Inter Press ServiceClimate Change – Inter Press Service http://www.ipsnews.net News and Views from the Global South Fri, 19 Oct 2018 14:27:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.7 Africa Remains Resolute Heading to COP 24http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/africa-remains-resolute-heading-cop-24/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=africa-remains-resolute-heading-cop-24 http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/africa-remains-resolute-heading-cop-24/#respond Thu, 18 Oct 2018 13:15:06 +0000 Friday Phiri http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158250 In December 2015, nations of the world took a giant step to combat climate change through the landmark Paris Agreement. But African experts who met in Nairobi, Kenya at last week’s Seventh Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA VII) say the rise of far-right wing and nationalist movements in the West are […]

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The pastoralists of Ethiopia’s Somali region make a living raising cattle, camels and goats in an arid and drought-prone land. They are forced to move constantly in search of pasture and watering holes for their animals. Ahead of COP 24, African experts have identified the need to speak with one unified voice, saying a shift in the geopolitical landscape threatens climate negotiations. Credit: William Lloyd-George/IPS

By Friday Phiri
NAIROBI, Oct 18 2018 (IPS)

In December 2015, nations of the world took a giant step to combat climate change through the landmark Paris Agreement. But African experts who met in Nairobi, Kenya at last week’s Seventh Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA VII) say the rise of far-right wing and nationalist movements in the West are threatening the collapse of the agreement.
The landmark Paris Agreement focuses on accelerating and intensifying actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future, through greenhouse-gas emissions mitigation, adaptation, finance, and technology transfer among others.

And as Parties struggle to complete the implementing measures needed to get the Paris regime up and running, African experts have identified the need to speak with one unified voice, saying a shift in the geopolitical landscape threatens climate negotiations.

“The rise of ‘the inward-looking nationalist right-wing movement and climate deniers’ in the West is a signal of hardening positions in potential inaction by those largely responsible for the world’s climate problems,” Mithika Mwenda, secretary general of the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance, told the gathering.

Mwenda said civil society organisations were seeking collaboration with governments on the continent and stood ready to offer support as Africa seeks homegrown solutions to mitigate the effects of climate change.

“Our leaders who hold the key for the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement should remain candidly focused and resist attempts to scatter the unified African voice to deny Africa a strong bargain in the design of the Paris rulebook,” Mwenda told IPS in an interview.

The 24th Conference of the Parties (COP 24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held in Katowice, Poland in December, is earmarked as the deadline for the finalisation of the Paris Agreement operational guidelines.

But there are concerns from the African group that there is a deliberate attempt by developed parties to derail the process as the operationalisation of the agreement implies a financial obligation for them to support the adaptation and mitigation action of developing countries.

Since 2015 when the Paris Agreement was reached, the world has seen a shift in the geopolitical landscape, ushering in a climate-sceptic Donald Trump as president of the United States, and several far-right wing nationalist movements gaining power in Europe.

“Two strong groups have joined forces on this issue – the extractive industry, and right-wing nationalists. The combination has taken the current debate to a much more dramatic level than previously, at the same time as our window of opportunity is disappearing,” said Martin Hultman, associate professor in Science, Technology and Environmental studies at Chalmers University of Technology and research leader for the comprehensive project titled ‘Why don’t we take climate change seriously? A study of climate change denial’.

For his part, Trump made good on his campaign promise when he wrote to the UNFCCC secretariat, notifying them of his administration’s intention to withdraw the United States from the treaty, thereby undermining the universality of the Paris Agreement and impairing states’ confidence in climate cooperation.

With this scenario in mind, the discussions at the recently-concluded climate conference in Africa were largely dominated by how the continent could harness homegrown solutions and standing united in the face of shifting climate political dynamics.

In his opening remarks, which he delivered on behalf of Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya’s environment and forestry minister, Keriako Tobiko said climate change was a matter of life and death for Africa.

And this was the reason why leaders needed to speak with a strong unified voice.

“We have all experienced the devastating and unprecedented impacts of climate change on our peoples’ lives and livelihoods as well as our national economies. Africa is the most vulnerable continent despite contributing only about four percent to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions but when we go to argue our case we speak in tongues and come back with no deal,” he said.

He said given Africa’s shared ecosystems, it was essential to speak in one voice to safeguard the basis of the continent’s development and seek transformative solutions.

This climate conference was held just days after the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius which warned of a catastrophe if immediate action is not taken to halt GHG emissions.

And commenting on the IPCC report, Tobiko reiterated the resolutions of the first Africa Environment Partnership Platform held from Sept. 20 to, under the auspices of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, the technical body of the African Union, which emphasised the need to turn environmental challenges into economic solutions through innovation and green investments.

Tobiko said that Kenya would be hosting the first Sustainable Blue Economy Conference from Nov. 26 to 28 to promote sustainable investments in oceans, seas, lakes, and rivers.

Just like the Africa Environment Partnership Platform — which recognised “indigenous knowledge and customary governance systems as part of Africa’s rich heritage in addressing environmental issues” — indigenisation was also a trending topic at the CCDA VII.

Under the theme: ‘Policies and actions for effective implementation of the Paris Agreement for resilient economies in Africa’, the conference attracted over 700 participants from member states, climate researchers, academia, civil society organisations and local government leaders, among others.
Experts said that local communities, women and the youth should be engaged in Africa’s efforts to combat the vagaries of climate change.

James Murombedzi, officer-in-charge of the Africa Climate Policy Centre of the U.N. Commission for Africa, said African communities have long practiced many adaptation strategies and viable responses to the changing climate.

However, he said, “there are limits to how well communities can continue to practice adaptive livelihoods in the context of a changing climate”, adding that it was time they were supported by an enabling environment created by government-planned adaptation.

“That is why at CCDA-VII we believe that countries have to start planning for a warmer climate than previously expected so this means we need to review all the different climate actions and proposals to ensure that we can in fact not only survive in a 3 degrees Celsius warmer environment but still be able to meet our sustainable development objectives and our Agenda 2063,” added Murombedzi.

Murombedzi said it was sad that most African governments had continued spending huge sums of money on unplanned adaptations for climate-related disasters.

And these, according Yacob Mulugetta, professor of Energy and Development Policy, University London College, “are the implications of global warming for Africa which is already experiencing massive climate impacts, such as crop production, tourism industries and hydropower generation.”

Mulugetta, one of the lead authors of the IPCC special report, however, noted that “international cooperation is a critical part of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees,” but warned African climate experts to take cognisance of the shifting global geopolitical landscape, which he said is having a significant bearing on climate negotiations.

Meanwhile, the African Development Bank (AfDB), pledged continued support to a climate-resilient development transition in Africa through responsive policies, plans and programmes focusing on building transformed economies and healthy ecosystems.

James Kinyangi of the AfDB said the Bank’s Climate Action Plan for the period 2016 to 2020 was ambitious, as it “explores modalities for achieving adaptation, the adequacy and effectiveness of climate finance, capacity building and technology transfer – all aimed at building skills so that African economies can realise their full potential for adaptation in high technology sectors.”

Under this plan, the bank will nearly triple its annual climate financing to reach USD5 billion a year by 2020.

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For the Survival of the Nile and its Peoplehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/survival-nile-people/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=survival-nile-people http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/survival-nile-people/#respond Wed, 17 Oct 2018 14:25:11 +0000 Maged Srour http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158229 Running through eleven countries for 6,853 kilometres, the Nile is a lifeline for nearly half a billion people. But the river itself has been a source of tension and even conflict for countries and territories that lie along it and there have been rumours of “possible war for the Nile” for years now. While to […]

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Natural fertility is actually the Nile's biggest legacy for Egyptians. A fisherman fishes for food on the Nile. Credit: Cam McGrath/IPS.

By Maged Srour
ROME, Oct 17 2018 (IPS)

Running through eleven countries for 6,853 kilometres, the Nile is a lifeline for nearly half a billion people. But the river itself has been a source of tension and even conflict for countries and territories that lie along it and there have been rumours of “possible war for the Nile” for years now. While to date there has been no outbreak of irreversible tension, experts say that because of increasing changes in the climate a shared agreement needs to be reached on the redistribution of water soon.

“Right now I do not think there is a concrete and imminent risk of conflict between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, given the internal difficulties and the unstable nearby area [Libya] of the first, the recent secession suffered by the second and the peace agreement achieved by the third with Eritrea,” Maurizio Simoncelli, vice president of the International Research Institute Archivio Disarmo, a think tank based in Rome, told IPS.

“However, it is certain that if a shared agreement is not reached on the redistribution of water in a situation of increasing climatic changes, those areas remain at great risk,” he said.

No one master of the river Nile

All the cities that run along the river exist only because of these waters. For Egypt, this is particularly true: if the Nile wasn’t there, it would be just another part of the Sahara desert.

Egypt has tried to be master of the river for centuries, seeking to ensure exclusive control over its use. Nevertheless, today upstream countries are challenging this dominance, pushing for a greater share of the waters. Egypt and Sudan still regard two treaties from 1929 and 1959 as technically binding, while African upstream nations – after gaining independence – started to challenge these agreements, signed when they were under colonial rule.

The 1959 treaty allocates 75 percent of the river’s waters to Egypt, leaving the remainder to Sudan. Egypt has always justified this hegemonic position on the basis of geographic motivations and economic development, as it is an arid country that could not survive without the Nile’s waters, while upstream countries receive enough rainfall to develop pluvial agriculture without resorting to irrigation.

“From the Egyptian point of view, it is right [to hold this hegemonic position] because it is true, Cairo has no alternative water resources. Without the Nile, Egypt would die,” Matteo Colombo, associate research fellow in the MENA Programme at the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI) told IPS.

Egypt – according to Colombo – should therefore aim to open regional forums focusing on cooperation in a broad sense.

Cooperation among countries sharing this watercourse is key. For example, Ethiopia could need more water to produce more electricity, which could in turn diminish the amount of flow towards Cairo. Indeed, Ethiopia’s Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which is currently under construction, will be the biggest dam on the African continent and could diminish the amount of water flowing to Egypt.

Water is not the only gift of this river for Egypt. Each year, rainfall in Ethiopia causes the Nile to flood its banks in Egypt. When the Nile flood recedes, the silt – a sediment rich in nutrients and minerals and carried by the river – remains behind, fertilising the soil and creating arable land. Natural fertility is actually the Nile’s biggest legacy for Egyptians.

“The problem for Egypt is that, from a geographical point of view, it does not hold the knife on the side of the handle,” warns Colombo.

“For this reason, Egypt cannot fail to reach an agreement with neighbouring countries. What Cairo could do is to create a sort of ‘regional forum’, a ‘platform’, where the various disputes with neighbouring countries are discussed and perhaps include other topics in the talks,” Colombo added. “If other themes were included, Egypt could have some more voices than Sudan and Ethiopia, while if the discussion remains relegated to the theme of water, the margin of action for Egypt would be limited.”

The Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), created in 1999 with the aim to “take care of and jointly use the shared Nile Basin water and related resources”, could be an example of regional multilateralism to resolve disputes but it remains relegated to discussions about water management.

Institutionally, the NBI is not a commission. It is “in transition”, awaiting an agreement on Nile water usage, so it has no legal standing beyond its headquarters agreement with Uganda, where the secretariat is settled.

Due to differences that have not yet been resolved, the NBI has focused on technical, relatively apolitical projects. This ends up weakening the organisation since Egypt sees technical and political tracks as inseparable. Therefore, Cairo suspended its participation in most NBI activities, effectively depleting the organisation’s political weight.

Populations living on the Nile and the impact

If regional agreements on the management of the Nile’s waters seem difficult, what is certain is that local populations’ living along the river have always been impacted by environmental changes.

The Nubian population are among these affected people. The Nubians, an ethnic group originating in southern Egypt and northern Sudan, have lived along the Nile for thousands of years. In 1899, during the construction of the Aswan Low Dam, they were forced to move and relocate to the west bank of the Nile in Aswan. During the construction of the Aswan High Dam in the 1960s, over 120,000 Nubians were forced to move for a second time.

Their new home proved far from satisfactory: not a single resettlement village was by the river. And to date, the socio-economic and political conditions of the Nubians have not appeared to have improved.

“I think we are passing through one of the worst moments for us Nubians. Every time we tried to claim some rights in the last few years, the government did not want to listen to us and many of our activists were recently arrested,” Mohamed Azmy, president of the General Nubian Union, a movement that actively promotes the right to return of the Nubian community to their ancestral land, told IPS.

Lorri Pottinger of International Rivers told Al Jazeera that Africa’s large dams have not reversed poverty, or dramatically increased electricity rates, or even improved water supply for people living near them.

“What they have done is help create a small industrial economy that tends to be  companies from Europe and elsewhere. And so these benefits are really, really concentrated in a very small elite,” she had said.

The demographic challenge

The reasons why Egypt faces water scarcity are numerous but the exponential increase in population certainly accelerates the critical situation.

The United Nations estimates that unless the current fertility rate of 3.47 changes by 2030, Egypt’s population is expected to grow from the current 97 million to 128 million. This demographic growth has grave implications as it comes at a time of unprecedented challenges in the climate which in turn has worrisome implications for loss of arable land, rising sea levels and depletion of scarce water resources.

Moreover, the demographic increase is having grave consequences on the entire economic system, as there is insufficient infrastructure and not enough jobs for the increasing young population.

Birth control policies could be and should be part of the solution to overcome these challenges. The government has recently launched a campaign named ‘Kefaya etnen’ (‘Two is enough’), through which it is trying to raise the awareness on controlling birth rates and having no more than two children per family. “I think this is a great initiative from the Egyptian government but it definitely needs to permeate the society, and this will not be easy,” said Colombo.

Egypt needs to curb its population and to turn its youth into an asset for its economy, otherwise the waters of the Nile could be insufficient.

Indeed, the importance of the Nile is felt in the blood of all Egyptians. “Walking along the Nile for me is what makes me relaxed and vent when I need it, in the chaos of the city,” Tarek, a resident of Cairo, tells IPS.

And many Egyptians hope that this gift will be with them forever, because it is not just about survival, but about the essence itself of being part of these lands.

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Caribbean Nations Pay Steep Price for Climate Change Caused by Othershttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/caribbean-nations-pay-price-climate-change-caused-others/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=caribbean-nations-pay-price-climate-change-caused-others http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/caribbean-nations-pay-price-climate-change-caused-others/#respond Tue, 16 Oct 2018 19:10:50 +0000 Daniel Gutman http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158216 Although their contribution to global warming is negligible, Caribbean nations are bearing the brunt of its impact. Climate phenomena are so devastating that countries are beginning to prepare not so much to adapt to the new reality, but to get their economies back on their feet periodically. “We live every year with the expectation that […]

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Q&A: Using Data to Predict Internal Displacement Trendshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/qa-using-data-predict-internal-displacement-trends/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=qa-using-data-predict-internal-displacement-trends http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/qa-using-data-predict-internal-displacement-trends/#respond Tue, 16 Oct 2018 17:18:53 +0000 Carmen Arroyo http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158207 Carmen Arroyo interviews ALEXANDRA BILAK, director of the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC).

