2019-10 29
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Ghanaian president urges African countries to fight climate change vigorously



Ghanaian President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo urged African countries here on Thursday to strengthen the fight against climate change and rescue the African continent from effects of carbon emissions. Opening the ongoing three-day second Africa Climate Chance Summit, Akufo-Addo added that determined actions were necessary as climate change posed the greatest threat to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). "We, in Africa, suffer the most because our weak economies are most susceptible to the effects of climate change, and our capacity to withstand its damage is low," he said. "We need to take practical and proactive steps to curb human activities that are endangering our planet," Akufo-Addo added. The summit brought together leaders of African cities to discuss and formulate strategies for contributing to international climate change adaptation and mitigation programs. The need to reduce carbon emission in African cities, the president said, is to make the current generation part of efforts to provide a better future for their children and subsequent generations.   Source:Xinhua Date:Oct 29,2019

2019-10 17
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Burgenland Declaration Champions Action for Climate Empowerment



Pamhagen, Austria, 17 October 2019 – A gathering of climate influencers, including representatives of national, regional and local governments, diplomats, youth, NGOs and CEOs from the public and private sector has declared their commitment to broad-based, informed engagement to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. Under the Paris Agreement, countries spelled out, in an entire Article and a supporting decision, the need for Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) – education, training, public awareness, public participation, public access to information and international and regional cooperation. With these in place, “now is the time for action,” said Astrid Eisenkopf, Minister of the Regional Government of Burgenland, in introducing the Burgenland Declaration on ACE, “for the sake of protecting Earth’s climate for present and future generations.” Countries have been slow to respond to their commitments under ACE, with most yet to name an ACE focal point or draw up an ACE strategy as pledged. “We have seen a global movement of citizens and youth demanding climate action. We must respond to this call for action with meaningful, fact-based and goal-oriented engagement,” said Talieh Wögerbauer, a climate negotiator with Austria’s Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism and Action for Climate Empowerment Ambassador. “It is heartening to see the increased awareness and the strenuous calls for action. [However] we cannot leave this responsibility on the shoulders of the young,” said Ms. Wögerbauer, organizer of the Burgenland symposium, who spoke at the symposium’s high-level event about the “fundamental importance of multilateralism”, the private sector as a climate ally, and the responsibility of adults. “It is not on our children to save the world. All of us have to take Climate Action, and a positive dialogue amongst generations is essential and absolutely needed.” ACE Ambassador Wögerbauer will seek support for ACE at all levels and will carry the Burgenland Declaration to the United Nations Climate Conference (COP25) in Chile in December, and to Scotland for COP26. “The Burgenland Declaration is the kick-off of a global initiative for catalyzing wider engagement in, and support to, the implementation of Article 12 of the Paris Agreement and the ACE Agenda,” she said. Participants at ACE symposium in Burgenland Austria Participants of the Action for Climate Empowerment Symposium The ACE agenda with its six key elements started in 1992 under Article 6 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and adopted as Article 12 of the Paris Climate Change Agreement in 2015, and operationalized in a decision at COP 24 in Katowice, Poland, in 2018. “Empowering people is crucial for the successful implementation of the Paris Agreement,” said Martin Frick, Senior Director, UN Climate Change, about the necessity of educating the public on climate change. “We need international cooperation, vertical integration that brings the climate agenda to the countries, regions, cities, communities and citizens, as well as mobilizing funding and bringing together all stakeholders to support and enhance the implementation of ACE,” he said. A representative of the upcoming COP25 in Chile, Johanna Arriagada, said her country “is committed to moving the ACE agenda forward” with two days dedicated to showcase education and youth climate action. She reported that Chile will host an ACE workshop for Latin American countries, and in 2020 Chile will develop its ACE national strategy. At COP 25 Parties are expected to adopt terms of reference for the review of the Doha work programme on Article 6 of the Convention, with the objective of taking stock of ACE implementation and identifying further actions for ACE, to be adopted at COP26 in Glasgow. The representative of the Embassy of Italy in Austria, Giuseppe Abignente, announced in Pamhagen that Italy will host a youth event in the run-up to COP26 “to stress the importance of youth and ACE priority areas." To build bridges from talking to action and implement effectively the principles contained in Article 12 of the Paris Agreement, Italy is vigorously supporting climate change and environmental education at national level and is fully committed to support ACE within the UNFCCC process,” said Mr. Abignente. The High-level Event mobilized global decision-makers who committed to climate action in their areas of influence by signing the Burgenland Declaration on Action for Climate Empowerment. Signatories to the Burgenland Declaration declared their determination and commitment to make Action for Climate Empowerment “fundamental in the planning and actions of our government, organization, agency, company or personal or public enterprise, and to support and encourage others to do the same, for the sake of protecting Earth’s climate for present and future generations.” At COP 25 in Chile, the Burgenland Declaration will be presented at the High-level event on ACE to engage further supporters. The ACE symposium in Pamhagen brought together ACE national focal points, representatives from governments, the private sector, local and regional authorities, youth who discussed how to catalyse wider engagement in, and support to, implementation of the ACE agenda. Among other things, the event highlighted the need to mobilize funding at the local, national and international levels to support the ACE agenda. The Symposium and High-level Event was organized by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism, in cooperation with the UN Climate Change secretariat and in collaboration with the state of Burgenland and the Austrian-German Friendship Association. The goal of the Paris Agreement is to limit global average temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius and strive for a safer 1.5-degree target. Last December, at COP24 in Katowice, Poland, countries adopted a near-complete package of decisions to implement the agreement, the first of which was a decision on ACE. Source:UNFCCC NEWS Date: 17 OCT, 2019

