1.1. World cannot afford to ignore climate change, Ban says at New Delhi summit
5 February 2009, UN
The world must tackle the growing threat of climate change, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a sustainable development summit in New Delhi today, stressing that the crisis threatens to roll back development gains and lead to further economic and social misery.
“We cannot afford to ignore or underestimate this existential threat. Failure to combat climate change will increase poverty and hardship,” Mr. Ban said upon receiving the Sustainable Development Leadership Award at the summit taking place in the Indian capital.
“It will destabilize economies, breed insecurity in many countries and undermine our goals for sustainable development,” he told the gathering.
Mr. Ban, who has made climate change the priority of his mandate as United Nations chief, stressed that tackling the threat will require “all our leadership, all our commitment, all our ingenuity.”
While facing up to the crisis will not be easy, he noted, it does provide an “exciting opportunity” to make progress on a range of sustainable development issues.
“By pursuing a green economy based on efficient and equitable resource use, we will cut down greenhouse gas emissions and protect essential ecosystems.
“At the same time, we will reinvigorate national economies, create employment and livelihood opportunities, improve human well-being and achieve our sustainable development targets,” said the Secretary-General.
Looking ahead to the crucial climate change negotiations scheduled for December in Copenhagen, Mr. Ban stressed the need to achieve an ambitious, comprehensive and ratifiable agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. A successful outcome will depend on resolving three main political challenges, he added.
First, Copenhagen must clarify commitments of developed countries to reduce their emissions, by setting ambitious mid-term targets, with credible baselines. Also important is to achieve clarity on what mitigation actions developing countries will be prepared to make.
Secondly, Copenhagen must advance on the issue of financing the mitigation and adaptation needs of developing countries.
Thirdly, governments, as well as the UN system must come up with credible solutions for the governance of new funds, and for their implementation response.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Ban met with CEOs of Indian industry and heard about how they plan to respond to climate change issues. He emphasized that India has what it takes to lead on green technology.
“Already India has shown ingenuity and dedication. Industrialists here have moved forward on new energy technologies. I would encourage you to intensify this work and engage even more with other international efforts in this field,” he told the gathering.
The Secretary-General arrived in New Delhi, following visits to neighbouring Pakistan and Afghanistan yesterday, culminating two weeks of travel through Europe, Africa and Asia.
While in the Indian capital, Mr. Ban also met with Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee, with whom he discussed the regional situation following the Mumbai attacks, the Secretary-General’s efforts to foster regional cooperation and India’s important role in dealing with climate change.
He also discussed the regional security situation following the Mumbai attacks with Indian National Security Adviser M. K. Narayanan. They also talked about the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka and progress in Nepal.
The Secretary-General discussed development and climate change with Sonia Gandhi, leader of the United Progressive Alliance.
Also today, Mr. Ban met with his Special Adviser, Ibrahim Gambari, who briefed the Secretary-General on the outcome of his recent 31 January to 3 February visit to Myanmar.
1.2. United on climate change: Obama’s Chinese revolution
8 February 2009, the independent
Barack Obama is to invite China to join the United States in an effort by the world’s two biggest polluters to stop global warming running out of control.
Hillary Clinton, his Secretary of State, is to raise the prospect of a "strong, constructive partnership" to combat climate change on a visit to Beijing next week, and the President is seriously considering a proposal from many of his most senior advisers to hold a summit with the Chinese leadership to launch the plan.
Last week, China’s ambassador to the US, Zhou Wenzhong, made it clear that his government would welcome "co-operation on energy and climate change" with the US. Such unprecedented teamwork would transform the world’s prospects for agreeing radical measures to combat global warming, and – senior Obama administration officials believe – lay the foundation of a new relationship between the two most powerful countries in the world.
1.3. Scientists plan emergency summit on climate change
9 February 2009, guardian.co.uk
Scientists are to hold an emergency summit to warn the world’s politicians they are being too timid in their response to global warming.
Climate experts from across the world will gather in Copenhagen next month to agree a stark message to policy makers, which they hope will break the political deadlock on efforts to curb rising temperatures. The meeting follows "disturbing" studies that suggest global warming could strike harder and faster than expected.
It comes ahead of a year of high-level political discussions on climate change, which climax with international negotiations in Copenhagen in December, where officials will try to hammer out a successor to the Kyoto protocol.
Katherine Richardson, a marine biologist at the University of Copenhagen, who is organising next month’s event, said: "This is not a regular scientific conference. This is a deliberate attempt to influence policy."
