Page 1

March 2013

ISSN 2070-4593

The T&T Corporate Social Responsibility Review is a high quality annual publication which showcases the projects and programmes of CSR investors. The review is designed to provide a great resource for companies and CSR managers. Apart from facilitating a common platform for knowledge sharing, the publication also provides perspectives from beneficiaries of CSR projects, insightful articles from practitioners in the field and a reference for CSR support and services.

The Trinidad and Tobago CSR Review 2012 Published by Virtually Yours T&T

For further information contact: PO Box 6634, Maraval, Trinidad and Tobago, W.I. Tel: (868) 628-2288 . Cell: (868) 687-3318 . Fax: (868) 628-2288 Email: . Website: Facebook:

Music video from Trinidad and Tobago cops first place in in the global Voices4Climate awards

Page 4

March 2013 CONTENTS 2 From the Editor 3 Climate change represents real, present danger

Editor: Linda Hutchinson-Jafar

4 At World Bank, using music creatively: combating climate change

Technical Editor: Faies Jafar

6 YOUNG VOICES Bush fires

Contributors: Barbara King Garfield King Jo-Anne Nina Sewlal Jordan Brandon Jafar Rebekah Ramsammy

8 How veganism affects biodiversity 10 Bush Diary with Robert Clarke 12 Environmental concerns at record lows

Design and layout: Karibgraphics Ltd.

13 GEF Small Grants Programme hosts adaptation workshop 14 Frozen soil and biodiversity

is published by: Caribbean PR Agency #268 Harold Fraser Circular, Valsayn, Trinidad and Tobago, W.I. T/F: (868) 645-0368  2013. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher.

16 GREEN LIVING Agriculture continues to get smart about climate change 18 FAMILY VALUES Ending parent neglect 20 Statement by Christiana Figueres - World Future Energy Summit 25 Coastal wetlands highly vulnerable to sealevel rise

On our Cover

26 “One billion hungry: can we feed the world?”

Photo of ruins of Belize. Photographer: William L. Milligan M.D., Director of SoloCaribe Inc.

28 Planned hydropower plant - key step to easing Nepal’s energy crisis 29 IFC $1B green bond marks largest climatefriendly insurance 30 First carbon-neutral companies in Costa Rica receive certification 31 Discussion on CCRIF’s New Excess Rainfall product March 2013

Earth Conscious

Keep Climate Change on the Front Burner


here are many reasons for keeping the issue of climate change on the front burner.

Here’s just one: the recently published UN 2013 Human Development Report states that the number of people living in extreme poverty could increase by up to 3 billion by 2050 unless urgent action is taken to tackle environmental challenges especially on climate change. Far more attention needs to be paid to the impact human beings are having on the environment, according to the report as climate change is already exacerbating chronic environmental threats and ecosystem losses are constraining livelihood opportunities, especially for poor people. There are some positive signals coming from U.S President Barack Obama that he’s concerned about the issue of climate change but he needs to walk the talk and take the rein in leading the rest of the world. Although the 2012 presidential elections virtually ignored climate change in a year that ironically was the hottest year on record for the United States, Mr. Obama’s inauguration speech that he plans to confront climate change in his second term in office is very welcoming.

Also, some encouraging news on the Chinese front: China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases has revealed its roadmap for an emissions trading scheme which includes a national carbon tax to protect the environment. China which burns nearly as much coal as the rest of the world combined has set a target of reducing carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP 40 to 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020. In February, South Africa, the continent’s top greenhouse gas emitter, also announced plans to introduce a general carbon tax from 2015 which is set at 120 rand (US$14) per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent. Linda Hutchinson-Jafar


Earth Conscious

March 2013

World Bank President Jim Kim at G20 Meeting:

Climate Change Represents Real, Present Danger

Photo: World Bank Photo Collection on Flickr

“Looking further down the road, I would be remiss in not highlighting the serious consequences to the economic outlook of failing to tackle the serious challenges presented by climate change. These are not just risks. They represent real consequences. I also know that issues around climate change do not typically come before Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors. This, I firmly believe, is a mistake. And to underscore my point, we need to look no farther than what is happening in our host country. This winter, for instance, Moscow has had record snowfalls. Climate scientists tell us that as the earth warms up, we will have more and more bursts of precipitation and other periods of extreme weather. Just two-and-a-half years ago, an extreme heat wave in Russia led to 55,000 deaths. So the people of Russia have experienced two oncein-a-lifetime extreme weather events in the last few years. One hot, one cold. We’re not talking about a risk that is 50 years away.

We’re talking about risks that are here today. No country – rich or poor – is immune from the impacts of climate-related disasters. In Thailand, for example, the 2011 floods resulted in losses of approximately $45 billion or about 13 percent of GDP. The impacts of this disaster spread across borders disrupting international supply chains. Damages and losses from natural disasters have more than tripled over the past 30 years. Years of development efforts are often wiped out in days or even minutes. While we’ve seen developed countries struggling to cope with blizzards and events like Hurricane Sandy, developing countries have even less resources to mitigate the economic and human costs of these disasters. At the World Bank Group we are stepping up our mitigation, adaptation and disaster risk management work. I would welcome more attention from the G20 on what we need to do to face climate change, which is a very real and present danger.”

March 2013

Earth Conscious

At World Bank, Using Music Creatively: Combating Climate Change Young winners from 14 countries honored at Connect4Climate event

Trinidadian Stephon Gabriel. Photo courtesy The World Bank

On the ground floor of the World Bank, an institution of development experts devoted to ending extreme poverty, the fight against climate change took a creative turn: a music video from Trinidad won first place in the global Voices4Climate awards. Stephon Gabriel’s “A Changing World,” with its message to “rise up, unite up, to help this earth be how she used to be,” was selected from more than 1000 entries from 116 countries. He was one of 19 young people from 14 countries who received prizes in the Voices4Climate competition for their photographs, videos, music videos, and podcasts about climate change. The winners in the competition, which was organized by Connect4Climate (C4C) in collaboration with MTV and TerrAfrica, were announced during a gathering that attracted

Earth Conscious

March 2013

hundreds of people in Washington in early March. Applauding the winners at the event, “Connect4Climate: Right Here, Right Now,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim encouraged young people from around the world to take an active role in helping to combat the threat of climate change. “To deliver bold solutions on climate change, we need to listen to and engage broader and more diverse audiences,” said President Kim. “We need to hear the voices of young people. Their futures are at stake. The time for all generations to act is now.” The winners of the competition came from Bangladesh, Colombia, Croatia, France, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Portugal and Trinidad and Tobago.

