Climate change gets serious attention from Caribbean leaders Caribbean youth rally for climate change Guyana unveils low-carbon development strategy Little Tibet
From an environmental perspective, canvas grocery bags are better choices than paper or plastic bags. Canvas tends to be more environmentally friendly to produce than paper or plastic, and because these bags are designed to be re-used, consumers get a lot of mileage out of a single bag. Turning to re-usable supplies is viewed as more environmentally friendly than using disposable products, many of which wind up in landfills because a community lacks the ability to recycle them. Plastic grocery bags have a number of environmental drawbacks, with the use of petroleum being only one example. When plastic grocery bags are not recycled or landfilled, they end up in the natural environment, where they can cause a wide range of problems. Animals may choke on or become entangled in such bags, and if plastic reaches the ocean, it can linger there for thousands of years. While the bags may eventually break down, they can poison a wide assortment of sea creatures along the way. Paper bags will biodegrade much more quickly, but they still require the use of timber, a resource which some people would prefer to see left in forests. Canvas grocery bags are also much sturdier than regular grocery bags, for consumers who are not persuaded by the environmental arguments. As anyone who has had a bag break open in the parking lot knows, it can be very frustrating to lose a batch of groceries to a poorly-constructed grocery bag. Canvas bags can hold much more weight than regular grocery bags, and they can easily be washed in the event of leaks or spills. They also have uses beyond the grocery store. Canvas grocery bags can be used to pick up books at the library or to carry other shopping, for example, and they make great beach bags because of their sturdiness and washability. For people who donâ€™t want to carry around a grocery store logo, canvas grocery bags can be turned inside out and left plain or stenciled with new designs, and some companies sell plain bags which people can dye or decorate to taste.
Young people from around the world meet to have their say on climate change, at the UNEP TUNZA International Children and Youth Conference 2009 Daejeon, Republic of Korea.
September 2009 CONTENTS 2 From the Editor 3 Climate change gets serious attention from Caribbean leaders
Editor: Linda Hutchinson-Jafar
4 Grenada hosts CDM
Contributors: Bogusia Sipiora Garfield King Barbara King Salman Zafar Fredrick Mugira
4 Caribbean coral reefs could disappear in 2060 6 Seed collection project reaps major benefits 7 Guyana unveils low-carbon development strategy
Design and layout: Karibgraphics Ltd.
8 Young Voices
is published by: Caribbean PR Agency #268 Harold Fraser Circular, Valsayn, Trinidad and Tobago, W.I. T/F: (868) 645-0368 firstname.lastname@example.org www.beingearthconscious.com 2009. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher.
10 Belize and Colombia’s sites added to UNESCO’s danger list 10 Caribbean gets EU help to address sustainable development 12 Caribbean Updates 16 Ladkhi (Little Tibet) 18 Global Watch
26 Green Living Slowing down to get more of what matters Cell phone dilemmas 28 Biomass combined heat and power systems
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle... ...it really helps.
ON OUR COVER Ladkhi (Little Tibet), India Photographer: Bogusia Sipiora
From the Editor
he countdown is on to Copenhagen. In a couple of months, governments from around the world will meet in the Danish capital to agree on a new climate deal, which hopefully will lead to sustainable development future based on low carbon emissions.
At COP-15, Heads of State and Government from the 191 Member States of the United Nations will try to reach a new global climate change agreement to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol which sets targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. This will require the political will of all countries, particularly the industrialised nations to adopt ambitious plans for reducing greenhouse emissions. Caribbean countries, already reeling from the impact of climate change are pressing world leaders in Copenhagen to take action which include: • Long-term stabilisation of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations at levels which will ensure that global average surface temperature increases be limited to well below 1.5° C of pre-industrial levels; • Global greenhouse gas emissions to peak by 2015; • Global Co2 reductions of at least 45 percent by 2020 and greenhouse gas emissions be cut by more than 95 per cent of 1990 CO2 levels by 2050. The World Bank estimates that annual economic damage from climate change in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member countries is around US$11 billion by 2080, or 11 percent of the grouping’s gross domestic product. Nearly a fifth of the losses is likely to be linked to the specific effects of sea-level rise - loss of land, and damage to tourism infrastructure, housing, buildings, and other infrastructure. The loss of tourism expenditure is projected at US$4 billion, and climate change-related disasters such as hurricanes and floods at US$5 billion. Based on this possible scenario for the Caribbean and those of us who live here, it is vital that our leaders are resolute in their position at the December high level conference. We also look forward to reporting on the Caribbean’s position at the Copenhagen conference for our readers. On another note, Earth Conscious is celebrating its one year anniversary this September. Like so many other companies, it was a challenging year for the new magazine particularly as advertising revenues, integral to its longevity, dropped significantly. The result of this was bringing forward a decision - which we intended to implement later on – of moving the magazine from print to a full green magazine. Despite the challenges, my team and I thoroughly enjoyed putting together each issue for our readers whose constant feedback inspired us greatly. Linda Hutchinson-Jafar
Climate Change gets serious attention from Caribbean leaders Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders have delivered a strongly worded statement on the impact of climate change which has led to increasingly frequent and intense extreme weather events, damage to bio diversity, coral bleaching, coastal erosion and changing precipitation patterns.
According to the World Bank, the total annual impact of potential climate change on all CARICOM countries is estimated at US$9.9 billion or about 11.3% of the total annual GDP of all 20 CARICOM countries (Member States and Associate Member States). Following their annual summit in July, the leaders said in a statement that their efforts to promote sustainable development and achieve the internationally agreed development goals including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were under severe threat from the devastating effects of climate change and sea level rise. They emphasized that dangerous climate change is already occurring in all Small Islands and Lowlying Coastal Developing States (SIDS) regions including the Caribbean. “Many SIDS will cease to exist without urgent, ambitious and decisive action by the international community to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions significantly and to support SIDS in their efforts to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change, including through the provision of increased levels of financial and technical resources,” it said. During the Summit, several leaders spoke about the impact of climate change on the Caribbean region. Grenada’s Prime Minister Tillman Thomas reminded his colleagues that 2009 is a particularly important year for Climate Change as the international negotiations are scheduled to culminate in a new intergovernmental regime to address causes and impacts of Climate Change. This new regime, he said, would be important for small states like CARICOM Member States, as the decisions taken on emission reductions will directly influence the amount of damage to the environment and other problems caused by Climate Change. “The region needs to face the challenge head on, to ensure the provision of financing to assist vulnerable countries in adapting to Climate Change. The decisions could have a significant impact on the ability of Caribbean Countries to initiate programmes in response to Climate Change,” he said. Noting that negotiations are in gear on the draft negotiating text, Mr. Thomas urged Member States to study the proposals when they are released and ensure that the most beneficial results are obtained for the region.
Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer declared that the issue of climate change for small developing countries which are frequented by natural disasters is of vital importance. He anticipated that the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen will conclude with a global consensus that should result in an ambitious and effective international response to the problems associated with climate change. “Any failure or delay to secure a consensus for action on climate change will present significant challenges in terms of the human, infrastructural and financial impacts that countries will likely face. For CARICOM, securing urgent, effective and equitable action on climate change that is robust and dynamic is the overriding global policy challenge,” he added. “The impact of climate change is overwhelmingly severe to the region and has started to threaten development milestones achieved over a number of years. This will continue to exert significant pressure on existing island-nation vulnerabilities that have the real potential to worsen socio-economic condition,” the prime minister said. Noting that a successful outcome in Copenhagen is critical for CARICOM, he said the stakes are high and the region cannot settle for just any outcome. Guyana’s President Bharrat Jagdeo underscored the importance of the Copenhagen conference for small and vulnerable states of the Caribbean, saying that it was of paramount importance to their economic progress and to their survival. “We must vociferously advocate an ambitious climate change agreement in Copenhagen that puts us on a sustainable pathway to achieving a concentration of greenhouse gases that will not cause major shifts in global temperatures and catastrophic consequences particularly for islands and low-lying states,” said President Jagdeo. The agreement, he said, must provide mechanisms to generate sufficient funds for adaptation, mitigation, and technology transfer. “Reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation, inclusive of avoided deforestation, must be a prominent part of the agreement. This will be important for Suriname, Belize, and Guyana, which has just launched a comprehensive low carbon development strategy,” he said.
