1.1. No decision now on second commitment to
5 December 2010, The Hindu
As the first week of negotiations draws to a close at the United Nations climate change conference here, it seems that
To add to this the ALBA or the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, which comprise nations of the South America and the Caribbean, has upped the ante by demanding a firm commitment from developed nations to the second phase of the
While Ms. Figueres, the
A balanced outcome implied that a concrete outcome can be reached on forestry, finance, mitigation, Measurement Reporting and Verification/International Consultation and Analysis and a whole package of these issues. The role of all countries was important in reducing greenhouse gases (GHG)s. “We should cooperate with each other, not criticise each other,” he remarked.
No secret Mexican text
Ms. Figueres, briefing the press, denied there was any secret Mexican text.
The challenge is also to go beyond the stated positions of various countries and look for areas of compromise, she pointed out. The
The EU too stressed on the constructive aspects of the negotiations and said the magical word at
‘Price of inaction’
Twenty more years of inaction would lead to nearly one million deaths a year by 2030 due to climate change, says a new report analysing climate change impacts, and even industrialised countries are not spared, suffering more than half of all economic costs.
The Climate Vulnerability Monitor prepared by DARA, a humanitarian research organisation, and the Climate Vulnerable Forum, a group of the most vulnerable countries, launched a report on Thursday which examined the vulnerabilities in all regions of the world to climate change. It collates existing information and reports, to focus on the impact of weather changes, and categorises countries according to their vulnerability. It also assesses each country according to estimated effects in health, weather disasters, human habitat loss, and economic stress on affected sectors and natural resources.
1.2. 2010 sets new temperature records
Temperatures reached record levels in several regions during 2010, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says, confirming the year is likely to be among the warmest three on record.
The three main temperature records show 2010 as the warmest, or joint warmest, year in the instrumental record.
The UK Met Office suggests 2011 will be cooler, as La Nina conditions dominate.
This brings colder than average water to the top of the eastern
The two leading US analyses of global temperature show that up until the end of October, 2010 was the warmest year in the instrumental record going back to 1850.
The global average temperature was 0.58C above the average for 1961-90 according to Nasa, while the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) put the figure at 0.54 above.
The Met Office released its own analysis last week.
But with La Nina conditions continuing, 2010 could slip back into second or third place by the time data for November and December is included, it says.
Continue reading the main story
Those who hoped that global warming would just go away will be disappointed by today’s announcements”
End Quote Professor Mark Maslin UCL
If La Nina continues into next year, as expected, that could make 2011 cooler than 2010 – though still well above the 1961-90 average.
The UK itself, meanwhile, is on course to see the coldest year since 1996, due to the state of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) – a weather phenomenon that affects the distribution of heat within the northern hemisphere.
CRU’s Professor Phil Jones – one of the scientists at the centre of the "ClimateGate" issue earlier in the year – cautioned that annual temperatures were not a good indicator of the progression of global warming as driven by greenhouse gas emissions.
"Year-to-year variability is dominated by features such as the NAO and El Nino," he told BBC News.
"But if you want to look at the underlying trend, you need to look at the decadal timescale, and that’s when you detect the anthropogenic influence.
"In terms of looking at recent years, 1998 was the most anomalous – the remaining top 10 warmest years in the series have all occurred since 2000."
The WMO highlighted weather extremes in several parts of the world during 2010, which it says are consistent with the picture of man-made global warming.
In July, temperatures in
Some other parts of western
Pakistan experienced the worst floods in its documented history, the WMO says, while parts of the Amazon saw a serious drought.
Canada as a whole experienced its warmest year in the instrumental record.
"Only limited land areas had below-normal temperatures in 2010," the WMO concludes.
Professor James Crabbe from the
"Coral bleaching has been observed in every ocean and major sea in which coral occurs, from the Persian Gulf to southeast Asia, the Central Pacific to the Caribbean – only the second time this has happened, the first being 1998," he said.
"This has serious implications for the many populations – about one billion people – who live near coral reefs and rely on them for their livelihoods and nutrition."
The WMO released the findings – as it always does – during the annual UN climate meeting, held this year in
Professor Mark Maslin, director of the Environment Institute at University College London, said negotiators should pay renewed attention to the data.
"Those who hoped that global warming would just go away will be disappointed by today’s announcements," he said.
"It shows that the science underpinning the negotiations at
2 December 2010, AFP
Mexico‘s environment minister said Thursday that a UN climate conference in Cancun would likely reach at least two accords, rejecting criticism from
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Wednesday that the two-week talks on climate change "won’t result in anything" because no major leaders were attending, and that pledges to finance the fight against deforestation in Latin America, Asia and
"That’s his (Lula’s) point of view, but we’re carefully carrying out the negotiating process and we believe that, faced with natural disasters, it’s urgent to reach deals," said Rafael Elvira Quesada on Televisa channel Thursday.