Connect4Climate also joined forces with UK-based environmental and arts organization Artists Project Earth (APE) to launch a special edition of Rhythms del Mundo: Africa - a charity compilation album featuring tracks by Eminem, Beyonce, Coldplay, Bruno Mars, and many others in support of climate change projects around the world. Live performances by two of the album’s featured artists, award-winning Malian musician, Rokia Traore and Kenyan rappers TS1 raised the spirits of the evening’s guests and provided resonant proof of the power of creativity to inspire change. Kim’s remarks were followed by a moving testimonial from Nobel Peace Prize laureate Betty Williams who shared her personal story about the power of individual action with her work as cofounder of Community of Peace People in 1976, an organization dedicated to promoting a peaceful resolution to the violence at that time in Northern Ireland. Also speaking at the event, Italian Minister for the Environment, Corrado Clini, said, “By giving a platform to youth to tell their stories about climate change, Connect4Climate is elevating local voices to the global conversation about climate change. Effective change will only happen when all voices are heard, and Italy is proud to be a supporter of this groundbreaking project.” The CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility, Dr. Naoko Ishii, marveled at the commitment of young people to find ways to improve their environment and the optimism she felt for the decisions the next generation will take on climate change. “Young people will inherit our environment, and Connect4Climate seeks to give them a voice,” said Dr. Ishii. “Engaged youth can help us change the business-asusual approach that has led to rising sea levels, severe drought, melting glaciers, and extreme weather events.” The Voices4Climate event was hosted by

C4C Winner Stephon Gabriel with Nobel Peace Prize winner Betty Williams and Kenya-based rap group T-S-1 Connect4Climate (C4C) – a global partnership dedicated to climate change communication and action launched by the World Bank, the Italian Ministry of Environment, and the Global Environment Facility in 2011. With a coalition of more than 150 partners and on online community of nearly half a million followers, C4C is helping, through social media and the web, to amplify voices of local stakeholders who have stories to tell about climate change. Connect4Climate and TVN Media Group, in partnership with leading media networks and academic institutions, also launched their latest competition i°Change: a new global competition for the best original video message that addresses climate change issues and action. Students from universities worldwide are invited to participate. Donald Ranvaud, chair of the jury and producer of such notable films as City of God, The Constant Gardener, and Farewell My Concubine launched the new competition at the event. Winners will receive a scholarship, recognition at the Grand Prix of Advertising in Milan, and exposure at film festivals in Cannes, New York, and Beijing.

March 2013

Earth Conscious

Young Voices By Jordan Brandon Jafar Hey Everyone! So here we are just a few months into what we call our dry season in the Caribbean and already the temperatures are soaring and days and nights are sticky and terribly hot. There’s been very little rain in Trinidad where I am and there’s no signs of the weather changing anytime soon for us to get some much-needed rain to calm down the heat. I don’t mind the hot weather; but what I don’t like is the bush fires that burn the land to a crisp and the atmosphere filled with thick, yucky smoke. My family experienced a terrible and scary bush fire at the back of our house recently. No one knew how the fire started. Some people said farmers who wanted to use the government land for planting their crops started the fire to burn down the high bush and some others said it could have been started by a passing car whose driver or passenger tossed out their lit cigarette. The fire started small but quickly spread because of the high breeze that morning. My mom and other neighbours telephoned the fire brigade and they arrived soon after to extinguish the huge fire from spreading to the residential areas where I live. The fire service said they have been besieged with calls about bush fires daily and the government had to put out a warning to the population about the fires. I hope people will pay heed to the warning and take personal responsibility for their action. Jordan Jafar would like to climb the top of Mt Everest when he becomes an adult!

Earth Conscious

March 2013

A Note from Jordan

March 2013

Earth Conscious

How Veganism Affects Biodiversity By Rebekah Ramsammy The vegan lifestyle is the strictest of all vegetarian diets as it excludes meat, eggs and all animal derived products. The reasons people choose this lifestyle vary from maintaining health to animal rights, addressing ethical, dietary and religious issues. But what is the impact of a vegan lifestyle on the environment? Is conservation of biodiversity a legitimate reason for becoming vegan? According to the Convention on Biological Diversity, biodiversity can be defined as “the variability among living organisms from all sources, including terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species and of ecosystems.” Whether you follow an anthropogenic view or intrinsic view in the debate about whether biodiversity is important for conservation and to what end, one point no longer debatable is: conservation of the natural environment is vital for the preservation of human life. Science continues to reveal the damaging effects of human behaviour on the environment and the repercussions for human life. While many people may have a passion or mere interest in contributing to the earth’s preservation from - driving hybrid cars, walking more, switching to energy efficient light bulbs, lobbying and campaigning or making a substantive change wherever they think they can - there is one aspect of our lives that has an inevitable impact on biodiversity; and that is eating! Poor agricultural practices continue to devastate the environment and threaten biodiversity: altering habitats, displacing species, introducing alien species, poisoning

Earth Conscious

March 2013

surrounding soil and water systems with the use of chemicals and killing a large number of organisms in the process. “World meat production has quadrupled in the last 50 years,” according to studies. The livestock population now outnumbers people more than three to one. Studies have long shown that vegans use less land and energy to meet their dietary needs. Reducing the land area used for agricultural purposes is a major way of contributing to biodiversity conservation. The current period has been said to be a historic one for the biodiversity of the planet. The loss of species continues to increase exceeding any other time in history. With a safe estimate of 10 million species on earth, and an understanding of less than 1 million species, the loss of species should be of major concern to the wider society. Both the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) describe livestock production as a contributor to species loss due to its high demand for concentrate feeds, which changes land use, and increases cropping of grains.

Of the world’s 8.9 billion hectares of arable land, 1.5 billion hectares are used in the production of crops and 3.3 billion is used as pasture land for livestock. Worldwide, approximately 40 percent of the annual grain harvest is used as food for livestock. Cattle eat more protein than they produce, it takes on average 16 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of beef. Cattle also produce fewer calories per land unit area than agricultural crops. Studies have determined that the future loss of biodiversity can impact plant production just as much as global warming. The United Nations FAO report 2006 states; “livestock play an important role in the current biodiversity crisis as they contribute directly or indirectly to all these drivers of biodiversity loss at the local and global level.” A vegan lifestyle helps maintain biodiversity The vegan diet is however considered by many to be a restrictive one and requires an entire change in ideology and careful attention to ensure that daily nutritional requirements are met. It is a lifestyle that a number of people continue to be open to or interested in but the population shift to a vegan lifestyle is relatively slow as compared to the global shift towards adopting a westernized diet. There is also a growing fear that an increase in plant based diets will lead to large scale monocropping, which also negatively affects biodiversity. However, a healthy vegan lifestyle requires a diet of a variety of fruits, vegetables and grain. An increase in the demand for these products will propel farmers to diversify their crops to satisfy the market. The reduction of the impact of agriculture on biodiversity requires both a reduction in the land used for production and a change

in agricultural practices. While the latter is more dependent on legislative reform to incorporate more organic and sustainable agro-ecological practices in farming, they are both dependant on a change in consumer habits. Meat centered diets have been identified as a contributing factor, not only to loss of biodiversity, but also to climate change. Meat is a carbon intensive commodity and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. According to Rejendra Pachauri, chair of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, reducing the consumption of meat would be more beneficial to GHG reduction. Speaking to Julie Jowit of The Observer newspaper in 2008, he said, “In terms of immediacy of action and the feasibility of bringing about reductions in a short period of time, it clearly is the most attractive opportunity…Give up meat for one day [a week] initially, and decrease it from there.” Consumers have the power to alter the alarming rate at which agricultural production is destroying species diversity. Adopting meat-less days as part of varied diet can dramatically reduce the demand for livestock and by extension the effects of livestock production on biodiversity as well as other damaging effects on the environment. Agriculture is one of the most environmentally damaging of human activities and veganism helps to reduce its impact. Eating vegan helps to sustain life on the planet and maintain biodiversity. Trinidadian Rebekah Ramsammy is a final year Ecology student at the University of the West Indies, Cavehill Campus, Barbados. Rebekah says she has been eating organically for about eight years and recently became vegetarian. Not quite vegan! March 2013