Grenada Hosts Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)
he Executive Board of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) met in Grenada in July for its 48th session and Executive Board Chair Lex de Jonge said that by holding the Board’s meeting on the island, some light was shed on the CDM in the region. He expressed hope that “this increased exposure, together with other measures being taken to make the CDM more accessible, will lead to a meaningful level of involvement here in the Caribbean and elsewhere where the CDM has yet to take firm root.” The CDM is one of the financial mechanisms established under the Kyoto Protocol (1997) and has the dual objectives of facilitating developed countries meeting their emission reduction targets whilst promoting sustainable development. Grenada’s Prime Minister Tillman Thomas noted that since the first Board meeting in 2001, over 1,100 projects have been registered and there are a further 4,000 projects in the CDM pipeline. It is anticipated that the CDM will generate over 2.7 billion certified emission reductions (CERs), equivalent to the removal of 2.7 billion tonnes of Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere by the end of the first commitment period in 2012. In 2007, the primary and secondary markets for CERs were worth US$13 billion. Noting that the CDM finds itself at a crossroad, Mr. Thomas questioned whether the CDM is truly contributing to global sustainable development if most of the projects are concentrated in Brazil, China, and India. “The English-speaking Caribbean, for example, has only one CDM registered project,” he said. Although the Caribbean has its part to part to play in promoting the CDM, Mr. Thomas noted that a number of countries have not established effective Designated National Authorities while the private sector has been slow to recognise the opportunities that the CDM presents. “The Government of Grenada is committed to transitioning the Grenadian economy to a low carbon or green economy. We see renewable energy and energy efficiency as being central pillars in our draft national sustainable energy policy, which is currently the subject of a national public consultation. However, to transition our economy will require significant financial and technical assistance,” he said. Mr. Thomas said he hoped the CDM and other similar financial mechanisms that have the stated objective of promoting sustainable development will come to the assistance of those countries that have done very little, either historically or currently to cause climate change but are already starting to suffer its terrible consequences.” Currently 2% of the proceeds of the CDM are used to finance the Adaptation Fund.
Climate Change: Caribbean Coral Reefs could disappear in 2060
The islands of the Caribbean could suffer irreversible damage causing impact on bio-diversity, fishing, tourism and coastal protection if appropriate measures are not taken now to face the effects of climate change, warned the most recent regional study from the World Bank, presented in the Dominican Republic in June. “It is highly likely that the Caribbean will continue to experience an increase in the risks from natural disasters, the incidence of tropical diseases and the bleaching of coral, bringing about high human and economic costs,” said Augusto de la Torre, Chief Economist of the World Bank for the Latin America and Caribbean Region. The report, “Low Carbon, High Growth: Latin America Responses to Climate Change”, sets forth that climate change is unequivocal and can be seen, among other effects, by the increase in the temperature of over 1 degree Centigrade and in the greater frequency of extreme weather in the form of intense hurricanes and rains that have been experienced especially in Central America and the Caribbean. 4
In the Andean countries, the snows have lost a great deal of their mass and, if the trend is not halted, are doomed to disappear in the next 20 years, according to the report. “Given the significant vulnerability of the Dominican Republic to the expected impact of climate change and the very modest contribution of the country to green-house gas emissions, the priority must be adaptation to climate change, with emphasis on the sectors identified as being the most vulnerable -water, tourism, agriculture, energy and infrastructure - added Pablo Fajnzylber, Senior Economist of the World Bank and one of the authors of the study. In the particular case of Dominican Republic, according to Walter Vergara, World Bank Specialist on Climate Change for the Caribbean, the country, like its Caribbean neighbors, is exposed to extreme climate events and impacts induced by the increase in sea temperature, which is translated into an impact in fishing and coastal protection. Further, the corals of the Caribbean are being bleached and will eventually die. Eighty percent of the corals of the Caribbean have been affected recently, which has resulted in the death of some and all could disappear by the year 2060. “The country has been impacted by changes in the precipitation cycles and by an increase in sea level, with the latter causing exposure of the coastal infrastructure of the country. The intensity of hurricanes has raised since the 70’s and appears to be very much related to increases in the temperature of the sea surface”, explained Vergara. Policies for a future of development with less carbon The study suggests that the countries of the region adopt their own strategies for growth and reduction in poverty to minimize the negative impacts on their population. This implies adaptation of the social protection systems and natural resources management to the new challenges created by climate change. On the other hand, it is important to improve the mechanisms for supporting development with less carbon and to achieve more efficiency in the generation and use of energy. The report proposes improving energy efficiency on both sides of the equation of supply and demand: reduce and target subsidies towards consumption and to improve efficiency in generation, as well as to reduce the losses during distribution. In this last impact, the study suggests that several countries, among them the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Ecuador, experience significant losses during the distribution of energy, due to old inefficient distribution lines and sub-stations. They also suffer commercial losses due to theft and non-payment, the study states. This situation can be bettered through investments for optimization of the distribution system and via better handling, measuring and control. Co-generation is an option to improve efficiency in the industry and in the energy sector. Well-targeted subsidies are often essential to ensure access to energy by low-income or disadvantaged social groups. However, subsidies for fuel and electricity, badly implemented, can result in excessive consumption of energy and higher carbon emissions. In 2005, subsidies for fuel represented an average of 2.3% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Latin America and the Caribbean. Economic Losses caused by climate change According to the report, in the Caribbean, losses associated with the natural disasters will quadruple during the next 20 years. In addition, the coastal zones of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean would suffer negative impact on agriculture, infrastructure, especially in the mangrove areas. In this sense, the islands of the Caribbean could suffer multiple impacts, including those associated with natural disasters, an increase in sea level, loss of corals and reduction of productivity in farming, and fishing and tourism incomes. The total losses for 2080 are estimated at being between 7% and 18% of GDP.
A Seed Collection competition sponsored by Atlantic LNG Company of Trinidad and Tobago now into its second year, is reaping educational value for young people in the country. In the first year of the project in 2008, students from 30 primary and secondary schools participated in collecting a wide range of seeds from fruits and forest trees around the country. Rousillac Presbyterian Primary School and Fyzabad Anglican Secondary emerged overall winners in the St. Patrick West 4H Club Seed Collection Competition. Marlon Grant, Sustainability Officer, Atlantic LNG, who delivered the feature address at the prize distribution ceremony, congratulated the students on their splendid efforts. “Every time you collect a seed, germinate it and plant a tree, you will be protecting the sustainability of our nation for generations to come. You are the caretakers of the future,” Mr. Grant said. “Your ability to collect seeds and grow trees is a good habit. It provides a pattern that helps you grow into a caring person and a good citizen of our country. That is also what Atlantic LNG is all about. We believe in making the most of our country’s resources to bring benefit to the nation,” he added. The function marked the culmination of the year-long Seed Collection Competition project for 4H clubs in the southern region. The seed collection project also received the 2008 Green Leaf Award - Youth presented by the Environmental Management Agency. Some of the seeds collected in the first year of the competition were distributed to the Youth Apprenticeship Programme in Agriculture (YAPA). The seeds were germinated and seedlings were later sold to the public. Seeds were also given to Atlantic LNG for the buffer zone between the LNG plant and the community, an initiative which involves the planting of forest, fruit, ornamental, medicinal and foliage plants. The theme of the 2009 project is ‘working against global warming – preserving nature’s biodiversity and growing what we eat’, according to Monica Lessey, Project Leader for St Patrick West 4H Voluntary Leaders’ Council. “In the second phase of the project, students are producing the plants and will sell them to the public. Some will be planted in the schools and also in their communities,” said Ms. Lessey. Some 22 clubs which include 20 primary and secondary schools and two community groups are involved in the second phase of the project. Lessey said teachers at the schools are very much supportive of the project. “The teachers believe it’s a great opportunity for their students to learn about plants, how to germinate seeds and learn about the science of plant production,” she said. 6
Guyana unveils low carbon development strategy Guyana has unveiled a draft Low-Carbon Development Strategy which sets out a pathway to a new economy which builds future prosperity that is low-deforestation, low-carbon and climate resilient. The Strategy provides the broad framework of Guyana’s response to climate change and will hinge, in particular on Guyana deploying its forests to mitigate global climate change. It builds on work done in the last year which culminated in the launch in December 2008 of Guyana’s Position on Avoided Deforestation which essentially serves as the model for the Strategy’s development. The key focus areas of the strategy are investments in low carbon economic infrastructure; investments in high potential low carbon sectors; expanding access to services and new economic opportunities for indigenous and forest communities and transforming the village economy as well as improving social services and economic opportunities for the wider Guyanese population; and investments in climate change adaptation infrastructure. In the document: A low-carbon development strategy: Transforming Guyana’s Economy While Combating Climate Change, it describes its pristine forests as its most valuable assets. The majority of the 15 million hectare rainforest is suitable for timber extraction and post-harvest agriculture, and significant mineral deposits exist below its surface. The value of this forest - known as Economic Value to the Nation or EVN - is estimated to be the equivalent of an annual annuity payment of US$580 million. However, generating this EVN, while economically rational for Guyana, would have significant negative consequences for the world. The deforestation that would accompany this development path would reduce the critical environmental services that Guyana’s forests provide to the world – such as bio-diversity, water regulation and carbon