At least two accords were expected to be reached during the November 29 to December 10 summit in
"Basically, what we’re expecting are two (accords): one for adaptation to climate change and the protection of woods and tropical forests, and the other for a financing fund," he said.
The meeting aims to advance efforts towards a post-2012 climate treaty after the near-disaster of the December 2009
1.4. Kyoto feud casts shadow on climate talks
6 December 2010, AFP
A feud over the Kyoto Protocol has cast a cloud over talks on future climate action, with
down and refusing to extend the treaty named for its ancient capital.
With negotiations in
"This is like a cold shower," French climate envoy Brice Lalonde, an ardent advocate of extending the Kyoto Protocol, said of the Japanese position.
Dessima Williams, who represents the alliance of small island states worried about rising sea levels from climate change, said that while
Environmental activists in
The Kyoto Protocol, negotiated in 1997 in the western Japanese city, aims for developed nations to cut emissions by an average of five percent by the end of 2012 compared with 1990 levels.
The requirement does not apply to the world’s largest economy, the
"It does not make sense to set the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol as the current Kyoto Protocol is imposing obligation on only a small part of developed countries," Japanese negotiator Hideki Minamikawa told reporters in Cancun.
Japan‘s center-left government has set an ambitious goal of curbing emissions by 25 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels. But it has struggled to meet its
Japan has instead hoped to achieve its goals through foreign aid, including funding carbon-reduction projects in developing countries. It insists that the next stage of emission cuts cover "all major emitters."
Brazil‘s top climate negotiator, Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, said that the future of the Kyoto Protocol had turned into the "key issue" at the two-week meeting.
"Solving this problem is fundamental to having a positive outcome in
The conference’s goals are already modest, a year after widespread disappointment over the
"The statement from
Chief among them are the least developed nations, which are strong supporters of the Kyoto Protocol as they argue that wealthy nations bear historic responsibility for climate change.
"Of course I’m worried," said Bangladeshi negotiator Quamrul Islam Chowdhury, calling Cancun and
Some negotiators feared a domino effect away from
"It will end up getting reduced further and further. You can’t have a second period with just Europe and
Nonetheless, some believed
"This is an opening position," Williams said. "We have to find a way around it."
1.5. WORST EU LOBBYISTS OF 2010 REVEALED – RWE, GOLDMAN SACHS AND ISDA
2 December 2010, FOEE
RWE (npower), Goldman Sachs and derivatives lobby group ISDA have been given the dubious honour of being named the Worst EU Lobbyists of 2010. The results of the dual climate and finance categories of the Worst EU Lobbying Awards 2010  were revealed today during a ceremony outside the ISDA office in Brussels.
Citizens across Europe participated in an online public vote for the most deserving of the climate and finance nominees. Voters sent a clear message to EU transparency and ethics Commissioner Maroš Šefcovic that a major clean-up of the Brussels lobbying scene is urgently needed, and it’s time the European Commission put public interest above the commercial interests of large companies .
In the climate category , German energy giant RWE’s subsidiary npower, nominated for claiming to be green while lobbying to keep its dirty coal- and oil-fired power plants open, won with 58% of the total vote. BusinessEurope, nominated for its aggressive lobbying to block effective climate action in the EU while claiming to support action to protect the climate, took second place with 24% of the total votes and Arcelor-Mittal, the steel Industry “fat cat”, came in third with 18% of the total votes.
Nina Katzemich, speaking for the organisers of the 2010 Worst EU Lobbying Awards, said: "These awards show that people around Europe are fed up with deceptive lobbying practices used by big business when it comes to climate regulation. RWE claims to be green but has pulled out all the stops to keep its dirty power plants open, promoting their profits over public interests. If the European Commission is serious about tackling climate change, it must stop listening one-sidedly to corporations. It can make a new start – now, in Cancun.”
In the finance category , Goldman Sachs and derivatives lobby group ISDA, nominated for aggressive lobbying to defend their ‘financial weapons of mass destruction’, took first place with 59% of the total vote. Royal Bank of Scotland (23%) took second, nominated for secretly lobbying in Brussels and for exploiting insider contacts. Hedge funds and private equity lobby groups AIMA and EVCA (18%) took third, nominated for deceptive lobbying to block regulation of damaging speculation in the financial sector.