The meeting will publish an update to the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Richardson said the IPCC report was "wishy-washy" on issues such as sea level rise. "The IPCC talks of a 40cm sea rise this century. Well, if the consensus now is a rise of a metre or more then they need to know that."
A number of studies published since the IPCC report was prepared show that carbon emissions are rising faster than expected and that existing greenhouse gas targets may not be enough to prevent catastrophic temperature rise. Climate experts, including Jim Hansen, of Nasa, have warned about so-called "tipping points" that could lead to runaway warming and rapid sea level rise.
Bob Watson, a former head of the IPCC and chief scientist in the environment department, Defra, said: "Certainly in Defra they’re aware of the situation. Whether all governments are aware of it is another matter. Even without the new information there was enough to make most policy makers think that urgent action was absolutely essential. The new information only strengthens that and pushes it even harder."
One issue to be addressed next month is whether it is still possible to limit average global temperature rise to 2C, which the EU defines as dangerous. Richardson said a key question for politicians is the balance between efforts to limit warming and steps to adapt to the likely consequences. Watson has warned that nations should prepare for an average rise of 4C. The IPCC said temperatures could soar by up to 6C by 2100 if current rates of carbon pollution continue. Martin Parry, a British scientist who jointly chaired the IPCC working group on impacts for the 2007 report, and will attend next month’s meeting, said: "I think it’s a good idea. I would have thought most of this stuff is out there already but it deserves to be brought together and hammered home in a credible way."
A number of "disturbing" trends seem to have accelerated since the IPCC report was published, he said, such as a decrease in the amount of carbon pollution absorbed in the oceans, and an increase in Greenland ice melt. But he denied that the new findings made the IPCC report obsolete. "They are not so radical as to undermine the report. They reinforce it."
2.1. France’s Nuclear Failures
30 November 2008, Greenpeace
The great illusion of nuclear energy
Today, the world is confronted with dangerous climate change that threatens the lives of millions of people and the ecological integrity of the entire planet. To avoid the most dangerous effects of climate change, we must at least halve our carbon emissions by 2050. The energy investment decisions taken today will determine whether we will achieve the necessary CO2 emission reductions in time.
The nuclear industry, in decline for several decades, has seized upon the climate crisis as a revival opportunity, aggressively promoting nuclear technology as a ‘low-carbon’ means of generating electricity and thus an important part of our future energy mix. However, nuclear power forms an expensive and dangerous distraction from the real solutions to climate change – the necessary greenhouse gas reduction targets can only be met through using the proven alternatives of renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency.
At a time when France is setting itself up as the political and industrial champion of a supposed worldwide expansion of nuclear power, Global Chance – an association that includes among its members several of France’s few independent nuclear experts – has produced a report that shows how France’s nuclear promises are a dangerous illusion. France is locked into nuclear power in a way that presents an obstacle to the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures.
The Global Chance report – Nuclear power, the great illusion: promises, setbacks and threats, shows:
• how France’s nuclear programme fails to rise to the challenges of climate change and energy security;
• how France has not benefited economically from their ‘all electric, all nuclear’ approach
• how nuclear power is liable to suffer serious accidents – whether due to system failure, natural disaster or deliberate attack
• how no satisfactory solution has been found for the management of long-term waste; and
• how France contributes to proliferation, which remains a major risk for global security.
This Greenpeace briefing summarises the lessons that can be drawn from the Global Chance report.
Download document: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/frances-nuclear-failures-report
2.2. Wind at work
Wind energy and job creation in the EU
By the European Wind Energy Association
3.1. Ireland sets electric vehicle goal
2 February 2009, www.thegreencarwebsite.co.uk
Towards the end of 2008, the Irish Government set a target that 10 per cent of all vehicles in its transport fleet be powered by electricity by 2020. Now more details have been revealed about the proposals.
The plans will work by introducing tax incentives for businesses to buy electric vehicles. According to the details, businesses will be able to write-off 100 per cent of the purchase cost against tax, courtesy of the Accelerated Capital Allowance Scheme.
In addition, €1million will be poured into the Sustainable Energy Ireland project, which will research, develop and demonstrate vehicles nationally. There will also be assistance for individuals to buy the electric cars – with a buyer’s guide and a cost of ownership calculator to be introduced by Sustainable Energy Ireland. Finally, the electric vehicle plans will also involve the establishment of a national task force to examine infrastructure options for a national roll-out of the vehicles.
