Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth

At the Word People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth (held in Cochabamba, Bolivia from 19-22 April 2010), a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth was proclaimed, which inter alia recognises that ‘Mother Earth is a living being’ with various inherent rights including ‘the right to be respected’. The declaration can be downloaded  here.

‘Challenge of the New Balance’ – study on options for reducing emissions in India

In January this year, India had declared that it would voluntarily reduce emissions intensity of the GDP by 20-25 per cent by 2020 in comparison to the 2005 level. Will it be able to do so and what is the technology-emission reduction road map for India? A report by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), which was released here today, finds while industry can meet the 2020 target under even business as usual scenario, its options beyond this are few, difficult and very expensive.

The study, using extensive data on each sector collected from the industries, concludes that most Indian industry is already efficient in terms of its use of energy and emissions. But in all these sectors, technology options for emission reduction stagnate after 2020. There is no way to reduce emissions without impacting growth once we cross the current emissions-efficiency technology threshold, says the study. Continue reading

New book – ‘Global Climate Governance Beyond 2012′

A cutting-edge assessment of policy options for future global climate governance, written by a team of leading experts from the European Union and developing countries. Global climate governance is at a crossroads. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol was merely a first step, and its core commitments expire in 2012. This book addresses three questions which will be central to any new climate agreement. What is the most effective overall legal and institutional architecture for successful and equitable  climate politics? What role should non-state actors play, including multinational corporations, non-governmental organizations, public-private partnerships and market mechanisms in general? How can we deal with the growing challenge of adapting our existing institutions to a substantially warmer world? This important resource offers policy practitioners in-depth qualitative and quantitative assessments of the costs and benefits of various policy options, and also offers academics from wide-ranging disciplines insight into innovative interdisciplinary approaches towards international climate negotiations.

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Oxfam report released on ‘Poverty, vulnerability and climate variability in Ethiopia’

Climate variability in Ethiopia is not new – but now, in addition to the usual struggles, Ethiopians living in poverty are additionally suffering the effects of climate change – both more variable climate and more extreme weather events.

People who are already poor and marginalized are struggling with the added burden of climate variability. For now, this means that the little that they have goes to dealing with the current unpredictable weather because their livelihoods are so dependent on it. When selling off assets becomes a mean to cope, there is little left to plan for the future. Thus, communities are faced with simultaneously increasing climate variability, and with it increasing risk and vulnerability. Continue reading

Energy efficiency incentive scheme confirmed by Minister of Energy

Details of a R5,3-billion financial incentive, aimed at promoting energy efficiency among South African electricity consumers, was confirmed by Energy Minister Dipuo Peters on Tuesday.

The scheme, which would be known as the Standard Offer, would enable electricity consumers to claim a rebate in respect of the amount of energy they had saved from the electricity system. Continue reading

World Development Indicators 2010 released

This year’s WDI focuses on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), now in their 10th year. It shows that considerable progress has been made in reaching these challenging goals. Despite the economic and financial crisis that has swept over the globe, the target to reduce by half the proportion of people living in extreme poverty is still within reach in several developing regions. Home to the most people living on less than $1.25 a day, Asia has accounted for much of this remarkable achievement. Sub-Saharan Africa meanwhile remains off track to meet the income poverty goal.

But progress has been uneven at the country level. Only 49 of 87 countries with data are on track to achieve the poverty target. Some 41 percent of the people in low- and middle-income countries live in countries that are unlikely to achieve the target. And 12 percent live in the 60 countries for which there are insufficient data to assess progress. Continue reading

New book on European Climate Policy (Cambridge University Press)

The European Union (EU) has emerged as a leading governing body in the international struggle to govern climate change. The transformation that has occurred in its policies and institutions has profoundly affected climate change politics at the international level and within its 27 Member States. But how has this been achieved when the EU comprises so many levels of governance, when political leadership in Europe is so dispersed and the policy choices are especially difficult? Drawing on a variety of detailed case studies spanning the interlinked challenges of mitigation and adaptation, this volume offers an unrivalled account of how different actors wrestled with the complex governance dilemmas associated with climate policy making. Opening up the EU’s inner workings to non-specialists, it provides an unparalleled perspective on the unique way that the EU governs, as well as exploring its ability to maintain a leading position in international climate change politics. Continue reading

BASIC ministers release joint statement

The BASIC ministers held their third meeting from 25-26 April 2010 and released a joint statement: -

The third meeting of BASIC Ministers on climate change took place in Cape Town from 25 to 26 April 2010. The Ministers who participated in the meeting were H.E. Xie Zhenhua, Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reforms Commission from China, H.E. Izabella Teixeira, Minister for Environment from Brazil, H.E. Jairam Ramesh, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Environment and Forests from India, and H.E. Minister Buyelwa Sonjica, Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs from South Africa. Other South African Ministers present were HE Minister Trevor Manual, Minister in the Presidency, Deputy Minister Sue van der Merwe, of International Relations and Co-operation and HE Deputy Minister Rejoyce Mabudafhasi, of Environmental Affairs. During their deliberations, Ministers emphasised the following.

1.  The BASIC Ministers expressed their determination to continue to show leadership in acting on climate change. Continue reading

Urban farms herald green city ‘revolution’

Showcasing urban farming projects around the world. For more click here.

‘Biofuels, food security and Africa’ – Thomas Molony and James Smith

Global biofuel production tripled between 2000 and 2007 and is projected to double again by 2011. This growth reflects a growing interest worldwide in renewable energy alternatives to fossil fuels, especially as a perceived solution to the transport sector’s dependency on oil. It also reflects the enforcement in 2005 of the Kyoto Protocol, and the increasing implementation of national biofuels targets. As a result of these and other influences, policy makers and researchers in African countries are giving more attention to biofuels. Yet the rising demand for biofuels has sparked a debate over the threat that energy security poses to food security, and within a few short years biofuels have shifted from being seen as a multi-purpose solution to a range of problems – climate change, energy insecurity and underdevelopment – to what the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food has described as a ‘crime against humanity’. Continue reading

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