müll, Kinder und Erwachsene.
Sie ignorieren den morastig-fauligen Boden, in dem sie mit ihren Plastiksandalen
knöcheltief einsinken, den brennenden, beißenden Rauch, der in Augen, Nase und Mund
dringt, der schon nach kurzer Zeit benommen macht und die Kehle zu verengen scheint.
Die Müllmenschen von Korogocho können nicht auf den Rauch achten oder auf den
Dreck, denn für sie geht es um den Lebensunterhalt, um all das, was noch immer
verwertet und verkauft werden kann.
David Owaya ist einer dieser Müllmenschen. Er steht am Ufer des Nairobi River, der sich
auch durch Dandora schlängelt, ein trübes, rotbraunes Rinnsal. Keine hundert Meter
entfernt wäscht eine Gruppe Frauen ihre Wäsche, scheinbar unbekümmert von dem
Abfall, der auch im Fluss mitgeschwemmt wird. Owaya, ein Mann mit müden Augen und
eingefallenem Gesicht, säubert ein Bündel Plastiktüten notdürftig vom schlimmsten
Die Häuser grenzen direkt an die Mülldeponie."Für ein Kilo Plastiktüten bekomme ich
200 Shilling", sagt er. Das sind umgerechnet nicht einmal 2,50 Euro, und bis er so viele
Plastiktüten für den Verkauf gesammelt hat, muss Owaya viele Stunden zwischen den
stinkenden Abfallbergen verbringen. Er weiß selbst, dass das nicht gesund sein kann. "Ich
huste viel, und ich kann deshalb nachts schlecht schlafen", erzählt er. Eine andere Arbeit
wäre schön, aber was für Arbeit gibt es schon für einen wie ihn? Er blickt auf das trübe
Wasser des Flusses. "Manche Leute trinken das Wasser aus dem Fluss, aber ich mache
das nicht, es macht uns nur noch kränker."
2000 Tonnen Abfall täglich
Und es wird nicht besser. Täglich werden etwa 2000 Tonnen Abfall nach Dandora
gekarrt. Die Müllkippe ist von allen Seiten von Slums umgeben. Knapp eine Million
Menschen leben hier, ein Drittel der Einwohner der kenianischen Hauptstadt. Für viele
von ihnen ist der Müll der Menschen aus den wohlhabenderen Stadtteilen
Lebensgrundlage und Fluch zugleich.
"Sie leben von dem Müll, und sie sterben wegen des Gifts, das hier überall im Boden
steckt, in der Luft, im Wasser", sagt Daniele Moschetti, Pfarrer der katholischen
Gemeinde St Johns. Der italienische Missionar, der in Jeans, Sandalen und mit einem
schlichten Holzkreuz um den Hals kaum als Priester zu erkennen ist, betreibt eine Schule,
die unmittelbar an die Mülldeponie angrenzt.
Moschetti zeigt auf ein grünes Gelände gleich neben den Müllbergen. "Sieht doch alles
sehr schön und idyllisch aus, oder?", fragt er. "Wie ein guter Platz, auf dem die Kinder
Fußball spielen können." Dann schüttelt er den Kopf, in seiner Stimme klingt
unterdrückter Zorn. "Aber wenn die Kinder dort spielen, werden sie krank. Noch kränker,
als sie sowieso schon sind." Viele Kinder hätten chronische Atemwegserkrankungen,
litten unter Kreislaufstörungen, könnten sich nur schlecht konzentrieren.
Blei im Blut
Seit einigen Wochen ist das nicht nur eine Vermutung, sondern wissenschaftlich
nachgewiesene Gewissheit. Mitarbeiter des Umweltprogramms der Vereinten Nationen
(UNEP) untersuchten in der Umgebung von Dandora mehrere hundert Kinder, auch aus
der Schule von Pater Moschetti. Die Ergebnisse schockten auch den Biochemiker
Njoroge Kimani, der zu den Autoren der Untersuchung gehörte.
"Die Hälfte der Kinder haben Bleikonzentrationen im Blut, die weit über den
internationalen Grenzwerten liegen", stellte er fest. Fast die Hälfte der untersuchten
Kinder und Jugendlichen litten an Atemwegserkrankungen wie chronischer Bronchitis
und Asthma. Fast die Hälfte der Kinder zeigte deutliche Anämie.
Auch die Bodenproben, die in Dandora entnommen wurden, zeigten alarmierende
Ergebnisse. Fast die Hälfte von ihnen wiesen Schwermetallkonzentrationen auf, die um
das Zehnfache über den zulässigen Grenzwerten liegen. Das Schwermetall Kadmium, das
in zu hoher Konzentration die Organe schädigt und zu Nierenversagen und Krebs führen
kann, wurde an der Bodenoberfläche in Dandora in 50-facher Konzentration gemessen.
Was besseres verdient
UNEP-Direktor Achim Steiner verschaffte sich bei einem Besuch in Korogocho selbst
einen Eindruck von der Situation der Slumbewohner. "Die Kinder von Dandora haben
etwas Besseres verdient", betonte er. "Wir können uns nicht länger schlechte Lösungen
bei der Abfallwirtschaft leisten."
Dies gilt angesichts gesundheitsgefährdender Umweltbedingungen umso mehr. Nach
Schätzungen der Weltgesundheitsorganisation WHO sind diese Risiken jährlich für den
Tod von 4,7 Millionen Menschen verantwortlich. In den Entwicklungsländern ist sogar
jeder vierte Todesfall mit darauf zurückzuführen.
Pater Moschetti kämpft schon seit Jahren für eine Schließung der Müllkippe. "Die
reichen Einwohner von Nairobi kommen nie nach Korogocho", sagt er. "Nur ihr Müll
kommt, aber der Müll tötet." Einer der Männer seiner Gemeinde, seit Jahren im Kampf
gegen die Müllkippe engagiert, starb erst vor wenigen Wochen an Lungenkrebs, gerade
einmal 40 Jahre alt.
An den Wänden der Schule von St. John prangen bunte Malereien, darunter ein Bild von
lachenden Kindern, die unter einem Wasserfall in einem blauen Fluss baden und spielen.
Einen solchen Fluss haben die Kinder von Korogocho noch nie gesehen. Doch immer
mehr Einwohner erkennen, dass die Müllkippe ein Gesundheitsrisiko für sie und ihre
Familien ist. Der Kampf gegen die Müllkippe überwindet Stammes- und
Arme sterben im Dreck der Reichen
"Wir haben hier ein interreligiöses Komitee gegen die Müllkippe", sagt Moschetti. "Es ist
längst nicht nur unsere Gemeinde, die Proteste organisiert." Ob andere christliche
Gemeinschaften oder Moslems, die Sorge um die Gesundheit der Einwohner hat sie
geeint. "Wir wollen nicht, dass die Müllkippe einfach irgendwo anders neu aufgeschüttet
und das Problem nur verlagert wird", betont der Geistliche. "Wir wollen, dass die Armen
von Nairobi nicht länger am Dreck der Reichen sterben. Und wir wollen
menschenwürdige Bedingungen für diejenigen, die vom Müll leben."
Wiederverwertung kann ein einträgliches Geschäft sein, doch die meisten der
Slumbewohner haben kaum genug zum Überleben. Korogocho gilt als eine der
Hochburgen der Mafia, und auch diese Tatsache bestimmt das Leben mit der Müllkippe.
Denn wer in Dandora nach Wiederverwertbarem wühlen darf, bestimmen nicht zuletzt
die "Bosse" gegen eine Schutzgebühr, so ist zu hören. Hinzu kommt, dass das riesige,
unübersichtliche Gebiet der Deponie ein ideales Versteck ist - ob für Waffen, Drogen
oder Leichen. Die Polizei lässt sich ohnehin selten blicken, und auch Politiker besuchen
die Menschen von Korogocho meist nur zu Wahlkampfzeiten.
Gift von Dandora
"Niemand ist so gut im Recyceln wie die Armen", sagt Pater Moschetti. "Alles wird
irgendwie wiederverwendet. Aber das darf nicht heißen, dass das Leben der Ärmsten und
ihrer Familien aufs Spiel gesetzt wird." Der bärtige Priester zeigt auf die Hühner und
Ziegen, die zwischen den Müllbergen nach Nahrung suchen. "Die Menschen trinken
vielleicht nicht mehr das Wasser aus dem Fluss, aber sie essen diese Tiere. Und damit
essen sie auch das Gift von Dandora."
Bei einem vernünftigen Abfallmanagement dagegen könnten Tausende von
Arbeitsplätzen für Slumbewohner entstehen - Arbeitsplätze, mit denen Menschenwürde
und Gesundheit gewahrt bleiben können. "Hier geht es auch um Menschenrechte und
soziale Gerechtigkeit", betont der Pater. "Das Leben von knapp einer Million Menschen
steht auf dem Spiel - und die Menschen hier sind ohnehin bereits arm und benachteiligt."
Von Eva Krafczyk, dpa
UNESCO (Communiqués de presse): La plate-forme de formation libre (OTP)
poursuit son développement
Le Programme des Nations Unies pour l‘environnement (PNUE) est la septième agence
de l‘ONU à rejoindre la plate-forme de formation libre (Open Training Platform – OTP).
L‘OTP est un centre développé par l‘UNESCO qui offre des ressources de formation
gratuites dans de nombreux domaines afin de favoriser la coopération et l‘accès libre et
gratuit à du contenu pour le développement.
L‘OTP regroupe à ce jour des partenaires des agences des Nations Unies (FAO, CIF-OIT,
UIT, UNESCO, UNITAR, VNU, OMS et PNUE), des professionnels et des agences de
développement du monde entier, ainsi que des ONG et des organisations communautaires
(CBO) régionales et locales.
Le nombre croissant de membres (870 actuellement) et de partenaires permet désormais
aux utilisateurs d‘avoir accès à plus de 1600 ressources de formation gratuites, qui
répondent de manière plus précise aux besoins de formation des communautés locales et
spécialisées, des formateurs et des décideurs. Le nombre des ressources disponibles sur
l‘OTP est en croissance constante. En novembre 2007, les requêtes sur le site avaient
augmenté de 20 % (avec un chiffre de 44 000 visiteurs par an).
Ce portail créé il y a neuf mois met à disposition des cours non diplômant et des
ressources de formation issus de plus de 600 institutions de développement du monde
entier, dans vingt-et-un domaines clés pour le renforcement des capacités dans le secteur
du développement durable : agriculture, création d‘entreprise, emploi, médias, TIC, santé,
VIH/sida, environnement, compétences fondamentales, développement communautaires,
questions sexospécifiques, etc.
Soucieux d‘être toujours au plus près des besoins de formation locaux, ce service en ligne
évolue constamment. C‘est ainsi que l‘équipe de l‘OTP prévoit de développer une option
de personnalisation pour les communautés au cours de l‘année à venir et d‘étendre son
service de formation à la demande. Il est également prévu de développer le site pour les
utilisateurs francophones et de renforcer la participation active des pays en
développement pour impliquer le public cible.
L‘OTP bénéficie de l‘engagement croissant des acteurs du développement, des membres
et des partenaires tels que SPIDER et le CRDI pour répondre aux besoins en matière de
Nous vous invitions à visiter le site et utiliser les ressources sur
Other Environment News
Financial Times: Who bears the load?
(Article also appears in MSNBC- USA)
By Fiona Harvey and John Aglionby
Published: December 18 2007 02:00 | Last updated: December 18 2007 02:00
It is a deal that, for all its flaws and limitations, just six months ago few had thought
would come. For the next two years, government officials from 187 countries will meet
regularly to hammer out an agreement intended to slash greenhouse gas emissions and
curb global warming.
That pact would replace the current Kyoto protocol, which scientists say goes only a
small way to produce the emission reductions needed to avert disastrous changes to the
climate. Rich and poor countries are to work together to make the political, economic and
technological changes needed to wean their economies from a dependence on fossil fuels.
But if the United Nations-convened talks that ended in Bali at the weekend are anything
to go by, the next two years will be fraught, fractious - and possibly fruitless.
A taste of the acrimonious discussions that seem likely came within hours of the finish of
the talks, when the US began voicing reservations about the conclusions. A White House
official told of "serious concerns" that the agreement had let developing countries off too
lightly in their commitments to cut emissions. "Emissions reductions principally by the
developed world will be insufficient to confront the global problem effectively," the
White House said.
The words astonish European officials, who say the US delegation was in near-
continuous contact with Washington in the final hours of negotiations, even while
agreeing to the wording of the text that described developing countries' future
obligations. "It's extraordinary to try to go back on this," says one.
The final hours of the two-week negotiations were full of such high drama. The talks
were scheduled to finish on Friday, but by the early hours of Saturday morning delegates
were told to snatch some sleep and reconvene at 8am, when a draft text would be
considered. By the appointed time, however, it was clear that there would be no
resolution and the Indonesian hosts met each of the key players in turn to find a
The main points of difference were over references to the depth of emissions cuts needed
- the US opposed any reference to actual emissions targets - and over the role of
developing countries in sharing the burden of making these cuts. Ban Ki-moon, the UN
secretary-general, returned to the conference he had left days before and made an
impassioned plea to delegates to come up with a deal.
But the US would not budge, insisting on stronger wording for the commitments to action
to be made by developing countries, and received loud boos from other delegations.
Kevin Conrad of Papua New Guinea addressed the US delegation, saying: "We ask for
your leadership, we seek your leadership . . . If you can't give us what we want, please get
out of the way."
In the face of this mounting hostility, the Americans softened their stance, allowing the
text to pass - a considerable step for a country that had never ratified the Kyoto protocol.
Rachmat Witoelar, Indonesian environment minister and president of the Bali conference,
brought down his gavel to loud cheers. At last, the world had agreed to talk again about
the shape of a new international framework to avert dangerous climate change.
Until recently the US was implacably opposed to formal talks on what would replace the
Kyoto protocol - the world's only multinational treaty binding countries to cut their
emissions - when its main provisions expire in 2012. Washington officials said talk of
replacing the protocol was "premature", despite the worries of Kyoto supporters that
work must begin soon to allow time for national parliaments to ratify any agreement
struck on the international stage.
Without the consent of the US - which despite withholding ratification is a signatory to
Kyoto and to its parent treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate
Change - the UN could not begin full talks on a possible successor pact.
Suddenly, in late May, US President George W. Bush announced ahead of the Group of
Eight leading industrialised countries' summit his own set of talks to encompass the
world's 16 biggest emitters of greenhouse gases. It was the first time that the US had
agreed to talk about a post-2012 framework.
Initially, the US talks were designed to be independent of the UN process. This was badly
received by other countries, which accused the White House of trying to subvert the UN.
Under pressure at the G8, Mr Bush accepted that the talks should feed into the UN
process - which made it possible for the UN to schedule comprehensive discussions on a
post-2012 framework for the meeting in Bali.
In the past year, the debate on climate change has changed in character. The publication
of the findings of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in three parts
between February and June, was a watershed. The panel, drawing on the work of more
than 3,500 leading climate scientists, found that the evidence for climate change was
"unequivocal", that human actions in burning fossil fuels were to blame and that if the
world were allowed to warm by 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, some of the
effects - droughts, floods, storms, sea level rises - would be "irreversible" and
"catastrophic". To prevent this, the IPCC warned that emissions would have to peak in
the next 10-15 years and be drastically reduced thereafter.
For years, the Bush administration has carped at the IPCC process, calling it flawed. But
this year, Washington seemed to accept its conclusions: Paula Dobriansky, US under-
secretary of state, used her opening remarks to journalists in Bali to praise last week's
award of the Nobel peace prize to the panel (which won it jointly with Al Gore, former
These factors combined to make this year's conference different from the annual meetings
on the Kyoto protocol that had been held since 1997. Indonesia's Mr Witoelar said of the
conclusions: "This is a real breakthrough . . . Parties have recognised the urgency of
action on climate change and have now provided the political response to what scientists
have been telling us is needed."
During the conference, debate centred on two questions: explicit emissions reduction
targets for developed nations and what sort of obligations poor countries should take on
in the future.
The setting of clear and binding emissions targets was not thought to be a serious
prospect before the conference began, as the US made it clear that it would not accept
them. Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UNFCCC, said at the outset that the three
aims were to launch negotiations on a post-2012 framework, to set a deadline of 2012 for
their conclusion and to ensure that the agenda for the negotiations was "ambitious".
Even the EU, which has set its own target of cutting emissions by 20 per cent by 2020
and went to the conference asking for the IPCC's conclusion that the world should try to
limit warming to 2°C, admitted privately that it would be happy with a form of words that
left the question of future targets open. One official told the Financial Times at the end of
the first week of the talks: "We can leave it implicit in the text that there should be targets
in the future - that's fine."
But the early days progressed so favourably, with a newly compliant US delegation, that
the EU was emboldened to insist its preferred targets - that rich countries should slash
emissions by 25-40 per cent by 2020 - were central to the talks. The failure of this late
call did not surprise most attendees. The issue was a "red line" that the White House
would not cross. Harlan Watson, chief US negotiator, reiterated: "Setting targets is
something you do at the end of the process, not the beginning. We do not want to
prejudge the negotiations."
Still, the US had come far in the past six months, moving from hostility to the UN
process to agree to talks on its outcome. Elliot Diringer, director of international
strategies at the US Pew Center on Global Climate Change, says the road map laid out in
Bali "puts no one on the hook right now for emission reductions. What's important,
though, is that it lets no one off the hook either. It challenges all governments to confront
the tough issues ahead and opens the way for the first time to a comprehensive
negotiation of post- 2012 commitments."
Environmental campaigners slam the conference for not having produced clear emissions
reduction commitments. Tony Juniper, director of Friends of the Earth, says the meagre
reference to climate change science in the final text agreed by the US will allow carbon
dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere to rise to 750 parts per million from the current
level of around 380ppm: "That's the end of life on earth."
What actions should be undertaken by developing countries proved even more
contentious. There was no question of developing countries conceding the need for them
to make absolute cuts in their emissions: instead, they were asked only to take "actions"
to curb emissions that were "measurable, reportable and verifiable" and were variable
according to national circumstances. But debate swirled over the wording, such as
whether the term "contributions" should be preferred to "actions".
