Archive | December 11th, 2009

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The World Is Sinking in Copenhagen

Posted on 11 December 2009 by editor

Delegates of the chief negotiating groups in tense press conference. Credit: Raúl Pierri/IPS

Delegates of the chief negotiating groups in tense press conference. Credit: Raúl Pierri/IPS

By Raúl Pierri

COPENHAGEN (IPS/TerraViva) Poor countries will suffer “horrendous” impacts if an agreement isn’t reached by the end of the climate change summit in Copenhagen. That was the warning launched by the developing South Friday during the talks that remained as bogged down at the end of the first week as at the start.

A draft agreement circulated Friday at the COP15 graphically illustrates the numerous points of disagreement, especially in terms of target numbers and timeframes, because they are set off by square brackets. Continue Reading

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El mundo se hunde en Copenhague

Posted on 11 December 2009 by editor

Delegados de los principales grupos negociadores en la tensa conferencia de prensa. Crédito: Raúl Pierri/IPS

Delegados de los principales grupos negociadores en la tensa conferencia de prensa. Crédito: Raúl Pierri/IPS

Por Raúl Pierri

COPENHAGUE (IPS/TerraViva) Los más pobres del mundo sufrirán un “horrible” impacto si no se logra un acuerdo en los días que quedan de la COP-15. Ese fue el reclamo lanzado por el Sur el viernes en unas negociaciones que, al terminar su primera semana, no logran salir de la ciénaga.

El viernes se difundió el borrador de un acuerdo para la COP-15, que permite apreciar cuáles son los elementos en discordia, sobre todo cifras y años, colocados en el texto entre corchetes. Continue Reading

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Cattle, the Ignored Predator

Posted on 11 December 2009 by editor

Activists urge people to go vegetarian. Credit: Nasseem Ackbarally/IPS

Activists urge people to go vegetarian. Credit: Nasseem Ackbarally/IPS

By Mario Osava

RIO DE JANEIRO (IPS/TerraViva) – Because of its effect on the environment, cattle must be given the same priority in global agendas as nuclear weapons, wars and, in particular, climate change, says Brazilian activist João Meirelles Filho, author of two books on Amazon deforestation. Continue Reading

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East Europe, Developed or Developing?

Posted on 11 December 2009 by editor

Poland takes fossil of the day award. Credit: Ana Libisch/IPS.

Poland takes fossil of the day award. Credit: Ana Libisch/IPS.

By Claudia Ciobanu

COPENHAGEN (IPS/TerraViva) – The European Union (EU) is presenting itself as a united front during negotiations in the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference. But East European countries insist that they are developing nations and prefer to limit their aid and emissions commitments.

“All the EU aid money comes from every country, even the poorest one,” said Andres Turesson, negotiator for Sweden (the country currently holding the presidency of the EU). This statement was a show of EU unity.

But at the end of October, nine East European leaders negotiated with the rest of the EU to reduce the amounts they would contribute to the total aid amount to be committed by the union to the developing world during the Copenhagen summit. Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov declared that his country had “saved” 40-50 million euros (60 – 73 million US dollars) in this way.

It is still not clear whether this “saving” for Eastern Europe lowered the total aid amount the EU decided to commit (2.4 billion euros or 3.5 billion dollars annually, as announced in Brussels on Friday).

The prevalent view in the region is that the former communist countries are too heavily burdened by their own development needs to be able to send aid to countries in the global South.

Even environmental groups agree that the contributions made by the various EU members to external aid should be differentiated. Friends of the Earth (FoE) calls for a scheme in which the share of aid to be contributed by every country would be calculated taking in to account the levels of emissions produced and the GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

At Copenhagen, Poland, the largest and most influential East European country in the EU, argues that if it makes any financial pledges they must be purely voluntary. Under the framework of the Kyoto Protocol, Poland and the other East European states are included in Annex 1 of industrialised countries, but not in Annex 2 of industrialised countries which must pay for the costs of developing ones.

“East European countries do have a historical responsibility towards the global South which cannot be ignored,” Magda Stoczkiewicz, director of FoE Europe and a Pole herself, told TerraViva. Eastern Europe industrialised at the same pace as Western Europe during the 20th century – albeit under state socialist rather than capitalist system – so it is an equal contributor to global warming.

“But it is also true that they are less developed, so they cannot pay as much as Western Europe,” added Stoczkiewicz. “It is important to build up more solidarity inside the EU,” she explained. This would allow for the total aid given by the EU not to be lowered while not overburdening the still developing Eastern Europe.