According to the report by Green Car Congress, if implemented there will be around 250,000 electric cars on Irish roads over the next 11 years. Considerable investment is expected.
4.1. Japan calls on nations to cut emissions
8 February 2009, The Seattle Times
The government of Japan has compiled a report proposing that China and other emerging economies set energy-saving targets to be pursued by each country and major industries in each nation to complement a post-Kyoto Protocol framework that will be launched in 2013.
The report also suggests that each of the developing nations, which are not obliged to cut greenhouse-gas emissions under the current protocol, voluntarily draw up an action plan for that purpose.
The government has submitted the report to the secretariat of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Success in international negotiations for the post-Kyoto Protocol process depends on whether major nations and developing countries can overcome their differences.
The government has previously proposed that developing countries be obligated to cut greenhouse-gas emissions to certain targets, depending on their level of economic development.
The government made many changes to its previous proposal in an attempt to create a new proposal that will be easier for developing countries to accept.
The report proposes that emerging economies set energy-saving indicators for themselves and for each of their major industries, such as the steel and cement industries.
It suggests emerging nations ensure greenhouse-gas emissions — in comparison with each nation’s gross national product — should not exceed predetermined targets. In addition, the report states that each country should present estimates of the total amount of future emissions.
The report also proposes that developed nations promise to cut a certain amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the future.
Because countries lagging behind in energy-saving efforts can cut more greenhouse gas with less cost, the report also proposes an analysis of how much each country can cut emissions in the future to set emissions reduction targets using fair and comparable methods.
The report suggests the international community should consider a new financial-aid framework for developing countries to reduce the influence of floods and droughts. It also proposes setting up an advisory group to promote technology transfers from developed countries to developing nations.
The UNFCCC secretariat has requested that member nations present their opinions on the terms of an agreement at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in Copenhagen in December.
The government aims to put emerging nations under the control of a greenhouse-gas-emissions-reduction framework, while making concessions to developing countries.
In its suggestion presented in September, the government criticized the Kyoto Protocol for categorizing member nations into only developed and developing nations and said developing countries should be required to cut emissions according to their development levels.
Developing countries criticized Japan for attempting to divide them and insist they will voluntarily cut emissions.
At the 14th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP14) held in Poland in December, developed countries requested that developing nations participate in sector-based reduction efforts.
However, Brazil, China and South Africa have insisted that each nation voluntarily cut emissions.
The government hopes its new proposal will urge developing countries to cooperate in emissions-reduction efforts and eventually reduce global emissions.
5.1. *Programme Manager – Clean Freight*
T&E, the principal environmental organisation active on transport issues at
EU level, seeks a *Programme Manager – Clean Freight* For further information, please see our website: www.transportenvironment.org/pages/jobs
Deadline for applications: Monday 2 March, 2009
5.2. Looking for a career with Oxfam?
We work with over 3,000 partners in more than 100 countries and employ staff in a wide variety of posts. We will post some vacancies here but for more extensive employment opportunities please visit the links to Oxfam affiliate organizations listed on this page. Thank you for your interest in Oxfam!
Job Opportunities with Oxfam International:
Climate Change and EU Development Policy Adviser
Closing date:16 February 2009, 17:00
International Health & Education Campaign Coordinator, Brussels
Closing date: 16 February 2009, 17:00
Head of Office, Addis Ababa
Closing date: 16 February 2009, 23:59
Web Team Intern
Closing date: 20 February 2009, 17:00
Extranet Team Intern
Closing date: 20 February 2009, 17:00
6.1. Seventh session of the AWG-KP and fifth session of the AWG-LCA
29 March-08 April 2009,Bonn, Germany
The provisional agendas for the seventh session of the AWG-KP and the fifth session of the AWG-LCA are now available online.
More at: http://unfccc.int/2860.php
6.2. CDM-EB 45 – Executive Board of the Clean Development Mechanism
11-13 February 2009
The Proposed agenda for the 45th meeting of the Executive Board is now available online.
More at: http://cdm.unfccc.int/EB/045/index.html
6.3. ISC 14 – Joint Implementation Supervisory Committee
17-18 February 2009,Bonn, Germany
The proposed agenda for the 14th meeting of the Joint Implementation Supervisory Committee is now available online.
More at: http://ji.unfccc.int/Sup_Committee/Meetings/014/index.html
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