It turned into a trial of strength between the US and the Group of 77, a 130-strong bloc of
developing nations. The G77 won after the US was booed for refusing to accept the
minor changes to the text the G77 wanted. Perhaps stung by Papua New Guinea's
admonition, the US caved in and was cheered.
One last shock was to come. On Saturday afternoon the EU gained an unexpected
victory. Canada, Russia and Japan had been set against dictating clear emissions targets
during the talks but, in a set of discussions including the developed-country Kyoto parties
but excluding the US, the three countries changed their minds and signed up to cut their
emissions by 25-40 per cent of 1990 levels by 2020. This goes much further than the
original protocol, which asked for 5 per cent cuts by 2012.
What upsets may still be in store? The White House's complaints about the agreement the
day after its conclusion gave an inkling. But Canada, Japan and Russia also have
reservations about the role of developing nations, while poor countries themselves are
anxious that they should not have absolute emissions cuts, rather than simply limiting the
growth of their emissions, and that they should receive financial aid to do so.
Lengthy and exhausting as the Bali bickering was, it may yet come to seem harmonious.
The UNFCCC's Mr de Boer, who left the talks close to tears after harsh criticism near the
end, acknowledges with understatement: "Finalising the negotiations in 2009 will be a lot
more difficult than what we have been doing in the past two weeks."
What was decided
* "The Bali roadmap" sets out an agenda for two years of talks, with a 2009 deadline, on
a new agreement to cut emissions and prevent dangerous climate change * Pilot projects
were agreed that would measure emissions reduction from forestry projects, as a first step
towards including reforestation, afforestation and avoided deforestation in a future deal
* The conference agreed to launch a United Nations fund to help poor countries adapt to
the effects of climate change, such as droughts and flooding
* The roadmap says more money will be needed for poor countries to gain access to
green technologies, but not how this will be provided
What was not * No firm targets on emissions reductions were set, although mention was
made in the text of the need for "deep cuts" * No decision was made on how developed
and developing countries should share the burden of curbing emissions
* No agreement was reached on whether carbon capture and storage projects should
qualify for carbon credits.
A path pitted by decades of difficulties
The history of climate change negotiations is not glorious. As Al Gore, former US vice-
president, noted in his Nobel peace prize acceptance speech last week, the problem was
the subject of research in the 1960s and before, but began to be taken seriously by
scientists in the 1980s. By 1988, concern had grown so much that the United Nations set
up a committee of scientists, the International Panel on Climate Change, to review the
The report was finished in 1992 and an "Earth Summit" arranged in Rio de Janeiro to
discuss the world's response. Amid a euphoric atmosphere, the UN Framework
Convention on Climate Change was written, binding countries to do whatever necessary
to "avoid dangerous climate change". George H.W. Bush, father of the current US
president, flew in to sign.
Governments went away to draw up a protocol to the treaty that would set out how this
aim of averting global warming should be achieved. But those negotiations ran into deep
difficulties as countries squabbled over the depth of emission cuts each should be
required to make, the extent of and means by which rich countries should help poor
countries in the process and whether the most economic way to ensure such cuts was
through taxation or a system called "cap-and-trade" for greenhouse gases. It took five
years for the Kyoto protocol to emerge.
What followed still dogs climate change talks: the US never ratified the Kyoto protocol
because of the depth of feeling against it in Congress. American politicians felt the treaty
unfairly burdened them with emissions cuts, while developing countries were given no
obligation to cut theirs. This would sacrifice American jobs to a scientific hypothesis that
was still unproved, many said.
With the world's biggest emitter left out of the treaty, it seemed to have little prospect of
success. Russia also held out. But Kyoto's proponents - the EU, Japan, Canada and many
developing countries - spent seven years in diplomatic wrangling to persuade Russia to
ratify. They succeeded in late 2004 and in February 2005 the treaty finally came into
effect - 13 years after the Rio summit and only seven years before the carbon-cutting
provisions of the protocol were due to expire. It looked a victory more symbolic than
This tortuous history, along with the events at Bali and their immediate aftermath, give a
clue to the scale of the task facing negotiators in the next two years.
The Guardian: Bali deal is worse than Kyoto
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
By George Monbiot
After 11 days of negotiations, governments have come up with a compromise deal that
could even lead to emission increases. The highly compromised political deal is largely
attributable to the position of the United States, which was heavily influenced by fossil
fuel and automobile industry interests. The failure to reach agreement led to the talks
spilling over into an all-night session.‖
These are extracts from a press release by Friends of the Earth. So what? Well it was
published on December 11 - I mean to say, December 11 1997. The US had just put a
wrecking ball through the Kyoto protocol. George Bush was innocent; he was busy
executing prisoners in Texas. Its climate negotiators were led by Albert Arnold Gore.
The European Union had asked for greenhouse gas cuts of 15per cent by 2010. Gore‘s
team drove them down to 5.2per cent by 2012. Then the Americans did something worse:
they destroyed the whole agreement.
Most of the other governments insisted that the cuts be made at home. But Gore
demanded a series of loopholes big enough to drive a Hummer through. The rich nations,
he said, should be allowed to buy their cuts from other countries. When he won, the
protocol created an exuberant global market in fake emissions cuts.
The western nations could buy ―hot air‖ from the former Soviet Union. Because the cuts
were made against emissions in 1990, and because industry in that bloc had subsequently
collapsed, the former Soviet Union countries would pass well below the bar. Gore‘s scam
allowed them to sell the gases they weren‘t producing to other nations.
He also insisted that rich nations could buy nominal cuts from poor ones. Entrepreneurs
in India and China have made billions by building factories whose primary purpose is to
produce greenhouse gases, so that carbon traders in the rich world will pay to clean them
The result of this sabotage is that the market for low-carbon technologies has remained
moribund. Without an assured high value for carbon cuts, without any certainty that
government policies will be sustained, companies have continued to invest in the safe
commercial prospects offered by fossil fuels rather than gamble on a market without an
By ensuring that the rich nations would not make real cuts, Gore also guaranteed that the
poor ones scoffed when we asked them to do as we don‘t. When George Bush
announced, in 2001, that he would not ratify the Kyoto protocol, the world cursed and
stamped its foot. But his intransigence affected only the US. Gore‘s team ruined it for
The destructive power of the American delegation is not the only thing that hasn‘t
changed. After the Kyoto protocol was agreed, the then British environment secretary,
John Prescott, announced:
―This is a truly historic deal which will help curb the problems of climate change. For the
first time it commits developed countries to make legally binding cuts in their emissions.‖
Ten years later, the current environment secretary, Hilary Benn, told us that ―this is an
historic breakthrough and a huge step forward. For the first time ever, all the world‘s
nations have agreed to negotiate on a deal to tackle dangerous climate change.‖ Do these
people have a chip inserted?
In both cases, the US demanded terms that appeared impossible for the other nations to
accept. Before Kyoto, the other negotiators flatly rejected Gore‘s proposals for emissions
trading. So his team threatened to sink the talks. The other nations capitulated, but the US
still held out on technicalities until the very last moment, when it suddenly appeared to
concede. In 1997 and in 2007 it got the best of both worlds: it wrecked the treaty and was
praised for saving it.
Hilary Benn is an idiot. Our diplomats are suckers. American negotiators have pulled the
same trick twice, and for the second time our governments have fallen for it. There are
still two years to go, but so far the new agreement is even worse than the Kyoto protocol.
It contains no targets and no dates.
A new set of guidelines also agreed at Bali extend and strengthen the worst of Gore‘s
trading scams, the clean development mechanism. Benn and the other dupes are cheering
and waving their hats as the train leaves the station at last, having failed to notice that it is
travelling in the wrong direction.
Although Gore does a better job of governing now he is out of office, he was no George
Bush. He wanted a strong, binding and meaningful protocol, but American politics had
made it impossible. In July 1997, the Senate had voted 95-0 to sink any treaty which
failed to treat developing countries in the same way as it treated the rich ones.
Though they knew this was impossible for developing countries to accept, all the
Democrats lined up with all the Republicans. The Clinton administration had proposed a
compromise: instead of binding commitments for the developing nations, Gore would
demand emissions trading.
But even when he succeeded, he announced that ―we will not submit this agreement for
ratification (in the Senate) until key developing nations participate‖. Clinton could thus
avoid an unwinnable war.
So why, regardless of the character of its leaders, does the US act this way? Because, like
several other modern democracies, it is subject to two great corrupting forces. I have
written before about the role of the corporate media - particularly in the US - in
downplaying the threat of climate change and demonising anyone who tries to address it.
I won‘t bore you with it again, except to remark that at 3pm eastern standard time on
Saturday, there were 20 news items on the front page of the Fox News website. The
climate deal came 20th, after ―Bikini-wearing stewardesses sell calendar for charity‖ and
―Florida store sells ‗Santa Hates You‘ T-shirt‖.
Let us consider instead the other great source of corruption: campaign finance. The
Senate rejects effective action on climate change because its members are bought and
bound by the companies that stand to lose. When you study the tables showing who gives
what to whom, you are struck by two things.
One is the quantity. Since 1990, the energy and natural resources sector - mostly coal, oil,
gas, logging and agribusiness - has given $418m to federal politicians in the US.
Transport companies have given $355m. The other is the width: the undiscriminating
nature of this munificence. The big polluters favour the Republicans, but most of them
also fund Democrats.
During the 2000 presidential campaign, oil and gas companies lavished money on Bush,
but they also gave Gore $142,000, while transport companies gave him $347,000. The
whole US political system is in hock to people who put their profits ahead of the
So don‘t believe all this nonsense about waiting for the next president to sort it out. This
is a much bigger problem than George Bush. Yes, he is viscerally opposed to tackling
climate change. But viscera don‘t have much to do with it. Until the American people
confront their political funding system, their politicians will keep speaking from the
pocket, not the gut.
The Age: Climate change brings a potential for conflict between nations
December 18, 2007
PAKISTAN'S warplanes destroyed a giant concrete dam in Indian Kashmir overnight,
letting loose a massive flood into parched local rivers and marking a major increase in the
water war between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
Pure fantasy, of course. But with predictions that climate change will cause shortages of
fresh water, crop failures and more extreme weather, could global warming spark future
The climate change debate has certainly taken on a martial flavour.
Blame Al Gore and his Nobel peace prize acceptance speech last week, in which he railed
against humanity's war on the planet: "Now, we and the Earth's climate are locked in a
relationship familiar to war planners: mutually assured destruction."
Yet despite all the hopeful talk at Bali about the nations of the world joining to address
the problem, are military commanders thinking about global warming as a potential
It seems far-fetched to imagine SAS troops parachuting into China to sabotage a
greenhouse gas-pumping, coal-fired electricity plant. (Or another country hitting one in
Australia, for that matter.) But short of drawing up battle plans, plenty of strategic
analysts are turning their minds to the way climate change will create future competition
The most difficult problem to confront will be the movement of people. Earlier in the
year, federal police chief Mick Keelty warned of mass disruption in the Asia-Pacific
region resulting from climate change — "in their millions, people could begin to look for
new land, and they'll cross oceans and borders to do it".
Imagine. If tiny Tuvalu, with its population of 12,000, sinks under a rising Pacific Ocean,
it will be a tragedy. But it's also pretty easy to shift those few people affected to new
Bangladesh, on the other hand, is already a squeeze: 150 million people in a flood and
cyclone-prone country smaller than Victoria.
As climate change begins to have an impact, the desire for people to pack up and move
will be equalled only by the desire by governments to prevent it. This will open a fresh
market for people smugglers, agents paid to circumvent border controls.
It's tempting to conclude such a threat is merely a policing issue, rather than a problem
that will create strategic competition between nation-states.
But climate refugees will test the very idea of government control over territory. After all,
in many places the political concept of sovereignty, a recognised boundary that marks
"this land for these citizens, exclusively", has only taken hold during the past century.
Move enough people around — in numbers never experienced before — and authorities
could be completely overwhelmed.
This raises the prospect of state failure, and that is where strategic consequences will be
apparent. As Afghanistan showed through the 1990s, and still today, an ungoverned
territory can become a haven for extremists or a handy place to grow drugs. Neighbours
will meddle and breed resentment — think Pakistan in Afghanistan, Ethiopia in Somalia.
People don't need to move across borders to cause problems. The haphazard evacuation
of New Orleans after hurricane Katrina in 2005 demonstrated even wealthy nations
struggle to cope with natural disasters. Poorer governments will fare much worse.
One of the oldest rules of international politics is national interest so often trumps
neighbourly comfort. While nobody seriously expects Mexico to take advantage of future
climate-induced chaos in the American south by seizing control of vital oil supplies, the
same restraint might not be evident elsewhere. If a massive storm crippled Taiwan, for
instance, would China take the chance to grab back this disputed territory?
Australia will be challenged, and in unexpected ways. Despite water worries, concerns
over urban sprawl and the integration of new migrants, Australia will be asked to settle a
greater share of the world's displaced population. Unless we're selfish, the number of
people on our island continent will need to grow.
But before the climate doomsday scenarios are carried too far, any future strategic
impacts will depend on the steps governments and communities take to address climate
change now. Giving a rare public speech earlier this month, Peter Varghese, chief of the
Australian Government's top intelligence assessment agency, took a cautious view,
noting "any big strategic consequences from climate change probably won't be felt until
If this prediction is correct, such a long wait might prove a chance for the United Nations
system of international co-operation to truly flourish. Even the present effects of climate
change can be managed.
But boredom is a risk. Honestly, who isn't getting tired of the relentless focus on the
environment, Al Gore's warning about a planetary emergency, and all the dull debate
over emissions targets? The world's been here before with the massive Earth Summit in
1992, only then largely to forget the issue.
Public concern about climate change — now polling at record highs — will wane as
people become inured to the shock.
When future dangers are anticipated, governments have a chance to steer around them.
But if the world goes back to sleep, it may run head-on into a new cause of conflict.
Daniel Flitton is diplomatic editor.
This story was found at:
Xinhua: Portuguese PM: Bali roadmap is victory for EU, world
www.chinaview.cn 2007-12-17 11:00:35 Print
Special Report: Fight against Global Warming
LISBON, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates said Sunday that
the Bali roadmap adopted at the UN climate change conference is a victory for the
European Union (EU) and the whole world.
Socrates, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency, said the conference is a
victory for the world and the EU for fighting climate change, as the achievement has
basically reached the goal set by the EU.
The Portuguese prime minister said the EU attaches great importance to the issue of
climate change and has made huge efforts to promote a new global agreement on climate
He said the EU approves cutting emissions goals of global greenhouse gases by between
25 and 40 percent by 2020 and to reduce them to well below half of 2000 levels by 2050.
The EU has played an active role in adopting the Bali roadmap at the UN climate change,
The Bali Roadmap, agreed by over 180 countries meeting in Indonesia's resort island of
Bali, contains a clear agenda for the key issues to be negotiated up to 2009, including
action for adapting to the negative consequences of climate change, ways to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions, ways to deploy climate-friendly technologies and financing
both adaptation and mitigation measures.
Science Daily: UN Climate Change Convention In Bali: Forum Approves Climate
ScienceDaily (Dec. 17, 2007) — After almost two weeks of marathon discussions,
delegates have agreed on both the agenda for the negotiations and a 2009 deadline for
completing them so that a successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas
emissions can enter into effect in 2013.
After almost two weeks of marathon discussions, delegates have agreed on both the
agenda for the negotiations and a 2009 deadline for completing them so that a successor
pact to the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions can enter into effect in 2013.
Under the so-called Bali Roadmap, the key issues during the upcoming negotiations will
be: taking action to adapt to the negative consequences of climate change, such as
droughts and floods; devising ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; finding ways to
deploy climate-friendly technology; and financing adaptation and mitigation measures.
Participating countries have also agreed on a series of steps that can be taken immediately
to strengthen their commitment to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC), such as combating deforestation in poor countries, the scaling up of
investment in green technology and enhancing funding for adaptation measures.
The text does not specify or mandate emissions targets, but it does say that deep cuts in
emissions will be needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
In a statement issued after the Bali Roadmap was adopted, Secretary-General Ban Ki-
moon called it "a pivotal first step toward an agreement that can address the threat of
climate change, the defining challenge of our time," adding that the agreement had met
all the benchmarks for success he set out when the Conference began.
The Secretary-General said he "appreciates the spirit of cooperation shown by all parties
to achieve an outcome that stands to benefit all humanity."
Mr. Ban returned today to Bali, after a one-day visit to Timor-Leste, to take part in the
final stages of the Conference, which was extended by an extra day as delegates closed in
on a deal.
But even a few hours before the Roadmap was adopted, it was not clear there would be
any breakthrough, prompting Mr. Ban to appeal to delegates not to "risk everything you
have achieved so far... The hour is late. It is time to make a decision."
Mr. Ban's statement welcoming the Roadmap's eventual adoption was echoed by leading
UN and international environmental officials at the Conference.
UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer said Bali had produced "a real breakthrough,
a real opportunity for the international community to successfully fight climate change.
Parties have recognized the urgency of action on climate change and have now provided
the political response to what scientists have been telling us is needed."
In his closing address to the plenary session, the Conference President and Indonesian
Environment Minister Rachmat Witoelar hailed the "number of forward-looking
decisions" in the text.
"But we also have a huge task ahead of us and time to reach agreement is extremely
short, so we need to move quickly," he said.
Four major UNFCCC meetings to implement the Bali Roadmap are planned for next
year, with the first to be held in either March or April. The negotiations process is
scheduled to conclude in 2009 at a major summit in Copenhagen.
Adapted from materials provided by United Nations.
Times: Climate change and plans for new technology
Throughout history engineers have proved their ability to provide innovative solutions to
Sir, No one could doubt that climate change has become the most important issue of our
day, as evidenced by the gathering of 10,000 delegates in Bali to discuss the successor to
the Kyoto Protocol. It is right that governments should act to set targets to promote more
Climate science has provided the understanding needed to set targets for emissions
reductions that will mitigate the worst effects of climate change. Engineers are now
called upon to deliver practical solutions.