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When isolated by floodwaters, families, like this one in Morigaon, India, have no choice but to use boats for transportation; even children must learn the survival tool of rowing. Credit: Priyanka Borpujari/IPS

By Carmen Arroyo
UNITED NATIONS, Oct 16 2018 (IPS)

This year the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) noted that 2017 saw the highest number of displacements associated with conflict in a decade-11.8 million people. But this is not a situation that is going to be resolved any time soon, says the organisation which has been reporting on displacements since 1998.

These numbers were published in the World Migration Report 2018, which was released by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) last month. The report also stated that an average of 25.3 million people are displaced each year because of natural disasters. “This will only get worse with climate change,” said IDMC’s director Alexandra Bilak in an interview with IPS.

Bilak has over 15 years of experience with NGOs and research institutes working on African conflicts. She lived in the Democratic Republic of Congo from 2004 to 2008 and in Kenya for the next five years. In 2014, she joined IDMC. The biggest change for her, claimed Bilak, was “disconnecting from the field and connecting to high political levels of decision making.”

The IDMC, part of the Norwegian Refugee Council, is the leading international institution of data analysis on internal displacement. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the centre works towards creating dialogues on displacement and providing accurate metrics. IDMC, according to Bilak, takes data analysis to the next level: “We combine many methodological approaches to provide a databased to build research agendas. It is a very interest combination of quantitative and qualitative research, but not from an academic perspective.” She added: “The analysis wants to be practical and policy-relevant.”

Under Bilak, the institute has changed its focus. While three years ago the IDMC understood displacement as a human rights issue, now it treats it with a more comprehensive approach. “By doing that, it wasn’t having the right kinds of conversations,” claimed Bilak. Now, their employees are not only lawyers and political scientists, they are also anthropologists, geographers, and data analysts.

With a calmed voice, Bilak tells IPS that this shift was a team effort, and that she is very happy with the results. Excerpts of the interview below.

Inter Press Service (IPS): How did your interest on displacement start?

AB: I started my work in the Great Lakes region in Rwanda, but when I moved over to Eastern Congo I was exposed to the full scope of conflict impact. Displacement was a major issue. I was really struck with the capacity of communities to cope with the problem. That’s where my interest started.

Then I moved from one job to another and narrowed down on the issue of displacement. Now, at IDMC we are very interested in understanding the connections between internal displacement and wider migratory flows, cross border movements, and broader development challenges. At Geneva, you can bring the experience from the field to the higher level and see where it all ties in together.

IPS: What are your goals for the future of IDMC?

AB: I think we want to maintain this position as global authority and consolidate our expertise on data. We cannot rest on our laurels. We have to keep up our efforts. We need to continue building trust-based relationships with national governments. They are the change agents when it comes to finding solutions for internal displacement. You can’t achieve anything if you avoid them.

IPS: If national governments are the change agents, what’s the role of international organisations in displacement?

AB: Although it is a development issue for the national governments, there are many humanitarian implications that need to be addressed. International organisations provide that immediate protection and assistance that international displaced people need. This is the role they must continue playing, despite their reduced budgets. Also let’s keep in mind that there are many diplomatic efforts to prevent these conflicts.

This is the development, humanitarian and peace building nexus. They need to go hand in hand for a comprehensive approach. But yes, ultimately, it still boils down to political will.

IPS: What about natural disasters? How can we predict them to avoid their consequences?

AB: There are already models that project into the future and give a good sense of the intensity of natural hazards in the future. IDMC has actually developed a global disaster displacement risk model. There’s a way of having a sense of the scale and scope of what to expect in the future.

But our message has always been the same. This is only going to get worse with climate change, unless there is a significant investment in preventative measures like disaster-risk reduction and climate change adaptation.

We know which are the countries that are going to be most affected. The latest report from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) on climate clearly pointed out what communities are going to be more affected in the future. This will impact internal displacement.

IPS: So, what would be your recommendation to a national government to manage this situation?

AB: There are many recommendations for those countries that suffer from the impacts. They need better early warning systems and preparedness measures, so people can be quickly evacuated in the right way.

Our recommendation is also to build on the good practices governments that have already been implemented. For example, in the Philippines displacement figures are part of their disaster loss database. It would be great if every country could have the same kind of national data system in place.

Other recommendations come from processes of relocation. In the Pacific, entire communities that are at risk of climate change impact have to be relocated. How are these communities going to be moved in a dignified way respecting their cultural heritage?

Finally, there also needs to be a gender perspective to make sure that women and children can be consulted in the process.

IPS: What do you predict for the next 12 months in terms of displacement?

AB: Based on what we are monitoring, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East will continue to be areas of concern for us due to conflict. We are looking at a recent peak in displacement in Ethiopia. This is not a situation that is going to be resolved any time soon, so we will see a displacement crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria… also in Syria. We will look at high displacement figures next year.

In terms of disaster displacement, we will see massive hurricanes in Asia, which will have long-term consequences. There are pockets of displaced people that remain so for large periods of time, also in high-income countries like Japan.

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Excerpt:

Carmen Arroyo interviews ALEXANDRA BILAK, director of the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC).

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Water: a Private Privilege, not a Community Resourcehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/water-private-privilege-not-community-resource/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=water-private-privilege-not-community-resource http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/water-private-privilege-not-community-resource/#respond Tue, 16 Oct 2018 10:31:44 +0000 Shekhar Kapur http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158203 Shekhar Kapur* is director, actor and producer, who rose to international prominence with the 1998 Bollywood movie, Bandit Queen.

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By Shekhar Kapur
MUMBAI, India, Oct 16 2018 (IPS)

Water is becoming a private privilege rather than a community resource. It is also one of the world’s most precious resources. As vital to the survival of the human species as the air that we breathe.

Yet while many of us take water for granted, readily buying a pair of jeans that take 7,600 litres of water to produce or luxuriating in power showers, 844 million people across the world still live without access to clean water. What’s more, an estimated four billion people face severe water scarcity for at least one month every year.

That is why I have created short animation Brides of the Well, with international development charity, WaterAid, adapted from one of my short stories. It tells the tale of Saraswati and Paras; two teenagers living in Punjab, northern India, who are forced into child marriage and a life of servitude, centred round walking long distances to collect water for their aging husbands.

The story, while fictional, tells a universal truth; that we are a world divided between the haves and the have-nots. That while many think nothing of turning on the tap for a glass of clean, safe water, millions of others are forced to walk long distances for this most basic necessity, often from contaminated sources; their health, education, livelihoods and dreams curtailed as a result.

Growing up in India, I would wake between 4am and 5am every day to fill tankards of water for the household because that was the only time it was available. Today, in Mumbai, I see people living in slums struggling to find a safe, clean water source while across the road, wealthier homes have endless supplies on tap.

In India, Saraswati and Paras are typical of a staggering 163 million people – including roughly 81 million women – living without access to clean water close to home, meaning it has the highest population of people in the world without access.

A lack of clean water close to home affects women and girls disproportionately throughout their lives, with many bearing the burden of walking long distances to collect water, often from contaminated sources.

This means that often girls have no choice but to drop out of school from an early age, missing their education and opportunities and – in some cases – making them more vulnerable to early marriage.

Each year, more people gain access to clean water, but at the same time India is facing severe water shortages, with 600 million people affected by a variety of challenges including falling groundwater levels, drought, demand from agriculture and industry, and poor water resource management; all of which are likely to intensify as the impacts of climate change take hold.

According to a government think tank, the country’s water demand is projected to be twice the available supply by 2030. India is by no means alone. These rising demands mean that this life-giving resource is increasingly under threat across the globe.

In January, authorities in Cape Town, warned of an impending ‘Day Zero’; when they would be forced to turn off the city’s taps after three consecutive years of drought. While in China, the country’s first National Census of Water showed that in the past quarter century, 28,000 riverbeds have vanished and groundwater levels are falling by one to three metres per year.

Saraswati and Paras might be works of fiction but their story – of lives centred round collecting water from drying wells – is a daily reality for millions of people across the world.

My hope is that Brides of the Well will impress upon people the injustices that result from not having clean water; of lives curtailed and dreams left unfulfilled simply because an accident of birth has denied them this most basic human right.

I hope it will act as a rallying cry for action, encouraging people to think more about where our water comes from, and call for better access for everyone everywhere.

The global water crisis is not a problem for the next generation to tackle; it is a problem playing out across our television screens and in our newspaper headlines today.

We need urgent action, not just from our governments, private companies and the international community to help people currently living without access to this most basic resource. Only then will people like Saraswati and Paras truly be free.

*Shekhar Kapur went on to direct the hugely popular and multi-award winning historical biopics of Queen Elizabeth I, Elizabeth and its sequel Elizabeth: The Golden Age. He has been the recipient of the Indian National Film Award, the BAFTA Award, the National Board of Review Award, and three Filmfare Awards. His most recent project,Vishwaroopam II, is due for release this year.

Shekhar Kapur worked with WaterAid to create the animation Brides of the Well, which highlights the global water crisis. Watch it at www.wateraid.org/bridesofthewell.

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Excerpt:

Shekhar Kapur* is director, actor and producer, who rose to international prominence with the 1998 Bollywood movie, Bandit Queen.

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The Earthquake in Indonesia: How Collaboration Impacts the Global Water Crisishttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/earthquake-indonesia-collaboration-impacts-global-water-crisis/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=earthquake-indonesia-collaboration-impacts-global-water-crisis http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/earthquake-indonesia-collaboration-impacts-global-water-crisis/#respond Tue, 16 Oct 2018 09:57:31 +0000 George C. Greene http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158197 George C. Greene, IV is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Water Mission*, a nonprofit Christian engineering organization that designs, builds, and implements safe water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) solutions for people in developing countries and disaster areas

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By George C. Greene, IV
SOUTH CAROLINA, USA, Oct 16 2018 (IPS)

On Friday, September 28, the world first heard the devastating news out of Indonesia that a 7.5 magnitude earthquake had struck the island of Sulawesi. The quake caused substantial soil liquefaction — where the earth literally turned to liquid and started to flow — with entire homes sinking into the ground. It also triggered a tsunami, confirmed to be as high as 23 feet, that devastated the coastal areas.

The photos coming out of the impacted region are mind-numbing and include images of cars wrapped around poles and ships that were washed inland sitting on dry land. The stories are heartbreaking and range from reports of children away from their parents at camp being found dead to an older man who is now the only one left alive in his family of 14 people.

When a disaster strikes, safe water is usually the number one need. Water Mission mobilizes personnel and water treatment equipment to provide aid to affected people as quickly as possible. We build and preposition Living Water Treatment Systems — our patented, mobile treatment systems that utilize rapid sand filtration and chlorination.

Once onsite, one system can be set up and functional in two to four hours, providing enough safe water for up to 5,000 people daily. In Indonesia, we were fortunate to already have an established presence, dating back to 2005, with offices on the islands of Sumatra and West Timor.

With twenty staff members and ten Living Water Treatment Systems prepositioned in the country, we have been able to respond quickly and work with our indigenous team to reach the communities most in need.

Aware of the logistical unknowns related to moving our equipment from Sumatra and West Timor to the impacted island of Sulawesi, we also airfreighted equipment from our headquarters in North Charleston, South Carolina, to enable a diversified approach to delivering aid as fast as possible.

We are fortunate to have a unique relationship with FedEx, one of our corporate partners and sponsors, and they expedited a shipment of two additional Living Water Treatment Systems and approximately 1.1 million P&G Purifier of Water packets.

The P&G Purifier of Water packets will provide 11 million liters of clean water, enough to sustain approximately 75,000 people with 20 liters a day for one week. Each Living Water Treatment System can provide enough safe water for an entire community.

The majority of this work is being made possible by another corporate partner and sponsor, the Poul due Jensen Foundation, who offered a significant grant that is allowing us to provide safe water to more than 75,000 people in and around Palu — a large city on Sulawesi that was devastated by the disaster.

The death toll is now more than 2,000 people, and it is estimated that more than 5,000 people are still missing. Conditions are horrendous, and we feel compelled to raise awareness because the need for basic access to safe water and sanitation is critical for the survival of people in the impacted region.

Our goal is to meet this need and help bring stability to a tenuous situation — people are hanging on by a thread while simultaneously trying to process what happened and grieve the loss of loved ones.

Logistics remain challenging as the Palu airport was severely damaged. Our Indonesian team is making the journey to Palu from all across the country, and we are working to bring clean water as quickly as possible while building relationships with the government and local communities in need.

Our team in Indonesia is experienced and equipped with water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) best practices and sustainability methods. Having completed more than 150 safe water projects in Indonesia, serving more than 340,000 people, our indigenous staff will not only respond immediately, they will stay and work to help local communities rebuild with the goal of providing long-term access to safe water.

In the coming days, having access to safe water is imperative to ward off the threat of disease and continued loss of life. Unfortunately, more than 2.1 billion people around the world lack access to safe water and more than 4.4 billion lack access to adequate sanitation.

This is not a problem for any organization to face alone. Rather, through continued collaboration, we believe humanitarians, nonprofits, governments, and communities can come together and forge an alliance to address one of the world’s most basic needs: water.

Our hope is that, even after this disaster vanishes from the headlines, people will not forget but will unite and advocate to change the harrowing statistics. Every day, 2,300 people die from waterborne illnesses directly tied to a lack of access to safe water and compromised sanitation hygiene and each one of these deaths is preventable.

In disasters, conditions are infinitely worse, compelling us to respond as quickly as possible. We know that people need safe water to live, and we are working diligently on multiple fronts to address this need in Indonesia.

As we continue to respond, working with local communities to provide clean water to impacted people in the region, we are asking for your support. First, to raise awareness about the global water crisis. Second, to join us in prayer for all the families who are mourning loved ones and facing the daunting task of rebuilding.

And finally, to partner with us in our efforts. Everyone has the ability to create change, and I encourage people to think about what they have to offer in four different areas: time, talent, treasure, and influence. It can be overwhelming to read the reports and hear the staggering news that more than 2.4 million people have been impacted by this earthquake and tsunami. But by joining us in our efforts, you can help restore dignity and bring hope to the survivors.

It is encouraging to collaborate with the Poul due Jensen Foundation, the FedEx Cares Delivering for Good Initiative, and P&G, demonstrating our common bond and commitment to helping others when disaster strikes. When we work together and empower each other, we can make a bigger impact and tackle overwhelming problems like the global water crisis.