sequestration, according to the document. Conservative valuations of the Economic Value to the World (EVW) provided by Guyana’s forests suggest that, left standing, they can contribute US$40 billion to the global economy each year. However, no trading markets exist for these environmental TO ACHIEVE THIS, GUYANA MUST: services – and as a consequence, individuals and companies in rainforest countries face powerful incentives to deforest. In turn, Invest in strategic low carbon economic infrastructure, such as: a hydro plant at Amelia national and local governments face political pressure to use the Falls; improved access to unused, non-forested forest for economic and employment benefit. land; and improved fiber optic bandwidth to facilitate Reconciling this tension between protecting rainforests and the development of low-carbon business activities; pursuing economically rational development is the core challenge that must be addressed to make forests worth more alive than dead. Nurture investment in high-potential low-carbon There is increasing global recognition of the fact that sectors, such as fruits and vegetables, aquaculture, protecting forests is essential to the fight against climate change and sustainable forestry and wood processing; – forestry causes about 17% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Yet movement from recognizing the need for action to actual action Invest in other low-carbon business development continues to be too slow, according to the document. opportunities such as business process outsourcing Guyana’s Low-Carbon Development Strategy seeks to and ecotourism; provide insights on how to stimulate the creation of a low deforestation, low-carbon, climate-resilient economy, whereby: Expand access to services and new economic With the right low-deforestation economic incentives, opportunity for indigenous peoples through Guyana will avoid emissions of 1.5 gigatons of CO2e (carbon dioxide improved social services (including health and equivalent which includes other greenhouse gases) by education); low-carbon energy sources, clean 2020 that would have been produced by an otherwise economically water and employment which does not threaten the rational development path. forest; These incentives will be generated through interim forestry payments from Guyana’s partnership with the Norwegian Government Improve services to the broader Guyana citizenry, and other sources, and the REDD programme. including improving and expanding job prospects, These payments can enable Guyana’s economy to be promoting private sector entrepreneurship, and realigned onto a low-carbon development trajectory. Guyana can improving social services with a particular focus on generate economic growth at or in excess of projected Latin American health and education. growth rates over the coming decade, while simultaneously eliminating approximately 30 percent of non-forestry emissions through the use of clean energy. 7
By Andrea Downer, Journalist
Thirty young environment advocates from 12 Caribbean islands met in the Dominican Republic recently to discuss climate change issues in the region and to gain insights into effective ways to get the public and their respective governments to engage with climate change in meaningful ways. The three-day workshop, which was a joint initiative of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN) and 350.org, was part of efforts to mobilize Caribbean youth in light of the upcoming United Nations Climate Change meeting in Copenhagen in December where world leaders will meet to decide on a new global treaty on climate change. Many of the participants were not native Spanish speakers but they spoke the same language on one thing: climate change. They all had stories to share about the impacts they were experiencing, and the work they were doing to take action in their home countries. â€œI am from a depressed community; there was not much happening there for youths. Marijuana smoking was the main social pastime for young people. So meeting on a corner and smoking weed was the main form of social interaction,â€? says Nintus Magre, a 31 year old environment advocate, teacher and performing artiste from St. Lucia explained. He is also the Caricom Youth Ambassador for St. Lucia. According to Nintus, farming is the main subsistence in Desruisseaux, the rural community in St. Lucia where he lives and as a result, he sees preserving of the environment as crucial to the livelihood of the persons in his community. Recognizing the potential and effectiveness of youth, he sought to get them productively involved in environmental initiatives. He explained that he seeks to engage young people in his community in projects geared at environmental protection, advocacy; climate change and bio diversity, among other areas. Nintus explained that through CYEN, he has been able to organize a number of events aimed at raising public awareness about the environment. 8
UNEP TUNZA International Children and Youth Conference 2009 Daejeon, Republic of Korea Declaration to world leaders
Listen to Our Voices The future needs strong vision and leadership
We, young people - 3 billion of the world population – are concerned and frustrated that our governments are not doing enough to combat climate change. We feel that radical and holistic measures are needed urgently from us all. We now need more actions and less talking. Climate Change is affecting us all, and we need to find efficient ways to cope with it, adapt to it and take action to stop it. We note that climate change is leading to loss of natural resources and makes it difficult to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Sea level rise, desert encroachment and warmer weather is affecting everyone and everything on the planet, especially small island states. Climate change has serious consequences not only for ecosystems, but also for human health, job security and social development.
We Request Our Governments to: • Agree on a more fair, just and action oriented post-Kyoto agreement adopted and implemented by all countries • Have strict laws and enforcement against those who pollute and degrade the environment, coupled with education and incentives to protect the environment • Develop and implement clearly defined carbon action plans and climate response strategies, which can be monitored and reviewed by an independent multi-national climate facility • Transition toward a green economy based on renewable energies and offer more incentives for people to buy affordable energy efficient products • Reduce the number of vehicles and traffic density on our roads, including improved and affordable public and pedestrian transport systems • Make engaging environmental education mandatory in schools and universities and promote community environmental awareness - an informed public is a powerful public • Pay attention to the conflicts that have developed throughout the world and the negative impact it has had on the environment and develop conflict resolution strategies
As Young People, We Will: • Actively commit to undertaking the above actions; • Encourage our communities and as many people as possible to do the above individual actions; • Expand our networks to reach out to other youth to organizations and networks to become involved; • Take part in and/or initiate climate change rallies if capable (on 21 September, 24 October etc, locally and nationally) in run up to COP 15; • Engage in environmentally friendly activities especially planting, nurturing and protection of trees; • Exchange, connect and encourage best practices of young people on climate change; • Communicate environment and climate change through the media and social networks like Uniteforclimate.org, Facebook and Twitter, and also develop environmental websites on climate change. • Encourage schools and universities to become ecofriendly • Support and promote the efforts of the UN Secretary General to Seal the Deal in Copenhagen. 9
Belize a n d C o l o m b i a ’s s i t e s a d d e d t o UNES CO ’s Danger List
hreats to Belize’s barrier reef reserve and Colombia’s Los Katios National Park from deforestation, illegal fishing and “excessive development” have led the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to inscribe the sites on its List of World Heritage in Danger. The agency’s World Heritage Committee said the main problem with the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System concerns mangrove cutting and excessive development in the property which was inscribed on UNESCO’’s World Heritage List in 1996. The Committee requested stricter control of development on the site – the largest barrier reef in the Northern Hemisphere – as well as the reinstatement of the moratorium on mangrove cutting on the site which expired in 2008. Los Katios National Park was placed on the Danger List at the request of Colombia so as to help mobilize international support for the preservation of the property which is threatened by deforestation, as a result of the illegal extraction of timber. Inscribed in 1994 for its exceptional biological diversity, the site is also suffering from illegal fishing and hunting
Caribbean gets EU help to address sustainable development
beauty and unique culture has characteristics that make it especially vulnerable to major changes and impacts are already affecting the environment in one form or the other, said Maria
E Recio, Representative, United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Speaking at a function in September, Ms. Recio said the impacts were particularly associated with the adverse effects of climate change, loss of biodiversity, drought, land degradation, waste management, amongst other threats to the environment. Ms. Recio was speaking in St Lucia at a Regional Needs Prioritization Workshop within the Programme on Capacitybuilding related to Implementation of Multilateral Environmental Agreements in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Countries project which is supported by the European Community and implemented by UNEP. She told her audience that globalization has been a major driving force behind such change combined with development, population growth and trade liberalization. In order to address these challenges, international environment law over the last decades has undergone major changes and rapid development. The recognition of international environmental principles and the adoption of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) require countries to be proactive in the incorporation of the principles and regulations in their national legal frameworks and ensuring their implementation in tandem with their economic, institutional and policy frameworks, The Capacity Building related to MEAs in ACP countries Project intends to contribute 10
to the implementation of strategies for sustainable development, increasing the prosperity of the Region and reducing poverty and improving peoples’ livelihoods by strengthening and enhancing the capacity of Caribbean countries to effectively implement and comply with MEAs and related commitments, said Ms. Recio. Dr. Edward Greene, Assistant Secretary-General, Human and Social Development at the Caribbean Community Secretariat said the MEAs represent a good platform through which national environment and sustainable development goals may be realized and many of the problems affecting the global commons addressed. “For us at the Secretariat, this project presents a much needed opportunity to strengthen our own internal capacity to delver specialized services to our Member States with regard to the implementation of MEAs,” he said. The CARICOM Secretariat is the regional hub for the Caribbean under the project and will be strengthened to allow for the delivery of quality capacity-building services to Caribbean countries, such as project management and writing skills, negotiations and lobbying skills, legal drafting skills, information management and exchange, and the synergistic implementation of MEAs in a coherent and integrated manner. The project is designed to increase the capacities of Caribbean States and will entail the provision of technical assistance, training, policy and advisory support services to enhance the capacities of the countries in implementing their obligations under MEAs.