Earth Conscious

with Robert Clarke

Bush Diary

Standing ankle deep in roach-infested bat guano in a Tamana cave in Trinidad, Robert Clarke, a journalist turned nature explorer scratches his head wondering, “What have I gotten myself into?” This is just one of a multitude of wrinkles that we should have anticipated when we set out to create a local nature television series. Nature isn’t always breathtaking vistas and inspiring wildlife encounters, it can be downright creepy at times. All in a day’s work for Robert Clarke, host of ‘Bush Diary’. This television programme combines the varied wildlife habitats of Trinidad and Tobago with the spirit of adventure and an underlying message of conservation. Although, when wading in waist-high swamp water in the dead of night, the only conservation on Robert’s mind is probably his own! The Bush Diary team has explored wildlife habitats across the length and breadth of Trinidad and Tobago. They have ventured to the Icacos peninsula, working for several months in the Fullerton Swamp which is a largely unknown haven for wildlife. Viewers have also vicariously


Earth Conscious

March 2013

witnessed the miraculous annual nesting cycle of the leatherback turtle through the Bush Diary series. The undying quest for adventure has guided the intrepid crew to the Aripo Savannah in search of snakes as well as the lush Main Ridge Forest Reserve in Tobago on the trail of the elusive sabrewing hummingbird. The show also attempts to illustrate the immense potential for ecotourism in Trinidad and Tobago. There are so many little-known spots all over the country that, with the right infrastructure, can bring in domestic and foreign visitors. Villagers in these rural communities can be trained to take advantage of natural resources in a sustainable manner. Bush Diary was developed by Idiom Productions, a small production house focused on local television programming and established by journalist Paolo Kernahan. Idiom Productions recently released its first DVD which contains four episodes: Caroni Swamp, Mangroves, Avian Wonders and Forest Fires. Also included is an 8-page booklet with information and pictures on the places where we shot the four episodes on this DVD. What’s next for the Bush Diary series? “We just can’t shake the feeling that there is so much more to see and learn,” said Paolo. Robert is excited to dive right into a frontier yet to be explored by Bush Diary: the marine environment! With wildlife habitats across the country increasingly under pressure from human activities, the work of Bush Diary has only just begun.

Recycle. What don’t we understand? It’s actually quite simple.

Environmental Concerns “At Record Lows”: Global Poll loss, automobile emissions, fresh water shortages, and climate change—fewer people now consider them “very serious” than at any time since tracking began twenty years ago.

Environmental concerns among citizens around the world have been falling since 2009 and have now reached twentyyear lows, according to a multi-country GlobeScan poll. The findings are drawn from the GlobeScan Radar annual tracking poll of citizens across 22 countries. A total of 22,812 people were interviewed face-toface or by telephone during the second half of 2012. Twelve of these countries have been regularly polled on environmental issues since 1992. Asked how serious they consider each of six environmental problems to be— air pollution, water pollution, species


Earth Conscious

March 2013

Climate change is the only exception, where concern was lower from 1998 to 2003 than it is now. Concern about air and water pollution, as well as biodiversity, is significantly below where it was even in the 1990s. Many of the sharpest falls have taken place in the past two years. The perceived seriousness of climate change has fallen particularly sharply since the unsuccessful UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen in December 2009. Climate concern dropped first in industrialized countries, but this year’s figures show that concern has now fallen in major developing economies such as Brazil and China as well. Despite the steep fall in environmental concern over the past three years, majorities still consider most of these environmental problems to be “very serious.” Water pollution is viewed as the most serious environmental problem among those tested, rated by 58 percent as very serious. Climate change is rated second least serious out of the six, with one in two (49%) viewing it as “very serious.” GlobeScan Chairman Doug Miller comments: “Scientists report that evidence of environmental damage is stronger than ever—but our data shows that economic crisis and a lack of political leadership mean that the public are starting to tune out. Those who care about mobilizing public opinion on the environment need to find new messages in order to reinvigorate a stalled debate.”

Ganga Singh, Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of the Environment and Water Resources.

GEF Small Grants Programme hosts Adaptation Workshop The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme Trinidad and Tobago in March hosted a Regional Community Based Adaptation Workshop for the Caribbean and Small Island Development States. Organised for national coordinators, the workshop was designed to strengthen regional capacity on strategic and programmatic issues relation to the Small Grants Programme and the Australian Aid Small Island Community Based Adaptation Programme (July 2011-June 2016). Barton Clarke, FAO Representative/UNDP Resident Coordinator (acting) said the outcomes of the discussions regarding climate change trends in the Caribbean will be critical to moving forward on how the Caribbean can and will adapt to the changes. He said the GEF Small Grants Programme will be one of the key contributors enabling communities to identify and implement community-based adaptation measures. Tehmina Akhtar, Deputy Global Manager of the Grants Programme said its approach is based on three key dimensions: safe-guarding the environment, alleviating poverty and promoting social inclusion and empowerment. Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of the Environment and Water Resources, Ganga Singh told the opening of the workshop that his government is pursuing policies and initiatives to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases, encouraging the use of clean energy technologies and renewable energies that have zero emissions and adopting more energy-efficient practices. The GEF Small Grant Programme in Trinidad and Tobago has provided funds to civil society organisations over the past 18 years, delivering over US$1.5 million in grants. The Programme has also been allocated US$170,000 by Australian Aid specifically to tackle climate change adaptation.

Frozen soil and biodiversity By Jo-Anne Nina Sewlal One of my aims is to introduce the reader to new or unfamiliar sources of biodiversity. One such source is permafrost. This article will look at what permafrost is, where is it found, how it influences biodiversity and how it is being affected by our climate and what this means for our environment.