While it is technically possible to meet agreed targets, bringing the necessary engineering
solutions to market in the quantities required is a Herculean task. Sir Nicholas Stern
showed that doing nothing will be a lot more expensive than taking action now — but it
will still require massive investment in development and commercialisation.
However, the proliferation of schemes, targets and laws around the world creates a
confused landscape that only climate change specialists can navigate. The tools to reduce
emissions in the necessary timescale come mainly through engineering. But there are no
easy answers: renewable energy sources such as wind, wave and solar could all provide
low-carbon electricity but are at varying stages of development; biofuels and hydrogen
could reduce transport emissions but there are inherent risks; carbon capture and storage
could significantly reduce emissions from fossil fuel power plants but there is yet to be a
full-scale, commercially viable demonstration.
Throughout history engineers have shown their ability to provide innovative solutions to
many of mankind‘s problems. We can do so again but we cannot achieve the impossible.
If the practicalities and realities of successfully implementing new technologies are not
adequately considered then the aspirational targets of the UK Climate Change Bill — and
the Bali conference — will fail.
Chief Executive, Royal Academy of Engineering
Chief Executive, Institution of Civil Engineers
Chief Executive, Institution of Mechanical Engineers
Chief Executive, Institution of Chemical Engineers
Chief Executive, Institute of Marine Engineering Science and Technology
Sir, Our Government‘s contention that the UK‘s performance against its Kyoto targets is
a demonstration of real progress towards a sustainable energy future is dangerously
flawed. An energy policy that continues to focus on certain renewable technologies while
adopting a laissez-faire approach to the inexorable rise in road and air traffic does not
imply pragmatic leadership in the global energy field.
Now is surely the time to prise our future energy strategy out of the hands of politicians
and to establish a fully independent national energy authority, mandated to look at the
entire spectrum of energy-related challenges we face, and identify those steps and
measures that have the potential of making the greatest practical contribution to
addressing those challenges. We can then aspire to a national energy policy driven by
expert analysis rather than flawed ideology and short-term political expedience.
Telegraph: Making sense of the Bali finale
By Barry Coates, Director of Oxfam New Zealand
Last Updated: 6:01pm GMT 17/12/2007
Have your say Read comments
In the early hours of Sunday morning, as government Ministers and officials tried to
conclude a deal long after the scheduled end of climate change negotiations, the muted
atmosphere of the Bali conference centre was rudely interrupted by an unlikely sound.
# Antonio Hill: Good news and bad news from Bali
Reggae was blaring out on a portable stereo. In the atrium of the conference centre,
delegates were dancing beneath a sign that read "small islands drowning our sorrows
before we drown". It should have a brief interlude of entertainment but there was little to
dance for in Bali.
Governments around the world arrived at the conference with a public mandate to tackle
climate change. The phrase "the world is watching" has rarely seemed so apt. The
conference was never going to meet public expectations in full - this was a meeting not to
conclude negotiations, but to start them. It did so.
The outcome was a two track process: ongoing negotiations to agree greenhouse gas
reductions after the current Kyoto Protocol commitment period ends in 2012, and a 'Bali
roadmap' to set a broader framework for action for the long term.
But Bali should have achieved more. Some of the most crucial decisions were fudged in
ambiguous language. For example, scientific analysis has recommended that greenhouse
gases emissions be cut by at least 50 per cent by 2050, in order to keep temperature rise
below 2ºC, and avoid the most dangerous climate impacts.
But this is not in the final document for the 'Bali roadmap'. Nor is the near term target to
reduce emissions in 2020 by 25-40 per cent from 1990 levels - it is only referenced as an
indirect guideline for the forthcoming negotiations.
This is common in UN conferences where agreements take many years to negotiate. But
we haven't got years.
The Bali conference was told that we face an urgent global environmental crisis,
according to the scientific report presented by the Inter-government Panel on Climate
Change; a threat to the survival and human rights of millions of vulnerable people,
according to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; and the greatest threat to the world's
economic prosperity of our age, according to Lord Nicholas Stern, author of a major
report on the economics for climate change.
The costs of action will be far less than the costs of inaction.
There were those in Bali who seemed all too happy with inaction. The US administration
played a blocking role throughout the conference, despite huge efforts by the rest of the
world to accommodate them
The gap between the Bush administration and the American people was highlighted by
reports from Senate and Congress over the past two weeks, calling for the US to take
action. And when Kevin Rudd announced Australia was signing onto the Kyoto Protocol,
the US became the only major country in the world yet to sign.
Yet the US was not entirely isolated - Canada and Japan joined them to block agreement
to long term targets and support for developing countries. In a dramatic turnaround, the
US "joined consensus" at the end of the Bali conference, but even before the ink was dry
they were already backing off from the agreed outcome.
Despite the difficulties, Bali agreed to start negotiations. Under the Kyoto Protocol, the
aim is to complete the agreement by end 2009 to ensure there is a predictable long term
regime after the first commitment period expires in 2012.
A parallel track of negotiations, the 'Bali roadmap' is broader in scope and could
potentially provide a longer term framework. A major rationale for pursuing the two track
approach is to accommodate the US, given their resistance to sign up to the Kyoto
The developed countries also want a Bali Roadmap process outside the Kyoto Protocol as
a way to get poorer countries to commit to targets for emissions reductions. This was
strongly opposed by developing nations on the grounds that it is the rich countries that
have caused the climate crisis and are still not implementing their initial commitments.
Countries like India point out that it is unfair for them to take on targets before the US,
when they have annual greenhouse gas emissions of around one tonne per person
compared to over twenty for the US. There are around 450 million people in India using
dung or firewood as their main energy source. They are not the ones who filled the
atmosphere with greenhouse gases.
The approach embodied in the Climate Change Convention is to help countries like India
in improving access to affordable and low carbon energy, instead of building more coal
fired power stations. Nor has there been the promised funding and technology that would
help developing countries in their transition to a low carbon development path.
The US and other developed countries should not be allowed to change the ground rules,
before they have even started to fulfil their initial commitments under the Convention.
Again on this issue, the Bali action plan compromised, so that everyone can claim
There was one other crucial issue on which there was progress. An Adaptation Fund was
established to help the poorest countries to prepare for the impacts of climate change. But
even on this issue, political commitment was lacking. The United Nations has estimated
that $86 billion per year will be needed. So far, less than half of one per cent had been
This is not just about the future. One of the voices in Bali bearing witness to the real costs
of climate change was Ursula Rakova, from the Cartaret islands in Papua New Guinea.
Her presentation about the forced relocation of her island community due to rising sea
levels was moving and powerful.
Funding does not necessarily need to come from government budgets. There were some
innovative proposals being discussed in Bali - Switzerland proposed a five cent tax on
petrol. This could raise $50 billion. There were also proposals for taxes on aviation and
shipping fuels, a tax on global emissions trading and the revival of the idea of a carbon
tax on greenhouse gas emissions. But these will only work with global agreement.
Opposition from the US threatens any fair deal. On the other side, developing countries
whose vulnerable communities are paying with their lives will accept nothing less.
These problems will surface when the negotiators try to put together an agreement
without a clear political mandate. Politicians need to change the instructions they give
their negotiators before next year's conference in Poznan. Otherwise the deadline of an
agreement in Copenhagen in December 2009 will not be possible.
This is not just a problem of the US administration and progress will not suddenly
materialise after US elections in November next year. Policies of all the developed
nations need to change. The build up to the next round of talks allows time for politicians
to reflect; but also for people to act.
The voice of the British public needs to be heard, not only to call for a deal, but to
demand an equitable agreement that ensures the survival of millions of vulnerable people,
as well as the polar bears.
Barry Coates is Director of Oxfam New Zealand. Oxfam works with others to overcome
poverty and suffering.
Jakarta: Talks end; fight goes on
Stevie Emilia, Nusa Dua, Bali
The conference rooms are now deserted. The piles of papers have been removed. Outside,
there are no more people hurrying around on bicycles or under colorful umbrellas, trying
to cope with Bali's heat.
The much-hyped climate change conference finally ended on Saturday, a day later than
scheduled, following an emotional showdown in the final hours of negotiations.
But as some of the conference's 11,000 participants, including UN Secretary- General
Ban Ki-moon and six heads of states, were jetting back home, the fight against climate
change was not over. In fact, it is far from over. It has just begun.
For two weeks these participants - seasoned politicians and diplomats - were literally
sweating to produce something that would really make a difference in ensuring the
world's future survival from the disaster of our times, climate change.
They worked hard, wrangling over words and phrases while demands rained in from
outside the conference rooms, in the hope of meeting the world's expectations.
The world was watching closely.
The hope was that the conference could open a path for comprehensive and stronger
commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which might have the power to change
the world irrevocably.
The hope was that the governments would work together to help people and the
environment avert a predicted catastrophe and reduce extreme weather-related disasters
that might kill, injure and displace people and threaten their food security and health.
The hope was that those responsible for causing global warming would be willing to step
forward, accept the consequences and lead the way.
The hope was that developing countries, which are the least responsible for high
concentrations of greenhouse gases but will be the worst-affected by them, would get
help in coping with the impacts of climate change.
And the conference largely met those expectations.
On the final day, three fundamental benchmarks for success were agreed on: launching
negotiations on a global climate change agreement, setting an agenda for the negotiations
and agreeing to complete them by 2009. This deadline is designed to ensure that a new
deal can enter into force in 2013, when commitments under the current climate treaty, the
Kyoto Protocol, will have ended.
During the conference there was good progress on some of the practical building blocks
of a future climate change treaty. Technology transfer, including technologies for
mitigation and adaptation, as well as financial incentives, all received attention.
The adaptation fund has finally become a reality, while the Bali talks have laid the
groundwork for a commitment to address deforestation.
However, as in any negotiation, there were compromises. Unhappy voices charged that
the roadmap was too weak and failed to set binding emission cuts.
The scientific evidence released before the conference by the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC) is enough to make one worry about what lies in the future.
Dozens of studies presented by various scientists and organizations during the conference
further confirmed those fears.
Environmental activists have rallied support from every corner of the globe.
Even Al Gore, co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and former U.S. vice president, came
in person to give weight to the conference and reveal the "inconvenient truth" about
His book and film may have helped convert many unbelievers, but apparently not the
government of his own country.
The U.S., which is the world's biggest emitter, is still dominating the stage. After
throwing up a few last-minute roadblocks, the country notorious for its self-centered
insistence on not joining the global pact said it is "committed to long-term greenhouse
gas reduction goals and will go forward and join the consensus".
An important thing is missing from this statement, however: specific targets and a
deadline for emissions cuts.
Australia, which used to be the only U.S. ally on this issue, ensured the conference and
Bali would be remembered for years to come by ratifying the Kyoto Protocol.
Australia's new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, chose the perfect time to ratify the treaty
and was able to personally hand the ratification papers to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-
The climate conference may not have come up with dramatic results, but the Bali
Roadmap should lay the path for next year's conference in Poland, before the world
convenes in Denmark in 2009 to pen a new climate regime.
With the Bali climate conference ended, the world continues to wait and see whether the
promises and agreements made throughout the course of negotiations will turn into
reality, or whether the world will face a bleak future.
The author is a staff writer at The Jakarta Post.
Wired Science: Ten Takeaways from the Bali Climate Change Summit
By Alexis Madrigal EmailDecember 17, 2007 | 5:05:19 PMCategories: Climate
Yvodeboer The UN's Bali conference on climate change is officially in the books and it
did yield the promised "roadmap" for negotiations on climate change. The best thing that
can be said about it is that a new US administration can build from this agreement. Here,
we provide you with a summary of the geopolitical situation.
If this is a map, it makes sense to know where we're starting from. The first five
takeaways from this post relate where the world, collectively, is.
1. The US, especially under the present administration, is loathe to do anything that might
hurt the oil, gas, and coal industries. That means the US objects to all binding caps on
greenhouse gas emissions. Their alternative argument is that reducing emissions to the
level many scientists think is necessary is actually impossible, so we shouldn't really try.
2. The poorest nations are going to be hit hardest by the early negative impacts of climate
change. That's because richer countries can use their money to insulate their citizens from
flooding, droughts, etc. People living on less than $2 a day (and there are 2 billion of
them) have less options. So, they want funding for adaptation to climate change.
3. China, as many have pointed out, is building enormous amounts of coal capacity,
basically adding the equivalent of Germany each year. This is very bad. On the other
hand, they feel the US got rich on cheap fossil fuels and they should be allowed to as
well. Both China and India have huge reserves of coal. As Kent Hughes of the Woodrow
Wilson center told me, "China and India are going to grow and they want to grow rapidly
and my guess is that they will use their coal reserves."
4. The Europeans want developed countries to reduce their emissions 25-40% below
1990 levels by 2020. The US, and increasingly Canada and Japan, want developing
countries to to curb emissions in exchange for reducing their own. And, it should be
noted, the Europeans haven't really been able to hit their Kyoto targets.
5. The world, therefore, is deadlocked, which is why the agreement that came out of Bali
is so mealy-mouthed.
And here's where we're headed as negotiations move towards a meeting in Copenhagen in
December 2009 that will actually result in a post-Kyoto treaty, not just a roadmap.
6. Everyone is waiting for a new administration in the White House. If a Democrat is
elected, any of them, it's likely that the US will sign on to some sort of emissions caps as
well as promoting clean energy through pushing renewable energy investment
domestically. On brokering a global deal, as Matthew Yglesias wrote, "to an almost
frightening extent everything hinges on the election." So, don't look for much movement
on the key issues until January 2009.
7. But there's a big regional split in the US. The southeastern Congressional delegations
are really holding the line for the coal business because they don't have easy access to
renewable energy. Part of brokering a domestic deal will probably mean paying them off
with big investments in clean coal.
8. It is imperative that the US and China cut a deal in or out of the UN framework. It's
going to take a lot of carrots, and very few sticks. The Chinese know we can't really do
anything to them. And it's important to remember that many of the factories in China
sucking energy are producing stuff for the US and/or owned by US companies, so we
need to take responsibility for helping clean their energy supply up. How to cut a deal?
The current meme is that the EU and US should devote some amount of money from $30
billion $1 trillion for clean energy research, loan guarantees for plant construction, etc,
then give or sell (at a massive discount) the cleantech developed in the effort to China.
It's very important that the number is closer to the higher end of that range, if we want
9. I hate to say it, but the poor countries of the world seem highly unlikely to have a
major role in getting the US and China to do anything, regardless of the horrific impacts
climate change could have on their countries. This is patently unfair, but international
shame doesn't seem to have much of an impact on us. My hope is that we provide enough
funds to save lives, but I'm not optimistic to hope that we'll really do an adequate job.
One beacon of hope is that countries like Russia, Brazil, Mexico, India, and other
(re)emerging powers start to become a powerful force for action on climate change
10. Around the world, green/sustainable/clean/eco-friendly businesses are gathering
steam. Their legislative priorities are very different from the traditional corporate
interests but also different from traditional environmentalists who emphasize
conservation. Regular old businesses are also beginning to realize that they can be part of
the solution to climate change too. As Greg Laden points out, a corporate tipping point
might have been reached. Combined with the zeal and smarts of the climate change
activists, this mostly passive backing could prove effective in changing politics around
Herald Sun: Hothouse meeting sweating out result on climate change
December 17, 2007 12:00am
SWEAT-soaked shirts and skirts clung to the bodies of delegates at the UN climate
change conference in Bali, but not to Australia's ice-cool negotiator Penny Wong.
There wasn't a bead of sweat on her face during the three times she left the privacy of the
hothouse conference debate to speak publicly.
Doesn't she perspire?
"I do perspire," replied the Climate Change Minister. "I do it quietly."
Same goes for her negotiating.
Senator Wong, who co-chaired a last-minute committee formed to broker a deal, was
circumspect about what had happened.
"These are hard negotiations and this is a hard-won consensus, so I'm sure you can infer
from that what things were like sometimes in the room."
At issue was the wording in two subsections of the first part of the proposed final
These were sections B1 and B2, which Australians, of course, referred to as the banana
Essentially, the debate was over the balance between developed and developing nations.
On one side was China and Group 77, an organisation of developing countries; in the
other corner were the US and Canada. Australia was with the Group 77 delegates.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd yesterday thanked Senator Wong and senior public servants
for their efforts in Bali.
He said there was now a commitment by developing countries to cut carbon emissions.
Senator Wong said it was only the beginning.
Daily Star: Arab forum aims to study, combat climate change
25 professors to lead initiative
By Tamara Qiblawi
Special to The Daily Star
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
BEIRUT: The American University of Beirut (AUB) hosted a conference over the
weekend to launch a new research forum that aims to study climate change in the Arab
world with the aim of improving public policy. The conference, held at College Hall at
AUB on Saturday, was led by the director of the Issam Fares Institute for International
Affairs and Policy (IFI), Rami Khouri, and the director general of the Environment
Ministry, Berj Hatjian.
The "Research and Policy Forum on Climate Change in the Arab World" is a
collaborative effort between AUB and IFI and is led by a core group of 25 professors.
Members of the Environment Ministry, the Agriculture Ministry, the Council for
Development and Reconstruction and the United Nations Development Program are also
participants in the forum.
"We feel that by putting our minds together, we can change policies," Khouri said in a
speech that opened the conference.
Hatjian then provided a description of the current and past government policies in
Lebanon that aim to address climate change, praising the efforts of Prime Minister Fouad
Siniora's Cabinet to promote awareness about the issue.
Hatjian said that even though Lebanon ranked low in the Economic Sustainability Index
of the 2005 World Economic Forum, it ranked 35th worldwide in the Environmental
Performance Index of 2006.
Hatjian pointed out that the Environment Ministry has been operating without minister
for over a year. Environment Minister Yaacoub Sarraf resigned from the Cabinet in
November last year, along with five other opposition ministers.
Hatjian said that the country's current political problems serve to impede progress on
improving environmental policy.
"First, we must remove the nets of personal interest," said Hatjian. "How do we
implement policy with the political situation as it is now?"
Karim Makdisi, an assistant professor of international relations and international
environmental policy at AUB, said that one obstacle to better policies is the absence of
the concept of sustainable development from political discourse.