Paul de Clerck, speaking for the organisers of the 2010 Worst EU Lobbying Awards, said: “Despite the unprecedented crisis following the financial meltdown, intense lobbying by large banks and investment firms continues to delay and seriously water-down much-needed regulatory reforms. While people around the world are suffering severe consequences, corporate lobbyists are blocking any measure that could limit the massive profits of banks. This is unacceptable. We call on the European Commission to put an end to the privileged access granted to big business, for instance limiting their access to EU advisory groups on future financial regulation.”
The awards are part of an ongoing campaign to expose and counter dirty lobbying tactics and privileged access impacting on EU decision-making. For more information about this year’s nominees, and to follow future developments, please visit: www.worstlobby.eu
30 November 2010, CAN-E
The EU has had the most impact in international climate negotiations by being the first to unilaterally adopt clear, ambitious positions. The success of this approach has been demonstrated by EU-led initiatives such as the 2 degrees target to limit global temperature rise and putting forward the concept of fast start finance. The EU was also first to present the 100 billion figure for medium term climate finance for developing countries.
Last year in
On the other hand, there appears to be widespread agreement from countries planning to attend the talks in
The 2012 expiration of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is looming, so the
Another vital ingredient needed for effective progress in
Over the past year, politics have replaced science as the determining factor for industrialized countries’ emission reductions pledges. Now that all the false accusations that were used to try to discredit climate science over the past year have been proven wrong, it is the right time to bring science back to the UNFCCC by acknowledging the gigatonne gap and how inadequate the current pledges are for avoiding dangerous climate change. We must start a process for increasing emissions reduction pledges to the required level. The EU can play an important role in making reduction targets meet science by increasing its 20% target to 30%.
The NGO community stands ready to help the EU fight for these crucial issues, which can bring about significant change in
5 December 2010, Reuters
China is hopeful of "positive results" in the U.N. climate talks in
There is widespread pessimism about the ongoing talks, as rich and developing nations have clashed over the future of the Kyoto Protocol for fighting global warming.
"As long as all parties have sincere political wills, China thinks the talks will eventually achieve positive and meaningful results, and is confident that it will reflect what was laid out in the Bali road map," Chinese negotiator Su Wei told Xinhua.
China has said that climate talks should be guided by U.N. texts worked out since a meeting in
Su said that the parties should compromise on the "small problems," but added that there is "no room for compromise on principles," for example, on the issue of whether the Kyoto Protocol should continue.
China accused some developed nations on Friday of seeking to kill the Kyoto Protocol pact — the United Nations’ main weapon in the fight against climate change to curb global warming — in a damaging standoff with
China, the world’s top carbon emitter, has long said it will not bow to pressure to rethink the Protocol.
Kyoto’s first phase, which binds about 40 rich nations to meet emissions targets, expires in 2012 and it is not clear on what happens after that, worrying investors who want long-term certainty on climate policies and financing.
Nearly all wealthy countries have signed up to legally binding emissions goals under
Developing nations, including
But developing countries such as
30 November 2010, Reuters
Farmers in this iron-roof village in
Addax Bioenergy, part of privately-owned Swiss Addax & Oryx Group, says it went through long consultations with locals when it won a lease for around 50,000 hectares (123,600 acres) for ethanol sugarcane in the poor West African country’s centre.
Despite that, a land dispute has flared up, one that highlights a major obstacle to efforts to tackle climate change by growing fuel in some of the world’s poorest places.
"We were tricked. We feel the way we’re being treated is not in line with our agreement," said rice farmer Alie Bangura, 68. "They promised things when we gave up our land that didn’t happen."
Addax says a large share of a competitive $12 per hectare goes directly to farmers, rather than via landlords or officials, and that a development programme to help farmers improve yields will ensure all villages have enough to eat.
Proponents of biofuel crops in rural Africa say they will help fight climate change, meet Africa’s own chronic energy shortages and give badly needed income from under-used farmland; critics say they take food out of hungry mouths by turning arable land over to feed cars, stoking tension with communities.
As environment ministers gathered in the Mexican resort of
By one estimate, satisfying the EU’s biofuel targets alone will require an additional 4.5 million hectares of land by 2020, an area the size of
Environmental groups have become alarmed at the pace with which vast tracts in
A study by Friends of the Earth in August said biofuel demand was driving a new "land grab" in
Ethiopia has earmarked 700,000 hectares for sugarcane and up to 23 million for jatropha. In
"The rush is definitely still ongoing. It is quite alarming the rate of land acquisitions by large companies," Greenpeace Africa director Olivia Langhoff told Reuters by phone.
"It’s doubtful that Africans will see any benefits. There’s very little involvement from local communities or farmers."