East European countries are also posing problems in terms of greenhouse gas (GhG) emission reductions. During the fourth day of the Copenhagen talks, Mikolaj Dowgielewicz, head of the European Committee of the Polish council of ministers, declared in Brussels that the EU’s plan to reduce GhG emissions by 30 percent by 2020 on 1990 levels has no chance of being accepted by all members of the EU.

Over 90 percent of Poland’s electricity comes from coal.

Poland took the “Fossil of the Day” award in Copenhagen Thursday for actively blocking the proposed upgrade of the EU’s emissions reduction target to 30 percent from 20 percent.

“Poland is afraid of committing to 30 percent emission reductions because this would mean they will have to slow down their economy,” said Stoczkiewicz.

The FoE director said that most Polish leaders think that they can only reduce emissions by 30 percent by 2020 on 1990 levels if they start developing nuclear power.

“That is because the leaders have not done their work properly over the last 20 years,” Stoczkiewicz thinks. “The knowledge on renewables was there 20 years ago but it was not applied in Poland. And the development vision which dominates most political heads is one of continuous economic growth.”

And Poland is no exception. GhG emissions decreased in the region in the early 1990s, but they are estimated to have risen by 11 percent between 2004 and 2010. Increased car ownership and consumerism are largely to blame for this.

East Europe is unlikely to be a serious obstacle to a Copenhagen agreement. But its positions might make it difficult in the future for the EU to stick to its commitments of emission reduction.
(END/2009)

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Systematic Suppression of Systemic Solutions?

Posted on 11 December 2009 by editor

Credit: Claudius

Credit: Claudius

By Ashok Khosla *

COPENHAGUE (IPS/TerraViva) Systemic failures, such as sudden changes in climate, accelerated loss of biodiversity and rapid growth of poverty and population, can only be solved by systemic solutions that address the deeper, underlying causes of these failures.

Moreover, since many of these problems are inter-related, they generally have to be solved together – where possible – to get maximum all-round benefits at least cost; when necessary, to minimize the likelihood of ameliorating one while worsening the others. Continue Reading

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La culpa también es de las vacas

Posted on 11 December 2009 by editor

 

Por una dieta vegetariana. Crédito: Nasseem Ackbarally/IPS

Por una dieta vegetariana. Crédito: Nasseem Ackbarally/IPS

Por Mario Osava

 

RÍO DE JANEIRO (IPS/TerraViva)  La ganadería vacuna debería tener la misma prioridad que el cambio climático, las armas nucleares y las guerras en el debate internacional, pero no está en la pauta, lamentó el activista brasileño João Meirelles Filho, autor de dos libros sobre la ocupación amazónica.

En Brasil la ganadería es la mayor causa de emisiones de gases invernadero, al provocar cuatro quintos de la deforestación amazónica y tres cuartos de las quemas de bosques y vegetación agrícola en todo el país, además generar el grueso del gas metano emitido en el proceso digestivo del vacuno. Continue Reading

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Europe’s Timid Commitments

Posted on 11 December 2009 by editor

 Friends of the Earth activists demand Climate Justice. Credit: Nasseem Ackbarally/IPS.

Friends of the Earth activists demand Climate Justice. Credit: Nasseem Ackbarally/IPS

By Claudia Ciobanu

COPENHAGEN (IPS/TerraViva) – “Decision-makers should stop thinking in realpolitik terms and acknowledge that we are out of time,’’ says Magda Stoczkiewicz, director of Friends of the Earth (FoE) in Europe.

The behavior of political leaders is “almost like a conscious decision to go against science,” she told TerraViva in an interview. Continue Reading

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Act Now to Save The Planet

Posted on 11 December 2009 by editor

Danish children planting trees. Credit: Ana Libisch/IPS

Danish children planting trees. Credit: Ana Libisch/IPS

By Mohan Munasinghe*

COPENHAGUE (IPS/TerraViva) The climate is changing faster than forecast only two years ago: 2,700 experts at the IARU Climate Congress in March 2009 warned that the IPCC predictions made in 2007 are already out of date, for example 3 degrees C global temperature rise by 2100. The latest information indicates more severe warming exceeding 4-5 C.