"There has to be a political will," said Makdisi, "if this does not happen, all of these
activities will be irrelevant."
He also spoke about the limitations of institutional capacities and a lack of cooperation
between government ministries and civil society. One of the objectives of the action plan,
he said, would be to put the issues of the United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change of 1992, to which Lebanon is signatory, into the Lebanese "mainstream."
"Key to implementing a strategic action plan is anchoring sustainable development into
development priorities and policies," said Makdisi, "this is fundamental."
The speakers of the conferences issued a collective call on the government to
"operationalize" Law 444 for the Protection of the Environment.
UN News Centre: General Assembly president lauds Bali climate change
17 December 2007 – The President of the General Assembly today welcomed this
weekend‘s outcome at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia,
where nearly 200 countries agreed to launch a two-year process of formal negotiations to
tackle the problem of global warming.
Srgjan Kerim ―commends the spirit of compromise and cooperation shown by all parties
during the discussions in Bali,‖ according to a statement issued by his spokesperson.
After the two-week Bali negotiations were extended for an extra day, delegates reached
agreement on Saturday on both the agenda for the negotiations and a 2009 deadline for
completing them so that a successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas
emissions can enter into effect in 2013.
Under the so-called Bali Roadmap, key issues to be negotiated will be: taking action to
adapt to the negative consequences of climate change, such as droughts and floods;
devising ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; finding ways to deploy climate-
friendly technology; and financing adaptation and mitigation measures.
Thanking the Indonesian Government for its leadership during the process and for
hosting the landmark event, Mr. Kerim said that he ―believes that advancing further on
this agreement in the forthcoming negotiations is of crucial importance.‖
He intends to convene a high-level Assembly meeting – bringing together Member
States, the private sector and civil society – on 11-12 February next year to bolster
support for addressing climate change in partnership with the UN.
Four major UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meetings to
implement the Bali Roadmap are planned for next year, with the first to be held in either
March or April. The negotiations process is scheduled to conclude in 2009 at a major
summit in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Other Environment News
The Guardian: Greenpeace shuts down EU fishing quota talks
Monday December 17 2007
Greenpeace protesters have built a 30m-long, 2m high wall that is preventing ministers
from entering the EU talks on fish quotas. Photograph: Greenpeace/Reynaers
Environmental campaigners claim to have shut down the EU building in Brussels where
fisheries ministers are due to meet this week to decide on new catch quotas.
Greenpeace says that almost 200 volunteers have blocked off entrances with metal fences
and constructed a 30m-long, 2m high wall that is shutting off the main entrance, sprayed
with the words: "Shut down until fish stocks recover". Anyone who wants to leave the
building is permitted to do so, but Greenpeace is not letting anyone in.
Ministers meeting this week are expected to call for quotas to be increased by 25% for
many fish stocks, despite scientific evidence that 80% are being fished outside "known
safe biological limits".
Greenpeace says that if the meeting goes ahead, ministers will once again impose fishing
quotas which will push depleted stocks closer towards extinction.
The campaigners fear that if fishing for species like cod is allowed to continue at the
present levels, such fish could be wiped out in the North Sea and other areas. They are
calling not only for a halt to unsustainable cod fishing, but also for large areas of the
oceans to become protected as "marine reserves".
In Brussels, Willie Mackenzie, Greenpeace's oceans campaigner, said: "Every year, these
bungling bureaucrats preside over the decimation of Europe's fish stocks, ignore the
advice of their own scientists and set fishing quotas which will only push species like cod
in the North Sea further towards extinction.
"By stopping this meeting, we're stopping these politicians yet again making a decision
which will be bad news for conserving fish stocks and devastating for the fishing
"Fisheries ministers have completely failed to conserve fish stocks, and their
responsibilities should be taken from them. Environment ministers must step in to protect
cod and defend the oceans, starting by listening to the scientific advice. They must also
establish a network of large-scale, fully protected marine reserves."
Jonathan Shaw, the UK fisheries minister, said last month he would petition the EU for
higher North Sea fishing quotas. He was particularly concerned about the amount of dead
fish being thrown back into the water, as a result of the current quotas, which he called
Trawlers targeting other marine life are forced to discard cod and other white fish
because of quotas designed to protect stocks. According to EU figures, fishermen throw
between 40% and 60% of their catch overboard.
Conservationists fear that research released earlier this year, which found that cod stocks
were showing signs of recovery, will be exploited by ministers at this year's meeting.
Currently EU ministers are planning to increase quotas by 11%, which will allow fleets to
land up to about 22,000 tonnes of cod.
Earlier this year, the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (Ices)
announced that cod was making a comeback.
For the first time since 2002, the council, which advises governments on fishing quotas
and coordinates marine research, did not call for a complete ban on cod fishing in the
While the increase in the number of young fish could "contribute substantially" to the
recovery of the North Sea cod stock, limits must be enforced to ensure the recovery
continued, the scientists warned.
The WWF has warned EU nations that one good spawning year for cod does not mean a
Without clear measures to avoid catching juveniles, the group says, any increase in quota
will only result in further young fish being removed from the sea, and continued high
levels of discarding. To put an end to this waste and help fishermen avoid non-targeted
cod where possible, it is urging EU ministers to agree on and implement substantial
The WWF is calling for the closure of key spawning areas, real-time closures where
juveniles are found, the introduction of better gear to allow smaller cod to escape while
the sought-after catch is landed, and the deployment of on-board observers to monitor
In its new briefing, Hook, Line and Sinker, the WWF points to Canada's Grand Banks,
where historic Atlantic cod grounds were made commercially extinct. It says that lie now,
decision-makers ignored scientific advice and chose to cash-in on the early signs of
recovery, with the result of further deterioration of the stocks.
Helen McLachlan, senior marine policy officer at WWF says: "Europe cannot afford to
repeat the same mistakes by fishing out cod at the first signs of recovery. EU ministers
and the European commission have to wake up to the reality that what is at stake at the
fisheries council is cods' survival in the North Sea."
Oceana, an international ocean group, fears scientific advice will again be ignored by the
council this year.
It says that over the last 20 years, Ices has given over 1,500 pieces of scientific advice to
EU and other governments in the north-eastern Atlantic for the correct management of
fish stocks. Of these, only 350 (22%) have been properly respected, it says, and over
1,200 warnings have been totally ignored.
"No one should be surprised that Europe's fishing stocks are in such a disastrous
situation. The irresponsible manner in which the EU's resources have been managed is
unacceptable," said Ricardo Aguilar, the research director for Oceana Europe.
Oceana is urging ministers to support a long-term vision of European fisheries sector that
trusts scientific advice.
It wants member states of Ices, which includes Belgium, Canada, Denmark (including
Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland,
Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, the
United Kingdom, and the United States of America, to allocate more funding to the
scientific body in order to hire and train more experts to collect more data and develop
more integrated advice on every targeted species.
Reuters: U.N. ice bridge is reminder of melting Antarctica
Mon Dec 17, 2007 4:37pm EST
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - An ice bridge made of frozen Antarctic water erected at
U.N. headquarters on Monday is expected to melt within a week to dramatize the dangers
of melting glaciers.
Norwegian artist Vebjorn Sand brought the fresh water to New York to fashion a
temporary bridge based on a Leonardo da Vinci design. It replicates another span he built
on a glacier in Antarctica a year ago which he hopes will never melt.
"Our future lays underneath that ice glacier. So to erect it on that glacier, and that part of
Antarctica, (it) must never melt," Sand said outside U.N. headquarters.
"The one outside the United Nations is intended to melt to show that Antarctica is
melting," he said, highlighting that 70 percent of the earth's fresh water is held in
The bridge's elegant arc, based on da Vinci's 1502 "Golden Horn" design, is roughly 30
feet long and anchors an exhibition highlighting the "fragile beauty" of polar regions.
The bridge was unveiled two days after nearly 200 nations agreed at U.N.-led talks in
Bali to launch negotiations on a new pact to fight global warming.
In May, satellite data analyzed by NASA showed vast areas of Antarctic snow and ice,
roughly the size of California, melted in 2005 and then re-froze, the most significant
thawing in 30 years.
Some experts believe the thaw of Antarctic ice is outpacing predictions by the U.N.
climate panel and could in the worst case drive up world sea levels by 6 feet by 2100.
(Reporting by Daniel Bases)
Reuters: EU eyes phasing in CO2 fines for carmakers: source
Mon Dec 17, 2007 6:16pm EST
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission is considering phasing in fees it
charges to carmakers who fail to meet ambitious targets to reduce emissions of carbon
dioxide (CO2) by 2012, a European Union source said on Monday.
Amid fierce lobbying, the EU executive is due to announce on Wednesday how it will
share out cuts in the main gas blamed for global warming between makers of light and
Germany has led resistance to sharp constraints on its makers of luxury heavy cars,
rejecting the Commission's key goal of forcing carmakers to reduce CO2 emissions to
130 grams/km through engine technology by 2012.
France and Italy make smaller, more fuel-efficient cars and have managed to cut their
In an attempt to soften the blow, the source said penalties for exceeding the limits would
be phased in over three years.
"The polluter will pay -- but later," the source said.
Two days before the decision, senior Commission officials were not shown the figures on
how the cuts would be divided between makers of big and small cars, nor the proposed
level of fines, several sources said.
Those details will be decided only at a meeting of the 27-member Commission on
Wednesday morning, they said.
The rules would require average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new cars across
the European fleet to come in at 120 grams per kilometer by 2012.
Use of biofuels and other measures to promote more fuel-efficient driving should help
achieve the additional cut beyond what is required from engine technology.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Paul Taylor; editing by Myra MacDonald)
BBC: UN warns on soaring food prices
The soaring cost of food is threatening millions of people in poor countries, the United
Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has warned.
Food prices have risen an unprecedented 40% in the last year and many nations may be
unable to cope, the agency says.
It is calling for help for farmers in poor countries to buy seeds and fertiliser, and for a
review of the impact of bio-fuels on food production.
The FAO says 37 countries face food crises due to conflict and disaster.
"Without support for poor farmers and their families in the hardest-hit countries, they will
not be able to cope," said FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf.
The agency's food price index has jumped almost 40% from last year, hitting its highest
level since its inception in 1990.
The increases are partly due to droughts and floods linked to climate change, as well as
rising oil prices boosting demand for bio-fuels, the FAO said.
The FAO director general has warned millions could be at risk
Changing diet in fast-developing nations such as China is also considered a factor, with
more land needed to raise livestock to meet increasing demand for meat.
International cereal prices have already sparked food riots in several countries, the FAO
The organisation is calling for urgent action to provide small farmers in these countries
with improved access to seeds, fertiliser and other inputs to increase crop production.
Mr Diouf pointed to what he described as "spectacular results" in Malawi, where a
scheme of vouchers for farmers, combined with sufficient rains, had produced a surplus
of maize nationally.
The impact of the growth of bio-fuels would be assessed in depth at a high-level
conference in June, Mr Diouf said.
The use of land to grow plants which can be used to make alternative fuels - and the use
of food crops themselves for fuel - has reduced food supplies and helped push up prices.
Reuters: Many Americans aim to go "green" in 2008: survey
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Three-quarters of Americans, the world's largest polluters, plan
to be more environmentally responsible in 2008 by reducing household energy or
recycling more, a survey showed on Monday.
Half of those polled said they would make a "green" New Year's resolution, according to
the survey by GfK Roper and commissioned by marketing consultancy Tiller LLC.
Two-thirds of Americans plan to cut their use of household chemicals, while 42 percent
said they would take reusable fabric bags to the supermarket to reduce the use of plastic
"When it comes to life choices, green is clearly a primary color. Americans are viewing
the environmental impact of their actions with increased responsibility and deliberation,"
said Rob Densen, chief executive of Tiller.
But Densen added: "New Year's resolutions being what they are, let's hope that
Americans are more successful at reducing waste and energy consumption than we are at
reducing our waistlines."
The telephone survey of 1,004 adults was conducted between December 7 and December
9. The margin for error is plus or minus 3.0 percent.
The United States has faced criticism abroad for refusing to sign on to the Kyoto climate
change agreement and for its fossil-fuel consuming habits. But Washington agreed last
week to be part of international negotiations on a new pact to fight global warming that
will follow Kyoto beyond 2012.
U.N. climate experts say that warming, blamed mainly on greenhouse gases emitted by
burning fossil fuels, will bring more drought, heat waves, floods and rising seas.
The survey found one-third of respondents felt guilty in recent years about not living a
more environmentally friendly lifestyle. "Guilt is not going to save the environment, but
at least it's a step in the right direction," Densen said.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols, editing by Philip Barbara)
Canadian Press: Climate change not just a theory for northerners who see results
13 hours ago
INUVIK, N.W.T. - Charlie Furlong knows the lands and waters of the Mackenzie Delta
like a childhood chum, but now his old friend is acting strange.
"The Gwich'In, you know, we're used to adapting, so that's what it is now," says Furlong,
chief of the Aklavik Gwich'In First Nation, tucked high up in the top left shelf of the
Viewed from the south, Arctic climate change can seem a confusing ecological and
geopolitical tangle, accompanied by a media montage of stranded polar bears and melting
sea ice, along with political debate that gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "gas-
But from the stance of one man on the land he loves, it's not so complex.
"It's a lot warmer," Furlong says. "Winters are not as long as they used to be.
"(The river's) high in the spring and the cycle of animals is not the way it used to be.
They're seeing strange birds that never used to come this far. A couple years ago, they
seen a blue heron.
"In Aklavik, where I come from, they've seen seals in the area. They had a whale this
summer, and in fall they had polar bear come up into the area. Animals are migrating
further than they normally should in search of food."
"Elders always say that's God's way of testing us."
If so, Furlong's people are being tested harder than almost anyone on earth. His corner of
the world is a global hotspot for climate change, where impacts are expected to hit first
According to the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, winter temperature increases in the
northwestern Arctic have already increased by an average of about three degrees.
Precipitation, mostly rain, has increased by 80 per cent over the last century, while snow
cover has dropped by 10 per cent.
The Mackenzie is home to the largest number of endangered plant and animal species in
the North, and those species are struggling to adapt to the changes. Coastal communities
such as Tuktoyaktuk may even have to move entirely as shrinking ice cover allows
storms to erode shorelines more quickly.
Sharon Katz, who runs Inuvik's Aurora Research Station, sees scores of scientists come
and go. They all tell her the same thing.
"It's happening, and it's happening much quicker than predicted," she said. "Everywhere I
go, every scientific meeting, every scientist I talk to, the message is really bad."
Those scientists quantify what Furlong already knows.
The Mackenzie River, the mighty artery that defines this lake-pocked wilderness, has
already changed and will change more, said river ecologist Lance Lesack of Simon Fraser
University in British Columbia.
Low water levels have risen about 30 centimetres in the last 30 years, he said. That means
more of the area's 45,000 lakes will have a permanent connection to the river, potentially
expanding fish habitat but also increasing the amount of heat stored in the region.
There are so many imponderables, Lesack says.
More ice jams at the river's mouth could reduce water flow to some lakes. There's some
evidence saltwater backwash from the ocean is already killing marsh grasses. Vegetation
changes along riverbanks could affect the natural sunscreen that aquatic plants depend
"We really might be changing the system quite dramatically," Lesack said. "We didn't
think it would happen this fast."
Trevor Lantz of the University of British Columbia has been comparing aerial photos of
the tundra dating back to the 1970s with modern shots. Plants are getting bigger, he says,
slowly shifting from knee-high heath to shrubby, shoulder-height tangles.
What's more, the alders, birches and willows that grow back over natural disturbances
such as fires or thaw slumps - the incidence of which has doubled over the last 30 years -
are growing as tall as four metres.
"They're not forests yet, but they bear a lot more resemblance to forests than the
surrounding tundra," Lantz said.
"(People say) it's a lot harder to travel across the country than it was in their childhood. In
some areas, places where you used to be able to see for some distance across the tundra
you can no longer."
Underneath the land, lakes and rivers is the permafrost, permanently frozen soil that is the
foundation for the entire landscape. While wholesale melting is a ways off, permafrost
has been slowly, consistently warming for decades, said Sharon Smith of the Geological
Survey of Canada.
"If this warming keeps up, and it looks like it will, we are going to see some degradation
of the permafrost," she said.
Soil will slump. Drainage patterns will change.
But what scientists fear is the decomposition of organic material locked in the soil. That
will generate methane, a greenhouse gas eight times more potent than carbon dioxide.
Nor do the changes stop as the Mackenzie flows into the Beaufort Sea. David Barber of
the University of Manitoba has been studying flaw leads - gaps in the sea ice cover - for
clues as to how an increasingly ice-free ocean might behave.
Thick, multi-year ice that would normally be just off the Tuktoyaktuk coast was absent
this fall - a development that Barber compares to cutting down the trees in a rainforest.
"The sea ice is really the trees of the Arctic ecosystem," he said.
Everything is affected, from algae that grow on the underside of the ice and help build the
base of the food chain to the polar bears, who no longer have a platform from which to
"There were no polar bears to be found in any of that area because there was no ice," said
Furlong's Mackenzie Delta is just a small slice of the Arctic, none of which will be spared
wrenching climate change. But it's his slice, one he's not prepared to leave.
He's seen for himself many of the changes the scientists write up in their journals. He
knows there's little he or his people can do to stop those changes, and he's fatalistic about
what's to come.
"(People) have to adapt to the changes in the season, whether it's a shorter winter or a
longer summer," he says.
"They're not afraid of challenges. When they see this kind of occurrence, they figure it's a
natural occurrence and there's a reason behind it.
"Some people say that's God's way of doing things."
Telegraph: Italy's woodlands dying due to climate change
By Michael Day in Milan
Last Updated: 2:01pm GMT 17/12/2007
Italy's woodlands are already dying as climate change starts to bite in southern Europe,
Low water of the Ticino river in Pavia, Italy
A report represented to the Italian government said that eight out of 10 trees across Italy's
varied ecosystems were already suffering from the effects of rising temperatures and
Professor Carlo Blasi of the Inter-university Centre for Bio-diversity at Rome's La
Sapienza University said the research showed that a third of the country's woodland was
seriously threatened, and that 60 per cent was likely to suffer permanent damage.