Our Indonesian team will continue to respond, and we are ready to deploy more resources as needed. If you are interested in updates on our relief efforts in the Palu region, you can follow online at watermission.org.

*Since 2001, Water Mission has used innovative technology and engineering expertise to provide access to safe water for nearly 4 million people in 55 countries.

Note: All photos can be attributed to Water Mission.

The post The Earthquake in Indonesia: How Collaboration Impacts the Global Water Crisis appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Excerpt:

George C. Greene, IV is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Water Mission*, a nonprofit Christian engineering organization that designs, builds, and implements safe water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) solutions for people in developing countries and disaster areas

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A New IFC Vision for Greening Banks in Emerging Marketshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/new-ifc-vision-greening-banks-emerging-markets/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=new-ifc-vision-greening-banks-emerging-markets http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/new-ifc-vision-greening-banks-emerging-markets/#respond Mon, 15 Oct 2018 11:26:02 +0000 Philippe Le Houerou http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158182 Philippe Le Houérou is President, International Finance Corporation (IFC), a World Bank affiliate

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The Benban Solar Park will provide fast-growing Egypt with the clean energy it needs to drive economic growth sustainably. Credit: Dominic Chavez/World Bank

By Philippe Le Houérou
WASHINGTON DC, Oct 15 2018 (IPS)

The International Finance Corporation is rapidly greening its portfolio.

This past fiscal year, 36 percent of our own accounts and mobilization supported climate-smart projects — up from 12 percent a decade ago. Since May, we have been applying a carbon price to all project finance investments in the cement, chemicals, and thermal power sectors, at $40-80 per metric ton.

And in less than a decade we, along with other development finance institutions, have become a global leader in creating the green bond market, helping to start a market that didn’t exist in 2007 and that last year totaled more than $150 billion in investments.

Yet we should do more. Over the past few years, civil society groups have been critical of IFC for supporting financial intermediaries that have coal exposures. We do not lend for the purpose of financing coal-related activities.

In the past, we have made equity investments in banks that may have exposures to such coal projects, and we have given general purpose loans to banks and those funds may have inadvertently been invested in coal projects.

In response, we have changed our policy in the past two years to vastly reduce our direct and indirect exposure to coal in new financial intermediaries projects.

For one thing, we have eliminated our general-purpose loans to any financial intermediaries; we now ring-fence about 95 percent of our lending to financial intermediaries to ensure that the financing only supports targeted areas, such as projects promoting energy efficiency, renewables, women business owners, or small and medium-sized enterprises.

We will certainly continue to lend to financial intermediaries with targeted credit lines going forward, and take equity in banks that are not engaged in financing coal projects, in support of our development mandate. We also have stepped up our work with emerging market banks on green bonds.

But the broader discussion around the vast need for climate finance and action has spurred a lot of thinking inside IFC. We have asked ourselves, how can we have a bigger impact? Would it be to never invest in, or divest ourselves of, all equity investments in financial intermediaries that have invested in coal in the past? That, indeed, is one way.

I believe there’s a different new and more impactful approach. I want to proactively seek financial intermediaries that would like our help in greening their portfolios and reducing their exposure to coal projects, which are not only bad for the environment but could also become stranded assets in the future.

I want to develop a green equity investment approach to working with financial intermediaries that formally commit upfront to reduce or, in some cases, exit all coal investments over a defined period.
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In the coming months, we will work to define the parameters of this new approach, including a framework for transparency and disclosure as well as time-bound commitments.

I strongly believe that transparency is essential to promoting accountability and ensuring good development outcomes.

On this front, I also plan to introduce a number of improvements. We will require new equity financial intermediary clients exposed to coal projects to publicly disclose their total exposure in this sector. We will also require all new financial intermediary clients exposed to high-risk projects to disclose a summary of their environmental social management systems.

In addition, we have decided to pilot a voluntary initiative with our financial intermediary clients exposed to high-risk projects for the next two years to promote disclosure of such high-risk sub-projects initiated from IFC lending, including the name, sector, and host country of the project.

I believe we must also push transparency from the regulatory angle. In this regard, we will seek to put disclosure on the agenda of the Sustainable Banking Network, which brings together banking regulators and associations from 35 countries to transform their financial markets toward environmental and social sustainability.

The experience gained through the pilot program, discussions with clients, and feedback from regulators will help us define a much better way forward on transparency.

It is our intent that this twin strategy aimed at creating incentives for financial intermediary equity clients to reduce or exit coal projects, as well as improving transparency, will result in fewer of these investments. There are no guarantees, of course.

But I believe that IFC and other development finance institutions must move urgently with new ideas to preserve our planet. We have no choice but to be bold.

The post A New IFC Vision for Greening Banks in Emerging Markets appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Excerpt:

Philippe Le Houérou is President, International Finance Corporation (IFC), a World Bank affiliate

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Women & Youth Key to Achieving Agenda 2030 in South-South Cooperationhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/women-youth-key-achieving-agenda-2030-south-south-cooperation/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=women-youth-key-achieving-agenda-2030-south-south-cooperation http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/women-youth-key-achieving-agenda-2030-south-south-cooperation/#respond Mon, 15 Oct 2018 10:52:12 +0000 Siddharth Chatterjee http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158159 Siddharth Chatterjee is the United Nations Resident Coordinator to Kenya.

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India and Kenya signed agreements in the field of agriculture during Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit to New Delhi. Credit: G.N. Jha

By Siddharth Chatterjee
NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 15 2018 (IPS)

By 2050 Africa will have 830 million young people. Many countries in the global south, India included are seeing a youth(men and women) bulge. To reap a demographic dividend countries in the global south need to share and exchange knowledge to leapfrog socio-economic transformation.

When the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Technical Cooperation Amongst Developing Countries (BAPA) was adopted, few would have predicted that only 40 years later, developing countries would be accounting for the largest levels of global economic output.

It is an acknowledgement of the fact that new pillars of growth and influence have clearly emerged from the global south that the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) stress the importance of South-South cooperation in implementing the 2030 agenda.

Goal 17 on revitalizing global partnerships for sustainable development stresses the role of South-South and Triangular Cooperation in achieving the SDGs.

South-South Cooperation (SSC) is on the rise in scale and scope. It is recognized as crucial in collective efforts to address challenges such as poverty eradication, climate change, food security, social protection, public health and infrastructure development.

SSC is seen by various development actors as a vital complement to North-South Development Cooperation. It may also represent the fertilization of a debate on how Overseas Development Aid flows relate to broader financing for development flows.

This year, 49 of the 55 member states of the African Union signed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, which will come into effect once 22 countries ratify it. It will be the largest free trade area that creates an African market of over 1.2 billion people with a GDP of US$2.5 trillion.

At the moment, infrastructure projects account for just over half of South-South cooperation, with China leading in this area. India is a considerable player, with projects such as the Pan African E-Network Project that will connect African countries by a satellite and a fibre-optic network for tele-education, tele–medicine, internet and videoconferencing.

Yet the feeling persists that the potential of this cooperation has not been fully leveraged, and a key topic of discourse being how south to south cooperation can contribute to sustainable development and what more needs to be done to scale-up and improve such cooperation for sustainable development.

How do we ensure that trade, investment, technology transfer and knowledge sharing address the needs of recipient countries as prioritized in their development strategies?

These are the kind of questions that will preoccupy organisations such as the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) and United Nations Development Programme(UNDP). These two are leading efforts to establish the South-South Global Thinkers initiative that will enable joint research and knowledge sharing to inform global policy dialogues on South-South cooperation for the SDGs.

Mr. Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator emphasized UNDP’s role in addressing the knowledge gap that many countries face when confronting their poverty challenges and emphasized that South-South Cooperation has become a “way we conduct business on a daily basis” because it has proven to deliver results on the ground.

If we are to keep our eyes on the overall goal of the SDGs – reduction of poverty – it is time to bring support to social sectors on the same level as infrastructure. It is time for investments to target the women and youth. Empowerment of these two groups provides the quickest pathway to poverty reduction especially in Africa, with agriculture-based investments the most promising sector.

Kenya’s economy is anchored on agriculture, where 70% of the population finds its upkeep. While in many regions crop yields have remained a step ahead of population growth, helping free them of hunger and famine, Africa has not managed to keep up with this trend; the impact of new technologies has been less apparent and agricultural productivity has stagnated, and even fallen in some areas.

In Africa’s agriculture sector, two-thirds of the labour force comprises women. Unfortunately, women farmers have less access to essential inputs—land, credit, fertilizers, new technologies and extension services. As a result, their yields tend to be less than optimum.

In addition, while African women are highly entrepreneurial and own about a third of all businesses across Africa, they are more likely to be running microenterprises in the informal sector, engaging in low-value-added activities that reap marginal returns.

If south-south investments are not deliberately designed for gender-responsiveness, the development course will continue to miss out on the multiplier effect that has been so well documented regarding women’s income. Women reinvest a much higher part of their earnings in their families and communities than men, spreading wealth and creating a positive impact on future development.

The World Bank says that agriculture will be a one trillion dollar business in Africa by 2030. Is there a better way to prepare to reap from part of this business than positioning the continent’s richest resource – the youth?

In his acceptance speech as the global champion of the youth agenda at the UN General Assembly 2018, President Uhuru Kenyatta said, “progress for the youth means progress for the entire humanity”.

In Kenya for example, one million young people join the work force every year. Of these young people, only about one in five is likely to find a formal job, with the rest either being unemployed or engaged in some non-wage earning occupation.

This means that Kenya needs a million new jobs every year for the next 10 years to keep up with the rapidly-expanding youth bulge. The median age of Kenyan farmers is 61, yet the median age of the population is 18. This is a potential force that must be involved in Agriculture.

To do this, creative and sustainable ways must be found to create opportunities that will present youth with the allure and career progression currently lacking in agriculture. With one of the fastest internet penetration rates, the youth in the country can be supported to exploit information technology for various value-addition ventures in agri-business.

This can be even more useful when focusing on areas with untapped potential, such as what is now known as the Blue Economy. Africa’s economies have continued to post remarkable growth rates, largely driven by the richness of its land-based natural resources, yet 38 of the continent’s 54 states are coastal.

India and Kenya have already made initial moves in this direction. Following the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Kenya two years ago, the two governments agreed to pursue initiatives in the sustainable management and extraction of ocean-based resources.

India will be sharing with Kenya expertise on space-based applications to address natural resources management and weather forecasting, expertise that can be exploited to improve food output in the country.

The rise of SSC introduces new dynamics to international development cooperation. SSC challenges traditional donor aid relationships inasmuch as it promotes economic independence and collective self-reliance of developing countries, and aspires for cooperation on the basis of equality, solidarity and mutual benefit.

There is a need to re-orient SSDC, along with international development cooperation more broadly, to adhere to norms and guidelines that consistently takes into account human rights, equity, gender equality, decent work, ecological sustainability, democratic ownership and other key elements of social justice.

As President Roosevelt said, “We cannot always build a future for our youth, but we can always build our youth for the future.”

The post Women & Youth Key to Achieving Agenda 2030 in South-South Cooperation appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Excerpt:

Siddharth Chatterjee is the United Nations Resident Coordinator to Kenya.

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Helping Ethiopia Achieve Green Growth and Avoid Industrialised Nations’ Environmental Mistakeshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/helping-ethiopia-achieve-green-growth-avoid-industrialised-nations-environmental-mistakes/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=helping-ethiopia-achieve-green-growth-avoid-industrialised-nations-environmental-mistakes http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/helping-ethiopia-achieve-green-growth-avoid-industrialised-nations-environmental-mistakes/#respond Mon, 15 Oct 2018 09:14:42 +0000 James Jeffrey http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158165 As Ethiopia undergoes a period of unprecedented change and reform, the Global Green Growth Institute(GGGI) is partnering with the Ethiopian government to try and ensure this vital period of transition includes the country embracing sustainable growth and avoiding the environmental mistakes made by Western nations. The basis of this effort comes from GGGI supporting the […]

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Ethiopia is not an industrialised country but is looking at alternative economic activity that allows a low-carbon economy and means of living. Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS

By James Jeffrey
ADDIS ABABA, Oct 15 2018 (IPS)

As Ethiopia undergoes a period of unprecedented change and reform, the Global Green Growth Institute(GGGI) is partnering with the Ethiopian government to try and ensure this vital period of transition includes the country embracing sustainable growth and avoiding the environmental mistakes made by Western nations.

The basis of this effort comes from GGGI supporting the Ethiopian government in the development and implementation of its Climate-Resilient Green Economy (CRGE), a strategy launched in 2011 to achieve middle-income status while developing a green economy.

As elsewhere in Africa where GGGI is partnering with other member countries—Ethiopia was the first country to sign up among the current group of 10—the goal is to act now to enable countries to have a future comprising economic growth and poverty reduction while building resilience, promoting sustainable infrastructure and ensuring efficient management of natural resources.

“Countries like Ethiopia aren’t industrialised, so they have a chance to leapfrog in their development that means they wouldn’t follow us and make the mistakes we did when we industrialised,” Dexippos Agourides, GGGI’s head of programmes for Africa and Europe who is based in Addis Ababa, tells IPS. “We are talking about an alternative economic activity that allows a low-carbon economy and means of living.”

The global effort toward green growth gained momentum after the Paris Agreement in which signatories agreed to collectively tackle climate change through the mechanism of implementing nationally determined contributions (NDC), a country’s tailored efforts to reduce its emissions and enable it to adapt to climate change-induced challenges.

“The government has made big commitment and set very ambitious targets, so even if they only go halfway to their targets that would still be a significant achievement,” Agourides says. “There are big gaps in the plan, which is where we come in to accompany the government in this ambition.”

Hence GGGI’s 12-person team in Addis Ababa providing embedded expert and advisory technical support and capacity building to the Ethiopian government.

Their main effort is to ensure CRGE strategies and financing go toward six sectors identified as key for green growth: energy, reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation, agriculture (land use and livestock), green urbanisation and cities, transport, industry and health.

Ethiopia’s goal is to act now to enable it to have a future comprising economic growth and poverty reduction while building resilience, promoting sustainable infrastructure and ensuring efficient management of natural resources. Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS

One example of how this looks on the ground is Ethiopia’s programme of building industrial parks becoming greener, through schemes such as waste sludge from factories being used by other industries.

Another example is Ethiopia’s ambitious programme of reforestation and management of existing forest cover, which had reduced from covering about 35 percent of the country a century ago to around 3 percent in 2000—it’s now back up to around 15 percent.

GGGI is also working with the government on adaptation plans for areas prone to drought and flash flooding that appear increasingly volatile due to climate change.

“We look at past patterns and predict who suffers and how, so we can make plans so people are not hit,” says Innocent Kabenga, GGGI’s country representative for Ethiopia.