Rising temperatures are already penalising the poor most, who ironically contributed least to the problem. Global warming is impacting global food and water supplies, raising sea levels, melting ice sheets and increasing the number and intensity of severe weather events. Continue Reading

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Justicia climática necesita su propio tribunal

Posted on 11 December 2009 by editor

 

"No moriremos en silencio". Crédito: Nasseem Ackbarally/IPS

"No moriremos en silencio". Crédito: Nasseem Ackbarally/IPS

Por Daniela Estrada

COPENHAGUE (IPS/TerraViva) Organizaciones sociales de América Latina instaron a los países que participan en la COP-15 a acoger la propuesta de Bolivia de crear un Tribunal Internacional de Justicia Climática.

Pero no están dispuestos a quedarse con los brazos cruzados si no son escuchados. El jueves, en el Klimaforum, el principal ámbito de la sociedad civil paralelo a la COP-15, los activistas realizaron un taller para preparar las acciones. Continue Reading

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Coastal Carbon Sinks in Dire Need of Protection

Posted on 11 December 2009 by editor

 

Mangroves, like these in Timor-Leste, may store 50 times the amount of carbon than tropical forests. Credit: Lofor/Creative Commons

Mangroves, like these in Timor-Leste, may store 50 times the amount of carbon than tropical forests. Credit: Lofor/Creative Commons

By Stephen Leahy

COPENHAGEN (IPS/TerraViva) What would it be like if the air we breathe was 30 percent more acidic? The oceans are already 30 percent more acidic, and on their way to becoming 120 percent more acidic in 50 years at the current rates of carbon dioxide emissions.

Acidification is already affecting coral reefs, algae and plankton, the base of many marine food chains, according to a new report released here by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Continue Reading

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Poland Bags Fossil of the Day Award

Posted on 11 December 2009 by editor

Credit: Climate Action Network

Credit: Climate Action Network

For blocking a proposal to unconditionally upgrade European Union’s carbon targets, Poland won the anti-accolade as Fossil of the Day.
The award is given out daily by the Climate Action Network, a consortium of 450 non-government organisations, to name and shame those whose actions frustrate negotiations for fair deal on climate.

Joshua Kyalimpa reports.

 

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Terraviva talks to Kondwani Joe Banda

Posted on 11 December 2009 by editor

TerraViva talks to Kondwani Joe Banda from IPS Inter Press Service.

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Portraits: Sharing is Tops

Posted on 11 December 2009 by editor

 

Honduran activist Victor Saravia at Klimaforum. Credit: Ana Libisch/IPS

Honduran activist Victor Saravia at Klimaforum. Credit: Ana Libisch/IPS

Although the airline lost his luggage en route to Copenhagen, Víctor Saravia, head of the San Marcos Ocotepeque Ecological Association which works in western Honduras, is still enthusiastic about the prospect of sharing experiences in the Danish capital.

 

“We want to share at Copenhagen, because we believe we have a valuable and interesting process, well worth making known to other Latin American countries,” Saravia told TerraViva in the midst of the hustle and bustle at Klimaforum.

The Ecological Association promotes sustainable management of protected areas and river microbasins, and develops projects on food security, basic sanitation, alternative energies and political empowerment.

One of its main projects is the protection of cloud forests, by means of multi-sector alliances, to ensure water supply in the area.

“Water is the leitmotiv, the catalyst of the social participation process, and the focus where the municipal governments, the communities and their water management boards, and international cooperation agencies all meet,” Saravia told TerraViva.

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Portraits: British Singer and Activist Committed to Saving Tropical Forests

Posted on 11 December 2009 by editor

British activist Misty Oldland is focused on saving the rainforest. Credit: Daniela Estrada/IPS

British activist Misty Oldland is focused on saving the rainforest. Credit: Daniela Estrada/IPS

British singer and activist Misty Oldland is rushing around Klimaforum asking people at the crowded and colourful parallel summit to mime the letters and words in the phrase “CO2 Cut”, to film them and upload the videos to the YouTube website.

“I support tropical forest conservation. (Here in Copenhagen) I’m meeting people concerned with this issue. All my work is about raising consciousness and fighting for tropical forest conservation,” the 43-year-old activist told TerraViva after filming indigenous people from South America.

Oldland, who came to Copenhagen with a friend and has also visited the COP 15 at the Bella Center, is a volunteer with the Inga Foundation, a British NGO dedicated to reducing forest clearance by the slash and burn techniques often used by poor farmers.

According to the activist and singer, in Latin America the Inga Foundation is teaching Honduran small farmers a number of more productive, sustainable agricultural practices.

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