The warning echoes fears that the Mediterranean, and Italy in particular, is proving
highly vulnerable to climate change.
Climatologist Dr Filippo Giorgi of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,
told a major environment conference in Rome in September that the Mediterranean was
warming up faster than the rest of the world.
"It's a climate change hot spot, one of the areas where we actually see the change
Dr Giorgi said that in the next decades temperature rises in Europe during the summer
months could be 40-50 per cent higher than elsewhere.
Of the six major droughts to occur in Italy in the last 60 years, four have occurred since
1990. The average temperature has increased by 0.4ºC in the north in 20 years and by
0.7ºC in the south. Earlier report have suggest that 10m hectares were "at risk of
Prof Blasi noted that many of Italy's tree species were ill-equipped to survive hotter, drier
"Despite its large Mediterranean coastline, Italy has a relatively low proportion - just 40
per cent - of the shrubby Mediterranean trees that are best adapted to resist the heat waves
that are on their way," he told La Repubblica newspaper.
"The other 60 per cent are particularly likely to suffer from increasingly hot and arid
Most surprising, said Prof Blasi, was how widespread the threat was across Italy.
The regions of Tuscany, Umbria, Abruzzo, Puglia and also the islands of Sicily and
Sardinia were being hard hit by rising temperatures, with several species of oak and
beech tree in particular under threat.
Lack of rainfall was proving the biggest threat to woodland in the Alpine north of the
In Sicily and Sardinia, cork trees, the evergreen Holm-oak and even some compact
Mediterranean tree species were threatened by the increasingly arid conditions.
In response to the report Environment minister Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio said: "Fewer
woodlands mean, among other things, reduced capacity to absorb carbon dioxide released
into the atmosphere."
He said that to "break this vicious ciricle" his government had set aside £110m to tackle
degradation of forests and woodlands.
Like other Southern European countries, Italy has also lost considerable areas of
woodland to forest fires, which although fanned by hot winds, are often started
Pecoraro Scanio lamented the failure of Italy's fractious parliament to agree to fund a new
body to investigate the cause of such blazes and "defend itself from the criminals that set
fire to the forests".
He predicted more woodland and forest would perish from such fires in the summers to
It is not not only Italy's forests that are causing enviromentalists concern, however.
Scientists at Italy's Agency for New technology, Energy and the Environment (ENEA),
say that failing cold currents and rising water temperatures are exacerbating periodic
flooding - and this is causing massive erosion along Italy's Adriatic coast.
As a result they have drawn up a plan in which hundreds of miles of new sand dunes
would be created to save it the country's most endangered coastline and its wildlife from
rising sea levels.
Dr Edi Valpreda, who led the project, told Telegraph Earth that it was currently being
considered by the environment ministry.
ROA MEDIA UPDATE
THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
Tuesday, 18 December 2007
General Environment News
Zimbabwe: Govt Embarks On Biofuel Programme
The Herald (Harare): The Government has embarked on an ambitious programme that
will see all the country's 10 provinces having biofuel plants by 2010, the Minster of
Science and Technology Development, Dr Olivia Muchena, said yesterday. Apart from
producing biofuel to power the country's economy at low cost, the plants would also
produce about 1 500 by products to substitute some commodities such as lubricants and
soap among others that are being imported from other countries. Dr Muchena said she
had already instructed all provinces through their governors to encourage farmers to
increase jatropha plantations ahead of the programme. "By 2010, we want to make sure
that all the provinces have plants that produce bio fuel. Dr Gideon Gono (RBZ Governor)
informed me when we toured the construction site of a plant in Mutoko. The Governor of
Matabeleland South, (Cde) Angeline Masuku, has already started work in her province.
We want to prosper, let us grow these plants, which also produce fertilizer," she said.
Namibia: Report Praises Country Aquaculture
New Era (Windhoek): The Government has been praised for prioritising its aquaculture
programme, as well as achieving a great deal through the programme within a short space
The Marketing Information and Technical Advisory Services for the Fisheries Industry in
Southern Africa (INFOSA) in its publication on Africa's fishing industry noted the
Namibian Go-vernment had managed to put in place a legal and institutional framework
for the development of aquaculture.
It attributed this to a policy for the development of the sector initiated in 2001, followed
some years later by an Aquaculture Act, and eventually the creation of an official
Directorate of Aquaculture. A formal licensing system was also subsequently developed.
The publication is published annually to reflect on various aspects of development mainly
within Africa's fishing industry. The latest edition, in which Namibia received accolades
for the development of the country's aquaculture sector, contains reports on the
performances of the various fishing nations on the continent over the year. The
publication was distributed at a just-ended workshop on international trends in the
seafood industry in Swakopmund. The periodical stated that the Namibian aquaculture
sector has clearly demonstrated that it is able to positively contribute to the achievement
of several socio-economic goals. http://allafrica.com/stories/200712170639.html
Nigeria: Minister Urges LEEMP to Publicize Activities
Daily Trust (Abuja): The Minister of Environment, Housing and Urban Development,
Mrs Halima Tayo Alao has urged the Local Empowerment and Environmental
Management Project [LEEMP] to step up publicity of its activities. The minister who
made the call during a familiarization visit to the agency stated that doing this will bring
the dividends of democracy to the door step of more Nigerians, thus calling on the outfit
to always work in partnership with relevant government agencies in the communities its
projects are sited so as to avoid duplication. A statement signed by chief press secretary
of the minitry, Mr Clement Egbeama and made available to Property and Environment,
said Mrs Alao advised the agency on the execution of projects to ensure effective
monitoring and follow due process in line with the current administration's zero tolerance
on corruption. http://allafrica.com/stories/200712170697.html
Nigeria: 'Good Environment Vital to Agricultural Development'
Daily Trust (Abuja): The Federal Government has restated that a good and healthy
environment is vital for a virile agricultural sector in the country. The minister of
Environment, Housing and Urban Development, Mrs Halima Tayo Alao, made this
known when she received ECOWAS Commissioner for Environment, Water Resources
and Agriculture, Ousseni Salifou, in her office in Abuja recently. She maintained that
land degradation, desertification and erosion are major challenges in realizing the goal,
and Nigeria as a developing nation is, therefore, closely collaborating with other global
agencies on the issue of climate change to ensure that the nation does not suffer its
adverse effects. She lamented that heaps of refuse has continued to assault Nigerians
visual senses in many cities across the country, adding that "this poses a threat to tourism,
thereby undermining the diversification of the economy which government is
promoting". Mrs Alao added that the situation is made worse by refuse presence in many
cities with slums and shanties that seem to defy all measures as new ones spring up as
soon as the existing ones are dislodged.
Uganda: Meteorologists Predict Drought Early Next Year
The Monitor (Kampala): Meteorologists have predicted a drought early next year if the
current moderate La Nina episode persists up to April. According to a weather forecast
report issued by the Meteorology Department early this month, the impending drought is
attributed to the below normal rains recorded last month in most parts of northern, eastern
and Lake Victoria Basin. The report shows that the implications of this situation (La
Nina) are that the rainfall over wide areas of the country especially the eastern, Lake
Victoria Basin and some parts of the central region will continue being suppressed
through to the beginning of the long rain season (March to May).
Uganda: Conservation Or Oil Exploration - Partners Or Enemies?
The Monitor (Kampala): As the global climate conference in Bali has ended it may be the
right time to take stock. When the so-called 'developed nations' transformed their
societies from agricultural towards industrial economies, little was known about
environmental impact or in fact mitigating measures. These countries could exploit,
transform and often well nearly destroy their natural environment, extinguish species and
eliminate bio-diversity under the pretext of 'development'. The natural resources of those
countries were gobbled up with a never stilled hunger for timber, coal, oil, iron ore and
other resources while transforming landscapes, polluting rivers and lakes and poisoning
the environment. The political protest movement in the late 60's across Europe and the
US eventually saw some of its focus turn to environmental issues and by the 70's most
'developed' nations had to deal with an emerging 'green movement' which eventually
transformed itself into action groups and political parties. In contrast, in this day and age,
as in particular the African countries left behind in the economic boom of the post-World
War 2 decades try to catch up, they face hostility and dictates of a 'green neo-colonialist
nature', where they are told that what was good for the now developed countries then is
no longer in the rule books of today. http://allafrica.com/stories/200712170379.html
Uganda: Cimate Change Negotiators Fail to Agree On Technology
The Monitor (Kampala): Climate negotiators meeting in Bali, Indonesia have failed to
agree on transfer of clean technologies to developing countries including Uganda to
enable them grow following a clean development path. "It is not yet agreed upon,"
Minister for Water and Environment Maria Mutagamba told Sunday Monitor as she
walked out of a December 13 closed-door plenary session. "The parties are very hesitant
to guarantee transfer of technology. They are saying it (technology) is not in the hands of
government, but in the hands of the private sector and the private sector will not
guarantee to transfer the technology for nothing, because they are not a charity," Ms
Mutagamba added. "Americans gave us a talk saying they can only have technology
commercialisation which means that it must be taken on a commercial basis but market
prices have never been favourable for developing countries." Uganda earlier teamed up
with other developing countries and demanded that developed countries give them
environmentally clean technologies to enable them advance without having to follow in
the footsteps of developed countries that first used dirty technology before acquiring
clean technology. http://allafrica.com/stories/200712170389.html
Kenya: Nokia's Battle to Cut Waste Dumping
East African Business Week (Kampala): Leading mobile phone handset maker, Nokia,
has announced it will set up waste dumping centres across East Africa to reprocess old
mobile phone waste, including batteries. Nokia Eastern Africa chief customer care
officer, Mr. Nicholas Maina, told reporters last week the firm was at an advanced stage of
setting up phone collection centres in rural areas to facilitate faster and more efficient
collection of mobile phone waste for recycling. Nokia will collect mobile phone waste for
recycling and repairs as part of its environmental policy of reducing emissions of
electronic waste, the fastest growing source of urban pollution. The firm has set up a
recycling plant in Europe but is considering setting up a similar facility in Africa in
future. "We have set up take back centres in urban areas. These centres will collect
mobile phone waste. We will take them to our centres and recycle them," Maina told
journalists. Environmentalists say the amount of electronic waste has been increasing
substantially and currently constitute 50% of all municipal waste as users turn to newer
electronic goods. http://allafrica.com/stories/200712171145.html
Sierra Leone: Tourists Deterred By Hospital Waste Dumped in Ocean
Concord Times (Freetown): Two major Freetown government hospitals have been
discarding potentially dangerous hospital waste, including used syringes, onto hospital
grounds and into the ocean, the Concord Times discovered last week. Employees at both
the Connaught and Princess Christian Margaret Hospital (PCMH) have admitted to
dumping waste behind both hospitals and sometimes directly into the water. "I know that
when we dump it here it will end up in the sea," said one cleaner at PCMH, who asked to
remain anonymous. "My boss never gave me anywhere else to dump the waste." She said
if it rains, most of the hospital's rubbish flows into the ocean, where it then washes up on
the city's beaches, where it is a danger, an eyesore and a serious environmental problem.
Another anonymous employee at Connaught Hospital said as well as being a potential
danger on the beaches and in the ocean, the used needles and broken glass-products have
also hurt staff in the past. http://allafrica.com/stories/200712171420.html
ROAP MEDIA UPDATE
THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
Tuesday, 18 December 2007
UNEP or UN in the news
An issue that affects us all – Bangkok Post
WHO team in Pakistan for probe –The Nation
General environment news
Thailand : Floods force closure of 87 Narathiwat schools – Bangkok Post
Thailand : Government disappointed with Bali talks – Bangkok Post
UNEP or UN in the news
An issue that affects us all
Another huge United Nations conference has just wound up on the Indonesian island of
Bali. Thailand was not deeply involved in the UN climate change conference, and stayed
under the radar in all of the discussions about global and local programmes which may
result. The Bali conference began work on a so-called roadmap which probably will
result in new world agreement to follow and replace the Kyoto Treaty. A great debate
continues on how the industrialised nations and developing world will contribute.
This should concern everyone.
One Asian nation has managed to surpass even China and India in per capita carbon
emissions, the current global pollution measurement standard. That country is currently
tossing 4.2 tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere per person per year. The Chinese, by
contrast, emit 3.8 tonnes, while Indians discharge 1.2 tonnes. Yet neither current nor
would-be leaders of that Asian country have shown much interest in mitigating the
excessive carbon pollution. Citizens are even less concerned, if that is possible, and
display virtually no interest in improving or changing their constantly increasing use of
polluting material and technology.
That Asian country is Thailand. This nation is the ninth largest (and currently slowest
growing) economy in East Asia. But sometimes it seems that the government and citizens
are more pleased than humble about their ''achievement'' of being home to the region's
largest carbon footprint.
Certainly there is no shame to 30 solid years of national development in almost all fields.
But it is past time for the country to reflect on its undoubted economic success. One
undeniably urgent task is to adapt.
It is time for Thailand to change the wasteful, harmful and nationally expensive activities
which destroy environment, harm the ecology and probably contribute to climate change.
It is not necessary to accept the still controversial mantra which sparks global warming
debates. The fact is that changes in the Earth's weather will have a heavy impact on future
Thai generations. It is also a fact that the ever-increasing use of fossil-based fuel to
generate more electricity, drive more automotive engines and fly more people around the
country and the world affects the environment, both locally and globally.
So far, Thailand's contribution on the issue of climate change and conservation has been
unsatisfactory. When it thinks globally, the Thai government, diplomats and non-
governmental organisations have been largely missing. At last week's Bali conference,
one had to search deep into the speeches and conferences to find any Thai contribution.
No meaningful Thai speech could be found, let alone an imaginative approach to the
problems on the Bali agenda.
More troubling, however, is the response in Thailand to the necessity to act locally. The
most dramatic action has been an order by the military government to begin a feasibility
study into the use of nuclear power. This unique action has brought little more than
yawns from the political parties who will be running the country after the Dec 23
election. During the election campaign, there have been passing references to the need to
support bio-fuel _ sparked mostly by comments by His Majesty the King. No party and
no prominent politician has come up with any comprehensive policy on climate change,
global warming, energy conservation or use of alternative fuels.
Many government officials appear to believe that it is in Thailand's interest to try to avoid
direct participation in global conservation efforts such as the Kyoto Treaty. This is a
short-sighted view with no long-range advantage. Certainly it would be unfair for
industrialised nations and the UN to force heavy restrictions on Thailand. Thirty years of
hard work and success in raising the Thai standard of living cannot be punished.
But it is not fair for the Thai government, industry and business to ignore the very real
harm of the over-use of energy in a world where the temperature is rising. That is, it is
not fair to Thailand. Thai officials and, particularly, business leaders must move to adopt
measures that will help the country. Alternative, clean energy is available, and must be
adopted as a national policy.
WHO team in Pakistan for probe
ISLAMABAD (Agencies) - International health officials on Monday arrived in Pakistan
to probe the country‘s first bird flu death and see if the virus was passed on by human
contact, the World Health Organisation said on Monday, warning that countries should be
on alert for bird flu because it is again on the move, with Pakistan reporting new
infections and Myanmar logging its first human case.
―We have a three-member WHO team in Pakistan to look into the data and other details
about the cases,‖ said the WHO‘s chief in Pakistan, Khalif Bile. ―They are here to get
more information and to provide more support in the case of any potential risk,‖ he said,
adding that the Health Ministry, Agriculture Ministry and WHO are now working closely
together following a ―communication gap‖ when the government did not immediately
report suspected cases to the WHO. ―The key to the public health response is
surveillance,‖ said Peter Cordingley, spokesman for the WHO Western Pacific region in
Manila. ―If we do actually get to the cases with anti-virals early on, the health outcome is
a lot better.‖
Two poultry farms near Abbotabad have been closed and health workers are taking
temperatures of those living in the affected area twice a day, but no new suspected cases
have been reported, said Minhajul Haq, a district health officer.
Meanwhile, a high level meeting in Islamabad reviewed latest situation of avian influenza
and decided to launch media campaign to create awareness about preventive measures.
Secretary Health Khushnood Akhtar Lashari chairing the meeting stressed the need for
better coordination among the Ministries of Health and Ministry of Food, Agriculture and
Livestock and the provincial government. He showed satisfaction over the response to the
situation. The meeting was informed that the last outbreak of the Bird Flu occurred on
November 30 in NWFP and culling of the infected chicken was done within 48 hours.
Since then the situation is under complete control and all the standing operating
procedures are followed. The meeting was apprised that a three-member team of experts
of WHO is in Pakistan to assist the federal and provincial health departments in providing
guidelines to contain the spread of avian influenza. The participants showed satisfaction
over the compensation process given to poultry farmers for culling the infected birds.
General environment news
Thailand : Floods force closure of 87 Narathiwat schools
Two people drowned and two missing in Yala
Narathiwat _ Education officials have temporarily closed down 87 schools in Narathiwat
due to heavy flooding. The decision to close the schools was made by the directors of
three education zones in the province, out of concern for the safety of parents and
students if they had to wade through strong currents.
The Meteorological Department said worse was in store for Narathiwat as flood levels
keep on rising while the rain shows no signs of stopping.
The latest levels were recorded at between 150 and 230cm, and transport between
districts has been cut off.
Eight of the 13 districts have been declared disaster zones.
Heavy rain would continue in the deep South for at least a week, according to the
''This is the most severe flood in 10 years,'' said an official.
More than 33,000 villagers in 13 districts have been affected by the floods. Up to 149
roads were inundated while 26 bridges have been damaged.
The worst affected is Sukhirin district as floods have damaged infrastructure there.
Electricity and water supplies as well as telephone lines have been cut off, officials said.
The water level in three rivers in the province has surged, bringing floods to local
The Sungai Kolok river receives water run-off from Malaysia, while the Sai Buri river
has spilled over in Sukhirin district.
The 180km Sai Buri river also runs through the neighbouring provinces of Yala and
In Yala's Raman district, one villager drowned and another was missing yesterday.