At the same time, Kabenga notes, methods such as reusing water, hydro-power, wind and solar are all being considered as means of mitigating Ethiopia’s carbon footprint. Such a plethora of renewable energy options comes from Ethiopia having one of the most complex and variable climates in the world due to its location between various climatic systems and its diverse geographical structure.

When it comes to the often-contentious issue of more foreign funds going to Ethiopia—already one of the world’s biggest recipients of overseas aid—those at GGGI point out that it is not necessarily a case of more funds but making sure existing funding go to the right place.

At the same time, there is no getting around the financial costs involved, both for Ethiopia’s green growth goals—in 2017, GGGI helped Ethiopia access USD 135 for its programme reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation, as well as access the Green Climate Fund—and for GGGI. Its budget comes from a mixture of developed and developing countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Mexico and Indonesia, a geographic spread reflecting the nature of the challenge that GGGI is engaged with.

“These are issues that have no boundaries, that no one country can solve, which is why we need to implement these national agreements that will help the world to survive,” Kabenga says. “Western countries have more money, and it their actions [contributing to climate change] that have affected the developing world.”

Despite governmental willingness, those at GGGI acknowledge much more is needed to turn words into concrete actions, especially within the complex context of Ethiopia’s federal democracy that devolves significant power to each region.

Furthermore, each ministry involved in the CRGE must do its job, and the government policy at the federal level must be successfully transmitted to Ethiopia’s regional governments—who must then do their bit.

Tying all that together—and as the country is going through one of its most significant political upheavals in 27 years as a new prime minister attempts to initiate significant reforms throughout government and society—is no easy thing, Agourides acknowledges. But if it can be done, then the economic and environmental benefits for Ethiopia could be huge, while allowing it to avoid the pitfalls elsewhere of growth at any cost that has done untold damage to this precious planet.

“Ethiopia stands at the top of least developed countries in terms of commitment, engagement and awareness,” Agourides says. “But implementation is the issue given the size and complexity of the country.”

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Students Go Green to End Global Energy Povertyhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/students-go-green-end-global-energy-poverty/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=students-go-green-end-global-energy-poverty http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/students-go-green-end-global-energy-poverty/#respond Mon, 15 Oct 2018 08:47:25 +0000 Busani Bafana http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158155 In Africa, over 640 million people – almost double the population of United States – have no access to electricity, with many relying on dirty sources of energy sources for heating, cooking and lighting. While not offering a solution to the electricity gap in Africa, Brian Kakembo Galabuzi, a Ugandan economics student, can offer a […]

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A Congolese man transports charcoal on his bicycle outside Lubumbashi in the DRC. Credit: Miriam Mannak/IPS

By Busani Bafana
BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe , Oct 15 2018 (IPS)

In Africa, over 640 million people – almost double the population of United States – have no access to electricity, with many relying on dirty sources of energy sources for heating, cooking and lighting.

While not offering a solution to the electricity gap in Africa, Brian Kakembo Galabuzi, a Ugandan economics student, can offer a cleaner and cheaper solution.

Galabuzi is the founder of Waste to Energy Youth Enterprise (WEYE), which is registered as a limited company that makes carbonised fuel briquettes from agricultural waste materials and organic waste.

Galabuzi got the idea after networking with other students concerned about global energy poverty at the 2015 International Student Energy Summit in Bali, Indonesia. Energy poverty is defined as the lack of adequate modern energy for cooking, warmth, lighting, and essential energy services for manufacturing, services, schools, health centres and income generation.

WEYE was created with the basic idea of commercialising grass root bio-waste to energy solutions in order to create a youth-led clean cooking transition in Uganda.

The promise of a financial income or benefit have been effective hooks to get young people to embrace sustainable energy as a source of income. The  youth promote sustainable energy because they want to earn from it, says Galabuzi.

“We believe that the benefits of sustainable energy, such as time saving, clean air, environmental conservation and good health are not what the highly-unemployed youth what to hear,” Galabuzi tells IPS.

“The majority of the world’s population is youth – of which the biggest population is unemployed. This why we designed a solution based on financial benefit (income generating opportunity) for unemployed youth and women,” he says.

Resource rich but energy poor

Africa is energy rich but nearly two thirds of its population of more than 1,2 billion have no access to electricity.

The African continent has an estimated 10 terawatts of potential solar energy, 350 gigawatts (GW) of hydroelectric power and 110 GW of wind power. All these sources can be harnessed with the right investment, a 2015 study by influential consulting company, McKinsey & Company found.

However, poor investment in off-grid connections in Africa means that polluting fossil fuels and biomass are major energy sources. However, off grid connections can provide clean and affordable energy to millions of people while helping reduce carbon emissions and preventing indoor pollution.

Growing energy demand in Africa and other developing economies presents an urgent need for the promotion and provision of more affordable and cleaner energy. Wood, charcoal, grass and solid waste, such as animal and human waste, are forms of biomass that can be converted into fuel and used as energy sources.

In Africa, over 640 million people have no access to electricity, with many relying on dirty sources of energy sources for heating, cooking and lighting. Credit: Busani Bafana/IPS

A clean energy business

And students like Galabuzi are seeing opportunities here.

While acknowledging that his company is not the first to make briquettes, Galabuzi says what is unique is that the briquettes are made from organic waste materials and sold to institutions that use firewood – 80 percent of which harvested in Uganda. Recent studies indicate that Uganda is at risk of losing all its forest in 40 years unless it halts deforestation. This is largely due to population growth and increased demand for land and firewood energy.

“Our solution guarantees our clients a 35 percent reduction in cost of cooking fuel, 50 percent reduction in cooking time and, most importantly, a smoke free cooking environment for the cooking staff,” Galabuzi tells IPS.

Galabuzi says despite the presence of solar, hydro power and gas as alternative sources of cooking energy, fuel briquettes are affordable and efficient energy alternatives.

A pilot of the fuel briquettes at St. Kizito High School, a school based in Kampala, Uganda’s capital, and the first school to adopt WEYE’s technology, showed encouraging results. Galabuzi explains the school registered an annual financial saving of over USD 2,500, a 50 percent reduction in cooking time and increased job satisfaction among the cooking staff due to the healthy, clean and smokeless cooking conditions.

“Our project uses organic waste from farmers and food markets such as maize cobs, banana peels and many others, which were considered useless,” he says.

“We offer the farmers and waste collectors monetary value for this organic waste and give them a new avenue to generate income, boosting the agricultural and waste management sectors.”

Galabuzi says his business has the potential of employing over 40 individuals in waste collection, sorting, production, marketing, distribution and finance.  It also has a potential market of over 30,000 institutions in Uganda. Already WEYE is training youth and women how to make briquettes and to start up their own briquette companies, with support from the Uganda government youth fund.

The WEYE Clean Energy Company Limited is authorised to sell charcoal briquettes and clean cook stoves in Uganda. The business model was tested during an 8-week ‘Greenprenuers’ programme run by the Global Green Growth Initiative, Youth Climate Labs and Student Energy (SE).

Felistas Ngoma, 72, from Nkhamenya in the Kasungu District of Malawi, prepares food in her kitchen. Credit: Charity Chimungu Phiri/IPS

Students driving sustainable energy transition

SE is a global organisation, based in Alberta, Canada. It builds the potential of young people to accelerate subsistence energy transitionthrough training, coaching and mentorship.

The interest in energy by SE, which has a membership of 50,000 young people from 30 different countries around the world, led to a partnership with Seoul-based Global Green Growth Initiative (GGGI) to promote the young ‘greenpreneurs’ programme. This programme gives the youth opportunities to turn innovative ideas into green businesses in sustainable energy, water and sanitation, sustainable landscapes and green cities.

“We got interested in greenpreneurship because a lot of people in our network are interested in energy but are more at a systems level and how energy connects to gender, empowerment, access to clean sources of fuel, access to energy in remote areas and smart technology,” Helen Watts, director of Innovation and Partnerships at SE, tells IPS.

Global discussions on energy, while politicised, have previously been at commercial and academic levels. But SE has opened a platform to promote wider discussions on finding and implementing innovative solutions to solving the energy challenge and help meet the Sustainable Development Goals.

Watts says the partnership with GGGI is an opportunity to open up GGGI’s youth entrepreneurship model, which is country specific, into a global accelerator model with young people from emerging and developing economies. Another organisation, the Youth Climate Lab, an innovation lab space organisation that seeks to build the capacity of young people to participate in the climate policy, innovate and collaborate on climate adaptation and mitigation, has been brought in as a partner.

“Young people have this incredible capacity to break the kind of zero sum game of sustainability of profitability,” says Watts.

“They have an amazing ability to think outside boxes of what has been done and collaborate with different peers and community members to map out these incredible solutions to both grow their communities and local economies while providing cleaner, affordable solutions to different challenges community members are facing.”

SE was started in 2009 by a group of students who worked in the energy industry in Canada and every two years it organises an international summit on the future of sustainable energy as a platform to talk about energy transition.

The first International Student Energy Summit in 2009 brought together 350 students from 40 countries. The 6th International Students Energy Summit was hosted in Mexico in 2017 with 600 students from 100 countries. Next year the summit will be in London and is expected to attract 700 students.

SE has also developed energy chapters in Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, North America, Oceania, South America and South Asia, which are like student clubs in post-secondary institutions. The chapters are supported to help members develop their green energy ideas into reality in their communities. The first chapters were established in United Kingdom, Nigeria and Canada.

“Energy has really captured me and inspired me to dedicate my entire career to energy transition projects because of how fundamental energy is to our everyday lives,” Sean Collins, a co-founder of SE, tells IPS, adding that the value of energy is embedded in the work of SE that there is consideration of both energy’s striking benefits and its impacts.

“I think the thing I am most proud of has been our work to set the expectation that youth deserve a seat at the table in all energy conversations as a peer with older generations, policy makers, legacy industry and other groups. It is our generation that will be primarily responsible for the practical transition to a lower carbon economy, so we need to be an active participant in these discussions from day one.”

Fostering discussions and implementation of energy innovations creates impact. Businesses like Galabuzi’s WEYE clean energy company can be potential models to provide energy to more 600 million people in Africa who go without electricity.

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Indonesia Unveils Low Carbon Development Frameworkhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/indonesia-unveils-low-carbon-development-framework/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=indonesia-unveils-low-carbon-development-framework http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/indonesia-unveils-low-carbon-development-framework/#comments Fri, 12 Oct 2018 20:47:23 +0000 Kanis Dursin http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158144 Indonesia is convinced that low carbon development and a green economy are key to further boosting economic growth without sacrificing environmental sustainability and social inclusivity. Low carbon development, also called low emission development strategies or low carbon growth plans, refers to economic development plans or strategies that promote low emissions and or climate-resilient economic growth. […]

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A woman works in her vegetable patch at the foot of Mount Sinabung, North Sumatra, Indonesia. Indonesia is one of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases (GHG) that cause global warming on our now beleaguered planet Earth.Credit: Kafil Yamin/IPS

By Kanis Dursin
JAKARTA, Oct 12 2018 (IPS)

Indonesia is convinced that low carbon development and a green economy are key to further boosting economic growth without sacrificing environmental sustainability and social inclusivity.

Low carbon development, also called low emission development strategies or low carbon growth plans, refers to economic development plans or strategies that promote low emissions and or climate-resilient economic growth.

“It is timely for Indonesia to put in place sustainable development principles that balance the economic, social and environmental aspects. In this context, the government of Indonesia has committed to become the pioneer of sustainable development by initiating the LCDI [Low Carbon Development Indonesia report] and at the same time, preparing and implementing green financing mechanisms,” minister of national development planning (BAPPENAS) Bambang Brodjonegoro said.

He was launching the LCDI report that spells out the country’s green development path at the “Conference on Low Carbon Development and Green Economy” organised by the Indonesian government on Thursday, Oct. 11.

Organised as part of the 2018 International Monetary Fund-World Bank Group Annual Meetings that run through Oct. 14, the conference was co-hosted by several international institutions that help Indonesia in mapping and designing green growth programmes, including the UK Climate Change Unit, the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), the Indonesian Climate Change Trust Fund, the New Climate Economy, and the World Resources Institute Indonesia.

The renewed stance towards green growth comes as the archipelago island nation is recovering from a 7.5 magnitude earthquake and a resultant tsunami that hit its Sulawesi Island on Sept. 28. There were an estimated 2,000 casualities.

It was followed Thursday Oct. 11 by another earthquake of 6.0 magnitude which hit the tourist area of Bali, where the current IMF-World Bank Group Annual Meetings are being held.

Indonesia is one of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases (GHG) that cause global warming on our now beleaguered planet Earth.

In 2012, Indonesia produced a total of 1,453 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCOe), an increase of 0,459 GtCOe from the year 2000, according to the first Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) Indonesia submitted to the United Nations. At least 47.8 percent of the country’s GHG emissions came from land-use change and forestry, including peatland fires, followed by emissions from the energy sector, at 34.9 percent.

In 2015, Indonesia set an ambitious target to reduce GHG emissions by 29 percent under the business-as-usual scenario, and by 41 percent with international assistance and financial support by 2030. The same target was put in the NDC submitted to the U.N. under the Paris Agreement, which seeks to slow down warming to between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius.

Marcel Silvius, GGGI Indonesia country representative at his office in Jakarta, Indonesia. Credit: Kanis Dursin/IPS

“The pledge puts Indonesia in a vulnerable position,” Marcel Silvius, Indonesia Country Representative of GGGI, an inter-governmental organisation that supports the implementation of green growth in Indonesia, told IPS. “It sets the agenda for former, current, and future governments.

“That is very brave, it is something that is lacking in other governments. There are very strong positive signals that Indonesia is a country that other countries look at as an example and they want Indonesia to succeed,” he added

“Countries that are not so forthcoming in their pledges will receive less foreign collaboration. So, it is all positive for Indonesia. I think Indonesia is leading on certain fronts, one clearly is on the peat land restoration, only a few countries put so much emphasis on rehabilitation of this ecosystem, Indonesia is one and Russia is another,” Silvius said.

In September, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo instructed related ministries and regional governments to stop issuing new permits for oil palm plantations, which are often blamed for forest and peatland fires, and to review existing ones for possible revocation.

In January 2016, the government established the Badan Restorasi Gambut or Peatland Restoration Agency. Directly under the president, the agency is tasked with restoring 20,000 square kilometres of degraded peat forest by 2020.

“I think Indonesia in many respects has been braver compared to other countries such as the United States, [and] even Europe. Indonesia has taken the right steps that we don’t see in other countries, including in developed countries,” Silvius said.

He also praised Indonesia’s decision to organise the conference on low carbon development and the green economy during the IMF-World Bank Group Annual Meetings in Bali.

“The event gives a strong policy signal and creates a proper investment climate for organisations like the IMF and the World Bank and countries who are members of the World Bank and the IMF. The government also needs to give this kind of signals to the private sector,” Silvius told IPS in the interview in Jakarta.