Permafrost or cryotic soil as it is also known is soil that maintains a temperature at or below the freezing point of water (0oC) for two or more years. It is found in high altitudes near the north and south poles, as well as in lower latitudes where it is found at high elevation like in the Rocky Mountains in North America and closer to home in the Andes in South America. Permafrost covers 20% of the land found on the planet which is equivalent to 25 million km2. Overall permafrost can range from a few to up to 150 metres in depth. But only the top 30 to 100cm of soil referred to as the active layer undergoes an annual cycle of thawing in the summer and refreezing during the winter. The thickness of the permafrost is dependent on many factors such as the amount of snow, the presence of bodies of water, heat from the planet’s interior and the temperature of the air near the ground. However, the permafrost layer is quite influential to the biodiversity found in the areas it occurs in because it influences the soil temperature and the thickness of the active layer where the vegetation is able to grow as well as the amount of water found in this layer. Plants commonly found growing in permafrost include birch, spruce, dwarf shrubs and mosses and lichens. But the permafrost layer can itself be a source of


Earth Conscious

March 2013

biodiversity, as last year a team of Russian scientists were able to grow the plant Silene stenophylia that existed over 30,000 years ago from fruits found in ancient squirrel burrows in Siberia! Also, much attention has been placed on research on the ice sheets that cover the permafrost layer rather than the permafrost itself. But permafrost is older and stable and thus inhabited by microbes, probably containing the oldest microbial communities on the planet, therefore by studying these communities they can give scientists and model for martial ecosystems. The permafrost layer has been frozen for millennia; however it is under threat of thawing due to global warming and shorter winter periods. This may sound beneficial in that more soil is warmer and therefore softer and able to support more vegetation which absorbs more carbon dioxide and produces oxygen. But as we will see this thawing action can seriously affect biodiversity and the environment. The hardness of the permafrost allows water to be retained in the soft soil in the active layer, particularly in sandy soil. However with thawing, more water is able to drain away causing the soil to become dry, thus causing significant stress to the vegetation in these areas.

Idealised permafrost cross section (Source: The loss of the structural integrity of the soil due to thawing also affects animals that build burrows. Aquatic ecosystems will also be affected by the thawing as the better drainage also means that the water from these ponds will also drain away, thus leading to a loss of habitat for aquatic plants and animals. But the most important impact on the environment caused by the thawing of the permafrost layer is the release of huge amounts of greenhouse gases, for such as methane, which is 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. The thawing of the permafrost also means that the active layer is getting thicker and warmer allowing the organic material present to break down forming methane. Additional methane is released into the atmosphere when it becomes porous due to thawing, especially when this occurs over ancient peat bogs. A peat bog is a type of wetland habitat usually found in very cold temperate areas where there is very poor drainage and the water that accumulates is acidic and low in nutrients.

Therefore the decomposing vegetation (mostly mosses) found there is very wet and spongy. However these bogs do an excellent job of insulating the ground so that permafrost is able to form above them. These bogs are also an enormous source of organic carbon. The thawing of permafrost also directly poses a serious direct physical threat to the people living in these areas because as the soil becomes dry and unstable infrastructure like buildings and roads, in some cases can collapse. Unfortunately when people hear of environmental issues, we believe that if it is not happening in my own country it cannot affect me. In the Caribbean if we want to take a break, we can visit the beach or take a hike in the rainforest, so it is easy to adopt this way of thinking and feel insulated from international environmental occurrences. But we all live on one planet and we do share the same atmosphere so anything that happens on this plant regardless of how remote the location will affect us. The thought that the permafrost layer may provide the opportunity to resurrect ancient species which may one day result in a real “Jurassic Park� might be intriguing, but the best approach may be to regard the exposure of this layer as a form of environmental karma. The practices in each country have contributed to the increase of greenhouse gases and global warming which through the exposure of the permafrost may potentially release huge deposits of methane into our atmosphere, changing it and along with it the conditions for life on this planet. Jo-Anne Nina Sewlal (BSc., MPhil., FLS., AMSB.) works at the Dept. of Life Sciences, University of the West Indies, Trinidad Jo-Anne dreams of visiting the North Pole (not in search of Santa).

Green Living


continues to get smart about

CLIMATE CHANGE While the debate continues about various aspects of Climate Change - what are the causes and who/what is to blame - farmers and agriculturalists seem very clear that changes are taking place in our environment. No time to wait for the debaters to decide who the finger should be pointed at when there is a nation to be fed. One strategy being adopted worldwide is Climate Smart Agriculture, described by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation as “an agriculture that sustainably increases productivity, resilience (adaptation), reduces/removes greenhouse gases (mitigation) while enhancing the achievement of national food security and development goals.” The FAO notes: “Agriculture not only suffers the impacts of climate change, it is also responsible for 14 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. But agriculture has the potential to be an important part of the solution, through mitigation — reducing and or removing — a significant amount of global emissions. Some 70% of this mitigation potential could be realized in developing countries.”


Earth Conscious

March 2013

By Garfield King

While many potential tourists still view the Caribbean as a paradise of sun, sea and sand, from a food and agriculture perspective, the reality is very different. The Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) says food security in the region is threatened by low agricultural productivity, the increasing impact of climate change and changes in global food trade systems. To deal with the second threat, CARDI is promoting Climate Smart Agriculture. During a presentation delivered at the Caribbean Week of Agriculture in Antigua and Barbuda in October 2012, Maurice Wilson – head of the Institute’s Resource Mobilisation, Monitoring and Evaluation Unit – said it is hoped that high levels of food production could be sustained with the appropriate use of science and technology. CARDI is encouraging farmers to adopt practices which will allow them to adapt to the challenges likely to come from climate change. Mr. Wilson highlighted several initiatives underway in the Caribbean. Of note is the growing of flood tolerant rice and dasheen in Guyana. This follows the extreme floods in Guyana during 2005. As a result, Guyana is now growing a flood tolerant variety of rice which survives complete submergence for up to 17 days. In Jamaica, a project is underway assessing drought tolerance in root and tuber crops through innovative technology using sweet potatoes as the test crop. Projects are ongoing in several countries aimed at reducing the effects of drought. These include increased use of trickle irrigation; improved on-farm water management systems using solar pumps and heavy duty pond liners. Mr. Wilson explained that training is being conducted across the region to encourage the development of alternative livelihoods in agriculture such as aquaponics. This is the closed growing system combining aquaculture with hydroponics, supplied with harvested rainwater. A project is already up and running in Jamaica as a result of collaboration between CARDI, INMED Partnerships for Children and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Another strategy is the Integrated Plant Nutrition System (IPNS) which uses the technology of nature to provide nutrients to the soil. The system utilises green manures

i.e. cover crops that, when dying, add nutrients and organic matter to the soil. Integrated pest management using trapping, exclusion and biological control is also part of the Climate Smart Agriculture package. While the policy makers and some parts of the scientific community continue to debate whether or not we really need to be concerned about climate change, those tasked with making sure we have food on the table have been putting measures in place to ensure that whatever effects manifest, the impacts would be minimal. Some sites of interest on this topic • • • • • climatesmart/en/ content/climate-smart-agriculture

Garfield King is an independent radio producer, presenter and writer with almost 30 years broadcast experience.As a trainer, he conducts workshops on public speaking, presentation skills and communication dynamics. March 2013

