Alternative energy will be a major talking point in 2012, thanks to the UN’s decision to declare it as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All. The decision was made back in December 2010 during a UN General Assembly. The initiative recognizes that access to “modern affordable energy services in developing countries is essential for the achievement of the
This short piece will certainly not help the reader gain any greater understanding of the United Nations: its strengths, weaknesses, successes and failings. I’d love to get my wits wrapped around the UN, largely regarded, I believe, as insufficiently aggressive in taking action into pressing world
(Reuters) – U.N. climate talks will struggle to agree new greenhouse gas targets next month unless they can solve a complex loophole where developed countries currently ignore emissions from logging plantation forests.
Environment ministers from almost 200 countries will gather in Cancun, Mexico,
(Reuters) – The U.N. climate change chief urged governments on Monday to make real steps toward a new treaty to fight global warming or risk throwing negotiations into doubt.
Negotiators are meeting in the northern Chinese port city of Tianjin to try reach agreement on what should follow the
(Reuters) – About 45 nations met on Thursday to seek ways to raise billions of dollars in aid to help the poor combat climate change as the United Nations warned them of a long haul to slow global warming.
Environment ministers and senior officials in Geneva were reviewing whether rich
(Reuters) – A UN panel will review carbon offset issuances requests by three Chinese greenhouse gas destroying projects, a UN spokeswoman said on Tuesday, a sign the most lucrative projects under the Kyoto Protocol may face more scrutiny.
The Shandong Dongyuen, Zhejiang Dongyang and China Fluoro projects, which
United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, appointed Costa Rican expert on climate change, Christiana Figueres, as the new U.N. climate chief on May 17th. She will replace Yvo de Boer as executive secretary of the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) on July 1st.
De Boer, of the Netherlands, announced his resignation last February after the Copenhagen climate summit where 120 world leaders failed to come to a binding agreement on global warming.
Figueres, 53, is the first person in this U.N. position to come from a developing country. She has been a member of Costa Rica’s negotiating team on climate change since 1995. She represented the Caribbean and Latin American on the Executive Board of the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism in 2007, and from 2008 to 2009, Figueres served as vice president of the Bureau of the Convention.
Fifty-five major industrial powers that produce nearly 80 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions have submitted voluntary CO2 reduction targets, but a top UN climate official says they still fall short of what’s needed to limit future temperature increases to 2 C (3.6 F).
Meeting a Jan. 31 deadline established at the December climate summit in Copenhagen, the European Union set a goal of reducing emissions 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020; Japan pledged to slash CO2 emissions by 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020; the U.S. set a more modest target of reducing carbon dioxide emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020; and China vowed to cut the so-called “carbon intensity” of its economy — the amount of CO2 produced per unit of gross domestic product — by 40 to 45 percent by 2020.
In the wake of a controversy over a dubious claim made about melting glaciers by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a top Chinese official says that the panel should include the views of global warming skeptics in its next report.
Xie Zhenhua, vice-chairman of China’s national Development and Reform Commission, told a meeting of rapidly developing nations that the IPCC needs to “adopt an open attitude to scientific research and incorporate all views.”
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Global investors representing $13 trillion in assets called on the United States and other countries on Thursday to adopt policies to fight climate change they said would unleash a potential flood of private money into renewable and efficient energy.
“Without policies that create a stable investment environment our hands are tied,” Anne Stausboll, chief executive of the California Public Employees Retirement System, a pension fund with more than $205 billion in assets, said at a meeting called the Investor Summit on Climate Risk.
“We are ready and willing to up the ante to finance the transition to a low carbon global economy but you need to have the courage to act,” said Mindy Lubber, the president of Ceres, a coalition of investors and environmentalists which was hosting the meeting.
Citing the “chaotic” Copenhagen climate talks, Jonathan Pershing, the U.S.’s deputy special envoy for climate change, said the UN must relinquish the central role in future climate negotiations to major nations such as the U.S., China, and India.
Pershing, who participated in the Copenhagen talks, said in a speech in Washington that it was virtually impossible to conduct a serious negotiation with 192 nations present in Copenhagen and called for giving more power in future climate talks to the world’s major CO2 emitters.
The upcoming climate negotiations in Copenhagen have highlighted an interesting dilemma. Nations worldwide are trying to shirk their responsibilities around emissions and their economies.
So called “developed” nations like the U.S., U.K., and Australia are having a difficult political time getting industries to swallow the fact that big changes need to happen. Industry needs to clean up its act. Of course, then the political dance begins:
- “But what about xyz country? Are they going to do it too?” Yes, yes, always point the finger somewhere else. Someone else should be the leader, start things off, too risky for us.
- “Developing countries should do their bit!” Undoubtedly the case, but perhaps those who have been polluting in droves since the start of the industrial revolution should take the first step.
- “But it will RUIN industry! It will be a calamity! Jobs destroyed! Lives ruined! We simply cannot afford to change!” Unfortunately, the same logic was used at one point to justify slavery, and many other sad practices. It is a classic technique used to frighten and scare people away from the real issue at hand. In this case, the cost of climate change will pale all other costs by comparison. Can we really take that risk?
In spite of the fact that President Obama is facing an uphill battle – in his own party – on domestic climate change legislation; and, with China taking every opportunity to hide behind their “developing” status, both the US and China used the UN General Assembly to ramp up rhetoric on climate change. To misquote the Bard, “methinks they doth protest too much.”
With every new splashy promise made, the December climate change conference in Copenhagen is threatening to become little more than a public relations event with little real concerted action. More climate talks are on the agenda for the G20 in Pittsburgh, but Obama and his team should avoid making the push for global leadership on climate change into a new breed of arms race because its a battle that the US cannot win.
Despite a global recession, carbon dioxide emissions rose by 1.94 percent in 2008 to 31.5 billion tons, the 10th straight year of significant increases, according to the German renewable energy institute, IWR.
The institute calculated the increase using official government figures, noting that CO2 emissions have risen by 40 percent since 1990 — the year against which emissions reductions were to be measured for the 1997 Kyoto Protocol limiting greenhouse gases.