The conference included panel discussions featuring several prominent speakers including former vice president Boediono, former trade minister Mari Elka Pangestu, Co-Chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, CEO of Unilever and Co-Chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate Paul Polman, and LCDI Commissioner and Co-Chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate Lord Nicholas Stern.

During the discussions, the speakers and participants shared their knowledge on the green economy, including business models that incorporate inclusive development and GHG emission reductions and ensure maintenance and restoration of natural capital, sectorial financing priorities and challenges, as well as strategies on how to effectively implement low carbon development.

The LCDI serves as a guideline in designing a development plan. If followed accordingly, the framework is “expected to accelerate rapid economic growth, reduce the poverty rate, and decrease greenhouse gas” emissions.

“To underline this commitment of implementing LCDI, the ministry of national development planning will mainstream the LCDI report on low carbon development framework into our next five years 2020-2024 National Medium Term Development Plan. This will become the very first ever low carbon development plan in the history of Indonesia,” said Brodjonegoro.

Recent global research suggested that bold climate action could deliver 26 trillion dollars in economic benefits in the form of new jobs and better health outcomes globally from now to 2030, compared to the business-as-usual approach.

Frank Rijsberman, Director General of GGGI, explained that foreign and domestic capital was available for the development of green projects, but that private investors require a sound supportive policy framework to help de-risk their investments in innovative green projects.

“There needs to be a strong collaboration of trusted global institutions and leaders from government and the private sector that are committed to green growth. This can certainly bring a significant change, which is very much needed by Indonesia for a better, cleaner, and more prosperous future,” Rijsberman said.

Meanwhile, the World Bank hailed Indonesia’s implementation of its NDC but warned that the current policy framework was still a challenge.

“Indonesia is making significant strides in the implementation of its NDC, including in aspects of mitigation and adaptation. However, the current policy, regulatory, and governance framework for forested landscapes remains a challenge,” Ann Jeannette Glauber, lead Environment Specialist for the World Bank, told IPS via email.

The World Bank, Glauber said, has worked with the Indonesian government, private sector, and civil society to support the country’s efforts to move toward a green growth trajectory, including providing knowledge, partnership and financing support.

“We continue to stand ready to support the government of Indonesia with technical assistance and financing support to meet their green growth objectives at their request,” Glauber said.

And what is the way forward for the country? With all the pledges and programmes to cut gas emissions, Indonesia, according to Silvius, needs support.

“I don’t think any government in the world can do these things on their own including developed countries. There should be real collaboration and transfer of knowledge between countries, financial collaboration and assistance. Indonesia cannot do it on its own,” he said.

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Rwanda Leverages Green Climate Fund’s Opportunities to Fast-Track Sustainable Developmenthttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/rwanda-leverages-green-climate-funds-opportunities-fast-track-sustainable-development/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rwanda-leverages-green-climate-funds-opportunities-fast-track-sustainable-development http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/rwanda-leverages-green-climate-funds-opportunities-fast-track-sustainable-development/#respond Fri, 12 Oct 2018 16:16:26 +0000 Aimable Twahirwa http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158135 In a move to achieve its green growth aspirations by 2050, Rwanda has placed a major focus on promoting project proposals that shift away from “business as usual” and have a significant impact on curbing climate change while attracting private investment. The latest report published by the Rwanda Environmental Management Authority (REMA) in 2015 states […]

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Greening practices are being adopted in Rwanda which include the terracing on hillsides to control erosion like here in Rulindo district, Northern Rwanda. Credit: Aimable Twahirwa/IPS

By Aimable Twahirwa
KIGALI, Oct 12 2018 (IPS)

In a move to achieve its green growth aspirations by 2050, Rwanda has placed a major focus on promoting project proposals that shift away from “business as usual” and have a significant impact on curbing climate change while attracting private investment.

The latest report published by the Rwanda Environmental Management Authority (REMA) in 2015 states that the country needs to adapt – and keep adapting – so that Rwandans can become climate resilient and be assured that they can thrive under changing climate conditions.

Rwanda is one of a few nations in the world to develop its own climate-related domestic budget to finance mitigation and adaptation projects and leverage international climate finance. Since it was established in 2012, the National Fund for Climate and Environment, commonly known as “FONERWA”, has played a major role in this country’s climate resilient development by financing various green economy projects.

It is also the focal point for channeling international climate finance into projects in Rwanda, while offering technical assistance to project proponents to ensure the success of investments.

“Thanks to this expertise, much of the core funding has been allocated to projects on a grant basis, returns are being measured in impact,” Daniel Ogbonnaya, the acting country representative and lead, Rwanda programme coordinator of Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), in Kigali, tells IPS.

GGGI is an international organisation that has partnered with the Rwandan government to help the country access the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The GCF, established by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), assists developing countries in adaptation and mitigation to counter climate change.

For example, one of FONERWA’s major impacts during the implementation phase has seen over 130,000 green jobs created, nearly 25,000 families connected to clean energy, and approximately 20,000 hectares of land secured against erosion, according to official estimates.

Now the East African country which has faced challenges related to the pressures on natural resources from a growing population is relying on FONERWA to implement its national Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy, adopted in 2011, to achieve some of its national climate targets.

FONERWA, which is the sole vehicle through which environment and climate change finance is channeled, programmed, disbursed and monitored in the country, is also being used by the government as an instrument to facilitate direct access to international environment and climate finance.

Government departments and districts can access FONERWA funding. But the fund is also open to charitable and private entities, including businesses, civil society and research institutions. However, to be eligible for funding, proposals are required to meet standard criteria set out for achieving the country’s green growth.

GGGI is providing technical assistance to strengthen the capacity of FONERWA in designing world class climate resilience projects and to enhance the fund’s ability to mobilise more resources.

The institute has been focusing on providing demand-driven technical advisory services; the development of inclusive green growth plans that are gender sensitive; and the creation of an enabling environment to engage and foster public and private sector investment in green growth.

While a significant amount of money has been allocated by FONERWA toward efforts to help mitigate climate change, one of the key criteria for approval of funding proposals was taken into account in selecting public and private adaptation and mitigation projects and programmes to finance.

The director general of REMA and also the national focal person of the GCF, Coletha Ruhamya, explained that growth in Rwanda is only possible if the private sector is on board and plays a leading role.

“This is because business practice in the country has always been associated with environmental pollution and degradation,” she told IPS.

In April, FONERWA proposed a new approach dedicated to encouraging the private sector to take advantage of the existing opportunities in addressing environmental challenges, including climate change.

Since its inception in 2012, FONERWA has successfully funded 35 competitively-awarded, high-impact projects to the tune of 54 million dollars and has also received in 2018 another 33 million dollars of earmarked funding from the GCF as the accredited entity’s implementing partner for a new climate-resilience project in Rwanda.

However, some stakeholders in the private sector stress the need for serious sensitisation programmes meant for local investors to understand the opportunities that are in the industrial sector through leveraging on the green fund.

The chief executive officer of the Rwanda Private Sector Federation (PSF), Stephen Ruzibiza, told IPS that local private investors have a lot to access withinvthe green fund.

Currently the PSF is engaging with FONERWA and a limited number of local financial intermediaries to offer long-term loans to private businesses focusing on environmental sustainability with a low interest rate which is fixed at 11.5 percent.

The current average lending interest rate for commercial banks in Rwanda is 17.58 percent, according to the National Bank of Rwanda.

According to Jean Ntazinda, a consultant with the FONERWA Readiness Support Project, the private sector in Rwanda has so far been left behind when compared to government entities in accessing the GCF financing mechanism.

“Although at the national level some private sector projects relating to adaptation got financed, there is a long way to bring the private sector on board due to the lack of another entity accredited by GCF,” Ntazinda told IPS in an exclusive interview.

In 2015, Rwanda’s ministry of environment became accredited with the GCF and received a promise of 10 to 50 million dollars in climate finance. It was the country’s first national institution to receive GCF accreditation.

In March 2018, the government of Rwanda received an additional 32.8 million dollars from GCF to strengthen climate resilience in Gicumbi District, Northern Province.

The ‘Strengthening Climate Resilience of Rural Communities in Northern Rwanda’ project, that will run for six years, is expected to invest in climate-resilient settlements for families currently living in areas prone to landslides and floods, and support community-based adaptation planning and livelihoods diversification.

Currently FONERWA is in the process of developing several innovative funding mechanisms to finance pro-poor climate projects in Rwanda.

For instance, Result-Based Finance (RBF) is one of the approaches currently being used to fund renewable energy mini-grid projects in poor rural areas of Rwanda at a time when Rwandan officials are aiming to achieve 51 percent of electricity access by the end of 2019, from the current 45 percent.

RBF are payments that are disbursed at the end of the construction of the mini-grids, provided that pre-agreed conditions and milestones are met.

“This incentivises developers to look for private equity and debt to fund the construction costs. And it gives further certainty to the lenders that parts of the debt will be repaid,” Ogbonnaya told IPS.

However, Ogbonnaya is convinced that local commercial banks in Rwanda are willing to promote access to private finance for green initiatives, but don’t yet understand the process.

“This is because using government or local budget is key to showing country ownership and to showing that a specific project is part of a broader national strategy, but for adaptation funds, co-benefits such as social, environment, gender impacts and pro-poor impacts are so crucial,” he said.

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The Caribbean Reiterates “1.5 Degrees Celsius to Stay Alive”http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/caribbean-reiterates-1-5-degrees-celsius-stay-alive/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=caribbean-reiterates-1-5-degrees-celsius-stay-alive http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/caribbean-reiterates-1-5-degrees-celsius-stay-alive/#respond Fri, 12 Oct 2018 08:58:20 +0000 Kenton X. Chance http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158120 If there is one lesson that Dominican Reginald Austrie has learnt from the devastation Hurricane Maria brought to his country last September, it is the need for “resilience, resilience, resilience”. And it is not just because he is his country’s minister of agriculture. When the category 5 hurricane made landfall in Dominica, Austrie, then the […]

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In many parts of Dominica, Hurricane Maria razed the greenery, including agricultural cultivation, from the hillside of the mountainous island. Credit: Kenton X. Chance/IPS

By Kenton X. Chance
BRIDGETOWN, Oct 12 2018 (IPS)

If there is one lesson that Dominican Reginald Austrie has learnt from the devastation Hurricane Maria brought to his country last September, it is the need for “resilience, resilience, resilience”.

And it is not just because he is his country’s minister of agriculture.

When the category 5 hurricane made landfall in Dominica, Austrie, then the country’s minister of housing, was weeks away from harvest time at his two-acre farm where he had 800 plantain trees, in addition to yams.

“So, personally, I suffered some loss. But to me, my agriculture, while it is commercial, it’s not really my livelihood,” he told IPS on the sidelines of the 15th Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA), the premier agriculture event in the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which is taking place in Barbados from Oct. 8 to 12.“For us, our own scientists warned us of the ravages with respect to drought, with respect to the destruction of our reefs, and by extension, our marine life." -- prime minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley.

“I experienced it, I saw it and I know how much it cost me; that I can never recover the cost of production and so I understand what the regular and ordinary farmer is going through, fully dependent on agriculture,” Austrie, who became minister of agriculture three months ago, said of the monster hurricane.

In addition to the destruction of his plantain trees, Hurricane Maria left several landslides on Austrie’s farm when it tore across Dominica, leaving an estimated USD 157 million in damage to the agriculture and fisheries sectors, and total loss and damage amounting to 225 percent of the nation’s GDP.

Austrie is taking steps to reduce the impact of future cyclones, which forecasters say will become more frequent and intense as a result of climate change.

“So now I had to look at terracing, I had to look at the plants I can grow between the terraces to hold up the soil and I have to really look at whether I want to continue doing plantains, whether I want to expand,” he told IPS.

Climate resilience in agriculture and fisheries was a feature at CWA.

The event opened on the day that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said, in its latest report, that limiting global warming to 1.5 degree Celsius above pre-industrialisation levels would require “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”.

As part of their advocacy for a legally-binding global climate accord, small island developing states (SIDS) like those in the Caribbean, have been using the mantra “1.5 to stay alive”.

SIDS say capping global temperature rise at 2°C above pre-industrialisation levels — as some developed countries have suggested — would have a catastrophic impact on SIDS.

The IPCC’s latest report says limiting global warming to 1.5°C, compared to 2°C, could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society.

“One of the key messages that come out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1°C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes,” said Panmao Zhai, co-chair of IPCC Working Group I.

In an address to delegates at CWA, secretary-general of CARICOM, Irwin LaRocque said the IPCC report supports the findings of Caribbean climate scientists “which showed that we will attain the 1.5°C warmer world much sooner than anticipated — by 2030”.

LaRocque said such as situation will result in much harsher climatic conditions for the Caribbean.

“Worse, the current trend of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, would lead to warming in the range of three degrees centigrade by the end of the century.”

CARICOM continues to advocate for greater ambition in the reduction of greenhouse gases, but must prepare for the worst, he said.

“We, therefore, need to upscale our planning for adapting to that reality,” LaRocque said, even as he noted that the IPCC report corroborates Caribbean scientists’ projections that even a 1.5 degree rise would result in significant impacts on fresh water and agricultural yields.

Further, such a level of warming would cause extreme temperatures, increases in frequency, intensity, and/or amount of heavy precipitation, and an increase in intensity or frequency of droughts.

“To counter that threat, we have been working on a programme along with our international development partners, to improve the resilience of the agriculture sector,” he said.

LaRocque pointed out that CARICOM’s agricultural research agency has been developing climate smart agriculture technologies suitable for agriculture in the region.

“CARDI has recommended identification, storage, sharing and utilisation of climate-ready germplasm of important food crops as one of the best mechanisms for building climate resilience that safeguards food and nutrition security.”

Meanwhile, CARICOM’s newest head of government, prime minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, reminded delegates at the event that in September she told the United Nations General Assembly that the CARICOM region understands that it has been made dispensable “by those who believe that a 2-degree change in temperature is acceptable to the world”.

She told CWA that she did not know then that the IPCC report that came after her speech would paint such a scenario.

Mottley, who was elected to office in May, said, however, that Caribbean nationals should not have been taken by surprise.

“For us, our own scientists warned us of the ravages with respect to drought, with respect to the destruction of our reefs, and by extension, our marine life.

“They warned us, more than 10 years ago. And we have allowed others to determine our advocacy and our voice without, perhaps remembering that phrase from one of the other countries, Jamaica, that ‘We small but we tallawah (feisty)’.”

And while those calls were not headed a decade ago, Hurricane Maria and the other cyclones, including Hurricane Irma, which affected the Caribbean in 2017, have brought them home forcefully.