The dead villager was identified as Romla Dimadi, 35. She and her younger brother
Sama-ae, now missing, were in front of their house when they were washed away by
Meanwhile, in Betong district, Kimman Sae-Jung, 53, also went missing as floods
destroyed river banks.
An unidentified villager in the same district was drowned when mountain torrents and
mudslides hit the area.
A large number of villagers in Betong's tambon Tanoh Mae Roh were left stranded on
their rubber plantations as the floods prevented them from using local roads.
Thousands of villagers in Yala are suffering from severe flooding that has caused
officials to declare seven districts disaster zones.
Mudslides, together with fallen electricity poles and trees uprooted by storms, have also
blocked many sections of Highway 401 that connects Muang Yala and Betong districts.
Officials are struggling to clear the way.
Yala Governor Theera Minthrasak yesterday started distributing necessities to troubled
villagers and asked soldiers to help in urgent missions to flooded areas.
Meanwhile, the operators of Bang Lang dam in Yala said yesterday they had to discharge
water into the Pattani river as the water level in the reservoir is nearing its capacity.
Nipon Arunsri, an engineer of Bang Lang power plant, said he released 500 cubic metres
of water a second into the river.
He warned riverside villages in Yala and Pattani to brace for floods
Thailand : Government disappointed with Bali talks
Thailand is disappointed with the outcome of the UN climate change conference in Bali
because it failed to come up with concrete emission reduction targets, acting Natural
Resources and Environment Minister Yongyuth Yuttawong said yesterday. ''[The Bali
summit] is a failure,'' he told a press conference to sum up the trip by the Thai delegation
to the 13th conference of the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on
Bangkok would like to see industrialised nations committed to cutting greenhouse gas
emissions by 25-40% by 2020, but the final text of the Bali road map does not mention
The Bali road map, agreed by the delegates in the final minutes of the conference,
initiates a two-year process of negotiations on a new set of emissions targets to replace
those in the Kyoto Protocol, which will expire in 2012.
Mr Yongyuth also expressed disappointment with the US for refusing to ratify the Kyoto
Thailand is not among the pact's Annex I countries which are legally bound to cut their
greenhouse gas emissions, but it had volunteered to cut emission rates, said the minister.
The country had also come up with a five-year plan, 2007-2011, on adapting to climate
change, which includes the development of drought-resistant rice varieties and crop
species that consume less water.
In a speech delivered at the conference, which was attended by high-level representatives
from 180 countries, Mr Yongyuth called on other countries to support women's role in
combating global warming.
To assert Thailand's support for women's roles in environmental protection, the
government has invited HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn to head the Thai
delegation to the World Conservation Union conference in Spain in 2008.
RONA MEDIA UPDATE
THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
Monday 17th December, 2007
General Environment News
New York Times – Britain Overtakes U.S. as Top World Bank Donor
New York Times – Nation‘s ‗First Suburb‘ Aims to Be Most ‗Green‘
BBC – Bali deal: Small presents for all
CanWest News Service – Tories melt under glare
The Christian Science Monitor – Bali climate deal marks a geopolitical shift
The Times Picayune – Warming could worsen many problems along coast
Reuters – Bali climate deal paves way for hotter U.S. debate
Associated Press – Dominion juggles energy sources with eye on deadline
Associated Press – Companies seek eco-friendly promotional giveaways
Associated Press – Set of simple numbers will help shape 2 years of post-Bali
Associated Press – Fewer ozone problems reported in Baton Rouge area in 2007
Associated Press – Science teacher from Independence makes splash with
The Toronto Star – Baird's Bali flop will haunt Conservatives TheStar.com -
Canada - Baird's Bali flop will haunt Conservatives
General Environment News
Britain Overtakes U.S. as Top World Bank Donor
By Mark Lander
New York Times
December 15, 2007
BERLIN — The World Bank, overcoming misgivings about its direction and leadership,
said Friday that it had raised $25.1 billion in aid for the world‘s poorest countries, a
record sum that includes donations by China and Egypt, nations that were once recipients
of such aid.
For the first time, Britain overtook the United States as the biggest donor, a highly
symbolic change given Washington‘s traditional influence in choosing the bank‘s
president and charting its policies.
Bank officials said the change in rankings was partly caused by currency swings, since
the dollar has dropped in value against European currencies. But the willingness of the
United States to cede its top spot was clearly the most closely watched element of the
―The U.S. is stretching; Britain is stretching,‖ the bank‘s president, Robert B. Zoellick,
said in a conference call with reporters on Friday. Britain has ―the advantage of a stronger
currency, the pound,‖ he said.
The record overall donations were a coup for Mr. Zoellick, a diplomat and former trade
negotiator in the Bush administration, who replaced Paul D. Wolfowitz as bank president
in July. Mr. Wolfowitz left after a bitter ethics dispute that frayed ties with aid officials,
particularly among European governments.
Britain‘s pledge of $4.2 billion, and $2.2 billion from Germany — both big increases —
suggested that the rift with Europe had been healed. German officials heaped praise on
Mr. Zoellick, who skipped the negotiations to attend the United Nations meeting on
climate change in Bali, Indonesia.
―The atmosphere has improved and become more trusting,‖ said Eric Stather, the German
deputy minister for economic cooperation and development. ―He has shown a clear
vision for the future of the bank.‖
Britain, the United States, Japan and Germany were the four largest donors among the 45
countries that pledged money to be used over the next three years. The total was 42
percent more than the bank raised in its previous campaign in 2005.
In all, the World Bank collected $41.6 billion for its International Development
Association, or I.D.A., which provides grants and interest-free loans to more than 80 poor
countries, roughly half of them in Africa.
Of that amount, $16.5 billion is from the World Bank‘s internal funds, including previous
donor pledges for financing debt forgiveness and contributions from two other World
Bank divisions, the International Finance Corporation and the International Bank for
Reconstruction and Development.
Mr. Zoellick pushed for these donations to jump-start the fund-raising effort, which he
predicted would be arduous. The World Bank raised $32.1 billion in its last round of
fund-raising. In addition to the declining dollar, countries are grappling with their own
budget pressures. Moreover, the role of the International Development Association has
come under question in development circles in recent years.
Wealthier nations increasingly prefer to channel aid through their own development
agencies. They also tend to earmark large contributions for specific diseases, like AIDS,
or specific development projects, like ones relating to climate change and the
―It‘s easier for governments to raise money for particular diseases,‖ Mr. Zoellick said. He
has defended the International Development Association, noting that ―this is the core
funding that the poorest developing countries rely on.‖
Mr. Zoellick spent a lot of time persuading what he called ―middle income‖ countries to
donate aid to poorer countries. China, because of its vast foreign-exchange reserves, was
an obvious target. Its undisclosed donation, though small, was a victory for his
As for the United States, he played down its slide in the rankings. In percentage terms, he
said, the American donation still represented a healthy increase from its last one. The
United States Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., said the contribution of $3.7
billion was 30 percent higher than previous levels.
Development experts said the loss of the top ranking was symbolically important, even if
Britain had been closing in on the United States for years. More significantly, though, it
shows that Europe has thrown its support behind the World Bank.
―The Europeans were looking for a sense of direction and some confidence in where the
bank was going,‖ said Nancy Birdsall, president of the Center for Global Development, a
public policy organization in Washington. ―This shows there is a renewed confidence.‖
Nation’s ‘First Suburb’ Aims to Be Most ‘Green’
By Linda Saslow
New York Times
December 16, 2007
IT was last spring, during a dinner conversation with a friend about global warming,
Thomas R. Suozzi said, that he got the idea to develop the nation‘s first ―green‖ suburb in
―It‘s become very fashionable to talk about global warming,‖ said Mr. Suozzi, the county
executive. ―But people are too busy paying their mortgages and taking care of their kids
to think about ice sheets that could be melting 50 years from now. Their first reaction is:
How can changing light bulbs or replacing windows in one house really make a
difference? I believed that we needed a mass community movement, and we had to figure
out how to do that locally.‖
Then came a place to do it: in Levittown, which is often called the country‘s first suburb
and is celebrating its 60th anniversary.
Then came the way to do it: County officials would partner with eight energy, home-
improvement and financial-services companies providing products, services and expertise
aimed at reducing the hamlet‘s carbon emissions from energy use by 20 percent next
year. Discounts and low-interest loans will be available for the project, Green Levittown,
but residents will still pay much of the bill.
Bradford Tito, the county‘s deputy director of environmental coordination, said that the
participating companies‘ efforts would make it affordable to install new boilers, make
energy-efficient home renovations, use biofuels for heating, add solar heating and buy
products that can quickly reduce home energy consumption.
Mr. Suozzi said the site for the project was chosen because ―everybody‘s heard of
―If we can make Levittown an example of easy environmentalism and show homeowners
how they can make changes to save money and improve the environment,‖ he said, ―we
can do an extreme makeover of an entire community that can become a model for the rest
of the country.‖
The project will begin this month when canvassers employed by Citizens Campaign for
the Environment, a nonprofit group based in Farmingdale, call on all 17,000 homes in
Levittown. The goal is to make homeowners aware of the project, invite them to have a
home audit, costing about $300, with recommendations for energy efficiency, and
describe the discounts and low-interest loans available.
Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign, said the goal was to have
5,000 homeowners participate in ways big (installing new boilers) and small (using
compact fluorescent light bulbs). ―The challenge is to help people understand that you
have to spend money to save money,‖ she said.
Ashok Gupta, director of the air and energy program for the Natural Resources Defense
Council, based in New York City, said that ―Green Levittown is an excellent start but
needs to be matched with aggressive utility and tax incentives,‖ and, eventually, stricter
Linda Garrett, an 18-year Levittown resident who works in the county Office for
Constituent Affairs, said her first reaction to having an energy audit was negative because
of the inconvenience. ―But my husband felt, why wouldn‘t we want to learn how to save
money?‖ she said. ―If we can save $1,000 a year by upgrading our light bulbs or
improving our insulation, what do we have to lose?‖
Lisa Marazzo, the Garretts‘ daughter, who lives next door in an updated version of the
original Levittown Cape Cod house, was also cautious but more positive about the
―Anything to help the environment and save money, I‘m in,‖ she said. ―But before we
agree to anything, I want to find out more about it.‖
Mr. Tito said one place to start is the heating system. He estimated that 30 to 40 percent
of the original boilers from 1947 were still in Levittown houses. ―If one was replaced,
300 gallons of fuel would be saved each year, which would amount to an annual savings
of between $900 and $1,200,‖ he said.
The challenge now, Mr. Suozzi said, ―is to get everybody excited.‖
Bali deal: Small presents for all
By Richard Black
15 December 2007
Environment correspondent, BBC News website
Two nights of inflamed passion in the Balinese heat should be enough to excite anyone.
So it would be a churlish delegate indeed who professed disappointment as he or she
staggered a bleary route from the conference hall to the taxi rank, ready for some home
comforts after a marathon two-week session.
This has been a harsh round of UN climate talks.
Previous rounds have seen governments accept commitments they were never going to be
able to meet - witness the US signing of the Kyoto Protocol a decade ago in the teeth of
Congressional opposition - and all were aware of the domestic political consequences of
getting this one wrong.
For Europe, already committed to unilateral emissions cuts of 20% by 2020 and prepared
to go further if others joined in, the grail was to leave Bali with the US, Japan, Russia and
the rest of the industrial world signed up to big cuts.
"If no-one leaves Bali with everything they wanted, it is also true that no-one leaves
without some kind of present"
At a glance: Bali deal
The US and Canada, on ideological grounds, and Japan because it is already struggling to
meet its Kyoto Protocol targets, were determined to avoid anything firm now.
For varying reasons, most industrialised nations wanted the major emitters of the
developing world - China, India, Brazil, South Korea - to accept the principle that at
some point, they would have to come on board with numerically-defined emissions curbs,
Fearing economic consequences, and citing the UN convention's declaration that nations
had "common but differentiated responsibilities" for climate change, those major emitters
were determined not to give too much ground.
Meanwhile others - drought-ridden African countries, and those likely to be erased from
the geographical and political maps by rising sea levels - wanted the rich West, which has
built its wealth largely on the back of coal and oil, to pay for the effects of the pollution
they have caused and from which they have benefited.
In retrospect, does it seem absurdly ambitious that negotiators tried to cram all of these
demands into a single document, the "Bali roadmap"?
Perhaps. And there will be voices now, as there always are, condemning the UN process
for being bulky, ponderous, unwieldy, bureaucratic, and bound by the lowest-common-
denominator-generating demon of consensus.
But if no-one leaves Bali with everything they wanted, it is also true that no-one leaves
without some kind of present for their political masters back home.
Europe has not got what it wanted. But it does have a document committing states to the
principle of further emissions cuts, and to concluding negotiations on those cuts by 2009.
The date is important, because if concrete targets are established going further and deeper
than those in the Kyoto Protocol, governments and businesses will need time to adjust to
them before the current protocol targets expire in 2012.
However, the EU must concede - and some European delegates did concede - that they
have got far less than they demanded.
The Bush administration is not for turning.
Environmental groups accuse the White House of blockage and betrayal and obstruction.
But it is difficult to accuse it of inconsistency. In Bali it deployed positions and tactics
which were totally in keeping with previous years.
And there is a case for saying that Europe played a poor hand here, demanding something
it was never going to get.
Its counter-arguments are that it proposed targets based on the latest scientific findings
from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which the US, Canada,
Japan and so on have all endorsed; and that it needs to confront opposition in those other
nations, not just in the US.
Given Japan's enthusiasm for the Kyoto accord, its stance here must have hurt.
At home, the US administration has been keen to promulgate the politically convenient
view that climate change is now really China's fault; hence the desire to wring some kind
of commitment from the Chinese.
The US talked tough, but in the end got less than it wanted. However, as its demands fell
well short of binding numerical targets for China, the White House spinmeisters should
be able to garnish its last-minute volte-face with glitter.
Developing countries gained less access to clean technology than they asked for. But
there are various multilateral and bilateral deals outside the UN climate framework that
may be more relevant in this area anyway.
And protecting the poorest nations? Like the emissions goals, money for adaptation is
largely theoretical at this stage.
The Bali roadmap envisages expanding the Kyoto mechanisms designed to leverage
money from international carbon trading to pay for sea walls, fresh water infrastructure,
new crop varieties, mosquito nets and whatever else may be needed as the world warms
and rainfall patterns change.
But the funding is not yet anything like sufficient - nor is it clear that it will be. Efforts to
help Africa adapt "have centred more on seminars and workshops rather than
demonstrable pilot projects," Nigeria's Environment Minister Halima Tayo Alao told
The forests agreement also fits into the "pending" file. Though opening up the principle
of rewarding poorer countries for protecting their carbon-storing trees, much remains to
be worked through, inside and outside the UN process, before the dollars, euros and yen
begin to flow.
Long road to Copenhagen
So now the map leads to Poznan in Poland in a year's time, and to Copenhagen late in
2009 - the scheduled final destination on the Bali roadmap.
Already it is possible to identify important staging-points on the path to Poznan.
The first is the Honolulu meeting next month of the "major economies" or "big emitters"
group set up by the Bush administration that includes 16 major producers of greenhouse
Will EU members arrive demanding to discuss numerical targets? Will the US stage-
manage events for a domestic audience as it did at the group's inaugural meeting in
EU leaders say they want to be negotiating the Bali roadmap by April. Targets,
commitments from major developing world economies and adaptation funding will surely
emerge then, even if they are kept under wraps in Hawaii.
Halfway through the year, the Australian government will hear back from its hastily-
assembled expert committee on what it should commit to.
Though arriving at the Bali meeting bearing papers ratifying the Kyoto Protocol,
incoming Prime Minister Kevin Rudd disappointed some observers by refusing to back
The committee's report and the government's response to it will decide if Australia re-
enters the Kyoto camp with the zeal of a reformed smoker or the reluctance of a cat
forced to bathe.
Finally, and most importantly, comes the US presidential election.
As Eliot Diringer, director of international strategies at the Pew Center on Global Climate
Change in Washington DC, commented: "For us, the really critical test [of the Bali
agreement] is whether it provides an opening that a future US administration can come in
under, and for us it meets that test."
What would a Hillary, a Barack, a Mitt or a Mike in the White House do with the
Do they even have time to consider the question as they track from handshake to
handshake on the vote-garnering trail?
It is the issue that more than any will determine whether the Bali road trip ends safely in a
warm hotel bed, or in steaming wreckage deep in a dung-filled ditch.
Tories melt under glare
Climate change. Canada stands down at the eleventh hour as U.S. backs road map
By Mike De Souza
CanWest News Service
December 16, 2007
The Harper government and the Bush administration caved in to international pressure at
the United Nations climate change summit yesterday, accepting the "Bali road map"
toward a new agreement to stop human activity from causing irreversible damage to
Earth's atmosphere and ecosystems.
The framework was hailed by the UN's top climate-change official, Yvo de Boer, as an
ambitious, transparent and flexible solution on the road to a comprehensive treaty in
It imposes deeper commitments on the richest nations to slash their contribution to global
warming, as well as softer targets or commitments for developing countries to come into
force after the end of the Kyoto Protocol's first commitment period in 2012.
With the Harper government silent, several developing countries - along with European
Union members - protested, booed and resisted attempts by the United States to impose
what most countries felt were unfair obligations on the developing world in the fight
against climate change.
The pressure eventually forced U.S. lead negotiator Paula Dobriansky to cave in and
accept the consensus, allowing the Bali road map to be adopted.
In a subsequent debate of Kyoto countries, Canadian Environment Minister John Baird
attempted to stop members of the protocol from declaring that developed countries
should collectively strive to deepen their post-2012 targets in the range of a 25- to 40-per-
cent reduction below 1990 levels by 2020.
But following a series of rebukes, criticism and pleas from 17 countries, Baird told the
conference he would "stand down," garnering a warm ovation from delegates.
Baird gave in despite the fact the Tory government has insisted that such a measure
would be impossible for Canada to achieve in 12 years.
The concession also meant that he had failed to achieve his main objective of getting
binding commitments for major emerging economies like China and India to reduce their
emissions in absolute terms.
