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Agreement for New Global Treaty To Reduce Emissions

Posted on 11 December 2011 by admin

By Stephen Leahy

As the United Nations climate negotiations ended with the world’s nations still to agree on a new global treaty to reduce carbon emissions, others urge: "Stop Talking. Start Planting." Credit: Tinus de Jager/IPS

DURBAN, South Africa, Dec 11 (IPS) – The world is increasingly committed to dangerous levels of global warming with yet another failure by nations of the world to agree to needed reductions in carbon emissions here in Durban. However, as the 17th Conference of Parties ended early Sunday morning, members did agree to talk about a new global treaty to reduce emissions.

 

 

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Durban Text Dubbed a “Death Sentence for Africa”

Posted on 09 December 2011 by admin

Durban leading the African response to climate change? Credit: IPS Africa

By Stephen Leahy

DURBAN, South Africa, Dec 9, 2011 (IPS) No one is happy late Friday at the very contentious U.N. climate talks that went into extra time on Saturday. As the lights flicker on a rainy night here, the partial power failure echoes the failure of the multilateral process, according to civil society and some countries. Continue Reading

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Q&A: “By 2020 it Will be Too Late”

Posted on 09 December 2011 by admin

WWF climate scientist Regine Günther. Credit: Kristin Palitza/IPS

Kristin Palitza spoke to REGINE GÜNTHER, climate protection and energy policy chief at the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), about the dangers climate change poses to security and livelihoods.

DURBAN, South Africa, Dec 9 (IPS) - Despite the high risk, it remains difficult to convince politicians to take immediate action to prevent further climate change and make available the necessary funds to do so. Scientists have warned repeatedly of the effects of climate change: If governments will not act fast, they will cause an irreversible catastrophe.

 

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Saving the Forests with Indigenous Knowledge

Posted on 09 December 2011 by admin

By Isaiah Esipisu*

DURBAN, South Africa, Dec 9 (IPS) – For the Laibon community, a sub-tribe of Kenya’s Maasai ethnic group, the 33,000-hectare Loita Forest in the country’s Rift Valley Province is more than just a forest. It is a shrine.

Olonana Ole Pulei’s community is a sub-tribe of Kenya’s Maasai ethnic group. Credit: Isaiah Esipisu/IPS

 

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Cambio climático es urgente, lo vemos después

Posted on 08 December 2011 by admin

Los países que participan de las negociaciones sobre el clima admitieron públicamente que sus actuales recortes de emisiones contaminantes no podrán limitar el recalentamiento planetario en menos de dos grados. Crédito: Zukiswa Zimela/IPS

Por Stephen Leahy

DURBAN, Sudáfrica, 8 dic (IPS) – Los países que participan de las negociaciones sobre el clima admitieron públicamente que sus actuales recortes de emisiones contaminantes no podrán limitar el recalentamiento planetario en menos de dos grados. Continue Reading

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Kyoto Protocol – Hopes for Tangible Results Remain Slim

Posted on 08 December 2011 by admin

By Kristin Palitza

DURBAN, South Africa, Dec 8 (IPS) – The last hours of the 17th United Nations climate change summit in Durban have begun. Since the arrival of almost 150 ministers and heads of state on Tuesday, negotiations have moved to the political level. They are expected to debate the way forward until late Friday night, or even Saturday morning.

Almost nobody believes that a second, comprehensive commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is still possible. / Zukiswa Zimela/IPS

 

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Failure to Bridge the "Emissions Gap" Brings Economic Crisis

Posted on 08 December 2011 by admin

By Stephen Leahy

DURBAN, South Africa, Dec 8 (IPS) – Countries at the United Nations climate change negotiations have publicly acknowledged their current pledges to reduce carbon emissions will not result in limiting global warming to less than two degrees Celsius.

Reducing carbon emissions will not result in limiting global warming to less than two degrees Celsius. Credit: Zukiswa Zimela

 

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What role for Old King Coal?

Posted on 08 December 2011 by admin

Credit: Stephen de Tarczynski/IPS

Busani Bafana

DURBAN, South Africa, Dec 8 — Coal currently fuels 40 percent of global electricity needs, according to the World Coal Association, which argues there is a place for the abundantly available fuel even in a future with reduced emissions.

