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Climate change

Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

February 2019
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EDITO
Monday, 18 February 2019

Ségolène Royal, the environment minister and former presidential candidate, said developing countries are “waiting to see” what rich nations will offer them in global warming talks. In her view, climate change was not merely a question of economics, but “a matter of civilization.” Royal explained, “Developing countries are not hostile [to an agreement]; I would say that they are positive, but they are waiting to see. We have to meet their expectations.” In contrast, she added, “the financial sector has been extremely predatory on natural resources for a long time.” Currently, more than 30 countries, including the EU and the US, have submitted emissions plans to the UN. Developed countries are expected to make absolute cuts in their emissions, by 2025 or 2030, as agreed at the landmark Copenhagen climate conference in 2009. Poorer countries are required only to curb the future growth of their emissions.

Monday, 01 June 2015

The 9th edition of European Development Days 2015 (EDD2015) will take place from 3-4th June at Tour & Taxi, Brussels. The panel addresses the impact of cyclone Pam which hit the Pacific in March 2015, with winds gusting to around 300 km per hour and seas surging onto the islands, specifically in Vanuatu, destroying crops, uprooting trees and flattening infrastructure. It takes into consideration the number of shared issues between the African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States' small island developing states (SIDS) including their geographical isolation, their limited size (and thus minor agricultural sectors and reduced domestic markets), and their vulnerability to climate hazards and climate change. Speakers include Michael Hailu, CTA’s Director, Dominique Burgeon, Director of FAO's Emergency and Rehabilitation Division, Jethro Green, Executive Secretary of the Caribbean Farmer's Network, Len Ishamel, Ambassador of the Eastern Caribbean States and Mission to the European Union, Roy Mickey Joy, Ambassador of Vanuatu to the European Union.

Caribbean leaders are hoping that France can demonstrate its commitment to assisting their adaptation efforts by re-joining the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves raised the issue of France’s CDB membership with French President Francois Hollande during his visit to the French Caribbean island of Martinique. Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis Dr. Timothy Harris, who is chair of the CDB’s Board of Governors, the bank’s highest policy making body said that building resilience to climate change and natural disasters remains among the issues that “need critical attention in the context of reshaping a credible agenda for Caribbean development (…) I think it will enhance France’s own involvement in the region but beyond the region as a major country interested in bringing justice to small island developing states, many of which are found in the Caribbean region.”

Friday, 29 May 2015

Caribbean leaders advanced their policy position on climate change ahead of the 21st Conference of Parties, ( COP 21). , scheduled for Paris during November and December of this year.  Caribbean Community (CARICOM) – made up of 14 independent countries – leaders were represented by the group’s chairman, Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie, during their latest meeting in Martinique with French President François Hollande. PM Christie explained,  “For the Bahamas, which has 80 percent of its land mass within one metre of mean sea level, climate change is an existential threat.(…)  The evidence of the impact of climate change within our region is very evident. Grenada saw a 300 percent loss of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) as a result of one storm (…)

Friday, 15 May 2015

As the world’s biggest user and importer of biodiesel, the recent European Parliament ruling which  limits the use of crop-based biofuels is a strong signal that the EU is engaged to meet its  energy targets. Moreover, it also signals the end of a long running debate on the detrimental implications of  biofuel demand for transport on food prices, hunger, forest destruction, land consumption and climate change. Food crops, such as palm oil, soy and rapeseed are currently being used for transport fuel. However, this ruling indicates that the EU shall proactively limit biofuel production from agricultural crops to 7% of EU transport energy, and EU member states have the option to go lower than this. 

When the international climate change talks ended in Peru last December, the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM), a political and economic union comprising small, developing, climate-vulnerable islands and low-lying nations, left with “the bare minimum necessary to continue the process to address climate change” according to Carlos Fuller, international and regional liaison officer at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre. He explained that “The Lima Accord did decide that the Parties would continue to work on the elements in the Annex to develop a negotiating text for the new Climate Change Agreement. We wanted a stronger statement that these were the elements to be used to draft the negotiating text.”

Wednesday, 06 May 2015

Following the typhoon Maysak, which struck FSM four weeks ago, the assistance from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and Yap State government agencies, the European Union and local residents is not only helping the Fais and Ulithi (a remote island in the north Pacific) island's residents recover, but will also have lasting benefits in enabling them to cope better with drought, changes in rainfall and extreme weather events in the future. Forty-seven household rainwater harvesting tanks and 70 containers filled with fresh water are progressively being shipped to the edge of a coral reef surrounding Fais Island, FSM, and then floated, or "lightered", ashore.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank, alongside Jim Yong Kim President World Bank Group confirmed its commitment to support climate related investments. They highlighted the engagement needed to be scaled-up through greater private sector involvement in climate finance. “It is time for renewed action to address the global risk of climate change and 2015 provides a unique opportunity to focus on this fundamental threat. It is crucial to encourage a shift that delivers a more resource efficient, climate resilient and low-carbon global economy. Europe has a firm commitment to addressing climate change and the European Investment Bank, as the EU Bank, will build on a strong track record to address these challenges.

In the run up to the UN Climate Change conference (COP21) in Paris in December, African Ministers have renewed their call for a strong and universal climate change agreement with increased flows of funds, including through market and finance opportunities, sufficient to fulfill Africa's development aspirations. Africa, with its vulnerable populations and vast potential, has perhaps the most to lose from climate change and the most to gain from an effective climate change agreement. "In these last eight months before Paris, the focus must shift from restating negotiating positions to finding common ground solutions," said UNFCCC Deputy Executive Secretary Richard Kinley at a day-long ministerial segment at the Africa Carbon Forum 2015 hosted by the Kingdom of Morocco.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

The UK is Europe’s leading donor for overseas development aid (ODA). The UK is one of only five member states to have met the UN target of 0.7% for ODA. The others are Denmark (0.85%), Norway (0.99%), Luxembourg (1.07%), and Sweden (1.10). In March, Britain became the first G7 country to pledge in law to commit to spending 0.7% of gross national income on ODA. The law had cross party support. Currently, UKIP are the only prominent national party seeking a reduction in the overseas aid budget.