AO SI S calls on major economies t o a dopt more ambitious a nd concrete targets
In response to the announcement that leaders of the Major Economies Forum had agreed to hold rising temperatures to no more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) reaffirmed its call for short- and medium-term targets that would limit increases to below 1.5 degrees Celsius. Dessima M. Williams, Permanent Representative of Grenada and Chairperson of AOSIS also called on the major economies to cut greenhouse gas emissions by far more concrete and ambitious targets than those announced at the meetings of the G-8 and Major Economies Forum in L’Aquila, Italy. Flanked by four other AOSIS representatives -- the Permanent Representatives of Barbados, Dominica, Seychelles, and the Solomon Islands -- Ms. Williams said at a press conference on climate change: “We welcome new outcomes which indicate greater momentum towards tackling the challenges of climate change. However, for AOSIS, 2 degrees of temperature rise is still unacceptable, because it exceeds safe thresholds necessary for the protection and survival of small islands.” She said that, for the smallest and most vulnerable islands, climate change was “already here, causing damage”, and that the world had an obligation to ensure “no island is left behind”. It was a cruel irony that without adequate global commitments, the countries contributing least to global warming would be the most affected by its consequences. Among other developing countries, small islands as well as coastal, low-lying and African countries already vulnerable to drought and desertification were highly at risk. Given the decades-long time lags between the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and changes in average temperature, a mere temperature goal was insufficient, Ms. Williams said, explaining that targets must be specific, measurable, quantifiable and defined by reference to the 1990 baseline emissions agreed to under the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Cities part of climate change solution
UN-HABITAT Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka emphasized three key messages when she delivered a keynote address to the XVIII Assembly of Ministers and lead authorities of housing and urban development in Latin America and the Caribbean (MINURVI), convened in Montego Bay, Jamaica in July. The key messages: decent housing and universal access to basic urban services are critical elements to the well-being of urban populations and poverty reduction; cities play a role as engines of economic growth; and sustainable development depends on sustainable urban development. Ms. Tibaijuka noted that urban areas accommodate about half the world’s population and consume 65% of the world’s energy, contributing to about 75% of waste and 65% of greenhouse gas emissions. She stressed that the Habitat Agenda, normally recognized as the brown agenda, should no longer be delinked from the green agenda, especially as it relates to the challenges of climate change and the need to integrate cities as part of the solution. She highlighted that UN-HABITAT is launching two new initiatives. The first initiative, the World Urban Campaign, aims to elevate the discussion of sustainable urbanization in different decision-making fora to revive national Habitat Platforms to stimulate dialogue and action. The second initiative, the City and Climate Change Initiative, advocates for an integrated approach to land use and urban infrastructure that promotes resilient urban services and greener building technologies. 11
Caribbean Updates German Firm to Help Bahamas with Renewable Energy Plans The German engineering firm Fichtner has been awarded a half-million-dollar contract to advise the Bahamas government on the energy sector, which will include an audit of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation and advice on the implementation of renewable energy. In June, the government guaranteed a $211 million rescue loan for BEC. As of May, the utility had nearly $99 million in receivables and $130 million in payables. Earlier, the government had signed two technical cooperation agreements with the Inter-American Development bank aimed at strengthening the energy sector and integrating renewable energy projects into the electricity grid. Fichtner will conduct a technical, financial, managerial, and operational review of BEC, including the establishment of key performance indicators. It will also develop a strategic expansion and financing plan emphasizing the inclusion of alternative energy technologies. The regulatory framework will also be reviewed with a view to opening the sector to independent power producers. These projects are expected to take 10 to 12 months to complete with interim reports being generated to allow action where required. Fichtner has a worldwide network of branches, project offices and associated companies in over 50 countries. More information can be found at http://www.bahamasecoforum.com/ Mexico: Seeking a Low-Carbon Growth Path Mexico boosted its image as a global leader in climate change in December 2008, when it announced it had set the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 50 percent below 2002 levels by 2050. Now Mexico is embarking on a comprehensive strategy to cut emissions and reduce energy use while also potentially putting the Mexican economy on a low carbon growth path. The plan will get a $500 million boost from a new Clean Technology Fund supported by eight governments, managed by the World Bank, and administered by the World Bank Group and other multilateral development banks. Mexico is among the first countries to tap the $5.2 billion fund that provides grants and low-interest financing to pilot and scale up low carbon technologies and make other changes that reduce energy use and pollution. On June 5, during the celebration of World Environment Day in Mexico, President Felipe Calderon launched the Special Climate Change Programme (Programa Especial de Cambio Climático – PECC). 12
As with all government programmes, the PECC is considered part of the 2007-2012 National Development Plan (NDP), and in particular, part of the environmental sustainability pillar of the NDP. The PECC establishes a low-carbon development scenario for Mexico, identifying priorities and financing sources, both domestic and international. “Mexico has recognized it will be heavily impacted by the effects of climate change,” says Ricardo Ochoa, Head of the International Affairs Unit of the Ministry of Finance. “The good news is it has decided to act accordingly. That means that despite not being a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions globally, it wants to send a signal it’s important to take action.” The strategy involves every sector of the economy, but the $500 million from the Clean Technology Fund endorsed in January will boost the country’s efforts on cleaner urban transportation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy, especially wind power. Urban Transport Plan Could Alter Economic Footprint The urban transport plan has the potential to alter the overall footprint of the Mexican economy, given that 75 percent of Mexicans live in urban areas and most economic growth occurs there, according to the CTF investment plan for Mexico. Transport is thought to be responsible for 18 percent of Mexico’s greenhouse gas emissions and is second only to energy generation as an emissions source. Indeed, Mexico’s transport emissions have increased by 27% between 1990 and 2005 and now account for about 2% of the global transport sector’s GHG emissions (Transport and Climate. World Bank, 2007) while continuing to grow at an annual rate of about 2%. The plan is to shift to efficient, low carbon bus rapid transit systems and light rail, and to retire old buses and replace them with lower carbon alternatives, such as hybrid vehicles. Gustavo Saltiel, the World Bank Sector Leader for Sustainable Development in Mexico, says that the programme promotes market penetration of low-carbon transport technologies. Local operators would not be able to purchase low-carbon buses otherwise, because their expense would not be readily justifiable by current market conditions, he says. The CTF financing will help cities obtain the buses without having to transfer the additional cost of acquisition to the users. Additionally, CTF will support the purchasing of old buses and the implementation of the scrapping process. The CTF is contributing $200 million and the World Bank $600 million to the plan, expected to cost about $2.4 billion. It will be modeled after a successful bus rapid transit corridor in Mexico City that is partially funded by selling carbon reduction credits to industrialized countries under the Clean Development Mechanism. The Clean Technology Fund’s low-interest financing is especially important in providing an incentive to municipalities to take old buses off the road, says Saltiel. And overall, “it’s been a tremendous catalyzer” in decisionmaking about climate change spending, says Saltiel. “The money has created a lot of momentum to commit resources. It has made decisions much easier.”
Caribbean Updates Latin America’s first water-powered bus on the streets of São Paulo Imagine quiet, water-fueled buses and cars that exude clean vapor instead of fumes. In Latin America, this dream may be closer to reality, with the recent introduction of the region’s first hydrogen-powered bus, in São Paulo, one of the world’s largest cities, with 18 million inhabitants – almost half of them riding buses every day. The eco-bus does not emit a single gram of pollution, and is the first such initiative in Latin America, thanks to a Global Environment Facility partnership among the United Nations Development Programme, the Brazilian Mines and Energy Ministry and the city of Sao Paulo’s Urban Transportation Company. “Even though the technology to produce the hydrogenfueled bus is already available in four other countries – China, the United States, Japan and Holland – the Brazilian project has been able to gather technology from national and international partner companies to produce hydrogen more cheaply,” said Carlos Castro, UNDP Brazil’s environment expert. The hydrogen used by the bus is obtained by electrolyses, a process that separates hydrogen and oxygen. Reacting with oxygen in the atmosphere, an electric current is produced. It runs the engine while releasing water vapor, instead of releasing carbon dioxide, as vehicles powered by gas and other oil-related products do. “The process is totally clean, in a closed loop: it begins with water plus energy and ends with the same elements,” said Carlos Zündt, planning manager of the Sao Paulo Urban Transportation Company and coordinator of the hydro bus project. “But our main goal at this point is not to completely replace the fleet – because the technology is still too expensive – but to study how a clean public transportation initiative would work in a huge city like Sao Paulo.” The bus is hybrid: using hydrogen, three high power batteries, or both simultaneously. When running with hydrogen alone, the bus can run up to 300 km and 40 km extra only on batteries. The hydrogen bus can carry 63 passengers and will be tested over the next two months. During this period, the partners will study the effects on greenhouse gas emissions, the hydrogen production infrastructure and the effectiveness of the buses as public transport. “This is the first prototype, and was a result of four years of research and knowledge sharing by a consortium of national and international partners,” Castro said. The consortium involves Brazilian energy companies AES Eletropaulo and Petrobras, and bus manufacturers Marcopolo and Tuttotrasporti. The international partners are Ballard Power Systems and Hydrogenics (both from Canada); Epri International (USA) and Nucellsys (Germany).