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End Climate Change Dictatorship

Posted on 08 December 2011 by admin

Kofi Annan says lack of funds must not hold back the fight against climate change. Credit: Zuki Zimela/IPS

By Busani Bafana

Durban, Dec. 7 — The global financial crunch is not a reason to avoid climate-friendly investments that will help Africa’s agriculture grow says former UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan.

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High stakes, low chance of success for vulnerable states

Posted on 08 December 2011 by admin

By Joshua Kyalimpa

Credit: Naimul Haq/IPS

Entire societies will be lost forever if we delay reaching a climate change agreement in Durban, warns Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of the Coastal Association for Social Transformation Trust (COAST).

“Let us not be witness to that unfortunate happening. Extreme events beyond everybody’s expectation are now observed more and more frequently and we know the consequence of that,” Chowdhury said.

Governments of low-lying island states such as the Maldives, the Bahamas, or the Pacific nation of Kiribati say their very physical existence is threatened by sea level rise of one metre – anticipated to take place by 2100.

Chowdhury’s home country, Bangladesh, is also caught in the crosshairs of global warming – rising temperatures and sea levels, changing weather patterns increasing catastrophic flooding from both swollen rivers and storm surges from intensifying monsoons will hit this low-lying, agriculture-dependent country full in the face.

A map produced by the United Nations Environment Programme shows that an area of this South Asian state that is home to 15 million people will be entirely submerged by a one-metre rise in sea levels. Long before then, increasing numbers of floods will erode riverbanks, and destroy homes, farms, roads and other infrastructure while taking longer to recede, hampering agriculture. Lingering floodwater will test public health systems wrestling with waterborne diseases.

The fears of Bangladesh and other low-lying states are an urgent reminder as the 17th Conference of Parties remains unlikely to agree on even a minimal programme of emissions reductions by developed countries – historically the worst polluters – or financial assistance for vulnerable developing nations.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon poured cold water on the talks Tuesday Dec. 6 when he told delegates that a global, legally-binding deal on climate change could well be off the agenda for now. He blamed grave economic troubles in many countries for overshadowing the talks, which are now in their second week but little tangible progress before they conclude on Dec. 10.

South African Bishop Geoff Davies head of the Anglican Church compared rich countries’ behaviour in Durban to apartheid, saying wealthy nations were trying to keep power and wealth for themselves. “Decision makers need to put the needs of people and the planet before profits.”

The parties remain sharply divided. Coastal states, small island nations and the Africa group are pushing for a second commitment by developed countries to reduce emissions to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. The U.S. and Canada say any new commitment should be delayed until after 2020. These two governments are also rejecting a legally-binding global agreement. Japan at one point threatened to pull out altogether.

The European Union has taken up a position somewhere in the middle, proposing a second commitment period to start somewhere around 2015. The EU also says this is on condition that other polluters – such as fast-growing China – are brought on board.

“We have committed under Kyoto and we have actually over achieved in the first commitment period,” said Connie Hedegaard, the European Commissioner for Climate Action. “But Europe only accounts for 11 percent of global emissions and that is why we are saying two things. We are ready to agree a second commitment period even though the family of countries who are ready to do so is shrinking; however we need reassurance that if we lay down a bridge to the future, then others will follow.”

The Congolese chair of the Africa Group, Tosi Mpanu Mpanu, says it’s hard to understand why the developed countries are behaving as they are.

“They says they want rules on climate change, but they don’t like the Kyoto Protocol. It’s hard to comprehend. If you want the mango, then you have to like the mango tree also,” he said. “If you want the carbon markets to continue, you must have robust transparent rules to continue – you have to keep the mango tree (binding emissions reduction agreements).”

He said the Africa Group is looking to the rich countries which have enjoyed a certain level of development at the cost of everyone’s atmosphere to now show leadership on climate change.

“They have shown us economic leadership, they have shown us political leadership and sometimes even military leadership, so let’s see them show us climate leadership.”

The pessimsism expressed by Secretary General Ban and COAST’s Chowdhury hangs over the conference venue, but some – like Paul Mafabi, a negotiator from Uganda – say it was already foregone conclusion that a deal would not be struck because of the economic crisis gripping the biggest offenders.

It’s perhaps worth remembering that small island and developing states are threatened not just by economic crisis, but by devastating and permanent disaster. And the real baseline demand of small island and developing states – measures to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and avoid devastating changes in these vulnerable states – is not even on the table.

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