2019-10 15
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Rural Women a ‘Powerful Force’ for Global Climate Action: UN Chief



UN Climate Change News, 15 October 2019 – In a message to mark the International Day of Rural Women, observed annually on 15 October, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that “listening to rural women and amplifying their voices is central to spreading knowledge about climate change and encouraging governments, businesses and community leaders to act.” The theme for this year’s celebration is “Rural Women and Girls Building Climate Resistance.”  “As early adopters of new agricultural techniques, first responders in crises and entrepreneurs of green energy, rural women are a powerful force that can drive global progress,” Mr. Guterres said. Globally, one in three women works in agriculture, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO). It is a sector that gets hit hard when climate-related disasters strike, such as droughts and heat waves. While women cultivate land, collect food, water and essential fuels, and sustain entire households, the UN chief pointed out that they lack equal access to land, finances, equipment, markets and the power to make decisions. But with international support, rural women around the world are making a difference and taking concrete climate action. See some inspiring stories below. In 2013, the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED), launched a breakthrough initiative to train young women from poor, marginalized farming communities across sub-Saharan Africa. Through this training, they become Agriculture Guides – champions of sustainable agriculture. This initiative was one of the winners of the 2019 UN Global Climate Action Awards. These young women have improved the productivity, sustainability and profitability of their own smallholdings as well as encouraged wide adoption of practical, affordable and locally-relevant climate-smart techniques. This includes inter-cropping and drip irrigation using waste plastic bottles and technologies that value Indigenous traditions. Read more here. Women in the Bolivian Amazon are protecting the forest and empowering themselves While parts of the Amazon have been severely impacted by fires, notably in Brazil and eastern Bolivia, communities in northern Bolivia are protecting their forests through a series of economic empowerment projects.  A project in the Buen Retiro community in the northern Bolivian Amazon involves 24 women and men who process açaí, majo, and cupuaçu—wild fruits from the Amazon jungle. “Thanks to the project we’ve improved our knowledge, our economy, and with that, our lives and that of our children.” explains Justiniano, President of the Agricultural Association of Amazonian Producers of Majo and Asaí of Riberalta. Read more here. Climate-friendly biogas becomes ‘fashionable’ in rural Tanzania Ngorongoro, a remote district in Arusha that has suffered severe droughts, is a testament to how rural communities are bearing the brunt of a changing climate that is ravaging many parts of East Africa. In face of these challenges, the Energize project spearheaded by the Pastoral Women’s Council in partnership with UN Women and UNESCO is building new skills for out-of-school pastoralist adolescent girls and young women on biogas and solar energy products, as well as on how to run sustainable businesses. Read more here. See more on how UN Women is celebrating  the International Day of Rural Women. Source: UNFCCC NEWS Date: 15 OCT, 2019