Earth Conscious


Family Values

g n i d En ent r a P lect g e N

by Barbara King

As a parent of two youngsters now galloping towards official adulthood, I have recently been struck by a common problem that I have only heard about, but am now experiencing for the first time. That of parent neglect. Yes, you’ve probably heard about it too, but have you thought about it from this (somewhat satirical) perspective? Since my babes are now out of school and entering new worlds of work and university, my role is no longer that of the organizer – getting


Earth Conscious

March 2013

them out the door in time for school, urging them to get uniforms ready, checking homework is done, attending PTA meetings and the endless list of requirements. It seems that I have nothing to do! The university requires nothing of me; doesn’t even want to see me, no notes coming home, no bazaars to provide tins and boxes and no carnival fete to organize. After 15 years of being told I have to be involved in my child’s education, the education system no longer wants anything to do with me! I don’t know what to do with myself! I know it’s pathetic. I tried making some time to talk with my young adults in the evenings, just to touch base, find out what’s happening;

hear some stories. If I am lucky I might get ten minutes or so of their time before they head off to texting, Facebook or whatever they do with their private time. I am being neglected! The importance of attention and quality time for parents What many young adults fail to understand is that parents need attention and quality time too. We need to be listened to and we need to be taught about the realities of life in the outside world. It is important that children prepare parents for the world of the future. Children play a critical role in making parents street-smart and tech-wise, teaching them the language of the modern world, how to navigate a world that is rapidly changing and how to survive in today’s society. Separation anxiety Separation anxiety is a normal developmental stage for parents of adult children. It might end when the child is around 50 years old, but may take longer. At this stage parents begin to understand that the adult child may be out of sight now, but will return later. There is also a normal desire for parents to test their new-found independence.

• •

Symptoms Excessive distress when separated from the child Nightmares about the child

• • •

Reluctance to go to work or other places because of fear of separation Reluctance to go to sleep without the child nearby Repeated physical complaints Worry about losing or harm coming to the child

To help parents get over separation anxiety, children can help parents to: • Feel safe in their home environment – ensure that the people and things you bring in are trustworthy and legal. • Focus on people and things other than their children (help them get a life!) • Trust that their children will return, willingly and lovingly. Even after parents have successfully mastered this developmental stage, separation anxiety may return during periods of stress, especially when separated from their children by land and oceans. When parents are in situations (such as hospitals) and are experiencing stress (such as illness or pain), they seek the safety, comfort and support of their children. When parents cannot be with their children in these situations, the parents experience distress. This is why it is important to stay with your parents as much as is possible during any medical procedures. Your presence can actually reduce the amount of pain the parent experiences,

lp e h n re d l i h op l C e v e sd t n em e e r t s e pa f el s e v i t posi as anxiety of any kind makes pain worse. More tips for young adults Parents need to be loved unconditionally. That does not mean that you have to approve of everything the parent does. What it does mean is that even though the parent may misbehave and may make mistakes, you still love and accept the parent and provide support. The time a child spends with a parent is important. The activity need not be costly, but rather one that satisfies both the parent and the child - sitting at the table for breakfast or dinner, joining them on a trip to the grocery or watching a movie. Spend time talking with your parent. Talk about any topic of interest to both of you. Talk about the day’s events and the parent’s feelings about them, dreams the parent may have for the future. Through interaction with children, parents learn how to communicate. They learn to listen and to express their needs. They learn to

understand non-verbal clues and how to separate their lives from that of the child. Children help parents develop positive self-esteem by communicating the value they feel for the parent. Words of gratitude for lessons taught and sacrifices made help parents feel their efforts were worth it. Words of encouragement and love help provide parents with the courage to try new things without worrying excessively about not being able to do them. Children, do your part: make time to nurture your growing parents. Expert wisdom parodied from: • h t t p : / / w w w . quality_time.html • h t t p : / / w w w. n c b i . n l m . PMH0002509/

Barbara King is a Certified Professional Facilitator (CPF) and Neglected Parent Educator. Websites:, March 2013

Earth Conscious


Statement by Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary at the recent World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi

In the recent World Energy Outlook 2012 report, the International Energy Agency documents both the level and quality of this demand, giving several possibilities for the energy mix that is emerging. The group gathered here today has the power to design a mix that can supply demand at necessary levels, and is low carbon. The world currently faces a climate crisis that dwarfs the recent fiscal crisis from which we are still emerging. Certainly, scientists have known about climate change for a long time, but we are now beginning to live its devastating effects, and no one is immune. We are all vulnerable and we all have already been, or will be, affected. As our population grows towards the 2030 estimate of 8 and a quarter billion, the warming world threatens more and more people – people who need food, water, energy and climate stability to survive. Creating a workable future energy mix that meets these needs without increasing vulnerability is crucial and the cost of inaction is severe. Part of the challenge of creating a new energy mix – of transforming the world into a low-carbon economy – is doing it during difficult financial times. It is often said that we need to wait until markets improve or until government revenue isup before we shift towards clean energy. I disagree. Study after study says the longer we wait, the more expensive it will be to transform the world economy. This means that right now we are presented with a great opportunity. We have the opportunity to shift investment away from the current unsustainable model.


Earth Conscious

March 2013

We have the opportunity to incentivize renewable energy investment through policy that creates jobs, builds infrastructure and enables smart growth. And, we have the opportunity to create an environment of innovation that starts with a knowledgebased economy. We are at a point where we can say this transformation has begun, the capital shift towards the new energy mix has started. In 2010, world electricity production by renewables passed the 20% mark. In 2011, renewable energy investment topped 1 trillion [US] dollars. In 2012, the renewable energy industry added 1.5 million new jobs to the world economy. And, the cost of solar and wind energy continues to decline, while the efficiency of these technologies continues to increase. While this is all good news, the fact is that the necessary capital shift is not happening fast enough, or with enough scale, to do what science says is needed to keep global warming below the internationallyagreed mark of 2 degrees Centigrade. Just consider that renewable energy investment, even at a record 1 trillion dollars, only equals one per cent of the issued global bond market.

Now is the time to accelerate the capital shift. We can do this in several ways. We can use public capital to de-risk private capital and strengthen the investment trend. We can vertically integrate international and national policies to encourage capital deployment. We can intensify and diversify investment in renewables to move hydrocarbons into higher-margin applications. We can and must create financial instruments for clean technologies that appeal to investors looking for large scale investment. Low carbon doesn’t mean low growth or low profits. Low carbon is increasingly growth friendly and investor friendly, in addition to environmentally friendly. After spending a lot of time in the Gulf region, I have seen great examples of investment in a new, cleaner energy mix. Abu Dhabi is using solar energy and building Masdar City to create a hub of renewable energy. Saudi Arabia has adopted ambitious renewable energy targets with several other GCC states joining in. Qatar, recent hosts of the Climate Change Convention in a LEED-certified and partially solar powered facility, is adding 1.8 gigawatts of solar power to their energy mix. And this summit, sponsored by the United Arab Emirates, explores future energy, energy efficiency and cleans technologies. When the countries that export the primary fuels of the past 150 years invest time, money and effort into new, clean technology, it clearly shows that it is time to embrace this new investment strategy. This summit encourages the worldwide dialogue that can result in a revolutionary energy mix that emphasizes clean technology. In this room are the leaders of a clean energy revolution: business leaders, national government leaders, international policy leaders. Today, I challenge you to lead us into the low-carbon future in ways that make sense

for your countries and constituencies, your inhabitants or your investors. If you are a business leader, it is your challenge to think beyond the quarterly bottom line. Look at energy efficiency and technology to improve profitability and your reputation with consumers and investors looking to go green . If you are a national leader, it is your challenge to create policies that address climate change and contribute to energy security that comes from renewable energy, clean technology and energy efficiency. If you are a leader in international policymaking, it is your challenge to take the steps needed to usher in a new universal agreement by 2015 and accelerate action before 2020.