“This enabled us to get the high quality contribution from companies that are researching hydrogen fuelled-transportation all around the world. Lessons were learned from other countries’ experiences.” An energy plant to produce hydrogen by electrolysis is also under construction, and will be ready in six months. Until then, the new bus will produce hydrogen by processing natural gas. Hydrogen is considered a promising alternative to fossil fuels. Today, there are only 5,000 vehicles worldwide that produce energy from this gas. According to the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy, in 2015 the fuel should be widely distributed, though mainly in Europe and the United States. Hydrogen is forecast to be widely available in Brazil only by 2020. “Researchers estimate that by 2080, 90 percent of the world’s vehicles will be run by hydrogen,” Zündt added. Though abundant and clean, hydrogen is still very expensive to produce. That’s why oil-related fuels are still being used today. “Diesel is much cheaper [than hydrogen],” Zündt acknowledged. “But it is a highly pollutant fuel. So we must also consider the costs of public spending in respiratory diseases and other horrible effects of pollution and acid rain. If you take that into account, diesel has a cost 200 times higher than hydrogen.” The consortium involved in the project is also interested in exporting the hydrogen-fueled buses. Unlike many developing countries, Brazil has a large, modern and competitive bus industry, and builds up to 20,000 buses a year – one of the top bus producers in the world. Over time, the partners hope to make this lower-cost technology available to other developing countries – to offer a
Caribbean Updates Commonwealth’s Message on World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought: (June 17 was observed as World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought.) The theme of this year’s observance is “Conserving land and water = Securing our common future”. Through this theme, the United Nations highlights the fact that threats to soil security unleashed by desertification, land degradation and the effects of drought constitute a peril to securing our common future. According to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, “land degradation and drought threaten human security by depriving people of their means of life – by taking away food, access to water, the means for economic activities, and even their homes. In worst-case scenarios, they undermine national and regional security, force people to leave their homes and can trigger low- or high-level intensity conflicts.” The issues of desertification and drought are of specific relevance to the people and Government of Trinidad and Tobago as hosts of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2009. Citizens of Commonwealth countries in East and Southern Africa are among the 11 million people now struggling with severe drought. In the north of Nigeria roughly 350,000 hectares of land are lost yearly to desertification, while in India desertification is likely to affect one tenth of the country’s land surface. Several reports conducted by United Nations agencies state that one-third of the earth’s land surface, which is 4 billion hectares, is threatened by desertification, with over 250 million people directly affected. These reports also note that 24 billion tons of fertile soil disappear annually. From 1991 to 2000 alone, droughts have been responsible for over 280,000 deaths and account for 11% of the total water-related disasters. Although the Caribbean region, with its lush tropical vegetation, does not conjure the harsh images normally associated with the phenomena of desertification and drought, intensifying erosion and water shortages in the Eastern Caribbean show that the region is not immune to these threats. These represent some of the challenges faced by the region and the world in the quest for environmental sustainability and will therefore feature prominently in the discussions of leaders of the 53 Commonwealth nations when they meet in Port of Spain from November 27-29, 2009. The theme of CHOGM 2009 is “Partnering for a more Equitable and Sustainable Future” and provides the opportunity for the leaders to develop collective and feasible responses to current challenges being faced by the nearly two billion people that make up the Commonwealth. Some of the other issues which the Commonwealth leaders will discuss are sustaining economic growth, eliminating extreme poverty and reducing inequality. Faced with global crises that no one country can tackle alone, the emphasis will be on adopting an integrated approach to find joint solutions. This approach was evident when the 34 leaders of the Organization of American States met in Port of Spain from April 17-19 for the Fifth Summit of the Americas. This meeting resulted in the adoption, by consensus, of the Declaration of Commitment of Port of Spain, which centres on
human prosperity, energy security, climate change and sustainable development as interdependent pillars in securing the future of the citizens of the Americas. Even at the recently concluded 39th OAS General Assembly, countries praised the spirit of cooperation that was evident at the Fifth Summit and reiterated their commitment to implement the mandates of the Declaration. Ensuring that the mandates in the Declaration are implemented is the sole responsibility of Governments. In support of this, the OAS works in partnership with Governments and is also responsible for expanding the outreach to civil society to ensure that non-governmental organisations, academic institutions, the private sector and other social actors can contribute ideas and help monitor and implement Summit initiatives. The issue of partnership is therefore a common thread that follows through from the Fifth Summit of the Americas to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. At CHOGM 2009 the leaders of the Commonwealth will come together to discuss opportunities to partner in support for improved land use management, including conservation and sustainable use of forest resources, as entry points to combat drought and desertification. It is expected that CHOGM will be an opportunity to build a stronger, more resilient and progressive Commonwealth of Nations in which all citizens have the opportunity to benefit from sustained economic growth and development and to enjoy greater prosperity and security in their daily lives. ECLAC and Germany extend relationship: The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the Government of Germany successfully concluded negotiations in Berlin to extend their cooperation programme until 2012. Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of ECLAC, and Dorothee Fiedler, Deputy Director General for Latin America of Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), agreed on a cooperation programme involving an additional € 3.5 million to carry out a new programme, “Promoting sustainable development and social cohesion in Latin America and the Caribbean: Investing in regional public goods”. This programme is set to begin in 2010 and will overlap with the programme currently underway, “Towards a sustainable and equitable globalization”. During the meeting, both parties expressed their satisfaction for the positive evolution of their joint work and pledged to continue collaborating in the following areas during 2010-2012, in the framework of the new programme. • Climate Change: old and new opportunities for sustainable energy and energy efficiency • Renewing the fiscal covenant • Cooperation and integration: investing in regional public goods • Open fund for emerging issues During the nineties, BMZ -through the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (BTZ)- supported ECLAC by financing projects. In 2003, both institutions established a strategic alliance in order to work together on development issues that are important for Latin America and the Caribbean. Germany has been a member of ECLAC since 2005.
Caribbean Updates TURNING COLD WATER TO COLD CASH NEXT PAGE Urging island nations to harness the power of the oceans for their energy needs, development experts have unveiled some of the world’s most innovative technologies using cold sea water. “ We ’ r e talking about using cold sea water to make cold, hard cash,” said Lelei TuiSamoa LeLaulu, referring to sea water air conditioning (SWAC) and a similar technology, ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC), which generates energy by harnessing the difference between deep ocean water and warmer surface water. “It does not make sense to import expensive, dirty oil from thousands of miles away when the ocean surrounding us can give us our energy needs,” declared LeLaulu, president of SOS Caribe, a company pioneering the use of cold water technologies. David Jourdan, a noted ocean explorer featured on National Geographic and Discovery channels and president of Common Heritage Corporation (www.commonheritagecorp.com) which pioneered cold water use in Hawai’i, added that both OTEC and seawater air conditioning can also produce fresh water daily by capturing condensation from the cold water pipes. “SkyWater farms” can produce 50,000 gallons per day, said Jourdan, a world renowned deep water explorer involved in the exploration of the “Titanic” and leader of the team which located the Israeli submarine “Dakar”. Cold water agriculture which passes cold water pipes underground had made soils extraordinarily productive and reduced the need for surface watering, reported Jourdan who operates experimental “ColdAg” farms. Many of the technologies promoted by SOS Caribe were developed by the legendary deep sea scientist and Common Heritage Corporation founder, Dr. John Craven, who has been involved in every major ocean innovation in the United States over the past 40 years. Addressing the growing importance of carbon trading, SOS Caribe director Jaime Moreno observed “the use of cold water technologies is not only immensely sustainable but is also a valuable clean development mechanism asset.” Speaking at FUNGLODE, a leading think tank in the capital of the Dominican Republic set up by its President Leonel
Fernández, prominent local businessman Jaime Moreno, who owns the country’s largest ice cream company, said SOS Caribe wanted to launch the first commercial use of sea water air conditioning in his country “at a time when global warming was increasing the demand for air cooling. Then we’ll expand to other countries in the region.” A key player in the development of competitiveness clusters in the Dominican Republic, Moreno points to unpredictable oil prices on the world market and expensive fossil fuels for the wider Caribbean region: “To be really competitive we have to drastically slash our energy costs and these cold water technologies can cut energy bills by 80 percent.” Charlotte Vick, who serves as ocean content editor for Google Earth, believes that accessibility of bathymetric data now available on Google Earth 5.0 is a significant improvement in evaluating appropriate activity in the ocean: “This new tool provides the opportunity to evaluate our actions in the ocean carefully to be sure we conserve and restore the ocean’s resources.” “These cold water technologies were developed with tens of millions of US and Japanese taxpayer dollars for over 20 years,” she noted, adding, “it’s the markets, industries and tourism facilities close to sea water, which have finally matured enough to recognize the commercial value of these systems - and to start using them to cut energy costs and boost profits.”
“It is an inescapable fact that governments and companies must work together to find the energy solutions that will support a healthier environment for the people of the world. As a hydrocarbon producing country, Trinidad and Tobago must address the thrust towards cleaner fuels and usage of alternative or renewable energy forms as well as methods for improving energy efficiency. We took the bold step to stop refining and marketing leaded gasoline and further steps are being undertaken to upgrade our local refinery, to produce cleaner fuels. In countries where this has occurred, we understand that there is a corresponding positive impact on the health of its business.” Conrad Enill Ministerof Energy and Energy Industries, Trinidad and Tobago 15
Ladkhi (Little Tibet) By Bogusia Sipiora (A Polish living in India)
adakh â€œland of mountain passesâ€? is part of the Jammu and Kashmir state lying in the shadow of the Himalayas. This high altitude desert, criss-crossed by giant mountain ranges is one of the highest and driest inhabited places on earth. It is often referred as Little Tibet as language, art, architecture, medicine, music and religion reflects its heritage. For centuries, monks from Ladakh studied in Tibetan monasteries. The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of Ladakhi. This is an extremely harsh environment, yet for centuries it has been home to a rich and self-sustaining culture. Ladakhi villages are still remote and there is little chance to get to them in winter. In summer, one can walk and this is when the encounter takes place. Villagers are very strong and seasoned. Children are curious and shy at the same time. In their society every one belongs to the community where the people are always together and help each other. Ladakh is dominated by Buddhists but other religious community live together peacefully: Hindu, Sikhs, Muslims and Christians. They coexisted from the time of early period of Namgyal dynasty (XV w.) and there has been no mention of any conflict between them. All people live together in harmony and form a vital part of the society.