“One of the things we have learnt is resilience, resilience, resilience…

“Dominica is a mountainous country. We farm on the hillsides. But there are technologies that can now be used to protect your lands from moving. We have to begin using new and innovative technologies,” Austrie told IPS as he reflected on the impact of Hurricane Maria on Dominica.

“And so we believe that while Maria dealt us a blow and nobody wishes for another Maria, it taught us some lessons, which had it was not for Maria, we would have taken for granted. We had adopted a kind of complacent attitude but I believe that Maria really struck us and sent it home that we have to begin to do things differently,” Austrie said.

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Mother Nature Can Help us Deal With Her Water Disastershttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/mother-nature-can-help-us-deal-water-disasters/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mother-nature-can-help-us-deal-water-disasters http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/mother-nature-can-help-us-deal-water-disasters/#comments Thu, 11 Oct 2018 16:17:39 +0000 Vladimir Smakhtin http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158116 Vladimir Smakhtin is Director of the UN University Institute for Water, Environment, and Health (UNU-INWEH), supported by the Government of Canada and hosted at McMaster University.

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When a natural disaster strikes, people are sometimes left with no choice but to leave the areas affected. Yet, for some, even this option might not exist. Cyclone survivors in Myanmar shelter in the ruins of their destroyed home. Credit: UNHCR/Taw Naw Htoo

By Vladimir Smakhtin
HAMILTON, Canada, Oct 11 2018 (IPS)

Almost every day we hear news about catastrophic flooding or drought somewhere in the world. And many nations and regions are on track for even more extreme water problems within a generation, the latest IPCC report warns.

Extreme floods and droughts have a profound impact on development, particularly in less developed parts of the world. About 140 million people are affected — displaced by the loss of incomes or homes — and close to 10,000 people worldwide die annually from these twin calamities. Global annual economic losses from floods and droughts exceeds US$ 40 billion; add in damages from storms like America’s recent Hurricanes Florence and Michael, and cost numbers balloon.

Flood and drought economic losses — comparable in dollar terms to all global development aid — strongly affect the water, food and energy security of nations.

To help cope with these problems, massive investments continue to be made in large reservoirs.

However, in certain regions it has started to make little engineering sense to build additional “grey (concrete and steel) infrastructure” due to a lack of suitable sites and / or rapid evaporation. In others, aging grey infrastructure may no longer provide their originally envisioned benefits because hydrological parameters and patterns are changing.

The appropriate response is to recognize the benefits of “green (natural ecosystems) infrastructure” and to design grey and green infrastructure in tandem to maximize benefits for people, nature and the economy.

Such “Nature-Based Solutions” were the theme of this year’s UN World Water Development Report.

Nature-Based Solutions include, for example:
• soil moisture retention systems, and groundwater recharge to enhance water availability
• natural and constructed wetlands and riparian buffer strips to improve water quality, and
• floodplain restoration to reduce risks associated with water‐related disasters and climate change

The role of green water storage infrastructure is particularly important. The enormous potential of such approaches are only now being fully understood but its clear that green infrastructure can directly improve the performance of grey infrastructure for disaster risk reduction.

Indeed, large-scale managed aquifer recharge efforts can, in certain conditions, alleviate both flood and drought risks in the same river basin.

Recent studies suggest that, in a river basin greater than 150,000 km2 in area, with only 200 km2 of land converted for accelerated groundwater recharge in wetter years, agricultural income could be boosted by about US$ 200 million per year. Not only is additional water made available to farmers in drier periods, downstream flooding costs can be eliminated. And the capital investment required could be recouped in a decade or less.

Such sustainable, cost-effective and scalable solutions may be especially relevant in developing countries, where water-related disaster vulnerability has risen to unprecedented levels and the impacts of climate change will be most acutely felt.

Nature-Based Solutions are not feasible everywhere and, where they would help, they alone are not the silver bullet solution for water risks and variability — they cannot be counted on to replace or achieve the full risk reduction effect of grey infrastructure.

Nevertheless, Nature-Based Solutions need to be considered in all water management planning and practiced where possible. Especially at river basin and regional scales, management planning should consider a range of surface and subsurface storage options, not just large concrete dams.

The challenges include:
• an overwhelming dominance of traditional grey infrastructure thinking and practices (and associated inertia against Nature-Based Solutions)
• the need for more quantitative data on the effects of Nature-Based Solutions
• a lack of understanding of how to integrate natural and built infrastructure for managing water extremes
• overall lack of capacity to implement Nature-Based Solutions; and
• a pre-dominantly reactive rather than proactive approach to water-related disaster management. Nature-Based Solutions have much greater potential if included in risk reduction planning and adopted before disaster strikes.

These challenges will take time to overcome, but there is hope.

The UN General Assembly has designated 13 October as the International Day for Disaster Reduction, which this year has taken the theme of reducing economic losses from disasters.

The theme corresponds to a target of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 – which underlines the need to shift from mostly post-disaster planning and recovery to proactive disaster risk reduction and calls for strategies with a range of ecosystem-based solutions.

Meanwhile, some 25 targets within 10 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of UN Agenda 2030 either explicitly or implicitly address various aspects of water-related disaster management.

The obvious synergies between all these targets will increasingly strengthen if Nature-Based Solutions are seen as a supporting concept to all of them.

The post Mother Nature Can Help us Deal With Her Water Disasters appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Excerpt:

Vladimir Smakhtin is Director of the UN University Institute for Water, Environment, and Health (UNU-INWEH), supported by the Government of Canada and hosted at McMaster University.

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“Our Choices Matter More Than Ever Before” To Limit Climate Changehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/choices-matter-ever-limit-climate-change/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=choices-matter-ever-limit-climate-change http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/choices-matter-ever-limit-climate-change/#respond Wed, 10 Oct 2018 08:53:24 +0000 Tharanga Yakupitiyage http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158087 The release of a groundbreaking report has left the international community reeling over very real, intensified impacts of climate change which will hit home sooner rather than later. So what now? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has revealed that the international community is severely off track to limit climate change and that we […]

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Flooding in Trinidad's capital of Port of Spain. As human activities have already caused approximately 1°C global warming above pre-industrial levels, impacts of the changing climate have already unfolded and manifested through floods, droughts, and heatwaves. Credit: Peter Richards/IPS

By Tharanga Yakupitiyage
UNITED NATIONS, Oct 10 2018 (IPS)

The release of a groundbreaking report has left the international community reeling over very real, intensified impacts of climate change which will hit home sooner rather than later. So what now?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has revealed that the international community is severely off track to limit climate change and that we will see the world warm over 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2030 if no urgent action is taken.

“It is quite discouraging to be told how little time we have,” Amnesty International’s policy advisor Chiara Liguori told IPS.

Policy director of the Climate and Energy Programme at the Union of Concerned Scientists Rachel Cleetus echoed similar sentiments to IPS, stating: “This report should be the shot in the arm that governments of the world need. They asked for this information in 2015 and it is now before us, and it is deeply sobering.”

As human activities have already caused approximately 1°C global warming above pre-industrial levels, impacts of the changing climate have already unfolded and manifested through floods, droughts, and heatwaves.

This year saw an unprecedented global heatwave from the Arctic to Japan.

In the United States, extreme heat now causes more deaths in cities than all other weather events combined while Japan saw 65 peopled killed in one week due to a heatwave, which was declared to be a “national disaster.”

The IPCC report, called Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C, known as SR15, projects that such extreme weather events will only get worse if warming is not limited to below 1.5°C compared to 2°C.

For instance, the 91 authors who prepared the report estimated that there will be lower risks for heat-related morbidity and mortality at 1.5°C compared to 2°C.

Seas will rise 0.1 meters less at global warming of 1.5°C, which means than 10 million fewer people would be exposed to related risks including flooding and displacement particularly in small island nations.

Impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems, including species extinction of coral reefs, are also projected to be lower at 1.5°C.

“Even though it seems like a small difference, there are really consequential differences between 1.5 and 2°C,” said Cleetus.

“Every fraction of a degree we can avoid is important,” she added.

While small island developing states advocated heavily for limiting warming to 1.5°C before the Paris Agreement, the international community settled on 2°C.

However, due to the lack of climate-related commitments, the world is on a path for a temperature rise of more than 3°C.

“The feasibility of 1.5°C is tied up in policy decisions we make, technology choices, social and economic choices…and we’ve got no time to waste,” Cleetus said.

Both Cleetus and Liguori highlighted the need for a large-scale transformation in all sectors including the energy sector.

The report notes that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will need to decrease by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ by 2050.

This means that any remaining CO2 emissions would need to be removed from the air.

Many have looked to CO2 removal technologies such as bioenergy with CO2 capture and storage (BECCS), a process, which involves burning biomass such as plant matter for energy, collecting the CO2 they emit, and then storing the gasses underground.

However, Liguori noted that the controversial BECCS technology requires large lots of land in order to grow biomass, which could displace agricultural production and even communities.

“We’ve already seen patterns of climate change mitigation measures that are taken in the name of combatting climate change but at the same time they don’t respect human rights and result in serious consequences for people,” she told IPS.

“It can put an excessive burden on people that are already the most exposed to climate change and less able to defend their rights,” Liguori said.

In May 2018, Amnesty International documented how the Sengwer indigenous community from Embobut forest, Kenya were forced from their homes and stripped of their lands after a government campaign to reduce deforestation.

However, claims that the Sengwer are harming the forest were not substantiated, Liguori said.

“All these measures need to be compliant with human rights, because you cant just transfer one problem to the other. We need to shift towards a zero-carbon economy but we cannot replicate the same pattern of human rights violations that we have currently,” she added.

Cleetus also pointed to the need for climate finance for developing countries.

“Countries need help making this clean energy transition as well as help to invest in resilience to keep their communities safe—this is a piece that must be addressed,” she told IPS.

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has been a crucial instrument to address climate change in developing countries and support efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

However, of the USD10 billion pledged to the fund, only three billion has been paid leaving the GCF in desperate need of sustained if not increased financial commitments from countries in order to limit warming to below 1.5°C.

But countries such as Australia and the U.S. have rejected requests to provide more money.

Climate finance has been a major sticking point in many international negotiations including at the Conference of the Parties (COP) and is predicted to pose a major hurdle at the upcoming COP in Poland where governments will convene to finalise the implementation rules for the Paris Agreement.

While the solutions to address and respond to climate change exist, it is this lack of political will and engagement that is most concerning.

“There is a lot we can do to seriously limit emissions and its up to the policymakers and governments of the world to step up,” Cleetus said.

And people have already begun to fight back, holding their governments accountable to climate action.

Most recently, the Hague Court of Appeal upheld a 2015 ruling which ordered the Dutch government to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020.

The case, put forth by the Urgenda Foundation and a group of almost 1,000 residents, argued that a failure of the government to act on climate change amounts to a violation of the rights of Dutch citizens.

Similar cases can now be seen around the world.

“This is quite encouraging because it is an element that can push governments to get there, to step up their commitments,” Liguori said.

Cleetus expressed her hope for the future of climate action and urged the international community to do more to make the transition to a carbon-free economy and society a reality.

“We don’t have to make a false choice between sustainable development, poverty eradication, and our climate goals. They can go hand in hand and indeed they must go hand in hand if we are going to surmount these policy and political obstacles to climate action,” she said.

“Our choices still matter—in fact our choices matter more than ever before. It is in our hands what the future of our world climate will look like and the kind of climate we will leave to our children and grandchildren,” Cleetus concluded.

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As Amazon Warms, Tropical Butterflies and Lizards Seek the Shadehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/amazon-warms-tropical-butterflies-lizards-seek-shade/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=amazon-warms-tropical-butterflies-lizards-seek-shade http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/amazon-warms-tropical-butterflies-lizards-seek-shade/#respond Tue, 09 Oct 2018 10:48:00 +0000 Jewel Fraser http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158062 Recent research at a centre in Guyana shows that some types of butterflies and lizards in the Amazon have been seeking shelter from the heat as Amazonian temperatures rise. The CEIBA Biological Centre (CEIBA), in Madewini, Guyana, under its executive director Dr. Godfrey Bourne, is investigating the impact of global warming on tropical ectotherms, namely, […]

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A new CEIBA Biological Centre (CEIBA) study investigates the impact of global warming on tropical ectotherms, namely, butterflies and lizards, whose body temperatures are determined by the environment. Credit: Desmond Brown/IPS

By Jewel Fraser
PORT OF SPAIN, Oct 9 2018 (IPS)

Recent research at a centre in Guyana shows that some types of butterflies and lizards in the Amazon have been seeking shelter from the heat as Amazonian temperatures rise.

The CEIBA Biological Centre (CEIBA), in Madewini, Guyana, under its executive director Dr. Godfrey Bourne, is investigating the impact of global warming on tropical ectotherms, namely, butterflies and lizards, whose body temperatures are determined by the environment.

A study he supervised, conducted by students Chineze Obi and Noreen Heyari, revealed that “changes in wing positions [of Postman butterflies] were associated with regulating absorption of solar energy. Thus, thoracic temperatures were effectively regulated so that body temperatures were maintained between 28° and 34° C. Postman butterflies were fully active within this range of temperatures.” But when things got too hot for wing manoeuvres to help them, the butterflies simply retreated and rested, the researchers found.

They also found that the postman butterfly maintained “relatively stable temperatures during fluctuating” outside temperatures.

These findings suggest that some Amazonian ectotherms may be adjusting their behaviour to cope with the heat, but at the expense of the normal activities required for survival and breeding.

“Because postman butterflies and Neotropical collared lizards maintain lower temperatures than ambient for most of the [investigation periods], they may be shade seeking to stay cooler, instead of spending time foraging, mate seeking, and defending territories. Taken together these results suggest that rising global temperatures could already be having negative impacts on [them],” Bourne told IPS.

Accordingly, the journal, Animal Behaviour, in an article published in August explains, “Thermoregulatory behaviours are of great importance for ectotherms buffering against the impact of temperature extremes. Such behaviours bring not only benefits but also organism level costs such as decreased food availability and foraging efficiency and thus lead to energetic costs and metabolic consequences.”

Bourne said he chose to study butterflies and lizards native to the Amazon because even moderate increases in temperatures could have profound impacts on these creatures’ daily activities and metabolic function.

“Tropical terrestrial ectotherms, including butterflies and lizards, have a narrower thermal tolerance than higher-latitude species, and are currently living very close to their maximum temperature limits,” he told IPS.

He said the rate of temperature increase in the Amazon, which Guyana shares with its neighbours, was 0.25°C per decade during the late 20th century, with an expected increase in temperature of about 3.3°C during this century if greenhouse gas emissions are at moderate levels.