Our world is changing, and with it, so are our responsibilities. We all have responsibilities in determining the future that will also be the response to climate change. By working together and meeting this challenge head on, without delay, we can create the low-carbon economy that the world so urgently needs. A cleaner future energy mix is a critical component of this lowcarbon economy. And so, I implore you to ask: Am I doing everything in my power to design the new energy mix? Am I doing everything in my power to determine the low carbon future?

March 2013

Earth Conscious


IEA Executive Director Calls for a Systems Approach to Clean Energy

In a keynote address delivered at the World Smart Energy Week in Tokyo, Japan, Maria van der Hoeven, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) said that the systemwide integration of clean and efficient energy technologies is essential in the transition to a sustainable and secure energy future. Here is an abbreviated version of her speech titled ‘Clean Energy: Taking a Systems Approach’

At the IEA, we believe that we will need to transform the energy system profoundly in order to get to the sustainable, efficient and secure energy economy that meets our common goals. In that world, emissions from the energy system are slashed, energy intensity is lower, and a secure supply is ensured by functioning markets and diverse energy sources. But this will not happen by itself. Actions need to be taken now in order to deliver benefits that will be with us for decades. So how do we get there? How do we handle the practicalities and the realities of achieving challenging goals that have already been laid down and articulated by policy makers? Let me give you at least part of the answer – by nurturing and deploying clean energy technologies, and especially by improving the overall efficiency of the energy system. Indeed, both are about more than just the environment. At the International Energy Agency, energy security sits at the core of our mandate, and that is precisely why we recognize the importance of sustainability. By reducing energy intensity, efficiency measures contribute to immediate energy


Earth Conscious

March 2013

Maria van der Hoeven, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) security by reducing our dependence on global energy supply chains. And over the longer term, the energy security and environmental questions are also linked. Rapidly rising energy use and emissions of greenhouse gases will have severe impacts on the natural environment and the global climate. Rising sea levels, changing rainfall patterns, and increasing incidence of droughts, floods and heat waves will affect ecosystems, food production, water resources, and of course, energy production itself. So if nurturing clean energy technologies and improving efficiency are the path to sustainability, what does that mean? Let me talk a bit about both of these, focusing on renewable energy technology, options in transport and buildings, and finally how the pieces may fit together.

Renewables When we talk about renewables and efficiency, the first thing to note, is that neither are anything new. Humans have been using biomass and hydropower for millennia. And reducing energy inputs to produce the same output has always been part of economic competition. But over the last decade we have seen rapid development of many renewable technologies, particularly in the wind and solar power markets. As a portfolio of renewable technologies matures, global renewable power generation is forecast to increase 40% over 2011-17, reaching the equivalent of one-and-a-half times current electricity production in the United States. This is encouraging. Onshore wind deployment is expected to further spread to new countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa. And solar PV deployment is expected to grow quickly in countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Indeed, one striking feature of renewable technology deployment is the number of brand new markets which are quickly emerging. Encouraging renewables/grid integration So what can we do to maintain the rate of progress we have seen so far in worldwide renewable energy growth? Where large-scale renewable markets already exist, countries should maintain a policy balance which encourages the growth of these technologies while managing costs as they mature. This includes market design to create a level playing field, and R&D investment for emerging technologies. Countries also need to invest sufficiently in system integration – with a particular view to grid upgrades that provide the necessary flexibility to sustain variable production. Grids need to be strengthened. Fragmented markets are a real barrier to renewables growth, including here in Japan. Thus from an overarching technical perspective, taking

a system-approach will need to emphasize flexibility and interconnection. Our electricity grids also need to be more intelligent, of course a central topic for this conference. In the latest edition of Energy Technology Perspectives, our flagship publication on energy technology, the IEA showed how the financial benefits arising from smartgrid investment outweigh the total cost of investment, making a strong case for smartgrid technologies. But in some cases, the benefits are spread throughout the electricity system to sectors other than the one that needs to make the investment. This complicates the business case for investments, since all benefits may need to be monetised and accounted for in order to create a positive business case. System upgrades will therefore allow for a different generation mix in Japan and elsewhere. That mix will indeed depend on clean energy policy – but it will also be fundamentally driven by developments in other markets.

End use and energy efficiency And yet at the same time energy intensity is not progressing as quickly as we need. We use too much energy for every YEN or dollar of economic output.The technologies for efficiency are often already there, but new enabling frameworks and mechanisms are being developed to unlock efficiency gains, both in developed and emerging economies. March 2013

Earth Conscious


In transport, there is no question that fuel economy can be improved dramatically, and that it can be done relatively quickly. In 2012, sales of hybrid vehicles –many of them Japanese – passed the million mark for the first time. Hybrid technologies are reaching maturity and fuel economy standards will continue to be a major driver of future growth. In the longer term, electric and fuel cell vehicles will have to play larger roles. Therefore, bringing down the cost and improving the performance and reliability of those technologies is paramount. I know that there is a whole stream of sessions on the buildings sector at this conference. There is no question that there is room to greatly improve the efficiency of the houses in which we live, and the offices and factories where we work. At the same we know that much of that potential is being left unrealised. A combination of better and more widespread use of building codes, innovative financing mechanisms and ensuring that refurbishments are done in a cost effective and timely manner, will be needed together with improved technologies. Also, architects, engineers – and policy makers – must start looking at the built environment as a whole, and strive to improve the efficiency of the entire system, rather than optimising each component as though it was an island in a sea of other buildings. We will also need to involve many more players in tomorrow’s energy markets. Ten years from now I expect that many of us as individuals will be, if not producers of energy, at least active and well informed consumers who can manage demand for energy to the benefit of the system. Whether this is charging your vehicle at night, or turning on your washing machines at times when supply is abundant, markets have a critical role to play. The IEA believes that consumers must drive much of the change, but for that to happen markets and information must


Earth Conscious

March 2013

be good enough to allow the power of the consumer to be realised. So despite its economic potential, improving energy efficiency is not always easy. Good governance capacities, enabling legal frameworks, and institutional arrangements, are necessary to provide credible frameworks to implement policy and engage with various stakeholders. And proper coordination mechanisms like targets or evaluation measures influence the quality and effectiveness of efficiency policy outcomes. To make that job easier, the IEA has developed 25 energy efficiency policy recommendations to help countries improve efficiency at little or no cost. Innovation and RDD Another key driver toward a low-carbon economy will be technology and innovation. Technological change and development will significantly enhance the portfolio of options available and, over time, will bring down the cost of achieving global climate change goals. Governments have an important role in this context. They can help by creating an attractive environment for R&D, and safeguarding the drivers of innovation. Welldesigned and targeted technology policies on both the supply and demand sides are a fundamental ingredient in a strategy to accelerate innovation. Government support to R&D will always be important. Clean energy R&D typically requires long-term horizons and high capital requirements that can make it unattractive to industry. Plus, due to the “public good” nature of reducing CO2 emissions, demand for some technologies is low, so companies have little incentive to invest. So public policy can play an important role in addressing those market failures by inserting environmental sustainability into the research programme. At the same time targeted technology policies will also be key to encouraging greater private sector investment in low carbon energy technologies.