Photos by Bogusia Sipiora
Global Watch Bangladesh: 20 million at risk from climate change
Rising sea levels could affect almost 20 million people in Bangladesh in the next few decades, according to new research from the country’s Centre for Environmental and Geographic Information Services. Scientists have warned that extensive agricultural areas in the south-west of Bangladesh will become more vulnerable to floods every year, which will damage rice production and force the local population to migrate temporarily in search of work. Almost 50 per cent of the nation’s rice production comes from areas which are susceptible to flooding during the monsoon season. The damage to south-west Bangladesh caused in May by Cyclone Aila is an example of how seriously a rise in sea levels could affect Bangladesh, according to aid agency Oxfam. Meanwhile, the nation’s government has asked for international assistance of US$5 billion to fight climate change in the next five years. Maldives won’t attend climate change summit The President of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed said his country will be absent from the December UN Climate Change Summit because the government doesn’t have enough funds to pay for travel to Copenhagen. The archipelago in the Indian Ocean is one of the countries most threatened by climate change: with a maximum altitude of 2.5 metres and over 80 per cent of its territory below one metre, rising sea levels could render the Maldives uninhabitable by 2100, according to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. President Nasheed also announced that a new environmental tax has been sent to parliament for approval. The proposal is to charge tourists three US dollars per day, which could generate more than US$6 million for the Maldives each year. 18
UK government sets out manifesto for global climate deal With a few months before crucial climate negotiations take place in the Danish capital Copenhagen, the UK Government has set out for the first time why an international climate change agreement is vital for the world and what the deal must contain. The UK argues the global deal on climate change must be: • Ambitious – limit climate change to 2 degrees, by making sure global greenhouse gas emissions peak and start to reduce by 2020, and keep on shrinking to reach at most half of their 1990 levels by 2050. • Effective – keep all countries to their word with strong monitoring, reporting and verification; and let money flow to where it will make most difference by developing carbon markets • Fair – support the poorest countries to cut their emissions and adapt to climate change. Success in Copenhagen is also vital for Britain’s economic future and national security. Building a low carbon Britain and securing a Copenhagen deal will be in its business and economic interests, according to the government. Nearly 900,000 people are now employed in the low carbon sector in the UK and well over a million jobs are predicted by the middle of the next decade. South Asia’s Regional Climate Change Conference The Government of Nepal hosted the South Asia Regional Climate Change Conference: “From Kathmandu to Copenhagen: A Vision for Addressing Climate Change Risks and Opportunities in the Himalaya Region” on August 31 – September 1, 2009. The conference was attended by representatives from seven other countries of the South Asia region: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and representative of Kyrgyz Republic. It was aimed at providing a forum for the countries of the South Asia Himalayas and others in the region to share knowledge and experience about common risks that climate change brings and the immense development opportunities that could be fostered. It also sought to develop a common message to the global community regarding the climate change challenges faced by the region.
Global Watch 1. The South Asia including Hindu Kush-Himalayan (HKH) region is a climate change hot spot that influences the lives of half of the world’s population. Climate change in this region will affect people and ecosystems from the mountains to the coast to the sea. 2. The South Asia region is highly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change and is characterized by critical knowledge gaps, especially of mountain ecosystems within and across its constituent units. 3. The countries of South Asia need to accelerate sustainable social and economic growth in accordance with the principles and provisions of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. 4. The South Asian countries must therefore come together to enhance their climate change responses including through the generation of required data and adaptation at all levels with incremental adaptive steps meshing with agreed regional and global efforts to address the impacts of climate change. The enhanced climate change responses require additional financial and technical resources.
Climate Change Threatens Water, Food Security of 1.6 Billion South Asians Melting Himalayan glaciers and other climate change impacts pose a direct threat to the water and food security of more than 1.6 billion people in South Asia, according to preliminary findings of a new study financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Analyzing current trends and scenarios based on projected temperature increases, the study warns that four countries in South Asia – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Nepal – are particularly vulnerable to falling crop yields caused by glacier retreat, floods, droughts, erratic rainfall and other climate change impacts. “South Asia’s vulnerability to climate change has extremely serious implications for agriculture and therefore food security,” Kunio Senga, Director General of ADB’s South Asia Department, said after a major climate change conference in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu. Produced by the International Food Policy Research Institute, the study, “Addressing Climate Change in the Asia and Pacific Region: Building Climate Resilience in the Agriculture Sector”, warns that if current trends persist until 2050, the yields of irrigated crops in South Asia will decrease significantly – maize (-17%), wheat (-12%) and rice (-10%) – because of climate change-induced heat and water stress. Resulting food scarcity will lead to higher prices and reduced caloric intake across the region. Under this scenario, per capital calorie availability in 2050 will be below levels recorded in the year 2000.
Almost half of the world’s absolute poor live in South Asia, where they tend to depend on rainfed agriculture and live in settlements that are highly exposed to climate variability. The study outlines a range of agricultural adaptation measures that can significantly reduce the region’s vulnerability to climate change impacts. These include investments in irrigation expansion and water resource management, farm-to-market roads, and agriculture research and dissemination. ILO’s New Global Jobs Pact Urges a Shift to a Low-Carbon Economy The International Labour Conference of the International Labour Organization (ILO), which took place in June in Geneva, Switzerland, concluded with the adoption of a new “Global Jobs Pact,” which underlines the need to include green jobs and green technologies in the recovery
packages and policies. The Pact stipulates that the “decent work response to the crisis” should contribute to “a fair globalization, a greener economy and development that more effectively creates jobs and sustainable enterprises, respects workers’ rights, promotes gender equality, protects vulnerable people, assists countries in the provision of quality public services and enables countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.” In order to accelerate employment creation, jobs recovery and sustaining enterprises, the Pact recommends increasing investment in “green” production and services. In order to shape a fair and sustainable globalization, it further urges a shift to a low-carbon, environmentally-friendly
Global Watch IPCC Head concerns about countries keeping commitment
During a press conference held at UN Headquarters in New York recently, Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said he was encouraged by the climate pledges made by G8 leaders at their recent meeting in L’Aquila, Italy, but expressed concern that their general commitments fell short of what was required by science. He explained that the G8 meeting’s outcome had been “a bit of a dichotomy,” as the leaders of the largest emitters had agreed to an “aspirational” goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% up to 2050 and that the temperature increase should be limited to 2º C. However, they did not take into account the IPCC’s recommendation that in order to achieve the 2º C goal, emissions should peak by 2015. UNEP Reports Pakistan’s Tree Planting Record The UN Environment Programme (UNEP), as part of its Billion Tree Campaign announced that Pakistan has set a Guinness World Record for planting 541,176 trees in 24 hours. The record-breaking event, organized by Pakistan’s Ministry of the Environment, is part of the country’s activities marking this year as the National Year of Environmental Protection. The young mangrove saplings were planted by 300 volunteers on 15 July without the aid of any mechanical equipment in the wetlands of the Indus River Delta in Thatta District. Mangroves are particularly useful in carbon sequestration and protect coastlines from erosion as well as tsunamis. Pakistan has been active in increasing its national forest coverage and has set a target of one million hectares of new forests by 2015. It also plans to plant 50 million saplings during the monsoon period this year.
New emissions goal could make Japan climate leader World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) says it welcomes the announcement by incoming Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama to strengthen the country’s emission reduction target, aiming at 25 percent cuts from 1990 levels by 2020. According to the global conservation organization, one of the major industrialized countries raising its ambitions is an important signal at this crucial stage of the international climate negotiations. So far, targets set by the developed world have failed to reach the ambition levels necessary to protect people and nature from runaway climate change. “The decision by an important player such as Japan to do more and get serious about low carbon future can help break the deadlock between developed and developing countries,” said Kim Carstensen, the leader of the WWF Global Climate Initiative. “The climate negotiations are at a critical point and we need urgent progress to get a fair, ambitious and binding deal in Copenhagen this December”, “Japan has now come into the range of reductions by 25-40 percent as recommended by the IPCC.” Hatoyama, Japan’s Prime Minister elect since a landslide victory in the August elections, announced Japan’s new midterm target at a Climate Symposium in Tokyo, in front of Rajendra Pachauri, the 2007 Nobel laureate and Chairman of the IPCC, and Yvo de Boer, Executive Director of the UNFCCC. “Japan used to be the country driven by industry groups, but now we see a new Prime Minister with true leadership”, said Takamasa Higuchi, CEO of WWF Japan. “We welcome the courage of Yukio Hatoyama and believe he has the strength to set Japan on track for a low carbon future which will benefit people and nature, both in Japan and worldwide.” Vienna energy conference calls for shift towards low-carbon green industries Ways to secure sustainable policies and investments to allow a shift towards a low-carbon “green economy” driven by “green industry” were the focus of a Vienna international energy conference that opened in the Austrian capital in June. The three-day event, “Towards an Integrated Energy Agenda Beyond 2020”, was organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Government of Austria, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the Global Forum on Sustainable Energy.