A Small blue Grecian Heliconius sara. Research shows that some Amazonian ectotherms may be adjusting their behaviour to cope with the heat, but at the expense of the normal activities required for survival and breeding.Courtesy: Dr. Godfrey Bourne

“Butterflies [invertebrates] and lizards [vertebrates]…both generate body temperatures primarily from temperatures of the environment; [this is in contrast to] endothermy, a high-cost physiological approach to life where body temperatures are generated from ingested foods…Butterflies and lizards are well-studied, conspicuous, and easily tractable taxa that provide some of the strongest evidence for the ecological effects of recent climate change,” he told IPS via e-mail.

His research builds on other, published, research. An article in the journal, Global Ecology and Conservation, notes that “decreasing local climate suitability (magnitude) may threaten species living close to their upper climatic tolerance limits, and high velocities of climate change may affect the ability of species to track suitable climatic conditions, particularly those with low dispersal.”

In addition, sex ratio also influences a species’ chances of survival. “If we see sexual dimorphism in behaviours with one sex being more active during hotter times of the day, then we may see changes in sex ratios, favouring the sex that is more active during higher temperatures. Under such a scenario, sex ratio imbalance will eventually contribute to population crashes,” he told IPS.

A 2016 study by Australian scientists, published in the journal Ecological Modelling, found that when the sex ratio was biased towards the female sex under warming climates, then the size of reptile populations increased greatly, but where the bias was towards the male sex under warmer temperatures, “population sizes declined dramatically.”

The cumulative impact may be “reduced breeding and low population growth for the sun-avoiding butterfly and lizard species, but longer persistence for their [sun-loving] relatives. But in 20 years, I suspect that all populations may become locally extinct,” Bourne said.

At the same time, humans will also feel the adverse consequences if these creatures lose out in the struggle against climate change. One estimate suggests a third of the foods eaten by human beings is pollinated. “In the long term…pollinator services will be minimised, leading to reduced fruit and seed production, and eventually to reduced new plant recruitment for forests,” Bourne said.

As lizards also play a role in plant recruitment, their demise will also adversely affect the food supply. The tropical lizards Bourne has studied eat small fallen fruit, and “when eating these fruit they move several metres from the parent tree where the seeds are discarded,” he explained. “Seeds discarded away from the parent tree have a higher probability of escaping insect, bird, and mammal seed predators, and so are likely to germinate. These have a higher likelihood of recruitment and becoming established into the forest matrix,” Bourne said. Hence, a reduction in lizards will ultimately mean less food from plants.

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Consumption & Emissions: Rich Indians v/s Rich (& Poor) Americanshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/consumption-emissions-rich-indians-vs-rich-poor-americans/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=consumption-emissions-rich-indians-vs-rich-poor-americans http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/consumption-emissions-rich-indians-vs-rich-poor-americans/#respond Tue, 09 Oct 2018 09:57:42 +0000 Chandra Bhushan http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158064 The growing consumption of the ‘rich’ in ‘poor’ countries has been a running theme in the climate change debate for some time now. A large majority of opinion makers in developed countries, especially the US, are convinced that rising consumption of the rich in the developing world is responsible for climate change. In the last […]

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The richest Indians consume less than even the poorest 20 per cent Americans. Credit: Getty Images

By Chandra Bhushan
NEW DELHI, Oct 9 2018 (IPS)

The growing consumption of the ‘rich’ in ‘poor’ countries has been a running theme in the climate change debate for some time now. A large majority of opinion makers in developed countries, especially the US, are convinced that rising consumption of the rich in the developing world is responsible for climate change.

In the last few years, the theme of the egregiously consuming middle class in India scorching the world has taken a whole new form. In this form, the excesses of the developed world are hidden.

The problem is not the lifestyle of the North; rather, it is the burgeoning consumption of the South. I have a problem with this narrative. I do support and propagate the view that there is a level of consumption that is required to meet basic needs of everyone in the world.

Let’s start a serious debate around sustainable consumption and production (SCP). To do this, let’s compares consumption and emissions of the rich in India with that of the rich in the US.

There is absolutely no comparison between the consumption expenditure of the average American household and that of the average Indian household. In MER terms, the average per capita consumption expenditure in the US is 37 times higher than India’s (US $33,469 as compared to US $900).

Even in terms of PPP, the average per capita consumption expenditure in the US is 11 times higher than India’s (US $33,469 as compared to US $3,001). To enable comparison, Indian rupees have been converted to US dollars both in terms of the market exchange rate (MER) and purchasing power parity (PPP).

In MER terms, an average American spends 15 times more on food and beverages, 50 times more on housing and household goods and services, over 6,000 times more on recreation, and over 200 times more on health compared to an average Indian. Comparing ‘averages’ is, therefore, meaningless.

The topmost consuming class in India is the top 5 per cent of urban households, or the urban 12th fractile class as per the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) consumer expenditure survey 2011–12.

The richest Indians consume less than even the poorest 20 per cent Americans. If we consider the consumption expenditure in terms of MER, the richest Indians consume less than one third of the poorest 20 per cent Americans.

Even if we consider the consumption expenditure in terms of PPP, the richest 5 per cent Indians still spend on goods and services close to what the poorest 20 per cent Americans do.

Data on the energy-related products and services for the richest Indians has been compared with that for various classes of Americans for the year 2014. This is the closest year to 2011–12 for which data on electricity prices in India is publicly available.

Petrol prices in India are actually higher than in the US. In 2014, the average pump price for petrol in India was US $1.2 as compared to US $0.91 in the US. So, a dollar in India, in terms of MER, actually buys less petrol than a dollar in the US.

The annual per capita expenditure on electricity and fuels and on gasoline and motor oil of the richest 5 per cent Indians was about US $241 in 2011–12. The corresponding expenditure for the poorest 20 per cent Americans is about US $1,500—more than six times higher than that for the richest 5 per cent Indians.

The expenditure of the richest 20 per cent Americans on energy goods is US $2,145, about nine times higher than expenditure of the richest 5 per cent Indians. Assuming equal prices of energy (an underestimation for consumption in the US), the richest in India consume less than one sixth of the energy the poorest 20 per cent in the US consume.

Per capita CO2 emissions (excluding emissions from land use, land use changes and forestry) of the top 10 per cent of Indians are similar to per capita emissions of the bottom 20 per cent of Americans.

The per capita CO2 emissions of the richest 10 per cent Indians are about 4.4 tonnes. In comparison, the per capita emissions of the richest 10 per cent Americans are 52.4 tonnes— almost 12 times higher than that of the richest Indians.

The per capita CO2 emissions of the poorest 10 per cent Americans are about 2.4 tonnes. This is 60 per cent higher than the average per capita CO2 emissions of India.

If we rely only on efficiency improvements, it is near impossible to meet the Paris Agreement goal. Efficiency is not sufficiency—without addressing consumption it would be near impossible to meet the climate target.

The idea of an ultimate win-win—to consume but not pollute is a mirage. The question the world faces today is not whether consumption should be curtailed, but how. The definition of sustainable consumption and production must reflect this.

The link to the original article follows:
https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/climate-change/consumption-and-emissions-rich-indians-v-s-rich-and-poor-americans-61805

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Leveraging the Potential for Green Growth in Vulnerable Countrieshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/leveraging-potential-green-growth-vulnerable-countries/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=leveraging-potential-green-growth-vulnerable-countries http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/leveraging-potential-green-growth-vulnerable-countries/#respond Mon, 08 Oct 2018 09:39:19 +0000 Carmen Arroyo http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158030 In May the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres announced next year’s summit on climate. This assertion has given the Global Green Growth Institute international momentum, which was reflected in the events of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City. During the UNGA week the Global Green Growth […]

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A farmer walks past the solar panels used to pump water in the Soan Valley. The Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) works closely with countries to diversify their economies, promote solar energies, and connect financial investors with specific green growth projects. Credit: Zofeen Ebrahim/IPS

By Carmen Arroyo
UNITED NATIONS, Oct 8 2018 (IPS)

In May the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres announced next year’s summit on climate. This assertion has given the Global Green Growth Institute international momentum, which was reflected in the events of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City.

During the UNGA week the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), an international organisation based in Seoul, South Korea, led the conversation on green growth. Frank Rijsberman, the institute’s director general, highlighted that green growth is not a matter of the future but of the present. Green growth, defined as sustainable economic growth, is essential due to the damage caused by climate change and increased pollution.

While at UNGA, GGGI participated in the Sustainable Development Impact Summit, organised by the World Economic Forum, the P4G (Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030), and the Sustainable Investment Forum, organised by Climate Action and U.N. Environment Programme Finance Initiative.

GGGI also helped organise the event named “Leveraging Green Growth Potential in Vulnerable Countries,” which took place at the U.N. headquarters. Representatives from the Rwandan and Ethiopian governments, the U.N.-OHRLLS (U.N. Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States), and the European Union participated.

Challenges and best practices for green growth

At the event, the speakers discussed the challenges green growth encounters, the best practices in the field, and how public opinion regarding sustainable energies has shifted in the last years. Green growth, at the core of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, is not at the sidelines of international policy anymore, but at the centre of the conversation.

The United Kingdom, Denmark, Norway, and even South Korea are already pursuing green growth agendas. But the shift is especially important for developing countries, which are more at risk due to climate change.

“Mainstreaming green growth is the only option for vulnerable countries,” stated Rijsberman at the event. “This is not just a challenge but also an opportunity.”

For Fekitamoeloa Katoa ‘Utoikamanu, High Representative for U.N.-OHRLLS, promoting sustainable growth in developing countries is a priority. She told IPS: “Leveraging the potential for green growth in vulnerable countries is critically important.”

Often times environmental damages are linked with other issues, explained Katoa. “Poverty and its alleviation are intricately linked to the environment and climate change is a threat which demands our immediate attention,” she commented.

Policy and finance obstacles to green growth

Despite its importance, getting governments to change to sustainable growth is not always easy.

According to Rijsberman, “policy obstacles, government, and finance” need to be taken into account. But the biggest challenge remains shifting investment patterns. The breakthrough for renewable energies comes with lower prices, he says.

“It is hard to compete fossil fuels if they are cheap,” said Rijsberman at the event. When fossil fuels become more expensive than renewable energies, it is easier to find investment for green growth projects. That, claimed Rijsberman, is already happening.

“Solar and wind have become cheaper than coal,” Rijsberman told IPS.

Now, the challenge for GGGI and national governments is to find investors to fund green growth projects —for example, increasing solar panels.

“Our goal for 2020 is to raise more than two and a half billion dollars in green and climate finance,” said Rijsberman.

Katoa, from U.N.-OHRLLS, stated: “It is clear that global financing needs to be stepped up considerably and directed towards investments that contribute to green growth and building resilience. This includes both traditional as well as new channels.”

The difficulties of changing public opinion have been overcome in the most part. Natural disasters, heat waves, and pollution have made public opinion aware that climate change is real, and solutions are needed.

During the event at the U.N. headquarters, Mauro Petriccione, director general for Climate Action at the European Union, pointed out how European opinion has shifted.

“It has taken the last two summers to make Europeans aware of the effects of climate change,” he said. Now, he added, “Europe is taking strong legislative action to this respect.”

New skills for renewable energies

Finally, the loss of jobs in the fossil fuel industry needs formal solutions. Rijsberman suggested formal retraining, because the skills needed in renewable energies are different from those required in the coal and oil industries.

Despite these difficulties, there are many cases of success in this transition. Rwanda and Ethiopia have already changed to sustainable growth. They are, as Rijsberman calls them, “champions of green growth.”

For countries like Ethiopia the change to sustainable energies is crucial. Climate disruptions have an immediate effect on their economy, which depends mainly on agriculture. Thus, the government prioritises climate resilience to secure its citizens’ livelihood.

Selamawit Desta, the Ethiopian representative at the event, shared with IPS how they succeeded in transitioning to green growth. “In 2008, we stopped subsidising fossil fuels. It was hard, but we gave an option. Food or fossil fuels,” she explained. And since then, Ethiopia barely has emissions.

Other countries with vast natural resources, also affected by climate change, need to take advantage of their ability to develop renewable energies.

Katoa stated: “Natural resource bases play a critical role in the economies of least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and Small Island Developing States.”

She continued: “These nations also typically have a large untapped potential for renewable energy, which can help to bring sustainable energy access to underserved and remote rural communities.”

Collaborative work with GGGI

The institute, founded in 2010, relies upon 36 countries, both members and partners of GGGI. They work closely with them to diversify their economies, promote solar energies, and connect financial investors with specific green growth projects.

Inevitably, their work depends on the will of the national governments. But more and more states are willing to collaborate with the Institute. During the event “Leveraging Green Growth Potential” both the Rwandan minister of environment, Vincent Biruta, and the representative for the Pacific Islands expressed their gratitude to GGGI.

GGGI also counts with a large institutional network, working with organisations such as the U.N., the World Bank, and the OECD, to promote green growth knowledge.

She added: “We look forward to ongoing cooperation with GGGI particularly in addressing climate change challenges and improving access to sustainable energy in vulnerable countries.”

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Climate Change Response Must Be Accompanied By a Renewed Approach to Economic Developmenthttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/climate-change-response-must-accompanied-renewed-approach-economic-development/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=climate-change-response-must-accompanied-renewed-approach-economic-development http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/climate-change-response-must-accompanied-renewed-approach-economic-development/#respond Fri, 05 Oct 2018 07:16:25 +0000 Desmond Brown http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157932 In the face of the many challenges posed by climate change, Panos Caribbean, a global network of institutes working to give a voice to poor and marginalised communities, says the Caribbean must raise its voice to demand and support the global temperature target of 1.5 °C. Ahead of the United Nations climate summit in December, […]

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In August Grenada expereinced heavy rainfall which resulted in “wide and extensive” flooding that once again highlighted the vulnerability of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to climate change. Credit: Desmond Brown/IPS

By Desmond Brown
KINGSTON, Oct 5 2018 (IPS)

In the face of the many challenges posed by climate change, Panos Caribbean, a global network of institutes working to give a voice to poor and marginalised communities, says the Caribbean must raise its voice to demand and support the global temperature target of 1.5 °C.

Ahead of the United Nations climate summit in December, Yves Renard, interim coordinator of Panos Caribbean, said advocacy, diplomacy and commitments must be both firm and ambitious.

He said this is necessary to ensure that the transition to renewable energy and a sharp reduction in emissions are not only implemented but accelerated.

“This is a mission that should not be left only to climate change negotiators. Caribbean leaders and diplomats, the private sector and civil society must also be vocal on the international scene and at home,” Renard told IPS.

“The global response to climate change must not be reduced to a mechanical concept. It needs to be accompanied by a renewed approach to economic development and by a change in mentality, so that it is included in the broader context of people’s livelihoods, social values and development priorities.”

The Panos official said artists, civil society leaders and other actors in the Caribbean should emphasise the need to challenge the dominant approaches to development and to help shape new relationships between people, businesses, institutions and the natural world.

