September 2008

Climate change news

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UN: Slashing fossil fuel subsidies could help in reducing gas emissions
A recent report by the UN Environment Program (UNEP) says reducing subsidies on fossils fuels can play an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The report  argues that many of these subsidies benefit wealthier sections of society and divert national funds from policies to help the poor.

UNEP launched the report titled 'Reforming Energy Subsidies: Oppor-tunities to Contribute to the Climate Change Agenda' on 26 August 2008 in Accra, Ghana, during the latest round of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) global climate change negotiations. The report says globally around 300 billion U.S. dollars, or 0.7 percent of global GDP is spent on energy subsidies annually. The report states that most of these funds are used to reduce the real prices of fuel, coal, gas and electricity generated by fossil fuels.

According to the report, Russia is providing the largest subsidy, around $40 billion annually to reduce the price of natural gas, followed by Iran, which spends $37 billion, and then China, Saudi Arabia, India, Indonesia, Ukraine and Egypt. After launching the report, UNEP also announced a mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol, which allows industrialised countries to invest in cleaner energy projects in developing countries. The mechanism is helping the developing economies like China, Brazil and India. Six countries; the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Mali and Senegal have started their own Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) initiatives over the past 18 months.

Film contest by World Bank to highlight climate change
The World Bank has launched a world-wide competition to highlight the social aspect of climate change. The contest is open for all who wishes to raise their voice to showcase the impact of climate change in social life.

The submitted film should showcase the consequences of climate change through one of  following theme categories; conflict, migration, the urban space, rural institutions, drylands, social policy, indigenous peoples, gender, governance, forests, and/or human rights. To judge the winners, a combination of public voting system and a jury will be used. The film which receives the highest number of public voting will be announced in honorable mention category. The award winners will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Washington DC for a screening of their film and an opportunity to attend a series of networking and learning events organised by the Social Development Department of the World Bank in December, 2008.

UNFCCC highlights climate change issues in Accra talks

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) stated that important progress on a number of key issues related to climate change has been made at the UN-sponsored climate change conference held in Accra, Ghana.

While highlighting the discussion points of the conference, Chief of UNFCC, Yvo de Boer stated that there was an encouraging and important debate on the important topic of deforestation and forest degradation, which was crucial since emissions from deforestation accounts for about 20 per cent of the greenhouse gas emissions. A working group also discussed ways to improve the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) that allows industrialised countries to offset some of their own emissions by investing in cleaner energy projects in developing countries. The meeting also discussed sectoral approaches, through which the countries can address emissions from a whole sector of their economy. Around 1600 participants, including government delegates from 160 countries and representatives from environmental organisation, business, industry and research institutions, attended the meeting.

KPMG and CII releases a joint report on climate change

A new report, released by KPMG and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), attempts to gauge what Indian companies can do to fight against climate change. The report, 'Climate Change: The impact and opportunities for Indian industry' was published on 27 August 2008 jointly by KPMG and CII.

While releasing the report, Executive Director of KPMG, Arvind Mahajan, said, “The Indian companies should take proactive measures to ensure adequate risk appraisal and management as well as leverage opportunities arising out of climate change. They need to do proper due diligence for Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects to assess the quantum of carbon credits expected to be generated.”  Indian businesses also need to consider tax and regulatory issues and devise strategies to ensure that they can maximize the benefit  from the CDM process. The report suggests need to develop a structured approach consisting of the following components:

  • Measurement of the carbon footprint of the business
  • Projecting the likely carbon footprint if the business continues to grow under the 'Business As Usual' scenario
  • Analysis of the risk of climate change issues to the sector and the business
  • Identification of opportunities within the business, and beyond (CDM projects, clean technologies, renewables, etc) to maintain growth, but with a different approach
  • Preparation of time bound action plan for reducing the carbon footprint compared to the projected carbon footprint
  • Institutionalize the action plan in business processes
  • Institutionalize a measurement and verification system to monitor progress against the plan
  • Periodically report progress to stakeholders 

Toyota joins UNEP's initiative CN Net to cut greenhouse gas emissions

The European branch of the world's largest car maker, Toyota, has joined an initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), called Climate Neutral Network (CN Net). The CN Net initiative brings together organisations that pledge to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. CN Net is a web based network which includes government resources, local authorities, private companies and others to reduce their carbon footprints or even neutralise them. Apart from Toyota, other five companies which joined the CN Net are; the Carbon Association of Australasia (Australia), CO2focus (Norway), EcoSecurities (UK), Green Cabs (New Zealand), and Wairau River Wines (New Zealand). Under this initiative, Toyota Motor Europe will share ideas and their best experiences with the rest of the growing CN Net community. Toyota, which has sold more than 1.5 million hybrid cars worldwide is the first car manufacturer to join CN Net.

UN to help Pacific Island countries to fight climate change

The United Nations and Samoa are planning to establish an Inter-Agency Climate Change Centre to help Pacific island countries to combat the impact of global warming in their region. Speaking at the 39th Pacific Islands Forum, held between 19th-21st August 2008, Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon stated that 'Climate Change is not science fiction'.

The new agency will provide its support in the mitigation, adaptation and reduction of the risk of disaster facing the Pacific Islands. Many Pacific Island countries are already experiencing a rise in sea level as a consequence of climate change. An FAO report, published in July, shows that climate change is already affecting the world's oceans, citing the effect on the growth, reproduction and disease among fishes. According to the report, fishing industries around the world are most vulnerable. The industry employs around 42 million people globally and most of them are from developing countries.

World Bank: Developing countries need 170 billion dollars to adapt to the impact of  climate change

The World Bank announced in the Accra Climate Change Talks that a total of 170 billion dollars is required between now and 2030, so that developing countries  mitigate and adapt to the impact of
climate change.

While speaking on the sidelines of the Accra Climate Change Talks, Fund Manager of World Bank,  Eduardo Dopazo said that the private sector is expected to account for 80 percent of the sum, which is required for the following factors:

  • Developing countries will require 85 billion dollars to provide electricity, which will cover 100 percent of their citizens by 2030.
  • Another 35 billion dollars per year is required to ensure that the electricity is generated by utilizing green energy technologies.

The Global Environment Facility has funded projects worth more than 378 million dollars in the last 17 years under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The total value of projects funded worldwide under CDM is more than 2.4 billion dollars. Around 27 projects are located in Africa with India and China accounting for the bulk of projects under the CDM.

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