Global Watch It brought together more than 500 government officials, energy and economics experts, and civil society representatives from around the world. “The current global financial and economic crisis must be used to our advantage to bring about a green energy revolution. This conference was designed to provide a solid framework that would show the way towards a low-carbon global ‘green economy’ powered by ‘green industry’. Promoting domestic and international policies that encourage green investment in the next decade should be a major priority for a climate deal to be concluded in Copenhagen,” said UNIDO Director-General, Kandeh K. Yumkella. Rajendra Pachauri of India, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore, said that energy remained the “missing Millennium Development Goal”. “Providing an adequate supply of energy to the poor should be a key priority. Without it there can be no talk about eliminating poverty in the world,” added Mr. Pachauri. Austrian Foreign Minister, Michael Spindelegger underlined the fact that Austrian science, technology institutions and companies are known to be at the leading edge of renewable energies and energy efficiency. The Austrian Development Cooperation has been supporting renewable energy projects in developing countries for many years. IIASA presented the highlights of the Global Energy Assessment (GEA), the most comprehensive and integrated analysis of global energy challenges ever undertaken. The GEA addresses energy access, climate change, security and investment issues simultaneously. “We are facing a convergence of challenges that require a fundamental transformation of energy systems, ‘business-as-usual’ solutions are not an option,” said IIASA Director, Detlof von Winterfeldt. “The magnitude, pace, and scale of the impact of climate change is greater than predicted even as recently as a couple of years ago – the need to respond to this change is urgent.” He said it was untenable that today 2.4 billion people were without access to modern energy services. GEA early findings suggest that the cost of providing modern energy services for all is not only achievable but affordable in the medium term, if the political will exists. “Current investment in energy is in the order of $US350billion per annum; over $US100billion of this investment is in renewable energy. Whilst investment has been steadily increasing, the reality is that a threefold increase is needed. We have an opportunity in the several stimulus packages introduced by many countries in response to the global financial and economic crisis,” added von Winterfeldt.
Science Reinforces Human Role as Climate Change Impacts Accelerate
A new report of scientific findings confirms not only that human activity is the primary cause of rising temperatures, but that climate change impacts are accelerating. The compilation of peer-reviewed research includes evidence that melting rates for mountain glaciers around the world doubled between 2004 and 2006, and that more than 28,000 plant and animal species are changing habits due to new climatic conditions. “Climate change impacts are happening now. This is not a distant phenomenon. And many impacts are emerging at a faster rate than previously modeled,” said Kelly Levin, an associate at the World Resources Institute who co-authored Climate Science 2008: Major New Discoveries with Dennis Tirpak, WRI senior fellow. The report is broken into four sections, which include some of the following sample findings: Physical Climate: - The rate of growth of global carbon dioxide emissions between 2000 and 2007 was four times that of the previous decade. - A large majority of warming over the last century can be attributed to human activities rather than natural factors, such as solar variability. Hydrological Cycle: - From 1996 to 2006, the rate of ice mass loss of Antarctica increased by 75 percent. - The rate of melting and thinning of 30 glaciers across nine mountain ranges around the world doubled between 20042005 and 2005-2006. Ecosystems and Ecosystem Services - Changes in 28,800 plant and animal systems and 829 physical climate systems have led scientists to conclude that human-induced warming is already “having a significant impact” on natural and physical systems. Mitigation Technologies - A promising method of capturing carbon dioxide directly from the air is under development. - A new non-toxic, inexpensive technology for storing solar energy, with potential applications for generating hydrogen power, has been discovered.
Global Watch MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS TO REVOLUTIONIZE AFRICAN WEATHER MONITORING The Global Humanitarian Forum and its President, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, together with Ericsson, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), mobile telecommunications company Zain, and the Earth Institute at Columbia University have announced a major initiative, dubbed “Weather Info for All”, to radically improve Africa’s weather monitoring network in the face of the growing impact of climate change. A recent Global Humanitarian Forum report estimated that climate change is responsible for some 300,000 deaths each year and over 100 billion US dollars worth of economic losses, mainly because of shocks to health and agricultural productivity. Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for close to a quarter of these losses, and is the region at the most immediate risk of droughts and floods. Agricultural yields in some areas are expected to fall by 50% as early as 2020. The Global Humanitarian Forum initiated this collaboration in response to Africa’s severe gap in weather information highlighted at the Forum’s first annual event. The members of the initiative aim at deploying up to 5,000 new automatic weather observation stations across Africa, intending to provide a massive increase in crucial information to predict and manage climate shocks. Africa has a network eight times below the WMO minimum recommended standard, and less than 200 automatic weather stations that meet WMO observation requirements, compared to several thousand each in Europe, North America, and parts of Asia. The 5,000 automatic weather stations will be installed at new and existing mobile network sites throughout the continent over coming years, in what promises to save lives and bring increased economic opportunity to tens of millions of people. “The world’s poorest are also the world’s most vulnerable when it comes to the impact of climate change, and the least equipped to deal with its consequences,” said Kofi Annan during the launch. THE COST OF HUMAN CLIMATE CHANGE Climate change is a reality and its effects are apparent right now. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded that human activities are altering our climate system and will continue to do so. Over the past century, surface temperatures have increased and associated impacts on physical and biological systems are increasingly visible. Climate change is bringing about gradual but drastic changes to the world we live in, such as sea level rise, and shifts of climatic zones due to increased temperatures and changes in precipitation pattern. Also, climate change is exacerbating extreme weather conditions, such as droughts, floods and storms. As the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development states, “the adverse effects of climate change are already evident, natural disasters are more frequent and more devastating and developing countries more vulnerable.” Climate change is a serious risk to poverty reduction and threatens to undo decades of development efforts. While the effects of climate change will be felt by people all around the globe, the developing nations will shoulder a disproportionate burden because of their geographical and climatic conditions, their high dependence on natural resources, and their limited capacity to adapt to a changing climate. In particular, climate change superimposes on the existing vulnerabilities of the poor, further reducing access to drinking water, generating a greater risk of illness and posing a real threat to food security in Africa, Asia and Latin America Indeed, one of the most worrying trends is the impact of erratic weather on agriculture. Poor farmers, who can no longer rely on seasons, are losing crop after crop because of sudden heat waves or heavy rainfall. Increasingly, people are forced to leave their homes. Some Pacific Islanders are already leaving their islands due to sea level rise. Make Poverty History predicts that there will be 200 million environmental refugees by 2050 and eventually on billion people could be displaced. Source: oaktreefoundation.wordpress.com 22
Special to Earth Conscious:
â€“ By Fredrick Mugira In some communities in Uganda, water sources have dried up. As the only option, people in such communities have now turned to any place they can get access to water irrespective of its cleanliness. I took the photos you see Mwizi Sub County in Mbarara district of Uganda situated in the south western region in June 2009. The two children in the photograph have just collected water in the jerricans and are taking it home for different uses including preparing food.
Fredrick Mugira is an award winning Ugandan Journalist and Media Trainer. He has been recognized internationally, winning the CNN/ Multichoice African Journalist Tourism and Travel Award for 2009 and was a finalist for Swedenâ€™s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for All Media Awards 2008. He has been a Climate Change Media fellow sponsored by Oxfam GB and Panos Eastern Africa. 23
STUDY SHATTERS MYTH THAT POPULATION GROWTH IS A MAJOR DRIVER OF CLIMATE CHANGE There is at most a weak link between population growth and rising emissions of the greenhouse gases that cause climate change, according to a study published in the journal Environment and Urbanization. The paper contradicts growing calls for population growth to be limited as part of the fight against climate change and shows that the real issue is not the growth in the number of people but the growth in the number of consumers and their consumption levels. Dr. David Satterthwaite of the International Institute for Environment and Development analysed changes in population and in greenhouse gas emissions for all the world’s countries and found that between 1980 and 2005: * * *
* * *
Sub-Saharan Africa had 18.5% of the world’s population growth and just 2.4% of the growth in carbon dioxide emissions. The United States had 3.4% of the world’s population growth and 12.6% of the growth in carbon dioxide emissions. China had 15.3% of the world’s population growth and 44.5% of the growth in carbon dioxide emissions. Population growth rates in China have come down very rapidly – but greenhouse gas emissions have increased very rapidly. Low-income nations had 52.1% of the world’s population growth and 12.8% of the growth in carbon dioxide emissions. High-income nations had 7% of the world’s population growth and 29% of the growth in carbon dioxide emissions. Most of the nations with the highest population growth rates had low growth rates for carbon dioxide emissions while many of the nations with the lowest population growth rates had high growth rates for carbon dioxide emissions.
Dr. Satterthwaite points out that contraception and sexual/reproductive health services are key contributors to development, health and human rights in poorer nations and communities. But he adds that these are not a solution to climate change — which is caused predominantly by a minority of the world’s population that has the highest levels of consumption. “A child borne into a very poor African household who during their life never escapes from poverty contributes very little to climate change, especially if they die young, as many do,” says Dr. Satterthwaite. “A child born into a wealthy household in North America or Europe and enjoys a full life and a high-consumption lifestyle contributes far more – thousands or even tens of thousands of times more.” “Of course, not all the world’s greatest consumers are in high income countries,” adds Dr. Satterthwaite. “The many millionaires from Mexico, China or South Africa may have just as large and damaging a carbon footprint as millionaires from Europe or North America. But, globally, most of the world’s high-consumers are in Europe and North America.”