Meanwhile, the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) said community-based and ecosystem-based approaches are critical to build resilience to climate change, especially in Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

“Investing in conserving, sustainably managing and restoring ecosystems,” CANARI states, “provides multiple benefits in terms of building ecological, economic and social resilience, as well as mitigation co-benefits through carbon sequestration by forests and mangroves.”

Renard said as evidenced all over the Caribbean in recent years, it is the poorest, marginalised and most vulnerable who are the most affected by climate change.

These include small farmers suffering from severe drought, households without insurance unable to recover from devastating hurricanes, and people living with disabilities unable to cope with the impacts of disasters.

“Climate change exacerbates inequalities, and adaptation measures must provide the necessary buffers and support to poor and vulnerable groups,” Renard told IPS.

“All sectorial, national and international legal and policy frameworks must recognise the benefits that can be gained from participation and partnerships, including the empowerment of communities, businesses, trade unions and civil society organisations to enable them to play a direct role in the identification and implementation of solutions, particularly in reference to adaptation.”

Yves Renard, interim coordinator of Panos Caribbean, says artists, civil society leaders and other actors in the Caribbean should emphasise the need to challenge the dominant approaches to development and to help shape new relationships between people, businesses, institutions and the natural world. Credit: Desmond Brown/IPS

Additionally, he said the architecture and operations of climate finance institutions must be improved to facilitate direct access by national and regional actors; and to consider the financing of adaptation actions on the basis of full cost, especially in small countries where there is limited potential to secure co-financing.

He said that climate finance institutions also needed to facilitate civil society and private sector involvement in project design and execution; and, increase SIDS representation in the governance of financing institutions.

Renard said that in light of the critical importance of decentralised and community-based approaches to adaptation and resilience building, financing institutions and mechanisms should design and implement facilities that make technical assistance and financing available to local actors, as is being done, with significant success, by the Small Grants Programme of the Global Environment Facility.

He said that even in some of the poorest countries in the region, local actors have been taking the initiative in responding to the impacts of climate change.

“For the Caribbean, a regional coalition of civil society actors is necessary so as to build solidarity, and to share experiences and expertise on climate action in local contexts. These civil society networks must reinforce and build on actions taken by regional governments, and more international support is required for this work to be undertaken,” he said.

“Increased resources and capacities in communications and advocacy are required in order to disseminate the scientific evidence on climate change, to deepen understanding within the region on climate change and its impacts, and to push for more ambitious action on climate change at the global level.”

In addressing the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly debate, Grenada’s foreign affairs minister Peter David called on other Caribbean nations and SIDS to serve as “test cases” for nationwide implementation of climate-related technologies and advances.

David said the Caribbean also represents some of the most globally compelling business cases for sustainable renewable energy investment.

“Being climate smart goes beyond policies,” he said. “It goes beyond resilient housing, resilient infrastructure and resilient agriculture. It means that the region can also serve as a global beacon for renewable energy and energy efficiency.”

“We aim to not only be resilient, but with our region’s tremendous potential in hydro-electricity and geothermal energy, we could also be climate smart.”

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Boiling Point: The World’s Biggest Jump in Greenhouse Gas Emissionshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/boiling-point-worlds-biggest-jump-greenhouse-gas-emissions/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=boiling-point-worlds-biggest-jump-greenhouse-gas-emissions http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/boiling-point-worlds-biggest-jump-greenhouse-gas-emissions/#respond Thu, 04 Oct 2018 12:23:53 +0000 Amit Prakash http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157982 Amit Prakash is a Singapore-based journalist and founder of FINAL WORD, a content and communications consultancy.

The post Boiling Point: The World’s Biggest Jump in Greenhouse Gas Emissions appeared first on Inter Press Service.

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Amit Prakash is a Singapore-based journalist and founder of FINAL WORD, a content and communications consultancy.

By Amit Prakash
SINGAPORE, Oct 4 2018 (IPS)

The Blue Dragon, a small riverfront eatery in Hoi An, Vietnam, serves morsels of local trivia to tourists along with $2 plates of crisp spring rolls and succulent noodles.

On its damp-stained walls, the Blue Dragon’s owner, Nam, marks the level of annual floods that submerge this popular UNESCO World Heritage town renowned for its bright-yellow-painted buildings.

Last November, days before presidents and prime ministers arrived in nearby Da Nang for a meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, the water level at the Blue Dragon rose to 1.6 meters (5.25 feet) when typhoon-driven rains lashed the city. Patrons scurried to safety as pots and pans floated by.

“Every time we get big rains or typhoons, it floods and everything shuts down for three to four days,” says Nam, 65, who goes by one name. “Last year people had to escape in boats because the water was too high.”

Typhoons and floods are becoming more intense and frequent as Vietnam and the rest of Southeast Asia bear the brunt of climate change. Long coastlines and heavily populated low-lying areas make the region of more than 640 million people one of the world’s most vulnerable to weather extremes and rising sea levels associated with global warming. Governments are under pressure to act quickly or risk giving up improvements in living standards achieved through decades of export-driven growth.

Southeast Asia faces a dual challenge. It not only must adapt to climate change caused largely by greenhouse gases emitted over decades by advanced economies—and more recently by developing economies such as China and India—it also must alter development strategies that are increasingly contributing to global warming.

The region’s growing reliance on coal and oil, along with deforestation, are undermining national pledges to curb emissions and embrace cleaner energy sources.

Average temperatures in Southeast Asia have risen every decade since 1960. Vietnam, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Thailand are among 10 countries in the world most affected by climate change in the past 20 years, according to the Global Climate Risk Index (pdf) compiled by Germanwatch, an environmental group. The World Bank counts Vietnam among five countries most likely to be affected by global warming in the future. The economic impact could be devastating.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) estimates Southeast Asia could suffer bigger losses than most regions in the world. Unchecked, climate change could shave 11 percent off the region’s GDP by the end of the century as it takes a toll on key sectors such as agriculture, tourism, and fishing—along with human health and labor productivity—the ADB estimated in a 2015 report (pdf). That’s far more than its 2009 estimate of a 6.7 percent reduction.

The region could shift to a “new climate regime” by the end of the century, when the coolest summer months would be warmer than the hottest summer months in the period from 1951 to 1980, says a 2017 study (pdf) by the ADB and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

In the absence of technical breakthroughs, rice yields in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam could drop by as much as 50 percent by 2100 from 1990 levels. Hotter weather is also pushing tropical diseases such as malaria and dengue fever northward to countries like Lao P.D.R., where they were formerly less prevalent.

While the region’s greenhouse gas emissions have been low relative to those of advanced economies in per capita terms, that is starting to change, largely because of its increasing reliance on coal and other fossil fuels. Between 1990 and 2010, emissions of carbon dioxide increased faster in Southeast Asia than anywhere else.

Energy mix

Energy demand will grow as much as 66 percent by 2040, predicts (pdf) the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA). Coal alone will account for almost 40 percent of the increase as it overtakes cleaner-burning natural gas in the energy mix.

That poses a risk to the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal of limiting the average global temperature gain to 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. All 10 countries that make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed the Paris Agreement.

“At the present rate, Southeast Asia, coupled with India and China, could wipe out gains from energy efficiency and emissions reductions elsewhere in the world,” says Srinivasan Ancha, the ADB’s principal climate change specialist.

Demand for coal is partly driven by the fuel’s relative abundance and its low cost compared with oil, gas, and renewable energy. Coal-fired power plants are also easier to finance than renewable energy projects. Indonesia is the world’s fifth-largest coal producer and its second-largest net exporter, while Malaysia and Thailand are the eighth- and ninth-largest net importers, IEA data (pdf) show.

Reliance on coal is projected to grow: Vietnam’s coal-power capacity under active development is the third largest in the world after China’s and India’s, according to a March 2018 report (pdf) by environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and Greenpeace. Indonesia and the Philippines rank fifth and tenth, respectively.

Deforestation is another major source of greenhouse gases. In Indonesia and Malaysia, home to the world’s largest forestlands, trees are cut down to make way for farms to feed growing populations and for the production of pulp and paper and palm oil, which are big sources of export revenue. Deforestation accounts for almost half of Indonesia’s emissions—more than fossil fuels, though these are fast catching up.

Clearing forests in peatlands and peat swamps poses additional problems. Draining peat swamps releases thousands of tons of carbon dioxide trapped in each hectare of soil. The problem is compounded when farmers burn the dry peat, releasing the gas more quickly.

Smoke from such fires has repeatedly choked neighboring Singapore and Malaysia since 1997; emissions from the most recent incident in 2015 exceeded those of the entire European Union, according to Reuters.

Rapid economic growth and urbanization are contributing to climate change while also magnifying its impact. Migrants from rural areas flock to cities, which emit more heat. New construction in floodplains blocks waterways, leaving cities more vulnerable to floods. And the more cities grow, the greater the damage from increasingly frequent floods and storms.

“You have to unravel the impact of climate change, which is certainly there, and economic development and population growth,” says Marcel Marchand, a Hanoi-based expert in flood risk management. “The impact of a flood or storm is now generally more than in the past. That is not only because there are more hazards, or because hazards are more severe, but also because there are more people, and cities are becoming bigger.”

Marchand is advising on a $70 million internationally funded project that will provide more timely warning of floods to the residents of Hoi An. He attributes flooding, in part, to the construction of reservoirs in catchment areas upstream, which has changed river flows. The reservoirs become overwhelmed by extreme rainfall events, and excess water released downstream floods Hoi An and nearby Da Nang.

Both cities are growing fast as a tourism boom attracts migrants seeking work. A decade ago, Da Nang, Vietnam’s fourth-largest city, had just one luxury resort. Now it boasts almost 90 four- and five-star hotels, many of them dotting the 30-kilometer coastal road to Hoi An. The flow of workers is swelling Da Nang’s population, which is forecast to surge to 1.65 million by 2020 from 1 million today, according to World Bank estimates.

While tourism creates jobs, related infrastructure development also indirectly contributes to coastal erosion that makes the area more vulnerable to storm surges and rising sea levels. The shoreline along Hoi An’s popular Cua Dai Beach receded by 150 meters in the years from 2004 to 2012, according to a report prepared by the Quang Nam provincial People’s Committee. Floodwalls and sandbags have become eyesores for vacationers.

“In the last two decades the rainfall pattern has changed and increased significantly,” says Phong Tran, a technical expert at the Institute for Social and Environmental Transition-International (ISET-International), which works with several Vietnamese cities to develop climate resilience.

Phong worries that rising sea levels, along with prolonged dry spells, will cause salinity intrusion and hurt agriculture in the fertile Mekong Delta, one of the world’s most densely populated areas. The delta is Vietnam’s food bowl, producing more than half of its rice and other staples and over 60 percent of its shrimp, according to the Manila-based ADB.

Some 70 percent of Vietnam’s population lives along its 3,200-kilometer coastline and in the low-lying delta. Other Southeast Asian nations are similarly vulnerable.

Indonesia has one of the world’s longest coastlines at 54,700 kilometers. In the Philippines, which has 36,300 kilometers of coastline, 20 typhoons on average make landfall yearly, with increasing destructiveness. Cambodia, Lao P.D.R., and Thailand are also affected by storms and excessive rain, as well as by heat extremes that take a toll on agriculture and human health.

Southeast Asian governments, acutely aware of the magnitude of the threat, have pledged to reduce emissions. They also recognize the need to move toward low-carbon developmental strategies. ASEAN leaders approved a plan that targets a 23 percent share of renewables in the region’s energy mix by 2025, up from 10 percent in 2015. The need to curb deforestation also figures prominently in national and regional policy agendas.

Yet, promised emission cuts are partly or wholly conditional on international funding. Indonesia has pledged to reduce emissions by 29 percent by 2030 and said it could increase that to 41 percent with outside support. Vietnam’s analogous targets are 8 percent and 25 percent.

The Philippines has made only a conditional pledge, of a 70 percent reduction. Even these conditional pledges will result in higher global warming than envisaged under the Paris Agreement, highlighting the need for more ambitious goals.

While the region has seen increases in renewable energy sources, particularly solar and wind, their limited generation capacity means countries remain reliant on fossil fuels. Consumption of all types of fuels is rising as governments strive to provide universal access to electricity and petroleum-based fuels for cooking and transport. The IEA estimates that 65 million Southeast Asians lack electricity and 250 million use biomass, such as firewood and animal manure, for cooking fuel.

National goals for reducing fossil fuel use often conflict with policies to subsidize the cost of petroleum products and electricity for the benefit of the poorest sections of society.

Such subsidies not only boost fuel demand and render cleaner-burning fuels and renewable energy less competitive, they are also estimated to cost governments more than what it would take to meet the region’s Paris Agreement goals, according to the ADB-Potsdam Institute study.

Given the political and practical difficulties of cutting subsidies and encouraging the adoption of low-carbon technology, preventing deforestation may be the most effective way to cut emissions. Indonesia and Malaysia stand to earn billions of dollars in carbon credits; preserving forests would also cost less than radically cutting fossil fuel emissions and buying carbon credits.

According to analysts at the World Resources Institute, just enforcing Indonesia’s 2011 moratorium, which prohibits clearing certain primary forests and peatlands, could eliminate 188 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year, or about 60 percent of France’s total output in 2016. Increasing agricultural productivity could eliminate the need to clear forests, the institute said in a 2017 working paper.

The IEA sees the emergence of affordable low- carbon technologies as a path toward greater energy efficiency as declining costs of solar and wind energy boost investment in local manufacturing. Malaysia and Thailand, for example, are fast becoming global players in the manufacture of solar panels, with the help of Chinese investors seeking to circumvent antidumping duties imposed by the European Union and the United States.

Both countries may need to seek new markets after the United States this year announced plans for new tariffs on solar-panel imports as part of its crackdown on alleged unfair trade practices by Chinese companies. But with a significant increase in investment in renewable energy generation witnessed in Southeast Asia since the start of this century, the region is potentially a huge market for such products.

Even so, incentives such as tax breaks, duty-free imports, and preferential loans, along with easier access to financing, will be needed to increase investment in renewables and encourage adoption of more energy-efficient technologies.

“Policies and recommendations alone are not enough,” says Phong, from ISET-International in Vietnam. “Businesses need incentives to embrace renewable energy or environmentally friendly technologies, as well as for encouraging reforestation.”

*The article first appeared in Finance & Development published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The link follows:

https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2018/09/southeast-asia-climate-change-and-greenhouse-gas-emissions-prakash.htm?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

The post Boiling Point: The World’s Biggest Jump in Greenhouse Gas Emissions appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Excerpt:

Amit Prakash is a Singapore-based journalist and founder of FINAL WORD, a content and communications consultancy.

The post Boiling Point: The World’s Biggest Jump in Greenhouse Gas Emissions appeared first on Inter Press Service.

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