Coastal Wetlands Highly Vulnerable to Sea-Level Rise A rise in sea levels by a meter from climate change could destroy more than 60 percent of the developing world’s coastal wetlands currently found at one meter or less elevation, according to a World Bank study. That would lead to economic losses of around US $630 million per year. The World Bank analysis considers a variety of types of coastal wetlands at risk in 76 countries and territories, using a number of databases and satellite maps. According to the data, about 99% of the coastal wetlands at elevations of one meter or less in the Middle East and North Africa could disappear, as well as 77% in sub-Saharan Africa, 66% in East Asia and 39% in Latin America and the Caribbean. Most of the damages would be concentrated in a few countries in East Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. For example, about three-quarters of coastal fresh-water marshes that would be affected by the one-meter rise in sea levels worldwide are located in five countries: Argentina, China, Iran, Mexico and Vietnam. Similarly, 61% of saline wetlands at risk are in Egypt and Libya. In recent years, coastal wetlands have been disappearing more quickly than other ecosystems, mainly because of land development. Sea-level rise from climate change will exacerbate these losses. The rise in sea levels will lead to wetlands being submerged, pushed inland, or blanketed with salt. How those wetlands fare will vary, depending on the slopes and water flows in the surrounding area.

“The findings are alarming, because wetlands don’t exist just for the birds and plants – people rely on them for water, food, transportation, and other essential goods and services,” says Susmita Dasgupta, a lead environment economist at the Bank’s Development Research Group. She co-authored the study with colleague Brian Blankespoor and consultant Benoit Laplante. “We hope our research can motivate steps to protect wetlands, especially since global warming will for sure accelerate the rise of sea levels.” The resulting economic losses from coastal wetland destruction will be in addition to other coastal impacts such as the forced relocation of people and infrastructure. An earlier study co-authored by Dasgupta predicted that 60 million people in developing countries would be forced out of their homes if sea levels rise by one meter. •

Sea-level rise by a meter from climate change could destroy more than 60 percent of the developing world’s coastal wetlands currently found at one meter or less elevation.

An estimate of the economic value of the goods and services produced by wetlands at risk is approximately $630 million per year in 2000 U.S. dollars.

Most of the damages would be concentrated in a few countries in East Asia, the Middle East and North

March 2013

Earth Conscious


FAO hosts panel discussion on

“One Billion Hungry: Can we Feed the World?”


Sir Gordon Conway’s book serves as a springboard for debate on eradicating hunger and malnutrition for the world’s growing numbers – in a sustainable way. Sir Gordon Conway presented his recently published book, One Billion Hungry: Can we feed the world?, at FAO headquarters, during a seminar focusing on the urgent need to sustainably increase agricultural production to feed and nourish a growing world population confronted especially by the challenge of a warming climate.

Sir Gordon Conway, left, and FAO DirectorGeneral José Graziano da Silva during the question and answer session. (Source:

Conway is Professor of International Development and head of the Agriculture for Impact programme, which advocates for more European government support for agricultural development in sub-Saharan Africa at Imperial College London. The presentation was followed by a panel discussion with participation of the heads of the United Nations’ three food agencies based in Rome: FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, IFAD President, Kanayo F. Nwanze, and WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin. Citing FAO data, Conway noted that to meet the food needs of one third more people – 9 billion – by 2050, food production will have to increase by 60 percent. However, Conway maintained, in developing countries that increase will have to be even higher. In some cases, he said, that production could even have to

double in areas where smallholder farming will be feeding the world’s poorest. In addition to the endemic problem of hunger, Conway said that “the really shocking statistic is there are 180 million children who are under height for their age, who grow up stunted, may become blind, may die. We should be ashamed of that statistic.” “The answer lies in sustainable agriculture, in which the productivity is high, the stability is high, the resilience is high, and the equity is high – in other words, the sharing of the products is also high.” In this, Conway noted, he had also borrowed from FAO’s principles of Save and Grow. To achieve all of those, Conway said, four things are needed: innovation, markets, people and political leadership.

Earth Conscious

March 2013

FAO’s Graziano da Silva commented afterward with optimism that these are all possible, but only as long as certain conditions are met, including: applying the principles of Save and Grow; placing smallholder agriculture at the centre of the global effort; putting in place a more effective global system for governance regarding food security; bringing farmers together in partnerships with cooperatives, the public and private sector; and linking hunger eradication with poverty eradication. “Nowadays people don’t eat, not because there isn’t any food available. We produce enough food for all. We throw out a third of the food we produce. We have hunger because people cannot buy the food or produce it themselves,” Graziano da Silva said. He noted that the elimination of hunger had to be a political decision, on the part of the whole of society, in order to relegate hunger to the past. It isn’t the responsibility of a government, or an NGO, or an organization alone. It must be done as a community. IFAD’s President Nwanze said, “Above all, I was glad to see Sir Gordon acknowledge

that farmers in developing countries are ‘skilled and knowledgeable and often highly innovative.’ “I have seen the ability of poor rural people to transform their farms, their lives, and their communities,” Nwanze continued, adding that “feeding the future will depend on sustainable development that respects and responds to local conditions, whether environmental or cultural, so that the land is not diminished nor the resource base depleted.” The Executive Director of WFP thanked Conway for his contribution in the fight against hunger – one that also gives hope. “There is a recognition of a way forward that does not suggest any one way forward to eradicate hunger,” Cousin said. “It will take everything from trade laws, to seeds in the ground, to how we deal with gender and innovation. So there is significant work that needs to be done simultaneously so that we can eradicate hunger.” She like her fellow panellists agreed that doing so would however need to be “an all-in opportunity” to eradicate hunger as a community.

March 2013

Earth Conscious


Planned Hydropower Plant - Key Step to Easing Nepal’s Energy Crisis The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is lending US$150 million towards a $500 million project that will build a hydropower plant in Nepal with a 140megawatt capacity.