Many delegates and observers suggested that the conference was forced to extend for an
extra day, instead of wrapping up as scheduled on Friday, because of systematic efforts
from the U.S., Canada and Japan to block them from officially recognizing that the next
climate change agreement should be guided by stringent targets in tune with the latest
Baird was also accused of skipping out on key meetings during the final hours of the
conference and of deliberately trying to slow down the process and prevent a consensus
on the Indonesian resort island.
"He treated this as a holiday retreat rather than a working session," said NDP
environment critic Nathan Cullen, who attended the conference.
"He went and spent time with people he agreed with as opposed to people he needed to
But Baird said he worked long days, getting little sleep in the face of an intense barrage
of criticism levelled at Canada during the two-week conference.
He said this was "the real price of leadership" for indicating his government's true beliefs
about what was required in the best possible deal for the environment and the planet.
"A lot of countries were thinking what Canada was saying at this conference and, simply
put, we have no option but to work hard for an effective agreement," Baird said, before
taking a jab at Liberal leader Stéphane Dion.
"I don't want to come to another conference in 10 years and have the deputy leader of my
own party say I didn't get it done."
But Dion, who indicated that he had worked behind the scenes to build a consensus at the
conference, said he was pleased that the process he started as chair of the 2005
climate change summit in Montreal is moving forward.
"We are pleased that the baby we launched is a teenager, and hopefully will become an
adult in 2009 to be ready to act in 2013," Dion said.
"The main reason why (countries succeeded in Bali) is that China came here saying that
they were ready to take commitments and they then created a dynamic that hopefully
Canada (will) not kill," Dion said yesterday.
With talks going into overtime yesterday morning as developing countries protested last-
minute changes to the Bali road map, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was forced to
make an unexpected appearance expressing his disappointment that a consensus hadn't
"Seize the moment, this moment, for the good of all humanity," Ban said in an official
address to the conference.
"I appeal to you to make the necessary agreement now, to not risk all that you have
achieved so far. The scientific realities affecting our planet demand a high level of
In the end, the Bali road map consists of a framework for emissions cuts, the transfer of
clean technology to developing countries, reducing deforestation and adaptation aid for
developing countries vulnerable to droughts and rising sea levels.
Environmental groups said the final results indicated that the Harper government should
go back to the drawing board and fix its domestic policies.
"We've seen the U.S. rally to the rest of the world at the eleventh hour, and we've seen
Canada rally to the rest of the world at the eleventh hour, but this is by no stretch of the
imagination leadership," said Equiterre spokesperson Steven Guilbeault.
"If that's leadership, then I've never seen leadership before."
from the December 17, 2007 edition - http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/1217/p01s04-
Bali climate deal marks a geopolitical shift
Developing countries flexed their muscles in unprecedented ways at the climate talks,
suggesting the old north-south power equation is changing.
By Peter N. Spotts
The Christian Science Monitor
December 16, 2007
Nusa Dua, Indonesia
In a tumultuous, overtime finale that capped two weeks of intense talks, ministers from
more than 180 countries headed home this weekend with a framework for negotiating a
new global-warming agreement by 2009.
In the process, the talks appear to have sealed a major shift in the geopolitics of climate
In part, this change has come about because the US is now more intensely involved in
talks than at any other time during the Bush administration, says Artur Runge-Metzger,
who heads the European Commission's climate-change programs.
But the big shift has come from developing countries, known collectively as "the G-77
Led by China, South Africa, Brazil, and other rainforest-heavy countries, the group is
beginning to flex its muscles in ways observers here have not seen before.
In the past, analysts say, industrial countries cut the deals and essentially presented
developing countries with the results. No longer. Nowhere was the change more apparent
than on the unplanned 13th day of the conference.
At issue was wording on adaptation, technology transfer, and financing. Developing
countries offered text changes that the US had opposed throughout the talks on the floor
of the final plenary session.
When the head of the US negotiating team, Paula Dobriansky, took the floor, she said the
US couldn't support the change. Since decisions here must be made by consensus, it
looked as if the US would derail the process.
Developing countries were already fuming that, due to US insistence, the road map was
confining scientific recommendations on necessary emission cuts by industrial countries
to a footnote.
They also took umbrage at a comment made by a senior member of the US delegation at
a press briefing Wednesday. James Connaughton, head of the President's Council on
Environmental Quality, told reporters that "the US will lead" on global climate change,
"but leadership requires that others fall in line and follow."
Dr. Dobriansky's "no" met with a chorus of boos. Other developing countries took the
floor to support the change and roundly criticize the US.
South Africa said that the US position "was most unwelcome and without any basis."
Then Kevin Conrad, who headed Papua-New Guinea's delegation, rose and turned Mr.
Connaughton's comment on its head.
"We seek your leadership," he said. "But if for some reason you are not willing to lead,
leave it to the rest of us. Please get out of the way."
Meanwhile, Europe threw its support behind the change. Japan remained noncommittal.
Canada and Australia, which ratified the Kyoto treaty earlier this month, sat silent. The
last three had supported the US position for much of the talks.
Confronted with the prospect of overwhelming isolation, Dobriansky relented, saying,
"We will join the consensus."
Many longtime observers say it was the most stunning reversal they had ever seen at one
of these meetings. And it showed that the old north-south divide at climate talks may be
eroding, given the alliance between Europe and the G-77 plus China on the issue.
"They caved!" said an astonished Philip Clapp, deputy managing director of the Pew
Environment Group, based in Washington. He suggests that in the end, the White House
had too much to lose. A US-triggered collapse of talks here would likely have led
European countries and others to boycott President Bush's Major Economies Meetings
next year, Mr. Clapp says. If that were to fail, he continues, the administration risked
handing Democratic candidates a powerful twofold criticism ahead of the 2008 elections:
They could claim that Republicans stymied the UN process and that the president's own
efforts had failed.
Bargaining on emission cuts
Hard bargaining over the past two weeks, as well as the last-minute theatrics, point to the
tough bargaining that lies ahead. The aim is to approve a new agreement at talks in
Copenhagen,Denmark in 2009 and get enough countries to ratify it so it can take over in
2013, when the Kyoto Protocol's first commitment period expires.
The road map also sets out guidelines for working on issues dear to developing countries
– adaptation, transfer of technologies that will help their economies grow without loading
up the atmosphere with greenhouse gases, and, finally, the setting up of financial
arrangements to help pay for both of these. And key for industrial countries, the road map
aims to look for ways to engage developing countries more fully in greenhouse-gas
But it emphasizes, albeit in a footnote, the magnitude of the challenge. According to the
latest reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in order to
hold global warming to about 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100, industrial countries must
make a downpayment by reducing their greenhouse-gas emissions between 25 and 40
percent below 1990 levels by 2020. Developing countries will have to achieve a
substantial but unquantified "deviation" from their business-as-usual emissions by then as
well. To stay on track, industrial-country emissions will have to fall by between 80 and
95 percent by 2050. Developing countries will have to continue to ramp up their
emission-reduction efforts during the same period.
The US had strongly objected to including those numbers in the road map's nonbinding
preamble. As a compromise, a footnote refers to the volumes and page numbers where
these figures appear in the IPCC reports.
Tackling adaptation early on
Since 2000, global-emission rates have outstripped all but the highest IPCC projections.
Some global-warming effects are showing up earlier than models have projected. And
energy demand, particularly in developing countries, is burgeoning.
As negotiators begin their work on a new agreement, the order in which they tackle issues
will be important, says Yvo de Boer, who heads the office overseeing the Framework
Convention on Climate Change.
In the first year, he says, it might be most useful to focus on adaptation and on what
countries can do "from a technical point of view," to reduce emissions. "Once you know
what you can do, in the second year you can focus on the technology you need to make
that happen and the money that you are going to need to pay for the technology."
Putting the first-year focus on adaptation and mitigation, he continues, allows a new US
president to enter the process with a better idea of what's possible as long as the
technology and financing are available. Setting emission targets would cap the process.
Warming could worsen many problems along coast
The Times Picayune
December 15, 2007
Louisiana's coastal parishes and other Gulf communities from Houston to Mobile should
build higher and more resilient roads, bridges and other infrastructure to withstand more
intense hurricanes and rainstorms, sea level rise and higher temperatures caused by global
warming during the next 50 to 100 years, according to a draft report prepared by the
federal Department of Transportation and the U.S. Geological Survey.
But Louisiana, largely in response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, may be ahead
of other states. Transportation and hurricane-protection planners in Baton Rouge are
already responding to concerns raised in the report, forging ahead with heat-resistant
pavements and higher bridges and levees.
Elsewhere along the coast, transportation planners are only now considering the effects of
climate change in the next 100 years, which could include as much as a 4-foot rise in sea
level, a 10 percent increase in the intensity of hurricanes, a dramatic increase in the
number of days with temperatures of 90 and 100 degrees or higher, and more periods of
At risk are thousands of miles of roads, hundreds of bridges and dozens of airports that
will be flooded more often or could be damaged by periods of high heat or more frequent
hurricanes, or whose operations could otherwise be affected by climate changes,
according to the report.
The report concludes that the combination of more intense hurricanes and higher sea
levels also will expand the area facing potential storm damage, a concern because
existing roadway capacity is not designed for large-scale evacuations.
"This preliminary assessment raises clear cause for concern regarding the vulnerability of
transportation infrastructure and services in the central Gulf Coast due to climate and
coastal changes," the report concludes.
The report states that transportation planners and managers could move now to begin
adapting to climate changes but that few had done so until experiencing the effects of
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.
"This first study is a broad regional characterization of the coast's infrastructure and its
vulnerability to climate change and sea-level rise," said co-author Virginia Burkett, a
biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey's National Wetlands Research Center in
Once this report and two more that identify more localized impacts and potential
solutions are completed, "the study will serve as a tool that can be used by state and local
planners and policymakers when planning for the needs of existing and future highways,
railways, ports, pipelines and other transportation systems," said Jan Brecht-Clark, co-
chair of the Department of Transportation's Climate Change Center.
More detailed assessments of the effects by region, using detailed storm-surge modeling
to identify specific bridges, roads, evacuation routes and other vulnerabilities, will be
completed during the next few years.
Planning needed now
But planners need to immediately consider long-term climate effects when launching
transportation projects because infrastructure built during the next 20 to 30 years will be
in place for another 50 years, said one transportation planner and co-author.
"They'll be out there as the effects of climate change become more dramatic," said Ken
Leonard, former transportation planning director for Wisconsin now with Cambridge
"The transportation community is very concerned about climate change," he said, "but it's
too early to say whether their updated long-range plans will consider climate change."
Indeed, a survey of planning documents from state and local agencies in Alabama,
Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas found that none "directly addresses or acknowledges
issues of climate change and variability."
In large part, the report states, that is because most of the planning documents are two to
four years old, written before climate-change impacts became better understood in the
aftermath of Katrina and Rita.
In fact, release of the study was delayed for about two years after the authors decided it
needed to take into account the effects of Katrina and Rita to more than three-quarters of
the study area, Burkett said.
While it's unclear whether global warming had an impact on either hurricane, Burkett
said the storms "serve to illustrate the kinds of effects we'll see in the future as sea level
rises and storms become more intense."
The report uses future climate scenarios, developed by the National Center for
Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., based on an ensemble of 21 models of
atmospheric and ocean conditions for the Gulf Coast.
Among the findings are that a vast area of the Gulf Coast from Houston to Mobile may
be inundated during the next 50 to 100 years based on the study's understanding of the
effects of relative sea-level rise driven by global warming.
The report uses a "middle range" of 2 feet to 4 feet of sea level rise for most of its
predictions, with the biggest rises in south Louisiana and east Texas, which are most
affected by subsidence.
Threat of inundation
The effects would not only be in Louisiana, where concerns about coastal inundation
have been raised for years. The report states just a 2-foot rise in sea level would affect
137 miles of Interstate 10 to the east of New Orleans in Mississippi. The runways at New
Orleans International Airport could be affected by a 4-foot rise.
The study warned, however, that its sea-level rise estimates are conservative, based on
the assumptions in the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports.
Those reports do not include recent research indicating a more rapid rate of melting of
polar ice sheets.
As global warming increases the temperature of surface water in the Atlantic and Gulf of
Mexico, the report states, the intensity of major hurricanes may increase by 10 percent or
The result could mean more storms of at least Category 3 strength, with winds of 111
mph or more, hitting the coast. The storm surge they produce, combined with rising sea
levels, could flood facilities 30-feet high or lower.
The Army Corps of Engineers has reached a similar conclusion about future sea-level rise
and hurricane effects and is designing flood-control structures in eastern New Orleans
and St. Bernard Parish to be as high as 32 feet above sea level by 2057.
But a storm surge of 18 feet threatens 98 percent of port facilities along the coast and a
third of coastal rail lines.
The report does not address the effectiveness of existing flood controls, however, or of
the planned 100-year hurricane protection for the New Orleans area by 2011. It also does
not identify the effect of hurricane winds on transportation infrastructure.
But the potential effects of surge on transportation is real, based on damage estimates
from Hurricane Katrina.
"Repair costs for the more than (40-mile) CSX railroad segment damaged in Hurricane
Katrina, $250 million, could be dwarfed by the costs of moving the line if the company
chose to relocate the line further inland," the report concluded, based on congressional
proposals after the storm to authorize $700 million in federal money to do just that.
The effects of surge during Katrina to the Interstate 10 twin spans connecting New
Orleans to Slidell and a similar bridge in Bay St. Louis, Miss., also have not been lost on
transportation planners in Louisiana and Mississippi, despite the lack of national surge-
based construction standards for such bridges, the report states.
Louisiana is developing standards calling for elevating new bridges above surge expected
from a 500-year hurricane for main spans and a 100-year event for transition spans close
to shore. Mississippi is considering similar standards.
Concerns are also rising about the effects of more frequent hurricanes on pipeline
operations, as operators attempt to assure emergency response for breaks and spills in a
"One hazardous-liquid pipeline representative stated that, prior to Ivan, obtaining pipeline
maintenance and repair contract commitments was relatively easy, 'a foregone conclusion
of commitment,' but, after Katrina/Rita, it has become increasingly difficult to obtain
solid commitments from suppliers to respond to emergency calls," the report states.
Today, the suppliers only commit to put the customer on a response list, for a fee, with no
guarantee of a response.
Increased temperatures will be a nagging problem in the region, based on predictions
from all of the climate models used in the study, with the average annual temperature
expected to rise between 1.6 degrees and 4.5 degrees during the next 50 years.
It's likely that the highest-temperature days will cause the most problems. The report
predicts a 50-percent chance for 21 or more days a year with temperatures of 100 degrees
or above within the next 50 years in 48 Gulf Coast coastal counties.
Many highway-pavement materials degrade more quickly when temperatures remain
above 90 degrees. The current average of 77 days per year when the temperature exceeds
90 degrees is expected to increase to between 99 and 131 days a year during the next
Those high temperatures could require a change in construction materials for both
highways and railroads, as well as restrictions on work-crew hours that could lengthen
construction times and increase costs.
In Louisiana, state roads are being built with new, more expensive high-polymer-content
asphalts to offset the higher temperatures.
The report suggests that steel- and concrete-bridge designers may also need to begin
rethinking their standards, as record highs threaten to meet maximum-design
temperatures of 115 to 125 degrees during the next century.
The longer periods of higher temperatures also are expected to affect aircraft
performance, the report states. Warm air is less dense and decreases both lift and engine
efficiency in aircraft, which could require longer runways and more powerful engines.
Some experts believe those problems might be offset by recent improvements in aircraft
technology, however, the report states.
But in New Orleans, the problem for airports may be the requirements for higher levees
and walls on their borders, based on recent statements by Army Corps of Engineers
The corps is struggling to design a floodwall at Lakefront Airport that won't disrupt air-
traffic patterns, and similar problems may crop up in the design of a levee or floodwall at
the canal on the western border of Louis Armstrong International Airport in Kenner.
An increase in the number of intense rainfall events also could mean more frequent
delays for commercial travelers and could force pilots of private aircraft to rely more
often on instrument-only flying, or to avoid flying during storms.
Changes in precipitation patterns also have the potential to wreak havoc with the coast,
and especially with the New Orleans area. While models indicate the chances of either an
increase or decrease in total precipitation is a tossup, the intensity of individual
rainstorms is expected to increase.
The more intense rainfall is expected to increase maintenance for roads, airstrips,
bikeways, walkways and rail beds.
Higher average temperatures will increase direct evaporation and the amount of water
consumed by plants, reducing the amount of water available for agriculture and other
The higher evaporation rates throughout the central United States could result in a lower
water level in the Mississippi River, which could require either deeper dredging or
restrictions on the weight carried by ships and barges.
Ironically, sea level rise might actually increase the depth of the river at its mouth,
allowing more cargo.
Bali climate deal paves way for hotter U.S. debate
By Deborah Zabarenko
December 16, 2007
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A breakthrough deal forged by delegates from 190 countries
has revived world efforts to fight global warming and may help push the debate to the
front and center of the U.S. political debate.
The United States joined the deal reached on the Indonesian island of Bali in a dramatic
U-turn. But significantly, the accord sets late 2009 as the target for a climate treaty,
months after U.S. President George W. Bush leaves office.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat who heads the Senate's environment
committee, noted the Bush administration's lonely position after the Bali deal was
reached on Saturday.
"In Bali, the president tried to treat the world the way he treats Congress -- 'my way or
the highway,"' Boxer said in a statement. "The difference is that in Congress he has
supporters but in Bali he had no supporters."
The debate is largely over for the American public, according to Karlyn Bowman, a
polling expert at the American Enterprise Institute. Americans view climate change as the
world's top environmental problem, although few followed the Bali debate.
Americans are relying on policymakers, including the next president, to tackle climate
change, Bowman said.
"I don't think the public has a clue about what to do next," she said.
U.S. policymakers predict there will be no law on climate change under a reluctant Bush
but presidential hopefuls -- including those from his own Republican Party -- already are
laying the groundwork for his exit in January 2009.
They have been bolstered in no small part by independent actions taken in Congress and
states across the country.