Langhoff said that in many cases promises are made that only fallow or marginal land will be used, but the plantation expands into good land as demand increases, squeezing out food crops.
Residents near the Addax plantation, many of whom signed away their land with thumb prints because they can’t write, say they thought the farm wouldn’t affect their fields in what they call "bolilands", seasonally waterlogged areas suitable for rice growing, because the sugarcane is being planted in drier areas.
But irrigation channels dug up by the company have drained some of the bolilands, they say, damaging their rice fields. Other food crops of theirs such as cassava and wild palm trees used for cooking oil were razed when it developed the land.
"Even if Addax leaves the bolilands we will not be able to work," said farmer Abdulai Serry in Lungi Ache village. "They have dug up canals and the water is no longer settling."
"NO SILVER BULLET"
Addax, which negotiated the lease directly with local people for its
"Some of those who complain, it’s out of ignorance," Addax social affairs manager Aminata Kamara told Reuters. "When they see outside people, they don’t see the benefits they will get."
But on a continent where most people in rural areas live off subsistence farming and soaring populations compete for dwindling earth, conflicts over arable land are common. Adding foreign buyers in the mix can be explosive.
In 2008 high food prices prompted countries like
And, as in
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, home of the world’s second-biggest tropical forest,
Biofuel produced this way is also likely to fall foul of European environmental rules.
Most environment experts think biofuels do have a future in
"Biofuels can in
2.2. Lufthansa Plans to Be First to Test Biofuels on Regular Flights
29 November 2010, Bloomberg
Deutsche Lufthansa AG,
Kerosene derived from plant oils will make up 50 percent of the fuel mix for one engine on an Airbus SAS A321 airliner flying on the Hamburg-Frankfurt route, Joachim Buse, head of Lufthansa’s aviation-biofuel program, told reporters today in
Carriers including British Airways Plc and Continental Airline Inc. are trying to curb emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming and have been making test flights powered by biofuels made from plants such as jatropha and carmelina. Cologne, Germany-based Lufthansa plans to use the fuels in its entire fleet by 2020 but won’t exceed a mix of 5 percent to 10 percent because of short supply, Buse said.
“We now have a fuel that combines reliable and powerful propulsion and which, unlike fossil fuels, has a positive CO2 balance,” Buse said. “It doesn’t look like we’ll have an alternative to combustion in jet engines for the next 40 to 50 years.”
Boeing Co., the world’s second-biggest maker of commercial aircraft, forecasts that airlines will derive 1 percent of their fuel from plants by 2015. Jet-fuel prices in northwest
The bio-synthetic kerosene, which is produced by Espoo, Finland-based Neste Oil Oyj, is lighter and contains as much as 4 percent more energy than regular kerosene, Buse said. The test program will cost 6.6 million euros, of which Lufthansa will bear 4.1 million euros, he said.
2.3. Growing resource use could damage EU economy, EEA warns
6 December 2010, EurActiv
Rising global demand for natural resources will threaten economic health and social cohesion in
The Agency’s fourth Environment State and Outlook report, published on Tuesday (30 November), argues that increasing demand for resources to feed, clothe, house and transport people is putting pressure on ecosystems, economies and social cohesion – in Europe and elsewhere.
"We are consuming more natural resources than is ecologically stable. This is true for both
Reversing the pattern would require a complete shift to a resource-efficient economy where all environmental resources are considered in production consumption and global trade decisions, the report argues.
Well-designed environmental policies continue to improve
But global trends beyond European politicians’ control, such as changing demographic patterns, accelerating rates of urbanisation or economic power shifts, could have unexpected consequences for the sustainable development of Europe’s economy, the report warns.
The report points out that the EU has already cut its greenhouse gas emissions 17% below 1990 levels, bringing it close to achieving its 20% target for 2020. However, not all is good news as the bloc’s transport emissions have surged by 24% in the meantime, it adds.
Moreover, the EU’s CO2 cuts and others made globally are "far from sufficient to keep average world temperature increases below 2°C," it argues.
The Agency’s call for greater efforts to cut emissions and take adaptation measures to increase Europe’s resilience comes as world leaders are gathering in
3.1. GDP and its enemies: the Questionable Search for a Happiness Index
The financial crisis and global warming have led to a crisis of confidence in our traditional ways of measuring wealth and as a result, a number of alternative indexes have been proposed.
However, in the CES policy brief, Johan Norberg looks at the alternatives to the GDP and concludes that they are constructed with a specific political agenda in mind and are easily manipulated by governments.
Therefore, he suggests addressing the present environmental and financial problems within the intellectual framework of economic growth which takes into account a liberal, pluralistic society where people have different interests, preferences and attitudes to well-being.
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