2019-10 08
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London joins Google’s new carbon emissions tracking site



The City of London is one of the latest cites to be included in Google’s new Environmental Insights Explorer site. The site allows the city and residents to access data on London’s greenhouse gas emissions with the goal of helping communities reduce their carbon footprint. Manager of Community Energy Initiatives for London, Jamie Skimming, said the timing of the collaboration was great because it coincided with London updating its Community Energy Action Plan. “By using Environmental Insights Explorer to compare the greenhouse gas emission estimates to the city’s own emissions calculations, city staff can be more confident in making data-informed decisions aligned to our Community Energy Action Plan, London’s plan to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and resulting emissions,” said Skimming. Today, Google is expanding its Environmental Insights Explorer to #LdnOnt, along with a number of additional cities across Canada, helping cities access data, measure their greenhouse gas emissions, and take action towards reducing their carbon footprint. https://t.co/1luopQqPMg — Ed Holder (@ldnontmayor) October 8, 2019 https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js The online tool was created in 2018, in collaboration between Google and the Global Covenant of Mayors. The project launched in Victoria, B.C., and now includes data for six cities in Canada and a total of 35 cities worldwide. Skimming said London used its own emission estimates over the last 15 years to help Google fine-tune its information. READ MORE: Sparks fly over climate change, environment in federal leaders’ debate According to the data, London produces approximate 2.7-million tons of carbon per year with 96.25 per cent of transportation emission coming from vehicle transit. Skimming said this shows why projects like the Bus Rapid Transit Plan and cycling infrastructure are important investments for the city. The Environmental Insights Explorer is based on Google’s own data sources, combining information from its 3D models of buildings and information collected from travel using Google Maps. “All of us carry phones around in our pockets,” said local tech expert Carmi Levy. “Those phones are tracking our activity all the time, whether we are driving, taking the bus, your bike, or telling our smart speakers to turn on our lights, all of that information goes somewhere.” READ MORE: London city councillors declare climate emergency This project is radically different from other information on carbon emissions, he added, because it’s not a big data collection effort that costs a lot of money. It’s being collected from everyone at every single moment, and being made available to the public for free. The tool will give Londoners an insight into their carbon emissions, and with the Rooftop Solar Potential section, people can see the feasibility of adding solar panels in a particular area or house. The data shows in London there is the potential to reduce emissions by 295,000 carbon tones a year by adding rooftop solar panels in specific areas. This is the equivalent to taking 62,300 cars off the road each year and growing over seven million trees. “You can almost see how individual investments in earth friendlier behaviors can drive London’s numbers in the right direction, and make us a more environmentally friendly city,” said Levy. “London has already declared a climate emergency, tools like this let us actually do something about it.” Source: GLOBAL NEWS Author: SAWYER BOGDAN  Date: October 8, 2019

2019-09 30
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Net-Zero Carbon Dioxide Emissions By 2050 Requires A New Nuclear Power Plant Every Day