Green Living By Garfield King Is the world turning faster than it used to? Sure seems like it is. Could it be that with today’s technology and our short attention spans, we have forgotten how to embrace time and value the spaces rather than trying to fill every second? Along with the faster pace has come a new type of impatience. It’s as if we can’t deal with the slightest delay. We slam down the phone when we’re put on hold for more than a few seconds. We get frustrated if we have to wait more than five minutes in line at the bank or supermarket. We have become conditioned to expect immediate responses. We flick on switches, push buttons or turn knobs and something or the other starts up. We become impatient easily and because of this impatience we lose out on much of what life has to offer. But in this fast-paced world, who has the time to wait? There are some people, if you tell them to be patient, they respond as if you had insulted them. Just the other day a young man told me “uncle, patience is for old people.” Patience, once regarded a virtue, is now seen as nothing more than a hassle. But patience is a valuable quality to develop. It helps you to find the space to look at situations more clearly and find appropriate solutions. So just where are we going at such speed? And with all of the expensive time-saving devices technology has given us, what are we doing with the time the advertisers tell us we are saving? We seem more pressured by time than ever. Everything seems to be a rush. Family time is rushed. Meal time is rushed. Leisure time is rushed. Conversations are rushed. In trying to pack more hours into every day we often end up feeling crushed, too stressed to experience much of the satisfaction and pleasure we know we should be getting out of life. I have found that one of the best ways of coping with the frenetic pace is to slow down, work on developing a bit more patience and find my own tempo rather than dance to the beat of some else’s drum. It’s not easy to get started because it’s almost as if you’re going against the flow, but in our family we found it was the only way to grab some stability and hold onto to our sanity and health. When you’re in “rush mode” thinking and reasoning is often skewed, decisions are taken solely to relieve the immediate situation with little or no thought about the long term effect. Take the example of fast food. The very name tells you it is hasty. So if you want to fill that hunger gap quickly it’ll likely do that. But because of a lack of quality nutrients, the gap soon returns and you need another gap-filler. This means more calories than you really need and the resulting extra pounds you could probably do without. Not to mention the possible long term health issues. I became interested in the Slow Food movement back in the early nineties. The movement began in the eighties to challenge the unbridled spread of fast food across the planet. It’s not about “slaving over a hot stove” or taking four hours to cook every meal. 26
The idea is to give some thought to what you put on your plate and into your body. Quoting from the Slow Food website… “We believe that the food we eat should taste good; that it should be produced in a clean way that does not harm the environment, animal welfare or our health; and that food producers should receive fair compensation for their work.” The Slow Food movement is very much in line with the Slow Movement which “aims to address the issue of ‘time poverty’ through making connections.” On its website the movement discusses “how we have lost connection to most aspects of our life and to the natural world and rhythms around us, and how we can reconnect – how we can live a connected life.” There’s often a call to return to the good old days when things were simpler. But who’s good old days do we return to? Those of my generation (those in their fifties)? Those of my parents or maybe the good old days of those in their thirties? Yes, keeping things simpler would certainly help, but we can’t turn back the clock and the technology that punctuates our daily activities will continue to move ahead. Perhaps what we need is balance and control, using the technology rather than being used by it. Carl Honoré, long time supporter of the Slow Movement and author of the best seller “In Praise of Slowness: How A Worldwide Movement Is Challenging the Cult of Speed” believes we should use the technology for our benefit and open worlds of healthy living. Using the example of the mobile phone, Honoré suggests we let these devices give us the freedom to leave home while expecting an important call rather than having us always on call. The links below are a good place to start if you want information on how taking it slow can help you find the space to re-connect to many facets of being human as well as ways of incorporating balance into daily life. It sometimes feels as if this hi-speed lifestyle has us in a hypnotic spell, unable to break out and create the time to do the things we really want to do. But were are not powerless, we still have the power to choose. We can choose to slow down a little or a lot. I’ve been working on this slow thing for a while and it did take some adjustment at first, but it was like the adjustment you make after limping due to a knee injury and then walking straight after the injury has healed, you feel a little odd doing the right thing. Over the years I’ve noticed significant improvement in my health and mental attitude as a result of functioning at a speed that allows the time to absorb and enjoy many of life’s simple pleasures. http://www.slowfood.com/ http://www.slowmovement.com/ http://www.slowplanet.com 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. He can be contacted at email@example.com
By Barbara King
Cellphones and many aspects of modern technology are adding a dimension to parenting that has never existed before. The dilemmas brought on by cellphones call on us (pun unintended) to come up with creative solutions to some tricky ethical, moral and safety issues. A mother of a teenage girl asked for my help the other day. She and her daughter have the kind of relationship where the teenager feels comfortable enough to share openly on some sensitive issues. One evening as they were preparing dinner, the daughter told her about a classmate. The fourteen-year-old classmate has a cellphone with a camera and was showing friends a picture she had received from someone she said was a friend of the family. This friend of the family is a 30-year-old male. The picture he had sent was a picture of his nude genitals. The mother was in a quandary. She was very concerned because she was afraid the girl was in danger of abuse from whoever had sent that picture and she felt the child’s mother should know. However, she did not want to jeopardize her relationship with her daughter by betraying her trust and revealing information shared in confidence. Should her priority be to her relationship with her daughter or the safety and possible future well being of the classmate? Should she approach the parent and risk getting an earful of abuse, or should she just keep quite and mind her own business? Another parent complained that she was frustrated and at her wits end as to what to do about her 13 year old daughter’s cell phone activities. She discovered that her daughter was texting friends – male and female – as late as ten o’clock at night when she was supposed to be sleeping. The parents set cell phone curfews, demanding that the phone be stored in a specific place by 8 p.m. That worked for a while, but
when conducting a spot check one night they noticed the phone was neither in its place nor in the child’s bag. The phone was confiscated. Cell phones are essential means of communication for some parents and their children, easing transportation and security worries, but they also give an intrusive world access to our children. The more features the phone has, the less control parents seem to have. In times past a parent could have some measure of control over who the child related to, who he spent time with, what he read, watched or listened to. Now, there are high-powered advertising campaigns encouraging consumers, especially young people, to use cell phones, especially at night, and with ever-increasing numbers of “friends”. Even if we refuse to top up our children’s phones, someone else can. Every child does not need to have a cell phone. A child’s cell phone for security and communication purposes does not need a camera nor an mp3 player. Succumbing to “offspring pressure” only gives you peace for a while, the consequences will hit you later. While some phones have parental controls, the simpler ones may not. So perhaps its time that we parents lobbied the phone companies and other relevant bodies in the Caribbean to provide childproof parental control options for all cell services – allow us to monitor and possibly limit cell phone use. It’s a service already provided by some telecommunications companies in North America and Europe. The case of the nude genitals photo is known as ‘sexting” – the exchange of sexually explicit photos on mobile phones, which can also be exchanged using Bluetooth. According to an August 2009 BBC report British police are concerned that a worrying number of teenagers are sending “sexts”. And according to research carried out by British charity Beatbullying, one in four 11 to 18-year-olds has received a “sext” by phone or email. The charity said girls were often bullied into taking, and sharing, explicit pictures of themselves and, of course, some “sexts” have ended up on forums used by child sex offenders. What may start out as a joke can become a nightmare because once the photo is sent the child looses control of its use. I’m sure many of you have already heard stories of girls humiliated or suspended from schools for sexting or making and sending lewd videos. There are some important questions parents need to ask themselves and each other: Do you know how your child is using his or her phone? Do you have rules or guidelines for phone use? Do you have consequences for rule breaking that you follow through on? Some may consider such parental vigilance an intrusion of the child’s privacy, but is it about privacy or is it about protection? Certainly, not every child in going to misuse the technology they have access to, we have to know our children and strategize accordingly. However, just as we protect our children from those with ill intentions on the streets, we now have to protect them from those who would venture into our homes via cell phones and the internet. Today’s parent needs to know as much or more about the technology they are purchasing than their children do.
Barbara King is a professional facilitator and parent educator. She is the presenter of Baby Talk on Music Radio 97, conducts parenting talks and workshops for T&T Innovative Parenting Support and Creative Parenting for the New Era and is editor of Parenting Support Newsletter. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 27
Urban wood waste
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Congrats, Dr. Leslie!! Dr Kenrick Leslie, Director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), was given Belizeâ€™s Highest National Honours, the Order of Distinction, for his exemplary work in the area of Climate Change and Development. Since its establishment in 2004, the CCCCC, under the guidance of Dr. Leslie has achieved significant milestones. These include coordinating the regionâ€™s response to climate change, the successful implementation of several projects such as the Mainstreaming Adaptation to Climate Change (MACC) project and the development of a draft regional strategy on Climate Change. He has also been actively involved in the negotiations process for the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. 29
There is hope if people will begin to awaken that spiritual part of themselves, that heartfelt knowledge that we are caretakers of this planet. ~ Brooke Medicine Eagle ~
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