While the Bali talks were raging, contenders for the U.S. Republican nomination were
asked their positions on the world's changing climate at a debate last week in Iowa, which
will have the first state contest leading up to the November 2008 election.
The United States was alone among major industrialized nations to reject the Kyoto
Protocol agreement to curb global warming emissions. The Bali "road map" aims to find
a successor that brings in fast-growing countries like China and India.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino called parts of the Bali deal "quite positive" but
said negotiators must emphasize the role of developing countries that are big polluters.
The Bush administration has opposed specific targets to reduce the emissions of
greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide -- spewed by coal-fired power plants and
petroleum-fueled vehicles -- arguing that this would hurt the U.S. economy.
The Bush team has been increasingly isolated on the climate issue, even in the United
States, where some of the country's largest businesses, including the Big Three
automakers and regional electric companies, have been pushing for a system to cap and
trade credits for greenhouse emissions.
CANDIDATES AND CONGRESS
Meanwhile, the presidential hopefuls have chimed in with Democratic frontrunners
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama joining Republican frontrunners Rudy Giuliani, Mike
Huckabee and Mitt Romney in insisting it was an issue to be faced.
"Climate change is real," said both Giuliani and Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain,
another Republican hopeful.
The administration also has come under pressure from other parts of the government and
-- The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed a Republican-sponsored
bill that aims to curb climate change, and sent it to the full Senate for debate next year;
-- The Senate passed an energy bill that cuts U.S. oil use, curbs emissions of climate-
warming carbon dioxide and boosts fuel efficiency, and Bush indicated he would sign it;
-- A federal court upheld a California law that requires curbs in greenhouse gas emissions
by cars and trucks that are tougher than U.S. standards, rejecting an argument by vehicle
makers that federal law should apply;
-- A panel of U.S. state governors called for more alternative fuels and clean vehicles,
and urged other governors to act "to solve America's energy challenges."
Dominion juggles energy sources with eye on deadline
December 17, 2007
The state's largest electric utility is looking at using more environmentally friendly
energy sources to meet new standards in Virginia and North Carolina.
Dominion Virginia Power must get greener because the states want at least 12 percent of
the company's energy to come from renewable sources by 2022.
North Carolina has been more aggressive than Virginia, making it mandatory that utilities
provide 12.5 percent of their electricity from green sources by 2021.
Virginia adopted a voluntary goal that 12 percent of electric sales should stem from
renewable sources by 2022.
About 2 percent of Dominion's electricity comes from green energy supplies, including a
large biomass facility in Pittsylvania County and a hydroelectric pumping station in Bath
The Richmond-based energy company is asking for ideas from entrepreneurs and
businesses to provide more renewable energy. Jim Martin, a Dominion senior vice
president for business development and generation construction, said the company is
accepting proposals through Feb. 1 and expects to see a lot of interest. He won't say how
much money Dominion is willing to spend on the initiative.
Martin said Dominion is investing in a planned wind farm in Grant County, W.Va., and
estimates that 132 turbines there would crank out enough energy for more than 60,000
But those plans to go greener are mixed with efforts to expand fossil fuel energy sources.
Environmentalists are fighting Dominion's proposed coal-fired power plant in southwest
Virginia. They say the utility should be turning from coal to toward cleaner-burning
alternatives. Emissions from coal-fired plants are linked to global warming, mercury
contamination and smog.
"The only time we'll ever see serious renewable energy in Virginia is when Dominion
gets serious about it," said Mike Town, state director of the Sierra Club.
He said Dominion's requests for green projects in Virginia and North Carolina "are nice,
but when they're also investing more than a billion dollars in Wise County and more dirty
coal, it becomes token stuff."
Martin called such criticism unrealistic, saying the company needs a "very balanced
portfolio" to meet fast-growing demands. He says that means investing in coal as well as
renewables, energy conservation and efficiencies, and nuclear power. Dominion
announced last month that it intends to seek a federal license to build a third reactor at its
North Anna nuclear power plant.
Nuclear power is not counted as renewable energy. The government defines renewable
sources as solar, wind, falling water, wave motion, tidal action, geothermal, landfill gases
and biomass burning of wood chips and garbage.
Virginia customers have had the option of buying green power from Dominion since
2002 through the Energy Choice program, said David F. Koogler, director of state
regulation and pricing.
Koogler says 1,296 residents and 18 businesses are signed up. Most are in northern
Virginia, but some are in Hampton Roads, Richmond and Charlottesville. They receive
renewable energy from Pepco Energy Services, a specialty company licensed to do
business in Virginia. The option costs subscribers about double the existing base rate,
In North Carolina, Dominion also participates in the N.C. Green Power program, which
allows customers to buy 100-kilowatt blocks of renewable energy. Koogler puts
participation in that program at about 12,000 customers.
Information from: The Virginian-Pilot, http://www.pilotonline.com
Companies seek eco-friendly promotional giveaways
By Shandra Matinez
December 17, 2007
Karen Scarpino doesn't dabble in trinkets and trash, the not-so-nice moniker for
promotional items branded with company logos and given away to potential clients.
"I don't like to be known as the trinket lady. I want to set myself apart," said Scarpino,
president of Promotional Impact, a 15-year-old company with more than $1 million in
Her company creates distinctive and custom-designed promotional products.
Increasingly, companies are looking for eco-friendly promotional items aimed at
reinforcing their environmentally friendly images, she said.
Companies are building structures with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
certification, and are committed to the triple bottom line people, planet, profits. They
want to go to trade shows with items reflecting their environmental commitment,
Inside the store at the LEED-certified Grand Rapids Art Museum, there are displays of T-
shirts, mugs, pens and notebooks bearing GRAM's name, created by Promotional Impact.
"LEED certification really extends beyond construction and living in a way that supports
a sustainable planet. It makes sense that our shop be part of that equation," said Celeste
Adams, museum director.
One of the products is a GRAM notebook made with 100 percent post-consumer paper
with a ring spiral created from reclaimed metal and produced with wind energy.
"It's so important when we go the extra mile to pursue sustainable practices that the
consumer knows it. The amazing thing is that there are products that can look so beautiful
and be sustainable," Scarpino said.
Last month, she launched greengiftz.com to highlight eco-friendly promotional items.
Some products, such as umbrellas and travel mugs, are intended for reuse.
Others are made with recyclable materials, including scrap material from some
company's product lines.
For Zeeland office-furniture maker Herman Miller Inc., Promotional Impact creates
briefcases made from the same material used in the company's signature Aeron chair.
Scarpino doesn't show her clients a catalog. Instead, she asks questions about the
company's products and values, then brainstorms potential promotional items.
For C2AE, a Lansing-headquartered architectural, engineering and planning firm, she
created grass kits a tin filled with dirt and grass seed that can be grown on a desk. They
were given away to potential clients during a seminar about rain gardens.
Eco-friendly "is a hot topic for our industry," said Marcie McCann, the firm's marketing
Promotional Impact's clients include Edelman Leather, Steelcase Inc., X-Rite Inc.,
Bissell, Trendway, Koleaseco, Cascade Engineering, Dow Chemical, Hanon McKendry
and Haworth Inc.
Scarpino's goal is to move her home-based business into some "real estate" in 2008.
A former vice president for a defunct ad agency, she joined her husband, Louis, full time
at Promotional Impact a dozen years ago.
The firm has two other employees, plus an intern.
"I love being an entrepreneur," Scarpino said. "There are not any boundaries, and your
ideas can take you anywhere you want to go."
Information from: The Grand Rapids Press, http://www.mlive.com/grpres
Set of simple numbers will help shape 2 years of post-Bali climate talks
By Charles J. Hanley
December 17, 2007
Behind the millions of words at the Bali climate conference, in documents, speeches and
slick brochures, lay a set of simple numbers: 2 and 445 and "25 to 40."
That's 2 degrees Celsius, 445 parts per million of carbon dioxide, and a 25-to-40-percent
reduction in global-warming gases a formula, some say, to save the planet from climate
change's severest consequences.
In the end, at U.S. insistence, none of those numbers appeared in the U.N. conference's
key final document. But in the coming two years of crucial climate negotiations, as
authorized at Bali, those simple numbers are sure to become chips in the high-stakes
diplomatic, political and economic bargaining of almost 190 nations involved.
Saturday's decision ending the two-week meeting capped a year in which a U.N. network
of climate scientists delivered troubling news: Global warming is a fact, very likely
attributable to manmade emissions; warming seas are rising faster all the time; impacts
are already felt, from species extinctions to erratic weather.
Things could get much, much worse if the world doesn't sharply reduce emissions of
carbon dioxide and a handful of other industrial, transportation and agricultural gases
blamed for global warming, the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change said in its series of reports.
The IPCC noted that the atmosphere has already warmed by an average 0.7 degrees
Celsius (1 degree Fahrenheit) compared with the early 19th century, and that with an
additional 1.3 degrees, totaling 2 degrees Celsius (3.4 degrees Fahrenheit), serious effects
would ensue: regional water shortages; crop failures; widespread loss of coral reefs; more
deaths from heat waves; more severe storms.
To keep the cumulative rise to 2 degrees Celsius, the panel concluded, heat-trapping
greenhouse gases in the atmosphere should be kept below 445 parts per million in carbon
dioxide or its equivalent in other gases. The concentration is now estimated at below 400,
after subtracting offsetting heat-shielding effects.
Early in the Bali conference, more than 200 scientists, many of them U.N. report authors,
made a rare foray into politics and diplomacy with a petition calling on the U.N. climate
treaty nations to adopt, as a "minimum requirement," those 2-degree and 445-ppm
The European Union and many other nations had already done so, endorsing the goal of
reducing industrial nations' greenhouse gas emissions by 25 to 40 percent below 1990
levels by 2020, a formula the IPCC suggests to keep temperatures rising no more than 2
That goal was also inscribed into the early drafts of the Bali final document, which
envisioned contributions, too, from such fast-developing poorer nations as China and
India, in the form of voluntary programs to rein in emissions growth.
"This process has to be driven by the science," said environmentalist Matthias Duwe, of
Europe's Climate Action Network. "There are no questions any more about the sheer
scale of the challenge we are facing."
But the numbers were rejected by the United States, and dropped from the Bali
"The European approach is focused exclusively on the science, but we also have to
analyze the actual technological pathways it takes to get to a particular objective," Jim
Connaughton, White House environmental chief, told reporters here.
"We can be very ambitious, but cuts that deep, that fast, are simply beyond reach."
Alone among major industrial nations, the United States rejects the relatively modest cuts
of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. The task the rest of the world has
now taken on, with the upcoming "Bali Roadmap" negotiations, is to try to bring the
Americans into a new, post-2012 regime of deep and mandatory reductions in greenhouse
Many look beyond the Bush administration and toward a new negotiating partner, chosen
in next November's U.S. presidential election, a president many expect to be a Democrat.
They were encouraged by the words last week of a key Democratic environmentalist,
Sen. John Kerry, discussing the upcoming climate negotiations with The Associated
"If scientists are telling us we have to keep Earth's increase in temperature to no more
than 2 degrees Celsius and 445 ppm, that has to be the guide," the Massachusetts senator
said. "That's the heart and soul of any negotiation."
Fewer ozone problems reported in Baton Rouge area in 2007
December 17, 2007
The weather is one big reason why the five-parish Baton Rouge area has experienced
fewer days of unhealthy ozone pollution in 2007 than in 2006, state environmental
In 2006, there were 20 days when ozone monitors in the area measured ozone above
levels allowed by the federal air standards. In 2007 so far, there have been 14 such days,
said Jennifer Mouton, administrator with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Air
Quality Assessment Division.
DEQ staff attribute the difference to a number of factors, including reduction in releases
of ozone-causing air pollution, new federal regulations taking effect and most of all the
"Meteorology plays a really big role here," Mouton said.
Ozone pollution forms when pollution from industry, automobiles and other sources is
released into the air on hot, sunny days. A chemical reaction turns this mix into ozone
pollution. On days without much wind, that ozone collects in an area and can create
problems breathing for some people.
"We've had a lot of windy days this year and wind makes a difference," said Yasoob Zia,
a senior environmental scientist with the DEQ Air Quality Assessment Division.
The five-parish area includes East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge, Livingston,
Ascension and Iberville parishes.
Information from: The Advocate, http://www.2theadvocate.com
Science teacher from Independence makes splash with YouTube video
December 17, 2007
Often, the kind of videos that blow up on YouTube involve scantily clad girls, or stupid
But a nine-minute, 33-second video on the perils of global warming made by Central
High School science teacher Greg Craven has zoomed to the top of the YouTube heap,
with 4 million views worldwide.
That's roughly 500 times the population of Independence. That puts it near the top of
YouTube's all-time list for views in the news and politics category, despite competition
from videos featuring Britney Spears, Satan's face in a 9/11 explosion and an Alabama
The video is a worldwide appeal for action on climate change before it's too late.
Craven's argument is that debate over whether or not humans caused global warming is
pointless; instead, Craven suggests, "the risk of not acting far outweighs the risk of
On the one hand, regulations to counter global warming trends could trigger an economic
downturn, Craven posits. But at its worst, climate change could bring droughts, famine,
floods, dust bowls, economic collapse and the displacement of millions.
The potential consequences are severe enough, Craven says in his video, to make "Al
Gore look like a sissy Pollyanna with no guts who sugarcoated the bad news."
Since his video exploded, the 38-year-old family man has sifted through some 7,000
comments and discussions, mostly critical.
"My toddler drools more cogent arguments," one said.
Others are complimentary, saying they like his "inescapable logic." Students at
Independence High say Craven is "wacky" and "animated", making even potential dry
subjects like chemistry interesting.
After posting the first video, took a monthlong break at his wife's insistence, then spent
six weeks producing a 44-part, six-hour sequel, "How It All Ends."
It includes small explosions, silly hats Craven bought in a Nepalese tourist mart and a
script totaling 70,000 words.
After all this, life is changing for Craven. He might write a book. He's shifted to part-time
teaching after seven years to spend more time with his family.
The sequel's introduction has gotten more than 500,000 views, most on break.com.
The backup videos, wonkier than the originals, have far lower totals. That's
disappointing, Craven says. "But I can look my kids in the face years from now and feel
OK, that I did everything I could even if the carbon has hit the fan."
Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com
Baird's Bali flop will haunt Conservatives TheStar.com - Canada
By Chantal Hébert
The Toronto Star
December 17, 2007
OTTAWA – When all is said and done, federal Environment Minister John Baird did
more harm to Conservative election prospects than Brian Mulroney last week.
The former prime minister's testimony as to his dubious dealings with lobbyist Karlheinz
Schreiber burnished long-standing mark on his legacy but Baird's less than stellar
performance at the Bali conference on climate change touched on a much more tender
It amounted to ripping a scab off a wound that had barely begun to heal.
For all intents and purposes, the Bali meeting was a multi-day communications disaster
for the Harper regime. It set back a year of Conservative efforts to rebrand the party on
climate change and confirmed the issue as the government's Achilles heel.
It is hard to think of another high-profile international venue where Canada took more of
a public relations beating and did so with help from such a large array of Canadian
It certainly never happened in the days of the much maligned Mulroney. His forays on
the international scene always struck a more consensual chord at home than his domestic
policies. That was particularly true of the environment.
It was under his regime that successive federal governments started to include opposition
parties and provinces in official delegations to summits, a practice Harper dropped, to his
In the end, Baird's selected entourage of climate change experts simply could not stack up
to the combined contrary voices of the Canadian environmental lobby, the federal
opposition parties and the Quebec government.
At every step of the way, Canada was portrayed – by its domestic critics and its
international counterparts – as a leading voice for the obstructionist camp. Its insistence
that it was not undermining an activist international consensus on climate change was
undercut by its obvious isolation. It is hard to argue that one is building bridges when
they so obviously lead nowhere.
It need not have played out this way.
For all the hype surrounding the meeting, the Bali conference was only a warm-up
The real negotiations on the future course of the climate change battle will only take
place once a new administration is installed in the United States. The upcoming
presidential election is widely expected to change the American tune on global warming
for the better, at least from the perspective of environmental activists.
For the Harper government, the Bali meeting could have been an opportunity to square
the circle of its repositioning on the environment, by stepping in front of the upcoming
American parade. Instead it locked itself in step with a moribund administration.
For as long as the debate was focused on the Kyoto Protocol, blaming the Liberals for
Canada's lagging climate change record was a credible Conservative mantra. But last
week, the debate shifted to the future and, with the spotlight squarely on them, the
Conservatives were only too easily portrayed as climate change isolationists rather than
Between now and the decisive round on global warming, regime change will come to the
United States. But Canada will probably also go to the polls against the backdrop of the
unprecedented high profile of the global warming issue. If Baird no longer speaks for
Canada at next year's climate change rendezvous in Poland, it will in no small part be
because of the seeds of doubt he so clumsily resowed in Bali.
ENVIRONMENT NEWS FROM THE
S.G’s SPOKESMAN DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
17 December, 2007
Later in the afternoon, the Secretary-General spoke to the Economic and Social
Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), telling them that the UN Climate Change
Conference in Bali must become the launch pad for negotiations towards a
comprehensive climate deal that all nations can embrace. It must provide us with a clear
road map for tackling climate change, he said.
The Secretary-General and his wife later visited the Royal Chitralada projects, a bio-fuel
project which the Secretary-General described as one of the many examples of the King
of Thailand's commitment and dedication to human development and the environment.
The Secretary-General and Mrs. Ban had an audience with the King and Queen of
Thailand in the evening; they were scheduled to leave for Bali tomorrow, which is
actually in a few hours in Asia.
The second week of negotiations on a new climate change agreement got under way
today in Bali, Indonesia, where the various contact groups have been intensifying their
efforts ahead of the high-level segment that begins on Wednesday. Today‘s discussions
focused on the need to strengthen existing commitments, quantified national emission
objectives for industrialized countries, and technological cooperation.
UN Framework Convention Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer said that technology must
be ―at the heart of the future response to climate change‖. He said that environmentally
sound technologies and sustainable development approaches could help developing
countries ―leapfrog the carbon intensive stage of economic development‖.