Nepal’s mountain ranges and many swiftly flowing rivers endow it with huge hydropower resources. (Source:

“Nepal has an energy crisis, and this is affecting badly economic prospects,” said Yongping Zhai, Director, Energy Division in ADB’s South Asia Department. “This energy project is a means to stop this crisis.” Electricity demand is growing at 10% a year, but lack of investment means supplies are not keeping up. Blackouts of up to 18 hours a day in the dry season are common, even in the capital Kathmandu. This forces businesses and households to use expensive and polluting diesel generators. Nepal’s mountain ranges and many swiftly flowing rivers endow it with huge hydropower resources. However, the country’s total installed power generation capacity is just 700 megawatts – largely from hydropower. This represents only 1.5% of Nepal’s hydropower potential. The 140-megawatt hydropower plant, to be located around 150 kilometers west of Kathmandu on the Seti River in Tanahu district, will generate electricity year round.


Earth Conscious

March 2013

To ensure steady supply even during the dry winter months of November through April, the plant will be fed from a 7.26 square kilometer reservoir, making it Nepal’s first major hydropower plant with water storage capacity and a sediment flushing system. Around 85% of Nepal’s existing plants use the run of the river to generate power, which makes for lower output during the dry season. None have the means to cope with Nepal’s sediment-heavy rivers. In addition to building the plant and a transmission system, the project will also provide at least 17,636 homes in the area of the hydropower plant with direct connections to the national power grid. Only around onethird of households in Nepal are connected to the electricity distribution grid, with connection rates much lower in rural areas. The entire project will cost around $500 million and will be co-funded by ADB and the Japan International Cooperation Agency lending, the European Investment Bank, and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.

IFC $1 Billion Green Bond Marks Largest Climate-Friendly Issuance IFC, a member of the World Bank Group has issued a US$1 billion green bond that will be used to support IFC climate-friendly projects in developing countries. The bond sets a precedent as the largest green bond issue to date and was principally allocated to socially responsible investment portfolios. By making the three-year bond a benchmark issue available to investors globally, IFC aims to strengthen this growing asset class. The bond, which was heavily oversubscribed, was sized to address the demand from an increasing number of investors interested in climate-related opportunities. “IFC is ramping up its climate-related investments because the private sector can play a leading role in addressing climate change,” said Jingdong Hua, IFC VP and Treasurer. “Through its Green Bond Program, IFC enables large-scale investors to support projects related to climate change in developing countries.” In FY12, IFC invested $1.6 billion in climate-related investments—more than 10 percent of the institution’s overall commitments for the year. About 70 percent of IFC’s investments in the power sector involved energy efficiency and renewable energy. By FY15, IFC expects to double its climate-related investments to roughly $3 billion per year. Stephanie Miller, IFC Director of Climate Business, said: “The IFC Green Bond Program supports one of IFC’s strategic priorities to develop and promote innovative financial products that attract greater investments to support renewable energy, energy efficiency, and other climate-friendly projects.” IFC green bonds support projects to reduce greenhouse emissions—for example, by rehabilitating power plants and transmission facilities, installing solar and wind power, and providing funding for new technologies that result in significant reductions in emissions. To date, IFC has issued about $2.2 billion in such bonds.

December 2012

Earth Conscious


First carbon-neutral companies in Costa Rica receive certification

Representatives from tour operator Travel Excellence received the C-Neutral Brand from the President of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla. This tourist company is one of the first seven companies to achieve the C-Neutral certification in Costa Rica.

Travel Excellence S.A, Distribuidora Centroamericana Florex S. A, Café Britt Costa Rica S.A, Environmental Systems Geocycle SAG S. A (Holcim Group Costa Rica), BAC/ Credomatic Costa Rica, Euromobilia S.A and Mapache Rent a Car are the first companies in Costa Rica to be certified as carbon-neutral under the official voluntary norm INTE -1201-06:2011. These companies received the C-Neutral Brand from the President of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla; the Vice President Alfio Piva; and the Minister of Environment and Energy, René Castro, in a ceremony in early March. To receive certification, companies carried out a transparent and measurable management process in carbon neutrality, based on the national norm, which follows international standards under the ISO norm 14064-1, 3. “This is the first group of Costa Rican companies that meet the local and global standards established by the official norm, and their certification represents an important step for the country goal of carbon neutrality, because we hope that more companies will join the process”, said René Castro, Minister of Environment and Energy.


Earth Conscious

March 2013

Each company has a GHG reduction plan and offset the emissions they can´t reduce through the purchase of Unidades Costarricenses de Compensación (Costa Rican Compensation Units) related to forestry, energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. This makes possible the development of a carbon market with the participation of these companies and new ones in the process. The initiative is part of the Programa País (Country Program), the official program implemented by the Climate Chance Directorat (DCC) of the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) for the processes regarding GHG inventories and the C-Neutrality Norm. The Country Program aims to develop capacity building for national organizations, assure the consistency and quality of GHG inventories and bring measurable, verifiable and reportable information for consumers and general users. This allows the standardization of processes of measurement and verification and, therefore, transparency in the report of inventories not only by companies, but the country as a whole. It also makes possible the advance of organizations in social corporate responsibility issues.

Discussion on CCRIF’s New Excess Rainfall Product

The meeting brought together international development partners including the UK Department for International Development (DFID), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Inter-American Bank, and the European Union among others. Many regional institutions were also represented. One of the main items of discussion was CCRIF’s new coverage option, the CCRIF/ Swiss Re Excess Rainfall product, which is now being made available to all CARICOM countries. Discussions focused on potential donor support to enable Caribbean countries at risk from extreme rainfall to take advantage of this innovative product.

The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) hosted a strategic donor meeting at the offices of the CDB in Barbados in early March to discuss ways to support CCRIF’s new excess rainfall product and to coordinate with donors’ disaster risk management initiatives in the region. In his opening remarks, CDB President Dr. Warren Smith indicated that the CDB was pleased to facilitate this discussion which will increase cooperation among CCRIF, donors and regional organisations “in enhancing the disaster risk management capacity of the region as a whole and coordinating our efforts in keeping with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness.”

The excess rainfall product will complement the Facility’s tropical cyclone coverage which is based on wind and storm surge losses. The excess rainfall product was developed in direct response to interest expressed by many CCRIF participating countries and stakeholder partners in enhancing existing options to include coverage against damage produced by heavy rain and its triggering of floods and landslides. Donors were impressed with the product’s potential to help all countries in the Caribbean region – including those which are not at significant risk from tropical cyclones, such as Guyana and Suriname. CCRIF’s recently appointed CEO, Mr Isaac Anthony, was pleased with the results of the meeting and stated that it “provided an opportunity to create a mechanism for inter-organisation information sharing and collaboration that can be used to deal with a variety of development issues that face the Caribbean. CCRIF – and its current and future member countries – will certainly benefit from this cooperative approach.”

March 2013

Earth Conscious


always on top of issues #268 Harold Fraser Circular, Valsayn, Trinidad and Tobago Tel: (868) 645-0368 . Email:;

Communications . Public Relations . Publications Development

Earth Conscious magazine March 2013  

Magazine on environmental and sustainability issues

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you