More than a decade ago, Gwyn Prins and Steve Rayner characterized climate policy as an “auction of promises” in which politicians “vied to outbid each other with proposed emissions targets that were simply not achievable.” For instance, among Democrats competing for the presidency in 2020, several, including Joe Biden, have committed to achieving net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. Candidate Andrew Yang bid 2049, and Cory Booker topped that by offering 2045. Bernie Sanders has offered a 71% reduction by 2030. One reason that we see this “auction of promises” is that the targets and timetables for emissions reductions are easy to state but difficult to comprehend. Here I’ll present what net-zero carbon dioxide emissions for 2050 actually means in terms of the rate of deployment of carbon-free energy and the coincident decommissioning of fossil fuel infrastructure. To conduct this analysis I use the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, which presents data on global and national fossil fuel consumption in units called “million tons of oil equivalent” or mtoe. In 2018 the world consumed 11,743 mtoe in the form of coal, natural gas and petroleum. The combustion of these fossil fuels resulted in 33.7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. In order for those emissions to reach net-zero, we will have to replace about 12,000 mtoe of energy consumption expected for 2019. (I ignore so-called negative emissions technologies, which do not presently exist at scale.) Another useful number to know is that there are 11,051 days left until January 1, 2050. To achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions globally by 2050 thus requires the deployment of >1 mtoe of carbon-free energy consumption (~12,000 mtoe/11,051 days) every day, starting tomorrow and continuing for the next 30+ years. Achieving net-zero also requires the corresponding equivalent decommissioning of more than 1 mtoe of energy consumption from fossil fuels every single day. Another important number to consider is the expected increase in energy consumption in coming decades. The International Energy Agency currently projects that global energy consumption will increase by about 1.25% per year to 2040. That rate of increase in energy consumption would mean that the world will require another ~5,800 mtoe of energy consumption by 2050, or about another 0.5 of an mtoe per day to 2050. That brings the total needed deployment level to achieve net-zero emissions to about 1.6 mtoe per day to 2050. The concept of an mtoe is pretty hard for anyone to get their head around. So let’s put the mtoe into a more comprehensible unit, a nuclear power plant and specifically the Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station in Homestead, Florida. The amount of energy reflected in 1 mtoe is approximated by that produced by the Turkey Point nuclear plant over a year. So the math here is simple: to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, the world would need to deploy 3 Turkey Point nuclear plants worth of carbon-free energy every two days, starting tomorrow and continuing to 2050. At the same time, a Turkey Point nuclear plant worth of fossil fuels would need to be decommissioned every day, starting tomorrow and continuing to 2050. I’ve found that some people don’t like the use of a nuclear power plant as a measuring stick. So we can substitute wind energy as a measuring stick. Net-zero carbon dioxide by 2050 would require the deployment of ~1500 wind turbines (2.5 MW) over ~300 square miles, every day starting tomorrow and continuing to 2050. The figure below illustrates the challenge. Of course, in this analysis I am just looking at scale, and ignoring the significant complexities of actually deploying these technologies. I am also ignoring the fact that fossil fuels are the basis for many products central to the functioning of the global economy, and eliminating them is not nearly as simply as unplugging one energy source and plugging in another. We can also perform this same analysis for the United States, which according to BP consumed more than 1,900 mtoe of fossil fuels in 2018. To reach net-zero by 2050, the US would need to deploy one new nuclear power plant worth of carbon-free energy about every 6 days, starting this week, and continuing until 2050. This does not include possible increases in future energy consumption. What about net-zero by 2030, 3,746 days from today? Globally, such a target would imply, starting tomorrow, the deployment of >4 nuclear power plants per day, and for the United States, the deployment of a new nuclear plant about every other day. There are of course some important, if technical details that might alter these round numbers, such as assumptions about capacity of energy generating technologies, gains in efficiencies in energy consumption between primary and final energy and assumptions about the overall energy intensity of the economy. So I encourage everyone to do the math themselves, and crucially, to ask politicians and policy advocates to present their numbers for the rate of deployment of carbon-free energy and the rate of decommissioning of current fossil fuel infrastructure. We don’t often see these numbers for obvious reasons. The scale – no matter what assumptions one begins with – is absolutely, mind-bogglingly huge. The world continues to move away from net-zero carbon dioxide emissions. In 2018 the world added more than 280 mtoe of fossil fuel consumption and about 106 of carbon-free consumption, according to BP. To move in the direction of net-zero, all of those additions (about 400 mtoe) would need to be carbon-free, while replacing and retiring about another 400 mtoe of exiting fossil fuel consumption. In a round number, the deployment rate of carbon-free energy would need to increase by about 800%. Make no mistake, these numbers are sobering. They indicate in readily-understandable terms that the world, and the United States, are not moving towards net-zero carbon dioxide emissions and in fact, every day, we are moving in the opposite direction. Auctions of promises for emissions reductions don’t actually reduce emissions. Technology reduces emissions. Can we hit net-zero by 2050? The scale of the challenge is huge, but that does not make achieving the goal impossible. What makes achieving the goal impossible is a failure to accurately understand the scale of the challenge and the absence of policy proposals that match that scale. When you see an “auction of promises” in climate policy for emissions reductions, ask instead for rates of deployment of carbon-free energy technologies and rates of decommissioning of existing fossil fuel infrastructure. Then do the math, and see if it adds up. Source: FORBES Author: Roger Pielke Date:Sep 30, 2019